Friday, 24 September 2010


By Simon

This is not a beginning.

I don’t know what this is.

Or when really.

I do know where.

A day at the office, my first day maybe, everything is fresh, everything is clearer.

The lift doors ping open. The woman smiles at me, steps in and turns round to face the doors as they glide closed. She presses 11.

She wears a pencil skirt and pinstripe jacket. Glasses.

She gets off and my gaze follows her. A man gets on, the doors close.

One level up. The doors open, the man gets off. I go too but wrong floor.


I work on 12.

1 level up, the doors open. I get off. Finish the induction, attend a few meetings, greet the rest of the team, sit at my desk, numbers, numbers, numbers. 6 o’clock and its time for home.

Take the stairs

I pass the woman.

She doesn’t look at me.

Memories. Here. Somewhere. Of a time before.

Another day at the office.

The doors ping open.

The woman smiles at me. Open lipped this time. I can see her perfect teeth.

She presses 11. We make conversation. She smiles a lot. She smiles an awful lot. We’ve met before. When? A meeting maybe or a social.


She gets off. She waves. The man gets on. The doors close.

I look down at my nails. I have been biting them. I see the man’s feet. We have the same shoes.

1 floor up. The man gets off. I go to. Wrong floor. 11.

1 floor up. 12. The doors open, I get off, I go to my desk, numbers, numbers, numbers.

6 o’clock. Time for home.

I take the stairs.

I pass the woman.

She will not look at me.

Memories. Before running out. Bleeding into the now.

A day at the office.

The doors ping open. The woman, there in front of me. She gets on. She will not look at me.

My guts tighten.

I still love her, I always have. How?


She gets off, he gets on.

I look at my hands. The man smells like a brewery.


The man gets off. I go to. Wrong floor

My thumbs are bleeding. I have chewed the flesh around my finger nails raw.

12. I get off, desk, numbers. 6 o’clock, home time.

Take the stairs.


A gap, a hole, a chasm, a pit.

Any day at the office.

Earlier. Earlier, I think.

The doors ping open.

The woman. She smiles. She smells of coco butter.

She presses 11. She smiles.

She wears a pencil skirt and a pinstripe jacket.

She has a birthmark on the small of her back.

Her hand intertwines with mine.


She says goodbye.

I wave. The man gets on smelling of fear and hate.

1 level up.

The man gets off.

This is weird.

12. off. Desk, numbers, 6 o’clock. Home


Running down them.

Chasing something that isn’t there

There is a gap, a fuzzy void. There always has been.

A day at the office.

I don’t know when, after I think.



I am happy, it must be before.

The doors ping open.

She smiles.

We join hands.

I say something, I don’t know what.

Things are getting blurry. But still she laughs.

We decide to stay at mine tonight, its closer. When?

Holding hands, I look at our reflections in the mirrors either side.

Happiness stretched to infinity.





My heart stutters.

She gets off. He gets on.



He staggers off.


12. Desk. Numbers. 6. Stairs

Empty stairs


She’s moved out.

The doors ping open.

She doesn’t smile.

Its after, definitely after.

She presses 11.



I repeat myself, I’m sorry


She gets off. He gets on


Again, I’m sorry.

He gets off. He’s wearing my shoes.

I go to.

Not my floor.

My fingers bleed.

12. Work, work, work. Numbers, numbers, numbers. 6. Home.


I can’t take this.

Time passes. It is what it does.

The doors ping open.

She is there.

Is she smiling?

I don’t know when but her scent makes me remember.

She presses 11.

Trapped between mirrors we stretch.



I’m sorry.

I repeat myself.



She gets off, he gets on.


11. He gets off


12. Off. Desk. Numbers. 6.


Go home.






Take the lift

The doors ping open.

I step inside.

Catch myself in the mirror.

I look older.

Time devours, it is what it does.

The loop erodes.

Stuck between mirrors, I’m stretched, my soul worn thin.

I’m alone.



The man gets on.

I don’t dare look at him.

I’m afraid. I’m tired. I’ve been drinking.

When? I don’t know. In the in-between? Is there an in-between?

Circles don’t have starts, only centres.

I can see my hands, blurry, fingers bleeding. I suck them and taste salt.

My feet.

His feet.

We are wearing the same shoes.

He reeks of misery.



It’s not a circle, it’s a hole.

He gets off, I follow. All offices look the same. Her desk. I just want to talk. She says, she has heard it all before. She has. I repeat myself. I’m making a scene. I still love her.

I have a knife. How? When? In-between? Before? After? But how? I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I repeat myself. I repeat myself. My fingers are bleeding. It is not my blood.

My eyes fill with tears. Things are getting blurry.

I walk back to the lift, shaking. I pass the woman. She is not there.

The doors are open. I see my younger self, almost unrecognisable. I turn around. Doors close.





I can’t be sure. Not somewhere but somewhen.

2 of me caught between reflections.

Infinity squared.

I lash out and punch a mirror, right or left, in reflection I cannot tell. The glass breaks and quakes. The epicentre a pupil, the shards an iris, a thousand visions of my face, my loathsome, fat face, dodge my gaze. Glances dancing around a hole.

My fingers are bleeding. I look around. I’m alone. The doors don’t open.

Friday, 9 July 2010


By Emma

The tide swells and she feels it inside her, the pull to dive beneath, to let go of who she is. She slips off the rocks and into the sea. Her hair spreads out in the water like pale seaweed, and small fish swim through it, hide in it. She’s weightless now, at last, her body no longer a thing to drag to and from places.

She fans her fingers through the water, experiments with opening and closing them, cupping sections of the ocean in turn, dragging them wide past her face and shoulder, ribs and hips. This underwater seeing takes the sharp edge off things. Everything is a flower, or something beautiful. His face would be a flower, if he was here. She thought he would be here. She will wait. He will be here soon. She twirls, flings her arms out. The solidity of her breaks apart then comes together again, her limbs fractured and fragmented, not quite whole. She thinks that maybe this was a mistake.

She stops swimming and plants her feet on the seabed. Her toes are swallowed by the sand and she kicks them up, slowly, and the grains fall away. She is still mostly full with hope. Her feet rest soft on the sand. It is only sand.

He leans in close to her. She feels his touch as a push in the water around her. Without having a hand on her, he has managed to get her underneath him. Out of politeness, she will not move away. He knows this. He looks down and her face rearranges itself into happiness. He slips his hand around to the back of her, pulls himself closer. Neither of them are breathing. It’s all about the sway and return of the tide. They will be closer at certain points than at others, in time and physically. Parts of him will always be closer, as well. Like his hands. They will freely roam across the map of her. And the left side of his face, that will press against the right of hers often, sometimes intentionally, while other times, it will take him completely by surprise.

She kicks her feet in slow arcs, tenses then loosens her arms. She is in the water, moving, but not going anywhere, not leaving the space they are both occupying. He steadies himself against her. She feels his hand push against the bones of her hip. The sunlight zigzags its way down to where they are, and she closes her eyes against it. She wants only the green light of underwater.

He will not love her. She is silver, but even that’s not enough. He holds his fingers on her skin. He could be glued, he thinks. He could be glued to her and happy. But he still would not love her. There would always be that part missing. As long as her feet are off the floor everything will be okay, though. She will not think about it, or if she does, she will not reach any conclusion. She will let him have his hands on her in this way, and she will smile into it. He will smile back, into the doing. He will think about glue again.

When her eyes open, he is too close for her to focus on. He is all the water around her. She wonders if she can dissolve like that. Maybe if she could just let go of the parts of her she’s tried so long to keep together. It’s not the same as giving up. It’s more hopeful than that. A belief that maybe gravity isn’t inevitable. That not being anchored to anything could be a good way to be. Even adrift, she feels tied to him anyway. There might not even be a need for the seabed, for the ground.

He lies along her, lets his legs press against hers. She can’t feel the weight of him, that desire. But he is a knot inside her stomach nevertheless. Between them is only water, and whatever oxygen it has in it. Neither of them has taken a breath in a long time. It gets easier.

The tide is going out. He can’t stay like this, static, for very long. He thinks about the way they fit together. He thinks about flesh and bone. She understands before he can even speak. Something has been reversed and they are charged to repel. She feels him pushing away even as his hands hold her. She opens her eyes to it. She wants to see.

He slips out of her arms and away. She doesn’t bother to grip on to fingertips. She twists in the water, spins fast, her body becoming a blur, changing into some new thing. She looks down and knows that the seabed will now be scattered with broken glass. And if she puts her feet on it, they will be cut, they will be torn to shreds.

Monday, 7 June 2010


BRIEF - A story involving broken glass.