“Old Bones”

From Interzone #251

interzone251A sudden knocking at the door of his garret shocked Simon out of his chair by the portal window. The chair – older even than Simon – tipped backwards and banged against the warped gray floorboards, cracking two of its brittle slats. That sound, so loud in the empty room, and so soon following the first shock, caused Simon to flinch. The knocking had come without warning – no creak of stair from the landing, no veiled whispers or stifled coughs. Simon had been watching the desolate street beneath his little window all day. From time to time he’d seen mummers moving through the perpetual smog, wrapped tight in drab cloaks, but nothing friendly – never anything friendly. But now here was light – probably from a lantern – showing in the gaps around the frame of his door. What kind of fool ventured out with such light?