Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Snog: 1000 Cranes--a kiss before dying...

Twenty-five minutes later they stepped into the alleyway. The late night air nipped through William’s thin summer jacket and the soft cotton of his tee shirt to kiss his burning skin. No one had told him his freshly tattooed back would be so hot. William swayed where he stood, tipping his head back to gaze upward. A few stars glimmered in the sky above him, but most washed into the sea of light rising over the city. Something low in William’s gut tightened, his soul welling with a long slow throb of pain. In his head he could hear cello solos. Nana had asked him to play the mournful tunes over and over in the days before her death. An icy touch skated up his spine. Gazing down the alley way toward the street, he shuddered. The narrow passage was empty, the distant street silent save for a high thin cry from some poor animal. William shrank back a single step toward the shop door, back toward Phillip’s reassuring bulk. He swallowed hard, his throat dry and tight.
Phillip looked up from locking the door and caught the motion. He stepped in close, carefully catching William’s forearms to steady him. They stood a hand’s width apart, breaths brushing over one another’s skin. William tilted his head back, but the flickering movement of a muscle just beneath the skin of Phillip’s jaw was more than he could bear. He relaxed his neck, letting his head fall as far back on his shoulders as it would go. With his head tipped that way, there was a clear view of the alleyway’s entry to the main street. Phillip’s hands moved from his arms to the small of his back. William’s eyes fluttered open, shut, and open again. Blood pounded recklessly through his veins, washing his face and groin with heat. He focused his eyes on the distant street. A flash of yellow went by. This was madness. As William opened his mouth to speak, Phillip leaned down. There was no wash of noise the big man could be struggling to hear him over. Still, he sank down, intense blue stare dark as midnight and swallowing the entire world. A single shudder shook his large frame and he curled closer, hot hands flexing on the small of William’s back as though he couldn’t bear a single inch between them. He grunted, turning them as a unit, still bending lower, lower and god above, lower until his mouth came within a whisper of William’s. The scuff of a boot over stone registered. William’s gaze flicked past Phillip’s shoulder to spy a trio of ragged youths passing through a pool of brightness up on the main street.
Phillip’s hand clenched right at the dip of William’s back. He gasped, nerves singing with a hot, dark fire just as the tallest boy shot a fierce glare toward them. The second youth glanced up at the first, tugging at the torn sleeve of his shirt, his hand rubbing back and forth continually. His head turned, following the direction of the tallest one’s gaze. His face looked pale and sallow in the harshness of the city’s street lights as it turned toward them. The third boy, so dark-skinned his teeth flashed in a ragged neon grin, clapped a hand hard against his back. He flinched, jumping toward the first boy. Even from here William could see the start hunger and fear twisted together on his narrow face. The third boy, bulkier than the other two, older looking, strode forward, pausing for a second as he glanced down to see what had caught the attention of the other two.
After a second what he looked at began to register with him. He sneered down the alley just as Phillip bent the final inch closer. William didn’t have to wonder how they looked to through his squinting, jaundiced eyes. They were standing in the semi-dark alley in one another’s arms, Phillip’s lips brushing William’s ear as he turned his head to keep the feral young men in view. From twenty feet away, William easily saw the young man’s acne scarred face harden. He called out to his two companions.
 “Ay-ay! Look what we got here, boys—a couple of faggots out for a late stroll. Or maybe they’re looking for someplace to dance. You want a dance, faggots?”
The second boy flinched again, slipping sideways into the tallest boy’s shadow. The taller lad pushed him back, laughter rippling out of his throat in rusty shards of sound. He shot a quick glance toward the hard faced black boy, who gave a deep grunt and waved imperiously toward the alley. William blinked. The three young men were wildly mismatched, the smallest shockingly fair skinned, the tall boy slightly swarthier, an olive tone to his pockmarked skin, and the third nearly as black as Jon. The taller two wore nearly identical black leather jackets and thick-soled black boots. The boots looked like military surplus. As they got closer William saw that the one spewing out ugly words had what appeared to be a deformed white spider with blood dripping from its mandibles stitched into the leather on the upper arm of his jacket. He shoved a hand stuffed inside his jacket as he hawked and spit a glob of snot and saliva toward them.
William’s military training kicked in, urging him to move between Phillip, the civilian, and the obvious threat of these incomprehensibly angry young men. The older, heavily muscled boy sneered again.
“Fucking faggots. Bet you got what we need though, eh?”
William swiveled and stepped down off the shop’s tiny stoop. Phillip growled, grabbing onto one of William’s arms. He swung William’s slight weight behind him.
“We haven’t got anything for you. I only did the one tattoo today and it was a favor. I’ll let you in the—”
The hard faced, dark skinned boy yanked his hand out of his jacket. The sallow faced boy in the center gave a shriek as his companion raised a dull black object up. The first boy's head snapped to the side.
The tallest boy broke away to one side, his hands flying up, one loosely covering his mouth the other clasped over his heart. “Dwayne, what the fuck man!”
The dark skinned boy yelled back. “Stupid fucker, now they know my name!”
“Never mind, never mind we won’t—”

Phillip started to speak. William lost track then, because time started breaking, the whole world falling into ill-fitting fragments, an intentional cheat of a jigsaw where nothing was meant to fit. Someone screamed, someone said, stop, stop please no… it didn’t matter. It couldn’t matter, not one fucking bit, because right then, there was a thundering crack of sound.  The man’s hatred—you had to be a man to fucking shoot someone, right? That’s what Drill Sergeant Jacquez said, and that meant it was true. The boy with the gun shouted the word faggots again, his ugly intent thundering out through the cylinder of his gun, dammit, dammit, his god-damned  gun. 
Get thee to the home of the original Snog, and then check out all the other Snoggers! 

Victoria Blisse's Sunday Snog

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