into a corridor barely wider than my shoulders. Polished floor and peeling paint. At the far end a desk in a room. My feet slide on the floor as I hear a grunt. Turning to look at a wide nose, big eyes and feather hair. He sniffs and scratches his stomach through a shirt that has been left on the floor too long. Hairs from an animal are woven into the material.
“Glad you are open.” I say and look at the walking stick that leans against his chair. The cushions beneath him have prolapsed. Claw scratched and speckled.
It smells wild in here; is it animals or him.
The radiators gurgle, cast iron, heavy as military hardware with the texture of concrete slurry. I can feel their hot breath, it screws me to the wall with anchors.
Spears from the window throw four rectangles of light upon him, a flexible sheet draped. His features are carved in the dusting of light. There is a secret wedged in the grain of his wrinkled skin, something sad.
From the darkness a cat leaps onto the arm of the chair. The hand of the man and the flank of the cat meet in the space halfway between them. The cat squirls round his fingers and the man’s eyes surface as if he had just noticed me.
“Can I help you son?”
The cat fixes me with slits. The seated figure looks at the floor. With the extremes of light and dark in the room it is hard to tell who has spoken.