The Frankensteins

Meredith sat in her rocking chair by the fire, without looking up from her knitting she said, ‘I wish you’d stop rolling your eyes at me!’

‘Well if you would talk sense I wouldn’t need to’ Alfie remarked.

Stopping her knitting for a second she reached under the chair and pulled out one of his eyes, ‘I’m tired of finding them all over our wonderful house!’

‘I’ve been looking for that eye!’ he replied.

‘Well if you’d mind them better you wouldn’t lose them would you?’ she lifted her head toward the direction Alfie’s voice was coming from, her eye sockets empty.

Patting her knitting on her knee she began, ‘now then, when are we going to the body shop, like we said we would?’

‘I’m waiting for you to go now! I’m all ready!’ Alfie said dripping with impatience.

‘I wish you’d calm yourself down!’

‘Wish you’d bloody hurry up! Now come on! Chop, chop!’ He clapped his hands together and turned to the mirror over the mantelpiece. Pulling some fluff from the eyeball Meredith had previously found under her chair he plopped it in his right socket.

‘You’re going with odd eyes in aren’t you?’

‘I might be!’ Alfie said.

‘It’s always odd eyes and odd socks with you!’

The body shop had a sale on everything, a sign in front of a shelf full of boots and shoes read, ‘buy a pair of boots and get one soul free.’

‘Look, Mer!’ Alfie lit up like a child in a sweet shop, ‘they have buy one get one free on all colours of eyes!’

‘You’ve enough eyes at home!’ Meredith scowled and plopped two golden eyes in her sockets from her handbag, then took out a pair of big jam jar like glasses. The glasses enlarged her golden eyes as she bent down and looked towards the shoes and boots.

‘I could do with some new boots!’ Meredith started, turning to a woman who worked in the shop, ‘do we know whose soul we’ll get?’

The woman shook her head, ‘No, you get whatever soul comes with the boots.’

‘That’s a shame’ Meredith tutted to herself, ‘What do you think, Alfred?’

‘I think you need to stop calling me Alfred in public! You know I don’t like it!’

‘No about the boots!’ Meredith said ignoring his plea.

‘You have a right boot at home, get a left one.’

‘But if I only buy one boot, I shall not get the soul!’

‘You’ve got your own!’ Alfie laughed.

‘I like to wear someone else’s essence every now and then!’

‘You know they’re not anyone else’s soul right, Mer? They’re manufactured!’

‘Well, anyway,’ Meredith bunched up her hair, ‘I like to wear the essence of another soul every now and then!’

‘Just get the right one. It’s not like you can choose what soul you get! What if you get a piss poor one, full of vulgar language?

‘I suppose you’re right, Alfred.’

‘Pardon me,’ Alfie started with a big grin, ‘I’m…I’m right for once? Well, that’s a bloody first!’

‘You won’t be right for long, carry on with that attitude!’ She said slapping with him her handbag.

Some teenagers were prowling outside the shop like a pride of young lions.

‘Hey,’ one of the lads hollered, ‘Look ‘ere we got some Frankies!’

The other kids laughed.

Alfie sighed and muttered under his breath, ‘like a pack of hyenas, they are!’

‘Come on Alfred, we’re going home!’ Meredith pulled at his arm, going pale all over, stumbling and mumbling as she put her glasses back in her bag, ‘I don’t want to see such folly!’ She proclaimed dramatically and took her eyeballs out.

‘Ignore them!’ Alfie told her, his eyes having caught a top-shelf he could just about reach, ‘They’ve got some top of the line penises on sale!’

‘Yes, well,’ Meredith said as she fiddled about blindly trying to fasten up her handbag, ‘I’ve got a bog-standard vagina so you don’t need one of them fancy things!’

Hurriedly she shrugged her way out of the shop

‘Fuckin’ Frankies! Rich cunts!’

‘If we were Frankies me nanna would be alive!’ one of the teens shouted.

‘yea! And me sister is on a waiting list for 100 years on the NHS,  She won’t even live that fucking long! meanwhile you Frankies just go to the fucking body shop! Fucking rich bastards!’

‘FRANNNKIIIIIEEES’ they all shouted.

Alfie followed swiftly behind Meredith, overtaking her, his face red with rage till Meredith suddenly stopped and cried, ‘They’ve taken my bag! And snatched off with my arm too!’

Alfie spun on his heels, ‘Come here you little thieving rats!’ his eyes bulged out of his head, ‘Get back here you little rats,’ he repeated.

But the kids were too fast as they emptied her handbag leaving a trail behind them.

Alfie took off his left arm and threw it at them.

‘That’s an assault that!’ one of the kids yelled.

‘I’ve got a right to bear arms when you’ve stolen our property!’

The kids laughed and dropped her handbag along with Meredith’s right arm.

‘Stolen property?’ one of the older kids couldn’t resist shouting back sarcastically before turning a corner, ‘You rich cunts own everything!’ he could be heard shouting as he was lost to their sights.

‘Quick, quick,’ Meredith uttered, ‘collect everything up,’ she blushed a bluey colour that only the living dead could, as people rushed and gave them a wide berth on their way to their many errands.

Neon noose

The neon world shone through the mist, the creatures called ‘humans’ or more scientifically, ‘homo sapiens’ were becoming like the dragonfish of the deep, deep ocean. Though their physical biology refused to become bioluminescent they were compensated for this by their adaptability and creative abilities.
The mist had become an ocean in which they constantly lived and had planet earth been a sentient being it may well have regarded humanity as its greatest mistake.

Their evolution of super adaptability meant they externalised many traits and habits other animals had inbuilt. With delusions of grandeur on a mass scale, the homo sapiens had no regard for animals, despite being one themselves, the animals in their linguistic headspaces had become ‘other,’ and expendable. Some homo sapiens had come to the conclusion they were making too many mistakes, indeed in one cartoon (something they created with an implement known as a pen) that caught my eye the homo sapien had drawn a dinosaur with a meteorite falling from the sky, one dinosaur looked to another and said, ‘We should do something about that,’ and the other said, ‘We can’t, it’ll hurt the economy.’ This cartoon was supposed to be something called comedy.
The laughing matter is that the cartoon was pointing out a real phenomenon. To the homo sapiens, the ‘economy’ was more important than saving their lives. And I have wondered ever since what sort of diety this ‘economy’ must have been to them that they were willing to sacrifice their lives for it. They worshipped this God called ‘economy’ and the thought of hurting this God was baulked at more than their own demise. Perhaps they believed in some kind of afterlife. They appeared trapped in a hell of their own making, the air was dense with all sorts of stuff they pumped into it daily. But they could not or would not help themselves. I believe they were all (a term they used) addicts.

They had divided such a line between themselves and the expendable others that they ironically othered themselves as a consequence.
They had mind-bending ideas that meant they figured anything ‘man-made’ was not nature, for they were above it or in some minds below it.
But the species were so fractured that although they lived by this principle even many of the homo sapiens who purported to be ‘at one with nature’ would baulk at ‘man-made’ progress and they didn’t see how this was a contradiction.
They figured themselves enlightened and the ones who would take them back to nature and none of them stopped to question, ‘When did we leave?’
Was it when they first harnessed electricity? Was it when they first landed a man on the moon?
If it was the earth that had birthed them in the whole scheme of things, then ‘man made’ need not be excluded from being called natural.
After all, it was their evolved capabilities that naturally gave them these abilities.

Homo sapiens by my alien (alien to them) observations, were addicts who were so out of fear of death.

If Homo sapiens were just mere natural beings then they too would perish, they too came from and were part of the dirt.

The homo sapiens were to the earth what the metallic starlings were to poison-dart trees.

Homo sapiens had the disadvantage that they were harmful to all of the earth, but the supposed advantage was their tendency to be highly adaptable.

But too many chose to ignore the signs, too many chose to ignore the men and women shouting and screaming that the world was on fire.

Because they were addicts.

All for fear of the thing they only brought more of, death.


And now, in their misty neon ghettos, they try to forget their inevitable demise, looking into the halo of a neon noose.

The men who ate themselves

The world was smothered in white, a trees gnarly limbs pointed to the sky in accusation with curled fingers.
‘I can’t breathe out here,’ I reported.
‘Get back!’ Mack’s voice came through the static.
‘I can’t,’ I told him, ‘I can’t,’
‘You’re gonna die out there!’
My footsteps trailed behind me, I wanted so bad to cover each up, cover my tracks, ‘Soldier down,’ I said breathlessly.
‘Flint, If you don’t get back here now I’m gonna kick your fucking arse!’
‘soldier….down…’ I gasped.
‘Flint you fucker! We’re right here! Just walk back. Crawl back. Do anything and get back here, right fucking now! Don’t make me come out there!’
‘Mack, I’ve seen it.’ I fell to my knees, ‘I’ve…’ between each breath I uttered my words through gritted teeth, ‘seen it, Mack,’ a gush of wind blew the snow in circles around me. ‘He ate himself, Mack,’ a tear ran down my cheek, froze solid on its way down.
‘Flint, You cared too much. But it’s over, you need to let go.’
‘I can’t,’ I fell headfirst into the snow-covered ground. ‘I’m so tired Mack, I’m so tired of caring. The anger, the pain…’
‘Flint, if you let go you can get back! Let go!’
‘I can’t Mack. He’s a husk, a ghost. I never believed in ghosts but now I know they’re real.’
‘Right, that’s it!’
‘Don’t come out here!’ I screamed into the static, ‘Don’t come out here!’
Ghosts aren’t what you think they are, they aren’t the spirit of the dead they’re sadder than that. They’re living people who are helpless not because no one can help them, but because they won’t accept the help.
‘He ate himself, Mack,’ I cried into the void.

The snow slushed underneath me, my body leaving a trail covering up the footprints of the man dragging me.
‘You need to get out of his headspace,’ Mack was droning on, ‘he’s got you caged in his head.’ He paused and bent over winded trying to take a breath. ‘It’s an illusion, Flint,’ He coughed, ‘he got into your head and projected his own. you’re in his headspace inside your own headspace. You can let it go.’
I sat up and opened my eyes dazed and confused, he shut the door and switched the oxygen on, sat down next to me to get his breath back.
‘You don’t have to care all the time, Flint.’
But I knew I would. And I knew it would hurt and I was angry he saved my life.

I saw a man eat himself like the way the critters eat my mind. He ate me too, and now the critters in our heads eat us and we eat us and we’re all just consumed.

The Tree Houses

From a distance, it looked like a forest but upon closer inspection, you came to rows and rows of houses that became known as the tree houses not because they were the old traditional treehouses of old, but for their mimicry with their green pointed roofs.

Some people claimed the place is beautiful but I have to politely disagree. Though politeness may get me nowhere when the truth was so ugly.

Perhaps I should have pushed harder, derailed them from their illusions of utopia.

The roofs were plastic green and not a bird was in sight, the water that surrounded these damnable houses did not contain fish. There was no wildlife to be seen, and the doors of the house opened up like the mouths of monsters consuming all tenants who moved into them.

Many a house was haunted, not with the imagined ghosts but with the debris of collected psyches. The human form of the tenants may have left the houses but they were never the same, the houses had consumed them from within. The houses were tyrants and no one left them upon their own whim, they could only leave when the houses spat them out.

In one such house, an empty chair rocked, animated by a previous tenants anxieties.

Pictures hung in jaunty angles on the walls and the eyes of previous paranoid tenants peered through from behind the frame, though those men had left, their eyes never would.

The stairs creaked as you stumbled up them, or so it seemed. But that creaking sound was not the faux wooden floorboards, it was the sound of a madman. His essence, his humanity had been absorbed into the walls and his many cries and voices spoke for the house.



291 words in 6 minutes

Absence

The night was different shades of black with gold specs, and the moon was a silver goddess shining brightly onto the world when she left.
A fleeting love that died like the wilted roses of winter as snow blinkered all our colours in white.
The train came at 21:05, and that was that gone in a haze she was just a face staring back from a window with a tear writing sadness upon her cheek.
The snow of winter turned grey as it was muddied by the boots of people trudging their days away mindlessly while I noticed every little wish unfulfilled in the stars.
A plane shot through my vision, pointing as if it was going to the moon, a trail behind it that is poison in its own polluting way.
It occurred to me then that life itself was pollution, everything was spinning on this globe, and everything was interacting within it.
Yet we pulled ourselves outside of it with our distractions and words, but I know now it was only ever an illusion.
That we are the earth, as are the birds and the other beasts that share this world.
And the train shook on the tracks, our goodbyes said only in our staring eyes as the train rushed past, and I knew I’d never see her again.
yet she was still the earth as was I, even after the train tracks drew a divide between us
I didn’t yet know if that was comforting or all the more painful.
These goodbyes always feel like the end of the world, still, it turns, but somehow it doesn’t always help to remember that fact.
Our emotions never could stick to the notion of calendars and diary planners sometimes, an anniversary feels too quick in the heart and loss too long in the dark.
Neither of us waved, our eyes blinking through the sadness that words couldn’t express.
My eyes took a picture of her face in the window while it never left; it fades as the days go by, her absence getting more noticeable with every feature lost in the memory.
It seems to me absence is a lot like a cockroach
nothing can kill these beasts

Drew & Drake: An empty bottle full

Water gushed from the tap and into the bottle.
Drews gaze fixed on the steady stream, mind blank.
He awoke from his trance when Drake’s voice hollered from the living room, ‘How much water do ya need!’
Drew blinked and peered into the bottle, astounded by what he found he shouted back, ‘Oh my god, I think this bottle is magic or somethin’

Drake leapt up from the sofa, ‘Ya what?’ he padded into the kitchen, his face scrunched up with scepticism.

‘Look at this!’ Drew shoved the empty bottle in front of Drake’s nose. ‘Look there!’

Drake took the bottle from Drew’s hands and peered in. ‘Ya mean you’ve…’ Drake threw the bottle at the sink and leapt to turn the tap off, ‘Ya mean you’ve wasted all that water for nothin’?’

‘I ‘eld that bottle under that tap! I’m tellin’ ya the bottle never fills up!’

Drake rolled his eyes, picked up the bottle. ‘Ya probably just got a crack ‘ere.’ He said as he turned the bottle in his hands and felt around the plastic for any cracks or holes.
Drew leant on the fridge, arms folded. ‘Go on and try and fillin’ it up!’

‘For fuck sake, Drew! I’m lookin”

‘I’m tellin’ ya it’s fucking magic, Drake!’

Drake trailed his fingers all around the circumference of the bottle feeling and squeezing for any weakness.
Drake shook his head still disbelieving, ‘Ya jus’ t’ out ya head t’ know ‘ow to fill up a bottle!’ he slapped Drew n the back of the head, ‘ya dumb git.’
Rolling his eyes again, he held the bottle under the tap and switched the water on.

A few seconds ticked by, Drew getting angsty on his feet.
A minute ticked by and the water still poured out of the tap, and the bottle remained empty.

‘Wha the actual fuck?’ Drake spat.

‘But look!’ – Drake pointed to the bottom of the sink. – ‘No water is leaking out of the bottle and down into the drain! It makes no sense!’

‘Maybe it’s bigger inside than it is outside?’ Drew offered up, palms out in question.

Drake scoffed. ‘That’s not fucking possible.’ His knuckles turned white as he gripped the tap and turned it off. ‘I gotta call Bill!’
Upon stepping into Drew & Drakes squalid flat, with a smirk on his face, Bill started, ‘Well, well what we got goin’ on with you guys this time, eh?’

‘We got a magic bottle is what we got!’ Drew said.

Drake waved Drew’s words away, ‘It ain’t magic!’

‘So why you got all excited and called me up?’ Bill asked.

‘I want your take on the situation.’ Drake started toward the kitchen, motioning with his head, ‘Come on!’

Bill followed and looked at the plastic bottle, ‘so why is it magic?’

‘It’s a bottle that never fills up!’ Drew said excitedly.

Bill did the same as Drew had done and ran his fingers all around the plastic, looking for any holes or cracks.
Finding no fault, he shrugged his shoulders and turned the tap. ‘Now let’s see,’ he muttered to himself.
The sound of the water gushed between them while a cartoon played out on the TV in the living room. Bill turned the water off, put the bottle down and tilted his head, ‘Well,’ he pursed his lips, ‘I’ll be damned!’

‘See! It doesn’t fill up!’ Drew rocked back on forth on his feet with agitation and excitement.

Bill scratched his head, ‘it makes no sense.’

‘Or it’s bigger on the inside than it is outside!’ Drew repeated

‘That’s impossible!’ Bill baulked

Drake put the kettle on and leant against the kitchen worktop, ‘It’s not the…’ an idea occurred to him as the hum of the kettle resonated in his ears, ‘A watched kettle never boils!’ he beamed suddenly.

‘What?’

‘What?’
Both Drew and Bill said in unison.

‘y’ know that sayin’? The one where if you watch a kettle it never boils.’ Drake skidded toward the sink and placed the bottle on the drain before turning on the tap. ‘Now turn around and don’t look!’ Drake checked that the water was aiming at the right spot to land in the bottle then turned around.
‘Well, that’s one theory out the window!’ Bill said.
All of them stood around the sink, looking down at the bottle.

‘I’d swear I was high If I knew I hadn’t smoked anything t’day!’ Drake remarked.

‘And I never smoke anything and it ain’t filling up for me either!’ Bill added.

Drew asked, ‘So if it’s not a magic bottle, what is it?’

Drake and Bill looked at one another than at Drew.
‘Don’t have a fuckin’ clue!’ Drake shrugged.

Sitting on the couch tired of trying to figure it out the TV kept their attention until adverts interrupted the cartoon.
‘you know what it might be?’ Drake asked casually.

‘Magic?’ Bill asked.

Drew grinned, ‘I knew it!’

‘What if it’s a physical manifestation of a metaphor!’ Drake beamed.

‘A metaphor for what?’ Bill slid to the edge of his seat, his car keys dangling from his fingers.

‘Life,’ Drake replied. No longer beaming with enthusiasm and curiosity, he slumped back on the sofa. ‘Life,’ he repeated through a deflated breath.

‘It’s magic is what it is, and I stick by it!’ Drew sat back and folded his arms.

With a sudden movement, Drake lifted himself off the couch and threw the remote at the TV.
The remote hit the screen and the picture went fuzzy over a perfume advert.

A wish for rugged boots

The sweat beaded down their brows as their bare feet scraped against the pavement, their bindles over their shoulders and a glazed look in their eyes.
“If it isn’t Drew & Drake!” A guy named Billy beamed with a grin, “Fancy seein’, you two here!” Billy looked them up and down and noted their bare dirty feet, “Living on hard times are we?”
Drew wiped at his brow with the back of his hand, “Nah!” Drew scratched his belly under his vest, “We done a good deed, ain’t we, Drake?” he said, nudging his pal.
“We got clothes on our backs,” Drake started, “So we thought we’d give up some of our less necessary items.” Drake grinned, a few teeth missing in his mouth.
Billy laughed, “And shoes ain’t necessary, are they?”
“Look at them apes, them er, chimps. They don’t wear shoes!” Drew said with a smug smile.
“Thee don’t wear pants or vest neither.”
Drew’s brows drew together, his eyes glazed over more so than earlier, “Oh yea!” He exclaimed, “Thanks, man!” Drew slapped Billy on the back in that brotherly fashion men do.
“The point is,” Drake began, “We did a good deed which brings us good karma in the future, you know what I mean?”
Billy shook his head with a chuckle, “You two do make me laugh!”
“It’s good to make people laugh,” Drew nodded his head.
Drake rolled his eyes, “Drew, he aint laughing with us, he’s laughing at us like they always do!”
Drew’s face reddened and screwed into anger, “You what? You laughin’ at us? What you laugin’ at us fer! Yer quite laughable yerself! Dick’ead!”
“I’m not the one walking along the street in the 21st century with bindles strewn across me shoulder, in bare feet cuz I donated the only shoes I had to bloody charity shop! Ha!” “Hey, mate, what good you ever done in your life? Eh? You can laugh, but we’re the guys who have little yet still try to ‘elp where we can. We ‘ave bare feet, and so what about it? It feels quite good actually! Really grounds ya!” Drake said, doing a little tap dance and then lunging forward to show how free his movement was without shoes on, “We got the right t’ bare feet jus’ like them, Americans got their rights to bare arms!” Drake said, humour deep in his a little less glazed over eyes than Drew’s, “And look at you, bet you got them human feet instead of these beasty boys!” Drake karate kicked the air.
“Drake, you’ve got human feet too. He can see you know!”
Drake stopped in his tracks and slapped his pal across the head, “It’s a fucking play on words, dumbo! I got bear feet, ya get it?”
“We both have bare feet!”
“Yes we do, Drew! We have BEAR feet. And we could kick Mr Billy boy here into yesterday with ’em.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t need to kick, the smell’ll do it!” Billy said sarcastically.
“I think wearing shoes makes our feet smell bad, it’s all that sweating around in closed spaces. Bet my feet smell less than…”
“Drake,” Drew pawed at his friend’s elbow trying to pull him to the side.
“WHAT?” Drake roared, “What now.”
“Ah…Ah…I think I left mah soul in mah shoes.”
Billy’s head rolled along with his eyes, “Ya what? Ha! Aren’t shoes meant to have soles!”
“No, ya idiot!” Drake flicked Billy on his forehead, “He’s left his soul in his shoes!” Drake turned to Drew, “What ya leave ya soul there fer! Ya bleeding nutjob!”
“Aye, aye!” A voice hollered from across the road, “What you three lads up to? Hope you’re not causing trouble,” he beamed as he crossed the road.
“Alex,” Drew said dully.
“Alright, Drew! So what you all up to?”
“We’re off to get Drews Soul back from the charity shop. Ha!” Billy told him.
“Oh no,” Alex shook his head, “You’ve not sold your soul to charity ‘ave ya?”
“I didn’t mean to! But I left it in mah shoes!” Drew whined.
“What shoe did ya leave it in?” Alex asked jutting his chin.
“Me right shoe.”
Alex scratched at his stubble, “Ah. Can’t ‘ave been yours then!”
“What can’t ‘ave been?” Drake asked curiosity piqued.
“I just saw a shoe walking down that ginnel near the chippy, ya know where ah mean?”
“Oh aye,” Drake stroked his beard.
“What colour was it?” Drew asked.
“Brown. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be your shoe mate. It was one of them oxford shoes. Ya know, all rich and posh like. Wingtips an’ all.”
“I seen a homeless man wearing wingtip oxfords. At least ah think he were homeless. He had odd socks on!” Billy added.
“Nah. He ain’t homeless! I know who ya mean, but he ain’t homeless. But he ain’t rich neither.” Turning to Drew, “What colour were ya shoes?”
“Black.”
Alex’s jaw dropped, “Oh no! See if I were to leave my soul in a shoe, I’d make sure it was brown or a trainer or somethin’ ya know? But never a black one! I’d never leave my soul in a black shoe!”
“What does the…” Billy shook his head not believing he was about to entertain the question, “What does the colour of the shoe have to do with leaving ya fuckin’ soul in it?”
“Billy,” Alex held up the palms of his hands as if in surrender, “Billy, mate. Calm down! I’m just sayin’ if I left me soul in a shoe I’d want to leave it in a brown one. Hell, I wouldn’t mind leaving it in a wing tipped oxford shoe, as long as it’s brown.”
“You lot are out of your minds!”
“I do like brown shoes,” Drew said aloud absentmindedly.
“I saw a pair of boots walking down the cobbled street at the back of the bakers, the owner must’ve had a split soul or somethin’ to have two souls in both boots.”
“I wish I’d left my soul in a pair of rugged boots.” Drew intoned sadly, “But instead I left my soul in me right shoe and it was black an all!”
“I’d get to that charity shop quick sharpish,” Alex clapped his hands together to emphasise his point. Turning to Billy with a grin, “What kinda shoe would you leave your soul in?”
“Souls don’t exist chickenshit.”
“Course they do! How else did those shoes I’ve seen walking about come to life?”
“Cause you’re fucking high or mental or both!” Billy scoffed.
“Maybe they’re just trying to find their socks,” Drew thought aloud.
Drake and Alex looked at Drew as if he’s just said the most genius thing they’d ever heard, “Ya might be onto something!”
“Ya know what,” Alex started excitedly, “Ya might have left ya soul in your sock but thought ya left it in ya shoe.”
“Well why don’t you go back up t’ the charity shop and follow the shoe to the sock! Ha!” Billy roared with laughter.
“That’s a good idea!” Drake replied.
“So those walking shoes didn’t have souls in them? They were just animated to look for socks?” Alex said with disappointment. “I was hoping that I could leave me soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“If ya can leave your soul in a sock, ya can surely leave ya soul in a shoe too?” Drake patted Alex on the back, “Come on mate! Cheer up! Ya can still leave ya soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“Ya know I think I might have left me soul in that black sock I lost!”
“Will ya stop leaving ya soul in black!” Drake muttered.

That night as Drew and Drake muttered their nonsense inside of sleep, and Alex lay on the floor snoring a black sock snaked across the road and a black shoe went chasing after it, and that black shoe gobbled up the sock ferociously, and the only witness to the shoes savage ways was Billy.

Chapter 12: Dragonfish

Dust motes glide in the split streams of light as people raise their arms over their heads in a colourful array of supposed dance moves. The music blasts and you can feel the bass vibrating through your bones.

I don’t know if their smiles are real, I project onto them the fakeness of my own smile.

I find myself walking through the crowds of people aimlessly chasing for those moments with Jasmine. Women are brushing against me and I’m trying to act like it’s the best night of my life, looking around me at all these faces flashing different colours in the lights, and I’m thinking, ‘are you listening to the lyrics?’

“Please tell me why, oh tell me why do we build castles in the sky…”

“Do you ever question your life?” Why yes, yes I do I question it all the time.

I’m drowning and you’re all living in a submarine separate from me. I can’t breathe.

“I think it’s time to talk with you…..Where is the love?”

Can’t you hear the desperation in their voice?  I want to shake these people. They call it trance music, and it seems appropriate because they’re set in a trance dancing, moving their body like hypnotised robots.

“Give me a reason, must be a reason to hold on to what we’ve got,”

I think I’ve seen Jasmine amongst a crowd of colourful dancing people.

What is the reason? Why are we holding on?

I’m spiralling. Going deeper and deeper into the depths of the ocean, I’m dying and the woman I thought was Jasmine was a bearded man with long hair.

The music is too bright to lights to loud. Existential voices sing over beats that propose promise of a good time. My mind can’t get over the contradiction.

Greenlight, arms raised, purple, pose, red, pout those lips and move that butt. Do the robot. “I don’t wanna say I’m sorry, because I know there’s nothing wrong,” But there is! Everything is wrong!

“Hold me in your arms, cause I need you so.”

I rush out of the club and throw up in a side street. I can still hear the thump of every beat inside the building, feel it shaking my bones.

“Don’t be afraid, there’s no need to worry…”

I go to a nearby carpark and climb till I reach the top floor. The music is blasting from across the road, the neon lights shining on the night.

I stand on the edge. I hear the beginnings of a song called ‘Children’ from across the road. I know they’re dancing in there like it doesn’t sound sad. It must be me and my perception. No. The world is lost and I’m drowning in an abyss. I stand on the edge. The beat the music has gotten heavier. Like my heart.

That lingering tone behind the beat, behind the melody it reeks of sadness. Or am I just too sad to hear the happiness?

I’m dizzy, I’m tired. I lean forward and open my arms to the wind.

Close my eyes.

This is it.

Blue lights. Heavy heart.

Are those blue lights part of the club?

Sirens reach out like a hand over the music.

My hairs a mess and my palms are wet with sweat.

I feel like I’ve had an electrocution to the head.

“You don’t want to do this, son.” A male voice says behind me.

The music coming from the club speaks for me. But he doesn’t hear it’s sadness, he hears it as people having a good night.

 

3 months out of hospital:

 

I submerge my face under the water and I look up at the ceiling. I hold my breath. I hear her footsteps drawing near; I lift my head out with a gasp.
Jasmine peers around the door, “The film will be starting in 10 minutes!” She tells me before closing the door behind her and sauntering off back to the lounge.

 
I’m trying to learn to be a dragonfish, learning how to be my own source of light.

 

 

 

                  The End 

 

 

Chapter 11: Dragonfish

We walk along the beach like a couple in a rom-com, the backs of our shoes hooked onto our fingers. The sea froths at our feet and the rollercoaster from the amusement park behind us laughs its maniacal laugh as screams of its victims penetrate the wind.
“I don’t think I love you.”
Jasmine steps further into the sea so that the rim of her skirt skims the water, she looks over her shoulder at me but turns away quickly.
The hush of the sea seems to divide us further apart with only the laughing track of the rollercoaster behind. I look over my shoulder to the pier behind me where the lone figure stands watching, waiting with smoke billowing out of his mouth. ”
So,” Her words finally crack through the laughing track, the menacing tone of it seeming to stifle the breeze, “You sure know how to make things awkward,” she laughs trying to make light of the moment.
“It’s true.” I agree.
I wade through the water till I’m next to her, “Love is never enough.”
We walk even further into the sea till it’s up to our knees. The waves lapping around us. It’s hard to tell in the darkness, but I think she’s frowning
“But you just said you don’t love me.”
I look out at ahead of me at the vastness of the sea, “And I’m saying it doesn’t matter because love is never enough anyway.”
I turn to read her shadowed expression again but she’s disappeared. I look to my left and she’s not there either. My light bulb head flashing erratically, “Jasmine?” The rollercoaster laughs at my plight distantly. As a shrill scream calls out from the ride I feel a sudden weight against me and my head goes under the water, “Is this what you want?” Jasmine asks through gritted teeth, her voice sounding far off and away, “Well” She pushes my head down harder. Submerged under the water, salt water getting in my mouth on automation a panic sets in me, I try to push myself up against the resistance. She pulls my head and I spit and cough, “What…” Is all I manage to get out before she’s plunged my head back down, “You want to die?”
I gurgle under the water. All these years of feeling like I’m drowning and I almost laugh as the water takes my breath away. She lifts my head out again, pulls my head toward her and before I can cough and splutter her lips are on my mine further suffocating me. “Of course you don’t love me,” She whispers as she pulls her lips away, “You’d rather die than love someone else.”
I cough and splutter up my lungs violently.
“If I didn’t love you,” the rollercoaster laughs at this exact point and it seems appropriate, “I probably wouldn’t hate you so much.” Her voice catches in her throat.
“I’m sorry,” I splutter.
“I know you need help,” Tears break her voice, “You’re too far gone for me.”
I close my eyes and feel the water against my body, “I’m sorry,” I repeat more clearly as she wades through the water and back to shore.

I watch my trainers float away on the water ahead of me before heading back to the pier. My clothes drenched and my lungs still burning. Couples walking home after an evening out walk hand in hand, turning their heads to look at me the drenched shoeless man walking along the pavements as I head towards gates of the theme park a moody man looking me up and down with a sigh, “Really?” he shakes his head again and tuts as he rips tickets off his booklet and takes my money. My face is flapping in the wind, the clouds above begin to spit as the clown laughs at my decline, my stomach lurching at the pull of gravity my mouth gaping open from the automatic bodily horror and excitement. My heart is racing. The laughter is followed by the whooshing sound and click-clack of the rollercoasters momentum. The laugh starts up again but more maniacally as it twists and spirals and I’m upside down. It probably looks comical, just me on my own hanging upside down suspended, the moon shining down on the world as if nothing is wrong. My heart is pounding not because I’m alive but because I’m dying. I look down at all the dots walking in all directions, humans that look like ants. Apart from it all, watching, trying to be like you but always seeming to fall short somewhere.

Concerts, parties, clubs, I watch you and I can’t connect to it because I’m feeling everything and nothing all at once. A balloon about to burst.

Noticing everything, but noticing everything is as good as noticing nothing.

”I do love you, Jasmine!” I whisper to the air around me as the ride pulls to a stop.

“One more time,” I tell the tickets guy, he shakes his head and tuts which I take to be a signal for no, so it’s with a jolt when I realise he’s let the ride start again.