Fiction: In a Candle Flame

Art & Lit

As you blankly withstand me the swirl is raging within the constrictions of my chest and spilling out from my eyes, mouth and skin. I can feel the tide gathering and breaking and it won’t be long before the flood comes and swallows you in its salt. We’ll be under together, but only for a short time. Then the knocking starts and the doors will open, the pipes return and the hands can feel. But you have to see what’s happening first.

I want to restrain you and position a funnel from my ear to yours. Can you feel it? The voice is rising out of its corner and clawing at the red pillars and wailing with fury when you say no. I can see the tearing; I can feel the pleading and the repression. It’s in the way you speak and the pauses you make. Every breath is a betrayal. The edge is facing upwards, and with every syllable that thuds from your tongue another is added to our nest and I don’t understand how to fight our enemies. I want to take them on, aim at their centre and watch the blasted pieces plummet to the ground in recognition of my glory. But you won’t let me.

They say we are mostly made of water and I feel that now. The only way we’d merge is if I sucked the juices from my hollow tubes and mixed them in a flask with your own; that way we could keep us, forever fermenting. Emitting a gangrenous stench that suffocates those who dare to open our bottle whilst slowing killing our own tissue as we revel in ignorance and decrepitude. I suppose that’s what we were striving for. I wanted a gradual decline and you wanted a crash and burn.

Like cigarette smoke we curl above one another and dissolve into the winter air, dancing across the lights and leaving a trace of ash in our wake. A smell that can’t wash out. Something that lingers unless the windows are flung open and the breeze takes its victims separately: whole, but living.

I hurt some more. In spite of the resignation the jagged pieces surge up when I’m not looking, pushing me to bend back in when I want to lie on my stomach and lick the brazen ends that tickle my cheeks as the moon shines brighter. But the moon isn’t shining at all. It’s just a reflection of something greater, something stronger that harnesses its power to generate a haven of warmth and blood without which there cannot be a yes. Remember this when things get difficult. That every time you kick a ball you’re just passing on a component that wasn’t aimed at you and will not be aimed at another. Someone else will take it and see it as their own; they’ll claim responsibility when there is none and they’ll hold themselves to account when nobody is balancing the books. It’s just silence at the end so make as much noise as you can now. Look at me. I should know.