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Since  living,  well,  squatting  in  a  church,  I’ve  lived  opposite  all  kinds  of  churches,  seems  to  me  I  can’t   find  a  house  which  isn’t  opposite  a  church.  From  my  window  I’ve  watched  the  cold  stones  grow  wet   with  rain.     I   never  face   the   church;   instead   I   find   it  facing   me,   secrets   obverted   from   shadow   only  to   recoil   with  the  instant.  And  we  sit  exchanging  a  stare  as  cold  as  the  stones.  Now  I  keep  the  curtains  drawn,   but   it’s   still   there,   holding   my   home   in   place,   compelling   as   only   a   vacuum   could   be.   Nothing   to   be   ignored.  Its  presence  is  silence,  four  walls  of  strip-­‐lit  silence,  and  the  bells  and  the  hymns  cannot  belie   this  truth.  Silence  is  how  it  grabs  the  eyes,  how  it  speaks,  and  when  I  speak,  it  is  right  there  behind  the   words.   When   people   flood   out   of   the   doors,   as   though   regurgitated,   it   remains   unaffected,   for   it   cannot  be  filled.  Which  is  not  to  say  that  other  things—my  home,  for  example—appear  to  burst  with   life.  No.  But  few  things  are  as  stagnant  as  the  unkept  pond  in  the  cemetery  out  back.  Even  in  summer   when  I  catch  light  of  a  church  entrenched  in  colour,  it  looks  like  ruins,  like  a  gaunt  priest  in  coloured   robes.  I  want  to  get  lost  inside.  I  want  to  kneel  below  its  stained  windows  with  the  smoke  of  incense   thickening  the  painted  light.     There  is  a  homeless  man  living,  or  I  should  say  squatting,  in  the  church  opposite  my  house.  Often  I   think  about  sneaking  in,  maybe  sharing  a  drink.  I  want  to  ask  if  he’s  a  saviour.  But  I  don’t.  Because  I   know  he  can’t  answer.  



There   was   a   car   passing   in   the   window   behind   her   and   it   caught   my   eye,   dragging   it   beyond   the   frame.   She   thought   I   was   looking   at   her   because   she   was   looking   at   me.   And   though   her   face   was   stoic,   I   saw,   beneath   her   skin,   between   the   finespun   fictions   of   sexual   demography,   a   creature   whose   voracity  exploded  form  and  refused  content.  But  I  couldn’t  look  further,  because  outside  the  outside   is  inside.   I  plucked  a  piece  of  lint  from  my  sleeve.  People  were  talking  about  death  and  I  was  thinking  about   death,  then  her,  then  death,  then  both.  The  room  was  motionless  save  for  the  hourglass  descent  of   cigarette   ash.   Outside,   one   Death   assumed   an   infinity   of   Halloween   costumes,   knocking   and   knocking   on  the  front  door  to  demand  more  sugar.  “Our  house  is  quite  savoury,”  my  friend  said.  They  made   eyes  at  each  other.  Children  are  terrifying,  I  thought.  They’re  the  future.   She   moved   closer   to   me   and   I   saw   a   galaxy   of   lint   magnetized   to   her   skirt.   The   moments   continued—each   detained   by   the   flickering   light.   She   looked   afraid   and   I   wanted   to   reach   out   and   touch   her,   but   it   felt   good   not   to.   I   wanted   to   comfort   her,   but   I   liked   the   fear   or   the   dread   that   possessed   her.   I   wanted   to   see   what   things   that   mysterious   feeling   would   drive   her   to   do.   If   we   wake   up   tomorrow,   I   said   to   myself,   we   will   go   out   and   later   we   will   come   back.   We   will   eat   dinner   and   we   will  fuck.  When  we  finish,  that  fear  or  dread  will  creep  back  in  and  I  will  watch  it  come.     She  poured  a  drink.  A  grinning  pumpkin  went  dark  as  its  candle  was  snuffed  out  in  a  wax  puddle.   Another  car  passed  in  the  window  behind  her,  catching  my  eye.          

Unspoken & Carphologia  

flash fiction

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