BY ALEX COCHRANE

One morning a sea fog descended on Brighton Pier, muffling and shrouding it in a luminescence grey. 

I was nagged by a feeling of déjà vu.

Families strolled up and down the pier. The children ate candy floss and rock, teeth scraping and gnawing at pink rock.

Old people sat on the deckchairs looking out at the grey-green dream of the sea. Teenagers flirted with each other in the queues for fish and chips, doughnuts and tea. The air was cozy with aromas of sea, deep frying and vinegar splashed on battered fish. 

The Palace of Fun clattered and jabbered and flashed and exhorted to keep throwing coins down the tube. There were the noises and flashing colours of knock-down tin can stalls, shooting galleries, slot machines and souvenir shops. Walk farther past the bar and restaurant and there were the fairground rides, helter skelters and dodgems.

The feeling of déjà vu changed into something more foreboding. Something was not right. 

Pinkie was sorting out his alibi for murder but the clock had stopped. The fortune teller kept turning-up death on the cards. The families walking the pier were always the same. So were the old people in the deckchairs and the flirting teenagers. The musical strains of the carousel endlessly repeated with the same children going round and round with frozen expressions. 

I looked over the railings. The drowned floated-up from the depths of the sea and drifted through the piles of the pier and onto the beach, unseen by the paddlers on the beach, the world of the living so close-by.

The seagulls wheeled and cried and cried and wheeled.

Then I remembered.

We are the doomed, aware of our eternal time on Brighton Pier only for terrible and mercifully brief moments. I screamed but who would notice amongst the endless screaming from the rides and horror houses of the fairground. 

I screamed from madness and for the oblivion I knew would come soon.

The seagulls wheeled and cried and cried and wheeled.

One morning the sea fog descended on Brighton Pier, shrouding it in a luminescence grey. 

I was nagged by a feeling of déjà vu.

Alex Cochrane lives in Glasgow, Scotland and blogs about exploration, travel, history, historical erotica and other curiosities at https://adcochrane.wordpress.com. He has contributed to Unofficial Britain, Elsewhere Journal and Wordpress Discover. You can also follow Alex on Twitter.