Dead Ends: An extract from Tim Lane's Silent Quarter

Dead Ends: An extract from Tim Lane's Silent Quarter
Beautifully dark and beastly — Known for producing dark, imaginative imagery, heavily influenced by classic and world mythologies, illustrator and writer Tim Lane shares an extract from his latest project, Silent Quarter - a darkly beautiful illustrated short story.

The Old Man lies back on his bed – on their bed – his feelings are in tumult and beneath his tired, hooded eyelids he slips in and out of consciousness.

He imagines suddenly that he is looking out from behind a mask over a hushed and expectant crowd. It is his birthday and he is making a speech, elevated up high upon a makeshift podium.


There are butterflies in his stomach, an inner chaos of wings, scissors cut a red welcome ribbon, bunting and lights hang low, waiting, he opens his mouth to speak but his words are choked back by a burst of tears, red petals fall around him, scattered in celebration.


He tries to speak once again into the crackling microphone that stands in front of him: “Happy Death-day my love, you were always the life and soul of any party. You were my Life and Soul.”

“Thank you for coming my loving family and thank you my friends”

“Thank you, also, to you our good neighbourhood of Spirits”

A hazy, dark, malignant shape at the back of the crowd catches his eye and holds his gaze. He stops. The mask on his face slips and falls to the ground. He fumbles to catch it and then points his finger to the back of the room and shouts desperately:

“Damn you Uninvited Guest!”

The crowd turns around to look in unison but it has disappeared.


The Old Man awakens momentarily with a start as his eyes roll open and then close again. Thoughts and imagery swim together in a sea of emotion and he is transported back to the birth of his children:

Breathe! Breathe! / inner chaos of limbs / scissors cut the umbilical cord / “I’m here! Happy Birth-day to me”/ new ideas float out into the world / confusing combinations of new symbols / keep them grounded with our love / invisible resplendent threads that join us all / childhood memories begin / play-fighting / tears / thank them for your fears / sharp points on the top of colourful party hats worn by a line of skulls on a long white table / a happy little balloon full of breath floats on by then bursts unexpectedly / gone in an instant!


The ageing process accelerating / skin thickening / hair lengthening / he sees his scissors in one hand, the other free hand reaches out to her long snow white hair / he cuts off the ends which drift slowly down to the floor then…


Dead-ends / severance of a life force / the ghost of your shape / a shadow over the landscape / a foreshadowing / a year without light / my distance from you / the almost audible sound of wings beating softly.

Check out the Kickstarter page for Tim Lane’s new book.

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