Thursday, 28 April 2011
04:11:22 PM (GMT)
It’s the dead of winter, the city is frozen solid; glass like frosted ice and the
sky as cold and hard as iron. Even the neon lights from shop signs and street lights
are dimmed to a murky grey. The streets are silent. Snow is falling. The murky clock
face on the front of a squat, imposing office building is slowly ticking round to one
o’clock. Down the street, the door to a dingy bar opens, spewing pulsating, disco
light onto the virgin snow. A group of people spill out onto the pavement, squealing
and screeching like seagulls at the snow and the chill in the air. Their breath fogs,
joining the mist lurking in the air, twirling and spiralling as the unseen tide from
their voices disturbs the calm.
Above them, a light flicks on. It peeks out from between the slats of a blind and
glances off a bus stop sign. The pale, sallow light makes the scene look submerged in
water, with the people milling around the sign fishes. The blind rattles up, and the
inhabitant of the flat unlatches the window, the glass rattling as it bangs against
the breeze-block wall of the apartment block. A dark figure disrupts the lights from
inside, the brightness of it distorting their silhouette, amputating an arm and
biting a chunk out of the head.
They lean out, smouldering cigarette held loosely in the fingers of their left hand,
observing the fish-people with all the curiosity of a child. Their fingers are long,
deft, nails short and clean, although their ragged edges suggest a nervous habit.
Continuing the observation, they lean forwards, breathing out a lungful of smoke. The
tendons in their thin, thin wrists shift and stir under the skin. There is a small
tattoo on the pad of their thumb; a fish, with a long, spindly tail wrapping around
the shaft of their finger, teetering off and wide, crazed eyes.
The figure is shirtless, but there is no soft swell of breasts or tantalising curve
of a waist. There is only lean muscle, and hard edges. The mysterious observer is a
man, young, perhaps, although his hair is long and unkempt, an interesting contrast
to his fingernails. He has pulled it back into a rat tail at the nape of his neck,
and it spills a dark black across his shoulder blades. The dip of his collar bone
sweeps up into a long neck, pulse faintly throbbing on one side and tendons sharp.
There is another tattoo here as well, this time a scrawl of kanji, painted on his
skin and reaching up behind his ear.
The cigarette ash splits and he taps it against his thumb. It sprinkles down,
mimicking the snow and settles, grey on white. He raises it to his lips, pale from
the cold, and inhales, then end of the cigarette glowing a deep red, like sunset. His
eyelashes cast shadows on his face, like tiny hands reaching down to the cigarette
between his lips. There is a scar on his cheek, a faint white line, curving down and
disappearing under his jaw, his hair obscuring most of it.
He doesn’t open his eyes as he exhales, listening to the rumble of a bus and the
clatter of high heels and the swell of voices as the clubbers go home for the night.
The doors hiss shut and the bus pulls away with a low roar, the cigarette smoke being
sucked along with it. He stubs the cigarette out on the PVC windowsill, leaving an
ugly pucker. With a sigh, he reaches out, groping for the edge of the window and
hauling it shut. The snow on the miniature balcony shudders with the force of it and
some of it falls, escaping to the ground far below. He reaches for the string of the
blind, fumbling with a vicious knot, before yanking it to the side, the slats sliding
The street is silent again. In the distance, a clock strikes one, a cat yowls and the
last train rattles into the station. The snow keeps falling.
Last edited: 28 April 2011