Earlier in the year I begged my friends not to quit after Keir Starmer was elected leader. Today I did the very thing I warned against.

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When it began to look as though Keir Starmer was going to win the election for the leader of the UK Labour Party, some of my left-wing friends and I began to worry. We worried about the dilution of our 2019 commitment to economic equality and ecological recovery. …

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How can you look me in the eye?

We both know what you are. A barely sufficient human before your perversion took hold, now you look at me as though we don’t know what we both know. I was there the first time, remember?

When you make me look at you, when you scrutinise me, stare at me from too close up, you don’t consider how it makes me feel. As far as you’re concerned, I feel nothing.

As I follow you, keeping perfect step, or when I look at you from a passing car, or when I gaze at…

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“Not far now,” you whisper, though you are not sure why you bother to mute your voice. There is nobody around to hear you anyway, except for Sophie.

She walks some way behind you, her phone out, the absurdly bright light bursting from behind you.

Strange how the nocturnal brain works. You know the source of the light and the source of the shadow, yet it’s late, it’s dark. You should be home. You’re slightly lost. Every minute not home now is strange, disconnecting you from your life as it should be proceeding.

Your footing is uncertain as you traipse…

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Monday the 2nd
Mr S– came to see me today, but he stayed only for a few minutes. He told me something about a journey he had taken but when I asked him where he had gone, he seemed surprised that I knew he had gone anywhere. He left in a haze of confused apology for having taken up my time.

He was never a frequent visitor. One of the ‘holy days and festivals’ crowd, a good belter of the more popular hymns, and while I do not question his piety, I rather suspect our more traditional devotions bore him…

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You stared at the light for some time, hesitant to take a step.

How could you trust the light not to burn? How could you trust colour not to corrupt? Would the air not be vinegar in your lungs, and the water your cracked lips craved be smoke and ash as it settled in your mouth?

Slowly, meekly, knowing that turning back was the only certain evil, toward the light you walked.

How long ago was that? A day? A month?

The place you live — which you struggle to call your home any more — has become a temple…

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It’s a funny thing: they never say no.

I’m no creep, taking anonymous candids of strangers I like the look of. I always approach, I always ask first. They never say no. Even in this age, when it is easier and safer to say no, when charm is suspected and admiration seems predatory.

It’s not just about exterior beauty, there’s something else. Man, woman or neither, it’s confidence. They know why I admire them; they admire themselves. …

Photo by Oprea Marius on Unsplash

Beneath the golden city where live god and king and man,
There is within the darkest depths a shadow yet unseen;
And Great Nazhgûrazoth is there, where light is scarce and stain’d,
and warmth is never found, but fire; no joy that’s not in sin.

No royalty of earth there dwells, nor Heavn’s divinity,
For that in Foul Nazhgûrazoth is enemy of all;
And by its will all good shall perish, hope and justice die,
And all on earth shall witness at the terrible dark shrine

of Black Nazhgûrazoth.

This piece is part of the Nazhgûrazoth Trinity, along with The…

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

Warning: The below piece includes analogy to sexual assault, but makes no direct reference to or description of such.

I first thought it was in hunger
When I rose from the grave
And came to you.

Faster than life,
My haste causing ripples
In the still lake
Of your blithe, unknowing world.

I could not go elsewhere,
I could not turn back
And lie still;
I cannot run
From what I am.

It was not hunger,
But something darker,
More urgent.

It was not a meal,
And you were not my prey;
It was an assault,
And you were my victim…

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Winter is gone, but soon will return, and at that time we share the bounties of our harvests and slaughters. We open our casks and fill each other’s cups deep. We gather wood and kindling and share what we can with others, so that none go cold. We sing and tell stories, so that none go alone.

It is a tradition as old as any gods you could name, and yet… it does not go all the way back. There was a time when those who went before us huddled in terror, not joy; they hoarded what they had, rather…

Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

I was hooked on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series from about the first chapter of A Game of Thrones. I started reading that book when the first series of the HBO adaptation was out. This was in a golden era when it mattered what was on the page, and they adapted the books fairly faithfully. I got less interested as time went on, but only ever more interested in the books. …

Sable Whisper

Always trying to get better, so critique is welcome. Lucas Justinian on Scribophile, @SableWhisper on Twitter.

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