Wednesday 25 October 2023

Short Fiction 2023 Longlist, Preetha Vasan


I cower in the shadows. The moon light drapes me. Not like his obsessive love that's to be my undoing today. But like autumn leaves and mist. A scuttle in my head. Just the mice within. Quite different from the scraping footfalls without.

Maybe they won't get me behind all these doors and pillars. They have not, so far.

However, when they do lay their filthy hands on me, they will rip me apart. It’s a given.

It has been in the air. I have heard them talk. The ones who come and stare. Stripping me to my very bones with their eyes and their flashy phones.

More than the looting and the desecration I fear their digging. What will they find? Nothing probably. Definitely not what they desire from the depths. Definitely not the million fingers that were chopped so they couldn't clone me again.

Tonight, they leave. But they will come.

In the end they will not need the stealth of the night or the secrecy of the moonlight that throws everything into hues of grey and blue. They will do it under blaring sunlight and they will watch and cheer as their kind strip me and bare me to those threadbare shreds I have dreamed of on nights like this.

Nothing, no one can keep them away.

Not my white quietness.

Not even the lay of love used to cloak her painful endurance of his sepulchral- - lust?

Nothing will keep them away.

Not even my being one of the seven wonders of a fast-changing world that will raze this memorial to forget we too were part of its history.

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