A Living Monument

The stream trickled between the translucent shards, dripping from its crest into the crimson puddle seeping slowly into the seams of the textured floor. Fluid continued to drain from the tributaries of broken flesh as the silence was broken by the opening of a door.

The glassy eyes of the figure that was stood atop the podium of glass flickered quickly, the gaze returning briskly to the fenestration in the western wall where the dying light was slowly retreating.

“James.” Somewhere in the distance somebody was calling his name, he couldn’t hear it, but their voice - her voice - echoed in his mind. The shadow seemed to pour into the red, Belfast brick darkening them into a deep scarlet. “James.” The azure sky, too, was mutating, the grey of the cloud cutting the now warm orange. Somewhere in Finland a young schoolboy was staring at the very same piece of sky dreaming of exploring the constellations in his very own, custom-built spaceship. As a teenager, James had often looked into the endless sky and imagined galaxy upon galaxy of different life thriving and failing in its own perfectly unique way. It had felt good to feel a part of this once. Dreams had a habit of staying dreams however, and life on earth had a different habit of feeling very real. Everywhere you looked a human had already infected the beauty of land with its own ignorance.

“James”

His feet went cold, his head dizzy and then he heard it. “Jesus fucking Christ, James! What happened?” His head turned on an axis to face the intruder. A young woman, about twenty four, with short chestnut hair and a round, freckled face. A loose-fitting vest hung from her narrow shoulders, black denim following the curves of her legs and exposed the darkening, off-white socks that covered her feet. She was at home here. They were at home here.

He looked around the room. The eggshell walls were darkened by a moisture, with dark liquid stains in patches. A desk rested gently against the southern wall of the small five-by-six-metre room, the drawers lying in a staggered pile, accompanied by a cluster of A4 pages littering the dull carpet that glistened with sharp fragments of glass that seemed woven into it. The closer they were, the particles of glass increased in size. An almost-undamaged tumbler glass lay next to the pile of glass that his bare feet were stood upon. The long shards pointed up towards the soles of his feet, seemingly disappearing into the cracks in his skin. James took a moment to think how funny it was that he had become one with the carpet. He felt like a sculpture in a museum that visitors were forbidden to touch

His mouth went dry as he tried to find words. “I-” he had begun before his mouth had filled with saliva causing him to gag. It began with “N”. Her name began the letter “N”. She took a step inside the door with caution as he looked on bewildered. “I might need a minute here actually,” the words had come as she took a second step, “Natalie” he added, his wife was called Natalie.