JUDITH, MY BRIDE by Moira Carter

The house did not stand alone, it was loneliness itself.

Judith howled horribly upstairs to me. It echoed around our former matrimonial home; it was enough to wake the bloody dead.

‘You’d be late for your own funeral?’ she screamed with laughter. And I was going to be if I wasn’t careful.

Judith always stated the obvious but it wasn’t difficult to do that with me, as everything I used to do was obvious; now I was an enigma but that comes with the territory.

‘I don’t want to go but I don’t think I’ve got a choice,’ I smiled weakly back, trying to not sound haunted by my own remarks.

Judith floated up the stairs and joined me on the bed. I sat with my head in my hands.

‘You’ve no choice,’ she whispered softly.

‘Yes-I don’t want to let the others down, especially as they are expecting to let me down- all the way to the bottom.’

‘Nice to see you’ve still got your sense of humour, even if you haven’t got all your limbs.’

‘Oh yes,’ I realised, ‘I better grab them from the closet.’

She took my hand and I immediately felt calm. As she stroked it I went into the bathroom for my teeth, eyes and hair.

She tried to wipe a bleeding tear off my cheek but I was too busy trying to not look gaunt and pale for her. I gathered myself together into a suitcase and we left with my other hand in hers.

On our walk to the cemetery- as she faded in the moonlight never to be seen again- images of the shadows of the outline of the visage of Judith, my bride, remained in my receding memory.

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‘ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME’ by David Partington

When is it the beginning of the end? It doesn’t have to be like this, our own choosing and a lot of procrastinating develops through our days and weeks. We suffer too much for the want of others and the fear of being alone. Negativity is rife in this world, bullies and competition remain our greatest defeat. I am weak just like the next person, I see but do little to help, my eyes are open but I have no bravery.

Through mud, toil, shale and clay I walked, from thick smog to clear skies, through stenches of filth and poverty. I walked through cities of unimaginable wealth and the poorest of the poor. At first it was unrecognisable, so I walked on. Then a feeling though the deep uninterrupted part of my soul. I turned and looked a fresh. Paths once opened now closed, I walked through and around until I got my bearings. There, it’s there.

Opening up the door light creeps into the dark room, illuminating the contents of a life lived, problematic shortcomings invade my mind as I try to explore with an outsider’s perspective. The house had been built in the Victorian era, once surrounded by fields it was now hemmed in by buildings of various era and quality. There was a smell unfamiliar but not unpleasant, I walked into what would have been the parlour, pulled a dust sheet from the armchair folded the cloth and took a seat. Leaning back, closing my eyes and falling into a deep unfamiliar sleep. I was home.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–David Partington is a well respected ceramicist and artist whose work can be seen athttp://partingtonspots.tumblr.com/  He can be contacted through http://www.facebook.com/partingtons.pots