Twisted Fiction Press

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Until Then

by on Sep.15, 2009, under Uncategorized

I remember. I remember the sweets, the pink chocolate pigs and the railway tracks and you. I remember the toy store and you and the packaging you couldn’t open and I couldn’t afford. I remember sitting with a pink pig and you at the park. I pushed you in a swing and was singing to you. I remember trying to push my life away so in that moment I would belong only to you, and failing. I never saw how you’d grow up and inch away. I remember that I forgot to tell you to wait for me.

The phone rings sometime before dawn, the beginning of a hangover licking at my temples from that third glass of cider at book club, and I haven’t finished the marking for my year tens and,  “I forgot to tell you,” you say. “I was dreaming. I dreamed you were asleep. I forgot to wake you. You slept in a white room with the curtains blowing. There was music. I heard shooting. A train in the night. What time is it?”

“It’s alright,” I say. A siren wails somewhere at your end. A continent between us, time zones and malls and drought and cities and jails and airports and sports arenas. “It’s almost day.”

DEEDEE RATNER is a schoolteacher from Taree, NSW. Her first novel is underway.

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HELPLESS: Part 2

by on Jul.08, 2009, under Uncategorized

The moon rose on the second night and Turner was too tired to go on. He pulled into a motel off the highway and paid for a single room. He turned on the news. He watched the unemployed mother hailed as a working class hero and a spokesperson from the community organization that rallied around her. He read about the benefit concert planned to raise money to reattach the child’s arm using laser replantation surgery. Missy Higgins was on the line-up. And Eskimo Joe. Turner turned the TV off. He lay on top of the bed in the motel room listening to the highway and to the water drip in the bathroom. He slept until midnight and then he and Clint Eastwood were on the road again.

They took some side trips and passed through Albury at midnight of the following day. Turner kept driving west. He drove until he got to Glen Creek. His mother was up and watching TV and took no more notice of his arrival at dawn than she had of his departure ten years before. (continue reading…)

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HELPLESS: Part One

by on Jun.15, 2009, under Uncategorized

When Turner blinked in the park in the glare of the morning the hand was still there. It lay on the wood chips where Clint Eastwood had bitten it off at the wrist. The child stood staring at it and a bubble of spit rose and fell from her mouth with every breath. Turner shuffled to one side and glanced around him. The park was as empty as ever at this scant-shadowed time of day. Pale dry leaves lay scattered on the wood chips and the little hand could have been camouflaged among them but for the blood clinging brightly to the edge. He heard Clint Eastwood muttering in confusion at the edge of the playground.
He could see the mother. She was over by the gondola talking on the phone with her back to them. She was tall and very thin wearing black tights and a short jacket. Her knee-high boots had a crack in one heel. The park was empty apart from Turner standing by the seesaw and the child in her parka staring at her hand on the wood chips and the mother on the phone and Clint Eastwood licking the unfamiliar taste of human blood off his muzzle. (continue reading…)

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The God Abandons Antony, by C.P. Cavafy

by on Jun.09, 2009, under Uncategorized

At midnight, when suddenly you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly:
as one long prepared, and full of courage,
say goodbye to her, to Alexandria who is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and full of courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion,
but not with the whining, the please of a coward;
listen—your final pleasure—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of the strange procession,
and say good-bye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

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