by GJ Hart

 

Done with remorseful tick and defiant tock and applauding foreheads and wonted theorems behind tremoring hands on grey-areas and Neptune’s one true pyramid, Denholme was away, out The First and The Last, chasing his knees like two affrighted piglets.

Whilst stopped to pad for shag and countervailing that face (a maze of marbles above an uncharmed path and the path with no matter to acquiesce) and with no warning save the bluest sky, the Crows of Birches Inn struck down, tossing his curls like spaghetti nera.

Officer Jenkins knelt, twirling a bloody feather between finger and thumb.

“Gone rogue,” he muttered.

Ten days before Christmas, he’d found himself a salted mantle in a hospital bed as the radio bleated about how Dunholme had been arrested for waterboarding the priest after the priest sold him that fucking useless car.

No help, thought Jenkins, no help at all.

Officer Jenkins – perplexed – undiagnosed – knew he would never love again – and dragging a finger across the cat-tongued table top patinaed with vertebrae and brie, felt time, when marked by suffering, slowed terribly. And later sought safe harbour in a box set – knowing Donholme’s future was a fixed point and knowing he could, if he chose (despite the lung heaves and heart boil) fast forward to that moment he threw on his best blue shirt and headed out to The First and The Last

“Without amountfull provocation,” he whispered, as the bartender tongued an eye socket with a commemorative tea towel. “An arbitrary mixing of genes, of generations – a meeting here, a smile there.”

“A meeting, a smile,” repeated the bartender.

“Gone rogue,” said Daniel Jenkins, clicking his heels, clutching his side, curling up like birch.

 

*

 

GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, Jersey Devil Press, The Harpoon Review, The Jellyfish Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.

 

 

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