by Collie

Time stood still
And you remember it well
- 'Carousel' Siouxise and the Banshees

filthy. foul. just like that boy...

"Mother, please," Sofie pleads, the tarot cards in her hands worn soft around the edges as she turns the deck carefully. Soft and worn. Around the edges. Just like she is.

they smell you. like dogs. like those men pumping gas. clawing, biting... he'll have his nose up your skirt before you can -

"Mother!" Sofie screeches, and then the cards spray from her hands, like birds flocking from a speeding motor-car. Sofie sits stick-straight in her chair, eyes staring blindly ahead. She will not look. Not at the cards, not at the cards...

the swords. eight. inverted, girl.

difficulty. depression. hardship

Sofie looks. Sofie sees. The one card with garish color amongst all of the drab. And then a board squeaks, and her breath catches as Ben darkens her doorway.

"No," she says hastily, standing before he can speak. "Everything will be fine."

And he only stares at her. Stares past her. Stares at her mother through the filmy curtain of stars that hangs between them.

"I loved my ma," he says quietly, glancing back to Sofie, shoving dirty, calloused hands deep into the pockets of his denim overalls. "I loved her up until the day she died."


"Yes," he nods, a grim smile on his lips. "To make life, we must take life... only don't ask me yet what I've made. Don't ask me..."

And with a shake of his head he turns and walks away, and Sofie bends down, her skirt pooling around her shaky legs, and she touches the tip of her finger to the eight of swords. Blades and a bound woman. A blind woman.

past treachery

She runs. Runs from her trailer. Runs to find Lodz. Only she knows what he will say, and she does not want to hear it.

"He must stay, Sofie. He was meant to come to us."

She fears Ben may be the ruin of them all, and she fears Lodz means to keep him; to keep him for the entertainment of an old, blind seer and a bearded lady. Silly games. Read his dreams. Watch him fall.

Watch them all fall.

So she stops. Stops running, clutching her tattered shawl around bird-boned shoulders as the winds come again. The dust comes again. The land is wide and low and flat, here. Brown and green and yellow. And Sofie's eyes scan the horizon, and the setting sun bleeds across the sky as it falls, mottled by the dust that flies free, her hair whipping across her face.


And as she shivers, a part of her, deep down inside, eagerly awaits the coming storm.


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