Nicholas Murray

A Town Called C____


It was like living in a goldfish bowl. Beyond the houses on all sides was a whole expanse of nothing. Dust. Then mountains. Then sky.

It was a crossroad town. Well, it was almost a crossroad town.

It was too small to be called a town and it was just next to the crossroad. Not on it.

From one end to the other you could count, in total, six streets in C____. Five of them joined the main street at one end and trailed into the nothing at the other. Pristine and perfectly smooth tarmac soon became stone, loose and loud underfoot, and just as soon that became dirt, dust and sand. Only the main road (main only by name) was connected to anything that led anywhere. Sometimes cars would slide through, without stopping, having lost their way on the long journey west.

The crossroad, about a quarter mile north of C____ was the point at which the 818 (North to South) met the 88 (East to West). It was also a rail crossing. For a few dozen miles in either direction, the highway ran alongside the train tracks. So, to continue West, vehicles making their temporary migration would often have to wait while a train thundered by, heaving carriage upon carriage of coal or oil or grit or whatever they needed at the other end of the country.

Though this diesel thoroughfare brushed right up against C____, covering it with the smell of burnt fuel and the promise of industry, no one had ever deemed it necessary to build a railway station in the town. All day we would hear titanic engines thunder past with no hint of slowing. Drumming home the insignificance of C____ to the outside world and seeming to impress upon us all the apparent difficulty to leave.

Nicholas Murray is a writer and artist based in London. He is the founder and editor of publisher and live literature production house, Annexe Magazine. His written work has appeared in publications such as inc. magazine and the Jawbreakers anthology. His prose installations have been displayed in the Sites of Alternative Publishing exhibition and on the Electronic Voice Phenomena tour.