This slow dying, that I ache for in the Summer months...burning cold, setting fingers and thoughts alight, a blue fire in my chest.
Witch's fire, imagining myself breathing it, igniting every bronzed and beautiful sun child, every slave of Summer. Laughing as they writhe, as beauty goes to black filth on their bones, as laughter kindles to hate in their eyes.
A cruel fantasy, though not the first, certainly not the last. What does it even matter, with no means to make it more?
Snow on the canals, hideous green waters not frozen, but somehow denser, congealing towards a state of ice or jelly. Pausing at the image, grasping the cold, rusted balustrade, staring down into the murk that reflects nothing:
Something beneath, coiling through the muck, serpentine bodies or quivering tendrils, rearing up, too wreathed in shit and filth to discern, screams as they constrict around barges and narrow boats, breaking them in two, dragging them down...as they lash out, plucking people from the path, from spanning bridges, pulling them apart, their remains raining down, turning the mire below into a rancid stew.
More hideous dreaming? A day for it, clearly; a day that most lament, surrounded by blasphemous complaints of it all fucking day; perpetual, Pavlovian remarks on the cold, the snow, the wind...weary, whinging tones, dead-eyed, drear expressions that look like badly fitting masks, that I might reach out and pluck away...
Those I walk with, the stream of humanity already threatening to become torrential as 5PM nears...all similarly dour, resentful; huddled and hooded, swathed in successive layers of winter coats, gloves, scarves and ear-muffs. Those that aren't...snarling and squinting, muttering quiet curses against the wind.
Happy to be the rock around which they break, refusing to be swept along by their desperation, their wittling, idiot fear of beauty. Happy to endure their snide looks, their sidelong glares, their muttered curses.
So very British; not a one stopping to challenge me, not a one making a remark above an unintelligible grumble.
The fire kindling in my fingers, now; the tips of my nose and ears, searing nerves, making them dance; a welcome pain, making me hiss breath through a rictus grin; the smile of something dead and in love with the condition.
Maybe I am; maybe I'll remember, after so long forgetting; finally peel away this mask named Indu Sunya, this face that has always felt like something borrowed, and become the abortive child of my own imagining.
No. An adolescent ache, that I refuse to entertain. No longer a child; dreams fine, in their place, when not indulged as I once did, to the despair of my family, my friends; almost to my ruination.
Flying, eyes closed, talons of frost-bitten wind raking my face, tears streaming as I become molten, as my back ripples and breaks, as great wings unfurl...
Laughing at myself, my own absurdity, some pausing in the stream's flow to throw confused, fretful looks my way.
Truly believing it, feeling it; my skin bursting, my bones flowing and rearranging, new nerves knitting as what I'd dreamed since adolescence made itself true in flesh...
No angel's flight, no laughing from on high, no rain of moonight tears to rouse the rest of humanity from despairing slumber.
A fractured skull, dislocated arm; four broken ribs, severe concussion. Lucky to escape with just that, or so they tell me.
Part of me still doubting, still believing that it happened as memory insists; that they took me, dragged me to earth, bound and mutilated me, to prevent me from inspiring the rest to sprout wings and fly...
I can't. Can't even entertain it. No knowing what will happen, if I do. Distractions. The pretty boy, with his blue, blue eyes, a crooked smile, as he catches me looking. The stinking drunk, muttering incoherently to himself, rousing complaints as he veers from one side of the path to the other, disrupting the stream's flow.
Not enough. Never enough; not my job, not friends or family. Not anything. The urge so strong; to jump into the foetid, freezing waters, part of me knowing that the things in their depths will find me, invade and remake me, raise me up like Scylla, transformed into something hideous and glorious, that I'll lash this ridiculous city to splinters, freeze it to glitteing waste with me breath...
Knowing that, if I fly again, there'll be nothing they can do; that I'll soar beyond their reach, laugh my scorn into their frozen, fractured faces, watch them fly apart, revealing the rancid, cockroach things beneath their facades.
Knowing, and despairing at the prospect of another tomorrow, of waking only to find myself here, again, on the same dead men's paths, following in dead thing's footsteps, over and over and over, until I join them, just another victim of the slow dying, the unravelling world.
No screams, as I clamber over the balustrade, some muted calls, muffled pleas; no efforts to stop me.
The fire consuming me, blazing from my throat, my palms, shrivelling my eyes in their sockets, leaving me as a bizarre species of Ifrit, not born of desert, but arctic waste.
Serpents rising from beneath the mire to embrace me, infest me, the monstrous remaking they promise welcome.
Wings of frost and white flame erupting from my back, blazing the eyes from the impotent who watch, filling their skulls with embers of the same fire.
No more slow dying, no more playing witness at a sick Mother's bedside, deluding myself that Cancer might recede, that all might be well again.
An end to sickness, an end to dreaming, and the idiot disappointment that inspires both.
George Lea is an entity that seems to simultaneously exist and not exist at various points and states in time and reality, mostly where there are vast quantities of cake to be had. He has a lot of books. And a cat named Rufus. What she makes of all this is anyone's guess.