Archives for posts with tag: excerpt

Rayne: Our countries grow weak and complacent. They sleepwalk into servitude under our alleged allies, too docile to combat the real threats that fester at the eastern border. Those creatures stand at the gate and you would welcome them in with open arms!

Sunny: Sister…

Rayne: Toxic militarism this, toxic that… these are the words of soft, small-armed men who would fight their battles against us in pencil even as we keep the howling animals at bay for them. Ingrates. Society’s new pre-occupation with gentility and civility, this so-called ‘new way’, denies too much our inherent violent nature. Man is monster. Violent. Territorial. Tribal. Animalistic. We forget or repress these truths at our own peril. Don’t you see? This is a civilisation that has grown too fat and indulgent. It is narcissistic, neurotic and BORED with itself. We teeter on the brink of collapse and beg for our enemies to conquer us.

Sunny: And you propose a war to put everything back in perspective?

Runny: If that’s what it takes.

Sunny: Sister, you would tear down everything we’ve built? All the progress-

Rayne: Progress? You call this progress? Look around you. These sickening ‘new ways’… this is a regression into depravity. Fleeting distractions at best before somebody comes to set the table anew. If someone has to pick up the gun, I won’t let it be them. Not ever again.

Sunny: … What happened to Mam and Da… it wasn’t your fault.

Rayne: Sunny…

Sunny: You’re nothing but another warlord hiding behind her white face. No different to those you would butcher in cold blood.

Rayne: You dare compare me to those animals?! Why must you always be so obstinate? You refuse to see the truth simply because it comes from my mouth.

Sunny: That was true once, perhaps. A long time ago. But here and now, sister, you have become the greatest threat to all our nations. You cannot abide living without a war to fight. You march us into mutually assured annihilation at the altar of might for its own end, calling it self-preservation. You would kill us to the last man to prove there was no other choice.

Rayne: Why can’t you just stand by my side for once? That’s all I ever wanted from you.

Sunny: And all I ever wanted was to be you.

Rayne: How disappointing we both are then.

Rayne: No matter how much you bathe, the smell of my blood will never wash from your bones. You who murder your own kin. You are the true monstrosity.

Sunny: Oh sweet sister, you should die proud then. You raised this monster after all.

Rayne: …Sunny I’m scared.

Sunny: I’m here.

Rayne: Tell me the button story.

Sunny: You really don’t remember? It was one of those nights that Da stayed out late so we both went to go sleep with Mam. It must have been during that last summer because when the three of us cuddled together it would get so unbearably hot. Do you remember those nights?

Rayne: I do.

Sunny: And we would kick the covers this way and that because we were so uncomfortable but Mam would somehow sleep through it with a smile.

Rayne: She would sleep through a storm.

Sunny: One morning we both must have woke up early because of the heat. But neither of us wanted to get up and leave yet. I was making out shapes on the ceiling and you were playing with a loose button on your dress.

Rayne: I thought you were asleep.

Sunny: I was pretending to be. So you put the button up your nose. I thought it was the funniest thing. It took everything for me to stay still and keep pretending. I just wanted to laugh so hard. You were squirming so hard.

Rayne: I couldn’t pull it out and it just kept burrowing deeper inside.

Sunny: I thought so. You stopped fidgeting after a while. I opened my eyes and you were asleep with tears dried on your face.

Rayne: I thought I was dying. I didn’t want to disturb you or Mam.

Sunny: It must’ve fell out when you relaxed.

[Sunny hands Rayne a button from her pocket. The same one we’ve seen throughout the story]

Sunny: Whenever I think back to home, that’s what I always remember. You and Mam sleeping together.



Young Rayne (to Young Sunny): There is no shame in competition. Life is a competition and you shouldn’t fear winning.

Young Rayne (to Young Sunny): Don’t kid yourself, Sunny. The world is a nasty place full of all kinds of monsters. But you are a monster too.

Lt. Sunny Stratum: Do you remember that summer we found those ruins near Delfina? When Mam and Da were still around?

V. Admiral Rayne Stratum: And you jumped from that sunken tower!

Sunny: You all did it first! Besides it didn’t look that high from the top. All I could see down below was the grass.

Rayne: The way you crumpled… I thought you were dead.

Sunny: My mouth hurt.

Rayne: Mam beat the tar out of us both when she saw your face.

Sunny: And Da wouldn’t stop kissing and hugging us for months on end. ‘My silly girls’, he’d say. ‘My stupid brave little girls.’


Sunny: Do you remember the button?

Rayne: …what?

Sunny: I always thought I was of an age with you and all the boys in town. I had to do everything you all did. I had to, or you’d all call me a baby and run away. But after what happened, you became so serious and I realised how small I really was.

Rayne: I had to be Mam to you. It was the only way I could do it.

Sunny: And when you left, I tried my best to copy you. I did everything you did, perfectly. And I couldn’t wait to show you how good a job I was doing in your stead. I felt like I’d caught up to you again finally. Do you remember your first visit back home?

Rayne: Not a thing out of place. Mam would’ve been proud.

Sunny: You were in your new uniform when you stepped off the carriage. I’d wanted to impress you so badly but I got shy the moment I saw you. You looked like a different person.

Rayne: I felt like a different person. The town looked so small.

Sunny: Oh you’d become a grown woman, to be sure. And the way you carried yourself was new. But it was your eyes that had changed most. I looked at them and I thought ‘I’ll never catch up to her’.



Particles of thought strewn
through space, across time – both mine and yours alike
sand grains let loose from loose hands
that fall where they fall, lost to us forever
but found again perhaps, on some other world’s shore

To these pockets of warmth we build for one another
small comforts of unabandoned hope
in an ever-cold dimming universe that drifts wider apart

Opening text from
My Fabric Moved

Bronagh’s phone vibrated in her hand with a message alert.


She ignored it and picked at her red hair, probing it for secrets. What do you know that I don’t? Bronagh didn’t remember dyeing it. It sat on her head, framed her face and enveloped the fringes of her periphery yet she was still caught off-guard by it at every passing reflection. It looked strange to her still; apart from the rest of her, yet alive and vital in its own right. Autonomous. And though it surprised her to admit it, Bronagh enjoyed the new attention it conferred upon her in college. It made her feel desirable. Confident. One of the better unremembered stylistic choices she had made then, unlike the painful skeleton make-up she had come to find out about from social media.

She clutched her phone tightly. That particular blackout incident had scared Bronagh the most. The whole day would’ve slipped under her radar had she not noticed that she herself had changed her profile picture into a skull-faced selfie. Bronagh had sleepwalked through the entire day of Alfie’s dedicated assembly and hadn’t yet dared to ask anybody if she had done anything unseemly for fear of humiliation.

Bronagh looked at her notification: a friend request from Shafi. 3:26.


Bronagh let go of her phone and the ground came rushing up to meet her and it. Perhaps she had screamed at that point – she would be unsure later whether her raw throat was perhaps this or from the vomiting yet to come. Bronagh’s deaf mother lay in bed undisturbed regardless. Bronagh’s shaky hands fumbled for the phone once, twice, and then flipped it over to reveal a freshly cracked screen that read 3:27. Her head swirled. Seven… eight hours? Bronagh gripped a corner of the table and pulled herself up slowly. She steadied the world.

It had happened again. It would happen again. It was happening more often and for longer. On the dressing table was a white bank card, wet and in its own small puddle. Bronagh looked at herself in the mirror – at the stranger with the red hair.

“Leave.” She yelled at it, hoping for some sort of response that she never received. Bronagh grabbed the card and looked about her bedroom for a bin with no success. She ran to her bed and rummaged about under it for an empty shoebox instead, opening it to find a small collection of driver’s licences, credit cards and passports that belonged to strange men.

I’m going to be sick” Bronagh managed to say, to nobody that would hear her. She ran to the bathroom and threw up violently in the sink, blocking the edge of the stopper with chunks of undigested foodstuff. She wasn’t sure why she had grabbed her red lipstick from the dressing table but she used it now to scrawl in large jagged capitals across the mirror:


Her own twisted eye stared back at her through the scarlet letters in silence. It would not say no.

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