Love Sucks

Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash
Photo by Katie Pearse on Unsplash

The depth of her sorrow submerged my soul. I saw it in her eyes, felt it in her every trembling movement.

Her head hung like a mannequin with its strings cut. There it bobbed like a buoy in an undulating ocean. How I wished to brush that curtain of long, black hair aside and lift her by the chin, tell her everything was okay.

I watched her slender fingers grapple with the hem of her skirt, like ancient ivy wringing the life out of its host. One foot tapped a rapid beat. She built to something, but what?

Time to act. What else was a lover meant to do?

“Can you tell me about it?” I asked, softly.

She shook her head, slow and purposeful.

“A drink? Food?”

Again, the same.

The direct approach was often the best. “You’re in pain.”

“Almost,” she whispered.

“Because you think I don’t love you.”

When her eyes met mine, they were no longer those of a girl, nor even a woman, but something older, feral.

“Because I know you don’t. At least, that’s what I shall tell myself until the pain erodes your memory.”

It happened all of a rush, her standing, the slash of the blade. She never blinked once.

I slumped to the ground, quite dead. All was becalmed.

It came as I would’ve hoped. I raised from myself, like souls do in the movies. In one last exhalation of self, my ghost vacated its shell, and then paused as if unsure of what direction to take. I’d been mostly good. Surely, that was enough.

I wouldn’t say she hated me, or that she was prepared to take God’s word for it, but she was ready for anything. She held the vacuum cleaner hose in one hand and set the suction to maximum with the other.

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.
Also Available:
The Eternals Series: The Eternals / Hunter Hunted / Into Eternity

By Which I Mean Me

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

We, by which I mean me, endeavoured to do right by each other. I spoke kind words, and she shoved them down my throat. I held open the door, and she vacated it. And so on, and so forth. This was our way, use and be used.

Time was not kind to us, by which I mean me. The bruises grew larger, her rages ever greater. I grew timid, as she grew robust. And still, I did my best. Still, I tried.

She, by which I mean they, buried me one cold and windy November afternoon. It rained upturned buckets. Another man already held her umbrella.

Now there was no we, no she, just me. For the first time in forever, I was alone. Nothing lasts.

I returned from the darkness like a roosting bat, flittering around our, by which I mean her apartment, every evening after lights out. She was never alone.

Our paths crossed when she went to the toilet shortly after midnight. I held the door for her, or tried.

“Do I know you?” she sneered. “You remind me of someone I once used.”

The fact I was a ghost seemed inconsequential, her attitude unaltered. I shrugged a delicate breeze, for words were beyond me now.

She rolled her eyes and got down to business.

“Well! Don’t just stand there, pass the toilet roll,” she commanded, upon finishing.

I laughed as I flapped and flailed, unable to acquiesce to her wishes. I tried so hard. Yet, this simplest of tasks was beyond me, and so I left and never returned.

We, by which I mostly mean me, often talk of her, and if she sits there still, stinking and swearing, whilst waiting for another to service her.

The End

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Shivering

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash
Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

The shiver began at his navel and radiated out like a pebble tossed in a pond. Uneasy sensations swept through the boy’s torso, down his limbs to tingle his fingertips, rattle his teeth, curl his toes. Just when he thought there was nowhere else to go, the shiver shook the earth at his feet, shattering a rock as though crystal and dislodging several worms.
“Am I dead?” he asked no one in particular.
“No.” The voice came as even more of a shock than his shivering, which for now had departed.
“Then what?” he asked, undeterred.
“You are changing. You are… how does one put it politely, on the move.”
The boy hung his head as though ashamed, seeing his shiver had cracked open the ground, into which he descended. This was not a plummet by any means, rather, a falling leaf caught by a breeze.
He watched as the light of the sun he’d grown so used to shrank back into a pinprick star. This, too, soon vanished, leaving him all alone in a smothering darkness. Every sensation of movement had gone.
The boy imagined himself to have fallen asleep because he woke to a fog and his shivering having returned tenfold. His arms shook like a hummingbird’s wings. His head vibrated like a shaken cocktail mixer. A grey gloom pulsed around him as if to help, like the sponge packing around a box containing a priceless vase.
“All out of questions?” came the voice again. Definitely female, and smooth as velvet, it coerced the boy with uncomplicated kindnesses.
“Not a one? You are an unusual young man! Most of your kind are so flummoxed all they can do is ask questions. Most of which I cannot answer,” she added, as an afterthought.
The boy placed a hand on his tummy. He grimaced and chewed his lip.
“Sure?” The voice was almost in his ear. “It is my burden to explain the unexplainable.”
“Well, I suppose there’s one thing.”
“Anything, dear boy. You shall have an eternity to dwell upon the answer, as has all mankind. For no one, not one soul, enters the realm above or below without first passing through purgatory. You might as well ask something to tide you over until you’re judged.”
The boy felt a stale wind assail his nostrils, heard the smacking of lips. It sparked something he just had to know.
“Tell me, Death, if that is who you are, was it the kippers or the eggs?”

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.