Feng flew into Heathrow to spend a couple of days shopping in northern Europe. He was staying in his investment flat in Golden Lane, which he'd bought several years before and which lay empty for most of the year. He just had the odd night in the place when he was holidaying in London. After a hard day at Harrods, Feng returned to Golden Lane to get a good night's sleep. However when he reached the spot where the luxury apartment block had stood when he'd left in the morning there was nothing there. He starred slack jawed into empty space.... there was no more Denizen, not even a trace or shadow of a ghost home....
In exactly three minutes Mr. Yao Wenyuan, of the eminent legal firm of Yao and Lee, would have his punctual hand on the doorbell of the Taylor Wimpey flat in Golden Lane. It was a comfort to reflect that Yao was so punctual—the suspense was beginning to make his host nervous. And the sound of the doorbell would be the beginning of the end—after that there’d be no going back, by Chairman Mao—no going back!
There are things in our wallpaper that nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish Chang would take me away from The Denizen! We could go home or just go somewhere else in London, I’d be happy to be anywhere that isn’t a Taylor Wimpey luxury investment apartment. The Denizen is ninety percent empty but it isn't soulless, it is creepy!
An empty new build, a property investment. I would say a haunted house and reach the height of romantic felicity—but that would be asking too much of fate! It is The Denizen, a block of 99 empty flats on Golden Lane erected by Taylor Wimpey in the face of fierce opposition from local residents, people whose homes and local park it overshadows. Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have so few people living in it? Chang laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage. Chang is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
“I think you’ll be comfortable. It’s only a one bed apartment, we have six dwellings in Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen but if we put you in one of our bigger flats you’d be sharing it with others. Most of the year they're all left empty but when we visit London we like to have a lot friends with us. Originally we only had five flats here but we were able to buy the sixth one cheaply and fully furnished after a woman committed suicide in it. Would you like to go and see it now? By Yanluo, I believe that you are right, and that we are going to have a thunderstorm. How dark it has become.”
"Then there is The Denizen," said Meagle, "full of luxury apartments available at absurdly low rents and nobody will take them. It has taken toll of at least one life of every family that has lived there - however short the time - and concierge after concierge has died there. The last caretaker died just a few weeks ago."
A fine block of luxury investment apartments The Denizen might have been too if it had been properly designed and constructed rather than jerry built to save money. Hearing so much talk about it often makes us feel as if we know every flat in the building, though it has fallen to ruin. Only one man ever lived in it after it was built. Nobody wanted to stop in the place. There used to be awful noises, as if something was being pitched from the top floor, down the lift shaft and into the entrance hall. There would be a sound as if a hundred people were clinking glasses and talking all together at once. And then it seemed as if barrels were rolling in the basement although it only contained a private cinema and games room. There would be screeches and howls, and laughing, fit to make your blood run cold. They say there is gold hidden away in one of the derelict apartments, but no one has ever ventured to find it. Children won't come here to play, when they are cavorting in Fortune Street Park opposite The Denizen, nothing will make them stay once the light begins to fade. When the night is coming on, and the shadows creep over the park, many believe they’ve seen mighty queer things on the site of The Denizen.
The Denizen was brand spanking new and as attractive as a desert, nobody was living there. Po looked around the Cripplegate and Bunhill neighbourhoods the day after his arrival and found the area he'd moved to was littered with ghost home developments. An endless parade of empty apartment buildings towered above social housing that had been built for local proletarians. Canaletto Tower, The Atlas, 250 City Road and The Lexicon, were all impressively inhuman in their height and scale. The Denizen may not have been as tall as these monuments to unbridled capitalism but it was still impressive and prevented sunlight from reaching dozens of council flats, two schools and Fortune Street Park. It more than held its own against the overpriced empty apartments in places like Dance Square, The Eagle, Eagle Point, Fable Apartments, The Featherstone and The Bezier Building.
I did not tell you last night but there was a murder done on this site hundreds of years ago, and when Taylor Wimpey laid the foundations of The Denizen, they disturbed the spirits and their luxury apartment block is now haunted by ghosts. People shy away from this place.
On Wednesday, June 25, my uncle and I conveyed to Taylor Wimpey's shunned The Denizen development on Golden Lane two camp chairs and a folding camp cot, together with some scientific mechanisms of greater weight and intricacy. These we placed in the cellar cinema during the day, and planned to return in the evening for our first vigil. We had acquired keys and were able to lock up the cinema, so were prepared to leave our expensive and delicate apparatus - which we had obtained secretly and at great cost - as many days as our vigils might be protracted. It was our design to sit up together till very late, and then watch singly till dawn in two-hour stretches, myself first and then my companion; the inactive member resting on the cot.