A Kingdom Of Stars And Glass

‘I love that you’re concerned for me, Daddy, but I’m a big girl now, and all grown up, so you can stop fussing.’

She is standing resolute and determined, although still protecting her knee. It’s times such as these that all the father in me sees is the child of old. From a time before the pain. She’s come on so well following the crash, not that she had suffered that much physically. Her limp, the result of years of ignoring the conventional wisdom surrounding the favouring of an injured leg, now barely noticeable. My greatest concern had been for her emotional scars, and I had struggled with whether or not to shield her from the memories of the night her mother, Jess, had been snatched from us. I guess I must’ve done something right because Sarah’s grown into the fearless, ambitious woman I see before me.

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The Bitterest Hour

Floor 17. 18. 19.
We ride this elevator every night. Have done for…oh, it’s gotta be about a fortnight, I should think, and it’s always the same; the speed with which the car carries us aloft is startling.

Today, and more so of late, you are fractious. You are crying, and I hug you to my chest so that your face nestles between my cheek and my shoulder. You are trembling and as we make our rapid ascent it’s strange, but if I didn’t know better I would swear that you know what’s going to happen. You know what I’m going to do. Only that’s not possible. This is my dream.

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Kingmaker

As soon as I enter the cramped space I can feel his cold-eyed gaze. I prefer to avoid eye contact but suppose I should confront this situation head-on.

‘My name is King.’ I know I sound pathetic. He continues to stare down at me as I place my blanket, towel and thin slippers – in the neat pile as they were issued – at the foot of the vacant lower bunk.

‘Hey!’ Startled, my head snaps up at his shout and I back away from this huge man who drops to the floor with surprising alacrity, considering his bulk. I watch as he throws my meagre belongings across the cell.

‘Listen, chap, I didn’t…’

‘Din’t what?’ he bellows. ‘Din’t what?’

‘Look. I didn’t know…’ but I allowed my words to peter off.
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A Fighting Chance

I have just killed a child.

I’ve known Freya’s family for eight years and she was the only one unafraid of me. Huh! I guess that explained the look of shock on her face when I attacked. I had no idea it was going to happen. I’d hoped, but never, in all my fantasies, did I think it would happen. My legs are still trembling at the sheer exhilaration of what has just happened, and I feel invigorated. It always feels like this afterwards, and my skin is tingling with excitement as her lifeless eyes stare back at me.

Her duvet is laying on the floor, having been kicked off the bed during her ordeal, and the sweat and blood-stained sheet bears testimony to the struggle. The chemicals I’d injected her with had seized control, and being powerless to prevent what was happening, must have been terrifying for her, but it’s over now. She’ll never feel afraid again.

Fear. That’s what started all this, you see. I did what I did because there was nobody to protect her.
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Sign

The signs said stop. Give way. No way.

I need to leave. Another day

Awaits my eyes, awaits her sighs.

Her heart’s dismay.

I cannot stay.

Blind to my tears. The years of fear

I hide so well ‘neath smiles insincere.

We lie to ourselves. The deceit we ignore.

Her life is a wealth of closed heart: open sores.

So I’ll pass by the door where there once was such love

For my past is a future she does not deserve.

Do I: Don’t I.

Dale packs the chute himself, usually keeping it in sight, except for when he has to piss…again.

‘First time?’ The stranger at the next urinal asks, startling him.

‘No! I’ve pissed loads.’ He replies before returning to the hanger.

His chute’s where he’d left it but he checks the anchor points and flaps to ensure nobody’s interfered with it. After all, a man’s life depends on his chute opening.

At 11000 feet Dale smiles as he tumbles, free falling. The rush is exhilarating. He’s never felt so alive. He’s not wanting it to end, but he knows it will.

There’s Always One

He’d gotten the idea from J K Rowling. He couldn’t remember the dog’s name but it had three heads.

He’d practised on three cuddly toys bought from a charity shop. One head hung at an odd angle but his grandkids had shrieked with glee at his efforts.

He had only dogsat their generally yappy litter for a week but now, confident in his needlecraft, he waits for his daughter and her children to return off holiday, and as he hears the key in the lock, he remembers to lift Sheba’s floppy head. There’s always one, he thinks stifling his giggles.

Synchronicity

Michael has nothing against ants per se but this morning he’d needed to destroy a huge nest in his garden. A kettleful of boiling water had worked great.

Now he’s relaxing on a bench in a crowded park. It’s a beautiful afternoon and nobody pays him any attention. That is until he screams at the first, isolated burning bite, and people see the grass-hidden swarm suddenly surge forwards. Upwards. Climbing over each other. His legs, groin and chest are covered in seconds as the ants race toward Michael’s mouth. Pouring in and down their next bites come as one.

Dipping A Toe In The Water

It was the very thought of seeing her again that had caused the latest in a run of crises. He, of course, hadn’t made the connection. That had been another. One whose wisdom and peace he often ignored and took for ignorance respectively. Only after this other had explained the obvious to him did he feel strong enough to inhabit thoughts of her.

Their last meeting had been as battle-weary acquaintances, her smile worn as a wound. The only blood tie between them being that of hers, spattered across walls and the creased, perpetually reeking shirt the man wore.

Current Affairs

His routine is regular. He’d go out, have a skinful, come home.

ALEXA: Lights. (BRIGHT) ALEXA: Music. (BLARING)

He’d then beat her until she surrendered, It was only after she’d withdrawn, deeper inside than he could ever get, that she was anywhere near being able to take his depraved abuse. Well tonight she would show him.

She sits in the dark, the cable, now pulled from the light, crosses the floor from the socket. She’s stripped the wires, exposing the copper cores, and it’s these she now bites down on as she hears the door slam and his voice.

ALEXA:…