…the moon was far off and sad over the dark cruel buildings and in my room I cried in black velvet on the yellow bedspread and wondered at my not having one to love; outside the roof shingles and chimney pots were misted magic and haunting in a blue wash of moonlight.
Excerpt from ‘Journal Entry 26 March 1956-5 April 1956’ from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
The wind blows through the boats in the port. It makes a low sound, and, if you listen closely, you think you can hear voices.
The seagulls have been gathering more than usual. In car parks and on lamp posts, telephone wires, chimney pots and in the streets. Their voices fill the air with bloodcurdling screams. You make sure not to meet their gaze.
There’s an island about a mile offshore. You’re sure it wasn’t there yesterday, but you’re also sure it’s always been there. Faint memories come to you on the wind of picnics there long ago. You frown at what should be a familiar landscape. By morning, the island is gone.
The arcade is bustling, noisy, penny machines and the smell of hot dogs an attraction for the tourists. Colours and sounds entice them in. You never see anyone come out.
Every street you turn onto has a charity shop. They are staffed by little old ladies with teeth longer than you think teeth should be. Donations Wanted, claim the signs in the window. Donations Wanted, Donations Wanted, Donations Wanted.
A sea mist rolls in, hanging over the coast like a blanket. It moves on the air like streams. Familiar landmarks become obscured and then completely disappear. When it recedes, nothing feels quite the same. You’re sure there wasn’t a pier there before.
The fog horns are bellowing in the shipping lane, the low roar echoing over the water. There is no fog to warn of. You hurry inside and lock the door.
Your train is delayed. A mechanical voice apologises for the delay. A train to a different location arrives. Nobody boards yet when it leaves the platform is empty. Sorry for the delay to this service, blares the voice, louder this time. Your train is never coming.
The sea is grey. It has always been grey. Except for when it turns shades of vivid crimson. Nobody mentions when it turns inky black.
The house at the end of Milne Street
Has sequin covered walls
And when the sun hits them they look
Like rainbow waterfalls.
It’s lawn is glittery and shines
Like diamonds in the sun.
Yes, it’s a sight for certain, but
It’s not the weirdest one.
Farther uphill there is a home
With forty chimney pots,
And each is coloured royal blue
With orange polka dots.
Opposite this is a dwelling
Where each wall is of glass,
And the glass is coloured bright green
And quite matches the grass.
Farther down is a three storey
House that’s made out of forks,
The metal kind, joined by welding,
It’s the subject of talks.
Even it is not the strangest-
By far, that mantle goes
To Jan whose house is completely
Built out of garden hose!
If you want to remember the crimes you’ve seen here, take this.
The Revolutions Season has finished. If you played the Five Minutes to Midday, The Chimney Pot Wars, and The Calendar Code, you will have gained an item unique to each tale. You can trade in these items to unlock a short tale suffused with lore and adorned with an alluring reward.
This option opens today, and will remain permanently, so there is no need to trade in your items by any deadline.
The story can be found anywhere in London through A Seditious Invitation.
She was feeling reckless; nothing that she did mattered. She walked to the window and twitched the curtain apart. There were the stars pricked in little holes in the blue-black sky. There was a row of chimney-pots against the sky. Then the stars. Inscrutable, eternal, indifferent—those were the words; the right words. But I don’t feel it, she said, looking at the stars. So why pretend to? What they’re really like, she thought, screwing up her eyes to look at them, is little bits of frosty steel. And the moon—there it was—is a polished dish-cover. But she felt nothing, even when she had reduced moon
and stars to that.
Virginia Woolf, from The Years (Mariner Books, 1969)
Author’s Note: This drabble is an in-Panem AU and makes reference to Hebrews 13:2.
The wind howled outside the house as Katniss threw another log on the fire. Sparks flew as the wood hit the pile, and the red embers spiraled into the darkness of the chimney. She shifted the pot that hung on the hook and heaved a heavy sigh at the paltry meal that boiled into a watery mess. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she swirled the wooden spoon in the liquid. The soup had to last them through the rest of the week, and it was barely enough for a few meals at best.
“Everything’s going to be okay, Katniss.” His voice washed over her, and she startled at the sound of his velvety tone.
“Is it?” she wondered aloud, her gaze glued to the red coals that only emitted enough heat to warm the few feet closest to the hearth.