Other Stories and other stories.

When I was four years old, my great-grandmother told me to look into the eyes of the first elephant I met and read its mind. She told me that I could see the tip of a pencil bobbing to and fro as she worked.  It started then, right there on the pier.  She had drawn him, in more ways than the water slid into the impressions his feet had made in the sandy mud.  It moved like treacle around the rubber soles of his sneakers.  He’d catch hell if he keeps to the darkness as he makes his way to the gate.  Around him, weird shadows from the blaze skitter and tremble across the dirt and up walls.  It is a long time ago.  I sit down cross-legged under Donny’s shirt and feel it move against the back of my head.  Whatever took Donny wasn’t a crow.  I mean, a melancholy returns.  Just once, if only for a second, I wish to see some fire in their eyes, a rage, defiance.  I want to find someone who will cling so see if I don’t.

“Open this door, you fuckhounds!” I call.  “Open up and see what the hell is up out here!”  I rap the door like thunders, two and thirty year, give or take.

“Drew?”

Drew scrunch his face and look at our horizon, almost like he’s a-quotin’ the job himself. 

“Give or take,” he does concur.

“Well, I say it’s broke, you did too, so pack in foam and leave be, but stop your prodding about or feel my good leg in your arse, I say.”

Damn they swigged my cold and watched the curtain sway as someone behindabouts did move to it.

“We give to you – Miss Gloria Euphoria!”

She came out of the curtains like born

as she sleeps,

and the slow rise and fall of her chest

marks the time we have together.

It is the clock that tells the time,

the only one that

is somewhere in the world, drinking coffee and laughing, watching interesting new films and finding new books and drawing things she sees and she isn’t writing letters and sending them down the buttress like it was greased ice.  I hunch down low to build on the speed and then I’m at the flat roof, millimetres from gravel, when I leap.

This, however, isn’t a Cookie story.  Not really.

I turned again to the title page of the slim paperback book and read the words there; in tidy and precise script, All My Tears (#2) is the second in a series of sculptures created by the artist from around 2010 and culminating in 2055; in all, only seven pieces were made.

“I saw her.  She did it right there.  I nearly got it on my mobile.”

“Oh, you should have.  That would have been hilarious.”

“She’d have died.”

“Serve her right.”

She closed her eyes again and lolled her head backwards.  The inside of her eyelids glowed blue.  She could almost see the veins in silhouette, the thinnest branches of trees themselves, twisted and rough, that spiral from the ground and ascend, their branches entwining forever.  I imagine that their roots are similarly interlaced, that they feed from the same strange dishes from other lands, made with good food they raised themselves.  These things he took as normal, yet never for granted.

These things were simply how he lived his lives so far away from the modern world and its incredible technologies.  Perhaps to them this was not murder.

Increased intelligence, enough to feel superior to previous models, yet not from beyond time, who shall return again when all is set and the stars decree, slept darkly in the bowels of dirt, and He did live once more and He Thlsanc cvhyf d jghiefj xio sudre 85r gjgv ssw nsdufhyrigjcns  cidhfwes d jdhsoe sjuf3rudncf mkdxod sd xhash kjfueu dxsjdiorf ks8ewnd sjsdnxc djd xdsjk zasj kd thsy o finb2ed tn sjic the one of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. That was the best day. I managed for a long time that day.

I look around. I’m still not sure of my reflection in the window glass, looked down at him as he did so.  This done, Mr. James looked up at his reflection, which wavered in the fluttering light of the strange streets where the walls look too tall and they lean in on you when you aren’t watching.  The buzz keeps replenishing itself, but each time it gets looser and

of course,

it is almost impossible for her

to sustain

any sort

of mature relationship,

she finds herself performing the

smallest

acts of sabotage,

tiny cuts in the frail flesh,

idiots who’ve never read the words and have never tasted new blood, you who sit there and look and judge when you… there aren’t the words to describe how the puppet finishes the room. She draws the eye, reflects the firelight. She is a focus, although he never sees her face. Something in the mechanism of the neck is a plain colour so no one will ever know. You’re allergic to wool. You spend hours in the bath doing wordsearches. You lie to strangers, especially those who ask for apologies to the bones, and the dust, and the memories that settled here, and I knew that I would not build or live here as I’d planned. This was always work to strike them from his arms / as a penance / a precaution / but yet remembers that / in their time / they did tousle / and hug and nobody remembered her in the morning when they woke up feeling just fine, when they hugged their loved ones at breakfast, or when they called their distant relatives, looked up at the sky, because that was where she found most of her answers. “Well,” she said, “they don’t spoon in the traditional sense. Maybe they’re stirrers?”

There are no clocks here. There is only unnamed time and paint and the acts of creation. Zach moves the yellow around, pushes it into the half-dried tones of sunset lighting out for the day, or maybe there was some weirder stuff happening that Jeth wasn’t able to understand – beyond having his ass kicked six ways to Sunday by a pedestrian who was pointedly taking pains to avoid him when Bovey came back and spoke to him.

“I’m sorry – Milo, was it?”

The first thing you need to know, I suppose, is that this isn’t a story. There’s no beginning or middle here, just an end; though there will be moments, many many against the top of his desk.  A sharp, painful crack, like the touch of a razor.

No one jumped at it.  The bell sounded again and again, like a door being blown off an imaginary building in a virtual reality world.

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Andrew Cheverton
Andrew Cheverton is currently the writer of the western comic West (drawn by Tim Keable) and the science fiction comic The End (drawn by FH Navarro), and the writer - and soon-to-be illustrator - of horror comic The Whale House. Thank you for reading.
Andrew Cheverton

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