The Voids

Ryan O’Connor


After a month, I got used to the fact that there was almost no one in the high-rise. I made a covenant with loneliness and became drawn to the voids because they were derelict. I discovered that each one had its own musical composition. Like breath through an instrument, the passage of the wind was altered by what furniture and other remnants were inside each flat. Even wallpaper curling at its edge had an effect. Everything in them combined to produce different notes, tones, and cadences, and I’d move from door to door, listening to them. A multitude of requiems playing simultaneously in a huge, malfunctioning jukebox.

Wandering endlessly throughout the high-rise, I became increasingly fascinated by the voids. They were enigmas, black stars exerting an irresistible force on me. Determined to uncover their secrets, I began to break into them. Once inside I’d look for old messages left by past tenants or hurried dispatches written on the walls by the last occupants during their final days in the high-rise. There were always words left behind. Random inscriptions, notes written somewhere, and no matter how banal or meaningless they seemed, even if it was just a name and a date written in the faintest pencil on the back of a cupboard door, to me these inscriptions had all the substance and magic of love letters or prayers.

The Voids Ryan O’Connor