Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Curse of Time

One particular October, it was decided that an extra hour would be added to every day.

At first there was a lot of excitement about this. Haven’t we all been saying for ages, the people cried, that we need more hours in the day? And now we’ve got it! Everyone agreed that the government were really very clever to come up with this.

For a while the people used the hour really well. They did the things they’d always said they didn’t have time for: they read books, went for walks, called their mothers. An hour isn’t very long, it’s difficult to squeeze in anything too life-changing but it did seem as though the world was becoming a bit of a nicer place. Well done us, people said.

Eventually, of course, the novelty wore off. The extra hour became not extra at all, but just part of the twenty-five that people took for granted every day. The people started having more lie-ins. It’s okay, they would say, hitting snooze and rolling over, we have plenty of time. And for all the people who had used their hour to call their mothers, there were also people who took their hour in the dead of night and used it to mug, fight, or murder. There were a whole seven hours a week in which to be unkind, intolerant, and greedy.

In no time at all it seemed the world was becoming a bit less nice again. It’s all the government’s fault, the people said. They should never have given us that extra hour. They should have known we couldn’t be trusted with it.

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The Sweetest Thing

I’ve bought 5lbs of modeling chocolate. I’ve got something important to make.

 

I always loved chocolate, and was rarely allowed it. Mum locked the cupboards. Chocolate was a treat or a reward, and had to be earned. The next day she would make me stand on the scales and show me my shame in numbers.

 

As soon as I left home, I was free to eat all I wanted but it seemed I was never full. I buried myself in layer on layer of comfort. Mum said I was a disgrace.

 

‘I don’t care,’ I said, ‘I’m done trying to please you.’ But it wasn’t true. Her approval and her disgust were all mixed up in my head.

 

I met a girl. I thought she saw the real me under the folds of my disguise. We were friends. Until one night I misread her kindness and tried to kiss her. She recoiled.

 

I immediately saw my advance for what it was: the clumsy lurch of a greedy child. I tried to apologise but the words got stuck in my teeth.

 

It was later that the anger took root. It was when I saw her moving around, unaffected, still smiling and existing, as though I’d never touched her. Hot rage grew in me like a gnawing hunger.

 

It has to be chocolate. You can’t easily make the same kinds of shapes with buttercream, marzipan, or fondant. You can’t mould a person.

 

I make her beautiful. I carve her hair, shape the curves of her body, pinprick her eyes. I don’t give her a mouth, so she can’t tell me I’m not good enough. She can’t tell me no.

 

I stand her on the kitchen counter and look at her a while.

 

Then I smash her, and swallow her piece by piece.

 

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