The Man in the Underpass

A first person narration by an eleven-year old girl living on an estate in Liverpool. There’s an awful familiarity to the feel of this – unremarkable places that take on a sinister resonance as you’re told never, ever to go near them, or else to run through and not stop until you get home. A murky underpass that forms part of the walk to school manifests a piece of graffiti that resembles ancient Aztec art – specifically a depiction of Quetzalcoatl, or “Pop a cat a petal”, as the girls come to know him. It feels slightly exploitative to be honest, and makes for disturbing reading, but it also feels very on the nose for its time – like a ‘stranger danger’-style public service film warning about the malign influence of Aztec deities.

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