I can’t get the red stains out of the floor.
They must be from her red wine, but people will likely think someone was murdered here, and how am I going to sell the flat then?
Then there is the carpet. That old mop of black and grey stripes will sent almost anyone running and the rest will be out the door, when they see the cat hair sofa.
No, it is not actually made of cat’s hair; there is cloth under there somewhere. I think.
I should never have told the estate agent that I would sell the place furnished, but I just want to get rid of it all at once.
The oven, which smells burnt from my first cookies,
The memory of the long dark evenings huddled around the radiator,
And her rasping voice telling me of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland or her cats’ adventures in the forest,
And the Earl Grey, too sweet from all the sugar cubes, the oversized cup warming my cold hands.
It is too much,
And it has turned bitter in spite of the sugar,
And I just want to pour it out in the sink.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 19, 2016
(Credit: American Mcgee and Electronic Arts)
I remember through the smoke,
Flames licking up the walls.
The rabbit showed me the way out,
And as I stood there watching the fire
With a group of strangers
And I recognised their voices.
And it was not over when my childhood home was a black ruin.
It was not over when the orphanage swallowed me up.
It was not over when Dr. Deadeyes told me that some memories are not constructive,
And I dissolved into a swarm of blue butterflies.
The screaming will never be done.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 16, 2016
(Credit: Chuchy5 on DeviantArt)
I take a deep breath.
Cinnamon and paprika.
The chicken has probably been marinating since yesterday. Now the hissing fat is dripping into a tray, while the chef yells to her minions about the sauce. I imagine what it must be like to live upstairs in this mansion, not only having a feast for dinner every day, but having people prepare that feast for you. Eating a whole chicken, the cinnamon tickling my nose, the gravy running down my chin. I lick my lips.
The chef’s call pulls me back. I must have leant against the door while I was imagining, because it is wide open now. The chef marches over to me.
‘Oh, it’s you.’ With one hand, she adjusts her apron; the other clutches half a lemon. ‘Look, I don’t have anything for you today.’
I stare at the lemon.
‘I’m sorry,’ she says, ‘but you have to leave.’
I point at the lemon.
‘What?’ she says, ‘I’ve already pressed it.’
I point at the lemon again.
‘Alright,’ she hands me the lemon, ‘but you still have to go.’
I cradle the lemon in my hands as I turn my back. A firm push gets me started and I stagger across the courtyard. Beyond the gate, I sit down by the side of the road with my prize. I hold the lemon above my mouth and press it for all I am worth. The tart drops sting my lips. It is heaven.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 12, 2016
(Credit: Cafer Zorkun, wikiDoc)
I sew clothes from silk scraps and cotton sheets.
The donators think their contributions go to the third world,
But they go to this one,
They go to my three children and me,
After having been through my algae green, foot pedal driven sewing machine.
And I know it’s wrong to lie to them, but ever since I saw the x-ray of Dewey,
Ever since, I saw the thing, which should not be in his chest,
I have seen everything through cloudy glass.
It makes everything
flow together and it
Blots out all the small things like lying
And if I can steal my boy away from death
I don’t care how expensive the treatment is
And I don’t care
Who has to pay for it.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 10, 2016
In a red plaid shirt and green jeans, he walked first one way and then the other. My bushes behind him mimicked him; a mix of green and red blowing first one way and then the other.
He was looking for the house he bought. Everything had been settled over the internet during the last week, he told me. He had been planning to move away from the city for years.
I gave him a lift. I knew the house. It had been empty for a year and a half. When he saw the picture a week ago, it was love at first sight, he said.
‘It’s the kind of place you settle down, you know?’ he said, looking first one way and then the other out of my windows. ‘A place to raise three kids and for them to come home to at Christmas with their girlfriends and boyfriends.’
Later he told me he was single.
I saw him at the shops many times after that, running first one way and then the other. He did a good job of renovating the house, although the façade ended up being both a light lilac and blue and a deep green around the door. He had an extra living room built with a large fireplace and then he had a windmill installed in the garden.
We only have two pubs and one of them is too local for a first date. So I saw him date first one woman, then another. Sometimes several at once. They must have been from the internet, because they were not from around here.
About a month after he had the windmill installed, he asked me out. I said I had enough to do with my dogs and my sheep, I did not need children as well. He told me that he did not mind not having children, and I asked him what the house was for then. His words blew first one way then the other, until I said:
‘No. My new puppies are more decisive than you.’
His face showed first one emotion then another, and he sold the house next week.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 5, 2016
(Credit: Lisa-Of-The-Moon on DeviantArt)
She raises one eyebrow and studies the man on the other side of the table. Is it a test, she wonders. Maybe a trick question? His jaw covered in its nine o’clock shadow is set in a serious expression and his voice when he asked her had been level, but the question itself had seemed so obvious.
‘Nnnooo…’ she sits back in her chair, ‘I do not think that it is all right to lie.’
He sucks at his teeth.
‘In my opinion,’ she continues, ‘one should always tell the truth. Always.’
‘So what you have told me here today…’ he stares her in the face.
‘It’s all true,’ she stares back, ‘every bit of it.’
He pulls a hand through his hair.
‘You don’t believe me?’ she asks.
‘I believe you should be locked away forever for what you did to your family.’ He sighs and gets up, pushing the metal chair away. ‘But after what I’ve heard, they’ll probably just throw you in a loony bin a couple of years.’
‘It was just a couple of pranks,’ she smiles, then giggles at the red memories.
He shakes his head and slams the door to the interrogation room as he leaves.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on October 2, 2016
(Credit: js4853 on DeviantArt)
A skull half covered in sand.
Daffodils bound with a blue ribbon.
Both in front of a beach house.
The waves crash, agitated.
He must have known that daffodils are her favourite flower,
But it did not help him.
The wind picks up, uncovering more bones.
She did not throw him even a single scrap.
And he starved.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on September 28, 2016
Frozen pink bubblegum is clamped unto the wall just inside the door. White crystals surround it. They look like sugar, but she knows better than to lick them; she remembers last winter and a lamppost and a very painful tongue.
There are hooks in the ceiling with some sort of slaughtered animals hanging from them. They do not look like animals anymore. They do not look like anything. Except perhaps the pink on the outside looks like gum and the inside looks like raspberry flavour.
Shivering, she sits on the floor and imagines them to be silent guardians of this cold and silent place. This bubblegum realm coated in sugar. It seems like a nice place to stay for a while. A place where no one will find her.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on September 24, 2016
She never left this place.
These creaking doors and draughty windows, this garden full of old plum trees. The fruit always ended up on the grass.
She had his groceries brought to her, and boards and nails to repair the larger holes in the roof.
She slept in one bedroom and ate in the kitchen. I visited once. In the other bedroom and the living room, the furniture was covered with white sheets and cobwebs.
She lived here for 30 years
Then she passed away.
But she never left.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on September 17, 2016
(Credit: Sonja Krueger)
Her skin burns.
The air ripples over the dried up riverbed.
A deep breath brings rosemary and thyme.
Smoothed rocks dig into her back, but she is completely still.
Above her, several vultures circle.
How long until they land?
How long until it is the bone breaker’s turn?
How long until she will be gone,
Absorbed into this dry oven with tall towers of layered limestone?
The hot air scorches her nose and catches in her throat.
Much, much too long.
Posted by W. R. Woolf on September 14, 2016