by gary hewitt
My nose doesn't enjoy being pressed down onto a counter stinking of disinfectant. A Sergeant slams down a notebook.
'You care to explain what you doing in Farely Road?'
'I went for a walk.'
A dig from behind steals my breath.
'We don't do comedy. Answer the Sergeant's question.'
I swear the officer who arrested me is twice my size. I look at the large poster above the Sergeant's head telling me how Coinco Services deliver everything from justice to groceries.
'I was bored and looking for a laugh.'
The officer slams down a brick onto the Sergeant's desk.
'What does going for laugh entail then?'
'I smashed a few windows, 'sides no one lives there anymore.'
A truncheon whacks into my ribs. I double over and crack my head on the counter.'
'Steady on, Johnson. Empty his pockets.'
My keys, thirty notes, coins, wallet and a bus ticket tumble onto the desk. The Sergeant glares at me before examining my belongings.
'Well Charlie at least you seem to be who you say you are. Oh, I'm sorry I wasn't aware you had one of these.'
He studies a piece of plastic with my name emblazoned across the front. He tucks the card away and orders PC Johnson to let me go.
'Sir, are you sure?'
'Let him go dipstick and apologise for wasting his time.'
He obeys. I'm so pleased I remembered my Coinco Customer discount card tonight.
Rise and Fall
'We're losing him. Sebastian hang in there. Still no pulse.
Sebastian can see everything In the midst of darkness. His body lies inert with a swarm of medics breaking away in defeat. His beloved Sue prays outside for good news. Sebastian feels sorrow beyond words. He reaches for her but she becomes distant. He rises to the realm of the divine.
A lineage of ancestors and forgotten pets await him. His soul is filled with bliss. Sebastian struggles to comprehend what to do next. His Granddad ushers him to the largest tree he has ever seen. Upon the bark are engraved many stories.
He is compelled to climb. His ascent is swift. He reads his tale. His life has been good and yet he knows he is not finished. He dreams of Sue. He must see her. He will not wait. The ghosts of his existence do not stop him.
He moves back to the void and away from the black sun. He leaps. He sees his old life returning. He feels he is not alone. One pair of dark female eyes and a cruel voice witnesses his return.
So you've been to Nevermore and come back alive have you, she curses. He has never seen or heard of her before yet knows she is called the Black Queen.
His body breaks back into life amidst scenes of disbelief and great joy. And yet, he can only think of her and the knowledge she will never leave him in peace.