The One They Call Their Own

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Removing the shoelace from her right boot, she loops one end around her wrist and the other around the arm of her prized teddy bear. That way you won’t get lost, she tells him. Looking out across town as it pulses with the sounds of music and giddy laughter, she holds teddy close to her chest and prepares to jump from the top of the Ferris wheel. It’s a long way down, and the cold night’s given her goosebumps and made her shiver something rotten, but after taking a deep breath, the moment she throws herself off it no longer matters. Falling through thin air, those beneath scream in horror. Some raise their arms as if to catch her. Not that it would do much considering how high up she is. In just a few seconds the entire fair becomes aware of X’s impending doom, and as she hurtles to the ground, mothers cover their children’s eyes, and lovers bury themselves behind their palms and in the embrace of their terrified others. But just as she’s about to strike the cigarette strewn concrete and explode like a tomato, she lets out a rapturous scream of her own and swoops back into the sky, launching herself above startled heads that can’t quite make out what’s going on. She’s like a firefly, mischievously clipping the tips of the fingers reaching out to touch her before changing direction and going back for more. If only you could see her. If only you could catch a glimpse of that smile and hear the laughter bellow from her lungs before escaping her mouth like a clap of thunder in a storm. In the blink of an eye, she leaves behind the baffled crowd and zips her way through the empty streets and deserted pathways. Within minutes she’s circling the fields and damp woodland that surrounds this town like a crown of bloodied thorns. Flying over horses that gallop in their droves, she comes down low and runs her fingers through the mane of this one trailing horse in particular that turns its head and looks at her so curiously as she flies on her back with her face bathed in the faint glow of the moon above. And then? And then she’s rushing towards a wall of trees, and just before she crashes through, she takes hold of teddy and pulls him close, and as a thousand beaming eyes gaze at her from the darkness, she speeds through like a bullet kicking up all matter of dust and leaves, and as her laughter echoes among the startled animals, they cry out in celebration as the one they call their own soars through the branches back into the still and infinite sky.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

15 replies »

  1. “If only you could see her. If only you could catch a glimpse of that smile and hear the laughter bellow from her lungs before escaping her mouth like a clap of thunder in a storm.”

    We can, because of you, Stephen. This touches my heart in ways I can’t adequately say. ❤

  2. “She’s like a firefly, mischievously clipping the tips of the fingers reaching out to touch her before changing direction and going back for more.”

    I really need to buy your book.

  3. It must be, such a wonder, to take that leap, without any sense of the consequences of one’s own life, to be brave like that, but unfortunately, none of us, adults would DARE do such a feat…

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