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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-seven HERE WE ARE IN THE DARK



our boyfriend doesn’t believe you. That’s how these stories always go. He draws the curtains and doesn’t feel the darkness staring through them. He turns up the heating, as cold airstreams from long-dead mouths.

Go to sleep, he says, it’s just a shadow. Just a cat out hunting. Silly girl.

He sees the neighbour’s light go out. His arms are warm, but he slips away from you, down into the oblivious ocean of his sleep. That’s all he does, while you check the locks and eye the windows, while you sit with clenched hands and pale fingernails, shadows racing through your mind. He doesn’t believe you. He falls asleep. That’s why he’s the first to die.

So here we are, in the dark and I put my arm around you as you cry. Happy campers, lifetimes away from civilization, the sides of our tent shuddering as the wilderness breathes. ‘I woke up,’ you say in a watery gasp ‘I woke up and you were gone.’

‘I was gone two seconds. What do you expect me to do when I’m bursting for a piss?’

‘You were gone ages! And I looked out of the tent cos I heard something moving around, and I thought it was you, but it was too small.’

I say boyfriend things.

‘It was probably a deer or something. You scared of Bambi?’ It had strange eyes, you say, it looked at you. It was maybe saying something, only you couldn’t tell what.

‘Didn’t you hear anything?’

‘I heard plenty. It’d be weird if we didn’t. Then you’d be complaining about the ominous silence. It’s probably some badgers having an orgy.’ I’m good at boyfriend talk.

You lie down beside me. I tell you to fall asleep, you’re safe, I love you.

I don’t tell you that your boyfriend is gone.

I don’t tell you who I am, sitting in his cold skin, looking through the dead jelly of his eyes. You woke up, and he was gone, and he came back a shell filled up with blackness. And my thoughts, my red thoughts, are circling in his head. Your hands are cold, but I smell the blood in them, moving. Here we are, in the dark, only soon it will be morning.

But not for you.




Harley Cubberley is an aspiring actress who lives in Ireland. She has been fascinated by the supernatural all her life.

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