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THIS MONTH'S FEATURED STORIES

Three
windows


One new flash fiction,
one old one from
'Colours in Darkness'

There is a reflection of the moon in a large shard of glass pulled from the broken window. Well, most of it. The sharp edges sever its image as sharply as the glass has cut my arm. It looks so far away. Or is it me that slips further from time, as red drips blot the craters. I listen hard. No one seems disturbed, so I clamber in and stand looking around the room. My room. Before they took me away.

I remember looking out from this window, in the smallest bedroom of the bungalow, watching rabbits at play on the lawn at dusk, the setting sun streaming long shadows, creating monsters that would invade my dreams. Monsters that told me to do what, I now know, is forbidden.

It’s so much better than the high window. That had bars. That let in no air. All I could see was tall walls and a small yard to take daily exercise. You never saw the sun through it, only shadows cast away towards the walls, as others walked in procession. Most alone, deep in thought. At night you saw no stars, no moon, only the orange glow of the town beyond. No monsters.

They fed me pills, they talked and talked, question followed question and, at first, I kept my silence. Then I realised what they wanted to hear and I told them that. So, they taught me a trade and sent me to another place. A halfway house, they called it, where I had more freedom. I could freely come and go from my grey walled room, with its white plastic window opening on to the street below, letting in the bustle of feet every morning and evening, the grumble of traffic and tooting of horns, sometimes carrying on far into the night. Like wicked sirens beckoning me home.

Now I’ve returned. Though my parents have long moved away, from their shame. My shame. Who lives here now, I don’t know, but I’ll not trouble them much. I’ll help them. I can fix their window tomorrow. I was taught to do that. I’ll tell them that I haven’t brought the monsters.
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others like it in
"Colours in Darkness"


Spiral
staircase

I take three steps up the spiral staircase. I’m facing south. That’s where she came from. A cottage in the New Forest and as shy as the deer around it. Until nightfall, when she came alive.

I take three steps more. Facing west. That’s where we met. Under the summer sky of a roofless abbey. Strata Florida. Wales. The Valley of the Flowers. Petite against the tumbled stones, expression hidden behind dark fashion shades. Until evening. Then big, doe eyes drew me close, meeting again in the Teifi Inn.

I hesitate on that memory, then three steps more and looking North. That’s where fortune took us. Together. Long dark nights of pleasure. Days of pure love. Until the bitter cold of sharp Scottish days reached our hearts and froze our feelings.

Now three more steps of the spiral and to the east. The dawn of new beginnings. The lure of new horizons. The sense of parting. The unknown path.

And one step left. One step forward and she will be gone. One step forward and all is ended. I can walk to the window and watch her depart. Just one step to decide. I stand statue still. My chest pounds. My head sears with the pain of her leaving. So much we had that was good.

A quick turn. I leap-step down the spiral in giddy haste, and fling open the door. She stands there, travel case beside her. A tear glistens on her cheek. ‘I wanted to knock, but I was afraid you wouldn’t let me back in.’

author & publisher

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