A Sweetened Ache

Written by Ricardo

A woman’s glance is nothing but a burden to bear in life.
But what of the woman closest to my heart,
Whose fluttering lash is reminiscent of a blossoming rose;
Of a butterfly in flight;
Or of the thousand-year breaths sighed
In the heavenly orchestra of the universe.

A woman’s touch is naught but a reminder,
Where dreams can no longer be pursued.
The feigned invincible spirit of man is crushed to dust.
But not from my dear love, whose infant paws
Fill my spirit to bursting every time they caress my own selfish flaws.

The spirit of a woman cannot tame the anger of a man.
And man cannot equally domesticate thy womanly nature.
But what of the Earth-dwelling angel?
Whose spirit can reach through the eyes
And silence my primal rage.

A woman is no cause to lay one’s life down in respect,
Not in honour, in sacrifice, nor in love,
For they may never appreciate such an act.
But not my fair bride, as her beauty would tell,
for whom I would march to the lowest circle of Hell
To lay my life before Lucifer, and be damned if I may.

For my heart and soul were stolen
On the very the day I met you.
No amount of pain, or torture can overcome
the suffering of losing you.
Even in death, I will pray to the Heavens for forgiveness
And perhaps for my greatest sin,
Locked in a loveless box, forever as friends.

Ricardo’s love-struck poetry is certainly an interesting twist on blank verse, and we can’t help but feel sorry for this poor chap, locked in his loveless box in the torturous friend zone. But not all women are so cruel, just as not all men should be tarred with the same paintbrush. We all have a lesson to learn on love – it’s just never that smooth. If you enjoyed Ricardo’s poem, make sure to check out his other fine work, including “Love After Death” and “The Start of Something Beautiful“.

Featured Image CC // Margrit


Thorn Amidst Joy

Written by Miss Smiley

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…”

I zone out, feeling Heath’s eyes on the back of my neck. Why is he here? I sigh inwardly and wish I was anywhere but standing where I am.

I told him not to come. I begged him not to come. He begged me not to come. But by God, I promised. I took David’s ring and I gave him my hand and my word. I love him. I know I love him, just as I know I could never love anyone else more. He is my whole world and I adore him.

But for that one week…

I block out the little voice in my head that keeps telling me it’s not too late. Because it is. It was too late the moment David proposed and I said yes. It was too late the moment I fell into bed with him and gave him everything. And it is far, far too late for Heath to come swaggering in and sweep me away, no matter how much I ache for his touch. For God’s sake, is my word worth nothing? I promised. I swore.

And I ache.

“If any man should have just cause against this union, let him speak now.”

My stomach latches onto my ribs and I hope against hope that Heath will and won’t say anything. I am torn. I am a mess. If he speaks, I know I will fall. If I crumble, I know he will speak. If I turn, we will both fall.

I will be strong. I promised. My word is my troth.

I glance over at David. He glances at me. We both smile, hanging in the balance. My gaze falls on the little twist that his lip forms when he’s just about to laugh and it makes my heart ache. I want to be married to him already. These moments are too long and too short all at once.

Someone clears their throat behind me, breaking in on our peace and I pray, for the first time in years, that it isn’t Heath. Let it pass. Let it be.

The moment passes. All is well. And all is ruined. The ring slips onto my finger easily and I smile at David. Something swells in my chest, grabbing at my heart. Is it joy? Is it grief?

No matter. I will be faithful. I will be true.

We sign the paper. I am married. We are married.

All is joy.

All is loss.

This Half Hour Challenge piece was written on behalf of February’s theme, Fanning the Flames. And we believe Miss Smiley has pitched it just right. As a sore reminder of a past lover at a wedding ceremony, those fleeting moments where all appears to be lost, and then the wild blow never hits. It was no movie moment here, perhaps the narrator of the story is Cathy from Wuthering Heights, torn between the feisty, wayward Heathcliff and the English gentleman, Edgar. Either way, we love it. If you enjoyed reading Miss Smiley’s HHC, you can view some of her other works such as, “There will be Tea” and “The Bells of Campden”.  

Featured Image CC // Cristi Sebastien Photography


Lift Girl – Part 2

Written by Fantasy Girl

She must have left work slightly earlier than usual as I didn’t see her in the lift. But our cars were the only two left in the car park as I stepped from the double glass doors of reception – her red MR2 parked next to my silver Nissan just like every day. She was struggling to start the car as I approached, so I stuck my head through the open passenger window.

“Need a hand?” I asked with a slight smile on my face.

“My stupid bloody car won’t start!” she growled back through gritted teeth as she tried again.

“Which way are you heading? I could give you a lift home, get a mechanic to look over it tomorrow morning?”

“I’m heading back to Colchester, if you know the area, just off Tufnell way?” she seemed hopeful.

I lived about a ten minute walk away from the street she mentioned. “Jump in,” I said. “Let’s get you home.”

The journey home was quiet, pleasurable rather than awkward. We both enjoyed the peaceful silence after a stressful day at work.

“Which road is it?” I asked as we turned on to Tufnell way.

“This one just here,” she pointed to the road sign that said ‘Axel Way’. “But I’ll get out here. Thanks for the lift, I really appreciate it!” And before I could protest, she was out of the car and jogging down the road.

I had to go down the road to turn around anyway, so I drove down, and sped back up the street to the house she was approaching.

“Who the hell is he?” shouted the man who was waiting at the door for her – a partner, I presume. She didn’t answer. Was he on about me? “Who is he? You stupid slut!” He back-handed her across the face, and dragged her into the house by a handful of her hair. He slammed the door behind him, but it bounced back open.

I scrambled out of the car, not knowing quite what I was planning on doing, but knowing I should be doing something. I heard screaming as I approached the door, she was begging him to stop. He didn’t. I crouched down by the door for what seemed like a lifetime, listening to his rhythmic grunts, and her constant pleas for him to stop.

I was in hysterics by the time it finally ended. I had let him do that to her, and I could do nothing about it… I let him rape her, this girl that I barely knew, and it was because of… it was because of me!

I heard her sobs as he moved around the room. Then a gunshot, footsteps. The door swung open and he spat in my direction.

“Enjoy the show did you? She’s a screamer!”, he said, with a sadistic smile on his face. “Well,” he continued after a minute of silence, “you’re welcome to the slut now. A right lot of good she’s going to do you though.” And he walked off, without looking back.

I couldn’t bring myself to move until he was out of sight – I was frozen to the spot like a statue, but then I rushed in, and followed where I thought the commotion had come from. All I could see was blood, a lot of it, akin to a horror film I’d watched the other week.

Lamps, paper, and other household items were scattered all over the floor. There was smashed glass on the kitchen floor tiles and the curtains had been pulled down. And her naked body laid there, in a pool of blood on her cream carpet. The body of the girl I had seen every morning for the last three years, so helpless, so vulnerable. Until today, we had never truly spoken, just a polite ‘hello’ in the lift or a meek wave, on my part.

It was a gunshot to the heart that killed her. Her body was covered in bruises, some old, greening as they faded; some new, purples and blues blossoming like flowers on her ivory skin.

She didn’t even know my name, I thought as I fell to my knees and cradled her head in my lap. I’m the only person here, and it’s because of me that this happened. I should have invited her for coffee, I should have taken her to my place to look over finance plans for the company. She wouldn’t be here – she wouldn’t be like this if I had… – this would never have happened, and it’s all my fault.

“I’m sorry!” I cried, stroking her dark hair away from her beautiful face. “Shiv, I’m so sorry!” And then was when I felt a very faint pulse through her neck.

“Dan,” she whispered as her eyes fluttered open. “Thank you.” And she went limp – her breathing stopped.

I checked for her neck pulse again and confirmed what I already knew.

She was dead.

Fantasy Girl’s second and final part concludes Siobhan and Dan’s tragic story. It’s heartbreaking, and we can’t help but feel a little stab of pain when she mentions his name at the end. Oh dear, better pass us some tissues! If you enjoyed the finale of Lift Girl, make sure you check out the first part which we published last month for the complete package. 

Featured Image CC // Peter Almay


Written by Rivers of Tarmac


Such fierce creatures sharing a beautiful connection for one small moment.
Image Courtesy of Pinterest

She reaches out to my face. Gentle, like one approaching a startled animal. I tremble, I flinch, I pull away. Her expression flickers; betrayal, hurt, confusion. She hides it. She wonders if I saw.

I saw.

She begins to make gentle soothing noises, “sshh, it’s alright, it’s OK, you’re OK. I’m not going to hurt you. Sshh it’s OK, you’re safe, it’s alright… you’re OK… sshh.”

I don’t realise for a while that I’m crying. Her face – pale and white, shining in the darkness – is a mask of fake smiles and comfort. Mine is a mask of dark purple and blue, and fear. She edges closer to me. I school myself to stillness. Gently, oh so gently. Her extended hand still rests on my face. She strokes the marks, her fingers barely making contact yet leaving white-hot trails behind them. Whether these are trails of pain or confusion, I am still not certain, but I feel it in my skin – whatever it is. Her eyes fill with tears as she traces the lines of one bruise, then another, then another and another until I realise I am no longer breathing. My breath falls out in one ragged gasp and I am sobbing, she is sobbing. My shoulders shake and yet my face is still, and tears stream down her face yet her hands are steady and she continues to touch me. I am trapped under her gentle fingers that exert no pressure yet somehow hold me pinned. Her breathing steadies, her eyes dry, her lips part.

“I’m sorry.”

I shift my head, ever so slightly. It could be a nod or it could be a twitch, but it causes her fingers to leave my skin, and I gasp sharply at the feeling of her absence, of a space between us. It feels like freedom and fear all bundled together. I yearn to be away from her. And yet, I yearn for her to touch me again. I lean forward, towards her, trembling.

“Please…” I whisper, and she brings her hand back to my face. There’s this electricity between us, an incredible spark, and I’m afraid. She meets my eyes. She presses her fingertips firmly onto my face. It hurts. Her eyes are stern, now,  determined. She whispers one word.


She does not say if she means me or the bruises, and I do not ask.

Bruises is Rivers of Tarmac’s second piece in Inkblots, after her interesting take on the Half Hour Challenge theme Wishes, entitled “It Is Hard To Tell“. This work of fiction was particularly inspired by Rivers’s need to write a dark occurrence between two people after listening to a playlist full of poignant lyrics. 

Friday Frenzy Winner – Avolet

Written by Doishy

A beautiful day outside a coffee shop...

A beautiful day outside a coffee shop…

I am born and then I die. It is not painful but it the same sweet taste of oblivion that everyone has. This is explained to me quite clearly by a gentleman standing in front of me. He claims to see me every day but I do not recall having ever seen him before. The meeting lasts all of twenty minutes and he finally leaves making sure I have everything I need beforehand. I sit awhile in silence and collect my thoughts for this morning. The sun, starting to reach the heights of midday warms my cheek through the window and I decide to head out to somewhere that isn’t my dusty house.

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