The Sky as Grey as Memory

The freezing tickle of snow on her neck, and she pulled the scarf closer around her. The breeze with needled teeth, nipping. The slow shush of the ground at her feet. The distant whisper of people, far off. The voice the leaves make, as they talk to the air. The grass silvered in brittle winter, and the stone of the path mottled with veined frost. In the sky, the dulled and echoed roar of an aeroplane, full of hopes and wishes and people bustling from one bright moment to the next. All this, and still he was dead. In the ground, never to smile and kiss, and covered over with dirt freezing into permanence, with leaves caught as brittle as glass, sticks like bones of birds and still he was dead. Never to smile or kiss.

And then the dinosaur. Grand and majestic, the slowest and lumbering beast. Oh, how he loved them. Their names and habits, and the sound they must have made; great throaty roars that rumbled and rattled the air and leaves. Such lives, such bodies of weight and strength, and pressed down into the earth to become immortal in their death. Ossified as doom. Made rock to note their passing.

But grey, now. The grey of solid stone, and moulded into an interpretation of what once was. The muscle carved, the stance imagined. The past.

Yes, she thought. The graceful neck, arched around to gaze over the shoulder. What past did it see; what slow dread thought scraped through its mind at what it saw? Only the past, and always behind, always there to push its way forward, skittering in your wake like that thought which keeps you in the night, keeps you from the warm and sound sleep, keeps your eyes fixed upon the dark and shadowed light, the shapes in your room that remind you they are there, and all the things that once were there, all the things which are not. The past always nibbles at the day, but it devours the night like a feast.

His hands, she thought, imagining their size, their feel. Were they really as small, or so light? His laugh, now subsumed into the fragile tinkle of other joys, around, on the television, all around, upon the wind, all the same.

His face. His smile, and his eyes so brown and wise. His hair which flowed like summer wine, that smelled so fine, and was so fine.

His memory, that she knew was hers to keep, and which she knew was fading, was scattering from her like raindrops in the battering wind of a storm she could not otherwise feel or defend.

She thought, as hard a thought as she could manage, in the cold and the grey, in the alone time she could never seem to run free of, she thought – like the dinosaur – never look back. Only the past is there, and it is cold and relentless and it takes us all in the end.

Dirt freezes into permanence; leaves catch as brittle as glass; sticks lie like bones of birds. Memory is as grey as the sky, and the past eats all it can.

And still he was dead. Never to smile or kiss.

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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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