For some Christmas is the jewel which crowns the calendar year, a flawlessly set gem which glistens within a snug setting of merriment and good tidings. Yet for others it springs no goodwill, regarded as nothing more than an elaborately dressed flash in the pan, a crude joke at the consumers expense. But let us delve further, for there are those amongst us for whom it leaves a bitter taste lingering upon the palette. Those who appear similar to you and I, but are far removed, whose hearts are as dark and endless as a well.
You see some monsters wear a human cloak.
It isn’t only at night the bogeyman comes out to play. After all, where better to hide than in plain sight and when sweeter to sow the seeds of doubt, than amongst festive cheer.
Practice makes perfect so they say, and the ones I speak of have been honing their craft for a long time, in fact you could say they’re dying to meet you.
Come, let us take a walk.
Mind your step over the cobbles and pay no heed to the curious looks and the narrowing alleyways, for on this journey we are but wraiths filtering beneath a silk sky.
Not too far now, just a few steps further will reveal a quaint little store nestled between a confectionery shop and a public house. Under the moonlight its wares sparkle, eager to catch the eye and entice potential patrons, rows of glittering dark stones appealing to the tide of tourists, as do the unfathomably low prices, which guarantee feet through the door, but as my mother once said to me, if something looks too good to be true…it usually is.
Peer closer and as your breath clings to the glass you’ll discover ornate broaches made from generous pieces of jet, together with more contemporary designs using other precious materials such as onyx, opal and even black diamonds, or so the proprietors of All That Glitters would have you believe. But do not be fooled, for past the counter, through a door labelled ‘Private – Staff Members Only’ secured by a discreet swipe card system, awaits a much more primitive scene.
Back here the glossy countertops and pleasantries are dispensed with. The only source of light spills from a solitary tripod lamp which hangs over a gaping mouth of unplumbed depth into which, degloved, the owners slither down on empty stomachs night after night, sandpaper skin pawing through silt, grasping for more of the dark matter which screams from a place beyond the nightmares of man.
Perhaps now would be an opportune time to retreat rather than ruin your appetite as they gorge on that foul substance, best not to linger and draw unwanted attention, after all time waits for no one and our tour has only just begun.
I make no promises, nor can I offer sanctuary should you choose to follow me, but misery loves company and there hours to idle and tales to be spun.
Just remember, all that glitters…