An Inelegant Game

Death was an inelegant solution to an elegant game, an imperfect answer to the most perfect of all solutions. Yet here, Death held no sway.   

Memories were never my forte. I remembered in fits and starts, never then till now, nor here to there. I recalled moments, or fragments of moments, nothing more, like a jigsaw turned upside down and with no means of reference to piece it back together. This was how the first conjunction occurred, grey on black, black on grey, always white in-between. 

The small, white bird was not a creature of feathers and pumping blood, but of glazed porcelain with a copper beak. It sang, though, trilled its little metal heart out. It sang and sang and sang.    

I put the bird in my pocket only to realise many years later, when next I checked, that it had a hole. I panicked then, something to set the heart palpitating. The dull boom, boom, thud of it rang throughout the place, as I searched everywhere except where I ought.   

The second alignment came upon discovering the first of two pits. I peered in one, dropped to my knees for a closer look and almost toppled into the other. In a world of insubstantiality, they were flat, almost symmetrical, two discarded black orbs in a land of dusk. Well, until they blinked.   

They say life comes in threes. Third time lucky and all that. Not for me.   

The sun appeared like a coin from a grandparent’s pocket. You wanted it, needed it, but if you took it too quickly, you might not get another. I had desired the sun since I lost it. She always gleamed. 

She was my little bird, pale with sable hair, which added to her ghostlike appearance. Her eyes were black. No other description fit them. Closing them was the hardest thing I ever did.  

The sun, now bright and beaming like a lighthouse slicing through a stormy midnight, rose higher. It reached its zenith like a diamond in a jet black ring. 

You’re forgiven.’ 

The voice hurt my ears. It rang through my befuddled thoughts like Big Ben’s bells thrust inside my skull. I hated pain. My pain, that was. 

I didn’t answer. I never answered. The words were never quite there. Instead, I wrapped my fogged shawl closer, pulled it tight. Anything else might have killed me.   

(ALMOST AN END)


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The Disaster (Drabble)

The Disaster

Disasters happen, my grandfather claimed. This was in the years long before his own. He’d wag his finger and frown like a grumpy goat, and I’d laugh and giggle regardless. Take it seriously, he’d mutter. You’ll thank me one day, he’d say. Of course, I didn’t, couldn’t, not when everything seemed so far away.


Now, as disaster looms and I struggle to raise my head, my own grandchildren filtering around me like ground coffee a percolator, I wish I had. It’s not so I’d know, but so I’d know what to say.


I’m so preoccupied, I forget to say goodbye.

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Beloved

Beloved, we mourn the inevitable
As starlings waiting for the snow
Gathering together in shivering huddles
Wiping away the dew

Beloved, your loss is our loss
Like oxygen stripped from the Earth
Though now you’ll live above it
Whilst we just survive below

For Dad: we’ll miss you

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I was. I am.

They said I was. And I was. They say I am. And I am. My decision, not theirs. It rankles and has for the longest time.

I am mired in melancholy. This ennui is as endless as the non-existent dawn. Now even the twilight fades and dusk remains anonymous. Like a mourning widow, I am bereft of all joy.
I remember colours. I remember them all. Now, here, in this place where stars twinkle and the moon blazes an unashamed diamond, their memory is all I own. Better to have loved and lost, someone said. Who said it remains moot. They are not me, and I am not them.
That blazing ball of nuclear reactions termed the Sun once warmed these bones. Now, I am unsure if I have any. I flap and flail, cobweb along in a sparkling silver masked only by this obsidian cowl and cloak. I desire a revealing. But how can hollow eyes be sure? Do I trust myself? No. Have I ever? I’ve forgotten.
They said I was. And I was. They say I am. And I am. I have spanned eternity, my essence one of infinite misadventures. My one constant, my name, is all I have. Not much to show for my work.
I am Death to you who’ll meet me. I am life to those who have.

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Raven

allef-vinicius-XRLjA9Qq65Y-unsplash

I once watched an artist paint the sky. His brush caressed the canvas like a lover’s kiss. His every fluent movement, poetry in motion. At least, I thought so. The painter did not.

Whether it frustration, or a lack of imagination, who knew? But the fellow grew so incensed, he snatched each sheet from his easel and tossed them into the wind. There they drifted like enormous snowflakes off to decorate unfamiliar landscapes.

The trees provided shade and anonymity. These I used for hours. The painter remained unaware of my presence throughout. And although I couldn’t see what he painted, I took a certain satisfaction in knowing I would.

As the sun evaporated into the river in tangerine bursts, things changed. The poor fellow’s inability to capture what he wished gained momentum until in one shrieking outburst he threw his palette away. It landed upside down in the water.

I expected to see a brief flash of vermillion, perhaps a touch of violet, cerulean or emerald green; there was only black. The paint bled into the river like a cut midnight vein. Spilled ink might have described it, but ink had a purpose and this did not. What a waste. What a terrible waste.

I clasped a hand to my mouth, but too late. The cough echoed into infinity.

The painter turned. He wept. Tears streamed from his old eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I spluttered.

The painter looked right through me, right into my soul. His eyes took in my colours, my personal palette. He refused to stop, swamping me in his sorrows. I feared we’d both drown.

When the sun disappeared below the horizon with a pfft of extinguished flame, only then did he look away. To heaven, actually.

“Ah,” he crooned. “Now I remember.”

“Remember what?” The words left my lips without permission.

“Raven. Her hair was raven. If only I’d not tossed my paints away. Ah, well!”

Head drooped and feet shuffling, the painter packed up his belongings and made to leave. He paused as the moon came out in mercury silvers, turned back. “Never forget what she looks like, young man.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

With that, he departed. I never saw him again.

#

I often looked back and mulled over his words. He’d seemed so genuine. But only as I too regarded her bone white features and robes of liquid obsidian, did I know who he meant. I couldn’t have captured her raven hair either. Her ebony eyes already had me.

An End.

#

Thank you for reading.

Richard

 

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