what’s the story

by uzwi

The town, with its undecodable medieval topography and commanding position above the river, had done well out of sheep; then out of brewing; and finally out of coal. Now, like most of those old places, post-colonial, post-industrial and–in the sense that its past had now become its present–post-historical, it was curating a collection of original burgage plots, timber-framed structures and quaintly squalid street names. It had been pleased with itself for seven hundred years. Short ate an artisanal sandwich at the Optimum Joy Cafe Bistro and Wellbeing Centre. Later he became lost in a system of alleys between Grope Counte Lane and Piscina Yard, from which he debouched suddenly into the long grounds of Old St Marge’s, where he sat on a bench in the warm sunshine reading heritage brochures. For a thousand years, he learned, one sacred building or another had occupied the site–until 1802, when the church had collapsed mysteriously into its own crypt to leave only the melted-looking stone of the Lady Chapel, at which he now stared. Later he went back to his hotel and phoned in his report, “Nothing much going on.”

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