Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner

Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner




Timbuk 2
Liam Wisker

Kim and her parents parked up outside the large tower building that was to be her new home for a year. It looked alright although it definitely didn’t resemble a proper home; it was more of a hotel. The car park was filled with families unloading bits and pieces of all shapes and sizes, televisions, computers, cheap Tesco bedding and big suitcases bursting at the seams. It was quite a strange and daunting sight, all these young people leaving their parents, friends and families and being thrown together in an unusual place in the middle of a big and busy city. For Kim it was the first time she had ever had to prepare herself for the inevitable experience of having to say goodbye to her mum for more than just a night out or a week away.

Kim’s dad reached into the boot of the big Mercedes 4 wheel drive and retrieved a suitcase, “What on earth have you got in here?” he asked.

“That’s all clothes dad. You should know how many I’ve got since you bought them all.”

He slung the case onto the kerb and went back to the boot for her TV.

“I’m gonna go speak to the warden and hopefully get my swipe card and the key to my flat. Its 52, yeah, mum?” Kim asked her mum, having forgotten herself which flat she was moving into.

“Yes its 52. You’re in room D,” her mum said, with a look of doubt on her face, not doubt that she might have forgotten the right number herself but more a doubt in her daughter’s ability to survive all alone in a new city, especially if she couldn’t remember the number of her own flat.

“Now Kim, you remember that the other people in your flat are your new family, so you better at least try to get on with ’em. Just be friendly and don’t get totally pissed up and start shouting at people.” She knew full well what Kim could be like after a heavy night of drinking. Her mum thought it wise to warn her of the social dynamics of living in student halls.

The centre of Bristol was crowded with students and young people grouped together, all tarted up in their best clothes. All around, Kim could see girls dressed in little to nothing, bunched up in groups of about five, with a few lads stumbling behind them. With so many similarly made up groups of young people around, it struck Kim how much it all looked like some big half-naked competition, and each of these small teams were strutting their stuff before the big game. The analogy started to look more and more relevant, as all the little teams seemed to be heading towards exactly the same place, the waterfront. Kim was revisited by the voice of the tour guide who had first introduced her to the waterfront on that blisteringly hot day back in June.

“The history of Bristol is very tainted with stories of slave transportation and boats going back and forth from Africa. A lot of the slaves that came into England to be bought and separated off to work came through here,” she said, as she had pointed at a portside inlet from the windy and wide river Avon.

Kim also remembered their guide describing the busy port and the buyers and traders congregating in the area to swap goods from the Caribbean and all over the world, and how the beautiful water covered stairs, and the fountains she had walked past were all covered by water before the 1930s. The whole area was water, ships and portside activity before then. She thought about how hectic it must have been back then and how crazy it must have looked. It was probably dirty and overrun by rats and disease, not to mention the shackled and unhappy slaves being sold off. Sold off, she thought, possibly by a distant relative of her own. Her granddad was never shy to let her know of her family’s distant roots as exploiters of the slave trade back then. Although it was very different now Kim could see the similarities, especially as the alcohol started to flow and all the scurrying, pissed up students started to resemble dirty rats scrapping and fighting for the best place at the bar or for a mate to take back to its hole.

Kim looked over the same inlet now shrouded in darkness and rain on her first cold late September evening alone in Bristol. She certainly wasn’t alone, alone couldn’t have been further from the truth. She was surrounded by the madness of a big city that was, like many others, dominated by pubs, clubs and restaurants that focused their advertising on the students. Everywhere she looked were signs suggesting very cheap booze and late nights. It was time to get drunk. Just as long as she stayed in the company of her own little team it was inevitable that the night would end with her safely back in her new home, the bleak looking grey and blue tower block that was her student halls.

The seven of them sat down together at a table overlooking the boats and lights of the bridge that crossed the river, the Peros Bridge, a bridge that her granddad had told her was named after a famous slave whose story was one of sadness and torment but also an accomplishment for a slave. The slave Pero Jones had actually managed to gain respect from his owner and earn a life free from violence towards him and his family. They were in a big bar called the Chicago Rock Café, which was on a big run of other bars that were all packed.

“So what do you reckon to the place? Have you been here before?” said one of the guys who had been in the kitchen earlier in the evening, as he sat down next to Kim.

“Yeah it looks great so far, very busy. Can’t really see myself getting much uni work done.”

“I know. Me neither. I can see myself running out of money quickly as well. I’ve already spent 20 quid tonight and we’ve only just come out.” As he said this, Kim thought to herself this guy would definitely be broke very soon if he drinks as much as he already had every night of the week. She realised it was probably best to think positively about all these people since she would be living with them for the next year.

“It’s all so bloody cheap so you just drink more. I like everyone, though, they all seem nice. I haven’t really spoken to Charlotte yet, but everyone else in the flat seems nice.”

“Yeah, it’s weird not knowing anyone. My name’s Andrew by the way. I’m in flat F.”

“Ah, cool. I’m Kim. Mine is D, right next to the kitchen,” said Kim, realising just how important it was to make an effort with everyone, as she could kick a football from the door of her room and it would hit Andrew’s door. She realised at that moment that she was trapped in a new home in which survival would depend on conformity and not individuality.

She stepped slowly down the stairs clinging to the railing for dear life. With each step she saw a splat of red and blue, lights flicking everywhere, sketchy little bits of paper etched into the walls and the smell of beer, piss and jumped up twisted sound systems oozing with burning metal and sweat aromas. The sound of the snare drum thumped firmly in her brain as it was supposed to: kick-back, kick-back. The bottom of the stairs remained out of sight, blocked by the low ceiling. The narrow stairwell resembled that of an old church building, very steep and uneven and constantly threatening to give way and collapse into the building’s foundations. Suddenly the end came into sight and the dim lighting of the club became a target. Thud. The sound of even ground made sense and surely now she was in a safe place. With both arms outstretched Kim stumbled into the open area.      

Looking left and looking right it was noticeable that as a club, Timbuk 2 wasn’t much. Stone walls surrounded a badly lit dance floor, figures slumped over their own shadows creeping up the walls and flirting with the ceiling. Kim clipped open the buttons from her coat and folded it up ready for the cloakroom. Something wasn’t right in this place. She had known that from the first moment she’d seen it. Could it be that she had stepped into a nightmare?

A quick look at her watch gave a small bit of respite for Kim, as she had started to feel a bit shaken by the surroundings. It was only 11.30 and so if it all got a bit too much it wouldn’t be a problem to make a sharp exit and go home. The sign for the cloakroom led her to what was nothing but an unattended desk with a rack behind it. The rack was wooden and rotting. The wall behind it was chipped and broken, as if it had been left unattended for years. There was a bell on the counter, so Kim pressed it down and it rang like a bicycle bell. The sound was almost laughably eclipsed by the bass from the other room. Nothing happened. Kim peered over the desk looking for coats, bags, jumpers or any other sign that it could be a working cloakroom. There on the floor, behind the brown wooden desk, was a rat. Huge and black like a rat from the plague, motionless and unfazed by her watching eye, it stood there slowly swinging its tail. Kim jumped back in shock at the disgusting sight. What could a rat be doing in a nightclub? It wasn’t right. She shook her head in amazement at this and in doing so witnessed the sickening creature run out from behind the desk and along the side of the wall disappearing into the club, running straight into the second room.

Bumbling over the cobbled floor, making her way to the bar, Kim started to feel sick, as if she had eaten something off, maybe a drink from the last place had been spiked. They had warned everyone about this in Welcome week.      

“Oh well, I’m in,” she thought, now nobody can get me. The weather outside held no relevance within this place. It could be sunny, windy, rainy or snowing and it would make no difference down here; nothing could be heard. The bar was crusty and dank; it was wooden like the desk of the cloakroom.

“Alright” said the barman.

“A double Vodka and coke, cheers,” said Kim. The man behind the bar had the eyes of a meerkat, flitting left to right and never relaxing.

“Are you alright? Here’s your drink. You should go find some friends,” the barman said, as he turned to put the money away. He turned back and Kim caught his eyes, they were now bloodshot and distant.

“I saw a rat back there. I know what I saw, so what is it doing in here?” The barman stared back at her through those dead eyes.

“Go enjoy the show, Kim.” Had she heard her name? Having never met him, how was that possible? Of course not. Kim knew that was impossible.

Drink in hand she made her way through the first room, a room that had sounded nothing short of an air raid warning siren ever since she had entered Timbuk 2. Approaching the main room Kim took one more look at her watch. It had just flicked over to midnight, and, as if it had been planned, a sudden flash lit up the place like the flash of a professional cameraman in a studio. Lights glistened over Kim’s eyes every time she blinked, the strobing was almost unbearable and she started to retch. A sickness came over her whole body.                

The main dance floor was flooded in flesh. Crawling to the stairs wasn’t an option as the floor was alive with filth. The old brick walls around didn’t seem as rotten as they had earlier. The jagged edges seemed to blend into the noise. One cracked stone, KUSH, and then another one, TISH. Piece by piece they blended into one another as the deafening music pounded into her brain. Kim looked forward and saw the face of a fellow raver. It was not the haggard gurning features that she had expected but a twisted figure covered in rags. The whole dance floor was starting to look more like a burial ground. From the left came a man who was obviously in agony. His face had been torn apart, leaving only a bloodstained skeleton. To her right, a man who had been knotted to a stick for years reached out towards her, trying to get a grip and pull her into him. The lights blurred as Kim spun round 360 degrees to picture a possible escape. Every inch of every wall was moving; chains rattled everywhere, clinking together unlike anything she had ever heard.

“What the fuck?” Kim screamed, trying to make some sense of it all.

Something had left these creatures incarcerated down here in this secret dungeon to taunt the living, selectively it seemed, picking out the people these long forgotten ghouls thought to be connected to the misery they had once endured. Kim had done nothing herself but she had it in her blood. A long gone relative had used these tragic souls as his own personal source of currency, a once living and breathing monetary unit that had returned with a vengeance.

The screams of 100 men burst out from the walls as the insides of Timbuk 2 shuddered into life. A blistered and bloodstained creature fumbled its way towards her, covered in loose flaps of ski. It was nothing but a skeleton, a moving skeleton. Now very overrun by the shock of this sight and the stench from this mass grave, dungeon, whatever it was, Kim stumbled back and almost completely lost her footing. Unwilling to fall, she kept upright and bolted for the stairs. Running through the hallway and the second room, figures pinned to the walls by metal shackles tried in vain to free themselves and grab her as she ran. Up the main stairs and out into the open, Kim ran home, back to the safety of student halls.

The next day she rang home.

“Mum I’m coming home, now,” Kim said with urgency, unlike her doting mother had ever heard.

Kim’s mum parked up later that day and helped re-stack all the belongings Kim had brought with her back into the car and they drove off. Kim took one look back at the tower block and a feeling of relief came over her.


“Yes love,” said her mum, with a secret sarcasm as if she knew her daughter could never cope by herself.

“I don’t like Bristol. I want to stay inland. Maybe I’ll try Birmingham next year”.

Website maintained by Michelle Bernard - Contact michelle.bernard@anglia.ac.uk - last updated March 9, 2011