February 2020

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It doesn't matter what happened and it doesn't matter that I don't remember. They're taking it all away. They're making everything better. The sting of the needle is small, cold, and the lights are fading. "Thank you for your payment. Now installing sanity."

- - - - -

A razor-wire moat of cold rusted ocean and your bitterness, your sickness of soul, your silence still poisoned the ground. But this is only archaeology now and these are only ruins. Atlas no longer stoops nor strains and there is nothing left to uncover.

- - - - -

I'm not in love, but what's the word? Infatuated? Enchanted? Obsessed, even? I would ask you, but it's not practical. "What's it called when you can't stop thinking about someone who doesn't even know you exist?" wouldn't make the greatest first impression.

- - - - -

She had a career plan. One more year as a mule, then a step up to something less risky and better paid. Everyone said you had to convince yourself you weren't doing anything wrong. With every trip, that got easier. It should have bothered her, but it didn't.

- - - - -

Snow falls, flurries of flakes stirred into gentle chaos by the sweet, sharp teeth of a storm. Empty pavement slush sings to my soles, to my soul, to dance in the cold. An electric request and it's yes, yes to flushed cheeks, to warm blood under frozen skin.

- - - - -

I'm a good judge of character, always have been, but it's irrelevant in this job. I've never put a bullet in someone because they were a bad person. I do it because I am. We might recognise our own, but I get paid enough not to look too closely.

- - - - -

Build your empre with bricks of shame and guilt-silenced slavery. Watch your towers reach the sky, but know that when they fall - and they will fall - your name will be dust. Hold your breath and cover your eyes. Your children summon earthquakes.

- - - - -

The rookie was sharp, dangerous. The others put it down to beginner's luck, but it was more than that. This might have been her first time with us, but it was far from her first time ever. She didn't tell anyone though, and we all knew better than to ask.

- - - - -

He called it a code of ethics, as if there was logic to his values. It was more a religious creed, a spiritual calling, a thinly veiled justification. He said, "I'd rather eat people I don't like than animals I've never met."

- - - - -

It's not just desire or need. It's greed and it's endless and I'm not even ashamed of it anymore. It's the race of a heartbeat before the slow and the still. It's the almost satisfaction. It's the promise, the lie, that this will be enough.

- - - - -

It's not the time to question my purpose. Another remote rooftop. Breathe in. Breathe out. And fire. It's not the time to think about why or who. Window shatters. Body falls. It's not a calling. It's just a skill. A job. Pack up. Leave. Go anywhere but home.

- - - - -

He was a soldier like his father. A misplaced sense of duty, a collection of regrets, these things pass down generations. Now the cabin creaks and settles around him, the nightmares come less often and silence rests a cool hand across his forehead.

- - - - -

They call you when they've got a problem and you're the solution. You're the excuse, the convenient distance between what they need and how they get it, but they don't hear the clocks ticking over their own heads. Money and power only buy them so much time.

- - - - -

Cloaked in royal blue and hemmed with the last warm glow of a vanishing sun, evening waits by the horizon. Night drifts in, dark velvet and star-clad, and they whisper secrets behind hands of fog and cloud, sharing promises of coming storms.

- - - - -

No-one took her seriously until the army of rats and cockroaches under her command bridged the gap in the collapsed flyover.

"Who are you?" asked the reporter.

"Vermin," replied the superhero. "It's not the power, but what you do with it, that counts."

- - - - -

I count seconds like miles again and still let myself believe the journey is the destination. Ticking clocks and blurred asphalt feel the same after a while, reminders of the intangible transience of things. You told me to come back. I never left.

- - - - -

Deathly pale with bruises sinking below eyes like stains of early morning across a January moon and winter tree branch fingers with roadkill knuckle scabs. You whisper my name as a burnt offering and I fold prayers in a napkin under the table in reciprocity.

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