Restless

never-sleep-tim-etchells

(Credit: Tim Etchells at timetchells.com)

A veil of mist has been drawn over the city tonight.

Cold droplets settle on my face.

I should go home and sleep.

Neon signs scatter emeralds and rubies on the water.

I wish I could take the gems with me as restless legs carry me over the bridge.

I need sleep.

A murder of crows are emptying trashcans and fighting over the spoils.

They whisper their advice, but I know they don’t mean well.

I should sleep,

But my legs are still restless

And my thoughts won’t leave me alone.

A Sunset

colorful-clouds-sunset-hdwplan.jpg

(Credit: hdwplan.com)

It should be red, she thought, and turned towards the sunset.

But the clouds were lilac with a rosy lining. The sky was light blue then yellow, which turned into a deep orange at the horizon. As a plane drew a pink line across the sky, the blinding sun brought her a surging symphony of fond memories.

Her heart swelling, close to bursting, she closed her eyes and saw on the back of her eyelids a burning circle and the face of someone, whom she would have shared all her sunsets with, if only things had been different.

When the sun was halfway below the horizon, it finally turned red, and in its bloody light she shovelled the last spadeful of dirt onto the grave.

Alone On A Beach

Sharp rocks Rykardo DeviantArt.png

(Credit: Rykardo on DeviantArt)

The wind brought in a fine spray from the sea, which settled on her bare arms and made them sticky and salty. After a long day of beachcombing, she withdrew to a small cave, where she roasted crabs and apples over a fire and licked the salt from her lips as seasoning.

She was cautious when she climbed further inland, and she never went into the water. The rocks were slippery with algae and most of them were sharp enough to cut flesh.

However, she did not resent the traitorous rocks.

They kept the people away.

Layers

peeling_paint_by_darkcrystal1209

(Credit: darkcrystal1209 on DeviantArt)

Scratching at the paint with a red lacquered fingernail, I wonder whether I will ever see the original wood again.

Notwithstanding the flaking, the desk is white all over, and maybe it is even white all the way through. Could it really be that there is no wood, only layer upon thick layer of paint and varnish?

I am determined to find out, even if only a woody skeleton will remain in my study.

With foaming Ajax, I attack with first a sponge, using the rough side, then steel wool. Powder is washed from my hands, but I ignore it even when my nail breaks. Sweat makes mascara run into my eyes, but it is only a small distraction. A small distraction from something that I have wanted to do since forever. Or at least since I gave it my own layer of paint.

I feel that I am getting closer with every layer lost.

Closer to that real, original thing, which must be there.

The carpet soaks in water, paint and make up.

The legs grow thin, as my lipstick smears.

I must be getting there and soon.

The small drawers are already gone.

My hands and knees dissolve.

Is that my hair?

What is left?

I am.

Nothing

 


With help from www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts

Not Forgotten, Just Gone

cat_women_by_heyktupq

(Credit: HeyKtupq on DeviantArt)

We met in the laundrette on Sedgwick Street. I don’t remember how our first conversation began, but I met her there every Thursday for almost a year. She brought a small bag of liquorice, which she shared with me while we watched our clothes tumble, and I brought bottle caps for her, after she told me she collected them.

She always stood up and on the balls of her feet, as if she were ready to run at any time. Once I asked her whether she liked running and she said: ‘I’ve become very good at it.’ and her eyes looked so sad, it made my heart hurt.

There was something feline about her. It was something in the fluid way she moved and how her eyes sometimes followed things, which weren’t there, or maybe I just couldn’t see them.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten her name, it’s just gone. Every time I try to remember it, I get a faint taste of liquorice in my mouth and my head goes empty. Her face has grown blurry too even though it’s only three weeks since I last saw her.

I hope she got away from whoever’s after her. I considered going to the police, but without a name or even a face, what are they supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do?

Storm

sea_wave_storm-wallpaperscraft

(Credit: wallpaperscraft.com)

White horses gallop at the tops of the waves. They surge up, tumble into each other and crash against the rocky shore.

Black branches claw the sky and the sky fights back with pelting hail.

The wind howls a cacophonous symphony with thunder at the bass drum.

Everything stands out clearly in the flashes of lightning:

The chaos

And the beauty.

On a Frozen Beach

bluebird-in-flight

(Credit: forum.americanexpedition.us/eastern-bluebird-facts)

Waves crashed against the frozen beach. It was as if they were intruding on a photograph, trying to change what has already been locked into its final position. The wind sprayed me with salt and my skin tightened. I continued along the beach, looking out at the grey horizon, hands deep in my pockets.

Chirping made me turn my head. Then I stared in wonder. In front of me, a bluebird perched on a flowering plant the size of a five-year-old child. The stem was as thick as my fist and split into several light green branches, which twisted and turned before they ended in star shaped blue flowers with yellow centres. The bluebird kept singing its song from a green spiral with pointed leaves. It sounded distant in my ears, as I rubbed my eyes.

‘It must be some sort of trick,’ I thought. I crept closer and the bluebird hopped back and forth on its perch, but it did not fly away.

‘The plant must be made of plastic,’ I thought, ‘someone put it here in the snow to brighten up the beach.’

But when I came closer, I saw that the snow was melted away around the stem, and the stem continued down into the sand. I could not make sense of it. The plant had not been there on my last walk, and it had been hard frost all month, how could anyone have dug it into the sand? Also, it did not look like plastic. I removed my glove to feel the leaves and noticed that the air was warmer the closer I got to the plant. I moved my hand away and closer again to make sure, and yes, the plant was definitely radiating warmth.

The bluebird chirped weakly at me. Did it have green stripes on its toes?

I considered picking a flower to show to my friends, but I did not want to ruin this for the next person to come along. So I put on my glove with a sigh and continued on my walk, feeling lighter and warmer than I had for a long time. Looking back over my shoulder, I noticed the bluebird was gone.

It must have finally flown away.

A Voice

voice_by_zephy0

(Credit: zephy0 on DeviantArt)

I never understood what she said, but I enjoyed listening to her voice.

Like a live thing, her voice fluttered around the room, bouncing off the windows, or sometimes it settled, tenderly enfolding me in its wings.

When we sat on the sofa, drinking hot cocoa, her voice rose and fell, only stopping when she ate a marshmallow. She never drank the cocoa.

I listened, pushing my marshmallows deeper into the drink and licking my fingers. My cup grew empty as she filled my mind with imagined meanings.

One day, she called me, and the next, her house was empty.

Sometimes I hear her in my dreams; I still don’t understand her words, but when I wake up, I’m bursting with butterflies.

Carnival of Change

march_fire_poi_i_by_mrcbax-deviantart

(Credit: mrcbax on DeviantArt)

‘I just don’t think it’ll work out,’ she said, clutching her cone of cotton candy. ‘Sorry,’ she rose from the red and white striped bench.

‘Oh, I understand,’ said Tom although he did not. ‘So, err… I’ll see you around?’

‘Sure,’ she said, although her eyes and apologetic smile said ‘probably not’, and she disappeared into the crowd.

He watched the rainbow coloured horses bob up and down, while breathing in the popcorn and sugar roasted almonds. Through the music, he head a child screaming something about not wanting to go home, and he thought; ‘why not go to the fire show, now that I’m already here?’

They had roped off an area of the grass where they had put up some tall torches. On the other side of the rope were several rows of chairs. He was the first member of the audience there, so from the middle seat in the front row, he watched the performers fetch buckets of water. One performer caught his eye, as she test spun her poi. She was bald, had a snakebite piercing and a tattoo of a sun on her shoulder. She made him think that maybe it was time for a change. He had been through three relationships with a girl-next-door, maybe he was mean to be with someone more exciting than that. Maybe he was meant to be with someone wild and fiery. The thought grew on him as the seats filled up, and when the sun-tattooed woman spun her fire poi so that it looked like she had flaming butterfly wings, he was sure.

After the performance, he waited for everyone to leave the front row. Then he ducked under the rope. She turned just as he came close, and he took it as a sign, but he was not fast enough to get the first word.

‘You’re not supposed to cross the rope,’ said the woman with the sun tattoo.

‘Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, I know, but I was just thinking, maybe…’

She crossed her arms.

‘Would-you-like-to-get-coffee?’ he stumbled through the words.

She smiled. But it was not an accepting smile, and his heart sank before she began speaking.

‘I don’t think…’ she said.

‘You’re about to tell me you have a boyfriend, aren’t you?’ he said.

‘Girlfriend, actually,’ she said, ‘but thanks for the offer.’

He sighed and wondered why he had not just gone home to bed right after the show.

‘You were the one who watched us set up, right?’ she asked.

‘Yeah,’ he said. In fact, he should never even have gone to the show.

‘Come have a beer with us,’ she said.

‘What?’ He raised his head.

‘With me and the crew,’ she said, ‘you look like you need some people around you.’

As she took his arm and led him to the other performers, he thought that maybe, she really was the change he needed.

Home

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The goats next door

We played tag, running through the faded red labyrinth as often as possible. We threw stones at the dogs when they got too close to the kitchen and splashed in the lake with the horses. There was school of course, but I remember the smell of the goats next door much more clearly than anything they ever tried to teach me.

I vaguely remember someone leaving for university and never coming back. When I see my children dashing past enormous tour busses to get to the now pink labyrinth, I wonder: If I had left, would I be like these tourists now? Going to far away places with strange languages to see other people’s children play. To see other people’s homes and families and eat their food. And what significance would it have, seeing a place I had no connection to, where I had no family, no friends, no memories. Would it even matter to me at all?

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