#231 Loop

by Steve Whitmore

She dances my final days to sleep, the girl in the musical box.

Our eyes meet through the frosted glass and I will my paralysed eyelids to blink a greeting. She is beautiful, as ever, her features unsullied since first I beheld her on my mother’s bedside table. As a child, I turned her tiny key, believed I breathed life into her soul. Now she returns the favour. Smiling, she arches her hands above her head and rises onto her toes.

There are no chimes now but I will hear them. Above the roar I will sound them till the girl turns fourteen times. My chubby fingers wind the key, six and a bit. Any more, and you will break her, David. Any less, and she will not turn back to face me; the chimes will peter out on the wrong note.

My casket judders as our leviathan warps between worlds, but I do not skip a beat. I keep my eyes upon the girl, follow the chimes to the last. Soon, I am to be another’s delicacy, savoured for my pink skin, my meat. Truly, I am one in a million.

The girl comes to rest, her final footfall timed to perfection. Numb as I am, I feel the delicate lace of her dress as she lays it across my face like a veil.

Now, I imagine closing my eyes, imagine sleep.



The universe’s greatest ever investigative duo uncovers a plot to destabilise the Cosmos in a run-down London convenience store. As booze-crazed alien slugs unleash unspeakable horror and terror, only a combination of MacKillop’s able brain and Broken Vacuum Cleaner’s array of cleaning attachments can hope to save the day.

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3 comments:

Shona Snowden said...

I love it! Restrained writing and lovely choice of detail.

Robin Billings said...

Absolutely gorgeous story. Gorgeous in all detail, and in the evocation of feeling.

Violet Hill said...


The poetic style captured me