There is a quality, I have always felt, about the red colour of blood that makes it almost entirely unlike any substance I can think of. Even in small quantities – a tiny drop, a small smear – it is obvious and unmistakeable. It stands out from whichever surrounding it is found in, sharp and vicious. Something in that colour contains a depth of reality that is shocking and uncomfortable to look at. In truth, the amount of liquid that poured out of me that day was probably not all that great in itself, it was after all only a small cut. And yet, smeared loosely, oily and slick around my hands and my clothes it seemed like a shocking amount to my eyes, achieving a surreal, dreamlike effect which was only heightened by my shortness of breath and the racing of my heart.
I have never, you might have guessed by now, much liked the sight of blood, least of all my own. As a boy I avoided butchers’ shops, I ran screaming at the slightest scrape of my knee or nick of a finger. Even now I shave with an electric razor, I have a distrust of blades that verges on mania.
‘The Shorecliff Horror’ is Chapbook number three of four volumes forthcoming from the Olgada Press during 2015.