[CW] Hey buddy, nice loafers. Listen. Do you know our neighbor, John?
Seventy-Eight cracks her thumbs. Status. The word tastes like a fishbone pierced in the throat.
Walk. Walk through the door, through the cracks cutting open the asphalt like wounds, through the dogs, leashed in chaotic barking, already smelling something savage on you.
They call her The Eighth, The Pure, The Hope, The Youngest. Anything, but her name.
Papa says people can recognise him even under the shade of his black bowler hat. He points a bony finger up to the rim, then readjusts the long box under his arm.
When I was six, I had a sister. She liked to call herself Red because she despised pink. She said pink tasted like cat piss. I didn’t know how cat piss tasted, so I believed her.
The smell of other people's history. Not her history.
The bloated ball stops at the bottom. We clamper out. Bruised.
1 sip Hot blend of black and a spot of white. A stroke to the tongue, a hump to the throat, a pause to time. Perfect. A crack zigzags ceiling-to-floor. An insulting cut to the book-page-white wall.
I can go the highest on this swing, the one behind the silver birch, out of sight.