StungYou were not a sentinel in the empty air,
a spy-drone dropped by an enemy force.
Just a furious sound. A sense of outrage
caught and unseen, all your anger focussed
in one sharp sting. A stab, a thought of pain
and then you were gone. Autumn sunshine,
conkers gathered in my hands,
splitting from their skins. Gold and green
and the sky a platter of blue. My heart
rising into my scalp, my senses narrowing.
Nothing but a drum, and a thought of getting home,
and then giving in to gravity, grasping the ground.
Perhaps you made sirens sing to skim my ears,
perhaps wove a gauze to cover my eyes.
Perhaps you hardened wax about my chest
and tried to make a cocoon of me.
Perhaps. We had long since been divorced.
No world at all but the world of my body,
and the grass below my cheek, and the thought
that nothing is precious and life could be left
like a sleep.
I will not hate your hive-mates. You are one,
and my autumn is your time to rest.
ST: Moments At Gol: ChekovHe didn't look like the man that Chekov knew. No, it was worse than that. Much worse. He did look like the man that Chekov knew, but like a doppelganger, like some kind of figment that crept in the corners of one's vision. He wasn't sure about going into the room, and for some minutes he hovered on the threshold, knowing that the old Spock would have turned and raised an elegant eyebrow long ago, asking what the young ensign wanted.
He laughed at that. He hadn't been an ensign in a long time, but somehow when Spock was around he still saw himself as a green recruit with unmanageable hair, and Spock as the commander who knew everything. Now he himself was a commander, Spock a captain if one could keep a rank through death and rebirth and he knew that commanders did not know everything, just endeavoured to pretend that they did.
A little of the laugh escaped as a kind of dry cough, and at that Spock did raise his head, turn, and lift that elegant eyebrow. But there w
The Storm ComingThe world’s on a knife edge. That’s what they all say. Mam tunes the radio in and out and presses through the crackles until it hits on Chamberlain’s voice. And then everything stops. She won’t let anyone make a sound. She don’t even clack her knitting needles one on the other. If you’re caught on one foot, you stay on one foot. If you’re scratching the back of your head and pulling in a breath, you stop like a statue while she listens and you don’t let her know you’re still breathing.
And she listens, and I listen, and Dad and Petey listen too. He don’t inspire confidence, Mam says all the time. I don’t know what it is, but he don’t inspire confidence. You think he can keep us from war, Dad? What do you think?
Dad don’t think nowt. He just grunts and picks up his tea and drinks it, hot with three sugars. That’s all. Petey’s making a model of a fighter, and I don
100 Themes 2012, 91-10091. Prey
Such soft-nosed, scared things. It didn't seem right to want to kill them. But the thought of that meat made the juice flow in Leah's mouth. She was hungry. She lost blood every month. Her mother kept saying to her, 'Your body's a woman, now, even if you're not. You need iron. Where am I going to get iron for you?'
But still, they looked so soft. So trusting. She stood still as a tree on the edge of the field, her eyes on those plump, cavorting creatures. She thought of how potatoes would taste with rabbit gravy mixed in. She thought of the softness of rabbit skin as gloves or a cloak or a pillow. She thought of the texture of meat in her mouth and meat in her throat as she swallowed, and she loosed the arrow from the bow, and watched it arc and strike.
92. Follow me
'You're not my dog,' he says, standing his ground. 'I don't need your eyes, Leah. I don't need you to walk ahead of me. I've been here for fifteen years. I'm comfortable.'
Suddenly she feels ashamed and small, and
100 Themes 2012, 81-9081. Dark
He had been waiting for years now for dark to fall completely. Perhaps that would never happen. He didn't fully understand what had happened to his eyes. He only knew what had been said to him, that his sight would die away and there was nothing that could be done. That was when he had decided to run, for everyone's good. But still the dark curtain hadn't lowered completely. He still saw the sun as a brightness above all else, and some colours pushed through into his eyes. The dark of night was a relief sometimes after the coruscating glare of a bright day. He found himself calm and able to concentrate when he cut out that light.
He had his bunched up blankets full of things. He had been to the rubbish dump every day for months, picking and sorting and thinking of what he might need. He found himself facing the future with a curious degree of calm. It felt like something that was very necessary. His dad wouldn't want him once he couldn't see. He would be a burden, a w
100 Themes 2012, 71-8071. Frozen
Even the river has a sheer spread of ice over it, milky grey and thick. Judith steps her feet onto the edge and listens for the creaks that might speak of danger, but there are none. She cannot even see bubbles under the surface. She wonders briefly what that angler guy might be doing at this time of year. Does he make holes in the ice? Does his dry his summer catch and make stews of them in the winter?
She steps out, one foot after another, and wonders what would happen if she slipped. Would the ice crack with the percussion of her fall? Would she flounder through into the water below and be taken away? What would Leah do then?
She slices it carefully between muscle and bone, peeling away a scale of meat. She has a whetstone and keeps the knives sharp enough to cut leather if she needed to. The meat separates like petals falling from a rose. It is clean and fresh, and once she has smoked it and dried it it will keep for months.
She wipes the knife on a cloth and s