Interview with Simon Ryan from The Noctuary by Greg Chapman
He couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t help but feel that he was struggling with the compulsion to be somewhere else. He’d been seated and fixating on a notebook atop a lone table when I called to him.
“Mr Ryan?” I said.
Simon flinched and turned to me; his face was stark white against the grey walls of the basement.
“Who are you?” he cried.
“I’m sorry to just come down here, but you didn’t answer the door – I’m here for our interview.”
Simon stared at me for a moment, completely lost. “What interview?”
“The one your agent organised,” I said, checking my notes. “Miss Christina Yates. She arranged for me to talk to you about the biography you’ve been working on?”
Simon nodded in slow realisation. “Yes … Christina.”
“Is this a bad time, Mr Ryan – I can come back.”
“What? No, no – it’s fine,” Simon said. “Please, come and sit down.”
The basement walls loomed over me. “Perhaps we could … go upstairs?”
Simon scanned the room, as if seeing it for the first time. “Uh …” He turned and ran his fingers across the notebook. “I’m not sure …”
“Is that the biography – could I take a look?”
Simon whirled on me; his face contorted in a simmering ferocity. He rose from his chair, a pen clasped in his fist, like a knife.
“No!” he said. “Get out! Can’t you see I’m fucking busy! This is his house – you can’t just walk in here!”
I backed away; the darkness of the room had infected Simon’s eyes. “I’m sorry Mr Ryan – I didn’t mean to impose –“
“Don’t let him catch you in here!” Simon said. “Run – before he finds you!”
My legs complied and I was bounding up the stairs, away from Simon and his decrepit tomb. He was sick or insane – or both. The man was obsessed with something; the way he touched that notebook. It was something personal – a journal, perhaps? Whatever it was and whatever was wrong with Simon Ryan, I wasn’t about to stick around and find out.