We roll up, the tyres cracking and complaining under the broken ground, into the skeletal husk. In the shell of the old factory the slabs of mottled concrete rise like broken teeth, or gravestones, testaments to mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Every surface is tattooed with fallen graffiti artists, leaving their tags in blood red as the light dimmed from their eyes.
Trespass is the least of our crimes, and our crimes are the least of anyone’s around here. I look across to a vibrant bundle of scarlet hair and anger. Aged fourteen she found her brother kneeling peacefully in the street with a knife hilt buried in his chest. She ran over to hug him as he rose his head to the sky, closed his eyes and a single tear ran from the corner down his cheek. He whispered into her ear; this really hurts, and I need to sleep… if I don’t wake up, know that I love you.
She broke my ribs last week. As I crouched, doubled up and breathless, she pointedly remarked; if it makes you feel better, I can feel it too… and it hurts. She was dangling upside down from a tree at the time.
Now we sit in front of a jagged, arrow shaped monolith, casting a shadow over the car. Five stories of naked, pointless brick holed five times down the centre by glassless windows and kept up by a few flimsy pieces of tape and warning signs that the whole thing could come down at any moment. We’re underneath it, and for good measure, I turn the key to shut the engine down. The stand-off begins. If it decides to fall today, we won’t have time to react. I pass the can to her and she passes it back.
Tears regularly form on her eyelashes like icicles. She tells me; I’m finding it harder and harder to keep breathing forwards. Then, with a deep sigh that raised her chest to the heavens, she turned her head to face me…. See?
When I walk down the street with her at night, the streetlights flicker and dim as she walks past them. I used to think it was her energy fucking with the wiring, but now I realise it is the shadows of her thoughts that swim and dance around her head, blocking out the light, selfishly hogging her soul.
Sucking on the can, she leans back and stares out of the window. Her voice is half panicked and half relieved when she says; I think I’m dying… I can see angels coming to collect me… I never thought I’d be one of the saved.
I look ahead; flecks of snow are settling on the car windscreen.