This is the first thing I've ever written in the Neverwhere universe. It just sort of popped into my head after a sh...sugary day at university where I got left behind. I've read the book and the graphic novel and loved them both and am currently attempting to source a region 2 DVD. If you feel the need to review, please be kind. While this doesn't contain any of the characters from the book, I wondered what it would be like to be one of the ones, like Anaesthesia, who had a life before and simply fell through the cracks. Hope you like it.
Oddly enough, I fell through the cracks in London Above's facade while I was at university. I wasn't homeless, I wasn't abused and I hadn't run away from home. I'd had a good childhood, a caring family and a sister I didn't fight with. But the city swallowed me up all the same. I guess some of us are just bloody unlucky that way. I used to have a normal, Aboveground name, and a surname, but they're useless down here really. I haven't been called Sue for years now. It used to bother me that I'd had everything and lost it. But you get inured to the loss eventually. I'd tell you how I came to be here, but you'll either forget it instantly or you're one of us and don't care. Screw it, I'll say my piece anyway.
University. So very different from school. So big you can get lost; literally. I did. I'd worked hard to get into the university I wanted to go to, and I got there. I was going to study in the capital; in London. My parents were so proud. Sack it; I was proud. No-one from school had gotten into the same place, I was the only one, lauded by my teachers as a high achiever and a brilliant student. Not that being a brilliant student matters down here. But anyway, I moved into halls, covered the bare pale cream walls of my room with posters of bands and movies and skylines of places I wanted to see and tried to make it feel like a little piece of home. I failed, but so does everyone. I was a long way from home, which was back up in the north, where people think it rains all the time. I went out a few times during fresher's week, tried to get to know people. I met Melvin and Jonny and Kim and Jessie and a hundred other people at least who told me their names and courses, just as I told them mine. And just as they instantly forgot me, I forgot them, consigning them to ringing bells at the back of my mind, to be clutched at should I happen to meet them again later. Not one for getting absolutely hammered, I slipped away from the parties before everyone else got completely smashed because being the only sober one is no fun at all.
Term started. I went to my lectures, spent the requisite hours in the library and joined a few of the sports societies, thinking I'd make some friends there. No such luck for me, I'm afraid. I wasn't too bothered; after working so hard to get there I wanted to make sure I passed every assessment the tutors threw at us so I carried on working as hard as I needed to. Which wasn't particularly hard, but it was enough that people pretty quickly stopped asking if I wanted to go to the pub. I played my sports, but I wasn't picked for a team; instead I was relegated to the category of 'playing-for-fun'. And then it happened. I must admit, I didn't notice straight away. I got up, had breakfast and went to my first lecture of the day. I was only when I asked if anyone was sitting in a spare seat that I twigged something was wrong. The guy I was talking to turned his head but his eyes seemed to slide right off me, like I was something he could only see out of the corner of his eye. Stupidly, I waved my hand in front of his face, but it didn't make any difference. He switched his attention back to the lecturer, who had begun, seemingly not noticing the fact that I was standing in the aisle of the lecture theatre. I sat down; there wasn't really anything else I could do. I thought maybe the guy was ignoring me because he had no idea who I was. I passed it off as rudeness and listened to the lecture. Over the course of the next hour I'd convinced myself I needed to get out more and was imagining everything that had happened. Or rather, everything that hadn't happened. I went to ask the lecturer a question. He didn't know who I was. Despite the fact that I'd asked him questions after every lecture he'd given over the past month. His eyes drifted off me like the boy's had. I went home confused. And on the way I passed a homeless man who watched me walk past, taking in every depressed step I took.
I packed a bag, intending to go home. Socks, trousers, pants, shirts, a thick jumper because home would be getting cold this time of year. Necessities. Toothbrush. That sort of thing. I locked the door of my room and headed out onto the street, walking towards the Underground. Little did I know, Underground was exactly where I was heading. I passed the homeless man again. This time he did not remain silent.
"No-one can see you, eh?" he sniffed. I stopped and stared at him. He continued, "You've seen how their eyes slide off you. You're not one of them anymore. You're lost." Here he sniffed again and raked me from head to toe with a disparaging glance. "Don't look much, but then Upworlders generally don't. Follow me, I'll show you the way in." I followed him dumbly, which was possibly the biggest step I'd taken in my whole life, the best decision I'd ever made and the stupidest thing I've ever done all rolled into one. Who's to say which; I've certainly got no idea despite all the pondering I've done. He led me down a dirty side alley and threw open a manhole cover. Indicating that I should climb down, he gave me one last piece of advice as I descended into the darkness. "Don't get in anyone's way, arm yourself as soon as you can and try not to get yourself killed." The manhole clanged shut and I was in darkness.
So there I was. In London Below. And I'm still here and no closer to getting home. I'm still looking for a way back to the Upside, but I'm making myself a new life down here, just in case I don't find one. So far as I know, I followed the man's advice. I've never been in anyone who's someone's way and I'm still alive thanks to a newly acquired skill with a quarterstaff. You'll find me at the Floating Market. I'm the one with the red and yellow scarf and the green coat selling pretty trinkets and scavenged information. Just ask for Lost.