They were real to him. Every one of them.
When he slept they knelt by his ear, whispering their wicked delights, lamenting their haunted lives.
They crowded the room, waiting for their time, their chance to speak, to be heard.
When he woke, they appeared before him, always in his bedroom, in his living room, dressed from another life, waiting just for him. Waiting to continue.
When he wrote, they appeared in his dreams, guiding him as their lives fell from their lips in smooth velvet voices.
Their lives, their memories, their existence were as real, as living and breathing and flesh and blood and messy and alive as his existence was.
When he was done, they’d smile and leave the room, out of sight and out of mind, gone but immortalised, leaving room for the next of them to visit.