In a lonely place

I’ve been reading Where the Summer Ends, a superb collection of Karl Edward Wagner’s weird fiction my brother bought me for my birthday. Check out the first page of ‘In the Pines’:

There is an atmosphere of inutterable loneliness that haunts any ruin – a feeling particularly evident in those places once given over to the lighter emotions. Wander over the littered grounds of an abandoned amusement park and feel the overwhelming presence of desolation. Flimsy booths with awnings tattered in the wind, rotting heaps of sun-bleached paper mache. Crumbling timbers of a roller coaster thrust upwards through the jungle of weeds and debris-like ribs of some titanic unburied skeleton. The wind blows colder there; the sun seems dimmer. Ghosts of laughter, lost strains of raucous music can almost be heard. Speak, and your voice sounds strangely loud – and yet curiously smothered.

Or tour a neglected formal garden, with its termite-riddled arbors and gazebo. The lily pond is drained, choked with weeds and refuse. Only a few flowers and shrubs poke miserably through the rank undergrowth. Dense clots of weeds and vines overrun the paths and statuary. Here and there a shrub or rambling rose has grown into a wild, misshapen tangle. The flowers offer anemic blooms, where no hand gathers, no eye admires. No birds sing in that uncanny hush.

Such places are lairs of inconsolable gloom. After the brighter spirits have departed, shadows of despair and oppression assume their place. The area has been drained of its ability to support any further light emotion, and now, like weeds on eroded soil, only the darker sentiments can take root and flourish. These places are best left to the loneliness of their grief…

Marvellous.

One thought on “In a lonely place

  1. Nella Hodgkinson (@ladypetronella)

    That really is marvellous. I love ruins and derelict spaces, probably for that reason. Beautiful writing. (I like the post title too – great film)

    Reply

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