July 2019

12 0 0
                                                  

She spoke reverently to the spirits of the cave, precious metal glittering in the walls around her, and promised to keep their secrets.

She had no need of fortune, and no machines held by greedy hands would ever tear into the heart of her mountain. 

- - - - -

There was no sound to draw his drunken gaze from the television as she landed softly in the flowerbed outside and crept away, leaving behind an empty safe, an emptier marriage and a braid of torn bedsheets hanging from an upstairs window. 

- - - - -

We danced all night with captivating suggestions of liberty and hope, but the new morning dropped us into headaches, groping for lost fragments of truth in another litter of false promises.

- - - - -

A lightning strike of eye contact and I froze mid-step, mid-road. The bus came out of nowhere. So did her hand. Twenty years later, we are no longer strangers and my life is still tangled in her fingers.

- - - - -

With a gentle sigh, evening begins to unfurl a blanket of ink and velvet, and night throws diamonds like dice. Shadows stretch and reach for each other's hands, cradling secrets while lovers light fires.

- - - - -

A scar on your neck from an insect sting and one on your chest from a knife. Tan lines from your shirt sleeves and a twitch in your trigger finger, even when you're sleeping.

You wake up and ask what I'm looking at.

Nothing. Everything. You. 

- - - - -

I reach over the side of my tiny rowing boat, fingertips breaching the surface of the deepest part of the loch, and whisper to the dark shadows beneath.

"I won't tell anyone you're here. I just want to see you. I just want to know the stories are true."

- - - - -

Again, I blame a trick of the light because I'm long past clinging to eyelid flutters and almost smiles. They tell me you can hear me, but I'm running out of words. The years are getting heavy and your coma is made of lead, like bullets, like slow poison.

- - - - -

Thunder calls to the fury of waves and lightning splits clouds like rolling bruises, sacrificing their hearts to a frenzied ocean. Boats huddle side by side in the arms of the harbour as the sea thrashes past the walls and grabs for overdue payment.

- - - - -

These cells are the lowest of the low, like their occupants. In the austere tunnel of sweating bricks with stone floors worn smooth by reluctant footsteps, metal bars have been replaced with thick sheets of plastic to better muffle the screams. Welcome home.

- - - - -

Her pieces are not held together by gentle rivers of precious metal. There is no 'more beautiful for having been broken' here. She clings to herself with sharpened teeth and blood dried under her fingernails. More dangerous for having survived.

- - - - -

Always the quiet boy, pale faced and barefoot in the shadows of every snowfall for a hundred years. I lit the fire and left the door unlocked.

Next morning, a breath of ice on the window and 'thank you' smudged by small hands never seen again.

- - - - -

VSS365 | A Microfiction CollectionWhere stories live. Discover now