Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tulips

I recently took part in a great initiative called Open Changes, part of the Lost in Track Changes project run by the rather lovely If:Book Australia. Tulips was one of the stories they included in the project.

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Price trundled from town to town, the tulip bulbs bouncing in the dusty red wagon he pulled behind him. The women paid him little attention, the men he unnerved.

This town was small, but it needed pruning.

‘Who the fuck are you?’

Price stopped walking, eyed a man sitting outside the hotel, and tipped his hat. ‘I’m a man of no consequence.’

The hotel man stood and drained his glass. ‘You look like a dick in that get up. What’s with the black apron?’

Price tugged on the rope tied to the wagon and walked on. ‘I’m a gardener. My garb is suited to my work.’

‘Hey!’

Price kept on, the wheels of the wagon cutting deep into the dirt, as if heavily burdened.

‘I said hey, fuckwit,’ the man clutched the glass and ran after Price. ‘Hey, I was talkin’ to you.’

Price felt the glass smash into his skull. It shattered into shards, slivers catching the light as they flew. Price merely cricked his neck-first left then right-before turning to scoop up a tulip bulb lying on the road amid the glass.

The bulb landed among the others with a thud as Price trundled on.

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The Marquess of Time

I recently took part in a great initiative called Open Changes, part of the Lost in Track Changes project run by the rather lovely If:Book Australia. The Marquess of Time was one of the stories they included in the project.

***

The Marquess of Time picked up the tray and slipped easily around the cafe tables. A mocha for the gentleman in red, a green tea for the woman with inked imps scuttling up her left arm, a ginger beer for Death.

‘Thank you,’ said Death, running one bony finger through the condensation on the glass.

‘Don’t often see you here,’ said the Marquess.

‘I have come to collect War,’ said Death, ever the plain speaker.

The Marquess caught the words, then her breath.

‘He grows ever more greedy,’ said Death, plucking an ice cube from her glass and running it along the blade of her scythe. It sang.

The Marquess nodded, all the elementals had warned her. She didn’t listen. ‘Where will it happen?’

‘At the crossroads of day and night,’ said Death.

‘He will fight,’ said the Marquess, sisterly pride getting the better of her.

Death softened. ‘He cannot win.’

The Marquess watched the noon light play along Death’s blade. ‘Will I be the only one to grieve?’

‘No,’ said Death. ‘Though you will find no solace among others who do.’

The Marquess untied her apron, letting it fall she kissed Death on the cheek and walked out to find her brother.

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