Squeamish

This is the second story in a series I’m publishing monthly throughout 2020. More details here.

CW: self-harm, blood

From the pharmacist, I get gauze, bandages, surgical tape and antiseptic cream. It took me a while to find a pharmacist that still took cash. From a grotty corner store I pick up the plainest, cheapest razor blades I can find. I don’t need five blades and a trimming razor. The moisturising gel is unimportant. I need razor blades that will break apart easiest.

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Sirens

Just before the door swung open, Amber was certain she could hear voices. When she walked into the small office, they had lapsed into silence. It had sounded like Tom. Great. He was meant to be the only friendly one. He sat at his desk, pretending to concentrate on work, music on as usual. Derek and Robyn ignored her as well. All three of them wore headphones, lost in their own world. Amber shuffled over to her desk, clutching her cup of tea, trying to ignore the tension in the room and failing. She wasn’t paranoid any more, she was certain.

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New serial book announcement- This Was Meant to be the Future

Blimey, it’s the year Twenty Twenty, a year that sounds incredibly futuristic. We’re past the setting of Blade Runner. The world is different and weirder in ways we couldn’t imagine before.

With that in mind, I’m announcing my next book of short stories, called This Was Meant to be the Future. I’ve been working on these stories for the last couple of years and it feels an appropriate time to release them.

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Tis the Season

Come sip the festive juice.
It tastes of cinnamon, cloves,
something strange you can’t discern.
Join us in the circle as we chant,
Tis the Season, Tis the Season

Feel your head expand and contract,
like a blinking light on a tree.
Watch as the world is delayed
by half a second, maybe more.
Tis the Season, Tis the Season

Hear the chant continue like
a runaway train, your mouth moving
without thought, unstoppable now.
Try to clench your jaw shut. Fail.
Tis the Season, Tis the Season

Understand, like falling from a cliff,
this ritual is older than the holiday.
older than the first human societies.
Around fires, they called to the darkness
Tis the Season, Tis the Season

Leave your body far behind.
Become one with us in the circle,
unsure of where you end and begin,
as we call to the cruel ancient god
Tis the Season, Tis the Season


Thanks to The Bristol Magazine for the incredibly creepy headline about cocktails, that was phrased in such an odd way I had to write this.

Brace brace brace

-and the clouds gather above your head, darker than you thought possible, bringing sudden night and you are now aware this field is too exposed and how you stick out like an antenna over the-

-and the airhostesses are telling passengers to sit down and adopt the position, hands behind the neck, back bent forward and they are trying to remain professional but two of them have tears running down their faces even as they try to-

-and they are gathering in the streets, emboldened by political events you only have the dimmest understanding of, some new leader maybe, and they are laughing and joking, all wearing shirts and buzzcuts, and you are glad you wore contacts and not glasses or else you could have been singled out and for now you hold your breath and walk past, when one says-

-and this the hottest day on record but you are sure it’s fine, the government has a plan or maybe the scientists or someone will come up with steps to be taken and you will listen and shade offers no relief but-

-and no one is shouting now, everyone is in their seats and everyone has adopted the position and it’s very quiet now-

-and the air crackles around you.

Move fast and break things

We’ve found a way to monetize breath.
It’s simply a game changer. Can you feel
the paradigms shifting under your feet?
We are shaking up the world like a snowglobe
and breaking traditions. Each inhale a cent,
each exhale is free. Thats it! Simple!

After all, we are providing a service.
We could flood the atmosphere with
deadly chlorine gas, killing everyone
painlessly and quickly, but we don’t.
We allow seven billion humans to live.
So we are providing a service.

The market has responded favourably.
All hail the market! Praise stock tickers!
We’ve revolutionised food and water,
turned the streets into profit, now we
spin gold from the air itself. Our
investors are very pleased indeed.
If you don’t like it, don’t breathe.