If you’re squeamish… Probably better that you don’t read this

Hi,

All is going to plan with Invisible Shores and it should be out by the end of the month and, ofcourse, I’ll keep you updated. Until then here is a little story I wrote a couple of years back.

It’s always struck me that murder would be most easily done at this time of year, for who suspects the slumped corpse on halloween or the percussive crack on bonfire night?

This will be a little dark, and will be a little twisted. Hope you enjoy.

O

BONFIRE

It came in the instant between now.. and now. The man in the dark suit did not see his attacker and by the time the needle was pulled from his arm, the paralysis had spread.

He is no more than an Armani clad puppet that lolls and flops as it is dragged from the alley. I observe, I see all, and will claim all, so, in this moment, I follow the stooped silhouette that is stark against the street light.

I follow now, I have business this night. Above rooftops, the sky is brilliant, great spreading pools of colour, explosions like gods applauding, that is, if there were any gods apart from me.

An engine thrums to life, headlights swing across a shop front, the mannequins appear startled in the harsh light, before the blush of night reclaims them. The rear lights of the Renault lure me on.

Through this night of sparkling stars we speed, phantoms of our own devising. The hedgerows sweeping past, their branches are uncertain claws. The car slows, turns, and this is the field. A great bonfire roars in its centre.

The embers fly, fading from white, to silver, to gold and orange before fading to the sly red of a dragons eye. Small, gloved fingers clutch a spitting, hissing wand of light. “J”, an “a”, an “m”, an “e” and finally an “s”. And now, there is a scream.

The rocket slips the grasp of gravity and hurtles towards the stars. It’s flight slows, and now slower, and now slower still. Gravity reaches high with invisible hands to reclaim the fugitive, which suddenly bursts into sound and light until gravity’s hands clutch only a charred husk.

Other hands have been busy, on the rear seat of the Renault sprawls a life sized doll; an absurd, bulging creature made of sacking and straw.

Polished shoes poke through the bottom of the baggy trousers, while clumpy gloves complete the arms. The head, a balloon, it swells and contracts, swells and contracts… “I’m back!” The man shouts.

Children surround him. “Have you got him, have you got the Guy Fawkes?” He kneels to hug the enquiring child. “Shall we throw him on?” It is a stage whisper and the children shout: “Yes, yes, yes!” While a silent voice screams: “No, no, no!” , “Let me!” the man intercepts reaching hands, “I’ll take him.”

He stoops, and rises with the guy in his arms. He capers, the children laugh, “Its not that heavy,” observes a girl in a pink bobble hat, “he’s just made of straw.

The man continues to smile, and totter beneath the burden, the children laugh again as they follow him to the dancing flames. “After three?” “One …” The children say, “two” they cry, “Three” they scream … The clothes of the guy catch quickly, flashing from dull brown into flickering orange, and then something beneath the sacking begins to crisp.

I look down on the blackening guy. The rubber of the balloon has melted. I can now see the shape of the secret hidden within..And now, to business.

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