|image by The Mycoleum
Last night, I was reading dark short stories from some of Nightjar Press’s excellent chapbooks. Walking the dog later, I thought “I fancy writing a short story like one of those writers. You know, those ones”. And suddenly this came spewing out, stream of consciousness-style:
The effects were subtle but they were certainly there. Obvious, really.
When we waved goodbye to Kim that morning, nothing changed. The rain of the last few weeks was unabated. If anything, it got worse. Thank god we’d got the coal in before prices went up.
“Schildkreute”, Jan exploded.
“Slow warts steadied by delish topping.”
When the sun came through, it was golden. Although it never reached the house, you could tell by the light on the opposite hills. Jan said “there’s no end to the things that turn up”. We said “no matter, look at the hills”.
After one of those baths that are never as good as you’d hoped, things started turning up again. If it wasn’t the weather, it was the price of dry goods. At least you could stock up on them. We had no way of saving the perishables.
It happened that Jan had an appointment the following Monday. So we made the most of the trip, got what we could out of it. Rain running along the train windows reminded me of Kim.
“Nothing seems to last” you said as you chucked the carton of congealed milk, scarcely a day later. “Not like it used to”. “It didn’t, even then”, we replied.
By the time we reached the bottom of the freezer, strangers were roaming the moors, hoping for rabbit, maybe mushrooms. Jan didn’t speak any more, and we missed their petty contributions to the household. Mould had put a film across two of the windows, and the rest were in need of putty or something to serve.
By the time the end came, none of us was surprised. I remember you talking of something quite similar back, when was it? Before the incident with the putty, anyway. We’d been living a little beyond our means for some time now, and things were stacking up. Things always do.
We’d tried cutting back, but it never seemed enough, never made much difference anyway. Not until things became unbearable.