'Unlit Sticks' by K. S. Moore

The tractor scores bright lines in the field. Four bales of silage already loom, great barrel-shadows with a sheen of their own.

I hide behind glass and a dark house that has brought out the black in me. It is June and I'm about to light the fire. The house needs a fire. It's old, heartless, permanently on pause. I assemble the timber. The phone rings.

I wonder whether to wash my hands. So many creatures in the garden . . . I'd be a fool to think they hadn't scurried over my kindling. I worry about the germs spreading, imagine them skipping from my hand to the receiver, leaving a trail of risk. I'll wipe it later.

“Is Mrs Wall there please?”

I'm not a Mrs, I'm a Miss, so I shake my head, until I remember to speak.

“There's no Mrs Wall here.”
“Are you sure?”
Of course.

I hang up, turn on the television. It releases a jangle of sound and I wonder why I even own it. It's not as if I need the company. I have Lana. She turns her key in the door. Clicks into place.

“Any phonecalls for me?”

I shake my head. This house has taken all my words. I cannot find them, even as she runs from a rotten marriage.

“I thought . . .”

I never discover what the thought was. It is lost as her handbag slips from her shoulder to her wrist, triggers a sigh and sit down at table.

Neither of us makes tea, meets eyes.

The fire is just unlit sticks.


Popular posts from this blog

‘Honey’ by Patricia Quintana Bidar

'How to Sacrifice Your Life in the line of Duty and Still Go Uncommemorated on War Memorials' by Jan Kaneen

DEBUT FLASH: 'Come home' by Anne Chapman