The In-Between

Published Today!

Literary Revelations

It is a great honour to have been published by the fantastic new journal Literary Revelations. My story The In-Between features today on their site.

A big thank you to Editor Gabriela Marie Milton for believing in my work.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

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The Melancholy Divide

Image: Mystic Art Design from Pixabay 

Today is the day the wonderful Manuela Timofte has published my latest post for Gobblers and Masticadores. I hope you can check out The Melancholy Divide as it’s one of those kind of writings I love to pen.

Gobblers and Masticadores are a part of the fantastic Masticadores collection of magazines bursting with quality poetry and prose. Please take a look.


Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

The Lost and the Dreamers

Photo by Adnan Mistry on Unsplash

Published Today!

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And what better way to start the new year than with a newly published piece. A great big thank you to Kelly Easton at Compass Rose Literary Journal for making The Lost and the Dreamers their first story of 2023.

Please do take the opportunity to have a look around at the beautifully presented Compass Rose site. There is a wealth of good quality material to peruse.


Thank you for reading

Richard

Once again, a very Happy New Year to you all. And I hope you enjoy The Lost and the Dreamers.

Richard M. Ankers

The Lighthouse Moon

Published!

I’m delighted to announce my short story ‘The Lighthouse Moon‘ has been published by Verum Literary Press. A very big thank you to Editor-in-Chief Keira Armstrong for showing faith in my work.

Please check out this wonderful magazine and all the fantastic poems and prose included. Amazingly, it is free to do so! This is Issue 2 of Verum and my work appears on page fifteen. I hope the magazine has many more fantastic issues to come.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

The End of all Endings

Photo by Luigi Boccardo on Unsplash

We plumbed forever’s depths, mined eternity’s fields, tipped our caps to infinity, and came to one startling revelation: Death was the end. 


Kara and I closed our eyes together, holding hands as we always did. Sleep soon came. But unlike those times when one awakens to a glimpse of an imagined world that pops out of existence, out of memory, out of reach, this was the beginning and there was no forgetting.  

The stars swirled around us, we the centre of our own galaxy. Residual particles sparkled in the vermillion and cobalt light like so many gems in a universal crown, those remnants of the beginning. This place was a tangible, sensual revelation, and we smiled for the first time since the sombre policeman said, “Missing.” 

“Do you think?” asked Kara. Her wide eyes implored. Her fingers grasped. 

There was no ‘How?’ or ‘We?’ or even a surprised ‘Oh!’, just a complete acceptance of being together here, now, in this place. 

I shrugged, for words were never my friends. 

We soaked ourselves in splendour, familiarised ourselves with every speckled area of night. Then, once we’d appraised everything, like a compass pointing the way, moved.

We flew. With our hands clasped together and hearts already one, we flung ourselves into heaven. Our search had begun. 

To explain what we saw, what we felt, would relive the disappointment of losing it, and we’d already lost our everything, but after all reality’s magnificence, we came to another place. An un-reality, one might’ve termed it, though it felt more real than the blood in our veins. 

The cosmos is darkness made magic, but darkness, nevertheless. This place, this domain, however, was only darkness. Light was as foreign here as an ant in the Arctic. 

“Where?” she said. 

I shook my head. 

This absolute darkness folded around us, sucked us into itself as grapes pushed into jelly. There was no pain, nor fear of it, just acceptance. We moved from one plane to the next. We sped through this nothingness with more hope than ever, for it is what you don’t see, not what you do, that offers possibilities. Then we arrived, and she was there. 

Little Corrine sat upon her knee like she once did on Kara’s. The child giggled. It broke my heart again. 

“No!” screamed Kara at the top of her lungs; the darkness snatched it away. 

She saw us then, not Corrine, our sweet girl, but her hostess, her keeper, Death. 

I like most had expected the Reaper to tower in dreadful, skeletal manliness. I was wrong. I was so wrong!

Death wore the visage of the afterlife, porcelain and wan. Her tumbling hair glittered a raven waterfall. Her form shamed all other goddesses and queens. The ghost of all ghosts, she appeared in her sable litheness. And then she opened her eyes. 

They held everything and nothing at once. All that had passed and all that would come in all its manifested sadness. She bore its brunt. Knew it all. And she did it for us, for everyone, and more so for our darling Corrine. 

“It’s not fair,” wept my Kara. “It’s just not fair.”

I pulled her closer. 

“At least we know.”

“But we don’t know how?”

“We don’t need to, my love. She’s safe now. That’s all that matters. No one could care for her more. 


We awoke together as we had fallen asleep. Our only regret, our one misfortune, that she’d never known us there.  

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard

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

Dreaming By Design

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

The alarm clock makes a mess of the morning, drowning out the blackbirds and scaring away the crows. A fire engine charges off to douse angry flames. A police car wails its siren song; attentive thieves stop to listen, whilst I carry on dreaming by design. 

I hold the cosseting darkness close, bathe in its obsidian cool, feel it course through my veins as liquid night. There are no stars, no moon, no higher angels here, just an ever-stretching moment sandwiched between last and next. I squeeze my eyes tight as a shrink-wrapped shroud, but the reason for this preservation slips away. 


There are still brief moments of lucidity where golden dawns merge to cerulean days and the nights are nothing but places to lay one’s head. They are rare, flashes of a past once lived, and most days I turn my back to them. But not today. Today is special. It’s the day I wait for every week. 

I dress in my Sunday best even though it’s a Thursday. The weightless white lilies lay across my outstretched arms like a tightrope walker’s pole, offering a balance I should otherwise lack. In this fashion, foot before foot, I make my way there.

The deserted cemetery mires in a morose nod to the forgotten. How I wish it would laugh and sing, awaken. 

I follow the well-worn path through these winding monuments to other people’s memories in search of one of my own. It is the last stone of the last row of an extension abutting a hedge. Ready for a quick getaway, I tell myself. 

A quick glance and I lay my flowers and leave, passing the same woman who tends her mother’s grave every Thursday. We often smile, nod even, but today she offers some words.

“Back again,” she says. It is not a question. 

I nod, unwilling to risk more. 

“A family member?”

“Yes.”

“Close?”

“Very.”

She pauses as if to say more might offend me, but her desperation for contact wins over. “A parent?”

She looks aghast as I shake my head. 

“A child?”

I repeat the gesture and make to move away, my cheeks reddening. 

“Then who?”

I am already weeping when I turn to say, “Me.”


My eyes rest most mornings, my heart too. I have never loved and never grieved. Some might claim me dead to the world, and the world dead to me. I lay flowers at a grave I have paid for in advance, near a woman who does not know my name. One day, I shall lay there as I have practiced here. One day, she shall do the same. 

I pretend to sleep until the day takes over, testing myself against an overly loud alarm and a window open to the world. This is my ritual, my darkening of the mind. I block out all that would disturb me and ponder the woman in the cemetery, she who the flowers are truly for. It is a meditation of sorts. I dream by design in the hope I’ll be ready when we meet on equal terms. For ghosts may pass and smile and chat, but only in death be together forever. 

The alarm rings. Are my eyes open or closed?


Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Carved

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge
Today’s prompt was Carve.

Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash
Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

She used them like a builder might a mallet, smashing her way through one person to get to the next. There were never words. She never needed them. Her every action, thought, and deed stemmed from her eyes.

What were they like? Could you describe them: narrowed, nasty, blood-stained, or worse?

My answer was always the same, of course I could. They were carved. The Devil himself had chiselled them out of her porcelain facade. But it was only now as she used them with more venom than ever that the cracks showed.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Six Word Stories – Moon

 Written for Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge
Today’s prompt was Moon.

Image by me
Image by me

Police seek spectral voyeur: appears nightly. 


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Where Cool Winds Roam (Drabble)

Image by me
Image by me

A cool, languid wind eased itself down the mountainside, unhurried in its quest to reach the shaded valley floor. I felt it like a child its mother’s breath.

Rocks peppered the cliff face in sheer defiance of the laws of physics. They clung on for dear life. Silly rocks, I thought. We’re not meant to resist.

Up above the clouds lay a cerulean blanket so unruffled as to rival the placid sea we crawled from that eventful bygone day. A sparkling, citrine sun warmed my cheeks. The wind had gone. I missed it. Perhaps that’s why I jumped? Perhaps, not.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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

Sandals Required

Photo by mohammad alizade on Unsplash
Photo by mohammad alizade on Unsplash

The rain came down like a broken shower in an unrelenting deluge. The world turned to one of rippling glass. I laughed for the whole world to hear.

The stoplights reflected like strawberries in a grocer’s window. I stomped and stamped until they were flat.

The red made way for an amber uncertainty that flashed a false dawn across the tarmac. The sudden gold dazzled, and I was glad of my sunglasses.

When an emerald green brilliance shooed the amber away to remind me of the land my ancestors had come from so long ago, I sang.

“Are you alright?” asked the woman in the raincoat. Her husband attempted to drag her away, but she seemed as determined as me.

“Couldn’t be better.”

She frowned at my sodden shirt, the shorts plastered to my thighs. When her eyes dropped lower still, she shook her head.

“Leave him to it,” growled her husband.

I kicked at a wet dream and smiled my richest smile.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

I owed her something. So, I leaned in close like the lover she wished for, and I told her.

Now, when it rains, there’s two of us out splashing in our sandals. But only we know why.

The End.


Thank you for reading
Richard

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