Picture taken looking up from the courtyard of an apartment block

Channel Six

Looking at the apartment block made me feel colder than the wind did. It was a grim cube of concrete and steel, designed by a communist architect during an age that knew no joy, and the low winter sky leached the life from it like a sponge.



Inside the box is a large glass case, almost as large as the box itself, and inside the case is a shrunken figure. It looks like a mummy, but it is unlike any that I’ve ever seen before. The position is all wrong, for a start: it is sat upright, hugging its knees to its chest, and its chin is perched neatly upon its folded arms. There are no bandages; instead it is naked apart from a perished woollen loincloth, a couple of dull gold bracelets and a woven headdress tied with feathers made almost translucent by age. Its dead skin is the miserable grey of wet slate, and dry black fingernails protrude like chips of bark from its fingers. Worst of all is its face, from which two black pebbles stare dully out of the puckered sockets of its eyes above a collapsed nose and two desiccated lips that have shrivelled into a cruel grin.