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sofar story pages 46-47
Picture story SOFAR 46-47 Phone
Now so we are, I is here, is it, aint it clear to you, me neither. Kind of fuzzy miresome, nothing that you could write home and say your playing with, no say, no play, all gone here. Something else maybe like a possibility if you were certain enough to make it. Kind of sweet, kind of sour too, all decked up like frozen bars of sweets covering up the flaws here. Are there any floors, I don’t feel them, I wouldn’t say I float around but in fact I do. All is gone and so am I, just a thing that is bobbing around here. Awful shit and hell I hate it, take me home please; what is that, I had one once I think but that has burned away. Blurry mind can’t get a grip here, nothing to stick to, a place forever, or perhaps and maybe not. Thank you and goodnight, if you have one, we don’t seem to. Rain a stain that’s wet here, dry a place that’s falling and if its blue to you, think of me, think of how I’m feeling.
 
sofar story pages 44-45
Picture story SOFAR 44-45 Phone
So we see this is me. Its such a lonesome road here, bleak and dark and very likely haunted (that’s a joke – ho, ho.) Some things come, then some things go and I am falling free now. Bits fall off, at what cost am I paying here. The road here its a charge of sorts, to get to there from here requires a burning bits of you that you thought were vital, vanish without saying, like your name your sense of history, memory of course, all little things no longer needed. To fit in you have to learn the language and it seems that mine is raw and awfully coarse I must learn to say another way. Be brave my dear its for the best, just another fucking test, they have them here as well or is that hell I’m not quite sure, but I’m not overheating. I’ve forgotten that and this has gone, now what was it I said I don’t remember. Well here goes, shows what you can do with no expectations, did I say they were one of the first. Its all a pleasant dive, no pain, no hurt, no distance, here I am free of all, just have to be some newer me. I hope she’s nice I will have to live with her.
 
sofar story pages 42-43
Picture story SOFAR 42-43 phone
They arrive at a warehouse. Inside there is nothing much, some cans of paint, broken chairs, playing cards scattered. Above is an absence, a darkness that streams like a river.
Death is locking the door. There is no way back, Jinny must go forward. ‘Here is the end of the road. There is the start of another. You want to know the answers. Okay then fly try their tastes.’
‘It might seem a sin but I’ve got to ask it, forgive and forget right?’ Now she is here Jinny is having second thoughts.
Death’s lack of empathy has been hard won, a lack due to necessity. ‘I don’t have your soul, do you think I’m a demon?’
Jinny has gathered the cards, trying to divine her future. ‘Okay then, so I have my soul but I still feel like me, when are you going to kill me?
‘You are unique Jinny Moon, you are in Death but you will never die, you are my personal guest. You will not die but some things will fade from you. Death is in another place, with different properties, you will alter so you may be there.’
Why is she unique? Jinny thinks to ask the question but then in apprehension decides she would rather not know. ‘Death this, Death that, but how do I know that you are the right death for me, for my beliefs?’
Death does something strange with his mouth, he smiles. ‘Death is not the end its just the beginning, its a holding place, a waiting room. The gone from Earth gather there. They change they move, where they go I never ask.’
‘I would ask, I would have to know.’
‘No Jinny, you will have to ask, you will have to know. There is no past in Death.’
Jinny is thinking maybe she can buy post cards, “Having a lovely time.”
 
sofar story pages 40-41
picture story Sofar 40-41 phone
Desires, regrets, all that hasn’t happened yet, Jinny feels its too soon to leave but she made a deal. She’s not fading she could run away, escape from Death to some place he never goes, somewhere like Sumaria, ho, ho, ho. Some lover to miss might be a consolation but where will he be now, causing havoc over an unsuspecting place, or maybe he’s changed again, she hopes he has. The Thief might mind, he seems to have an unsuspected kindness hidden deep. She is hoping this ghost will get on with it, if she’s going she would rather get it over quick. Maybe she could compose a valedictory ode;
She was here,
she went,
a new frontier,
no lament.
 
sofar story pages 38- 39
Picture story SOFAR 38-39 phone
A waiting place, Death is used to this. Waiting for the weight to stay, the never seen to move away, can you weigh a parting.
Jinny is babbling with uncertainty, she is scared to death if truth be told. ‘If its here we are do you wish to pray? Is this a place of yours? Are we nearer? Will it take long?’
‘I have a call to make. Collect something due, well past its sell by date.’ Death was too long in the job for lament, is there a remembrance of tears, nothing moist to flow now? ‘Some come easy, some come low but all come to me eventually. I’m not judging, to tell the truth I don’t really care.’
Jinny’s thoughts were flashing to horrors, to hell, to hades, to heaven. Panic and imagined pains shot through her. ‘When will I be dead, I feel alive still. Will you kill me with a gun, chop off my head or what?’
‘Some chance, some win, some lose, you change. Everything changes, well so will you.’ Same old planet, same old day, same old night. But now a chance to experience something new, another you in a never known.
‘That’s something said I’ve heard before, it seems that every move gets worse.’ Death seemed to be getting darker, a lack of warmth, a lack of light, at the end of the road would it be no more at all?
‘The answers there but its up to you learn its lesson, every experience has a value.’
‘Did you get that from a Christmas cracker?’
 
sofar story pages 36- 37
Picture story SOFAR 36-37 phone
The Thief was right the temperature is growing colder. A stranger is approaching, bringing chills from ancient places, an icy blast from the past or will this be our future. A whispering, a murmur low, a creeping crow or maybe.
Jinny takes on the role of the gate, defending all her work. ‘Yes sir may I help, are you lost, are you grieving? Do you wish to see a loved one?’
The stranger moves with confidence, he is used to the view that refuses to think of him, until the last, but Jinny can see him clearly. ‘How sweet you are, may an old man rest his arm? You are doing well, there is lot to tell here, many stories all around trying to make sense of these brutal sudden changes. Life is such a fragile thing don’t you think, no permanence at all. It is a shame because pass the gate there is a state of certainty, no lying and no business just sweet serenity.’
It wasn’t cold as such, it was more a lack of warmth. Jinny was trying to edge away but the stranger’s arm held her close. ‘I think I get a feeling now sir, you are a passer of the green and of all that lies unseen. Have you come to collect, or is this just a visit to peruse?’
‘With no movement there is no love. With no love there is no more pain. I will make a deal with you, would you like that?’ The stranger is feeding on Jinny’s vitality, such life, he simply could not let her go. He tightens his grip.
‘You’re playing games too fast for me. Are we playing cards? Have you marked the deck?’ Jinny was thinking that while Death can pay a visit, Living never strolls around at all.’
‘There is no chance, there is only loss. Would you prefer if I would finish up your work here?’
‘Now you are playing with me. What is this deal you speak of?’
Death was sad that his presence never cheered, perhaps he should learn some jokes, “Have you heard the one about the Little Match Girl, it will slay you.” ‘Quite simply I take you. You I find quite interesting.’
Death is making a box and Jinny is to be nailed tight in it.
 
sofar story pages 34-35
Picture story SOFAR 34-35 Comp
With a bag full of chinking, the Thief was thinking to move on but she was full of stubborn and glued here. 'Interesting, this is not the only game to play. D'yu wanna know my mind, I think you're getting ill. Give it a rest, for the best you're not gonna save them all.'
The Thief was hovering too close she felt cramped by his presence sticking his nosey nose in her business. 'I aint leaving till I see the last one done. Its a curse I've been given by someone shittier than you.'
The Thief was thinking of angels. 'I wrote you a letter once but I never sent it. It said, “Please save me,” but it had a fine stamp so I stole it. Can I steal you please, there's room in my sack I think?'
'You're joking, you're not. Not today please Thief I'm busy.' The dead bought the flies, Jinny told lies to her patients.
The Thief shoulders his sack. 'There's a cold wind coming Jinny but you're just too stupid to feel it. Get out of the way or it will mow you down.'
 
sofar story pages 32-33
Picture story SOFAR 32-33 phone
In the town Jinny screws up courage to deal with the hurt. The Thief moves around scavenging value from the dead.
Its a veritable candy store, the Thief is almost dancing. ‘Easy pickings this, they don’t struggle much and anyway the dead can’t count their pennies now can they?’
‘Obscene, wipe your hands away from me. Its a wealth took by stealth and its wrong.’
‘So now you get particular. I’m not the one who made this, so point your bloody finger somewhere else.’ Faces fall free from the wallet the Thief is lifting.
‘Do you know the prayers for the dead? I’ve forgotten. ’Cos there are some that are moving but most of them aint.’ Cause and reaction, there’s no satisfaction in thinking of the Dragon now.
‘Whatever their beliefs I’m thinking they’re flowing to the same place. Just pray for a good journey and a welcome home.’
‘Most times you’re such a shit but then just sometimes you aint.’ She wants a rest, its bad and getting worse.
 
sofar story pages 30-31
Picture story SOFAR 30-31 Phone
Once into the light the changes happen quick, the Dragon turns into a Storm, a whirling maelstrom of wind, wrecking a town.
The Storm tries to calm down but she's feeding his temper and he's roaring. 'If its being your seeing well then look to your own. I place my head on the block for you. But know at the first that storms do what storms will do and now that's just my nature.'
Some changes are for the better, some changes herald worse but the change that Jinny is trying to resist is tearing her heart to pieces. 'So your lorded up now, high and mighty stratum. Hurt is still hell for those that are receiving.'
'Silly billy iffy thing. Might makes me strong but its up to you to make a finish. Love changes everything, now you try that out on them.' The Storm lies too low and starts to rain, Jinny is soaking, battered by the wind. The Storm moves over Jinny so she stands in the quiet of his eye. 'Its of your stand, its of your hand now. I told you all is change, well this is yours, you love me now you must change things for the best.'
Once into the light the changes happen quick, the Dragon turns into a Storm, a whirling maelstrom of wind, wrecking a town.
The Storm tries to calm down but she's feeding his temper and he's roaring. 'If its being your seeing well then look to your own. I place my head on the block for you. But know at the first that storms do what storms will do and now that's just my nature.'
Some changes are for the better, some changes herald worse but the change that Jinny is trying to resist is tearing her heart to pieces. 'So your lorded up now, high and mighty stratum. Hurt is still hell for those that are receiving.'
'Silly billy iffy thing. Might makes me strong but its up to you to make a finish. Love changes everything, now you try that out on them.' The Storm lies too low and starts to rain, Jinny is soaking, battered by the wind. The Storm moves over Jinny so she stands in the quiet of his eye. 'Its of your stand, its of your hand now. I told you all is change, well this is yours, you love me now you must change things for the best.
 
sofar story pages 28-29
Picture story SOFAR 28-29 PHOne
The music is slowing, its near come to a stop. Jinny feels the change in the tempo. ‘Where are we now?’
‘Its the last dance.’
She feels a pang in her heart. ‘How sad that joy must end.’
‘Its just changes. The dance will begin again in another place,’ The Dragon arches in a roll heading for the future.
‘If your wanting a rest from me I’d let you take ten but why is it time for the ending?’ Dots of tears appear.
He would wipe the tears away but knows they would reappear. ‘You’re all so wrong here, the last dance holds the key, another door is opening. We must be brave and move on, the changes we find maybe pleasing or not but they are our lot to play with.’
‘If there’s an attack, a rush at my back, what if I don’t want to move?’ A sulky rack to Jinny’s voice.
The Dragon stops, the music stops, Jinny is thrown into space, he catches her on his snout. The Dragon looks at Jinny his voice is from some crueller place than Jinny had heard before. ‘Sometimes in the night we awaken with fright and we reach for the light. Well this place will turn bad if you stay here. You don’t belong and the beings that do will suck all the light from the walls, and when you are quivering from fear they will hear and draw near, and it wont be a dance they are wanting.’
‘So say, okay where’s the door?’
‘Straight ahead, mind your eyes its bright outside. I may change to play the part of a breeze, I may play the part of a storm.’
‘And me, do I change too?
 
sofar story pages 26-27
Picture story SOFAR 26-27 phone
‘Could you conceive a dream like me,’ she says, ‘I’m floating, I trust you, I feel so pretty.’
‘Just colour and light my dear, I don’t exist but here I am. My lies build castles in the air, walk on them who really cares.’ hisses the Dragon, threading words through the rhythm of the music.
The dance reaches its second breath and all are drunk on revel and rollick.
The Dragon slides in and gives Jinny a playful bump. ‘Am I nice now? The music is in me, I flash and turn. I whisper light, beware my guile, my crooked tongue, I might send out lies that you love believing.’
‘As it was, am I here?’ Jinny leans back and shivers with pleasure. ‘Seems so familiar to me. Yet I dance by chance revolving, moving with the heavenly spheres, a liquid flow, a pace a hop, a giddy glide, lets not stop for ever.’
Liquid light, the Dragon, a sinuous stream, sweeping over and under Jinny. ‘Trust me always, trust me never, I am changeable and varied, like the notes that takes us to a place of ecstasy here.’
‘You by my side a hideous beast.’ Jinny raps her nails along his teeth. ‘I know you by your moving, refined and rarefied in this place. You partner me with grace that matches every move I make.’
‘I command you to stay, will you please? I’m a beggar at your door, my plate is empty may I ask for more?’ If the Dragon had knees he would be on them.
‘Yes darling you’re the best for me, lets dance through day to night.’
 
sofar story pages 24-25
Picture story SOFAR 24-25phone
The people take lots and Jinny wins the prize to be the Dragon’s gift. She sits on his golden hoard bravely waiting her fate.
The Dragon flies home to find the pleasant surprise of his guest. ‘Hello, are you lunch, am I slimming?’
‘If you refer to me, be it known I dine on poison fishes and am riddled with the most disgusting sickness.’
‘Let me have a lick.’ The Dragon kisses Jinny. ‘You taste of milk and sea, you don’t seem that ill to me.’
‘Toast me then, just let them know I die with a defiant look in my eye’
The Dragon circles around Jinny. ‘What’s your name? Do you move with grace? A lick of paint might help your face.’
Jinny wriggles to find a more comfortable seat. ‘Most peculiar, do you desire all your meals have names? Well mine is Jinny. I am known for my flowing movement, my terpsichorean stepping. And as to my face, I would dare to say sir, that is the pot calling the kettle black.’
The Dragon is amused. ‘Then my delight by name of Jinny, I would ask if you would give me the honour of being my partner at the dance.’
 
sofar story pages 22-23
Picture story SOFAR 22-23 phone
‘We don’t need a King we need a Dragon killer.’
The Thief smiles. ‘Believe it or not, I’m in the business of providing for the peoples needs. Leave it all to me. A fair Princess is required to bait a trap, any volunteers?’
 
sofar story pages 20-21
Picture story SOFAR 20-21 phone

The Moon pulls the waters and the tide goes out. People come to the beach. The Thief stands on the rock and proclaims. ‘Stand tall be not afraid of me. I am your King, a saviour come to steal this land and make it more than better. I will be a just and fair ruler, you do the work and I will not shirk in my duties of taxing you. That’s a fair exchange thank you much for listening.’
There are murmurs in the crowd.
‘Its better for us on the back of the bus cooking up places to go now. Could be quite pleasant when along comes this peasant saying he’s King. Well ruling cuts both ways.’
‘Well if he’s doing the ruling he ought to fix the downstairs loo.’
‘And the cockroach infest should be sorted as well.’
‘Its not a doddle just saying twaddle with out dirtying your hand to fix things.’
‘If this is your place then get of your arse and do the job that’s waiting for you.’

She was thinking of an outrageous cloud, wondering if it would be good enough to set before a Queen.

 
sofar story pages 18-19
sofar 18 19 phone
‘Land ho.’ They reach a rocky outcrop just as the last of the stage sinks beneath the waves. The Thief grips the rock tight, Jinny waits for the Moon to pull the sea away.
‘This is my Land,’ says the Thief. ‘This is my Land and we shall build a paradise on earth here, where all will be equal, all will be free, where no woman or man need bow down to another, except of course myself for I will be King.’
Jinny turns from her book. ‘Stranger things have happened, but remember I am nobodies servant, find another wedding.’
 
sofar story pages 16-17
Picture Story Sofar16-17 Phone
The stage was nearly sunk and the Thief is disappearing under the waves.
‘Happenstance and horror, will there ba good grip on to me but let go of that sack its pulling you de tomorrow?’ Jinny holds out a hand for him. ‘Get own.’
‘Glug glug. Its all very well shouting to hell and back but my little sack is my life line to being a man, to being seen of any worth at all.’
‘Do you want to be the richest man in the cemetery?’
The Thief gets a foot on to the floating wood. ‘I would like to be nice thank you very much but its hard.’
Jinny is pulling at his jacket. ‘Remind me why am I holding on to you?’
‘Because I’m beautiful.’
‘Oh yes, I had forgotten that.’
 
sofar story pages 14-15
Picture story SOFAR 14-15  phone
The Thief is humming, something's up but its not the raft, its sinking. The mad man claws, fingers grasp ripping up the stage.
Jinny is aghast, she leaps across to stop him. 'What are you doing!'
'I'm stealing this floor,' says the Thief.
'Are you mad, we're sinking.'
'Pennies in my eyes, don't listen to your lies, this wood will sell real well.'
Every act has a consequence and the Thief's sinks them down the briny, alas tasting salt is not Jinny's favourite recipe.
 
sofar story pages 12-13
Picture story SOFAR 12-13 phone
The more it rains, it rains some more, drippity drip, drip drop. It rains so much the stage begins to float away. They rig the curtain for a sail, then they are out at sea.
The Thief says, ‘Its stopped,’ with a sigh of relief.
‘Can’t you take all this water away,’ she asks him.
‘That’s a specialist job, takes a heavy mob, not my cup of tea to be stealing all this sea.’
 
sofar story pages 10-11
Picture story SOFAR 10-11  phone
She feels a lean towards him, he is nicer than she thinks. She suppose he goes but then he never did. ‘I thought you’d gone.’
‘No there’s a wetness drowning this town. I fear to soak, I’m less already, I don’t want to be shrunk as well.’
 
sofar story pages 8-9
Picture story SOFAR 8-9 phone.jpg

Jinny falls asleep but in the night she awakes to the steps of another visitor.
Stepping on tip toes the man is softly singing. ‘Stealth for wealth, that’s a fair exchange, I think so. Lovely me I will be as rich as Croesus easy.'
Jinny turns. ‘ Can you keep the noise down I’m trying to sleep.’
‘Schh!’ Says the man loading the paintings into his sack.
‘Are you a thief?
‘Just making sure everything is secure. I’ll just take these to keep them safe.’
‘You are a thief, well those pictures aint worth a penny.’
‘Look you little liar I know there’s money here I can smell it.’
‘That’s just the bank across the road.’
‘Nice to meet you but got to dash turn these beauties into cash.’
‘Shall I say who called?’
‘Why certainly, tell them it was me.’
Jinny, settles down again. She is not one to find a fault, she owns too many of her own.

 
sofar story pages 6-7
Picture story Sofar 6-7 phone

Jinny is tired of waiting. 'It is not a long time but it is too much, I long to touch and feel inside, do the curtains hide, or are they a forbidden place? Let me in.'
She pulls the curtains wide to see a show of pictures, some are hung some are waiting to be placed.
Jinny smiles and catch herself thinking of the owner. 'Sad to see he's not here, doubtless he will make appear sometime. I will observe and wait for him to come.’

 
sofar story pages 4-5
Picture story SOFAR 5-6 phone

She is waiting for the show, the curtains coloured red must be hiding something special.
‘Some kind of plan above and beyond here. Some seeing believing I wish for. Is it me or is the time to see come and gone? I’ll open the pages and see for myself, if its wrong then they should have said so.’

 
sofar story pages 2-3
Picture story SOFAR 3-4 FLAT phone
 
sofar story pages cover
sofar cover
 
Muse story ends Sofar story begins
 
muse story pages 60+61
Muse 60- 61 end phone.jpg

‘So what happens now?’
‘Well I want to finish my book, before...’
‘Before?’
‘Before your mass becomes so great it attracts the whole of the Universe. Then you think those last few galaxy’s were a bit too much and you vomit everything out again.’
‘You don’t think...’
‘No.’

THE END

 
muse story pages 58+59
picture story Muse 58-59 phone.jpg
“That makes me a winner does it?”
With a heave Hope pushed Caref off and knelt on him. “I begin again, I always will you know.”
Caref strained but Hope had him securely pinned. “Before, before began, there was a place no place, no space, no tic toc timing either, just a place without. An absence, absent of nothing, absent of something, all gone never is or was.”
Hope got up moved to the window. “Well you know absence so there’s no surprise there was a yearning a shiver a ripple whatever, it was a move, an energy.” Caref lay testing for bruises.
Hope could see the tide was rising, pushing the Moon away. “Well see us we have absence too, we described one back there in the circle and like a death for you that hole never gets filled. I’m trying, I’m sighing to make amends for the absence in you, I can’t fill it but the longing brings me. Maybe we could get that yearning turning and make a new big bang.”
“In me?”
“Well it has to start somewhere, don’t be such a wimp.”
 
muse story pages 56+57
Muse 56-57 phone.jpg
Back at the hotel Hope was by the window. “There goes the glamour,” she said, watching the evening ladies leave.
“What?” Caref was still in the shower.
“Nothing - you gonna be long?”
“Why, you got something planned?” asked Caref appearing trailing dental cotton.
“Wishing for Unicorns, usual stuff.”
Caref made some tea and checked for mail. “I wish you were right Hope.”
“About what?”
Caref deleted the list. “Us working together being an idea.”
“Caref you’re not looking for an idea.”
“Yes.”
Hope wriggled and moved his weight. “Caref you are looking for certainty.
You’re looking for certainty and all you’ve got is me.”
 
muse story pages 54+55
muse 54-55 phone

some of this its good?”
Hope leaned forward and peered at the end of his fork. “What is it, it looks dead, did you pray for its soul while you were eating; never stood a chance its dancing days went past so fast.”
Caref shrugged and buried the fork in his mouth; he yawned. “We should get back to the hotel and wash your hair really well, get some sleep.”
There were convictions going on behind but Hope ignored them. “Its better if we don’t surprise the neighbours, anyway there’s much to do me and you got to start making plans.”
“Plans? What are you talking about Hope?”
“You and me together now we’re dancing close, a pas de deux or what not across the padded floor.”
Caref was looking at some vague violence; he turned to look at Hope. “Oh that together thing I still don’t know what you mean by that?”
Hope stood up. “Its perfectly simple I’ll show you.” She pushed Caref flat on to the table, ripped open his shirt and painted designs on his body with tomato sauce. “There, very pretty, just like that darling, just like that.”
Caref lay looking at his belly. “So if we’re partners do I get a chance to do that too?”
“Always, you can paint your chest with sauce anytime you like.”
“You’re a gem.”

 
muse story pages 52+53
muse 52-53
Hope and Caref left the club and walked back to the hotel. It was turning light a chill wind swept the street carrying paper and bringing hints of breakfast.
Caref sniffed the breeze and his nose turned like a compass. “I’m hungry lets eat.”
The cafe seemed unusually busy for such an early hour but they were lucky and found a table. They ate. Something very chewy gave Hope cause to pause and she studied her companion. “You look okay, if you ask me I would never guess.”
“Guess what?”
“I’m thinking, don’t rush me.”
“Thank you Hope, very nice of you to say so; do you want
 
muse story pages 50+51
picture story muse 50 - 51 phone
“You take another look. I can’t find a towel I’ll use one of his dresses.”
Hope was loath to give up on the circle, she considered the marks while Caref rubbed her hair. “Its a very nice circle, you did that well.”
Caref got another dress and made a turban. “Down to you, your body made the mark, I just held you. Look I’ve cleaned your hair as best I can but you need a shower, lets get back to the hotel.”
“Can I try here more please?” Hope asked. She stepped on the chair and looked down, “Can we stop the door and look?”
“At what Hope, its just a circle?”
“No Caref its not just a circle, it’s our circle. I helped you make something. That’s what it says to me, us together, we can be more.”
 
muse story pages 48+49
picture story Muse 48 - 49
Caref put Hope down and looked around for Mercury but he’d gone. “Sing a song bang a gong, the dead are moving houses. Well that was a waste of space, come on, let’s get that muck out of your hair.”
Hope looked for a tap. “Its my fault of course?”
Caref found some shampoo and a bowl. “Of course.” He strained though Hope’s hair with a comb.
“No doubt about it?”
“Sure as eggs. Hope I haven’t got a clue. I was hoping for some magic but its just a painted circle on the ground.”
“Don’t you like it, seems nice to me?”
“You know the secret to washing hair is getting it really wet.”
“You’re an expert on washing hair, surprising.” Hope felt the pull as Caref tugged at a knot,
“Mercury’s a double dealing bastard but he doesn’t get
things wrong, take another look.”
 
muse story pages 46+47
muse story 46-47 phone
Hope threw her drink in Mercury’s face. “Be an agent for hell if you like just don’t drag me down there. I’ll bid you farewell, you piece of shit.”
Mercury was quick to catch her arm. “Now don’t be hasty darling. I was just testing, seeing where your heart is lying. If you want your idea then here is the deal, I get a face as pretty as yours. That’s not so bad is it? I just want to look nice to be seen with.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” She licked her fingers and ran them through the grease left on his face. “Don’t test me too far I aint playing the games you’re trying to drag me in to.”
Repairing the traces through his face Mercury fought with the mirror. “Pleasant thoughts enriching me, that’s a story won. Bring in your friend and then for this to work please mop that mess up with your hair.”
Hope turned the key and waved to Caref leaning down the hall. “Nice act,” he said. Mercury’s teeth formed a smile.
“Be good Caref please,” said Hope from the floor as she soaked her hair with the colours she had crashed.
Stepping out of his game Mercury seemed taller. “For this to work don’t waver, pick up Hope and paint her hair in circles on the floor. Whatever happens you must not stop.”
 
muse story pages 44+45
picture story muse 44-45 p
Hope scanned the room for a trap. “Just a little thing, an idea for a friend, something you could cook up in your sleep.”
She caressed his clothes. “This was mine I think.”
“Yes it was. Such a pleasure to wear dear memories.” He snatched the robe back from her fingers and lay it safe upon the rack. “You know I would do anything you ask but alas my back has a little itch it has a need of scratching.”
Hope walked her fingers through the make up enjoying his anxiety. She said, “Name the place, I will name the time, help us now and I will pay my due.”
“Name the price, its better than I can wish for.” Mercury giggled. “The price is easy said, free me from my name, let me be you, use your body for a night, let me feel how well you are to be.”
Hope swept his colours to the floor. “You jest?”
“That’s the price honey funny” Mercury waved towards the floor. “Would you mind clearing up your mess.”
 
muse story pages 42+43
Mercury wriggled from his dress, covered up his ageing with a robe. With care removed his make up leaving some for later. Mixed a drink relaxed, tensed again on feeling a presence outside his room.
Hope stood waiting.
Mercury narrowed his eyes and purred. “What a nice surprise I bow to thee my queen.”
“I prefer you use my name please, come give your sister a kiss.”
“Come in, be my guess, are you selling something sweet, or do you wish to buy a favour?”
 
muse story pages 40+41
muse longer story 40-41 phone
the sea, one is floating free, the other one is drowning with the wealth of the fish its caught. That boat went down. A whale appeared and ate the other. Said, “Don’t be smug.” - Its a delicate time to begin this. My name came back and saw my face and swore she never….”
Hope bought drinks.
Caref stood upon his toes to see. “Is he here?”
Hope frowned at the taste of her drink. “Its not always easy to say.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that if we were to ask he would say he wasn’t but I am sure he is.”
 
muse story pages 38+39
Muse Longer story 38-39 phone
Moving past the bones they crept down the alley declining to meet dogs seeking their fortune with the rats and the cats. Up ahead a car was burning, risking singeing people gathered drinking. Hope asked if they’d seen the man they might be chasing, one turned and threw a bottle smashing it on a door.
Inside stairs led down to a club, damp brick, dim light.
Onstage the comic was talking funny:
“…just when you think all hope has left you gone. - Take me, I’m an idiot, brush my teeth with salt, my teeth aren’t white but they never get cramp. - All these artist’s are in for a shock when God comes down and claims copyright. - Two men on a hill, one is dead and one is dying. One says to the other what’s the meaning of life. - When’s it better to laugh, at a fool with no brains, or a brainy man with no fool? It’s obvious. The fool might find some brains but the brainy man will never admit to absurdity. Two - boats upon...
 
muse story pages 36+37
longer story muse 36+37 phone
They chased after the man for miles.
Caref stopped to catch his breath. “He’s gone, did you see where he went?”
“Do I look like I know?”
“Hope I have no idea what you know.”
Hope turned to look at Caref. “Are you angry with me, is that what this is about?”
Caref felt scared, anxious for both of them. He wanted to go back to the safety of the hotel and lie down. “I just love chasing through the other side of town after a man who isn’t there.”
Hope was annoyed, it was her fault. “Mind if I sit while you’re wasting our time?”
“Lie down, take a bath I don’t care.” Caref said without a thought. Then he heard himself and changed his mind. “Apologies, apologies, down upon my bloody knees.”
“Like you on your knees, can I take a picture?”
“Fine, make a bloody movie.”
Hope leaned across and took Caref’s hand. “Lets try down here.”
“It’s dark.”
“Shut your eyes and trust me.
 
muse story pages 34+35
muse 34+35 phone
“Waiting for the man to come weighs heavy on the heart. He's there alright, its just you not seeing.”
Caref kept on moving. “What man? What heart? Honestly Hope you do talk rubbish sometimes.”
“Do I? I don’t remember. Anyway he’s there if you catch him, I advise that you do, he’s the help we are needing.”
“Hope there is no man. I don’t see any man.”
“I do, I’ll waive him down. He’s running fast, you wont last the pace.”
 
muse story pages 32+33
muse story 32-33 phone
Hope jumped on to Caref’s  back. “Let’s go.”
Caref shifted round to see her. “You’re on my back?”
“I do believe you said so. Engine, me at the wheel, remember? Let’s go.”
“I thought you were tired?”
It was a long time since he’d played horse, Caref was taking time to adjust.
“Don’t interrupt the driver. Look out ahead change down a gear. That ice ahead is treacherous.”
It was coming back to Caref he started to trot. “Ice? Its not even cold.”
But she was looking further.
 
muse story pages 30+31
longer story muse 30 31 phone

Hope and Caref left the bar, out on the street homeless ideas were huddled. Seeing Hope and Caref the ideas were excited and paraded.

“Scum.” Caref said, kicking away at the ideas. “They look appealing, the answer to your prayers but they don’t belong to you and never will. Their little teeth eat your time insatiably you’re working hard but to no purpose, you end up at their destination not your own.”

Hope knelt offering protection. “Do we send them back to hell or can we keep some, they look cute and swell to me. And me then what am I, just the same as these I would say. You gonna kick me away like you’re kicking these?” Caref took a rest from resentment, wiped his boot and said. “You don’t belong with these, I was there at your birth remember. You’re the guide, I just don’t know which way you’re leading.”

Hope waved goodbye to the parade and walked away. “Always me then, not afraid are you, I’ve got bigger teeth than them, who’s to say I wont bite you.”

Caref gave one last kick and followed after Hope. “Why, you got plans on cooking me?”

“Don’t think I can’t try it, where’s the best to eat?”

“I have a tender heart.”

“Okay I’ll try there. Let’s get back I’m hungry.”

 

 

 
muse story pages 28+29
muse story 28 - 29 phone
Hope closed her eyes and swayed to the music. “Seems to me you should know a song. Goes like this: ‘Pixie dust is rich but Pixies aint for selling. Can I grow a pixie tree, or is that just fortune telling?’” She twisted and looked up at Caref. “I need to know right now if I’m worth accepting. Do you want me or just my bloody nose?”
“Hope I don’t know. Can you get me a drink, I don’t have any money.”
“I know, I stole your wallet.”
“Thanks. Want you? Do I want you?” Caref looked down the bar saw an empty booth. “Look can we move to a table?”
Hope considered her position. “Okay, but can you kiss me, I don’t want to be leaving more like going to.”
In the darkness of the booth Hope seemed less sure more misty.
Caref massaged his knee and looked across. “After you turned out the lights they never came back. I missed you more than I thought. I couldn’t stand to be in that room without you there. Yes there is a road but that’s not you. We’re a car, the engine is me, you’re steering and we’re both going forward.”
The woman in the boots waved at Hope as she left. Hope ran after and hugged her. Back at the table she rolled up her sleeves. “Okay, but I get to keep the wallet.”
 
muse story pages 26+27
picture story muse 26 27
Caref found Hope in a bar. “You left?”
Hope did not turn, she leaned down the bar and asked for another. “Always do. It’s easy for me, run down the stairs find plenty of air to choose. It’s not like we’re a couple is it. You just want me for the reason you’re seeking, not for myself. I could be dust, if you pardon the expression.”
 
muse story pages 24+25
picture story muse 24-25 phone
Caref walked the town. Well he didn’t need her anyway. He had a drink, he saw a film, he bought a book. He thought of people passing by, their lives, their lies, their wishes. Passing conversations: “...I must be nicer than I think - must be pretty too...” “...a world away and he sends me this...’ “...will I won’t I say I do - do I want to answer...” “... sure why not, we could put it with the Martian...’ The crowd thickened, Caref imagined himself a car, up into 4th cutting through. He thought ideas but they weren’t his. What if she was looking for him? No, if Hope wanted she would, just like that, be here. Hope never said directly. “Its better for me if you make it clear what you’re doing the why and the for.” It was always implied. Caref could get along without her. Ideas just needed some bait then you could trap them. What do they like best to eat? Crumble and custard, everyone likes that Caref thought. When he got back he would lay down a plate and watch the ideas come scurrying, scoop them up in his case, easy peasy. Caref saw Hope here and there, a turn of head, a crease of shirt; just women glimpsed reminding.
 
muse story pages 22+23
muse story pages 22+23 phone

Caref searched, the Muse said nothing. “You still here?” asked Caref.

Hope switched the room dark. “I am, be wise tell me, make me hate you. Will your idea be as sweet as me? Will you see her late at night, better than me is she?”

Without light Caref’s fingers kept searching. “You don’t want to know.”

“I’ll take that as a yes. I was happy once, I would be now but you know what I mean, don’t leave me seeing red change my head turn me back to normal please.” Hope stuck out a foot and Caref tripped.

“It’s just a job don’t take it personally.”

“What should I be like then?”

Caref nursed his knee. “My idea will have composure, she will be lovely, and caring. She will be good to be with in so many ways and I will never hear one bad word about you from my idea.”

“Sounds like a bitch from hell. Oh shut up me I’m dying. Look I’m tired I’m going to take a break.”

 
muse story pages 20+21
muse story 20 21 phone

name is heard. I bring you to the place you are looking for. A glance a slip it hurts to feel you there, my private place, you intrude in me. All is bare no one there. Hideous and pale inside of
me. That’s what you will see, Nothing there. I don’t want you to. I’m saying mind your business You cannot know me like that, its not a place for you to stare upon, it is wrong.”

Chastened Caref stared away, “Sorry.”

Hope leaned over and kissed his nose. “Its only me if I say it is, the rest is something else entirely. Will we have to get married now?”

 
muse story pages 18+19
muse 18-19

Caref searched his mind, searched the floor, even searched the dust above the door but oh dear oh dear no idea anywhere. He saw the Muse was growing more. “I’m looking to you for inspiration, and I’m thinking there’s more to you than meets the eye.”

“You want to look inside me?”

“Please.”

“If you want to see what’s inside of me come I let you see. First there is a door open this to me within, it is a dream you’ve seen before. Upon the walls are visions, upon the ceiling too, upon the floor a dance. Upon your breath my

 
muse story pages 16+17
muse 16 17 phone

The Entrepreneur wound down to sleep.

Caref felt committed he glanced across at Hope. “You’re getting older again.”

“It happens.”

“Well go on start musing, inspire me.”

Hope squirmed, stretched herself. “Your tone implies that I’m hopeless, that’s down to you because it’s a marriage in hell that we’re borrowing. Just see me as a light but you have to see through.”

“If you’re a light where’s the switch?”

“It’s under the bed, its over your nose,” said Hope turning over to tap upon Caref’s head, “its singing at you but you’re not hearing. You want me to agree that you’re able, it’s not a flash flood, it doesn’t come like that. Look into me you’ll see it. Anyway its better that you know the piper’s price before she begins to play.”

 
muse story pages 14+15
muse story pphone 14 15

The Entrepreneur arrived
“May I introduce myself, I’m a businessman of sorts and my pleasure is to make you rich. I’m a greedy liar and the best decision you will ever make.”

“Try next door,” said Caref, who hated any sort of spam.

The intruder was insistent. “No its you I want, the tick in my heart says there’s an idea coming soon. What profits me will grow your pockets too. I may be crooked but my smile is real, I will never use another’s teeth.” He backed Caref up against the wall.

“No one’s asking me but if you lay down with dogs you’re going to be scratching,” said Hope.

The visitor smiled. “Just sign the line, the deal is done.”

“Well there isn’t any notion so piss off.”
“And you – keep your thieving paws out of that case.”

 
muse story pages 12+13
muse story 8-9 phone

Hope spoke pleased with her present. “Congratulation, all elation, fits perfectly.”

Caref was nearly leaving but turned back to see. “I’m a fantastic judge of size, one of my many talents.”

“Have you many talents then?” The Muse flattered, worried he might go.

“Okay, I lied, I have no other talents.”

Hope was delighted; she took his hands and danced. “But honesty is the talent I prize most favourably.”

Dizzy and exhausted Caref crumpled to the floor. Hope kept on dancing, whirling round and round. Caref watched her and felt giddy, he shut his eyes. “The idea, could I have it now please?”

Hope twirled. “Comes and goes, you see your idea through me, I don’t find it for you.”

“Like a magnifying glass, or a telescope?”

“Maybe we will have to see.” Hope bowed to an invisible partner and flopped on to the bed. “Can I have some tea now please?”

“You drink a lot?”

“I need to grow.”

Caref passed her a cup. “How big?”

She sipped. “As big as I need to.”

 
muse story pages 10+11
phone muse pgs 9+10

He pulled open the suitcase. “You need clothes.”

“Is that so?” The man stopped rummaging and looked at the Muse. “Yes.”

The Muse looked back, decided any argument could be saved. “Okay fit me flawlessly, I need to be seen so well.”

“Here’s a shirt you could try.”

“Okay tie it up I’ll give it the kiss of life. I grow quite quick you know, I’ll need more you’ll have to go the shops.” She looked in the suitcase. “What you got in here anyway?”

The man quickly covered up the lower layer. “Just stuff.”

“Let me take a look.” The Muse slid down and sat in the case. “Oh there’s things in here that I’d wish I’d worn on my wedding day — and books. What’s this one?”

“That’s the one we’re writing.”

“Oh let me see, how do I look do I come across nice and clean?” “You’re described as hope to end an arid spell.”

“Hope that’s my name.”

 
muse story pages 8+9
phone muse pages 8+9

A Muse? You inspire creativity?”

“That’s me.”

The man sighed with relief. “At last, okay give me the idea and you can go.”

“Are you expecting company?”

“Okay, pretty please give me the idea.”

She landed on the other bed. “You might offer a lady a drink, I’ve come a long way.”

He got some milk.

She flew to the fridge and cracked open a beer.

“Aren’t you a little young?”

She laughed. “Maybe I’m older than you think?”

“Fine, do what you want, just give me the idea?”

The Muse looked at him through the bottle. “You should get some exercise.”

“Idea, pretty, pretty, please?”

 
muse story pages 6+7
phone muse pgs 6+7

Caref was startled awake with a feeling, something pulling out from his heart, something bright and alive. “Oh these dreams,” said the man as he turned to find some other sleep.

“I’m not a dream.”

“Oh yes you are, go away.”

She who was not a dream felt some pique at this reception; she hovered over the man and shone as bright as she could be. The man groaned and buried his head under the pillow. “Go away you’re just a dream.” A bright body dived under the pillow and pinched his nose.

“Ow!”

“See, I am not a dream.”

The man rubbed his nose, “Well if you’re not a dream what are you?”

“I’m a Muse, I’m your Muse.”

 
muse story pages 4+5
phone muse pgs 4+5

He gave his clothes a fortune, stood around and screamed, looked in all the places his mother never ever saw. Caref Orme, had spent the day looking through the town but found no novelty, nothing anywhere that he could use. The poster on the wall added to a rasp of voice, he thought it was a start, maybe was but not for him. Retching in the street the cause of something sweet, Caref walked on by he was thinking of the phone the calls that made him moan. Coffee cup refilled Caref raced around the town with a certainty that what he sought was there, was that too much to ask? Caref Orme stepped back to the hotel as empty as he left it

Candy and sheets entangled on the floor it wasn’t far to go but a lot more than Caref knew, bereft of any humour and he was not laughing. Looky, looky here, there goes one, Caref trapped it with his boot, round and quite delicious alas it suits his mouth but never feeds his mind. It was a waiting room, well it wasn’t really, just a hotel space for him to lay. Stretched on the bed, the TV making light, reaching for some inspiration, or just a direction to go.

 
muse story title page
muse title page
 
muse story end paper
phone muse endpaper
 
muse story cover
muse cover
 
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