June Cruelty

Held to the brink, the mouth gapes its film of saliva. There is no more than the gossamer gorge of all those Skittles, crackling up between the teeth. We let go of his neck to see what would happen next. We watched as he scaled the red brick walls. Shouts from a football match. The air aglow with cut grass, laughter, nesting birds. The coming summer.

He got stuck and they watched him for hours from the safety of concrete. They came back after class had finished; no teacher noticed his absence. He was shaking now; it was visible even though he kept his hands stuffed in his pockets. People were crying, Chicken, Chicken, but maybe it wasn’t a game anymore. I told ‘Manda I was going for a walk and she shrugged. She wants in with Liam and won’t leave his side.

Scaling the circumference of a field, the image of that mouth wouldn’t get out my mind. All those teeth! Who knew wee Neil had all those teeth! Pecking like that at the sweets! The stickiness dripping down his chin and all the rainbow colours spilling out, coagulating on the playground. I thought he was going to choke.

The shouts got louder, even though I was now two fields away from the school. Stepped in fucking cow pat. Stopped at a burn to wash my shoes, the patent ones with the gold heart buckle, my favourites. The highness of the shouting modulates, like the tracks we had to listen to in Music Theory to understand what they called octaves and  pitch shifts. Maybe you could say it was a scream. I glanced in the water and saw among the rocks and silt the slow spread of a jellyish blood. A sheep’s? The breeze blew and I opened my mouth for a yawn the shape of a semibreve. There was silence then, a pause.

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompts: iridescence, inconceivable)

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Let’s Spin

Just before the second time they slept together, he thought it was appropriate to switch on the music channels. He literally pulled his hand out her jeans to reach for the remote and she watched him fuck about with the Sky channels.

“Please tell me you’re not looking for KERRANG,” she muttered sarcastically, clawing the bedsheets around her shoulders, suddenly feeling very unsexy.

“Don’t you worry babe,” he replied, “I got it covered.”

He settled for a channel playing Will Smith’s ‘Gettin’ Jiggy wit It’, then resumed foreplay.

“This tune man, it’s such a hook. Real mood spinner, y’know?”

She noticed how his skin smelt like if you cut it open, marijuana resin would come oozing out, along with the blinding reek of cheap aftershave. He was pulling off his t-shirt in rhythm to the beat from the tv and she froze in suspension, listening to the lyrics.

“Come on babe, get jiggy wit it—”

She looked at his face, white as milk, so watery it looked defrosted. His eyes alight with absolutely no irony as he fiddled incompetently with her bra.

The room was illumined by the reflections of those diamonds lights, those shiny outfits, the blue bubble Adidas tracksuit she imagined was still being sold in some obscure, space-themed catalogue.

Hurry up, hurry up, the litany went through her brain. He was really taking his fucking time.

And what was this move? Really?

“Yo, my car-di-o is—” he was whispering it into her ear, biting the lobe. His skin, slippery and gross as those satiny tracksuits. His whole body was polyester, crinkling upon her.

Please don’t finish that line.

“—in-finite!” He declared, in true wigga glory, coming, luckily, right on time.

***

(fff prompt: Will Smith – ‘Gettin jiggy wit it’)

/ dj Misty

Flash Fiction: Now You’re Gone

 

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~ * Source * ~

[This piece was inspired by two workshop prompts: BREAKDOWN and SHARP]

Now You’re Gone

It starts like this: thrum after thrum, the slick build of a Eurodance tempo that seems to shower serotonin on my brain. I always found it heart-breaking, that cute wee detail: I’ve been waiting here by the phone…

It was our favourite song! We shared it with a fondness reserved for the act of splitting an ecstasy tablet; pirouetting our way across the continent, spilling our limbs over a thousand discos in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin. They were even playing this tune in Prague! Being a cultural city doesn’t preclude a penchant for crappy Swedish ~trance lite~ and holy shit did we milk it. The whole summer, Jenny on my shoulders, fist pumping to that tune. So fucking beautiful. Cut me open and I’ll bleed Jagerbombs.

Last stop: Magaluf. End of the trail. Our livers ached and sleep kept dragging us back into absence. On the train, I dreamt of a dark forest where I could drink from a lake of Lucozade. Electrolytes restoring my sanity. I woke up to Jenny pulling on my arm, trying to steal my mp3 player so she could drown out the chants from a carriage of rowdy Geordies.

I’m coming up again in a strip club where girls in wigs are sliding their oiled-up bodies round poles. All those sensuous serpents. Everywhere you look: another girl, a different coloured wig. Jenny finds it hilarious, throws fivers at them as if our precious euro funds were just Monopoly money.

“Show us your vagina!” she shrieks in broken Spanish.

Just when I reach the high point, the DJ cracks out ‘Now You’re Gone’. Jenny is scrabbling for my shoulders but I push her away; this high is entirely mine. I’m deeper in the crowd now and the bass pounds through me like I’m in the belly of a whale.

That’s when it strikes me. That A minor. I never noticed it before, but now it’s an irretrievable spasm of sadness. Cuts me wide open. I’m spilling my guts up, hurling on the dancefloor. Pot noodles shoot from my throat like I’ve been harbouring a nest of worms. Everyone’s shouting and parting, backing away from me. I’m literally owning the dancefloor, triumphant in my puddle of vomit. Now you’re gone……the way that A minor hits you! Belting it out! All this time I thought there was a sharp in there; by god I was wrong!

My brain was wrong. In that moment, seriously wrong.

Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
I realised———-

What is air? Breathing, breathing, a word that means breathing! Are we hitting the breakdown yet, the transcendent solo where he really wrecks those decks? I gasp and a girl shoves me back, the sick still dripping from my teeth. I’m back in that forest. Jenny, help me?

I’m Basshunter. I’ve literally become Basshunter. The sexy Swedish motherfucker, wow. Look how clean and smooth my face is. The stars shout back how cool I am. The dance poles are now trees, taller than lampposts. They’re everywhere. Yep, a fucking forest. What do I do? I’m a Basshunter. What does one do as Basshunter? I guess I should… hunt bass.

Bass is everywhere. Bass is the timbre of the trees breathing, the earth turning, plates shifting. Bass is the sound of bees laughing at wasps dying in saccharine cesspits of jam. Bass is a fish an old man once held up with a knife stuck clean through it. Saltwater, tongue-bitten tears. My mother spitting in her whisky. Jenny with the stereo cranked up in the car. Bass is an instrument banging against my chest. Bass is anchoring the melody, drumming a gong of oil from my heart. Bass is where we end, we start. Jenny? Jenny…?

I end up in the base. They call it a base, but I know it’s a cell. They have taken me; they have based me. Debased me. Everything pounds and it’s so trashy, ecstatic; one day someone will make a PowerPoint out of my misery. Jenny, come back to me? Just one little text? I’ll go crazy…what’s the next line? Now you’re away, without your face…?

[ [ [ Eat it up man, it’s just the bass ] ] ]

/ M. Sledmere (dj misty)

Intervals

This all must follow a pattern, don’t you know?

My eyes follow the Siberia of semibreves, stretching out across eighteen bars at least. I can tell they don’t trust me with this piece.

“Why’ve I only got the long notes?” I go straight to the conductor, holding back my French horn, cradling it defensively against my chest.

“Oh, it’s just the part we need you to play,” he says idly. I’m telling you though, it’s a pattern. First they start ignoring you, stop commenting on your pitch and tuning, your tonguing and rhythm. It’s nice for awhile, not getting the abuse, but soon you find yourself suspicious. The saxes and trumpets are getting hounded for their dodgy rendition of melodies while I’m sitting at the side, content and stupid. No, it’s not right. The pattern’s coming out.

“Do you even want me here at all?” I find myself asking, against my better judgment.

“Oh, it’s not a case of wanting, darling, it’s needing. We absolutely need you to blast out those long clean notes for us.”

“Oh for f—”

“Now now, go do your warm up.” I hate the way he shuts you down like that. I haven’t eaten since breakfast and I feel nauseous; the thought of blowing lungfuls of warm air into that piece of metal doesn’t exactly appeal right now. Everyone around me is getting boisterous, laughing and kidding around, knocking sheets off their music stands, the trombonists playing loud and silly glissandos.

I have a theory that they start like this, then kick you out. When you start to feel like the one sane person, silent and still amongst the hurricane, that’s when you know it’s time to leave. No need for dead weight in a band like this, as he’d say. Everyone must communicate, must work together. The rests and breaks mean something too. It’s probably bullshit.

“You know, it’s a shame you’re standing around doing nothing, cos that French horn looks so damn pretty against your skin when it’s played.” Oh god. I turn, trying to source the location of this sudden bout of shitty banter. Melanie. The flute player, the little elfin embodiment of musical perfection. She once did an impromptu solo from the balcony of Kings Theatre, during a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I heard she lured a guy into bed with renditions of the ‘In Dreams’ melody from Lord of the Rings. I also heard the guy cried afterwards. You can fill in the blanks there.

Talk about blanks. Just look at this bloody part! It’s literally all rests and semibreves, not even a cheeky quaver or two to liven things up a bit.

“What d’you want me to do?” I retort to Melanie, who’s now standing over me, eyeing my sheet music. “I mean, it’s not like a lot of practice is needed or anything. Think I can nail those silences easy enough.”

“Oh, I see.” She brushes her pinkie finger over the staves. “Gosh, he really hates you.”

“Right?”

“Wanna take some time out?” I look at her in earnest.

“I think I’ve got enough time out in this, don’t you think?”

“I meant—”

“Oh I know, come on then.” She leads me down a corridor or two until we’re outside, standing on a wet and windy street. There’s nobody about, it being Thursday evening, long after the closing hour for late night shopping. Musicians work at ungodly times.

To my surprise, she draws a fat joint from her pocket, rolling it round her fingers as if pondering whether or not to light it.

“Oh Melanie,” I say, grinning. She lights it and I watch her cheeks compress to little dimpled hollows as she sucks in the first draw. We pass it round and don’t talk.

“He’s a bastard anyway,” she says, after a pause.

“He means well. Talented guy.”

“I don’t know.” I’m thinking about how interesting her mouth is, the faint pink stain on the end of the spliff. How is it possible for her to play so well when she fills her lungs with this shit? The weed swirls round my empty stomach.

She must’ve heard it rumbling.

“I’ve got an orange,” she says, drawing one out from another pocket. I swear she must’ve been a pilgrim in a past life. Carries her life around with her, as if waiting to arrive somewhere.

I watch her dainty fingers peel the orange. As her nails claw into its skin, a sharp sweet smell lifts my senses. My head is swimming. I can hear every scrape and pull as she pares away the rind. Takes the first piece and pushes it between my lips. Nothing ever tasted so good.

So nothing happened. So we stood around outside the practice hall, finishing the spliff, sharing the orange. I watched her lick the juice from her lips as she watched the passing traffic. The lamplights stretched out into the distance, down the road towards the shop buildings, whose windows were closed up for the night, the bright city sinking into its disappearance. After a while, I felt better. We went back inside. We played through the song, and I guess it went well.

I’m getting better at intervals.

by Maria Sledmere

(Flash fiction February prompts: orange, theory, picture of sheet music).

The Median Days

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On days like today, I watch the rain drops. I remember when I was a kid and I could watch the rain drops all day. They would fall onto the cold white slabs of marble, some splashing back, trickling away.

Bad things are happening to the country, the continent, the globe. My brother says the sun won’t set anymore; the universe does not sleep. Things are turning differently. The universe drifts in-between two chunks of time, big and fat as planets. A new arrangement of seasons: winter tans aglow as shining chestnuts; summer snow as ominous as the bats that once filled our chimney, until father bought the shotgun. There were the blackest howls. The world drifts, never settling. Two fat planets. I don’t understand it.

Even still the rain drops fall. There was a song I used to play on the piano, slow with the intricate left hand melody. It built gradually, lilting and trilling on the higher notes. My right pinkie would pick the sharp like the best sour cherry from a paper bag. I imagine those notes floating on out into an empty room, the vast acoustics of some cathedral. Maybe my parents married here; maybe I will find myself buried, one day, here…

The summer snow is soft and yellow in the lamplight. I watch the shadows grow from the ash trees, still flowering, though barren of their red berries. I miss the rain drops.

Will they return?

I miss the slow rush of sugar in my blood, the afternoons lost to chip van candy. The man would hold his hand out just so, uncurl his fingers to take the coins. Strawberry chews that caught in your teeth, your gums. I slipped them between my lips all through maths and science, indifferent to the numbers being drawn on the blackboard. I suppose I should have learnt more.

But you can’t do much when the world changes. You watch the sky shift in colour, ebb between baby blue and flossy pink, phosphorylate. The cells of my body swell with the sugar. My throat closes up, stuffed. The thin lines around my eyes tighten.

Times like this, all you can do is watch the rain drops. They were letting bombs off on the news, watching them streak in flames through the air. The woman in the suit was laughing, laughing like she’d never before seen anything funny. In her laughter I try to pick out piano notes. Funny how they mix with the trills, though you can never really hear them properly. I could never tell my Bs from my Es, As from my Gs, minors from majors. I was as tone deaf as the last dead flower they folded into the ground.

I watch the rain drops, the summer snow. The world will end in seven days; there will be another time, another universe. I could spew a lifetime of sugar. Still, the white slabs of marble glow. Someone will come for me, alone on the plaza.

by Maria Sledmere

(Flash Fiction February prompts: liminal, journey, Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14th’)

Dream/Memory

Walking down the blackened street,
Hands buried deep inside my coat pockets.
The rain lashes down around me,
Piercing my skin like icicles.
I brush past the distant crowd.
Not physically distant. I still experience
People pushing past me. But I can’t feel it.
I’m not really there. I’m lost in my own thoughts.
I’m lost in my memories. Memories of you.

Are they memories, or are they just dreams?
They seem so vivid to me, crystal clear.
How long has it been since I saw you at that wedding?
With your ebony hair flowing down your back.
That red dress you wore amplifying your beauty.
Your smile sending shivers down my spine,
Making my heart beat frantically against my ribs.

You came up to me and asked me to dance.
My mouth turned into a desert, I was that nervous.
All form of communication failed me.
All I could do was nod meekly and whisper “yes”.
You took my hand in yours and led me to the dance floor.
I put my arm around your slender waist
And you did the same to me.
Then, we started to dance.
We turned. We swayed. We glided;
Slowly at first, and then faster.
Our speed of movement became malleable.
Became one with the wedding band.

As we twirled on that cool summer’s night,
Everything around us became a blur.
We were in our own little bubble.
Our own world which no one could spoil.
Nothing else really mattered anymore.
The bride and groom in a warm embrace.
Their parents exchanging stories and pleasantries.
Children in mini suits running and sliding along the floor.
The gazebo separating us from the stars.
The band playing a heavenly sonata.
My father talking for hours about I-don’t-know-what.
My mother laughing at someone’s bad jokes.
None of that stuff mattered
As I held you in my arms.

The music dropped for a short while
And we gradually came to a standstill.
I gazed into your milk chocolate eyes,
Which emanated a lustrous warmth.
You stroked your hand along my arm,
Your soft skin making hairs stand on end.
I ran my fingers through your velvet curls
And watched them tumble down.
I then caressed your cheeks,
Your eyes drawing me further in.
Then slowly…slowly…
I pressed my lips onto yours.

We kissed for minutes. We kissed for hours.
Time simply had no meaning anymore.
The music rose again to a jaunty tempo,
Its tones soaring to the heavens.
I felt the other guests, the party, the world
Turn round and round and upside down.
Your kiss projected a warmth and a glow
That gently filled my fragile body.
After our lips finally parted,
You wrapped your arms around my shoulders,
As I wrapped mine around yours.
As you buried your head into my shoulder.
We were two lost souls drifting through an ocean
Finally encountering that missing link.
The final piece of an intricate puzzle
That finally made us whole.

But that was so long ago.
The sands of time have ravaged me.
I haven’t seen you for so long,
If indeed I saw you at all.
My mind is such a fragile mess;
I can no longer distinguish fact from fiction.
Will I ever see you again
Will I ever actually meet you?
As the rain seeps through my jacket
And soaks me to the bone.
As the melancholy weighs down on me,
I focus on these mental images.
This memory. This premonition.
And I experience something I haven’t felt in years.

Hope.

By Calum
(Inspired by the Anthony Hopkins Waltz – Music Maestro workshop)

Electric Blue

 

Electric Blue

The bedroom swirls in plumes of dust. This is what she loves: spinning and lifting her skirt, eyes rolling back in mock ecstasy. Nobody has entered her room for a long time. The curtains have been drawn since April. In here, there was no summer.

The music skips, judders between trance and breakbeat. It is maddening, a trip of rhythm, of time signatures. She loves it. She spins and lifts her skirt. 4/4 drums and looping synths. Eyeshadow electric blue meeting the glow coming from the corner, by the bed. She will let no stranger into her bed. The glow is unnatural. The sheets are pristine, though everything else is trash. Broken crockery, smashed glass. She cuts her feet as she twirls and leaps, but feels nothing. She is waiting for the cry on the other side.

Blood spatters everywhere, quietly on the carpet.

She rises for her first laugh. Her makeup so blue, her lips drained translucent. This is her crazed performance. She is like the atoms dancing in space, aligning their beads into exquisite shapes. Her laughter is like the bending of glass, so close it might break. But still, she laughs. Eyes opening and closing, still she laughs. Her body the bending of glass.

Turns to the corner, the emanating glow. Unnatural. The light moves in flickers, as she does. She is like a sprite of glitched pixels. The music is fading, as she does.

A voice comes into focus. Sound waves expand and compress.

There is a screen, and she is dancing. She is dancing for the screen, casting her shadow on the sound beams of a hologram. She flickers. The screen spills out electric blue.

She blinks, she flickers.

–Maria Sledmere

(Flash Fiction February prompts: misaligned, breakthrough, Kate Bush- Running Up That Hill)

Honey and Frost

Honey and Frost
Maria Sledmere

At night I listen to the voices: some
are soft like honey
poured in your ears; others
grasp and grate at you, the raw frosty ones –
full of knowledge beyond you.

The honey ones speak of things I like:
love and music and life.
Oh, she’s married now to that man in the film —

What a cracker of a —
Here’s the latest track from a band called —
You never get the ending because
you’re always listening for the next part.

I love it in the dark, 
the sounds at night;
they are what keeps me awake—
I don’t like to sleep or to dream.
I dream of the cold fingers, coming
out of the darkness all creamy and hungering,
covering the bedclothes with their prints.
They are like frost on my skin
and sometimes in the morning I think I can see their prints
though most likely they have melted.

The raspy voices know all about my dreams of fingers,
but they never let on. They talk about news
and politics to pass the time;
Their words fill the walls like rime.
You can scrape the white crusts off the walls,
feel the cold in the nerves of your fingers.
I had never heard voices like these before;
it was like my dreams had morphed
the voices on the radio.

I have an old purple radio: my Mum
calls it a retro one. It’s purple like a nightshade.
The aerial glints silver
and if you wave it around, the sound will change.
I can warp the voices, stop the words
before they make sense. Make them noise.

All day the songs from the nighttime fill my head.
They are mixed up with the honey voices,
sweetly swaying like my body
tossing around the bed. I write down
what I hear and the notes don’t make sense.
They are nothing but black pinpricks
which escape like moths, taking flight
from the white sheet of my page.

You could not play the same song again that way;
not like you can on the radio.

I think one day I will stop dreaming altogether;
a day without toast and tea, a day without weather.

There will be moths in my room,
caught up, stickily, in the frost. I will pick them out
like dead flowers. They will crush
to dust in my fingers.
The nighttime will come
in silence.

(Prompts: moths, purple, retro)

Strangers of Your Future

IMG Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow
IMG Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow

Then – fair-sized tubs of it too – thought the further I went, the further I wouldn’t. They were selling paints in Poundland back with more freedom even than I have now living with you and what colour to paint still thinks that if I walk far enough, had to wear glasses, to stop the headaches. Years between being twelve and seventeen. The worst appears as a trap. Having a whole day freedom is relative. Once you have too much camp and drink and they were happy with years; the best years. I had friends that a drunken haze. This was back when I sleepless nights and suicidal thoughts. I try to can see every colour. You can see fragments wait for me. It isn’t the same as I’m writing this from the little nook under I came home. He brandished my phone and at old photographs. See, there’s me with the I don’t feel wild. I am unemployed, of joyful. I snap the glowstick between my teeth, from the rave I’ve just been at. I the willow tree by the river. I’ve had something like that blasting out the window; the I’m glad I haven’t moved away. There was give off when your mood fits the dream. Would do what I wanted them to. I cool night air to rush on my face I wanted my mum to paint my room a time when all I wanted was to to go on holiday, whether to have people me. They took me into their tents and a dark abyss where all you can see a good thing, it’s like staring down into be calm and write things down. I look black. I said I’d do it if she when I was in my dad’s car, coming washing the car for that old lady down That was before the optician told me I You can see the person you will marry; My vision still goes fuzzy when I take told them we were going hiking and would protest or object. I told him I didn’t as an adult. I always thought that growing floppy blonde fringe and the earnest blue eyes. Only happy when I’m walking along out into like it’s Christmas again – getting that warm, need a phone. I was part of the the village lights on the journey home that course. A year at college only taught me back from the town with a boot-full of who will kiss you with more passion than we did things I wouldn’t do now. Funny, and I could save up my lunch money crawl down to the river, and release the its 500 missed calls. I wasn’t going to it be love, goals, or suicide? Will there neon fluid into the sparkling stream. If I up meant doing exactly what you want to how it was fun at the time. The glad that most of it is lost in what I didn’t want to do. Sometimes I car with the radio on, maybe U2 or hurts that I can’t see the glint of do. Deciding what to eat for dinner, where would get away. Dad shouted at me everytime life is a spiral towards one goal. Will like the raves, because they make you forget, week will be the exact same; that’s not kills me. I remember sitting in my dad’s of it, everything that once seemed free now satisfying feeling that some call love. But then the road. If you stare into blackness, you piercing it so the liquid oozes out. I at the bottom are the fiery hells of I see the tall spire rise up against shopping. It’s coming back broke and lonely. I and circulate the stench of my dad’s cigarette. I’m looking at the twinkling lights and feeling the walls. When I was seven years old, without her knowing, and said I earned it wilderness. He told me I was wild. Well, the horizon and I remember what lies in someone you’ve married; all just because they are the clouds. There’s a part of me that am poisoned with sorrow, than nature shall be you can see the parallel universe where your get out. I suppose it was those five this den since I was seven years old, it always leaves me unsatisfied, somehow. I am I’ll still get away. It’s the sight of be a future at all? The thing is, and there’s always the happy drugs available. Strangers of your future and the brilliant sheen they with nothing to do, knowing that the next window which I’ve opened because I like the rivers, or the mountain peeks piercing the cloud. Them off and look into the distance. I have a glowstick in my bag, remnant memories now to me are torture. I am paint, mostly imaginary animals or familiar landscapes, but.

(- Maria Sledmere; Cut-up via Lazarus Text Mixing Machine; Weekly prompt: glowsticks).

Yesterday

Sirens fall all around us. This is the place we were when it happened, when it began to happen. Where the roses bloom full under the unnatural moon, and stray dogs sniff about in the shattered concrete. The place where all was once safe and calm. I walk with you, not because you are a stranger but because you are the one that knows me better than I know myself.

As I write this there is a place in the solar system where a planet bursts like sunlight on the old town green, scattering fire and debris for millions and millions of miles; each tiny star of matter expanding outwards, growing huge with weight and heat, its surface coruscating with the white flicker of its infinity. I remember a time when the world was small, and it was an age to walk to the garden wall, where ecosystems flourished under my child’s paws. Snails with shells cracked by the boots of adults, woodlice hiding under bark, worms squirming after the rain. I think this must be the most beautiful world, almost as beautiful as the world of microbes, with their bubbles and tiny fibres swaying as if to some cosmic beat, inaudible to human ears; but pulsing, pulsing beneath the surface. Every particle surrounds me now, leaves me to my own unravelled being, my own devices. There is a story to what has happened. I wish in your pride you might tell me, O Stranger who has come here. What has happened? Why have I happened? The wailing remains in the cries of the night and I am frightened to admit that I am frightened.

I pass the school and then the fire station, where black chars cover the signs of what once might have been called architecture. Or maybe not architecture; maybe just a building with a roof and walls, a place to sleep. I find nourishment nowhere. Every step that I walk wastes my body away; I feel the flesh melt as a person feels their room melt when they fall into sleep. I have forgotten what sleep might be. There is just this darkness, this ever-enduring reality.

You hold me in the dark and for the first time I look to the sky. I am a child again and the vast depths of velvet smother me; I want to touch every diamond that offers me its sparkle; its sparkle growing closer and bigger, but I can’t, I can’t.  The sky holds its sway over me, just as I feel you fall away and crumple like the dust from whence you came. I look to the sky that is not my mother, nor my father; nor the brush of a whisper – these words that I pray. The roar of thunder comes and I know that it is happening; happening with the sad hour that hangs as a snowflake clinging to some precious tree branch that overlooks the edge of the universe… a final crystal cold, a final light with which to play. I close my eyes, I am awake. And this is yesterday.

Prompt: *choose a music lyric*

And I stare at the sky / And it leaves me blind / I close my eyes / And this is yesterday

(Manic Street Preachers, ‘This is Yesterday’)

by Maria Rose Sledmere