January 2012 Free to you
Welcome to Edge Magazine 2012, A magazine that pushes the boundaries of creative content by exploring unprobed realms and the inner workings of the inspired mind to expose and leave you… standing on the edge.
1 Introduction // Julia Bond 4
Digital SOS // Liam Temple
Graffiti // Jayson Woolmington
La fumée et des miroirs // Kerry Charlesworth
This particular issue is jam packed with Northumbrian talent in an explosion of poetry, prose, flash fiction and script to kick start this New Year off, and we look forward to many future issues like it!
Wonders of the Universe // Danni Mustarde
We eagerly await your next flurry of submissions chocked full of inspiration and magnanimity to blow our little minds! Love
An Unexpected Trip // David Graham Ward
The Edges xxx
PS – Thanks to Kaye Kossick; without her inspiration and drive, none of this would have been possible.
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Edge-MagazineNorthumbria/248200595229635 Twitter - @The_Edge_Mag Online – http://edgemagazinenorthumbria.blogspot.com/ Submissions - email@example.com 1
Someone There? // Jordan Baker Unrequited Dreams // James Maloney
10:15 // Paula Vera Muldoon
Proposition // Liam Temple
Morning // Ellis Mumby Midnight Run // Lizzie Hirst The Cafe // Jack Steele
The Days of Wine and Roses // John Baker
43 The Team
Digital SOS By Liam Temple Edited by Asa Maddison My precious one it’s not that I don’t love you still but this digital age has removed all the thrill of love and laughter and spontaneity when your true love’s life details have to be sent via email.
And the hand that wrote this has travelled every valley and plot silently memorising every blemish or blot on a still perfect landscape waiting to be explored from bottom to top never wanting to cease or stop.
But when you read those words feel my lips at your ear whispering sweet nothings for no-one to hear massaging the lobe with the tip of my tongue that fleshy little piece playfully grasped between my teeth.
These are my impossible urges that can no longer be compressed I’m sick of trying to reach you through the screen to be caressed so this is my last great plea my message in a bottle my final cry of distress my digital SOS.
Still longing for that one night where our bodies do the maths where we spread the sheets and learn to add and subtract multiplying the feeling by our own natural reactions then dividing the pleasure at our own pace and leisure. These kisses are my kisses covering your body in its entirety searching any dark hidden cells revealing everything to me knowing every inch of you blissful in the knowledge with me travelling even deeper you’ll forget pixels and speakers. 4
Edited by Jane Hutchinson
La fumée et des miroirs By Kerry Charlesworth, Edited by Sashka Drakos ‘What is interesting about people in good society is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality that lies behind the mask’ -Oscar Wilde My life is nothing but a series of layers. Lies, secrets, revenge wrapped around each other. Endless circles. The tragedies only getting more confusing and the lies only getting more complex. Standing here now, in the middle of the performance ring, everything seems like a distant dream. A dream that is not my own. If I were to tell you the secrets and the lies I know, you wouldn’t believe me. I guess that’s the way it is. You can never be a hundred percent certain if a person is lying or not. Circumstances have a way of changing people. Suddenly glass shatters. It’s beginning. The smell of sulphur fills the room. The room is as black as coal except for the flames surrounding me. Before this all ends, I should explain where it all began. December 11th, 1897. The world was still. No storms. Nothing that would shatter the pieces of your world. I’d hate to describe my past. I don’t see how saying my name followed by my social status will let you know anything about me but what society wants, society will get. My life before the circus isn’t much to recall. It was replaced by a marriage which spelled the end of my past. It was a marriage of convenience. The only thing I took from my past was my collection of phonograph records and my great grandmother’s necklace. Four years later, and the record’s corners are torn slightly, the vintage necklace shines just a little less than it used to, the fabric on my corsets is wearing down. Threads are coming loose. The circus moves from town to town and so do I. Christian and I ended up at the circus after his bank was closed. The glitter and magic of the show seemed to fade as the years sailed by. The chilling breeze taking it far away, my lingering hope fighting against the current. The illusion of the show filtered out so that all that was left of the performance tent was the foolish and judgmental eyes of the audience looking down on all of our lies. The stereotypes of candyfloss, elated ring masters, and hilarious clowns vanished within the first few weeks. The flea infested candyfloss, the ring master sedated by the years of money and power. The clown? Nicknamed Happy. Drinks excessively and has never breathed a single kind word about children the entire time I’ve known him. As the lights of our show started to flicker out, and the betrayal became more expected, it was no wonder that it happened.
December 28th 1901. Every performance of the night is sold out as people
celebrate the end of the year. Not that it matters. It is one show, and one show only that will be completed and talked about for years to come. As I stand backstage lacing up the back of my corset, Luther walks in. ‘Lace it up faster. It’s a sell-out audience, and you know that means critics, too. God, don’t make any mistakes. Last night you looked nervous. If I can see your hands shaking, so can the audience!’ ‘My hands were shaking because I’m allergic to bird feathers and you know that. When we use the doves in the second act it makes me react bad-’ ‘I didn’t ask why the hell you looked nervous. Just don’t, Rose. The trick you perform is nothing without the showmanship. If your relationship with Blake is affecting your performance, I can easily have him removed. Pull the laces tighter.’ He walks out and leaves me alone with Happy. The corset and the disappointment of my childhood dreams suffocate my lungs, digging their claws into my ribcage. Blake helps me. It isn’t true love, but it isn’t convenience. True love would be set alight and smoulder in a place like this. A year ago, he would have said something warm-hearted, but this place has a way of making people cold. He simply smiles. He retreats to set up the pistol for the bullet trick as Christian walks into the room. Christian puts on his jacket, the colour of dusk. His gold buttons stand out in the drab and stained room; his deep violet stone cufflinks match my corset. A match made in heaven that is now perishing in the fires of hell. He looks at me as he’s putting on his cufflinks and I realise he’s looking right through me. He doesn’t see me anymore. My own personal disappearing act. He looks in my eyes for a split second and walks off. Blake walks up to me and seizes my arm. He pulls me close and whispers, ‘Tonight.’ I know exactly what Blake means. He wants to run away with me from the place I had run away to. He doesn’t fully care for the circus. He pretends to be a part of the audience to be picked as a volunteer for the bullet trick. The bullet trick, if done wrong, could cost someone a hand, an arm or a soul. The gun is actually filled with blanks and a replica of a bullet. ‘On stage, now! Rose, come on. Blake, get in the goddamn audience! I checked the gun. How many times have I told you- don’t mix the bullets up. This is a circus, not an executioner’s.’ ‘I’m sure I put the replicas in. I only made that mistake once.’ ‘Once was enough. Rose, fix it.’ Luther drums his fingers like a tolling death sentence along the gallows of his arm. I quickly grab the gun next to the wreath of roses off the dressing table. I hurry to wait for the final curtain rise with the dark caverns of his eyes watching me. Like lambs to the slaughter.
The familiar music begins and I walk out with Christian, linked arm by arm. Fresh meat. I put on the same mask I wear for every show, a smile that illuminates the room. We are in the centre, surrounded by the fabric’s deepest rubies and rarest amethyst. ‘For this next trick, we would like to ask for a volunteer.’ Of course, Blake raises his hand, and is picked. ‘You’ve never done this before? Don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll do great.’ It’s always better to disguise any lie. Blake smiles and nods along, occasionally shooting me glances. I walk over to Blake and hand him the gun. He winks as a wave of relief washes over me. The haunting drum roll starts and stops. The sound of the gun shot sets everyone into motion. Chaos is complete. People fight to leave; mothers grab their children and flee for their lives. Christian tumbles to the ground like a stack of cards. A battlefield of blood surrounds Christian as people run towards him to help. Blake is held down by several men. I hear him shouting after me. I walk backstage and pick up my phonographic records and my grandmother’s necklace. I light the edges of the ruby curtains and watch as they turn night black and start to do their own disappearing act. I smash mirrors on the floor. How they shine in the moonlight through the broken curtains! The room filling with smoke. Heaven. I have to leave this place. On my own. If I’d left with Blake, this would be a reoccurring nightmare. For once, something was being truthful; I’d replaced the replica bullets with the originals. I glide out of the circus onto the empty field as officers run to arrest Blake. And rain starts to fall down. I am reborn. I throw off my mask but the magnificent smile remains on the rebuilt ruins of my face. They’ll realise eventually. They’ll set the wolves on me. But until then, the show must go on.
Someone There? By Jordan Baker Edited by Sashka Drakos Dawn was hours away, but I was just relieved I’d been given leave to come here. I drifted up the stairs and stood outside her – our – room for a moment., Debating whether or not to go in. She was asleep. Not stirring at all. .Just breathing. Soundlessly. Beautifully. I moved close. The covers were tucked tight under her chin, embracing her soft, pale skin. Even without me, she stayed religiously to ‘her’ side.Mine was untouched; clear and calling. The sheets didn’t crease at all as I sat and watched her. The duvet vaulted ever so slightly as she inhaled. On the bedside table was that picture from the falls. Our smiling faces. So happy. So full of adventure. Imagining the eternal possibilities for our lives together. The portrait of me - geared up for war - right beside it. That stern, hard-man pout she’d made me do.
I smiled; she was still.
I rose, standing over her. Such elegance, perhaps more-so than when we met, shy kids avoiding strangers at a party, drawn together. I didn’t want to bother a thing, she deserved her peace. But I couldn’t resist. I leant over her, felt her breath pass through me. Warmth of life. I kissed her cheek, daintily, wishing it was her lips. My passion passed through her face, I felt it chill, breeze against her skin. She woke, with angst, not delight. I stood back. She looked around, dismayed. ‘Hello?’ Her pure tone, her melodious voice. Sirens would be jealous. ‘Someone there?’
I wanted to shout to her, but it was futile anyway. Just see me, I lamented.
‘Please,’ I whispered.
She sat up, spooked.
‘Anna, I’m here. Please.’ She got up and shut the door, lay back down and shut her eyes.
I faded out.
‘I love you.’
Unrequited Dreams By James Moloney Edited by Megan McKie-Smith A land of unrequited dreams Of nightmares built from gold Palaces of blasted sand Upon foundation old Boats of ghostly whispered players Awash in lakes of blood Pilgrims stumble, deaf and blind To the graves of the great and good Roses arenâ€™t so sweet in black Dead birds cannot sing And whatâ€™s beneath that burned up mound? The tombs of romance kings? In the grand old golden fields Of days and weeks ago Where once you walked and held my hand I stand, in black, alone
Wonders of the Universe By Danni Mustarde Edited by Chloe Beale Do you ever wonder Why you or me are here? Sometimes it fills me With philosophical fear We live on a big ball That spins in the sky Yet most of the time No one stops and asks... why? They say that space goes on Forever and a day How is this possible? D’you believe what they say? Cityscapes or mountains What was there before? Just an ink-coloured space? There must’ve been more. It’s a real mind bender This kind of ‘out there’ thought Perhaps we should plead ignorance Perhaps it’s best we ought.
An Unexpected trip By Graham David Ward, Edited by Julia Bond Desperately running along, Reggy turned into the direction of the blazing sun. The strong unprotected glare caused him to squint and green dots blocked his eyesight. The only protection coming from Marcus’s substantial six foot plus frame; as he ran ahead. “Come on, Reggy, man,” demanded Marcus, glancing back at him. “Get moving!” “I’m coming, I’m coming,” said Reggy, panting raggedly as he ran. But to his horror he tripped, smashing face first into the ground. “Reggy!” cried Marcus. Reggy shut his eyes, his head thumping so hard from the fall, it was as if someone was playing a drum; the pain from the grit rippling through his hands as if someone had rubbed them with sandpaper. He tried to move, but he could not, he just went limp. Consciousness beginning to fade, he heard a voice call to him. “Come on, man, they’re waiting for us; we’re going to be late.” Struggling to open his eyes, Reggy began to squint; a large faint silhouetted figure appeared before him, blocking the sunlight from his eyes. “Marcus?” “Yes, it’s me,” he said, grinning down at him, “Who else did you expect? Now come on, man.” He offered Reggy his hand and yanked him up. “Oh, and do please try to stay on your feet this time, eh?” Reggy raised his eyebrows at Marcus grin, trying his best to brush himself off, his best clothes now looking quite scruffy from falling on a grit pathway. “I’ll try my best.” Marcus laughed, as Reggy began to limp along the park’s pathway. “Do you need a stick, old man?” Reggy looked at him unimpressed. “Hey, you’re the one that’s turning thirty this year, not me.” Marcus laughed. “Yes... thank you for reminding me...” Still breathless from the fall, Reggy shut his eyes for a mo18
ment, inhaling a deep breath, taking in the sweet aroma of the freshly mown grass; hearing the birds that filled the blossoming trees trill sweetly, the sound resonating through him, relaxing him. “Come on, Reggy, man, hurry up;” said Marcus, “we’re already late, it’s just around the corner now.” Opening his eyes, Reggy saw the park’s lake-side restaurant. The noonday sun haloing its shed-like structure; the flowers that surrounded the patio deck glistening with an artist’s palette of colours as the spring weather bringing them to life. Walking around the corner to the restaurant’s ivy covered entrance, Reggy stopped, seeing a woman standing there, her back to him; her dark crimson hair gilded by the sun. She turned to him and smiled, his heart filled with a happiness so great, words could never describe it. She walked up to him as he desperately tried to brush himself off, her eyes filled with shock. “Good Lord, what happened to you?” “Oh don’t ask, Martha,” Marcus jumped in. “Where’ve you two been?” said a voice. Reggy turned and saw Lexi walk up to Marcus, greeting him with a hug. “It was Reggy’s fault, darling,” said Marcus, “he’s been up to his old tricks again.” “Reggy, what happened?” said Martha. Reggy shook his head ruefully, smiling through gritted teeth. “I tripped didn’t I...” Martha smiled “Honestly, can I not leave you for one second?” Reggy shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “Come here then, I’d better take a look. You two go ahead, we’ll be with you in a minute.” “No worries,” said Marcus, leading Lexi inside. “And be gentle with him, he is but a gentle flower you know...” “Yea yea, whatever,” said Reggy “Reggy, come on,” said Martha, “sit down; let me have a look.” He sat on a shaded bench, with Martha taking his leg, pulling his torn trousers leg up. “Good Lord,” she said “I know...” Shaking her head, beginning to examine it, she glanced up at him. “You know, when I first gave you first aid on the battlefield, I 19
didn’t expect it to become such a regular thing.” “I know, sorry; I’ll have to try harder... Ow!” “Come now, don’t be such a wimp, honestly,” said Martha, shaking her head. “Now does this hurt?” She moved his ankle, causing him to grit his teeth. “Don’t worry,” she said, “it’s just a sprain; but I’d better clean this gash up.” Reggy began to gaze at her longingly, unable to take his eyes off her soft homely face, not even wanting to blink. “I really do love you so much, you know that right?” Martha raised her head, tenderly taking his hand, her soft silk like touch sending a tingle down his spine as her gentle hazel eyes gazed at him so lovingly. “I know you do... and I love you... more than you could ever know...” She lowered her head, a slight hint of sorrow filling her eyes, “which is why I need you to wake up.” “Huh? What are you talking about, what do you mean?” Martha looked at him in a way that only she could; her eyes filled with such love, yet so strong. “You know what I mean.” “No, I don’t want to leave you. I miss you so much. Please, I don’t want to be alone again.” Tears began to fill Martha’s eyes. “Don’t worry, Reggy, no matter where you may be, whatever happens in your life, I will always be with you.” She put her hand on his heart. “In here. Now Reggy, please...” Reggy cut her off, quickly crouching down to her, hugging her tightly andfolding his head into hers. “No,” he said. “Never.” Martha pulled back slightly from him and gazed into his eyes, putting her hand to his face; his eyes shutting as he felt her faint touch. “Reggy, you have to let go.” “No.” “Reggy, promise me you will.” “No, I don’t want to be-” “Reggy,” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “Promise me.” Seeing the expression on her face, the sheer determination in her eyes, Reggy reluctantly nodded, shutting his eyes again as she smiled. “Now Reggy, WAKE UP.” 20
Reggy’s eyes suddenly opened, noise crashing over him.
“Thank heavens,” said Marcus. “Now get moving, man!” Reggy looked around him, seeing smoke everywhere, hearing the sound of gun shots and mortar bombs ripping through the arid air of the desert battlefield; the strong smell of death in the air. “Reggy, come on, man!” Reggy’s eyes opened wide and he staggered up, running with the aid of Marcus to cover. Slumping behind the ruins of a building, Reggy began to loosen his gear as Marcus hugged him. “Thank heavens; I thought I’d lost you too.” Pulling back from Reggy, Marcus’s eyes opened wide with shock. “My god, no, the shot’s gone through your vest...” “I know.” Reggy moved his hand from the wound, seeing the blood seep from his chest. “Don’t worry, it’s not my time yet, it’s not my time yet.” “You’re damn right it’s not, Reggy. Now you just hold on, man.” A medic came rushing into sight. “We’re over here!” he Yelled. Marcus stepped back into a defensive position, letting the medic get to Reggy. As she began to work, Reggy gazed up at the skies, seeing the sun shining like a ray through the clouds as everything began to go blurry. “Were you Martha’s husband?” asked the medic. Reggy nodded, lowering his eyes to her. “Why, did you know her?” “She was my trainer...” “Ow!” cried Reggy. “Don’t be such a wimp, now. Just put your hand here and hold it tight; I’ll have you out of here in a jiffy.” Reggy glanced at her smiling. “I can tell.” She looked at him, her eyes filled with sorrow. “I’m so sorry about what happened.” “No, don’t be, she died doing what she loved.”
By Paula Vera Muldoon, Edited by Julia Bond FADE IN: EXT. TRAIN STATION - NIGHT It’s a wintery night with a cool crisp breeze in the air.
JOE It won’t be much longer, just a couple more minutes and you’ll be almost home.
JOE  is sitting on a metal seat at the train station platform. He pulls up the collar of his jacket, lifting his shoulders to his ears, nestling his hands deep inside his jacket pockets.
NANCY gently tugs at her gloves with her teeth as she removes them from her hands. She places the gloves on her lap before opening her bag and taking out a folded newspaper. She continues to rummage in her bag with the newspaper held in her grasp.
A group of YOUTHS are gathered at the far end of the platform drinking from tin cans. One of the YOUTHS throws a can onto the track, the rattle alarming JOE. He snaps up his head staring at the youths and shouts.
JOE I think Mary Poppins summed up the depth of a woman’s handbag... bottomless.
JOE (SHOUTS) Damn Kids! You should be in bed at this hour. Bloody hooligans!
JOE gently pats his finger tips together and lightly TAPS his toes on the concrete floor.
A tired and wind swept NANCY  walks up the inclining path to the platform. Once at the summit, she pauses briefly to catch her breath. JOE looks at NANCY a smile radiating across his pale face. NANCY stares at the YOUTHS who are whooping and cheering at one another as they throw more tin cans along the track.
NANCY briefly lifts her head as a fast train whooshes through the station, kicking leaves along the track in its wake.
JOE (SHOUTS) That’s right! Terrify the elderly that’s really big of you! JOE reverts his gaze to the approaching NANCY a smile returning to his lips. JOE Don’t panic, you haven’t missed it! Settle your bum down there, it won’t be too long now. NANCY places herself on the bench along from JOE. She sighs before removing the bag strap from her shoulder. JOE removes his hands from his pockets and turns back his sleeve to look at his WATCH which reads 10:15.
O.S SFX TRAIN APPROACHING
NANCY returns her attention to her bag; her hand still rustling through the contents. JOE Your specs are lost my dear and if you rummage much longer you’ll pull out a lamp! JOE gives a cheeky smile as he gently shakes his head. He smacks his lips together and speaks to NANCY. JOE Would you like a butterscotch?... JOE smiles. JOE (CONT’D) They’re Werther’s... JOE continues to smile.
JOE (SINGING) When one who loves you says to you; you’re someone very special too. JOE pats the breast pockets of his jacket, then scratches his head before finally smoothing his grey hair. JOE I Could’ve sworn I had some! JOE frowns, and bows his head. O.S a tin can RATTLES across the concrete. JOE suddenly sits up, fury etched on his face. O.S WHOOPING and CHEERING from the YOUTHS. NANCY lifts her head sharply. She slips the newspaper to her side and repositions herself, holding the gloves in her lap . JOE Kids today - they’ve no respect. No respect! - would never have happened when we were that age. Mind you, they probably respect that popstar, what’s his name? Malteser man or mars bar man? JOE shakes his head. JOE (CONT’D) (MUTTERS) Some sort of chocolate. O.S SFX Train Approaching Train lights appear in the distance. JOE turns back to NANCY, whose eyes are gazing into the night.
JOE What did I tell you! Your chariot awaits. NANCY closes her bag sharply, she SIGHS and stands up, the gloves held tight within her hands. She smooths her coat then steps forward to the platform edge. JOE steps to her side, and slips up his SLEEVE to look at his WATCH.
don’t want no more accidents!
NANCY Thank you ever so much. Both the YOUNG MAN and NANCY step onto the train leaving JOE standing on the platform. INT. TRAIN CARRIAGE - NIGHT
JOE Ten fifteen on the dot.
NANCY steps onto the carriage and takes a seat next to the window.
JOE looks at NANCY who’s eyes are glistening under the neon lights.
JOE steps back his eyes looking adoringly at NANCY.
NANCY clutches the gloves tighter, as the train slows into the station, SCREECHING to a stop.
JOE I love you Nancy.
The carriage doors open and a MAN  dressed in a suit steps onto the platform and walks past NANCY and JOE, thumping NANCY with his bag as he passes. JOE curses the man.
NANCY wipes off the condensation from the window.
JOE Ignorant fool! NANCY stumbles back with the force, losing her footing, her bag and gloves falling from her hands. JOE gasps and steps towards NANCY.
She sits up swiftly as the train begins to depart her eyes intensely scan the now deserted platform. NANCY (WHISPERS) I love you Joe. The train departs leaving the platform seat empty.
Suddenly one of the YOUTHS, a YOUNG MAN with a metal ring in his lip, jeans and a hooded jumper grabs his arms around NANCY steadying her from her inevitable fall. NANCY Oh! The YOUNG MAN holds NANCY til she is able to stand. JOE Thank heavens! NANCY Oh my! Thank you! JOE You get on that train, we
Proposition By Liam Temple Edited by Asa Maddison
Would you like to come back to mine, for a half arsed blind stab in the dark at having some fun? I’ll play second fiddle to that darling first love of yours. He wouldn’t have to know, as the saying goes. Oh, of course not, I jest it’s not like that’s something I’d want to suggest, or take an interest in. Anyway, you know that’s not me, so why don’t you come back to mine for a stiff cup of tea?
Morning By Ellis Mumby Edited by Chloe Beale There is something calm here. This bedroom holds the darkness of last night; Dreaming lover pull me towards you. I am encased in this bed, still and sleepy, Luke warm light smolders against the curtains. There is something calm here. I think of the earth turning towards the sun, Dancing around its partner. Dreaming lover pull me towards you. Morning light now chases the fading stars, Washing up over the city. There is something calm here. Planets sleep somewhere between the deep dark sky, And the glittery pink sunrise. Dreaming lover pull me towards you. I touch the warm thing that sleeps next to me now, So unaware that we spin towards the sun on our axis. There is something calm here, Dreaming lover pull me towards you.
Midnight Run By Lizzie Hirst, Edited by Jane Hutchinson She ran as fast as she could with her heels sinking into the soft ground. The smell of midnight dew settled, and a mist collapsed around her. Her dress tore against the branches, leaving red webs behind; she stopped against a tree, trying to catch her breath. She unbuckled her self-proclaimed ‘Wizard of Oz’ shoes and stepped out of them onto the grass. ‘Holy shit, it’s cold.’ She gasped. She threw her shoes one at a time as far into a collection of bushes as possible. She turned to see if he was there, she couldn’t see him. Sprinting out of the shadows, she gasped for air more and more, she could see the blaze of the street lights just within reach. She approached the street carefully, and hid herself within the shadows of a house. Stealthily sliding her head around a corner, she looked to see if there were any signs of life, she saw only a cat crossing the road. From here, she walked casually towards No.16 catching her toes on some raised slabs, and once on the kerb as she walked up the pavement. She silently unlatched the gate and slipped the key into the front door; she entered the house and closed the door behind her, holding the handle down so the usual bang and click couldn’t be heard. She stopped and listened tentatively. When she was sure that everything was normal, she stepped lightly through the hallway and up the stairs, the darkness reducing her adrenaline. She undid the zip of her torn dress, and it slipped to the floor with the sound of a mouse’s whisper. She tapped the light switch of the landing and slid through her bedroom door. She sat down at her dresser and took off what remained of her jewellery; one earring, a bracelet and her mother’s ring. She smoothed out her hair with her fingers, and checked in her mirror. She peered for a while into the mirror; her eyes became unfocused when, suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she found herself trapped in her own home.
The Cafe By Jack Steel, Edited by Julia Bond That day I remember. I strolled unconsciously past window and window. My mind elsewhere; oblivious of the world in its self-contained considerations. However, a glance was to end such mindful excesses. In a window my eyes did wander. And a sight such as I have never encountered did greet my grateful eyes. A woman perched in a cafe, her loveliness resonant as she flicked gracefully through a leather-bound novel. My legs persisted with their walking as my eyes and brain embraced this view. All too soon it was gone. The day panned out like a forgotten torture as my waking mind could not shake this image and it remained glued to my consciousness thereafter. The next day my route traversed the same cafe, and I allowed my hopefulness to blossom as I approached. A wave of delight encompassed my being when I saw her once more. She sat in the same place with the same book, almost as if some magnificent mirage. My legs faltered slightly and slowed as I passed, permitting me more time for scrutiny. But once again, it ended too soon. I hatched a plan thereafter. The next day I returned and upon seeing her presence, entered cautiously the cafe. In there I sat for an hour or so, observing her whilst sipping at tea. The hour passed slowly as if time had stopped to allow me these minutes. Her golden hair was unkempt cutely and hung over her face. Her blue eyes stood out mesmerizingly beautiful. For weeks after I repeated the same thing. I sat and watched her, as a moth does a flame. This routine was ended however, one fateful day, when I arrived and she was not there. I grew angry at her betrayal as I took my seat and waited in irritation. I sat for around 15 minutes, at which point her arrival provoked even more rage within me. She was not alone. She entered with a handsome, kindly looking man with whom she was holding hands. They sat down together and looked lovingly at each other whilst conversing. My rage boiled almost audibly as I witnessed this monstrous happening. I felt myself run cold with hatred. I despise her. How could she? Every cell of
my body was in agony. How could she? I, who had been so faithful, I who had waited each day, I who had loved her so dearly. Abandoned. My face grew red and I began to physically shake. This would not be the end of it. The next day I waited outside, in an alley to the rear of the cafe. I saw her figure pass. ‘Hello.’ I shouted calmly from the shadows. She stopped and squinted into the din. ‘ Hello?’ she replied. I didn’t respond and she edged into the darkness. ‘Hello?’ she repeated. When she was about half way in, I stepped out and she jumped in surprise. ‘Hello.’ I said. She began to stammer nervously over words. ‘Do you recognise me?’ I asked. She looked bemused and slowly shook her head. ‘You recognise not, he who loved you most, and he who you betrayed so callously?’ ‘W-what?’ I stepped towards her gradually, hand behind my back. She remained rooted to the spot. ‘Your evil is such that you know not even my face. And you shall be punished’, I said. I was face to face now. Her skin was smooth and she gave off an aroma of lilac. Her eyes were red and succumbed with fear. She looked as though she wanted to run, but could not. My hand caressed her cheek and she shivered at its delicate touch. I stroked her hair gently and leant forward, kissing her tenderly on the cheek. And then I struck. My concealed hand came forth hastily, and a glinting dagger plunged into her midriff. I pounded several times, all my anger jabbed into her delicate figure. She screamed in agony and fell to the floor. I looked into her eyes unerringly throughout and she into mine. Her face still unscarred and as life evaporated from her body, it remained beautiful. An expression of fear and surprise was etched upon it, twisting her features. The most delightful of beauty though, underlay this expression. I kissed her on the forehead once more in goodbye and left, her punishment dealt. Balance restored.
The Days of Wine and Roses By John Baker Edited by Julia Bond He sat in the middle of the living room with his legs crossed; flicking through a pile of old records as the sound of Andy Williams’ Days of Wine and Roses floated out from the vinyl player in front of him. He listened to the words: “The days of wine and roses laugh and run away like a child at play”. It was a warm sound, full of imperfections and crackles but it still made Henri smile. He watched the record spinning for a moment. A steady stream of dust particles were sent from the turntable as the record wobbled under the needle. They came to life as they drifted through the golden afternoon light – dancing and swaying to the music. Seconds later and the moment was gone - the record showed it’s years and skipped out “filled with memories, filled with memories, filled with memories, filled with memories, filled with memories”. “Argh,” moaned Henri as he lifted the needle and removed the record, inspecting it he noticed a sticky smudge across most of the album, which he tried to scratch off before returning it into the dust protector and then into the sleeve. He looked up at the clock on the wall and then at the cardboard boxes scattered around the room – they were all labelled: bedroom, clothes, books, car stuff. ‘Five more minutes,’ he thought as he picked up a pile of records and flicked through them: Sinatra Fitzgerald 39
Lanza Crosby Henri smiled as he put the card to one side and then read the track list on a Soul Motion compilation, before mumbling through a few lines of ‘My First My Last My Everything’. He flicked past ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 7’ followed by a Bangles LP. He laughed. “Jesus, Henri!” Then he came to a single, ‘My Endless Love’ by Diane Ross and Lionel Richie, he flipped it between his fingers, reading the front and back before rolling the record itself out of the cover. It was in perfect condition. He rolled it back in and then looked to the clock and back to the single. He took a deep breath...”ah what the hell!” He pulled the record out once more. Placing it on the player, careful not to touch any part of the vinyl other than the very edges. Then, he hovered the needle over, before gently lowering it onto the outside.
The music and words continued to flow. Henri still lay with his face covered, motionless and silent until he heard the keys in the front door. He sprung up and wiped his face frantically.
“Helloo!? Where are you?”
She was early.
“I’m in here!” Henri replied.
“Ah, hi, darl,” she said entering the room, “How’s moving in day?” “Yeah, good thanks I’m just-“
“Ah you’ve got your vinyl player – put our song on!”
Henri nodded. “Yeah, okay. It’s here somewhere. Two seconds.” He removed ‘Endless Love’ from the player and returned it to its sleeve.
The room was still and quiet as the single rotated smoothly. Then a crackle, before a few seconds of piano and the words; “My love there’s only you in my life, the only thing that’s right”. Henri leant back, resting on his palms and looking towards the ceiling before fully laying down on the floor. With his hands crossed behind his head.
He closed his eyes and smiled.
The record played on into the words, “My first love”. The smile died slowly as he bit the inside of his bottom lip. A few seconds later a lonely tear rolled down Henri’s cheek before dripping from his ear to the floor. He wiped it away, but another one fell in its place. Followed by another from the other eye. He let out a sigh, before giving in and crossing his arms over his face. 41
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