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We stand hand in hand looking out over the big black lake, no moon or stars in the sky – only thick swirling cloud racing fast into a midnight unknown. Our ears are swallowed by the slap and croon of restless water, backed by a high wind that thrashes the forest with ease. Little can be seen except a mess of black shadows and haunting shapes – some flitting in nervous confusion, others static and resolute in their faceless moan.

You grip my hand until I can feel no cold, and my palms begin to sweat.

You lift your free hand and point to the blooming clouds. They crack apart and reveal the pale yolk of a full moon, dripping to the earth and basking our shivering bodies in naked midnight goo.

You turn to face me, pressing your head into my shoulder. Your hair is soft and smells of wheat left to rot on soaking ground. Your skin smells of salt; weeds rippling beneath a restless ocean. You begin to weep quietly, as each boom of the ferocious lake swells.

I wrap my arms around you, pressing my fingers into your damp flesh. The clouds recede to reveal a sky moist with stars, rattling their silvery chains without care.

The wind rages.

Trees shake and branches crash.

My shoulder is now soaked with your tears, icy in the night’s hollow chill. Leaves whip at our feet, and droplets of water rush from the lake to nip at our legs. The light from the moon bloats until we are fully exposed, two dots swirling in greasy, black ink.

I move you away and your cheeks are bruised, eyes bleeding, mouth agape and gruesome with hatching maggots. I fall to my knees and begin to sink, your flesh falling away onto the muddied ground. I reach out to grab at your ankles, my waist now deep beneath the soil. The flesh falls away to bone and I dig in my nails, flaking and bleeding.

I claw at your ankles.


You smile at me through the harsh shadow of a winter-stripped tree. Cold light cuts black scars across your widespread face.

My chest is tight. Heart thunders. Heavy.

In the empty sky crows swarm on a lonely hawk, a battle of murderous screeches and bloody squawks. A feather lands to the left of my feet. The tip is tinged with dark blood. It smells rank and foul.

You continue to stare at me, smiling, motionless in the burning sun. Your hair shimmers like a spill of crude oil. The greasy strands turn to warm feathers. You open your mouth and stare. No teeth – just a fat, red tongue – throbbing – pulsing.

I cry out but only silence comes. The birds squeal above.

More feathers peel through your cracked pores, winching through the skin to crack black at the edges. Your skin is drowned in a dirty, feathered black.

I try to move towards you, but my legs are weak. My hands brittle. I look down. Gashes cover me, gaping and raw with flesh and blood. They leak pus.

I look back but you are gone – birthed into a bloating and ferocious crow, you spread your wings and beat searing air, throwing salt into my cuts. I cry out again


The pain swarms my body, a hot wax holding me still. I vomit feathers, blood and bone. The branches shudder, the shadows now lost on your feathery void; blackened stumps of dead galaxies beyond. I urinate and it streams down my leg, thumbing into the cuts.

My eyes water. Jaw clenches. You open your wings again and fly towards me.

Above the hawk wails.