Alex Brightsmith

Mud

Mud. An eternity of mud. Mud and … softer mud? Something else. A forgotten thing. What? Beyond the screaming pressure that blocks and baffles thought, out there where the blind hand gropes, sweet open air and free movement and  … shapes? Meaningless shapes. Something round? Something cold? But thought is fading. There’s nothing … … […]

Mist by moonlight

There are a few sights that will stay with me always. The first time I saw, really saw, the Milky Way, and my naked horror beneath it. The first time that I saw a landscape lit only by the full moon – but I’m lucky with that one. It was long ago, when one had […]

Ankus

“Perseverance, that’s what these children lack.” I can still hear my father saying it, and I still flinch at the bitter contempt curdled into the word children. I thought perhaps I’d have forgotten, by now, but I hear his words more and more these days, just as I see him more and more – in […]

Frozen beauty

I wrote this for the #55wordchallenge (you should probably go and look at the prompts, and the other responses), so it’s only fair that I should start with the 55 word version, though it took a turn for the bleak when I pruned it … A field of snow. Bare trees tracing prisoning bars against […]

Head-hopping

“It’s been too long; I’m not sure I can do this anymore.” “So make it a pastiche. No need to scrabble around for something new, that wasn’t your brief.” I looked at Zachary long and hard, but I couldn’t find any hint of amusement or of mischief. That almost made it worse. Bad enough that […]

Peonies

In a corner of my soul, I yearn to grow peonies. A neighbour does, and nothing else. In winter the garden stands brown and clean, until thick shoots pre-empt the spring, lush verdancy following them. The buds grow slowly, pale, fat, taunting, the seams splitting early to show a glimpse of the velvet sleeping within. […]

The flat square knot

We begin with a flat square knot. But that’s not right, is it? We begin with the cloth – a small cloth, a square cloth, a cloth worn so thin that I have to guard it carefully. That old rag? Yes, I do need this old rag. I’ve got thicker cloths and more absorbent, better […]

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