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Lost In Lime by Simon Collison

There is a walled district called Lime that has a separate existence tucked away and hidden from the rest of the town. A place that hides away from the sun, where pity and compassion have long since departed.


I’ll take you there one day. Make sure you visit Lime in the daytime.

It's a frightening place and not the sort of place you’d willingly visit after dark.


Forget about the dark. It's not the place you’d willingly visit at all.  I’ve been there once before. In daylight. That was bad enough. I don’t want to return there at night.


But the drop-off has to be tonight. I need the money. And it’s strictly cash on delivery. Why does it have to take place in the dark?


Lime is reached from the fork in the road. One way is well-worn and used. The other is usually avoided.


There are reasons why some roads are less travelled. Maybe because some roads lead to places like Lime. I’m on the one that leads to Lime. With a heavy heart, I steer the car through that gloomy, ill-lit and uncertain way. Fear leads and drags me onwards.

And that is the ominous road I’m compelled to travail this dreary night.


As I travel along this sunless way, I feel my spirit and strength seep and drain away.


The road descends as the car slides into Lime. Once I’m in its clutches, then foolish notions of humanity and civility can be forgotten.

Life is cheap in Lime.


It’s frightening to think how close Hell and Earth are to each other. A matter of a few streets, a wrong turn. And you’re in Lime.


The closer I get to Lime, the more my muscles tense up. Hands and arms feel stiffer around the steering wheel. It’s getting harder to move the feet onto the pedals.

I can feel my breathing getting quicker as I enter Lime. I wipe the sweat off my palms.


Within moments, a car is behind me. Headlights on full beam. It follows on behind menacingly. I’m being tailed. By whom or what I can’t tell.


I shut the car window. Even the air in Lime is full of fear and danger. I feel that any second an arm might thrust in to try and steal or slash me. There is something malevolent out there. Creatures summoned by the gloam and murk.


There is such strangeness and unease on nights like these in places like Lime.


Though it is December, there are no lurid or gaudy lights to illuminate the streets of Lime. All around just darkness and shades of shadow. Lots of strange shapes and shadows emerge to petrify. My eyes are rapidly scanning every angle. The threat could come from anywhere. There are so many concealed, ill-lit corners.


If I was planning an ambush, I’d choose this place to do it. The attackers would always have the shock and surprise in such a shadowy street. And the getaway would be easy. Just blend into the walls or round a corner. I don’t want to get out of the car.


I want to turn around and get out of Lime fast.


But I can’t.

There is a deal to be done.

And I need the money -



And where is the bloody house? In this poorly lit area, it’s difficult to see the numbers.  I don’t want to get out and have a look. I dare not ask. The less time spent out of the car the better.

Out there anything could happen to me.


And then out of a corner, I can see a figure watching me from about 50 yards away. And I wonder how many other pairs of eyes that I couldn't see are watching my every move. It's in these sorts of places that you learn how cheap and nasty life is. If the word was given, you would pass from the living to the dead within seconds.


A grim fate could be there awaiting me a few steps away.


And no one would be none the wiser.


All the time you are in the Lime, you are being watched and observed. And there are plenty of threatening figures “as rough as hell” passing by. Every face is threatening and frowning. Every prospect is unappealing.


Better make it a quick visit or better still don’t go near this place at all.

But I badly need the money.


I scan the pavement.  Better be careful and watch my step. It’s full of food, soiled nappies, glass and chairs, sodden clothes, excrement. Even the rats are too afraid to show their faces openly in the Lime.


Who is that watching me by the wall? Are they friendly or not? They slip away quickly as a rat that scurries away when discovered. Where have they gone? You have no idea. These shadows are elusive.


It's almost as if they’re camouflaged to blend and merge into the night. These shadowy shades cling to the dark surfaces like some creature of the night.

But they are still watching me.


I am in deep trouble, surrounded by threats and lost in a forlorn place like Lime.


To be lost in Lime is like having one foot in Hell, spine stiffening, steps quickening. That suffocating fear that the walls themselves are closing in on me.


I think I have the right address. I’m taking a chance on incertitude. I park up outside. Some sullen shapes silently pass me by.

They send minatory glances in my direction.


The car that has been following me parks on the other side of the road. There are three bulky figures inside. One of them is on a phone. Somebody on this estate likes to be well informed on everyone who enters the Lime.


I get out of the car, my spine tingling. I open a gate and quickly rap on the door. The door opens slightly. A few garbled words. The door opens slightly more. And a pair of eyes furtively scans around. I catch sight of a saggy face and a hollow mouth.


There is fear in her eyes. Not afraid of me, but afraid of what lies outside her front door.


The deal is made. I’m glad she’s got the right money. I notice she’s got no carpets, and she lives in Lime, but she had the right money.

The deal is done and the door is closed quickly, tight.


You don’t keep doors open for long in Lime.


She’s got no carpets is what I’m thinking. And stuck in Lime.


It doesn’t pay to have too much remorse in this line of work.

Get the deal done. In and then out quickly. Job done.


My only thought is to get back to the car and get out of here quickly.


I leave Lime. I am once again followed by the car with the headlights on full beam. This car follows me all the way until I leave the Lime.

And then the car that's been tailing me leaves me.


Such relief!

The car is now ascending. I’m leaving Lime.

Once I’m out of the Lime, I can relax a little.

Breathe more easily.


I can feel the value of my life rising somewhat.

I can feel civilization like a cloak comfort me once more.

I hug those notes closer.


Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it.

Risking my life for a few notes.


It's not a place I’ll be hurrying to go back to.

I try to clear my head of Lime.

Get the place out of my system.

There’s always a new deal to be done in another place.


But you know when I get back home, the only thing stuck in my head will be that she had no carpets. She lived in the Lime and had no carpets.

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