The night became preternaturally dark, but still Elias kept moving. He had been walking for around four hours. When he stopped for a moment to look up, he could make out the lightless form of the mountain. A firmament of brilliant stars, the Milky Way, stretched across the sky.
Nadine lies on her mattress on the floor of the attic. She stares up at the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling and the moth circling it. Wind gusts through cracks under the doors and windows, whistling down hallways and upstairs, carrying with it storm-muffled moans of Paul and the new housemate.
"And the winner is–" Zoom freezes on my laptop. But I don't care. From the gallery director's opening comments in her awards speech, praising this year's portraits, it's clear my landscape has not caught the judges' eyes. Again! However, I've learned to channel disappointment into creative energy.
It was a hot drink. Hands flaying, trying to disengage from his depraved grip, fighting off his unwanted advances. First and last date with this man. So, this is internet dating? Disparaged and feeling sorry for myself, I drove off. Nothing expected or implied. How simple? I was old enough to know the risks.
“Ladies and gentlemen, though I use that term loosely,” the pub laughed, and the MC smiled. Laughter signalled the crowd was well lubricated. The publican would be happy. “It’s the final of tonight’s Lagermind,” the MC continued. “Calling Thommo and Moley back to the stage. Or should I say, stagger back?”
The group trekked for several weeks over rough terrain to reach the border town. On the way, they pooled their meagre resources and precious reserves of e-credits and cash to buy food and water and begged when these ran low. Finally, they arrived exhausted and hungry at the border and found no queue for visas.