Big Shout to Malmy Hatchman

I couldn’t find the light and switched on my torch feeling increasingly vexed at Hatchman’s refusal to answer my calls, as I knew he had to be there. Cartimandua glowed in the murky light. I fancied I saw the treacherous old queen herself squatting there in her white gown, a bloody leer on her face. But as my eyes adjusted I realised it was Hatchman.

Cruciformed across New Manchester, his head thrown back across the smashed glass dome of the Brigantia Temple, his arms cradled in the topmost branches of the trees within. The smiling gash of his throat was horribly exposed. His blood had sprayed over spires and turrets, gouted down the sides of buildings and into the streets before finally decanting into the Irwell, Irk and Medlock.

There were strange, gusty breezes in the room but nowhere they could have come from in the hermetic bunker. A terrible charge strung out the air – it galvanised me into throwing myself upon Hatchman’s rigid body to tear and claw his clothes. I found the key in his hand and prised it out. Ten minutes later I left the building.

They never found Hatchman. Nobody ever thought to check the room because they had no idea it existed. I certainly didn’t tell them.

After a few days, people stopped talking about him and I imagined his thistledown soul drifting in bliss over this tired old city. I never entered, never could enter, the room again. Yet the key hung in front of my desk like a fetish for me to gaze at, sometimes for hours at a time – my portal to the mystery. When I retired, it hung around my neck night and day.

I am the keeper of secrets and of Malmy Hatchman’s soul. Here is the key because I am done and you are the living breath of New Manchester. I know in my heart that it’s all a delusion created from whispers of the dispossessed – but cherish it nonetheless. Cherish the dream.

Anne Hill Fernie pays the rent tutoring university students in study skills. She is fascinated with the identity of urban spaces and individual interaction within them. Her article, Psychogeography for Beginners, was published in Manchester Forum last year. This story reflects her concerns regarding the state of so-called regeneration in Manchester today, and is dedicated to the Manchester Regeneration Initiative.

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7 Responses to “Big Shout to Malmy Hatchman”

  1. December 18, 2008 at 6:38 pm, David Flindall said:

    Interesting but maybe a bit obscure

  2. December 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm, Craig said:

    Fantastic! Best story on here yet!! I loved it!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your work Anne!….

  3. December 20, 2008 at 10:26 pm, Marion Hewitt said:

    Brilliant – I want to see the film – who’s got Tim Burton’s number?

  4. December 21, 2008 at 4:13 pm, Peter said:

    Captures and conveys the dark mood of ye olde ratHall…enjoyed reading this tale.

  5. December 25, 2008 at 11:17 pm, Joel said:

    It’s exactly how I see the Town Hall and all the buildings around there. Whatever’s new is built on something old, and for every ‘success’ there are many more of us ‘failures’. Very true story

  6. February 08, 2009 at 12:29 pm, Cousin Ken said:

    A touch of Le Fanu with a dash of Victor Hugo for good measure! Well written cousin. xxx

  7. November 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm, Olthwaite said:

    Thrilling! There’s something about those town hall corridors when it’s dark and deserted…


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