Tuesday, 13 September 2011

East End, London, May 5, 1874

Jonathan pulled his feet up from the cold floor and wrapped his arms around his knees. The sleeping Andrew on his bed was peaceful and still, his dark hair sticking to his damp forehead and the covers partially kicked off. Almost a year now. More than he had hoped for. More than he actually dared. Jonathan felt the hard band of steel contract around his heart and closed his eyes. Maybe they would have another year, maybe two. But then... Sooner or later, probably sooner, Andrew would see, and the questions would come. And the fear. And the parting of ways. If he was lucky, at least without hate.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

[1941 - the ghetto]

He’d never thought that fighting for his life would become a routine. In the very beginning, right after their enforced move into the wired-in part of the city that had become his home during the past four months, his slender body had immediately been flooded with adrenaline each time he’d stepped onto the streets and left the relative security of their basement rooms, but somehow, things had changed.

Saturday, 18 June 2011






still naked

East End, London, June 19, 1873

The heat was still lingering between the houses in the narrow alley, long after the sun had set. You could feel it radiate from the thick stone walls and the cobblestones of the street. At this very spot, the foul smells of people and animals was chased away by a light breeze that caught the sweet scent of the lilac someone had once planted in the back yard behind the wall towards which Andrew was leaning.

He stared at the door on the other side of the street. It was a modest door, really, grey and small and didn’t seem to lead to anything very interesting at all. The windows to the basement were soothed and didn’t reveal even a glimpse of what was going on inside.

Andrew took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the lilac air, straightening his deep blue velvet coat and tightening the band that held back his dark hair. Then he walked the few steps across the alley, slowly and almost hesitantly, and opened the door.

Before his eyes had adjusted to the dim light, he couldn’t see a thing and he made his way down the steep stairs with the careful steps of someone who still knows where to put his feet. Soon he could make out the room, the red lights from the poison burning in the pipes, and the beds where people were laying in strange and sometimes nearly ecstatic poses. Arms dangling from red silk beds, legs bent and head tilted backwards. A low mumbling of conversation between those who could still speak. The scent of the lilacs that had followed him down the stairs gave way for smoke and sweat, alcohol and laudanum.