fiction, life


chris-r-0334 Image by Christine Renney

The day after his eldest brother had taken his own life the boy’s dad drove into work. The boy was eighteen, a man but watching his dad from the passenger seat he felt like a child. His dad, braving it in the faces of the speechless, made no demands that day. And the boy did what he did, which was nothing.
Over the next few days the boy’s dad heard from the others. They all said that nobody would have, that nobody could have, known.


Paper Defences

The moment he met her for ‘that drink’, he knew he would be fucked. Her eyes would burn away his paper defences, and in the floating motes of ash he would see the end of his life, a reveal of a future cast in black shadow, pain and intolerable pleasure. For now her only hooks in his flesh and soul were her words, but it was already too much. 

art, fiction

The Repenter

Mother and I got off the T at Fenway. The homeless roamed about outside 711. There was one, a bit off from the horde, sitting on the ground, eyes closed. Mother told me to go to that one. I did. The smell was thick and unpleasant.

“Excuse me, may I talk with you for a minute?” I said. He looked up. He was young. His beard was all patches, crowding his dirty face.

“Okay,” he said; his voice clear and pleasant.

“I have an assignment for school. I have to find someone less fortunate than myself and ask them how they ended up that way.”

The man frowned.

“So you think you are more fortunate than I?” he said, looking around himself and smiling. My cheeks burned, but I managed a half-nod.

“Hm. Well, good. If you must know, I am this way by choice. I am punishing myself.”

“For what?” I asked.

“For what my soul has done.”

He chuckled at the confused look on my face.

“I have the soul of Adolf Hitler,” he said without humor, “do you believe in reincarnation?”

I shrugged. “I think Mother does.”

“Smart lady. Well, I spent a long time exploring the idea of reincarnation. That led me to this festival, here in Boston. It was a sort of communal meditation to feed off of each other’s energy and see our past lives. And, as you might guess, I saw Adolf Hitler. I didn’t just see him. I felt him, all of his hate.

After that, I came right here to this spot, sat down, and here I will stay until the universe feels penance has been paid.” He smiled again, awkwardly.

“Penance?” I asked.

“Yes, payment for my sins. I thought about chopping off a limb or perhaps burning myself a little to speed up the process but, it seems Hitler was a coward as well.” He sighed.

“Oh, okay.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Is that what you needed?” He asked.

“I-I think so.”

“Lovely, well, have a nice day then.” The man who was Hitler laid down onto his side and began to snore. I turned around and found Mother standing next to the street. She saw me and quickly dropped her cigarette behind her back. I rolled my eyes and walked towards her.

“Get what you need?” She asked, chewing a bit of gum.

“I guess.”

“Great! What should we get for lunch?”

“You choose.”

“Sushi it is!”



Miraculous Mistake

In my dream there had been a terrible or rather brilliant mistake in which you were in fact still alive but had just been in hospital for a while and I said Oh dear, mother threw all your stuff away so your flat is empty but don’t worry we can buy you new stuff, it might even be fun, and you were asking about my brother and my writing and if I’d been going to therapy and then wanted to know if I’d got your money, keys, phone, glasses, medicines and well you were pretty pissed off at the whole thing to be honest and didn’t understand how or why we thought you were dead but I was so indescribably happy that you were okay that nothing mattered and I said Wait, so if you’re alive, who the fuck was inside that coffin we burnt? and we laughed and laughed and got a taxi down to your empty flat and when we got inside you looked around and lit a rollup and said Ahh it feels good to be home babes but I couldn’t quite believe you were really there so I held onto your arms because I thought maybe it was a trick but you were warm and alive and moving and breathing and talking and in your flat and you said you were Feeling a bit tired actually so we sat on the floor and I had my arms around you and I was saying You’re safe now Daddy, you’re safe, you’re safe now, you’re safe, you’re safe, you’re safe and then this morning I woke up to the sound of my voice saying “You’re safe” and I genuinely thought that you were alive until I saw the little shrine I made for you by the window and then I remembered that you’re not here anymore and my little heart broke all over again and my God I’ve never wanted a crazy miraculous mistake to happen as much as I do right now


1) Quit, 2) Shave, 3) Do Nothing

Step One: Quit

I quit today. Or at least I gave my intent to end my current job – my last day will be 31st January 2017. When I hit send on the notifying email I felt a surge of happiness. Sure Mr.Corporation, I need your money coming into my bank account, but I don’t need your shit. I smiled for the first time in weeks – I felt like a new man.

I have neglected myself of late, but handing in my notice was the first step to doing something I want to do with my life – trouble is, I have no idea what is that ‘thing’.

Step Two: Shave

I shaved today. This may sound a small step, but I always find that shaving my head is another indication of change within me; a reminder when I look in the mirror each morning; to stay determined, move forward and not tread water. I may get another tattoo.

In the shower I continued to other parts of my body. When the razor took away the last few hairs from my neglected scrotum, the feeling of the smooth, lickable skin of my ballsack and shaft made me smile – I was feeling a new man, in more ways than one.

Step Three: Do Nothing (for as long as possible)

I am taking February off from work, but I do not know what to do with myself; how best to use that time. I suspect I’ll shave again during this month, but other options are welcome – any suggestions for me and my smooth balls?




chris-r-0922 Image by Christine Renney

Dalton was not the first to arrive and if he hadn’t noticed the others (a handful of men standing at the edge of the road gazing out across the field) he wouldn’t have slowed, wouldn’t have pulled off and up onto the verge. Only then did he turn and see the smoke rising in the distance, a grey and dense column.
Dalton climbed from his car and, as he walked across to where the others stood, he looked toward the burning building. A mansion in flames, it was most certainly something that he wanted to see.
Joining the group he asked, ‘What happened?’
He regretted this instantly, wished that he could take the question back, realised just how inane it must have sounded but at last one of the men mumbled, ‘Don’t know.’
And Dalton was able to breathe again and along with these men he stood in silence watching the house burn and watching the fire fighters who from so far away appeared small and inadequate. They scurried about in front of the blaze and quite clearly weren’t up to the task at hand. They couldn’t get close enough, couldn’t touch it and attempting to contain it they set up cannons and fired water into the air. But it couldn’t be controlled and they hadn’t any choice but to let it run its course. All they could really do was stand back and wait for the fire to burn itself out.
Dalton was pleased by this, excited even, and furtively he glanced at the men standing beside him. They were all of them quietly engrossed and he quickly turned his attention back toward the burning edifice.
Behind him others had begun to arrive, he listened to them talk. They were questioning and speculative and Dalton realised that if he had arrived just a little later he would be in this group. But now he was part of something else entirely, something much more intense.
The man in front of him, the ‘don’t know’ man, stepped onto the grass verge and pushed through a gap in the hedge. Dalton followed and so did one of the others. Together all three of them then moved out onto the open field and away from the noisy, gathering rabble.
Dalton glanced back and was surprised to find the rest of the original group were still standing on the other side of the hedge, had decided not to follow and were already turning and, gesticulating, they joined the throng.
Dalton tried to concentrate on the fire but couldn’t, the moment was getting away from him. Awkward and uncomfortable, he wondered if they were talking about him, if they, the three who had foolishly and pointlessly ventured a little closer, were now a topic of conversation.
It struck Dalton, but just momentarily, that it was like watching a scene from a film but it was far too real and much too big and the camera didn’t cut away in order to reveal something else.
He looked up and watched the smoke spiralling into the sky. Looking down Dalton noticed, for the first time, the ambulances parked off to the far right. It was an enclave of activity, the paramedics moving purposefully back and forth and the dazed survivors wandering aimlessly.
Dalton realised that they couldn’t see, not from the road and he suddenly felt less self-conscious, was in fact decidedly buoyant and able to watch again.

art, fiction

Darla’s Miniatures

Darla stood over the little sleek purple box. She opened it, trembling.

The miniature looked up at her. Darla smiled.

“Hello, Mother.”

The Miniature stood up and bowed. “Hello, Master Darla,” it said, professionally.

“Oh mother,” Darla blushed, “call me sweetie would you, like you used to.”

The miniature of Darla’s mother complied. “How might I serve you, Sweetie?”

Darla smiled, they had the same voice, the same plump nose.

“I thought I lost you, mother.”

“I’m here, Sweetie, to serve.”

“Will you read me a story, mother?” Darla asked.

“What story would you like to hear?” The Miniature of Darla’s mother asked.

“Oh, you know…” Darla said, coyly.

The Miniature of Darla’s mother frowned. “I am sorry, Sweetie; I do not know.”

Darla began to cry. The miniature stood and waited, confused.

“You’re not her, you’ll never be her,” Darla moaned, lumpy spit dribbling from the edge of her mouth. “You’ll never be her!” Darla reached down and grabbed the miniature off the table. The Miniature didn’t struggle, at first.

“How could I be so stupid!” She squeezed harder. “Sweetie, you’re hurting me,” The Miniature tried to explain. Darla held tighter.

“I knew it, I knew it. Look at you!” Darla pointed one large soggy eye at the miniature of her mother and it went cold.

“You don’t even look like her!” Darla growled.

The Miniature of Darla’s mother began to choke. The Fuhrer taught to never harm your master. Never. But, The Miniature reacted without thinking. She bit down on Darla’s hand. Darla let go with a roar of pain. The Miniature fell to the floor. Without thinking, she ran. The body of Darla’s mother was not a good one. It moved slow. She found her way into a room beyond the kitchen.

Darla was moving now. She lumbered after. The Miniature ran deeper into the room. It stank. The Miniature looked around for a place to hide and found another human laying in the bed.

“Help!” The Miniature cried. The slumbering human didn’t move. The miniature climbed the sheets and rolled until she was pressed up against the human. It was cold.

Darla was in the room now.

“WHERE ARE YOU MOTHER!” she cried, cleaver held in her left hand. The Miniature crawled up the cold figure using its ear as a foot hold. As it reached the top it perched on the plump nose.

Darla stood over the corpse of her mother and stared at The Miniature, cleaver raised.

“Why don’t you love me mother? Why have you never loved me?”

The cleaver came down on the chest of the corpse, blood exploded. It was cold and purple.

The force of it caused the corpse’s mouth to flop open. The Miniature dove inside. It was still wet. Darla continued to hack away at her mother’s corpse. The Miniature stayed inside the mouth, a cold soggy womb, waiting to die. After a minute the earthquakes stopped. The Miniature had never cried before. She did now.

Through her sobs she heard a thud, then weeping.

The Miniature slid her head past the teeth and looked out. Darla lay slumped against the wall, covered in guts, keening.

The Miniature crawled out over the blue lips and slid down a blood, spit, and tear soaked cheek. She made her way to the floor as Darla continued to weep. She headed for the door.

“I’m sorry mother, I’m so sorry” Darla mumbled through her tears.

The Miniature stopped. She looked over at Darla, then to the door. She sighed.

She sidled over and touched Darla’s leg, softly. Darla looked up.

She reached out and scooped The Miniature up in her hands. She brought the miniature to her bosom and held her.

“I love you mother,” Darla whispered.

“I love you too Sweetie, I love you too.” The Miniature of Darla’s Mother closed her eyes and smiled.


More about the Miniatures:

mengel_39_s  mengel_39_s_interview ford_39_s_miniatures mengel_39_s_play



2015 Ashley Lily Scarlett

art, photography