The Gaze Doesn’t Falter

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The electricity in the sky causes the fillings in my teeth to ache, and the closer I draw towards the storm, the more I feel human. Just another human. Just flesh and bone wrapped around simple hopes and dreams. The same fears that plague everyone. The same shame of being ordinary in a universe that’s anything but. And yet as the sky flashes and the air in my lungs runs dry, such fears drip away. As the clouds continue to darken and the birds cease their singing, the lingering doubts that so often keep me grounded slip from my flesh as do the beads of rain that fall from the sky. At first, they fall at random, and as the fox comes to a halt in the ocean of wheat, he raises his head and sticks out his tongue. As he tastes the droplets that happen to land upon it, he seems pleased enough, but as they fall harder and harder, he flinches as they strike his fur. Snapping his head back, he watches as I peel off my shirt before tying it around my waist. The relief as the rain hits my chest can’t be measured. I can almost hear my sunburnt skin fizz and hiss as the droplets multiply second by second until the sky opens and it becomes a downpour. Opening my mouth, I swallow as much as I can remembering it’s been hours since I gave the fox the last of my water. Straining my eyes, I can just about see his head sticking out over the wheat looking drowned and a little sorry for himself. There’s doubt in his eyes. He’s worried I’ll turn back. That I won’t carry on. For a moment it seems as if the rain’s falling in slow motion. My eyes lock onto his. Two hearts. Two minds. Animal and man. One and the same. The moment stretches. The gaze doesn’t falter. And as a smile spreads across my lips, it spreads to his, and before I know what’s happening, I’m running as fast as I can towards him. Barking as I get close, he arrows through the wheat, closer and closer to the woods as they loom up ahead. Above them lies the heart of the storm, and as another flash of lightning blinks itself into existence, a clap of thunder roars causing me to stumble. The fox doesn’t slow his pace though. Hearing his laughter over the torrential rainfall, I move as quickly as my legs allow, and as the stalks of wheat part before me, the path becomes clear, both before my eyes and in my once broken mind.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

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