Vikings and kittens (plus videos!)

The men in my life ❤

Also, a few quick clips of Silver’s first two weeks at home from my Instagram Story, and a very short video of him doing a back flip off the couch. Because the internet needs more kitten videos, right?


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Me as an existential horror superhero

My friend (and incredible art goddess) Laura drew this amazing picture of me as part of her Inktober project and it is so beautiful and perfect. I cried for about an hour after she sent it to me and then cried again a little bit when I saw it on Instagram the next morning. My brain totally short-circuits when people do nice things for me. I start having feelings and I can’t handle it.

The caption she gave it on IG is “Interrupting a very Lovecraftian Inktober to bring you a heroine that should have made it into one of his books. Introducing Tanya Simpson. Her defence against the dark forces are her deadly attack spiders (amazing idea for fending off intruders). She comes dressed as night, with a demon kitten on her shoulder. ”

She also included the tag #myfriendsaremyheroes ❤

Her art is absolutely stunning. If you’re on Instagram, you should definitely follow her at instagram.com/laura.jeacock/


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

How they teach you about yourself

So writing poetry about animals seems to be a thing I do now. This is a follow-up to how they teach you about living, dedicated to the tiny furball I’m now responsible for keeping alive, healthy and happy.

how they teach you about yourself

i want to tell you
about those who came before you
who shaped parts of my heart
and left gold and green eyes there.

i want to tell you
that my temper is frostbite and silence
and i fear the limits of my patience
and that i might not love enough.

i want to tell you
about my discomfort with vulnerability
and how it stems from anxiety around
my lack of capacity for gentleness.

i want to tell you
about all i have broken and ended
and that i do not believe i deserve
to be relied upon or needed.

instead i calmly allow you
to carelessly dig through my skin
in the quiet hours before morning
and know that i will treasure these scars.


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How they teach you about living

This is for anyone who has ever lost a four-legged family member.  Animal companions occupy a unique space in our hearts and our lives, and losing them brings a unique pain. Don’t ever let anyone tell you “It was just an animal”. There is no such thing as just an animal.

how they teach you about living

you start to treasure scratches
on furniture that you will never
polish away and small pink scars
on your hands that you wish you
could stop from fading.

the place where a bowl of water
used to sit and the hem of a
too-long curtain that was once
a bed become small altars to fill
the new empty spaces in your life.

you count your remaining years
with lifetimes of smaller animals
as units of measurement and your
comparative longevity feels less
straightforward than it used to.

worse things have happened and
are happening and will happen but
there’s a special kind of grief
reserved for the loss of something
so gentle and unconditional.

you decide that you will be fine
tomorrow but you can’t go to bed
yet because it’s too quiet and you
can still feel the heartbeat that
slowed beneath your hand.


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Seven Times You Are Perfect

When you’re cracking your knuckles, not by bending your fingers back or crunching them forward, but by pulling and twisting at the joints. It makes my skin crawl and I shoot you that look, a sideways glare with a raised eyebrow. You say sorry, then crack one more knuckle before you stop.

When I’m preparing food and you stand close behind me, sliding your arms around my waist and kissing my neck. I stop what I’m doing because it makes me nervous to be so distracted when I have a knife in my hand. You know how I get about knives.

When you’re carrying our ancient cat around and showing her things on shelves she can no longer climb up to. Even with all their size and strength, your arms can protectively cradle this tiny, fragile creature and I remember my mother describing you as a gentle giant.

When I’m feeling anxious so I curl up next to you to hide from the world and you read the internet to me. It doesn’t matter if the stories are about animals who find their way home after being lost for months or unexplained mysteries of the wilderness. What matters is your voice. It’s like valium and the kindest electricity.

When you’re wearing headphones and you don’t realise you’re singing along to whatever you’re listening to, but you are and it’s beautiful. You don’t sing in front of anyone and I don’t play the piano in front of anyone, but we talk about doing these things together, away from everyone else, just for us.

When I’m lying behind you in bed and I rest my face against the warm expanse of your back, comforted by the absolute solidity of you. If truth could wrap itself around muscle and bone, it would settle in the structure of your shoulders and all that they have carried.

When we’re driving away from home and I ask for the fourth time if you’re sure I locked the door because I don’t remember doing it, and for the fourth time you say yes, without a trace of impatience. Even though I do this every time we go anywhere. Even though I never forget to lock the door.

The Quiet Girls

This is a putting-into-words of two dreams I had on consecutive nights. I haven’t embellished it to turn it into more of a story and I can’t explain any of it further than I already have without doing that. It’s simply a product of my subconscious.

The Quiet Girls

I was wandering through the house, a place I had often been to in dreams but never in the waking world. It was a split level building with fields on one side, sloping down to the sea. Every time I’ve been there, a relentless light has filled the sky but it has never been warm. I was previously aware of two rooms on the lower level of the house. One had worn, old furniture and a piano and a black and white cat. The other was a bedroom with clothes and books and miscellaneous remnants of a life that once was, vacuum sealed and packed away into cupboards.

This time, I noticed a gap between the walls that I didn’t remember being there before. It was wide enough to look through into another area of the house that I had never seen, but not wide enough to fit through. I could hear gentle voices on the other side and felt a sense of enforced calm barely thick enough to cover the danger beneath. For a few brief moments, physics warped and twisted and I was able to move through the solid wall to the quiet world on the other side.

There were bedrooms, dormitories, all painted white and decorated with hand-made flowers and paintings of bright places. On some of the paintings in child-like writing were the words, “They are. They see. They know”. I didn’t recognise the language but I understood the words.

I was invisible to the almost-identical blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls going about their day in near silence, with the softest of steps. The only sound in any of the rooms came from delicate whispers in a language I did not speak.

– – – – –

I was in the school, not my school or a school I had ever visited, but the school that I find myself in when I dream. It is on the outskirts of a small town and the surrounding land is always dry. I have never seen the sun there but there has always been a painful brightness that has worked its way into the core of everything.

There is an unspoken rule at the school that you don’t go beyond the far boundary. There is a high wall along one part of the perimeter but it is simply known to avoid furthest reaches of the other side. I have never ventured there before, but this time I did. I felt I had to. I didn’t know why.

I found a terrace of houses which opened through into one another, white paint peeling from the walls and boards over the windows and doors. The closer I got, the more I felt that something was pushing me away. By the time I reached the one door at the back that wasn’t boarded up, I was certain that there were people inside.

They couldn’t see me or hear me. They didn’t know I was there. They were young women, blonde haired and blue eyed, wearing white dresses in white rooms with rough wooden furniture. Some of them were pregnant. Some of them had babies. The babies made no noise and the young women spoke only in close whispers, behind pale hands.

I knew that they had never questioned why they were being used as vessels to breed children. Children having children. I also knew that as soon as the babies were not babies any more, they were taken away and the quiet young women shed no tears for them.

There was a large aquarium in the corner with white fish gasping in the remains of water which had half evaporated. No-one ever thought to fill it up but sometimes the inhabitants of the houses would touch their fingertips to the surface of the water and stare open-mouthed as the fish swam up to meet them.

As I left, I encountered a pale boy with blonde hair and blue eyes and white clothes, walking in circles and pleading with the sky, “She was there. She was there and I only want to see her again”. He didn’t turn towards me as I passed by. I was nothing but air to him.

Four Truths, One Lie and One Unspoken Secret, Part 2 (Flash Fiction Prompt: Love Lies/Numbered)

Flash fiction prompt 29 (Love Lies) and 30 (Numbered), part 2. You can read part 1 from yesterday here. Because tomorrow’s post will be a recap of the month rather than a fiction piece, today is my final flash fiction prompt January post!

If you haven’t read the previous parts of this collection, it’ll make more sense if you read them in the order they happened rather than the order I wrote them – Push, Near-Death Wish, Drowning, Drowning Part 2 and Four Truths, One Lie and One Unspoken Secret, Part 1. Today’s piece is from Noah’s point of view. Brett’s was posted yesterday.

Four Truths, One Lie and One Unspoken Secret, Part 2

1. I love you.

2. When you’re holding a mug of coffee first thing in the morning and you’re still half asleep, I want to freeze time so I can stare at you forever. In those quiet moments, before you construct your mask and awaken your bravado, I feel like I’m seeing something meant only for me. I thought that feeling would lessen over time, but it hasn’t. I will always make coffee for you without asking if you want it, just so I can watch you drink it.

3. That first night, I almost asked you to come home with me. You saw exactly the same thing in me that everyone else does, but while other people walk away, you walked right into it, right into me, and it instantly made you the most fascinating person I had ever met. You are still the most fascinating person I have ever met and I can’t see that changing any time soon. Or ever.

4. The night I walked out, I drove for miles in the dark but I wanted nothing more than to come home to you, to climb into bed beside you and tell you everything. It scared me that I could miss someone so much after only a few hours and I didn’t know how to handle that intensity of feeling. I’m learning though and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1. A few times but only in self-defence. I hated it and I hated myself for doing it. I only did it because I had to. I had no other option and I felt like shit afterwards. I will never do it again.

1. I would though, if you wanted me to. I would, with you.


About the photo
Another heart drawn in blood, more love and violence. A fitting final picture for the month!

Index of January 2017 flash fiction prompts.