She sat with me as the birds began to circle. They knew the tower; to them it was a source of fresh food, easily taken and safe from competition. Because they are birds, they never stopped to wonder why or how. Because I was like them, neither did I. It just happened. When we die, we are placed here for them. Not an offering, not a sacrifice, there is no meaning for the birds and the birds have no meaning for us. We are, in the end, meat, sinew, bone. A meal. I hope I was a feast.
I left him tied up outside the polling station while I went in to vote. The queue was short, but there were only two booths and a lot of slips of paper. More in hope than in expectation, I voted Labour all the way. I’m dyed-in-the-wool, I’ll never change and it almost doesn’t matter what the party does. Is that wrong?
The phone didn’t so much ring as bleat, a shrilling electronic honking accompanied by a steady pulse of light. Emergency. Come quick. Pick up the phone. In daylight, or on a clear night, it meant as much as a night-time projection on the clouds.
The idea of it pricks his conscience, if he has one. It certainly interests his wallet. He sinks back into the chair and pulls at a loose thread on the embroidery of the arm. He looks blankly across the room and away from the hopeful faces, shining in the lamplight. He is relaxed, unreadable. Inside he boils. A girl, the age his daughter was.
Aaaarrrr, me hearties!”
“Oo-arrr, me hearties!”
“No,” Captain Greyflash sagged, his voice returning to normal. He pinched the bridge of his nose with his left hand. “Not ‘oo-arr’. We’re pirates, not farmers.” Continue reading Piratical Practices
Don’t eat that.
What? Why not? What’s wrong with it? Poison? It’s poisoned, isn’t it? All my food is poisoned these days. The great tragedy of being Emperor for life is how short other people want to make that term of office. Bring out the Food Taster, come on. Where is the dispensable little fucker?
No, not poisoned. Just not good.
Nope. You’ve said it now. BRING OUT THE FOOD TASTER for the love of God, what’s keeping him?
Where the music ended and the screams, the applause, ended was impossible to say. A solid wall of heat radiated from the audience to the stage, adolescent lust breaking in foaming waves around his feet. I stared up at him, my eyes glazed with that same longing, damp with frustrated tears. He was so perfect.
In the old terms, it was a Crow Drop. Something deniable, a dead drop for the Devil’s agents. An unobserved, unguarded corner of nowhere that accumulated unbought souls. No-one had bargained for them, no-one had cleaned and accepted them, they fell from the meat of a body when the light went out and were picked up by those of a mind to notice.
“No one wakes up in the morning thinking ‘I shall be kind to my fellow man today’, do they?” He paced back and forth, boots pressing the grass so hard it did not spring back. “People are, and this is my point, inherently kind. Or, as the case may be, inherently unkind.” A beetle scampered out of the way of his tramping feet.