I promised him everything; it wasn't enough. Fifty years of saving, collecting, consuming without practical purpose, wasted. There at the end of all things, as my tongue withered and eyes crisped, the devil wouldn't even sell me some water. Maybe that was my torment? Maybe he just wanted a laugh?
We always said we'd be there to catch each other. You do when you're young and in love. We were so convinced, so sure of our commitment that when we fell, it came as a genuine shock. Well, maybe less so for me. I had my hands behind my back.
Hurt my back burying the wife.
Author's Note: Something a little different today that got me thinking.
Whilst hitching a ride to the coffee shop with my wife, we turned into the shopping park where it's located and saw something highly unusual. I always keep an eye out for wildlife, I love nature, and spotted a bird I'd never before seen in real life, yet recognised instantly. The fellow in question was a beautiful Little Egret.
I said what I'd seen and we slowed down to view it. I'll come back to why I couldn't take a photo of my own in a minute. In the meantime, here is an image courtesy of Wikipedia.
These birds are becoming more common in England, but rarely as far north as Yorkshire.
Now here's the thing. We didn't want to scare it away, so went for our drink. My wife left first, and me later for my run. But I had to see the Little Egret again. So, I jogged back to where I'd spotted it, phone in hand, but the little bird had gone. I was disappointed.
So where did I see this rare beauty you shout? A drainage ditch my reply. And although I didn't think much about it at the time, on reflection I think it's ironic that one of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen, gleaming in the dawn light in all its snow-white splendour, was in a shopping park drainage system. It just doesn't seem right, or maybe that's just me.
Thanks for reading
When I can't sleep, I like to fly. That's right, I said fly. I stretch my legs, sticking my toes out from under the duvet, reach out my arms like wings, and pretend to be a plane. My wife's my co-pilot. She provides the engine noises. Every single night!
She was a dream within a dream within a dream, a perfect moment tied up in a red silk bow. Her cinnamon skin captured the sunset and promised the stars, her lips the pouting tide, her eyes eternity. She was the closest thing to heaven I’d ever seen or ever wanted. Caramel, I called her, so sweet as to tantalise, so delectable, so smooth. She melted in my hands like chocolate by the fire, but when we married she turned into fudge. Hey-ho!
It fell as a jaundiced cloud. An almost solid mush of marshmallow puce, the smog, fog or whatever it was heaved for five days enveloping the land. When it lifted, the sun beaming golden rays, I swore I'd never take yellow for granted again. The next day, it rained. Typical!
Smiles were hard to find. No sooner did the wrinkles at the sides of our eyes twitch, lips curl, the sadness would take hold and drag them back towards the ground. How did we cope! you shout. Simple, we all stood on our heads. We’re happy now until it rains.
“Follow the trail I leave in the stars,” she whispered. “I’ll glow like fireflies, shine like neon in a midnight city. I’ll do all this and more. Just follow, my love. Just follow.” She vanished in a cloud of brimstone and sparkling eyes.I couldn’t follow, though, it was cloudy.
The mice thought they had me cornered. They did. But not in the way they hoped.
I watched as whiskers twitched and beady eyes squinted; I’d never seen a mouse squint having always kept my distance. They stood there like six-inch tall gods in their genderless, purple uniforms. I hated them, all dapper in their finery. Their little peaked caps were a natty addition, though, I’d give ‘em that, but they only antagonised me further. Enough was enough!
It was odd, but despite being in a Mexican standoff with a dozen rodents, their polished, silver ray guns pointed at my chest, I wanted to laugh. So, I did. At first it was a snigger, then a chuckle, then a great belly laugh that rolled up from deep inside to burst out of my mouth past dry lips. The mice didn’t like that, but what could they do about it? I possessed what they needed. Those little, wannabe rats just had to know if it was true. I could see it in their every straining neck, every squinting eye, with every agitated flick of their oversized ears. They were desperate to see the contents of the package I so desperately clung to, as though my very life depended upon it, which it probably did. Their fetid breaths stank of suppressed anticipation.
They waited until I’d finished, the tap-tapping of their booted feet giving their impatience away. One, who I presumed their leader, stepped forward of his comrades, gestured to my prize and snarled like a rabid dog, his whiskers twitching with angry intent.
He didn’t scare me. Oh, I knew his gun could put a hole right through me if he chose to use it. My gamble, roll of the dice, was that he wouldn’t.
I looked the tiny fellow up and down through narrowed eyes, impassive and calm. It unnerved him. I knew that because he peed in his Lycra shorts. All that genetic engineering and they couldn’t stop a mouse with a super mind and attitude to match from befouling the floor. How many millions, billions even, needlessly died in the Rodent Wars, both human and mouse, for it all to come down to this one moment? Almost two centuries of needless genocide and I had the power to end it all, asleep in a box. Cradled in my outstretched arms was salvation.
I didn’t have chance to make my move. Neither did the gun toting vermin. The package stirred. It unfurled from its slumber, licked its lips, a razor-sharp incisor slipping out from concealment with languorous ease. As if aware of his importance, the creature loosed a purr of epic proportions. The effect on the mice was instant. They saw the box vibrate, dropped their weapons, and legged it. For all their superior firepower, and all their genetically enhanced brainpower, they were still petrified of a cat. Instinct, what a bummer!
I didn’t know if there was more like him. I’d found the fellow living in the same barn that I was hiding out in. However, the mice didn’t know that. He could have represented a feline nation for all they knew and they couldn’t take the chance. The cat opened its eyes and jumped to the tiled floor, its sharp claws clipping on the tiles. It looked at the fleeing mice then back to me. It was so nonchalant. That cat oozed style. He meandered over to the dropped guns, bent to pick one up, no easy task for a cat, and then turned to me.
I didn’t like the look in his wild, green eyes, as he opened his sharp-toothed mouth and growled, “Get me some milk, punk.”