The River

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Related to, if not actually a sequel to, They Wear Their Souls On Their Skin.



What they said doesn’t matter. You know this as sure as you know anything.. They can call you chicken all they want, because chickens are as brave as they are cowards, as stupid as they are smart. The younger kids can dare you to go across the river all they want. You don’t have to go.

But a part of you wants to.

No one crosses the river. Not really. It’s wide and deep, so there’s ferries, but they just take you over. You have to swim it to cross it.

It’s been a week and you keep coming back to here, sand and shingle and clay shore next to the river.

Two More


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She thinks the stars are like
street lamps, guiding galactic
spaceships down empty
motorways. The M1 isn’t where
she wants to be right now,
down on the hard shoulder,
and staring at the sky.

Her mobile rings. More

Minutes to Go

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Eight Minutes

And she looks at the ceiling for –

Seven Minutes

Well, that was boring, says the penguin. I thought that roller coasters rolled.

No, says the girl. Not yet –

Six Minutes

And the clock is rewound, telling a truth with each tick, a lie with each tock, golden in the moonlight –

Five Minutes

And the silver clock winds down, slow and steady, showing the future with every tick, and no one likes it very much at all –

Four Minutes

And the nightingale sings like a dandelion. It wasn’t his fault, father, it was mine, and the red rose.

Three Minutes

And the mother falls.

Tap, tap, tap on the keyboard like skeleton hands playing an instrument, taptaptaptaptaptap –

Two Minutes

And the muses fail, and the work is bad, but no one notices that the spark is gone except a fan so small no one sees them –

One Minute

And the golden clock explodes in a burst of beautiful; deadly, a cloud of truth and lies, stinging the skin


and the silver clock stops.


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This, and next week’s, were written when I was … very bored and in need of a challenge. So I wrote for a minute, and when the minute ended, I moved onto the next sentence/paragraph. (It’s actually kind of fun, but best done over short periods; you start thinking more, the longer you go).


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He found it in a shell on the beach. It woke up at his touch, raising its fragile head and staring at him with wide, swirling eyes. The tiny creature was no larger than his thumb, with little gossamer wings. The historian held his hand out for the little thing and it climbed up into his palm, claws digging into his skin. He held back a wince.

“A small specimen,” he sad, holding the blue-scaled creature up to the light. “A prime example of the lesser dragon, nevertheless.” It chirped, curling its forked tail around his little finger. He smiled, and stroked its back. It spread its fan-like ears and continued to stare at him unblinkingly.

“Your cousins, the greater dragons, have abandoned you little ones so they may escape into space and orbit the sun,” he told it. It chirped again, lying down on his hand. “No,” he said. “No one else seems to care much, either. Will you keep me company, petite?”

It closed its eyes, curling up. He smiled, picking up the shell, and carefully placing it back in there. He always seemed to find a nicely coloured one to take home anyway.

Welcome back to the lotto.

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I actually have some stuff for it. Some odd, creepy, and in one case sweet stuff.

Et voila: More

Merry Christmas!

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‘Twas the night before christmas

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even the louse

That slept in her bed

On the second floor

She kept him clothed and fed

But still he wanted more

He used up her money

He used up her time

He used up her life

It had to be a crime

But if it wasn’t, then

A crime she would commit;

She’d use him to feed the dog

Bit by bit by bit

They wear their souls on their skin.

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The worst part about coming home is that she has to hide the tattoo.



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Some days the bus is too loud

And you’re crushed under the weight of


phone calls

babies screaming

kids shouting out of windows

(is it too loud, or too loud for you?)

and you’re tired



but you’re functioning, you’re good

organised with a shopping list and a friend to meet

but it aches in your bones



and so easy to focus on the music in your ears

just trance out and let go

but the bus fills up full to bursting

(too loud for anyone)

and the woman next to you is huffy

because you won’t talk

because your voice is lost

buried under a sea of voices

and you just want to scream

(you owe no one a conversation)

and you get off the bus

four stops early



and walk

until there’s green space and quiet

and a hole to sleep in

and the world leaves you alone

just once

(but you don’t.

you go through the routine

and then you go home

and you cry.)

So if anyone was wondering what happens when I don’t post on time? It’s frequently feeling like this or Migraine.


Jinx out.

Look, I forgot it was Thursday, and now it’s 1am friday.

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Disclaimer: this is old. Years old. Recent rewrite, but years old.



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