Archive for November 2012

a hush

November 17, 2012

Her shoes whispered to the cobbles as she walked. They were damp, and she could feel them slightly gritty beneath her feet. They were not smooth, or slippery. She liked that. Her hands dug into her pockets for warmth, her right fingers wrapped tightly around an old key. She held it like a talisman; it comforted her. The collar of her black coat was pulled high, a scarlet scarf tucked tightly to her neck. She felt cozy as she walked, even as her breath steamed out and dissipated into the cold air around her. The sky crept close to the ground, dark clouds lumbering slowly from west to east. The town around her sat quiet and empty. The houses and streets were lit but silent as her shoes whispered to the cobbles and her right hand squeezed the key. 

The whispering stopped when she came to the doorway of a house that stood right where the cobbles stopped and the tarmac began. She drew the key from her pocket, the metal warm from her grip, and slipped its teeth into the tattered looking keyhole. Her breathing stopped for a moment, and she closed her eyes as she turned the lock. It was stiff for a moment, but the tumblers then gave with a satisfying ‘chunk’ that echoed across the cobbles, pushing back against the silence around her.

She exhaled, but then held her breath again as she turned the brass knob and opened the door.



November 3, 2012

He sat alone, embraced by the barren room. They had filed out slowly, each at a loss for words. They shook his hand or gripped his shoulder, but could not quite bring their eyes to meet his. Their eyes found instead the rug-less floor and empty walls and the middle distance.

After they left and the echoes of the shutting door faded behind them, he walked into the kitchen and to the sink and washed off the handshakes. The bubbles slipped between his fingers and down the drain until the water ran clear and bubble-less. He felt as his hands blushed red and tingled in the hot water. The handle squeaked as he turned off the flow. He flicked the loose water from his fingers to the floor but didn’t bother to dry them.

There were no more hands to shake.

With his wet hands he grabbed a tumbler and filled it half way from a fresh bottle of whisky left by one of the handshakers. He sniffed it and didn’t wince too much.

The floorboards between the kitchen and the sitting room whined a bit as he stepped through.

The chair wasn’t very comfortable but he sat anyway and sipped his whisky and stared at the blank walls. They were pale, blue, and unremarkable. In one of the corners on the ceiling an old cobweb looked like ancient ash.

He sipped and held it in his mouth for a moment before swallowing the burning liquid and long, slow breath. They were gone and he could surrender, finally, to the last few months. His face tightened around his eyes and cheeks His breath shortened. He gasped a few times and sighed.

No tears came.

The blood in his temples throbbed. Eyes squeezed shut, head lifted skywards, face in a grimace.

No tears came.

There was no relief. It all lay too deep, pressed down and buried.

His chest lurched. He curled forward and covered his face with his hands and tried to dry heave his tears through. His face bright red, brow bright red and glistening, but his eyes were still dry.

The months before would not move. They rasped inside him. He breathed again and sipped his whisky and let it burn.