This place is mapped on the inside of her skin. The archway, the hole that tumbles down, driven into the earth as if some great creature had dug and dug—the stone sides like the walls of a mausoleum. 30 metres down the tunnel cuts to the side and there is a second archway lifting towards the light. Cold kills through disbelief. A person will think themselves warm and start taking off their clothes or lie down to sleep, believing they are safe.
Talk was vain and Jac took little pleasure in it. The tanned man driving the taxi from the airport out into the flat expanse of country had attempted it from behind his handlebar moustache. She had taken ever longer pauses between responses until, finally, he ceased.
We buy the dog, the puppy, whose name in this story is Maggie, though really it is Sylvie. We might have considered calling the dog (as opposed to the fiction) Maggie, but some friends called their baby Maggie, removing it from our list of possibilities.
They met without ‘preconceived ideas’ about their world. They meant the world they would make for one another. When apart, they were often ‘in pain’. This was their truest ‘commonality’. They used such words. The source of pain mattered little.
He stands in front of the mirror, both hands clutching the side of the sink, nose grazing the toothpaste-splattered mirror. He ignores the razors and multiple bottles of aftershave crammed on the ledge. He ignores the soggy mat beneath his feet. He looks deep into his dark brown eyes and reaffirms his right to get the things he wants in life.
I learned about the wall the same way everyone learned about the wall; it was just there. The sun is warm, the lavender smells like lavender. When the traffic lights turn green, that means ‘go’. The wall was built to protect us from the people on the other side, and if you get too close the soldiers start shooting.
On the streets of Koreatown, a woman was howling in Spanish for her missing dog, which had one ear yellow and one mauve: a locally famous dog, Casper recognised it from the billboard for the grooming shop next to the weed dispensary on Olympic-Vermont. Huge purple flowers drifted over the sidewalks.
Nevin Trebec awoke on his futon wearing snow pants and a parka. Underneath the snow pants and parka, he was naked. It was the first day of June. ‘What the hell happened?’ he said, as he sat up.
It’s seven. Morning, definitely. Lots of brightness around. Nectarine, peach then white, as the eyelids fold back. Pills of light dosed through my window. Pellets of glare. Outside, invisible cats screech for territory.
Manpreet saw it first. She walked downstairs in her lavender-colored bathrobe, started the coffee brewing, drew open the kitchen curtains and there it was. A small, conical hill where the rusting swing set had stood for years, with what looked like an opening at its apex.