stream of consciousness

Move

SHOULD I
allow whatever I must give myself to fall in the slowest possible way
to the tiled floor beneath the infinite landscape of the universe
and should I
try to beat the falling objects to the floor only to watch them
shatter completely into nothing?

Because,
And I may have held them five seconds ago,
They were worth something then
but they are worth nothing now. So should I
let them go with unflinching and uncaring eyes
as I, too, lean backwards over the dark blue infinite?

Just like
The curtains above my head when I stand on the far wall
with the floor on my left shoulder,
I fall the wrong way every way completely.
I want to beat what I drop to the tiled floor, and yet I
only feel myself falling upwards.

But here
in this uncertainty that the people with the minds call the universe,
But what I will always continue to know as simply, Nothing,
I doubt it matters which direction things fall in. Because
all of us, whether we have our feet on this blue earth spinning faster than water every second,
or whether we fall the wrong way in this vast Nothing,
None of us move anyway.

I: Human Carriage

Always several unreal things cross my mind when I encounter empty things.
Be them… muraled bottles… or cans…
Theatres… cars… terminals…
Train carriages? Train cars?
We tend to call this type of thing a carriage. Though it is, technically, a car. Not a carriage.
But everyone calls them carriages.
Just makes it… easier. Carriages carry. Except
they don’t when they’re empty.
Do they?

That is what I mean. Unreal things – like the unrealness of the whispers of people who have sat there and who will – cross my mind when I encounter empty things. I have great desires to fill the space.
But that’s another thing, I can fill this space. In this carriage, I can fill it.
Make the collateral whispers into screams as physicalities take form.
And I can serve them their lukewarm waters, point them in the direction of the on-board shoddy bathroom.
While they wait and stew in the Human Carriage.
Because! -you see, you see!
I am the Human Carriage Maestro.
They bow by my hand, holding the unprestigious door open for them.
I guide them with a flourish of gloved fingers to their direction of seat.
And I tell them to have a pleasant trip.

I get the most gruesome duty of all though, too, which is picking up after the people. And that’s less mundane than it sounds, especially once you consider the emptiness. Because the carriage can be full but the emptiness can be more vivid than ever at that point too.
The contrast, see. So difficult to see through. It’s like a fog.
But.
But! Come and view my Human Carriage. Look at the colours if you’d like, the red
handles on the doors. I re-painted them with my own hand the other week.
And the paint’s already flaking.
Dreadful shame.
Did I just waste
my
time?

Well. That answer looks to be a stout but firm yes from the audience. The crowd. The gameshow contestant. None of which exist anyway. But. Either way.
Leave the handles here, the red will flake off on my gloves if I should touch them anymore.
God.
I’ll touch them up when I stop being depressed about how I wasted my time.
But with better paint.
Certainly, definitely, better paint.
I sigh as I walk.

Rounding the edge of the platform – or rather, going through the rusted chainlink fence to the corner and leaping off with a little shriek of enjoyment on my part – I begin to notice the breathy huddle I have come to be familiar with.
They’re mostly the same this season. About five to eight potential passengers, always huddled together like sardines. Or is it penguins that huddle?
Both perhaps. One in the ocean. The other, terra firma.
Before I make my prescence known – they’re slightly raised above where I stand, they’re on the first, second, third and fourth steps up to the platform real, whilst I am beside it near all the nettles and mulberries and goarses – I have a quick look at them all.
Mother and child, that’s two of the six I have this eve.
Then we have two men, wearing similar shirts.
But they’re standing apart from each other. Either they are strangers – probably – or they are…
Enemies?
Possibly.
Both in sort of pinkish-red plaid. I’m not sure I like it.
Who are the others, a young man – not in plaid – with sandy hair. And a girl.
Who seems to have a suspicious moustache-like thing. Dark hair.
She looks very odd. I cannot take my eyes off her lip. Her upper lip.
Very strange.
But nevertheless! These people are my people for now. All mine.
And soon they’ll be my carriage’s people.
And I’ll be their Maestro.
I do love being the Maestro.
Despite the cleaning up after them.

I know already these people have been briefed for the journey. Not too long, at least, they won’t know it is. For me, the journey seems to lengthen each time.
Or sometimes it shortens… maybe sometimes I get used to it and sometimes I am tired.
But for them it lasts no longer than half an hour to forty-five minutes. Usually.
Well. It depends how quickly they all go. Or how quickly I get around them all.
After all.
I am their Maestro.

I make myself known to the stupendous six, adding myself into their midst to bring the total headcount to seven.
If the child can be counted as a head. It’s very small.
Six months? Less? More? I’ve never been good at estimating age with babies.
Or did I call it a child?
It matters not.
I sidle up to them either way, pulling at my wrists. Where my gloves come down.
The white palms so pure.
But slightly stained with palm-sweat of the months.
Very much in my size.

I draw their gazes with a slight –ahem and by throwing my arms wide.
Six pairs of eyes on me.
I am their Maestro.
-Good evening.
-I am your Maestro for the next few hours.
I offer them a bow, very sleek and elegant. As I return their transfixed gazes slowly, I see how they all possess the same watery-looking sleep in the corners of their eyes. All breathing slowly, all calm, all with hair slightly out of place.
I smile, -Welcome to the Human Carriage. We are set to board. So. Do follow me, say I, before turning with yet more intense flourishes. I hop-skip-jump up the stairs, landing on my toes, all too happy to lead yet another group into my carriages.
It’ll be nice to take the journey again, I always think that.
Even if it does become lonely after a little while.
After about half an hour to forty-five minutes.

 

II: Human Carriage

 

Ever so Slightly Human – Part II of II

As a continuation, I’m astounded I wasn’t birthed sooner. I’ll enter into this world as blind as a shrew, unsure; whose continuation am I? I can stumble around in the darkness that is my world for as long as I have to, but what drives me? Heroism, thrust or something different? Desire, perhaps, or longing. Different but similar. I’m a continuation, I’m an echo of something written long ago.

Who is it though? Assume, momentarily, every story stands upright. Two legs, two arms, the boring human figurine. No wings, no snouts, no tusks.

The feet slink up from ankles, forming the curved swell of the calves, folding into knees at the front and still rising, thickening, spiralling around muscles to the hips, cascading down to form genitals and passing up again, a mid-line of the torso, and still the edges fold outwards, forwards and backwards, creating curves of breasts and soft spikes of collar-bones, switching perpendicular, falling down towards rippled elbows, over forearms and ending in the fingers. And no head or neck to be seen.

Is this what we all are?

Simple continuations, nothing ever thinking for itself. We live – our hearts beat softly beneath ribcages composed of backspacing and deletions. But it’s time for thinking that we’ve been here before.

We, the stories, are continuous continuations. Nothing new, I realise. The first episode of a saga stands a few metres away from me, headless, neckless. Not even that tall. The fantasy trope, I could imagine, redone and rehashed, made new, wringed out, tried again, but still a continuation, possibly, of another world. And unthinking and headless.

Episode two of the same saga stands to its left. Much smaller, missing the right arm. Missing both legs – but this is not why it’s short. Its body is much shorter than that of the first saga’s. And the third is nothing more than a torso, upright but unliving. I think I am starting to comprehend.

 

I search for the biggest body I can find. I want to discover what it is. I see it not too far off – black skin, a weak torso but strong legs, male, smooth and hairless. I stay below it, staring up, thinking nothing, mind quietly working. I stare at the place the body’s head should be.

And I see, I almost see a chin. It seems as though the neck extends – and it’s unusual there is a neck at all – into a chin. Nothing above, no face, no ear, no head, no brain. Just a neck, a chin and the rest of the heavy body, weight bearing down on itself. The feet are large, and I fully expect the white ground to crack and splinter beneath its form, but it remains stable. Supportive.

I wonder.

Is this figure the form of a story… or a continuation… that exceeded all limits? The types of stories some wonder why they ever got published or shelved. The types of stories some want to read but cannot dive into. The types of stories you feel envious that your friend understands.

I wonder.

Could this continuation be a book without a protagonist? Or written entirely without a full-stop? Or a book with no solid character at all? Or a story without an arc. Or a book devoid of all surrounding description. Or a story that uses the blankness of pages to enhance it. Or a book describing objects written by a blind man. Or a book filled with gibberish that becomes beautiful literature once you figure out how to read it. Or an event with no resolution.

Looking up at it, it is easy to think. But not so easy to consider a solution, an answer, to this. Who wrote this? Why is the figure of this book a huge, hairless black man? Why does this one have a neck and chin, an occurrence so rare I’ve not seen it before?

But alas the questions will remain floating in this emptiness, not one of them ever getting an answer. But I can understand this.

 

So I, a meagre and small continuation with no context to its birth, turn away. But still my blank mind rages with thoughts and I soon find myself still.

All around me, these stories, these continuations, these sagas and series and solos, stand as still as pillars. A storm could whisk the air around them, tsunamis could crash against their differing bodies, sledgehammers could buffet them, but they would not move. Any dents, or cracks, or chips would be minimal. But I, a moving version, would certainly get washed away. I am vulnerable, clearly.

And yet, another thought from my intangible soup of mind. I can see. I, unlike the tall and unthinking pillars, can not only move, but see. I can think. I can reason. I am small but different, very different. Nothing here can see me, though I am not hidden. These bodies are not dead, they live within their shaded shells, but they are senseless, motionless, invulnerable.

I am something very different.

 

I move on for some time, weaving, floating between each continuation. How am I different? What makes me a continuation worth eyes? What makes me worth movement? Numb feet that drag my body between lines and rows and columns and attentions. Are there more like me?

I pass bodies in the shape of women, some overweight, some slim, some missing limbs and some with extra. The same with the men, some have grotesque additions, body parts stuck on loosely, like a growth. And I remain silent through it all, letting my eyes take it in, letting my mind stay as silent and as cold as it needs to be. It works fast like this.

Some bodies are small, but not small like the 2nd and 3rd sagas I saw before. These are the head- and neckless bodies of children. Their tubby stomachs remain forever thrusted forward, elbows at their sides, and I wonder why some are smaller, some are bigger and some are missing limbs.

They are the same as the adult bodies in that way. The continuations of stories they are unlinked to, I suppose. Headless, thoughtless, but containing the heart and soul of something worthwhile. But yet, they see nothing, they think nothing, they are nothing.

I wonder about them.

V: The True Freedom – Material [Lull]

IV: The True Freedom – Care [Lull]

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.

– Democritus

 

I’ve already secured a vault in my mind,

To slowly clear out. Without her

Permission, of course, for she would only whine.

When she notices the absence,

Of the phonograph,

Or the bedside lamp,

Or the hairpins,

Or the doorhandles,

I’ll tell her. But not before. She deserves

her shred of glory now. To live in sunshine now.

Before the perishing explanation of peace I hope to

gift her passes my lips as I tell her

where her life has gone.

She’s higher than this now.

 

She can look around, sure, look around, sure,

For everything she hasn’t got. Or she could glance

at what she has.

O, glory one,

It’s standard. Purpose. Life. Driven. All of it,

Waylaid by the struggles of material. Cast it aside.

Or, stand aside as I do it for you. And cast off your

dress. Unhook your bra. Step out of your shoes.

Your stockings too. They’re what you don’t need.

You’re purer than this.

 

And I imagine her body. Celestial. Sweat of work glimmering

like stars on that pale figuresse, I caress the sweet silk of her

dress. Before disposing of it.

A tight pucker of a belly button. The centrepiece between the

curves of her waist, flowing down, opaque, to thighs, knees, calves,

And I would fall at her feet, as the whole world should, if I wasn’t

her brother. To pollute her with my touch is toxic, thought

or practice, as I feel her shoulder in my palm.

Her eyes remain open.

And she goes to speak. But I quieten her.

Everything you need to say has been heard. Before you even move

your tongue or your teeth, everyone hears you, everyone responds.

And I respond.

 

Bite your tongue! Do not ask me. Only listen. Would any goddess,

Living or dead, require anything you say you need? Would any goddess,

Need obsessions, possessions, fodder and filler? Would any goddess,

Oppose the stripping of these things?

To purify, to nourish and exploit,

You are free of all. Your needs are moot, your possessions are forgotten.

Memory is a concept, time is unprepared, will is heightened.

Nothing you need. You need nothing.

So don’t ask me why. Bite your tongue! And raise.

 

I glance at her again. Empty eyes and the contents of tears streaming from them.

I have wronged her. But care, I do not.

This is for the best. And raise.

I promise her, I swear to her.

My goddess sibling, I swear to you.

You are higher than this. You are a form greater than the solar

system. A curse lifted from the single spoken word of God.

You are the white of snow. I swear to you, even snow is less.

And raise.

Higher than this material Earth, where your

spirit will attach itself to the clouds. You are deserving.

Let them see you. Let your hair become darker than the night sky.

Let your eyes be the sun and moon, and your sweat be the stars.

Only have yourself. Everything else is polluting.

Tumble and sleep in the empty universe and fill it

with yourself. You are purer than nothing.

So raise yourself.

 

Double Sunday

I lived through one Sunday, played football one Sunday, wore odd socks one Sunday, went out for a meal with my father and sister one Sunday, stepped into the road one Sunday, got home one Sunday, fell into a coma one Sunday.

 

I woke up out of the coma one Sunday, was greeting to a morning sun one Sunday, felt my hair was longer one Sunday, stretched my legs out of bed one Sunday, noticed I had missed three months one Sunday, sat on the edge of my hospital bed one Sunday, knew my sister’s birthday had gone past one Sunday, knew I’d missed my life one Sunday.

 

I lived through one Sunday and awoke on another.

XI: Scrawl

X: Scrawl

SCREAM ALL YOU WANT NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU.

SCREAM ALL YOU WANT.

NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU.

OR

SCREAM ALL YOU WANT NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR YOU.

WHICH ONE IS TRUE? I MEAN SCREAMS, EVEN SILENT ONES, ARE OBVIOUS.

THE PAINED BLUE EYES FROM SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND THE RED RIMS FROM THE SALT, THAT’S A SCREAM.

THE CRACKED KNUCKLES AND SCARS FROM A CONSTANT AND HABITUAL BODILY-RAPE HOBBY, THAT’S A SCREAM.

THE IMPORTANT SUDDENLY GETTING TOSSED ASIDE AND RELOCATED ELSEWHERE, TO ROT AND FEEL EMPTY WITHOUT ANYONE’S INPUT, THAT’S A SCREAM.

AND PEOPLE SEE THEM.

THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO HEAR THEM.

IX: Scrawl

VIII: Scrawl

 

Found scrawlings from inside my grey and dying mind.

 

NOTHING IS ISOLATED.
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.
WHETHER BY A SINGLE MUSICAL NOTE, ECHOED CEASELESSLY AROUND THE SEALED CHAMBER WHICH IS THE VOID ALL THINGS EXIST IN.

 

WHETHER IN HARMONY

OR OUT OF BALANCE

WHETHER SEEMINGLY ALONE

OR WITH KNOWN ALLEGIANCES

ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED.

 

A NAME. PERHAPS.
A NUMBER, OR A NAME, OR AN IDENTITY, OR A FACE.
DO NOT FORGET ANY SINGLE SHRED OF ANYTHING.
WALK BEHIND THE OLD MAN WITH THE STICK.
AND NOTICE. NOTICE THE FRAYED, DULL PLAID SCARF AROUND HIS NECK.
NOTICE THE TREAD OF HIS SHOES.
MENTALLY TRACE THE SHAPE OF HIS EYEBROWS IF HE TURNS TO LOOK AT YOU.
DON’T DISREGARD ANYTHING.
PARANOIA IS NO CURSE.

WHETHER IN HARMONY

OR OUT OF BALANCE

WHETHER SEEMINGLY ALONE

OR WITH KNOWN ALLEGIANCES

ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED.

 

ESCAPING INTO A NOVEL IS NO LONGER A SEEMINGLY PEACEFUL BUSINESS.
DO NOT TREAT FICTION AS NEVER-HAPPENED OR NEVER-WILL-HAPPEN.
EVERYTHING IN THIS VOID IS CONNECTED AND NOTHING IS SEPARATE.
SOMEWHERE, STORIES LINK TO LIFE, LINK TO STORIES, LINK TO FURTHER STORIES, LINK TO FURTHER LIFE.
NOTE ANYTHING. RELATIONSHIPS THAT CHANGE. TREAT THEM ALL AS PEOPLE, EVERY CHARACTER, ANIMAL, OBJECT. REMEMBER THEY EXIST.
EVEN IF THEY’RE CHARACTERLESS CHARACTERS.
EVERYTHING LINKS.

WHETHER IN HARMONY

OR OUT OF BALANCE

WHETHER SEEMINGLY ALONE

OR WITH KNOWN ALLEGIANCES

ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED.

 

WHETHER IT BE A CIRCUS PERFORMER WHO SCREAMS EVERY FIFTH WORD.
OR AN IMPOSSIBLE BEING THAT CONTORTS AND VANISHES.
OR A PERSON SOLELY ALIVE TO AID HIS SISTER BY DESTROYING EVERYTHING.
OR A DOOR THAT LEADS INTO A ROOM YOU WON’T LEAVE ALIVE.
EVERYTHING IS TRUE. ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS

FICTION.

Sitting at the Train Platform

Sitting at the train platform,
You’ve been there a while, waiting on
your two-way route to your mundane
and everyday location, just as
you do every day. With your mind on

Other things. Less than looking forward to the
nine hours of screen-staring, paper shuffling,
staring at the brunette you are too cowardly
to ask out for coffee. But today could be
the day for it. You take a peek at your

Watch. Then look towards the clock,
Unable to believe it’s been only two
minutes since you last looked. And yet
there are more people crowded around
you than you’ve seen so far today.

Businessmen in ties, shoes polished and
hair smoothed to perfection, giving the
sad impression they practice this every
single day, a faint belief that this is the day
their boss will recognise their achievements.

A cluster of young women, up early for a
day trip, mascara smudged over remnants
of sleep in the corners of their eyes. They
do their best to laugh despite having not seen
each other for months, though they promised to.

Train station labourers, brooms welded to their
hands, sweeping up the memories of yesterday’s
traingoers. Cigarette butts from under the
benches, a discarded aluminium can, and perhaps
a smudged napkin, all to earn their wages.

The newly-muddied shoes of a to-be-teen,
standing just far away from his mother to have
autonomy in this new place. Hair spiked to
a rebellious extent, ignoring his mother’s command
to step away from the yellow threshold.

And one man closer to the threshold than he,
his hands empty and clenched slightly, you
notice the solid way he holds himself, as if
ice has crept into his skin and frozen him in
place, a human-coloured statue on the platform.

Sitting at the train platform,
You once again check your watch,
Seeing that steady rhythm of the second
hand slicing your life away, one fragment at
a time. But you still have the day to do.

A rumble beneath your feet,
Gives away the surprise of the approaching
train. You know you can sit for a while longer,
Until everyone evacuates the sliding metal
jaws of the slick and powerful monster.

You see the businessmen adjust their shoulders.
You see the women’s hair catherine-wheel around their jaws.
You see the rebellious boy obey and step away from the gap.
You see the labourers glance up slightly, an act of respect.
You lean forward in your seat, ready to begin your day.

Your eye falls once again on the frozen man. His
elbows pinned to his waist, his head only slightly
tilted, and he is looking at the train. You lose
sight of him briefly, an old woman moving past you
to sit on your left. You nod slightly before rising.

There, again, but he’s moved. Forwards,
Ignoring direct orders to move away. And there is
a clearing around him, nothing too obvious, perhaps
only deep in their minds the waiters realise this
frozen man is not their kin, not their relation.

Nor is he yours. While you wait on the platform,
And scour the surroundings of the platform,
As you do every day, and you watch the clock,
And clock time on your watch, and tap your fingers
On your knee if the train is late, he does not.

While you wait impatiently to begin your day,
Knowing the brunette will pass by you several times,
With you uttering no words of desire to her,
You at least know there will be another lunchtime,
Another work day, another opportunity.

Another day after today. A day, perhaps, where you will
wait in for furniture that won’t be delivered until the next
day. A day, perhaps, where the tracks of the bin
lorry will wake you early, and you hope they’ve emptied the bin
this week. A day, perhaps, but a day, certainly.

But the frozen man is not of your kin either. While you blend
with each other type of toe-tapper on the platform, he blends
with no one. He stands in his clearing, stark, alone,
With the heels of his shoes on the yellow threshold,
Waiting for the rumbling wheels of the train.

No destination will consume him. No tempting relish
of a mate will attract his gaze. No plans has he made for
lunchtime, or any lunchtimes after. This is the only time
you will ever see him. No yesterday. Only today. No tomorrow
when you will once again be sitting at the train platform.

VIII: Scrawl

VII: Scrawl

 

Found scrawling from inside my grey and dying mind.

 

I AM RIBBON. A FLUTTERING OF CLOTH IN AN IMPOSSIBLE BREEZE, AND CHALLENGED INTO RIVETS AND CUTICLES OF FABRIC.

I AM RIBBON. LOCKED FOREVER INSIDE THE TIN WHICH HOLDS NOT CHILDISH SECRETS AND ADULT RELISHES BUT A HAYSTACK OF EMBROIDERY MUST-HAVES.

I AM RIBBON. MUCH HATED BY THE SCRUFFY AND THE EXOTIC, AND LOATHED BY THE UGLY, THOUGH CHERISHED AND WOUND AROUND THE FINGERS OF THE BEAUTIFUL.

I AM RIBBON. PIERCED WITH EACH SPOT AND CROAK, FOLDED AND HELD CLOSE, A COLOUR NEVER FAR AWAY FROM THAT OF THE SUN, A SHIMMERING, GLIMMERING HOPE THAT HOLDS THE CORSET STRINGS FROM FALLING.

I AM RIBBON.

 

IX: Scrawl

I: Sad

The anomalies hit me much faster than I was ever used to. Instead of arising from sleep with a head filled with sand and a crick in my neck, feeling stiff as a twig, I instead found myself unable to shut off vision as soon as it returned to me. Eyes glistening with the many miles of stars stretched far above me, and I took in the light string by string. As I noticed each star and counted each moving flashing light high within the twilight velvet sky, I noticed the second anomaly. Although my nose has always been damaged, a defect of my creation, even it picked up the scent of blood on the wind. Air carried it through me, into my mouth where it soaked into the back of my tongue, within my sand-filled head. A heightened state of awareness, perhaps caused by the rush of adrenaline as the iron liquid filled me. And gripping grass between each one of my slender fingers, so tight the muscles could break the slim bones at any moment. I am alert and ready for a sound.

A sound, within the still night. This is calmly normal for me; I expect no noise at the best of times, lying out here in the secluded brush of the landscape. Every insect footstep on every leaf of every tree, nothing would be lost upon me. My ears, hidden though they are, sense the very smallest sounds. Especially now in the silence. My mind struggles so much to determine whether anything I hear is a product of the world or my own imagination. Is the creaking from my bones, or from elsewhere?

I hold myself steady. A third anomaly has become apparent. Shadows, so thin I almost missed them, reach across my body. And the places the shadows flee from is a stunning silvery blue. My own shadow darkens the grass as the light, lethargic, but with intention, moves closer to me. Slow strides, almost completely silent, I realize are coming from the world and not my head. Without a movement nor a sound, I lock myself completely onto the light and the noise. Friend. Foe. Or Neutral?

It will take me less than a second to scatter myself away from the noise if it is cruel. I will scamper, and I will fight. Beside my right hand, my fingers numb to its feel, is my companion. The two sticks, a cross on the grass, and strings confining it. When I touch it, it talks for me. If I cannot tell what the intentions of the noise are, I will let it know I live, that I am in its way.

The light is so close now, so bright and reflecting off my eyes, I can barely see the stars. What was once a sequined cloth crafted by a godly hand, laid over the resting world has become a void, the only shimmering light the one scattering warmth onto the side of my face. This in itself is strange as the night never promises comfort. The night is calm and quiet, but with that comes the frigid temperatures of a world without life, and that world is getting colder. To feel warmth now is close enough to blasphemy that it almost angers me. My fingers silently pull my companion’s sticks into my palm. I grip them – I feel the connection between us form instantly almost feel a heartbeat through the sticks that pulses with mine. A heart that pumps through grey stuffing, but a heart that beats nevertheless. Its mouth is mine, and it will speak for me.

With the light that approaches, I notice our shadows. Mine and my companion’s. There I am, stretched tight on the grass, a shocking darkness against the white light that seems to come straight down from the sky. And the mound beside my shadow is my companion’s. Joined at the hip, we are congealed into a singular mass, so strong with ourselves and our hearts so combined it knows what I need to say, and what I want to hear. Its shadow stretches into mine, and mine into its, a combination borne of the shyness of the light. And a sharp outline of the sticks, raised a little way above our bodies. Rubbed smooth by my fingers over years of attention and necessity. Indents, catches and marks are the scars of our time together, from where my anger was too great, from where I dropped my companion in the brambles once too often. Similar, the stitchings on its body. Thorns tear thought cloth, through the polka dot blue fabric I used to patch the previous hole to reveal the same one, where stuffing will be pushed out by the aching heart within its chest. And that heart aches with mine.

The fabric is even more illuminated by the light approaching us, and I have still not moved. I have not judged whether this stranger is a friend or foe yet. Or Neutral. I have merely stayed completely still, a cat trying to hide in its own darkness. Trying to decide whether to run or to stay resting. To wonder if the light will try to touch me, or lie down next to me to hear my companion tell it all about the stars we will both be looking at. The stars I am currently lying under. The stars they are currently standing under.

I silently grip my companion’s sticks, as I hear the half-quiet rustling of the stranger halt just behind my head. I daren’t move, so I listen, and I look. My eyes readjust and I see the stars spark back to life, as well as notice the new life currently tilting their head down at me.

 

II: Sad