• steven holding


The club is usually empty at this time of night. Just you and the barman, silent as always, shining empty glasses with a dubious looking rag. He nods, pours you your usual poison, slides the glass in your direction. No need to reach for your wallet. Your credit is good here. Taking a sip, wishing that you still smoked, you head towards your favourite spot by the fire. As you approach, you realise that your seat is occupied. A face you’ve never seen before, glasses, long hair that is starting to go grey. He motions towards the spare chair that stands before him. As you settle into place, the stranger takes a deep swig from his drink, stares you in the eye. Then calmly asks if you would like to hear a story…

PARACUSIA by Steven Holding.

Listen up.

Have you ever had the experience when you are walking along a busy boulevard and you think you can hear somebody shouting out your name?

You pause and slowly turn around, scanning the crowd, but there doesn’t ever seem to be anybody there, am I right or am I right?

Or maybe you’re at a hip and swinging party (hell, I know how much you love those) and all of a sudden you could swear to God that you caught a hint of a voice, whispering for your attention amongst the drunken buzz of happy conversations that are filling up that smoky little room like a fat man’s farts in a crowded and sweaty elevator?

But wherever you look, no matter where you direct your gaze, there’s nobody you recognise, and everyone seems to be so obviously lost in the meaningful depths of their own dialogues and discussions.

Well my dear, my sweetheart, my love, I am here to tell you just how wrong you have always been.

The truth of the situation is this; you really did hear a voice. Every single time. One lone individual, trying everything within their power to make you listen. Prepared, in fact, to follow you to the very ends of the earth, yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs, desperate for you to stop and take notice of them.

But you didn’t spot them at all. Not once. Not ever.

Can you possibly imagine how that must feel? To be looked upon, time and time again, but never to be seen? A lifetime of invisibility might have broken a lesser man.

But not me. No sir.

From that very first moment, crouching ignored in the corner of your nursery, through countless occasions lagging paces behind upon bustling city streets, I have never once faltered. I have persevered in my task.

When you were dozing off on the front seat of the school bus, drowsy nodding head fit to burst with facts and numbers and fantasies.

During tense scenes in the movie multiplex when you turned around and shushed through a mouthful of half chewed hotdog.

From beneath your bed when you awoke with a jolt, shivering in fear at the dream you could never quite remember.

And now I finally have your attention, I have something important that I must tell you.

I know exactly how you will die.


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