This week has been restful but busy, in that I prioritised having the energy to make the most of the two outings I new I wanted to make this week and other refused everything else. It’s been a good break.
Find following: a creepy little prose piece titled Sideshow Row; a short untitled poem about existing at the limits of tolerance; and a recent street photo that I’m really proud of.
The balloon-pressure inflating my cranium,
Has infected the world with a fuzz-fugue torpor.
Ears half turned off,
Vibrating ribs leave the only tell,
Blue plugs, a bright buffer.
“What’s it going to be then, eh? Left or right?” All paths have an end, and all roads lead somewhere, but the destinations we seek are not always so straightforwardly defined. ‘Left or right’ he asks me, like the choice could be so simple.
“And what if I said: neither?”
“Neither?” He smiles. It’s a crooked, wicked, sharp little thing.
“What if I said, through?” I can’t help but press.
“Well, that’s a whole ‘nother thing then, isn’t it darlin’. Going through.” He crooks a dirt smeared finger at me. “Left or right, now that’s nice and simple. Tells a lot about a fella, which way he’ll go.” He catches my wrist in a deceptively loose grip.
“Oh,” I raise my brows and try not to shudder. I’ve never been good with skin-on-skin contact.
“Yes. Says a lot about you, doll, that you’d think to ask through.” He laughs and it’s a rusty thing, as harsh as his smile. “Come along then, and I’ll take you through.” And without a single second to let me protest, his grip turns into a vice about my wrist and he’s dragging me off through the curtain.
It spits us out into a dimly lit room, thick with smoke from snuffed candles and smouldering incense. He releases my wrists and pats me none-too-gently on the shoulder.
“Remember, he’s never done anything like this before, you have to be nice.” He says it to the shadows and positively cackles as he slips back out through the drapes. The sudden flash of light as they part is nearly blinding. My eyes struggle to adjust to the dark, but through the bright spots and flickering lines clouding my vision I can see a figure in the gloom.
“Treat him kindly. Treat her nicely. Be gentle. Be careful.” A low voice coos. As the shadows become more defined the figure slowly wavers into focus, sprawled out over a fainting couch. The clinking of metal on metal chimes as they shift. “As if I mean to break my toys before I’m done.” Their nails are sharp against my cheek.
“It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.” My hands are streaked with incense soot, my nails bite into the soft underside of a pale wrist. “To be different, to question.” My voice is a guttural burr, I am sure my smile is frightening. “But don’t worry, by the end you won’t feel a thing.”