Scratch.

Scar after new scar dots my skin in haphazard constellation, a chart of sites where tiny, greedy mouths took their fill of my life. Unwelcome guests, all, who reduce me to nothing more than an eternal meal, and yet such is their power that I’ve not slept in my own bed for three days. Such is their hunger that they take what their airborne compatriots shun.

Food for bugs in the end, I.

This round, however, is to be cut short by a professional hunter with chemicals of mass extinction. I look forward to sleeping in my bed again.

Pain beckons in the meantime.

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Harden.

Across years, across tangled histories, a familiar hand reaches. Lonely, whispers a half-forgotten voice.

I take the hand. Friendship.

Feelings are complicated, comes the reply.

Between my shoulder blades and through to my solar plexus, I feel the iron orb sitting heavily. Once, I loved easily, but faithfully. Now, years and scar tissue later, I do not love at all, not like then. The body is but an ambulatory meat sack, not the vehicle of passion; the heart within is bled dry of red roses and romance.

Once upon a time, I may have asked to reweave the threads of my life with theirs. Now, there is nothing left of thread or loom, and it would be reprehensible to pretend otherwise.

Feelings are complicated, I say in agreement.

Amity reigns.