Anonymous Manuscript Extract #14

I believed that living in despair was very elegant. I believed it for the entire two years I spent in Paris, and in fact have believed it nearly all my life.

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Anonymous Manuscript Extract #11

Inside The Mountain. The old house is more neglected than I’d imagined, veranda hanging off the front, stairs

falling away with rot. I use a knee to test the wood and then pull myself up. No doorknob so I

push, palm flat on the peeling paint. The door opens enough to get a shoulder in and becomes

wedged. Edging in sideways, plastic crinkles under my foot. The air is solid. With the door

closed behind me there is just enough room to stand. The weight of the hoard presses down

on me and I see no path through the garbage: bags, boxes, paper and muck.

 

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Anonymous Manuscript Extract #12

It was some time since I had seen him?

Before he had returned to Fez.

Before he left Monsieur Jones.

Before I left my Missus.

Before the collapse.

Before the dole queues.

Before the misery of the crowded bars.

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Anonymous Manuscript Extract #10

He left the room and the gallery phase-shifted into a coloured blur. He couldn’t find Fiona. Time slowed down and rushed past him as he looked around the vast gallery space, trying to spot her, until at last he decided to look outside and the rain began. Disparate thick drops at first, the earthy petrichor making his nose twitch, and then a heavy downpour that stung his face and brought his hair down like a curtain falling at the end of a play. Steam rose from the road in the rain’s aftermath, its ghostly vapours following him home.

 

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Anonymous Manuscript Extract #9

The sky has lifted at least thirty feet.

I sat there, not moving. The shock must have cracked the pavement, my right hand fumbled in the rubble. As I breathed, the silence stilled the explosion of stars whose sparks still cracked in my head.

 

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Anonymous Manuscript Extract #8

I ran on a few more steps until I was below a streetlamp and stopped, panting and sweating.

The yellow pouring forth from its ancient bulb was my arena, a dozen feet across.  Hell hath no limits,

nor is it circumscribed, but I was yet alive and happy to constrain myself to set bounds. Beyond that

ring I could see nothing. Quickly I retrieved the pellet-gun from the bag but no sooner had I done so

than the first of them barrelled into me, a missile of feathers and malice. It bit and stabbed with its

beak and flapped its muscular wings, aiming for my eyes and face, ridiculous feet kicking at my chest.

I managed to get a hold on a wing and killed or crippled it with a few swift twists of my hands, the

twig-crack of ribs, the hot spits of blood. I could hear more ululations in the sky above. That first

attacker had knocked the air-gun from my hand and into the snow and gouged deep cuts into my

fingers with its beak. I fell to my knees and swept my hands across the pavement through the snow

but it was no use, for all of my preparations I was alone. Blood trails stood out stark against the white,

and the dead gull was already half-submerged. A tip of beak, a hint of feather, and a crooked wing

stood above the snow.

 

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