Well, I'm now well on with my editing, following a very useful discussion and some suggestions from my agent. Progress is slow, but definitely headed in the right direction.  I'm hoping to have it done by Christmas.

In the meantime, here's a short story I wrote last winter.  

The Ghost

I walk unseen among the living; they move instinctively out of my path.  I observe them rushing to and fro, filled with their own concerns while I pass my days wandering and experiencing the lives of others second hand. To some I don’t exist. I am a myth, a ruse to part the gullible from their money.  To others, I am something to be feared, to be avoided, a reminder of an unenviable fate.

Sometimes they sense my presence and move along, leaving me with an unfinished segment of overheard conversation; gossip shared over coffee, or the soft exchange of words between lovers. A glimpse of a different existence.  A poor substitute for companionship, but I take what I can.  My own loves and companions nothing now but a hazy memory, a wistful pang of regret. 

Animals notice me. Strays stare expectantly and sniff, but I’ve nothing to offer and they soon wander off in search of better company.   Sometimes I see other lost souls, but we shun each other’s presence, discomforted by the reflection of ourselves they provide.  Choosing instead to remain in our own private limbo of non-existence.

By day I’m surrounded by life, the bustle of commerce and recreation.  The buzz of the city.  By night I wander fluorescent lit streets or look out from darkened doorways, avoiding the distant sounds of revelry that slowly die out as the night draws on. 

In the winter I drift inside, the light and the warmth more welcoming than the dark and the biting cold. Around and around I walk, re-tracing my steps in a loop until the stores close. All too soon the lights go out and the shutters come down. I find myself wandering alone in a deserted labyrinth of concrete and metal, awaiting the return of life next morning.

Today was different. Last night was one of the coldest nights in a decade. I got up from the shelter of a doorway and realised that for the first time in an age I didn’t feel cold. Despite the frigid air, I couldn’t see my breath.  It puzzled me, but then I looked down and I understood.

My frozen, lifeless body; my only home for so long, lay still; huddled under an old sleeping bag.  It’s funny, I noticed the small details more than anything; ice crystals in my beard. Cracked lips. The fluorescent shop lights sparkling on my frost encrusted woollen hat. Almost beautiful. Beauty’s where you find it I suppose.  I lingered there, transfixed by the image until long after the bustling signs of life returned to the streets.   

Now I’m wondering what to do. Where to go?  I’m sure it’ll come to me eventually. I just need time to think. Something will crop up. Slowly, leaving behind my empty shell, I join the crowds once more, resuming my daily wandering; a pattern I can’t break.