Alphabet of Scratches

By NORMAN LOCK

 

from Alphabets of Desire & Sorrow: A Book of Imaginary Colophons

 

At St. Mary Bethlehem (which the world calls Bedlam), Jeremy Watt, shut up for insanity, discovered in a maze of scratches scribed by others’ lunatic hands an alphabet with which he might invoke things not apparent to the eye. So it was that on a late November afternoon while winter rehearsed in the soot and shadows of the ward, Watt alchemized the asylum into a Moorfields mews where—in a fusty upper-storey room—his wife, who had denounced him to the magistrate, was partnered in adultery with a pie man. Uttering an uncouth scratch of noise (unintelligible to the madhouse staff), Watt slaughtered her remorselessly with an airy dagger—
a perfect telepathic murder for which the pie man was condemned and hung.

 

 

Norman Lock has written novels and short fiction as well as stage, radio and screen plays.

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Alphabet of Scratches

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