You will notice the sound of the rain. How it beats rhythmically against the windows, against the roof, against the pavement. You will notice how different the air feels after a week of rainfall, how it feels after a storm.
You will notice the trees how the trees move. They seem to be getting closer. Was that oak tree always so near the house? Was that pine tree always there?
You will notice how smooth the sea is at a certain time in the evening.
You will notice the strange lights that appear above your house every other Friday. You do not understand what they mean, but you find their presence comforting.
You will notice the cats. One or two at first, and then more. So many more. You don’t know where these cats are coming from. Their purring is keeping you up at night.
You will notice how beautiful your body is. Your six wings look radiant in the sunlight, and your eyes are the perfect shade of void.
You will notice your favourite lipstick is now on sale.
You will notice the changing of the seasons, the slow lengthening of the days.
You will notice the tang of salt on the breeze and the ever-present cries of gulls overhead. You live fifty miles from the nearest coast. You do not know how it manages to follow you.
You will notice the figures that seem to follow around at night, darting from one shadow to the next and only visible from the corners of your eyes. Do not worry. They are the crypids that live in your area, and they just want to say hello. They’re very shy.
You will notice the word ‘moist’. You notice it in every book you read, in each newspaper, written in the sky, scrawled in the dirt outside your house. It is everywhere you look.
You will notice the endless sky above you, the emptiness of the void and the smallness of humanity in comparison to the immense size of the universe, and you will go out for pizza and a few drinks.
The pills were sold on the black market and were extremely hard to come by.
They made you forget things Most people used them to for the bad memories – abuse, trauma, pain. Kieran used them differently. He used the pills to rewatch TV shows for the first time. His fifth time watching Star Trek for the first time. His eighth time watching Doctor Who for the first time. Crime shows had great rewatch value when you could make yourself forget who the murderer was.
He didn’t use them too often; if you weren’t careful you ended up forgetting more than you wanted, and Kieran planned to hold on to most of his memories until the end. But since he didn’t have long left, he figured he might try to recreate some past joy.
“When did you first know?”
It was after rehearsal, and Jennifer and Nathan were sitting outside the theatre. Nathan was waiting for his lift, and Jennifer was working her way through a half-empty pack of cigarettes.
“2010,” Jennifer said after several moments. “That’s when I knew for certain.” She exhaled a long stream of smoke. “It’s really obvious looking back, but hindsight’s a bitch.”
“There was this girl at the ice-cream place in town,” said Jennifer. “Ginger hair, freckles, really cute. Ended up getting a crush on her.” Jennifer flicked the cigarette butt to the pavement and reached for the pack. “I’d had crushes on girls before, but that was the first time I realised it was a crush. How about you?”
“I still don’t feel like I know for sure,” Nathan replied. “I mean, I’ve been out for over a year, and I still feel like it’s just a phase.”
“Well, so what if it is?” asked Jennifer. “Just because it’s a phase doesn’t mean what you’re feeling isn’t real. And if somewhere down the line you decide another label fits you better, that just means you have a new perceptive on yourself.”
You’re thinking about the expansion of the sun and whether humans will survive it. You’re thinking about language, how Martian dialects will be different to the ones on Earth. You’re thinking that one day a human living on Earth won’t understand a human living in space. You’re thinking that you’ll probably see that happen. You’re thinking that you should do your laundry tomorrow. You’re thinking about how there’s two different kinds of immortality, and you’re really hoping you have the kind where you don’t age and not the one where you can never die. You’re thinking about the heat death of the universe, and how that will feel. You’re thinking about your mother, who died fifty years ago and whose death still feels like a knife in your ribs. You’re thinking about death, and how many you’ll see. You’re thinking about death, and whether you’ll get one. You’re thinking about how you’d really like to get some sleep now.
They pulled into the station every so often, looking like any ordinary train, if you weren’t looking too hard. Sure, maybe a little shabby, a little old, but still perfectly normal. Still perfectly safe. When you step inside, you might be surprised by how wide the carriages are, or how empty. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re too tired to notice.
Dahlia had owned the pawnshop for a century. Previously she had been the manager of a haunted hotel, and a circus performer before that. She had inherited the shop from an elderly witch who wanted to retire to the countryside. The two of them still wrote, and Dahlia got sent jars of honey every year.
Mostly it was a quiet job, and Dahlia liked that. There would be two or three customers each day, selling anything from cursed jewellery to garden ornaments, and in return Dahlia gave them money, spells, or prophecies. After a hundred years she had quite a lot of items: a piano that played itself, a skeleton that talked, pottery with ever-changing images, and several dozen pink flamingos.
Then there were the curses – curses for aching feet, for baldness, for bellyache, and one curse that turned you two inches small for an hour. These are stored in jars in the back, looking like colourful swirling gas. Dahlia collected them, and often paid to have curses removed from items so she could keep it.
Conner decided he’d had enough. His master was cruel, his work was back-breaking, and he was paid a pittance. Gathering his sparse belongings, he ran away into the woods.
Everyone knew the woods was where the fae lived. Their music could be heard each night, piercing and haunting, and Conner had been told never to follow it since he was born. But he hoped that the Gentry who played it would be better than the gentry he was currently working for.
He walked all night, pausing in every fairy ring he could find, hoping the fairy folk would take him.
(inspired by this post)
Ghosts, Gary reflected, were like cats. They had their favourite spots, they liked their space, and they didn’t like things to be moved about too much.
Ghosts flocked to Gary like moths to light. It part of his family weirdness; his aunt hovered six inches off the ground, and he had a cousin who made flames dance in her hands.
Gary had made peace with the dead. Their wails still woke him occasionally, and he wished they wouldn’t loom over his bed at night, but they would also scare off bad neighbours, so he felt it was a fair trade.
She had gotten most of the cats through adoption agencies. Some had been strays, others she had raised from kittens, and a small number of them were ghosts, but most had been through adoption. She could understand why; not everyone wanted to look after a fire-breathing feline or a cat who was a skeleton in the moonlight.
In total, Susanna had 47 cats. She hadn’t expected to get so many, but she could never say no to them. Anyway, she reasoned, somebody had to look after the weird ones, and she reckoned she was the best person for the job.