Within the veil of acceptance and regret the path to get beyond attrition is always haphazard. By the time the horror show had finished, the streets were alight with indolence and condemnation. The people, battered and bruised came staggering out amidst the crumbling ruins. They wailed to the grand skies above ‘Oh how could you beseech us?’ In response, streaks of deep purple furiously broke through the clouded, ebon sky.

In the fields coated with snow and topped with ice, the last few ranch hands that stuck around murmur. They tell one another of the old witches burning bodies in the mist-stricken southern field. Underneath the plumes of smoke and the scent of burnt flesh, the witches cackle and toil, throwing back their hoods. Their pocked and gnarled faces torment the poor wretch they threw on the burning pile in his final moments. Allowing those awaiting their fiery demise to keep warm through the night. Trapped in cages of charred bone, the prisoners turn to the fire in front of them to embrace what Prometheus once stole. The ululations of those doomed souls eventually becomes nought but a persistent drone from the centre of that forsaken field.

Far away from the fields stands the great scary of a homestead. The coarse throat of this home whispers of the cracks and snaps of broken hearts, doomed childhoods and looks warped by the bottle. In the living room the daughter stands near the fireplace. The stress cracks in the mantelpiece mirror have been growing bigger since her birth. When the glass finally shattered she watched a limbless and slug-like heathen come from beyond it. Unwanted and aimless it crawled along the linoleum tiles, searching for reason. On the couch lays the mother who loved her daughter, but by the time she could express it she’d be asleep with an empty wine bottle in her hand. The spiteful and drunken words spat out at her having been long since said. Leaving the daughter to borrow her mother’s ashtray and let time pass amidst cigarette smoke in her bedroom. The alienated father far from anyone’s reach on those nights, futilely attempts to be the wayward and displaced protector of all that could be for her.

This familial affair has gone violently awry. A smashed kitchen, glass on the floor and cupboards clinging to their hinges. The deleterious regret of those that never helped and the screams of a warped sisterhood are all that may stand in the years to come. In the end, everyone involved is sodden with a loss they just can’t dry off. Memories break through no matter what. Pictures will last a lifetime. Plasterboard walls stand tall against brains and their eyes. Now as each new year arrives, a hunch-backed and disfigured homunculus covered by a black cloak drags his wooden cart to the homestead and collects yearnings, regrets, and secrets from the daughter. He drops his gatherings on the cart and jots them down in a ledger. Another person, another collection, another face yearning to leave.

At the grove a hollow and skeletal figure leans against a rock. The trees are terse and twisted. Their leaves block out much of the sun, leaving a few slithers of light to dance with each other on the grass. ‘I saw it all’ The figure proclaims. It looks to the shaman stood at the lone black pulpit in front of him. ‘You sought only to want it all. A being as wretched as you could never truly see the beauty in life’s trials and tribulations.’ The shaman retorts as the figure hazily fades in and out of view. Beyond the tree line, the sun sets, the moon rises and all that is ill holds contrition.

The town is aglow, folks wail amidst the throbbing nuclei. The epidermis of this place tries to bring itself to heal, but by the next morning the ritual keeping it in decay resumes. The mind continues to find no recuse. Presences and yearnings are fading. Places and experiences aren’t so fond anymore. A claim of a future is nought but a handwritten note stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

The view from this frosted window shows the locales torn asunder. When a future was sacrificed, there became a past. So many doors nailed shut that I can only wonder if prying them open has any worth. In the distance I hear a cart rattle on the slab paving, I’m not so sure how it got here. I suppose it goes to show that the mind is never at peace with itself, no matter where you are.

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