An attic cemetery by George Karo

By George Karo

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There were no taxis at Seven Kings Station. She asked the ticket collector the way to Bancroft Gardens. He directed her down the High Street, left down Church Lane, then first on the right. The High Street ran between the railway and the shonnino ,,, news agent, a greengrocer,, and a supermarket with shoppers already queuing at the checkouts. There was one scene so vividly recalled, validated by smell and sonnd arid remembered pain that it was impossible to believe she had imagined. A woman wheeling a baby in a pram down just such a estreet.

Were these the ones over which she had stumbled so desperately? Or was this street, like the terrain each side of the railway, only one more scene from an imagined past? Turning from the High Street into Church Lane was stepping from drab commercial suburbia into leafy privacy and cosy domesticity. The narrow street, its verge Planted with plane trees, curved gently. Perhaps centuries earlier it had indeed been a lane leading to an ancient village church, a building long since demolished or destroyed by bombing in the Second War.

A chubby male hand released the chain, and the woman stood there, dwarfed by her son. He was wearing slacks topped with a singlet. On his feet were red carpet slippers. Perhaps, thought Philippa, he was a bus driver or conductor relaxing on his rest day. It hadn't been a good time to call. She said apologetically, "I'm sorry to trouble you, but I'm trying to trace a Mr. Martin Ducton. He used to live next door. " "Ducton? He's dead, isn't he? Been dead best part of nine years. Died in Wandsworth Prison.

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