'Any road,' she said. Where did it get you? All learning - all those words? I closed my eyes and dreamed. I could see the road in front of me, lit yellow by the sun.
The emerald city glittered over the horizon, forever out of reach. She was leaving now, wrapping her red cloak around her like a shroud. We all need our defences to brave the rain. I went with her to the gate, shutting it gently behind her, feeling the clasp like a kiss.
The road stretches from my home over the moor to the standing stones. The journey is long and hard – the path is not for the faint-hearted. I watched her small figure diminish led by the rag tails of a blue and crimson sky. I stayed until she vanished then went indoors, took down the glass from the cabinet and poured myself a generous measure. Memory is stubborn - she will not drown but floats to the surface like the witch she is. I looked at the stain left by her lips on the teacup. My mother gave me that set. I swirled the tea leaves to read the message then took the cup outside and broke it over the threshold, kicking the shards into the long grass. Am i dreaming I’m alive? Let them lie hidden – let worms crawl over them and bury the remains. Let them decay. The drink I pour in a clean glass brings me solace – a glow to the heart that does not fade this side of heaven.
I look out of the round window – the one with the bars that split the world in quarters. I could see the road as the light faded grey – shimmering like snail tracks under the moon. They get in everywhere through the flint walls – I think they ride on cats like burrs – must do to cluster so thickly around the door. If I close my eyes their shells expand in spirals – varicoloured sheen like mother of pearl. That word again. Why does she visit me?
The flowers she culls in the in the wood are wilting and dying – she brings me their corpses with pale roots spilling from her basket like regret. ‘Any road,’ she mutters, ‘any road, I came. I hope you’re happy now. You’ll be the death of your father.’
I laugh at her and twine the flowers around my wrists like bracelets, dancing in the shadows. I remember the blood – the crimson petals that splashed on a tiled floor. I remember music playing in the background and a slow silence growing as the flow stilled.
Where is the wolf when you need him?
A Once And Future World Citizen - Ohvaur
Sarah Ann Watts lives in Hull, East Yorkshire. Her work has appeared in Bewildering Stories; The Hiss Quarterly; Apollo's Lyre; Flashshot; Mytholog; The Future Fire; Crimson Highway; Whispers of Wickedness; Neon; Twisted Tongue; HeavyGlow; The Ranfurly Review; MicroHorror; This is 'Ull; Ink, Sweat and Tears and Static Movement.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Street art by Least Wanted.
Ohvaur is a Chicago band with a global sound and soon a global audience.