The Agony of Things

The Agony of Things
by Ryan Frawley

Beneath grimy Victorian window arches, Paddington station is cold and black. Under the disinterested eye of a pair of obscenity-crowned policemen, stray herds of travellers wander like ants. Signs blink in dirty orange dots, a flickering list of drab British placenames: Redditch, Moreton in Marsh, Northampton, Hull. Grim towns of grim people, where life bleeds slowly in the rain. No one smiles. The PA system chimes, belching unintelligible gobbledegook in an alien tongue.

Ducking low under the roof, a pigeon glides down through the iron rafters, sweeping through the spiralling thermal jets of cooling trains, cupping its wings against the air as it twists downwards, narrowly avoiding a middle-aged woman running to make her train. Its scaly claws skid on the dark tiles as it lands. Suddenly lost in a forest of thudding footfalls, it scuttles, head bobbing, between thick wandering legs, around a tall iron column, past a set of black-shoed feet crossed at the ankle, and on into the darkness, chasing food and sex and a safe place to sleep.

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Ryan Frawley is originally from the UK but currently lives in Vancouver, where he writes mostly at night. He received first prize in the Federation of BC Writer’s Literary Writes competition in 2005, and his work has previously appeared in WordWorks magazine.

Ryan Frawley