[17/03/2012; 21/05/2012; 11/11/2016]
She walked beside a metal-grid fence against the stream of people going the other way. Through twisted diamond-chain, she could see a park, tranquil with its ordered greenery and traceries here and there of weeping willow.
On the other side of her, the ground fell sharply away. She was saved from a sense of vertigo by the presence of a mist that hid the bottom of whatever chasm might be there.
She had left the shopping mall behind her.
She felt oddly in danger, but she thought that might be paranoia, not attached to anything real.
She couldn’t quite remember, this was the problem.
She had left the stream of people behind now, and – people that she still encountered were few and far between.
She was a tourist in this place, and she felt that the people must have a curiosity about her, with her occidental features – but not one of them had stared. She must not look particularly out of place, or unexpected.
She was in a street that seemed somehow vacant; windows of three-storey buildings blanked out by dark blinds; alley-ways – gaping at street-level – that led to doorways.
The neighbourhood had a general air of privacy.
She came to a causeway. Each side of it was built up in concrete, so that she couldn’t look over, but she could hear water running somewhere below. It was as though she had entered a tunnel.
At the end of the pseudo-tunnel, there was a branching out into a wide enclosed area.
The ground was concreted over but that gave way with no visible edge to a gravelled, grassy expanse that was neither countryside nor town.
Ahead of her was an impenetrable row of concrete outhouses.
One of them – to one side of her – was a long, low building with a slanted roof.
There were three – no – four windows.
They were protected by metal grilles, but she went up to them, and peered through. The window-glass was just beyond, but all she could see through it was dark wood that reminded her of the backs of cabinets. She tried to see through each grilled window, but it was as though someone had pushed the furniture up against all of them – from the inside.
She didn’t know why, but she felt that she had to get past this place.
There was something that looked like a water-butt beside a window. It was as though the mist had extended to here – or maybe she just wasn’t sure of things – but she felt it would be nothing to climb up on to the roof from there, and it was nothing; the water-butt was easy to hop up onto, and it was a skip and a jump from there, that’s all.
She was on the roof, and she went up the slope of it to the ridge. On the other side of the ridge, on top of what she thought of as the back part of the roof (this, given the general direction she had been taking, and it seemed important not to forget this distinction), she could see a flat concrete wall, and metal fences either side, with foliage growing through.
She went for the concrete wall. She knew she’d be able to reach the top of it.
She pulled herself up – with some effort – but it was easy enough to vault down to the other side into someone’s back garden.
She had no idea what she was doing, but she felt as though she had been here before, and that, if she continued on her path, she might find what she was looking for.
She felt happier that she was out of public view.
There was a pink rose-bush in the garden.
She walked past it.