Cruel words



Like transparent freckles, tiny dots of perspiration form across my brow and my face flushes with anger. The salty air hangs heavy in my nostrils and I feel an overwhelming urge to vomit. I am compelled to stand up and fight, defy the defamatory words that have brought me to my knees but my legs are not battle-worthy and I slump heavily against the harbour wall. If his intention was to crush me, then he has won. Convincingly.

The offending note, damp with sea spray, sags helplessly in my lap. The ink is dispersing, the well-formed words that sliced through my heart moments before are scrambling to the papers edge in a bid to escape prosecution. It’s faintly comical and I attempt a laugh – but no sound materialises when I open my mouth. From the east a Laughing Gull breaks rank and dive-bombs me before rejoining its regiment and moving on, its fading laugh an unwanted and mocking gift.

I look upwards at the shifting clouds, the huge expanse above my head is slowly changing colour from slate grey to a dark, inky blue. The cocktail of fear and anger that first gripped me is passing. In its place lingers a paralysing chill that gnaws at my bones. The note, it’s script now virtually unreadable, is lying at my feet. Teary eyed, I stare at the battered sheet of paper unsure whether to attempt retrieval, or not. I decide not. I don’t want to be reminded of any of this.

The wind that has whistled relentlessly past my ears for what seems like an eternity has dropped to a whisper and a frightening sense of calm prevails. I feel like I’m in a hermetically sealed cocoon; no air, no escape. It is so quiet, even the sea seems to have ceased to ebb and flow. I look for the note but it has disappeared. I am glad.

I have no idea what time it is or how I became rooted to this spot. I can’t determine if I am cold or not, I just feel numb. I glance down at my hands and reason I must be cold since my fingers have turned a worrying shade of blue. I try to recall how I got here but my mind is so groggy I feel like I’m wading through porridge.

I’m totally confused. I have no idea who I am and it envelops me with fear. My body has stopped working and my mind is not far behind it. All I can think is, ‘I’m sure I should be somewhere other than here’. I need guidance. I must seek out help. The sea front is silent and, apart from the man standing opposite me, I can see no one. In the half-light of the shop doorway he seems unreal, like a monochrome photograph. How long has he been there? Through glassy eyes I attempt to focus on his face. He has the Devil’s eyes and were I not already frozen to the bone I would feel the chill of his glare. I’m almost glad I can’t open my mouth to call out to him. I don’t think I like him. I wish he would go away.

All feelings, both physical and emotional, have upped and left me. How is it possible to feel absolutely nothing? I have no idea if my eyes are open or closed, I can’t move my face.

I am light as air, detached, fading into a long sleep. If the Devil man is still there, it matters not. In a few moments he will definitely have gone.







I toy with it, subconsciously passing it through my fingers, furling and unfurling the wire which connects it. It disturbs me to feel this way. I’m better than this, braver than this. Yet each night as I haul my weary body into bed, I can’t bring myself to flick the switch and succumb to the darkness. Gently I return the cord to its rightful place behind the bedside cabinet, comforted to sleep by the gentle glow and soothing hum of its hosts eleven watt bulb.



Night demons

Photo credit: NDPetitt on morgueFile

My weary mind’s cranked to within an inch of insanity when the night demons visit. Their infernal tinkering makes my brain fizzle with nonsensical thoughts as I float helplessly aboard the boat of no reason through the sea fog of doubt. When a valued cogitation stows aboard the demons unite, casting it overboard to choke upon the waves. Escape to slumber is impossible, the demons work to the hands of a broken clock that refuse to shift until they’ve dragged me kicking and screaming along the road of heightened emotional disturbance.

Then, the calm after the storm. Until tomorrow when the boat sails once more.

Short cut alley

Photo credit: hotblack on morgueFile

rain soaked cobblestones
slip and slide
make haste to outpace footsteps
unknown, friend or foe?

most sinister…

brand new day, new start
recall fails
repeat risky encounter
through short cut alley.


Photo credit: hotblack on morgueFile

My emotions betray me, flowing uncontrollably from blameworthy eyes. The tables have turned and my vulnerability is laid bare. The show of bravado which has kept me afloat this past month has dissipated and my walk is less confident now. I would turn back were I not so wracked with guilt. Salty tears buss my cheeks as if in a final goodbye before falling to the floor and vanishing in the dirt. Of all the things I could be thinking right now, ‘how wonderfully symbolic’, is the only phrase I could convey – were anyone here to hear it.

I wipe the flimsy paper I’m clutching across my soggy face in a bid to stem the liquid flow. The words written upon it are no longer of any consequence, by the time it is found they will have vanished, along with my tears.