Twilight Terrors

It isn’t dark.

It isn’t light, either.

It is the tricky light; where the sky is clear as day, but earth is filled with shapes and shadows, which move when they shouldn’t.

They slink behind trees, and peer from the pale walls of white houses.

They watch, silently, as you go about your business.

Maybe they hide in the backseat of your car, so you turn around quickly when you get in, but they always vanish just in time.

Maybe you hear their cackle echo as they shoot round the corner, like a vanishing puff, and you aren’t sure if you saw something, or if the not-quite-darkness played a trick on your eyes.

The best weapon for this time of night is a warm jacket. Make sure the inside lining is soft, and make sure you drown in your jacket. It’s the only way to keep you safe from the Twilight Terrors.

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Love Letters #39

Have you ever sailed into a horizon of clouds?

A giant mass of faded blue puff, rising in the distance like a manifestation of a nightmare storm. It’s England, though, it isn’t real. It won’t turn into a tornado; it is too benign for that. It is still, like a painting, a wall of such exquisite detail, as though some artist in the sky painted every stroke with tender love and care.

Every shadow, articulated.

The road winds in and out, up and down ahead, and the sky around the faded blue cloud is an ombre of colour, from the palest blue, to a bright and sundry pinky yellow.

The trees begin to silhouette themselves, but it isn’t quite twilight, yet.

And the clouds billow in the sky as though fuelled by some ferocious fire, only not so bitter, not so black, not so violent.

Still, like a photograph.

A still moment in time, as the sky transcends daylight and becomes that sultry, mysterious mixture of day and night. Not quite here, not quite that.

I love those clouds. Those clouds that don’t quite know what to make of themselves, that take on the hues of the ever-changing sky, shrugging on the colours and exploding in every emotion. So ominous, yet so safe. So surreal, yet so familiar. So strange, yet so reminiscent of thousands of autumnal evenings, throughout the centuries.

And always, always, a fresh wonder to the eyes.

Love Letters #8

Walking down the street with his hands in his pockets. He always cleaned up so nicely. His hair slicked back, his face tidy and trim, his suit brushed and straight with the crease in the trousers, shoes shined up to perfection, like brand new, reflecting the street lamps in their gleaming glory.

The pavement was shining with the mist of rain that floated down upon the town. Heels clicked and shoes scraped with the faint gravelly echo of damp street sand. The evening twilight descended upon the world, combining with the golden glow of the street lights to create a surreal dusk stillness, when the streets emptied and families sat around dinner tables, and shops were empty and dark behind their shutters because shop keepers had long gone home.

I stared. Thomas? No. It could not be. Impossible.

But it was, and he was!

He whistled a little as he walked, his step jaunty, and my heart ached. I loved his whistle, his cheery, melodious tunes. His whistle meant he was happy. He turned quickly into an alleyway and vanished.

I peered into the darkness of the alley, squinting a little. It was like a cavern, swallowing up all light, so I couldn’t make anything out. What was in there? Should I follow?

My footsteps sounded loud on the pavement, so I bent over and slid my dainty heels off, holding them by the straps by my side. I followed him.

I heard his whistle, faint, further down. So I hurried, further and further and I still could not see him.

‘Amelia?’

I froze, my toes curling inwards on the cold, damp concrete beneath me. My eyes focused in the gloom; the brick walls on either side of me were illuminated by the faint lights out on the street; they were glistening.

‘Thomas?’

His voice was so clear, as though he was standing right next to me.

‘Thomas?’ I said again. The whistle sounded again, even fainter, and I knew then that the voice I had heard could not have come from Thomas, his whistle was too far away. Or was it?

‘Amelia..’

I jumped. It sounded right in my ear. I looked around frantically; nobody. Nothing. Just the damp concrete and the strangely glistening walls. My heart beating wildly, I tried to shake off this panic that rose within me like bile.

There is nothing to be afraid of, just carry on, it is not real.

I could not do it. My fingers clutched my shoes as I turned and raced out of the alleyway, the long rectangle of light from the street ahead of me looking so far away, every hair on my body standing on end, screaming at me to go faster faster get out of here before I am grabbed.

Finally I burst into the light, as a car sailed past me on the road. A gentleman walked across the street, head cast downwards. Lights twinkled at me in the shiny, shiny, post-rain twilight world.

I glanced behind me and shivered as I walked hurriedly, still barefoot, along the pavement. It was not Thomas. It could not be Thomas. Not my Thomas, at any rate.

It was not real.

Dear Amelia,

I write you from the depths of this ship. My cabin is fairly tight, four beds confined to a space not even wide enough to fit my length. But it is alright, the boys are friendly, we all await the end of our journey nervously. What will the war hold in store for us? I have spoken to some boys who have already been on the front line. They are cagey, and I heard one telling the the lieutenant that it was hard to remain cheerful about it all. I know they don’t want to terrify us with horror stories, and so we carry on. The closer we get to our destination, the more sombre everybody becomes, but we mask it with our jokes and tales of women and joy, and we smoke and smoke and smoke. Write me, Amelia, keep me updated, all the time. Fill your pages with tales of home.

Yours, 

Thomas

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The Dream Girl

When she looked over the hills, after pounding her way up on her rickety old bike, she dreamed she could fly over the metal mess that was the city, and alight on the greenery in the far distance. The mountains, pale and purple beyond, the hills, rising and falling, awash with green in varying shades. All rising above the scrapyard they like to call the city.

She dreamed she could sail up high and touch the clouds, so vast and fluffy, as they drifted along the vibrantly blue sky.

She dreamed she was a daughter of the wind, with magnificent tresses, her body winding and curving and swirling on the air currents, ducking and diving, so graceful and wild.

She dreamed she was the maiden on the hull of a ship, the front line of the sea path, guiding the crew through mountains of waves, lashings of rain and sea foam, and always wind. Always the wind.

The cold wind on her cheeks, numbing her face. The wind carrying her over the globe, through prairies and mountain ranges, under canopies of birches, vales of violets. Rushing through the furious wall of a waterfall. The hot wind of the desert, filling her eyes with sand, the cold wind come night time, shaking her free of her dust grave, taking her someplace new. Always new. Loud and thunderous, roaring and wailing.

She dreamed of hills and rolling frondescence, and when she grew up she wanted to weld her soul to the raging storm. She wanted to be wild and free, she wanted to bend the trees under her will, she wanted to slam herself into the nature so hard that she became a part of it; wind whipped and ferocious, scraggly and strong, full of vitality and life. She wanted to be the silence on the moors. She wanted to be the sea crashing on the rocks. She wanted to be the stillness of a lake under the twilight sky, stars dotting it’s mirrored surface. She wanted to be the planets as they turned around and around. She wanted to be the sun, and the moon too.

She lay under the skylight, and dreamed the stars were holes in the sky to another, brighter sky, way above.