Saw some kids doing poppers behind the local supermarket. They watched me watching them as I passed with both hands clenched in my pockets. Not out of fear of an altercation, but because I was trying hard to keep myself tethered to the here and now. I was lost in thought, you see. Thoughts regarding the places in town that are no longer around but of which still exist in my head. In reality, the stores and buildings from my childhood have either been knocked down, or mutilated beyond recognition. In my mind, they still stand as they once did. Some unaltered physical traces of the world I came from remain, but the older I get, the more they’re becoming harder and harder to find. So yeah, anyway, these kids. They had bad haircuts. All messy curls with no sense of style. They sheltered from the rain beneath some guttering surrounded by empty cans of energy drinks. There were also silver canisters scattered here and there; either remnants from their previous highs, or someone else’s. They ignored my vacant gaze. Giddy and grey, they indulged in their kicks as somewhere in the distance, the ringing of a fire alarm carried in the blistery winds blowing over the tops of anonymous houses that have never outwardly revealed any of the secrets they carry within. They teem with secrets, though. They all do. But they keep such secrets to themselves. Licking my lips beneath my face mask, I left the kids to it and cut through the muddy field next to an ambulance station. More litter. More winds. Bowing my head, I thought about the girl who died whom I knew in school. I’d never been interested in her sexually, and yet suddenly, even though she was dead, I wanted to have her. Even though she was dust, I visualised her belly, and how it was host to a colony of insects and a nest of crispy, brown leaves smelling of autumn and burnt toast. Biting my tongue until it bled, I imagined holding her legs above her head and stabbing my cock in her buttery wound in some vague attempt at hurting God. I don’t know if it worked or not. How is one to tell?

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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