short short story

“Hermit or dragon-slayer – which shall it be?”

She’d always rather fancied the idea of being a hermit, though without delving deeper was rather uncertain as to whether “hermit” – the word, she meant – applied only to men.

Perhaps women weren’t afforded by linguistics the right, obligation or freedom to be an officially solitary soul.  Women did the solitary thing all on their lonesomes: they married into solitude, they brought up their children in solitude, they grew to old age in solitude, they looked to spend their final days quite alone.

Maybe not all women.

In her case, for sure.

And now she had a choice: a difficult choice.  She could either become the hermit her husband demanded she be – or slay the dragon he’d become.

“Hermit or dragon-slayer – which shall it be?”

Maybe just invisible zero.

Maybe that was her fate.

Or maybe, even at this very late stage, there was still time to square circles she’d long looked to square.

In a sense, she already knew this was pretty damn impossible.  But even so, quite foolishly she still held out hope.  Hope had been a terrible guiding light in her life: the oncoming train, etc etc.  She wished she was a hopeless person, in the sense not of being useless but of being without hope.

It’d be so much easier, it really would.  So much easier to be without hope.

And how could she achieve her goal?  That’s what she really couldn’t see.  She had very few means; none at all really.  Everything was morally, and rightly so, in the hands of her dragon-husband.  It was all his property; she, meanwhile, was just about disabled (though not so you could exactly tell); and if not hopeless, and in the absence of any job certainties at all, then bordering on the fairly and unhappily useless already.

She guessed where it was all going to.

She could see what would happen.

Like so many women of her middle age, love would be subtracted from her daily existence; joy would be a minus on the balance sheet of emotions; and pretence (ie our marriage is just about perfect, my dear; our holidays, oh you can’t believe the emotion) would become a pretty clear fixture in the mix that was life, for just about all the rest of her life.

Hermit, then?  She imagined it would be so.

A life of contemplation.

A contemplation of lonely soul.

And there was nothing to escape the sadness of her fate.

Nothing at all.

No one left to save her.

Unable, even, to save herself.


Belief / Belive / Befree

If I could con-

template my sacrifice,

I would con-

template my sacrifice.

I would con-

template my disappearance

in trance-like state of

final igno-

miny tiny magicked me:

the incredible shrinking

reliving of relief.

But I see that now

I have no choice: not

Hobson’s at all – something

curiously different: almost as if

I’ve been managed into a

space I needed to realise I had

no choice at all

in this matter I describe,

observe and recall.

The choice isn’t who:

there never was any doubt.

The choice is the what: whether

to make a choice or not.  But

I cannot live my life in the

darkness of imminent

discovery: I live in free lands,

green lands, hilly mounds:

the mounds of your beautiful

selves which all draw me, a peaty

charcoal-like precision, every

morning I wake up

from my terrible slumbers: a coma

I’ve been in of grammatical

nature: no longer do I want to sleep

in this way

but live in our home and bring you

my love and kindness and

ingenuity on a tray which I’d

love you with – and sometimes be

afraid of, it’d be so

good a way of being

and seeing

and doing, my love: but most of

all, loving my love

that you are.

short short story

“… when an inside is outed (out of love and affection) …”


She was uncomfortable, so often, with the thoughts she had.  She thought she ought not to have them, for starters.  And that was bad.

For precisely the thoughts she had, they so often remained at the forefront of her beautiful mind … the whole day long, too; from dawning to dusk.  From the early morning when she opened her beautiful green eyes to the end of the evening – that time when, exactly when, the shadows of memory reflected in shady red wine would remind her of moments where lonely remains of love were the main (by now) desperately vultured carrion of her most inner hopes.

She wasn’t a morbid person by nature, either – let this be clear.  It’s just that the kind of life she’d been obliged to live had meant the very best of her being had been inhibited from showing itself to the outside world.

They say that what’s truly of value of any person out there is what hides inside the hider’s inside.  And so – through the loneliness imposed by the circumstance of confusion – she’d become a fairly professional hider of the inside she could’ve shared with others for most of her life, clearly lived more as a survivor than a living human being; clearly lived more as a now quietened soul of a humanity of the lukewarm.

She didn’t have less than others had, of course.  But she could’ve had far more: for precisely her inside was the most astonishingly wrought forging of ingenious and loving patterns that pattered like toddling feet in their innocence and gravity: she was such a gorgeous entity, too; the real crime was that no one had realised the reality in time.

Or maybe they had: maybe they’d said: maybe they’d told each other: maybe the grapevine had already spread the truth about her hider’s beautiful inside, and that reality it contained.

And so in truth, it was all she needed right then.  Some real living love and affection to out the inside that beautifully adorned the inside she’d hid from the man she had loved the entire section of her life she’d only survived (never lived, my love – believe me; never properly lived at all).