Descendants of the Golden Dawn: Roland McQuansdale's diary, day eight
by, 16th May 2012 at 04:00 AM (562 Views)
It's about five o’bloody clock in the buggering morning. Nobody should have to be awake. Mackenzie said I have to write them down, my dreams, if I have them. Good for my nerves, he says. I’ll write it down. GOD what a dream! My heart’s pounding like a drum, I can hear it.
I saw London. I knew it for London, but it wasn’t like any London I ever saw, a stranger in a strange land that should not be strange. The old streets and monuments weren’t right, the shape of the city had changed. Everything was taller, reaching up into the sky, and there was so much glass! It shone like water in the sun, whole great buildings with skins of glass and not a brick to be seen, with veins of steel running down them. Naturally I turned to look up at them, and up in the skies I saw THINGS wheeling in the air. Not birds. They should be birds, by rights, but it wasn’t birds. Just last night I wondered how you’d stage them in a play, tried to imagine them, and God I wish I hadn’t now. Carrion things circling there like so many crows, bat-winged, bird headed, a little like insects, a little like men... I could feel them looking down at me. ‘Horror covers all the sky’, ‘horrid shapes in mantles gray flit athwart’ but there weren’t any bally storms or clouds of darkness to hide the damn things. Actually it didn't worry me then, I had somewhere to go, as though I had an appointment or something. No car, for some reason, and no sign of anyone else about, so ‘I wandered through each chartered street, near where the chartered Thames does flow,’ and everything was half-familiar and half-wrong. I suppose it WAS a dream, after all, there’s always something wrong. There were cars on the streets, other cars, but the models were wrong. Bigger, and more sort of geometric I suppose, full of glass again. Half of them were ruined, like something had ripped them open, or burned them. I could hear my footsteps echoing through the streets, because there was nothing else to hear except the things half-bat-half-man-half-mole-half-bird-half-half-half and the cold wind. I knew it was cold but didn’t feel it.
In the end I reached the club, not quite where it should be, unless it was everything else that was wrong. The doors were open wide, and someone took my hat and coat. I didn’t see him, if it was a him and not a ‘fiend-like goblin’ or some such. I looked for the chaps, but there was nobody there, and no other coats. Not a paper left carelessly on the table, no cigar-ends. It was grand, far grander than usual, and everything shone and glittered. I heard something in the smoking-room and went upstairs, and there they were, ‘a coward brood’ skulking and slinking like the ghouls that ‘still in darkness prowl’, and kowtowing to a clubman. He had a suit like night and a shirt like snow, and he stood like an emperor by the fire, but his back was to me so I couldn’t tell who it was. All the usual knick-knacks had been slung out, and there was a row of little glittering things like tiny mirrors. I stepped closer, and the crawling things moved aside. I hadn’t seen until then, but they were in uniform – it was the waiters, crawling like dogs. The clubman took down one of the shining glittering things, and I saw it was a shard, it was a piece of glass. All glass, shining everywhere, Glass London. He took it in his hand and stared into it, and then he drove it into his chest and screamed and I ran like billy-o.
There was a tower next, a great glass tower that went up as far as I dared to look. It looked like a knife, somehow, or that needle the Chaplain talks about whose eye you can’t put a camel through. That was a tower with eyes if ever I saw one. For some reason I walked over to it, through the dead streets and the murdered motor-cars. There was blood all around it, the whole pavement soaked in blood as though people had been jumping off it, but no bodies anywhere. Something must have taken them away, the half-half-halves. No, it was only a dream. It doesn’t have to make sense. It wasn’t real. The blood wasn’t real. The glass wasn’t real. So much glass, so much blood, so bloody many halves. I saw their shadows as they flew overhead but I didn’t care. The door was like a mouth, a glass mouth in two halves, and it opened sideways for me, more like an eye really I suppose. It opened by itself; there was nobody there.
I went upstairs, up the glass stairs. They went on forever, so I walked forever. It was remarkably easy, actually, when I think how one’s normally puffed out after a couple of flights. The half-things hung from the tower and swooped off horribly now and then, or else stared fishily in through the glass with a sort of gloating look, like rotting gulls. There was a huge glass thing at the top, like something you’d see in a museum – one of those temple altar things, but without all the ‘do not touch’ signs and so forth. It was rather too real. Things in museums don’t really feel real, just dusty old things someone fetched in and stuck a label on for mugs to gawp at, but this was a real thing. It meant something. Perhaps Doc Mackenzie knows what. There was a woman standing there too, in funny-looking robes. Reminded me of that verse, ‘They clothed me in the clothes of death, and taught me to sing the notes of woe.’ She was holding a knife, nasty-looking thing, and when she turned round it turned out to be that Anastasia female of Faulkes’. Might have known. As soon as she caught my eye, I woke up, and damn glad of it too. The sheets are all over the place, and I’ve dug my nails right into my hand. It hurt, but I had some brandy. It nearly helped. I should read the Liber, those things were in it. Perhaps the tower was too. If I can just find out what it all means I can stop it.
What the hell’s wrong with me anyway? I won’t be barmy, damn it!I’m NOT barmy. There’s just too much going on, all this strangeness, and my nerves are delicate. Mackenzie said so. I just need a bit of peace to read and let my nerves settle. Writing down my dreams is good for my nerves, he said. It’s good to get it all down on paper and let it go. Bloody strange dreams too. It’s probably nothing. Everyone has peculiar dreams, I mean when did anyone ever stop to tell you about the really ordinary dream they had? It’s all going to Chapel without your trousers, and Cook turning into a hatstand, and most likely everyone else dreams about... about things like this as well, but they don’t talk about it. Well, quite. Not the sort of thing one can bring up in polite conversation. It’s probably reading the Liber giving me strange ideas. Perhaps I shouldn’t read it before bed. It is a rather strange old thing. But how can I stop it all if I don’t finish reading the Liber? And when can I read it if they insist on wasting my time with the damn book of bloody eternity?
I think I should go for a walk. Clear my head a bit. I should go out and smoke a little to calm my nerves. Still have a few of Mackenzie’s special fags knocking about, revolting things. It’ll do me good to get some air. Maybe I can sleep then.