Shadows smothered the vaulted halls of the General Register Office, a handful of grimy lamps spewing dim light into the stuffy air. Sam Desmond was at home here. In the darkness, he would wander the metal maze of filing cabinets, reading and enjoying each document before slipping them into their allotted draw. In those files whole lives were condensed to dry descriptions: “Rhonda Jones: Died age 38, Teacher”. “Charles West: Died age 73, Retired”. Here they slept in ink and paper, neglected by all but him. Smiling, Sam opened the newest file. “Sam Desmond: Died age 60, Filing Clerk”.
(c) Tim Austin 2016
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