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A Bridge For The Furies: 3


Drea looked up at the sky, the kind of blue that you only see on cars and decided that this was all John’s fault.

They had just come off another win, by a rear naked choke in the second round against Jodie Innson, a scrappy Australian who threw a left hand from god and never went much beyond it. Her strategy had been to counter punch, but Drea kept moving at ankles, taking her left leg with good hard kicks and then spending the second round, keeping her on the ground until Drea got on her back and sunk her right bicep in and shut off the blood to her brain with a few pounds of pressure. She had cried when they held her hands up, and John had already started to talk about a title shot for her. So the next few days had been spent eating all the foods she couldn’t in training and recovering from the training camp and the fight.

‘I can’t believe you’ve never seen Akira.’

His english accent made everything sound deeply ironic, except when he would talk dirty to her, ordering her around in a low, deep voice that made her ache with want. She had pulled herself up on her elbow, taking her head from his lap and giving him a challenging stare.

‘Hey, I don’t get time to watch movies.’

His chuckle disarmed her, and so he found it. She liked cartoons, but her tastes went more towards Looney Tunes and Adventure Time than speed lines and body horror, plus she had seen how some of the fans dressed and those were reasons enough to have avoided it, without any real skin in the game.

The animation captured the youthful nihilism of the gangs, the grey shrunken apple faces of the other experimental subjects and the gum bubble delicate explosions that raze Neo Tokyo into rubble at the film’s climax. She babbled excitedly about it until the conversation turned to kissing and the kissing turned into an impromptu wrestling match, using the kind of moves that meant they both won in the doing. His hands moved over her with a focused care and when they made it to the bed, she fell into a deep and instant sleep.

She felt the wind on her face, tasted the smell of burning plastic on her tongue.The chanting carried over to her, riding the boisterous thump of drums and she began to shudder with the cold that bit into her skin.

John had spoken about lucid dreaming before. It was one of those things that she would mock him about, but he maintained a patience that came from experience and told her that it was possible to be awake in a dream. It took technique, determination and ritual, but those were things that applied to her world however, she liked that her dreams were inconsistent and illogical so she listened without taking it in.

Apparently, she had taken in more than she thought. Which was a big part of her relationship with John, anyway. The take away from that is that she was stood, awake and aware, in what appeared to be a neon stained and smoke stinking place that she had never been before. To her credit, Drea did not lose her shit completely.

‘Holy shit.’

She looked up at the sky, saw the twinkling of strange shapes in the sky, ovoid and shifting as they undulated through the air, the way that a caterpillar moved across a leaf. Her thoughts grew light and thin, a balloon being slowly deflated by the passage of time. She remembered to breathe and decided not to cry in disbelief and awe.

Music started behind her, close enough that she heard the moist intake of breath before the first, perfect note slicing through the air. She turned and looked at the woman. Her long hair, the white of bone that fell to her waist in easy, glossy waves, the black robe with the grey belt, worn from endless bouts of tying and retying and the sandalled feet. She held a bamboo flute and closed her eyes as she played. Drea noted the cupids bow lips, pale against the instrument and the lean corded muscles in her forearms, the yellowing callluses on her palms and how she sat without a fear in the world.

She looked at Drea with eyes of purest jade, animal in their purity and lack of consciousness and guile.

‘Sob carefully, the headwinds will cost you tears.’

Drea frowned, adopting a fighting stance, fuelled by pure muscle memory but the woman did not flinch.

‘Sob carefully, the headwinds will cost you tears.’

Drea fought the prickling unease, wondering when she would wake up. The ground beneath her feet held the rough ugly utility of truth and she decided that if this took a deeper turn into the strange than it had already, she would make herself wake up.

The woman stood, placed the flute on the ground without breaking eye contact.

‘I heard you the first time, now what the fuck is going on?’

The woman stretched with the guile of a child trying to stay up past their bedtime, eyes closed as she arched her back and extended her arms to the sky, fingers splayed before she began to move towards Drea, arms down by her sides.

Drea brought her hands up, threw a teep kick that should have delivered a solid blow to the white haired woman’s solar plexus hard enough to make her fold like laundry but hit nothing but air as the woman had thrown herself into the air, knees tucked tight against her chest and already half way over Drea before she realised.

Drea spun her upper body, whipping the point of her right elbow around, aiming for where she thought the woman might land. Drea had fought girls who put together sweet little routines when they got into the ring, thinking of the hits on social media rather than the fight itself. She had taken great pleasure in knocking them out when the opportunity arose. Here, though it had been reduced to something surreal and primal.


The woman whipped her head back and Drea felt her breath on the skin of her elbow, already stepping around and using the momentum to launch herself into the woman’s space. Drea registered that the white hair appeared to float independent of gravity and velocity, but she figured that this was a dream and reminded herself that she should be angry with John when she woke up.

The hair surged forward, knotting itself into ropes as it swung hammer blows at Drea’s shoulders and face. Drea dipped forward, threw a right cross that caught the woman on the bridge of her nose and registered the impact travelling down her arm. A good punch made it’s own statement and Drea marvelled at how real it all felt.

The ropes smacked down between her shoulders with enough force to knock the breath from her lungs and she wheezed as her legs started to give out. She grabbed the woman’s shoulders and pulled her into her arms as they both fell. The woman greeted the ground with a lover’s enthusiasm, and Drea felt the woman groan with the impact. Drea had years of admonitions to breathe ground into her through training and she sucked in what air she could as she forced her arms to keep wrapped around the woman.

The hair struck again and Drea used her hips to roll the woman with her, onto her side, and lifted her left arm to punch her in the orbital bone. Without a referee, Drea was capable of damage and this woman had pissed her off without a reason. Between those two poles, Drea registered the sensation of the bone breaking with a grim pleasure. Like punching an egg set on a kitchen counter under a towel, the horrible push of skin and bone moving in ways that a face would not.

The woman with the white hair cried out and Drea was grappling with air. Drea looked up and saw her, hair wavering like white hydra and without a mark on her. She bowed deeply at Drea and skipped forward, extending a thin, pale hand to help her up.

Drea registered her injuries as a spectrum of different textures and sensations. The muscles in her back pinched with each movement, her shoulders stung with a tingling malevolence that went deep into her tissues. She got to her feet, wishing there was someone in her corner as she got to her feet.

‘The hair thing was pretty cool.’

The woman giggled, the sound of broken glass and skipped backwards.

‘You fought well, Drea.’

Drea rubbed her arms and looked around.

‘Yay, my subconscious is cheer leading for me. Now tell me what the fuck is going on?’

The woman’s hair slid back behind her ears and down her back with the delicious economy of a sword being sheathed. She bowed again.

‘They sent me to judge if you were a worthy fighter. I will be pleased to report that your skills are more than adequate.’

Drea managed to raise a weary smile. She had been privy to a carnival of images when she slept but this was far too concise and focused for her tastes.

‘Adequate for what?’

The woman lowered her eyes and gave a thin smile.

‘Saving the world.’


Previous episodes are here and here


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After The Storm, A Dream



The storm had passed, but he still felt the aftereffects in the pit of his stomach. He drained the last of his wine, revelling in how the fruity, rich red wine quenched his thirst and ran into his beard. He wrapped his furs around his shoulders, stared out at the ocean, in awe at how it could toss him from side to side like a child with a toy one second then become glacial and calm within a matter of hours. It was the first peace he had known in a long time.

The journey had taken four days and it was on the dawn of the fifth that he saw the castle on the shore. He held no truck with the gods of his people, but habit brought a prayer of thanks to his lips that he had sight of land again. He began to prepare for landing, rigging the sails and securing his meagre belongings for easy departure and transit.

He was  forged by circumstance and purpose into a rough blade with an edge that could splice a hair in two, which was why he had been able to afford the ship in the first instance. He had left behind that reputation, and that identity with a quiet sense of relief. He picked up a package, a book wrapped in oilcloth, it’s loose pages bound with twine.The book represented his true self, and he guarded it with a ruthlessness that left unwary thieves in no doubt as to their fate if they dared to take it from him. He checked that it was undamaged by the storm, and breathed a sigh of relief that it remained unmarked.

He checked the blades that he kept on his person. A pitted, black blade, more like a cleaver than a shortsword, carved from black volcanic glass and kept sharp enough to slice through bone and flesh like silk hung from his right hip. Up his left sleeve, in a scabbard that laid flush along his forearm was a dagger that could be in his hand with a turn of his wrist and in someone’s belly with the same haste. In terms of anything else, he was a man who liked to work with his hands.

The ocean rippled on his starboard side and he studied the motion. It was in defiance of the tides and he kept the flutter of anticipation that started from his stomach from appearing on his face.

‘I know it’s you.’ he said.

His voice had the rusted, gruff quality that came from a long period of disuse but it carried from deep within his broad chest. His soft, caramel eyes shone with a light of hopeful expectation.

She arose from the water, auburn hair plastered to her scalp and her smile lifted his spirits to a height that almost took the top of his head off, such was the velocity of his joy. She giggled and it took a concerted effort for him not to dive into the water there and then. Her tail broke through the surface of the water and propelled her up so that she clung to the side of his boat. He knelt down in front of her and reached with a trembling hand, to touch her face.

‘I thought you were going to meet me on the docks.’ he said.

She grinned and rolled her eyes.

‘You know I’ve no patience for that sort of thing.’

He laughed, showing his white teeth and pulled her into the boat. He crushed her in his arms, pressing her against him with a boldness that took her breath away. His hands wandered over the slick, smooth skin of her back and downwards. The scales were already absorbing into skin, and he registered the final elements of her transformation by a sudden, welcome burst of warmth and space where her tail had been. She wrapped her strong thighs around him and slipped her warm, questing tongue into his mouth.

Need made the coupling quick and urgent.  Her soft, warm fingers plucked at his belt and she mounted him with all haste. It was over within a few moments, her just before him but his release was ushered into being with a hearty yell and his thick, rough fingers pinching her nipples as she ground down in order not to miss a single drop.

They laid there, until the breeze raised goosepimples and he brought his fur cloak around them both rather than part. She rested her head against his chest and nestled against him. He breathed her in, deep into his lungs. All that he had endured, the rewards of a life apart from her, in service to men with a need for violence ordered but not carried out, had been worth it.

They whispered and shivered together as one, as the boat drifted into the dock.

The world waited to embrace them with the silence of certainty.




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Two cups of coffee, one of them untouched.

Laura gazed through the plate glass window. His smile beckoned her. Her dreams of him had frightened her with their power. She took a deep breath, reached for the door handle.

Her phone rang.

A pleading husband.

A vomiting child.

She kept her voice bright, said that she would not be long.

Circumstance snatched her hopes away and she wept all the way home.

He waited through two more cups of coffee and another chapter of the book he wanted to give to her.

Part of his heart still waits.


Sifting Through Dreams

I keep a dream journal by the side of my bed. I’m not precious about ideas but as I have been giving up smoking, and wear a replacement patch, oftentimes I forget it’s there and leave it on at night which leads to some insanely intense dreams. Normally, most people would stop wearing the patch in favour of a less troubled sleep. 

But not me, no, I get a journal, a Game of Thrones mug full of pencils and then I go to work on that motherfucker. 

Results have varied, some interesting images and so far, one solid idea that made me chuckle to myself at 7am which coincidentally was the best action movie I ever saw, and it was inside my skull. 

No part of the animal goes to waste for me. I take writing seriously, but not myself. No, I work on being a good man, stoic in some ways, a dreamer in others but I try to do the right thing as often as I can.