THE NATURE OF THE NIGHT

It had only been twenty minutes, and already I was sick of being in the car. The heating had taken ages to kick in, so I shivered in the cold and frosty conversation. The argument had begun on the way back to the carpark. It didn’t matter what it was over, it never really did. These miniature versions of global wars, shrunk down to my own proximity; petty power plays and name calling could be over anything. We traveled home in silence and I watched the woods from the window as they slipped into a green blur before me. Within, numerous animals and tiny lives played out in the canvas of trees. Thronged within the forests bulging beauty.

Though it was freezing, the wet rain had begun to pelt the car. Icy splashes attacked the window like a rapping inside my skull. I glanced across to the driver’s seat, watching their movement. The quick flow to turn on the wipers, the gear shift to go slower and the change of the playlist. It all seemed synchronised, as if in some way it had all been planned. The sky above was dark and ominous now, mirroring the mood between us that sped down the road faster than I would care for in the rain.

I took off my shoes, not to annoy them, but because my feet ached. We had been walking most of the day and the confines of my old boots had rubbed and grated on me, reminding me not only that they were old, but also of my lack of outdoorness recently. I hadn’t really been out of the house for weeks, curled up into the fetal position watching old movies of hunched over my laptop. Watching the world always through screens, either on my computer, the television or my phone. I had ridden my day of all of these things once. Switched off my phone and left my computer untouched and ignored as I let my life and world return. But it had only been a passing fancy. The desire to feel productive or recognised as alive, even if only by a machine had overwhelmed and succeeded.

My feet stunk a little, so I kept them on the floor. I would usually rest them on the dashboard or bring them up to the seat. I sometimes sat crossed legged on long journeys. Doing nothing for my blood flow but perhaps self-nursing my own comfort, replaying childhood thoughts of sitting crossed legged on the school floor back in primary school. If I were feeling more inclined to be irritating, I would have put them up on the dashboard, but I couldn’t be bothered. The argument had already sapped most of my energy and inclination, and now I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. Yet I knew already, as they put on the music they knew I didn’t like, that we would have some go through when we go back. The civil remarks asking if we wanted a drink or use the bathroom first would chip away at the snowy exterior that had rose in the time of driving back. Making way for the falling glacier to tumble into the oncoming night.

They checked their phone, reading some message that buzzed through illuminating the car in a moth like glow. I turned away, watching the trees slip into farmer’s fields and small farmhouses off in the distance. I could see some lights over on the hill, a tall house with the brightest glow like a lighthouse in a sea of farmland. The view in the day must be lovely from up there I thought.

The phone was returned to its cradle, the track on the playlist skipped to something more bassly irritating and they reached then for the cigarettes. I held my breath as they puffed out the first exhale which always filled the car unnecessarily, before rolling down the window. The car sped on and the rain flew in from all angles, soaking their shoulder and blowing the smoke further deep into the car and my senses.

I watched as other cars pass by, less frequent than before the further out we came; but still busy for this time of the night. Their lights would glow off in the distance like trapped creatures caught in a static sea. I would let their lights burn into my eyes as they passed, allowing the white haze to flood my brain and x-ray my soul slightly. I could see no taillights however, which I always liked to see, especially in the rain. It made me think of a red eyed beast lurking off on the horizon, threatening to rise up and attack the car. Fleeing something mythical creature gave the drive a much more interesting flare. But no so tonight.

The smoke was irritating me now, but I noticed the cigarette was almost done. Soon to be tossed out into the dark. Used, burned and thrown away and never thought about again. Looked on by anyone who would find that charred thing as an annoyance and sign of the times. Another car zoomed past, washing in the splashy sound of the road that held a lot of water after the sudden downpour.

Sometimes I would imagine leaning over and forcing the steering wheel to jerk to the right, slamming our car into another’s and obliterating our lives forever. Throwing us perhaps through the windshield of crumpling us both into a bloody mess of bone and loss. I knew if we crashed I would never survive, not if I knew that was what fate held in store. My heart wouldn’t be in it to cling on, live through any deliberating injuries or even roadside assistance. I would listen to them try to keep me conscious for a moment, just to see if they really cared, and then slip away into the sweet relief of death.

But I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t force others to be caught up in our crash or our calamity. Our problems were our own, and though the end flickered worryingly close like a butterfly at times; it was our self-made ice-age; and we had no reason to complain of the cold.

Something for the weekend

Looking for something to do this weekend? Don’t forget, Echoes in Space: Cosmically collapsing poetry is out now in eBook format. Click here to get yours today and spend the weekend wrapped in stars and decaying words.

Looking for something to do next weekend? Don’t forget, Echoes in Space: Cosmically collapsing poetry is out now in paperback. Click here to get yours in the next few days and spend the following weekend wrapped in the celestial bodies and wandering words.

(‘Echoes in space’ is available worldwide…follow your regional amazon moon rabbit.)

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Thank you. Here are some freebies:

SHINE

Crushed to Diamond dust.
Inhaled in the right light.
When the moon is bright.
Deep into your vines I travel.
Filling your soul with stars.

 

Kiss me like a stranger

How long had she been driving? The sky above her was threatening the night, while bullet lights of passing cars pierced her eyes. She had left that morning, surprised by so many things that were happening, but no longer surprised by being surprised.

She had packed up things so quickly. Everything swept away with such ease she felt she could be erased from life in a blink of an eye and no-one would notice, no one would care. A part of her doubted she would even go through with it. But down the highway heading out away from town she smiled to herself, a scared secret smile that she was doing the right thing. Not the best thing, this would not make her instantly happy or even make the pain stop. But it was the right thing to do.

She yawned theatrically, and pushed her hair back catching her nail in some of the strands. She opened the car window for the cool air to wake her up a little. Her phone had been switched off since she’d left, she knew there would be endless calls and texts until she was located; talked around and called back. She was happy to silence that. The radio rang out, lifting her spirits as the night closed in on that highway which was getting more isolated. The lights in the distance were getting further apart and she knew she was hitting the ‘Quietlands’, the stretch of road that coursed through a mini desert with nothing of interest on either side of her.

She was getting tired, and she was hot still, even as the day’s heat descended. She felt grubby and sweaty, her back sticking to the seat of the car as she zoomed away from her past. She knew her destination. She had had it planned and etched I her mind for years now. She knew which road to take and how long it would be until she got there, and she planned to drive through the night to make it.  Her eyes were getting heavy though. The lids dropping like a shutter to a store closing for the night.

She took a right turn down a road she knew was wrong almost instantly. The silent highway tarmac gave way to a rough dirt track which snaked around the cactus and mounds of earth. She stopped suddenly, releasing she had gone wrong and put the car in reverse when he spotted some dim lights up ahead. They weren’t moving, and she guessed they were pulled to the side of the road. What a shitty place to break down she thought and put the car into gear and drove slowly up to where the other one was parked.

She pulled alongside the car, which she noticed too was the same model as her own. At least she might be able to help fix it, her own car had given her quite a few problems over the years, and she always carried a spare of everything. The sun had disappeared over the horizon now with the slither of light hanging on to the blue black sky. Though the lights were on, she couldn’t see anyone at first.

“Hello?” She called out, though the open window of her car.

It was then she appeared.

She floated as if on a sea of crimson, her red dress puncturing the sandy track like blood slashed across flesh. She came from the bushes, her hair immaculate with a faraway look in her eye. Jessie was a little taken aback, but she called out again; assuming she had not heard her as she had not replied.

“Hello, do you need some help.”

The woman smiled and carried on over to her car where she knelt on the wound down window.

“Hey. What’s up?” She said, as if meeting on old friend.

Jessie looked at her through the dying light of the day, framed in her car’s window pain. She was everything she had wanted to be once. She looked immaculate, like she was stepping out onto the town. She wore a confidence that married her friendliness well, the two playing out for the audience of anyone.

“Do you need help, is your car broken down?” Jessie asked, smiling encouragingly.

“That piece of shit? It’s old, but it’s working.” The woman replied, giving Jessie the once over.
“Oh, I thought you might be in some sort of trouble?” Jessie asked, making it a question.

“Trouble?” the woman asked curiously, and laughed a little. And with that she turned around and walked back to her car.

Jessie watched her, momentarily unsure of what to do. She then suddenly felt the urge to get out of her own car. She unbuckled her seatbelt and climbed out of her dusty machine which whirled and deflated after the long hot day.

“What’s your name?” The woman asked her, as if beckoning her over. Jessie made her way over to the car, the same colour as her own yet caked in dirt as if it had emerged up out of the sand.

“Jessie, how about you?” She replied. The woman had jumped up onto the bonnet now, sitting upon it like a kid.

“Where you heading?” she replied, avoiding the question. Though Jessie didn’t feel any danger, she didn’t want to tell anyone where she was headed. She knew once the world knew, it would throw up things to pull her back. Back to the life she never had wanted to live from the start.

“A long way away. Listen, if you do need any help, I’m happy to assist.” Jessie said, listening to the desert around them open to the twilight.

“You running away?” She asked suddenly.

“No.” Jessie replied defiantly. She saw something then flash in front of the woman’s eyes. The same defiance that twisted and churned in her own belly. “No. I’m making some changes for the better is all.” She added.

“What’s so bad that you’re leaving behind?” She asked.

“Urm…listen, if you don’t mind. I need to get going. So if you do need any help, please say.” Jessie said, politely but firmly. She was always one to go along with what people said and wanted, but she was indeed trying to make some changes in her life and now was a good time as any.

The woman cast her eyes down to the ground, while she toyed with the sunglasses she had in hand. As if finding what she was looking for there, she looked up at Jessie.

“Is it Jack?” The woman asked suddenly. Flaring her eyes. Jessie glared at her, not sure of what was happening.

“What?” she asked, a slither of understanding falling down from the sky.

“Or is it slowly seeing the dream you dreamt back when you were only twelve, wither and die like everything out here. Cooked and charred in the sun until it blows away into time?” She said.

Jessie stared at her, sensing something familiar. She looked at the car, the licence plate covered up in dust and dirt. She looked quickly into the passenger seat, spotting a duffle bag and vanity case.

Suddenly the woman jumped off of the bonnet and came towards her, grabbing her face and kissing her quickly on the mouth. Jessie couldn’t help it, but she closed her eyes; tasting the watermelon lips and feeling the hazy intensity. She pulled her in close, cocooning her away from the world in a moment where all made sense to her. Her mind flashed back to her old house, the smell of takeaways and the cheap cologne.

They parted as suddenly as they begun, Jessie knew then what she needed to do. She dropped to the floor and grabbed the largest stone she could find. Picking it up, she launched it over and over again into the woman’s skull, battering her down into a scarlet pulp that matched the inappropriate dress she was wearing. She threw the rock off into the buses near to where the other car was parked and then returned to her own. Her hands were shaking, and blood smeared onto the steering wheel as she turned it around and sped off back towards the main road. As she glanced in her rear-view mirror, she noticed the headlights of the other car had faded, snubbed out like the life of the woman who now lay in the dirt, beaten and crumpled and gone from this world.

When Jessie got to the main road, she turned right, accelerating hard into the direction she had been heading before.

After a few miles, the blood on the steering wheel had faded away and her breathing had now returned to normal. She reached over to her own small bag she had on the front seat and took out her lipstick. She smeared the scarlet shade across her lips, puckering in the mirror as she sped off into the night. Determined more than ever to get away, and to get to the place she had planned to in her dreams for years. Not looking back once.

Mountains

Mountains. As far as the eye can see.
Snow-capped pillars reaching to prick God’s finger.
Hue away the mountainside, take the flesh away from the monster.
Are we rocks if we separate, or still part of that hill?
That unmovable Olympus staining my life’s sky.
Mountains shift and quake when you tremble.
Pushing me further, higher and stronger.
Cutting off the air that warms and suffocates these lungs.
This horizon bleeds a new tomorrow.
Sinking into these weary bones of today.
I do not long for flat plains or tempered air.
This challenge of life hits hard where it needs to.
The frigid terrain, freezing the sweat and blood on my fingertips.
Making me feel each breath that squeezes out at altitude.
Forcing me to look back and see how far I’ve come.
Planting flags in view, no longer in quicksand.
Lofty and up high, as my ego sinks below.
Waiting to ring in the new day, thousands of feet above yesterday’s malaise.
Mountains. All around where this eye roams.
Sealing in nothing but change.

Shift kiss

Take your hand off your eyes. See the sky above ignite.
Do not fall down into that soily grave alone.
Holding the hands of no-one.
Let the universe pulse in your veins.
Feel a fresh kiss of heroin as you save a life.
Save your own.
Communicate and reverberate this feeling.
Coursing and freewheeling.
Tumbling off of each kiss you give.
Each smile that slips into the dark.
To light the shadows like roman candles.
Let your galaxy slide into view.
Forget the hue of distrust and knee jerk distaste.
Taste me now. Let me in.
Strip way that cotton shell you’re living in.
Drink. Dive. Repeat.
Do not even give it a name.
Feel the ebb and flow as the old world shatters.
Sink into a sunbeam, radiating a love for everyone.
A neighbour, a lover.
A god in another skin.
Look within.

A Place in the stars

(Not part of, but in conjunction with ‘Echoes in space’)

Lots of people were afraid. Rationale and irrational fears grew like ivy in the cluttered world he lived in. As Jerimiah grew up, he found fear was just a pat of life. His sister had always been afraid of spiders. Snakes too, though spiders were a more every day hazard, bringing out an alarming response from her no matter who was around. He never forgot the day she found one in her bed when she was going to sleep, the screams had echoed down into the street making the dogs in the neighbour’s yard bark. They had shared a bedroom in the old house then, out of necessity more than anything else. It wasn’t until he was five years old that he had a room of his own. Of course, this came with the collapse of his parent’s marriage and he would have traded in a second the large bedroom at his father’s house, for the pokey one he shared with his sister. At least that way they would still be together. But people, like marriages collapse. His sister departing only a year into his larger bedroom life, not from a spider attack, but from the leukaemia that had corroded her from the inside.

Jerimiah was afraid of one thing, and one thing only. He was afraid of time. How it snuck in on him and those he loved. Snatching away those things, and people he held dear. Turning, tumbling and changing his little world that he would want to keep secret and safe under a bell jar. He would look up into the night’s sky and see the stars blinkering above him. Fixed into position like reliable Christmas lights, always there like the season, waiting to bring joy. It wasn’t until he was much older that he learned the true nature of space. The twirling chaos that attacked the cosmos, with everything in flux. But for that six year boy within him still, he would always see safety and security in the stars. His friends that were always there like jewels in black cement.

Jerimiah though was understanding about people’s fears. He understood why his sister had been afraid of spiders. How her mind would run with a thousand possibilities of what could happen, and the deathly mist that surrounded them and the poisonousness possibilities. Much like he understood people’s fear of flying. He had met an old lady on a flight to Rome once before, sitting in the aisle seat next to him. She was so afraid, her white knuckles had gripped onto the armrest for the duration of the flight, her eyes closed as if in silent prayer to keep her aloft, and to land safely in the eternal city. He had wondered what she was so desperate to live for, what in her life was she so afraid of losing. One’s death being usually a horrible climax of pain and distress, but momentary. What was she so afraid of not completing? What had her life really been about?

He had sat there himself on that small plane, thousands of miles above the French Alps, watching the snow-capped peaks shimmering in the sun. If they were to descend; collapse in a fiery demise and be strewn in wreckage across the snowy landscape, what was he missing out on? What in his life was he left to accomplish or leave behind? He would be missed of course. His partner would be distraught, and tears would be shed. But life would go on, time would cover the hurt up in sand and silence. Changing once more the nature of things.

Time. His biggest enemy.

He had landed in Rome safe and sound, the flight not having crashed like many unfortunate others had. He had quit is job that very day, enjoying a nice little holiday there instead of the work he had come there to do.

If he had known he were to die at the age of thirty three, Jerimiah would probably not have done things much different than he had. He would most likely have avoided a lot more arguments. Those stupid back and forths with people over things that mean nothing to wider universe. He knew time was always against him, under his feet like an escalator he couldn’t stop or slow down. In this way, he lived a full life. He understood the preciousness and fragility of life. He squeezed his partner a bit more when they hugged and kissed. He meant it more when he said I love you. Perfection was not to be a part of his existence on earth, yet Jerimiah saw the bigger picture. It was all a blink in the eye of God, and he knew he had no time to waste.

When at thirty three, he reached the top of the escalator, he glanced over the side to see how far he’d come. It all looked so small and crushable from his vantage point. He was alone, but he wasn’t sad. He could see his friends glittering their celestial magic as diamonds across the inky black. Their luminosity radiant and strong like a million burning suns. And he took his place in the stars, content and happy that the clocks had finally stopped ticking.

Alienation of affection

What takes us higher?
High above the world with soundless intentions.
Watching it all from space.
Feeling the pin pricks from a detached state.
What robbed you away?
Spirited into the shadows like a train into a tunnel.
Hearing the echoing of loss follow like a can around my ankle.
A bell around your soul.
Ringing the chorus of a dawn so open and alone.
A rising sun, tinged with the blood of the night.
My compass spin on indecision, magnetised and hypothesised,
Concluding this circumstance beyond such control.
Our strands unwind, and without you I move at random.
Paralysed into a time that the world built up around me.
Gravity gives in, and we lose our grip.
Shutting down the stars and drifting into a sweet disappearance in space.
The loneliest way to die.

Erode the ruin

 

The sea was lapping at her feet now, the cold water slithering underneath her toes as the sand pulled away beneath her as the water receded. The waves were small and calm, placid like the mood she was in. It always calmed her coming here, walking down the perilous path that led from rocky outcrop at the top of the cliff. To her they were cliffs at least. Vast walls of rock keeping the sea and the world at bay. White cliffs that crumbled and creaked like the teeth of a slumbering giant.

She watched the little boat off in the distance, floating over the horizon; bobbing on the waves. Wondering what it would be like to be on that tiny vessel. Off to an unknown destination, casting her troubles and life overboard and setting off to the ends of the earth. Her dress flickered as the breeze blew in from the south, a small bit of spray spat at the bottom of the dress, marking her as an object of the ocean. Marking its territory. But she would not be owned, at least never again. She pulled at the flowers in her hand, twisting out the mauve petals from the peony bunch she loosely held in her hands. She squeezed one of them, bruising the skin and releasing a tiny bit of moisture which escaped into the salty air.

She came here for the silence and the solitude, but today she was haunted by the voices. The ghosts of those she knew that had followed her down the tumbling cliffs. They squawked and chattered, soliciting opinions and throwing comments like pebbles into the sea. She closed her eyes, but the sounds increased, twitterings of things she never asked to hear. She would never truly be alone, though it was the paradox of her desire. A wondrous dream that she chased, yet frightful of ever attaining it. Like chasing rainbows, she always came up empty yet surrounded with the multitude of others. Life dripping over her.

Dropping the flowers into the water, she watched as they descended in slow motion. The little helpers she took earlier we beginning to swim their own synchronised dance in her head now. The flowers separated like divorcing couples, sticking to each other while parts seemed to drift away with the tide. From the shore, she would have received respectful stares from passers by. Considerate looks for a soul caught up in a difficult moment, perhaps saying goodbye to a loved, one or remembering a time or a moment in life that had gone, corroded away into space like the rocks on the cliff. But she wasn’t saying goodbye, or thinking about anyone she loved. She was thinking only about herself, and how to unfix herself from the web she felt caught in.

She lifted her feet out of the sand, kicking off some seaweed which had begun to coil around her leg like a snake from the shallows. She looked back to the shore, the virgin sand glistened back at her, untouched today by those who sought out places to oil and tan themselves in the tangerine sun. She loved this place for that reason, that it was a quiet slither of the world that was her own.

Pulling the plaster off her arm, she folded it twice and popped it into her pocket. She pushed the hair back out of her eyes, securing it behind her ears while she squinted off into the distance. The boat she had seen was much further away now, battling the stronger currents she knew lay towards that area of sea. She looked at her watched, but realised she had taken it off earlier. She had left it on her bedside table. A tiny rebellious act, not to be controlled by time, or space, or matter. She had kept the ring on though, she twisted it now on her finger feeling the cool metal slide back and forth.

Some of the petals licked at her legs now, the approaching tide giving them free movement. One sloshed up her leg, sticking to it like a barnacle on a ship. She folded her arms and began to walk, slowly but determinedly into the sea.

 

Bruises fade to rainbows

She wouldn’t talk about the pain she was in.
The hurt that dwelt beneath her skin.
She didn’t cry, or even murmur.
As he made her flesh, that little bit firmer.
With each punch that found its destination.
A martial disturbance of accustomed agitation.
Bruises showed he really cared.
As he threw her skeleton down the stairs.
The neighbours tuned a blind yet curious eye.
To her haloed face and bloodied thigh.
No-one asked if she needed help.
A shoulder to cry on, or how she felt;
being married to a violent creature.
Who tortured her mind as well as each feature.
She couldn’t escape, or at least she thought.
Which is why she stayed, and perhaps why they fought.
Until one day, when she hit back.
Her own rebellion, when her mind did crack.
She took off her clothes and burnt them there.
Along with his flesh, his eyes and hair.
And painted herself with the most brilliant shades,
to hide the bruises which had yet to fade.
She then went out into the street.
Head held high, no shoes on her feet.
As her house and his corpse burned to an orange glow.
She was now her own liberated rainbow.

You’re my favourite colour

Wrap you words in ribbons and silk.
Collecting the colours to drown in.
Call my name, on the tip of your tongue.
Watch me build up like 1999.
It falls over me like honey.
Like that song from the 60s you twirl around your teeth.
Coming in colours, making me speak in tongues.
Just like a rainbow, bursting through my skin.
Sticking like caramels on the roof of your mouth.
Turning sharply on a slippery history.
Box these feelings, these words to unravel by.
Wrap them in tin foil and bury them deep inside that pot of gold.
Leave all of that upon me, soaked through with sweat and the cure for regret.
Tying my fingers around your hair.
Knotting my heart around soul.
Thanking God that I found you, swimming in the sky.

Shared spheres

On tarnished minds the earth does rest.
A swallow up in the rafters.
Breaking for the dawn.
The bended knee, the broken back.
How much weight is rested on those weary shoulders?
The magic is hidden young. Robbed when you weren’t looking.
Hidden in anniversary cards and chocolate eggs.
Luscious dreams to melt on your tongue.
But you tip this world over, looking for the things you’ve lost.
Things you never even had.
As you fade into the pages of the book of existence.
A noted inscription against your name.
That you were here, that you breathed and worried.
As that gloom may coil around your ankles.
And the sky temporarily goes grey.
This world will still spin on its aching axis.
A jewel shining against the blackness of space’s muddied windowpane.
And you remember, and never forget.
That we all feel the same.

A Bhikku’s Tale

Deep in a forest of Inis Fail, there was a cabin, well hidden, in which there lived a solitary bhikku…

‘Bhikku Reilly of Fararden Wood has defeated the mad god Morpheo’s dragon with the help of Red City’s shaman, Murray. Now they face a much harder task.
In a fight with Cernunnos, Morpheo has broken off a piece antler from the horned god, which gives him immeasurable power over the natural world. Reilly and Murray, together with the Green Man, the Sybarite and the ghost girl, Tracy, must pursue the mad god and stop him from taking over the whole country of Inis Fail.

Their journey takes them to the Otherworld and back again, crossing the paths of many colourful characters and strange creatures.’

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Packed with Irish mythology and great landscapes for you to transverse,  ‘A Bhikku’s tale’ by Dave R. Jordan is worth looking up: Goodreads  & Amazon

Her own universe

Tuesdays were always difficult. A problem day. A nothing day. All the things wrong in her life seemed to have occurred on that second day of the week. Second for her at least, some people she knew classed Sunday as the first day. What did they know she always thought? She could always gauge how one Tuesday was to unfold anyway, the motivation of Monday dripped away by the evening, making way for another mediocre book-end of days that collected on the shelf of her life. But this Tuesday was different. Different in a similar sort of way, like driving down a road that you’ve never been down before, yet knowing there will be a dead end.
The rain had done it’s best to encourage her to stay at home that day, the wind whipping up a sizeable storm outside her windowpane to keep her safely tucked inside watching the world come to a watery end. The promise of a good book by her small cosy fire was not enough of a lure it seemed, to keep her from going over to see her mother. She lived on the other side of town, which in itself was not a large body of houses, you could cross to the other side in about ten minutes by car. However, Jackie didn’t own a car and she didn’t drive. She was much too anxious to be let loose in a world where maniacs were given licenses to speed along invisible racetracks.

So that day, the Tuesday day; she braved the weather and made her way to her mother’s house. She was prepared for the storm, and had dispensed on the cumbersome umbrella that would no doubt pick her up and whisk her away to Oz. Instead, she was bundled up so tight and so well she looked like a yeti wading through the small streets, caring not to the cars that splashed by her on their own personal adventures.

She’d had the ominous feeling since breakfast, that something was out of sync that day. The weather was the first warning, the second being her hands which had been shaking since she had tried to spoon the cornflakes into her mouth for breakfast. The tiny pieces of cereal had fallen all around her bowl like tiny bits of cardboard on a craft mat. She’d taken a pill and all had seemed fine, though she couldn’t shake the feeling. It stuck to her like the film of milk left on an emptied glass.

She thought more of it now, watching a black cat dart out from under someone’s parked car on the side of the street. Unaccustomed to being out in the wet weather, it glared at her as it made its way to the safety of a porch of the house she passed. The feeling was itching away at her insides now, and she quickened the pace towards her mother’s house.

“Mum, it’s me” She called into the small little cottage. Her mother never locked her doors, refusing to believe she was living in the 21st century, still half expecting friendly neighbours to pop in to see how she was doing and borrow sugar. She closed the door and locked it firmly behind. “Mum?”. But there was no reply. The house wasn’t quiet though. It groaned and shunted in the storm, and in the rooms away some pipes gurgled into their own orchestral concert. She took off her jacket, hanging it up on the coat hook by the front door. She passed by the picture of her father, nestled into a neatly polished silver frame, greeting anyone who entered her mother’s kingdom with a smile and a look of knowing.

At her feet she felt Apollo brush past her, gliding through the hallway like a streak of fur. Her mother had had her since she was a kitten, given to her by one of the ladies she played bingo with down at the village hall. She’d always said she was more of dog person, but she secretly, Jackie suspected, adored that cat; who took great pride of place throughout her mother’s well organised life. Apollo meowed noisily and scuttled off towards the conservatory.

“Mum, you about?” she called out again. Holding back the alarm now that had convened on her feeling of ill and dreed since the morning. She followed the cat to the back of the house, the rain thundering hard down onto the conservatory roof, tining and thundering through the back room.

There she saw her mother, slumped on the side of her high backed chair. A stranger would have guessed she was sleeping, but Jackie knew her better than that, and though she couldn’t help it, she hung back for a moment, bracing her emotions for the tidal of grieve that was to come.

There was a slow rumble of thunder coming from outside, the ferociousness of the storm was waiting in the wings still, about to set forth it’s lasered dance of lightning and noise. She brushed the loose hair that had fallen over her mother’s face, the greying sight of age that hung loose and lifeless. Her eyes were closed she noticed, and a huge part of her was relieved to think that she had felt no pain.

She was sat in the centre of the conservatory just by her huge astromic telescope that she had bought herself a few years ago. Anyone who came to the house always thought it was decorative. The type of thing high end department stores sell for obscure aesthetics to those with more taste than knowledgeable inclination. One look around to spot the kitschy frog ornaments and dusty fake flowers would be enough to tell you it wasn’t one of those. This was an actual telescope, and her mother simply adored star gazing. She would sit out here, and sometimes in the garden on the warmer nights, and gaze up into the heavens. She knew all of the constellations of course, and would set Jackie’s niece Angela on her lap when she came over and try to find the planets for her, even in the day.

Her mother sat there now, an empty shell in that high back chair, her hand on her notepad with some scribblings of her night’s recent gazing. Apollo jumped up and sat on her lap, wafting the smell of her perfume up into Jackie’s nostrils, flaring up memories and loss. She cried there then, for about twenty minutes, her hand in her mother’s as she said her goodbyes. She wondered what to do after, going over to her mother’s phone in the kitchen to ring her brother to tell him what had happened. Seeing in her mind’s eye the next 24hrs unfolding in a terrible depressive snapshot of time.

She put the phone back in its cradle and instead went to the kettle and made herself a cup of tea. She sat with her mother for the rest of the day, until the sun slipped out of the sky and darkness descended. The storm had long ago blown itself into oblivion, making way for the tranquil stillness that comes after a hurricane. Jackie had done the same, allowing the moments and thoughts of despair to be swept away in the stormy waters.

She looked up through the telescope to see the stars dancing above in their diamond beauty, and then she got to work.

She reached up through the telescope and grabbed the black duvet of space. Some stardust sprinkled her hands like glitter off a birthday card. She heaved and pulled and dragged the galaxy down to earth where she and her mother sat in that conservatory on that infamous Tuesday. She tugged and dragged, scaring poor Apollo with her grunts and sighs, who dived behind her mother’s cardigan which she had wrapped around her body, stiffening slowly as she slipped into rigor mortis. When she had what she needed, she drew it around her mother, blanketing her in the sea of stars. The ones she had longed for all her life. Wrapping her tightly like a swaddled child, in a stars and space. Keeping her safe forever in the place she loved.

A linguistic form that can meaningfully be spoken in isolation

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The Ends of her world

She tried to save him on that day.
That day, when the coffee stained sky folded.
She reached out in her own way.
Only for her hands to turn to stone.
And her mind to dust.
A cruel trick of fate positioned her.
To watch his demise from such a vantage point of safety.
Silenced in an eternal knowing.
While a tempest raged in her eyes and mind.
So she threw it all back in time.
Crouched under her bed until the voices left her.
The thuds on the door and within her heart.
While the vines creeped up around her veins,
she erased all that she knew.
At least she tried to.
And she disappeared into the rains that came after.
Leaving no trail in her wake.
Chasing dragons by the flooded lagoon.