Triptych: Michael Loveday

A Slow and Relentless Arrival

 

Now it’s too late for us to return, though something calls us back with the force of an obsession. A bloodied horizon dulls gradually into night. We seem so separate from that fire lowering itself daily into absence.

When it is our turn, let us exit on tiptoe. It doesn’t matter that we have known each other. Here, at these cliffs, birds swoop and circle, frantic, though there is nothing but us to feed on.

*

The path twists and rises in the darkness towards the vague shape of a building, yellow gleams beckoning through pines. Around us, creatures fidget in the night like sleepless children. An insect crawls on my wrist. In the silence we hear the faint cry of our names. If we are still enough, maybe the world will not notice us. Only one thing is required – that we do not run away.

*

Without fanfare, a slow and relentless arrival of forms from the blackness. We step out into the field, fingertips brushing the cold grass that shimmers with the memory of the night before. A breath of wind on our faces.

One tree on the horizon, splayed arms marking the way. There’s no other route forward, but the long journey is inward and we’re not ready to begin. We have stones in our shoes, which we have been told not to remove.

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Michael Loveday’s novella-in-flash Three Men on the Edge was published by V. Press (2018). He is judge of the 2019 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award, and will be teaching at the annual Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol, U.K., at the end of June. He is currently working on a new collection of short-short stories, on the theme of ‘secrets’.

Website – https://michaelloveday.com/

Twitter – @pagechatter

Steven John – Features Editor