How do you theme a fiction special that was created and pulled together in the depths of a global pandemic and severe lockdown? You don’t. You find a collection of talented writers and let them do what they do best. Thanks to the support of a Creative Victoria grant, this fiction special features a very talented selection of writers whose stories offer us a brief reprieve from the world we’ve all inhabited this year.
Through the wormhole, I am transported to the chambers of the heart to the shadowy doors with impenetrable locks. In these corridors, I seek the rotting seeds.
It was the first collective meeting of the year and all the fresh faces were turned upwards at Robin. She always opened meetings. It was a little ritual she and Bobo had decided on at some unmarked moment in the past, that she would speak first, and he would nod and wave daintily at the new and returning members when indicated. He smiled with his lips closed, worrying the back of his front teeth with his tongue.
The sign on the freeway says we wish you every happiness together but they knew better than that red neon. ‘I can feel your pulse.’ B reads all signs, speed limits, church boards, distance till destination. Mari has her feet on the dash, one hand tucked into the hem of her skirt. The other holds higher on his thigh, femoral pulse.
My phone buzzed and I rolled over to pick it up from its little docking station on the bedside table. The text message read, ‘Weak move, Nasra.’ It was my boss. I was trying to get fired, but Bruno was determined to drag things out for as long as possible. I had sent him a message last night telling him that I wouldn’t be coming into work this morning and that I didn’t feel like finding someone to cover my shift.
Nico arrived at the Victoria University pool, high on the hill overlooking the parched slope of Footscray Park, the Maribyrnong syrup slow in the late afternoon. He donned his budgie smugglers and hacked through the first ten laps before he fell into a rhythm. It felt good to have a body, to throw it through time and space, purposeful, porpoise-like.