Bec Dempsey
Sep 6, 2018 · 2 min read


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During the squall, the young woman centred the vortex. Greasy newspaper pages gusted, struck, then peeled away. They wheeled in the wind before yesterday’s affairs disintegrated under the relentless battering downpour, but she was unmoved. Snapshot flashes of light showed how acid rain tears lent momentary gloss to her cheeks, even as they roughed her smoothness.

Her linen skirt, patinaed by the weather, was fixed in the momentum of her turn, folds caught as she pointed towards the hospital.

Children, clear tubes snaking into their skinny arms, awakened by the roiling thunder, rolled their drip stands to stare out at the midnight storm. One by one, curious sickly faces ghosted the panes; their small breaths obscuring the view through the encircling glass, even as they reflected the lightning. She smiled at them from the square, unblinking at their probing dread.

The blank ward windows failed to meet the statue’s constant gaze.

Still amidst the ozone-laden air with her marbled bones rooted in the earth, the ancient goddess of relieving pain didn’t know the death or illness that surrounded her. Carved out of timeless rock, this impassive girl was no pillar of medicinal salts eroding in her own downfall.

Note: This piece was published at Degenerate Literature in 2016. DL is on hiatus. The genesis of this story was via an experimental writing site which is now defunct. Personally, I see much to like regarding this piece. This is important for writers. Too often we are our worst critics when imagination needs a lightness of touch rather than harsh judgement to flourish. If and when writers do look back at previous efforts we train ourselves to only see what could have been better. Reflective criticism can be helpful, I know, because I have done this. But now I acknowledge it is also healthy and affirming to appreciate what worked.

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