Blood of the Volcanic Sands

Sulphurous decomposition leaves a conversation of desiccated remains

and milky white bones beneath a parchment skin.

A rictus grin tells of pain and a tear falls from my eye.

My eye is drawn to a yellow biro pen in the jacket pocket of the corpse.

I wonder who put it there, for later, when it would prove invaluable.

Now I take the pen from the pocket and see it has the lid on still.

I remove a notepad from my pocket, remove the lid of the pen and am amazed to see

that it still works.

Marooned as I am between dessert and volcanic eruption it is all I can do not to cry.

What will become of me?

©2017 Andrew Watkins

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Soon Until Then Crow

Behind Crow stood Evan. 6 feet tall and weighing a hundred a fifty pounds most of it muscle. Behind Evan was the car. Evan picked up a sledge and swung it through the side window. The glass smashed with a loud pop. Crow pointed to the horizon where a gathering dust cloud announced the return of the Cats.

‘Hurry!’ said Crow.

The others took petrol from the trunk of the parked sedan and poured it around the base of the wooden house and porch. It burned. Then petrol was thrown into back of the car and that was torched too. The approaching car has slowed to a halt about a hundred meters away. And the five men at the burning house were now all staring at the stationary automobile. The sun beats down sending up a glare from the windshield of the motionless car.

There was a loud crack and one of the five fell down half his head gone. Then the one next to him fell without a sound. The remaining three threw themselves to the ground and crawled behind their parked sedan. There they hid their breathing the only sound until another beating rhythm drew nearer and then they saw it approaching a silver bullet in the sky. One with whirring rotors.

Crow reached out behind him and drew his machete. 2ft of dangerous steel. he carved a cut into his chest and began beating his bleeding chest shouting something in Iroquois. The rocket flew from the helicopter and landed just in front of Crow blowing up him and the car and the two hiding behind it.

The stationary car did a three point turn and drove away back from where it came.

The burning house and car and bodies were all that remained of the Iroquois Tribe. Their battle with the government to reclaim their burial grounds convoluted and the developers millions had won out in court. The last-ditch attempt to regain control of them before the developers bulldozers moved in had been risky but desperate. And it had failed. All was lost.

Then a pair of eyes appeared just above ground level looking this way and that independently of each other. It was Crows iguana companion and spirit guide. It scurried into a clearing where there was nothing but the burning sun high in the sky.

A fly landed on the ground and the iguanas sticky tongue flew out and grabbed its prey. The sun blazed in the sky and in the heat haze the moisture in the air was thinning. The Eagle came from  a distant mountaintop home of the holy men of the Iroquois in legend. The holy bird of the Iroquois swooped down and clutched the iguana with its two hunting feet before taking off again soaring upwards into the thermals and then back to the holy mountaintop where legend has it that the Iroquois ancestors were born out of the spirit of an eagle and the souls of the dead captured in a living spirit guide.Absolutely. The Iroquois could begin again.

As the sun set on that day and the fires burned out. As the scavengers moved into feast.The Eagle of the Iroquois sat in its nest and cried hauntingly into the night sky for those souls lost in battle. A battle that would soon begin again.



This work of fiction bears no relation to any events real or imagined. Any resemblance to true events is pure coincidence.


Invisible Shores

Fish Snapper.pngWhere fishermen cast their nets in the hope of rich reward

is a place not too far from our own shore called invisible shore.

God denotes to the trained eye a change in depth or of saline density.

But to our own, it’s difficult to tell that anything has changed at all.

Currents swirling and the swell rolling and the waves lapping at the sides of the boat tell little.

Well, we could be anywhere in Gods own sea twenty or so miles from land. But then a knock at the place where

there should only be sea water green deep and dark. At the bottom of the boat. Knock. Knock.

The Skipper smiles while telling the crew to keep their eyes open wide and then it happens.

We are lifted clear of the water by 20 or thirty feet and where there was sea below us in now rock sand and gravel and we are perched atop some previously underwater rock. This new land spreads out for perhaps two hundred meters around us

And all about us are shoals of landed fish. The sun shines brightly against the barnacles on the rocks glistening and sparkling. A fish flips over. A paradise just waiting to be found.

Image courtesy Andrew Watkins ©2016


Ascending Denial

A whack candle holder in enamelled metal holding a white candle which is burning. Undisturbed I think I try to reflect on the stillness and to find the right words but instead of prose I get a big fat nothing and end up feeling empty. In the bed also made of enamelled metal a dying man or woman whose breaths rattle out of an impaired chest then out of thin dry lips opens Rheumy eyes before again closing to the world. A nurse comes and pulls tight the sheets over the soon to be corpse. This is the humane way I observe wryly as I glance at the headlines of the Daily Herald which gives news of the living I think. Better a quick death in the prime of life than this slow wasting into demise I think gripping the newspaper tightly like my own grip on life depended on it. People should not see that I think.this It’s too.real…I couldn’t find the words and let out a lot of air. I must have been holding it I think glancing down at the print again.



Another Sail

In the back in a metal box, you will find the other sail. Quick. Before the wind gets up! Actually, there is no story about a sail but the need to write is upon me again like swarming ants around a tree so madly, deeply, I throw myself into it! Imagine that very same tree alive with the ants of seven different nests peacefully dividing up its aphids and leafs for harvesting.  The tree would be literally alive with movement and activity. Imagine climbing it unawares and finding yourself bitten by seven different varieties of ant! Up there you scratch out at your nose to dislodge a particularly painful bite and notice that it is wet like a dogs and has grown a foot out from your face..Panicked  you find yourself also having hunger pangs for something new. Strong pangs. Now confused by an unusual feeling you instinctively lick your lips only to find that your tongue is now sticky. An irresistible urge to lick up an ant comes upon you and you dart out your tongue twards a particularly thick cluster and then gobble them up. Mmm. Delicious! You go to rub your nose but the urge to eat is upon you and you climb this way and that all over the tree slurping up ants until there are none left. When it is clear there are none left you perch upon a branch and more new thoughts enter your mind. Killer! Ant-eater! Freak! Confused and ashamed you climb down from the tree and sit on the ground. A hedgehog shuffles by fleas jumping on its back like school sports day and you lick them up just out of curiosity. They taste different to ants you decide but the wings aren’t half chewy! Not like ants at all! You sit longer wondering where you can get an ant snack from on the way home. more climbing will be required you decide. By the time you get home that evening, you have tried ants, beetles, centipedes, woodlouse and a baby bird for size. You wipe your face clean with the back of your sleeve and resolve to tell no-one of your new hobby. This is how your second life began twenty-five years ago and apart from looking like an anteater from the neck up you believe that nobody has a clue what it is you do when you go out for your nightly walk. But eyes have been watching, making notes and recording you since you arrived in the new village two years ago. We have a file on you.


Little Ride

I had a car and thought I was doing fine but it took  a little ride at the fairground on some merry-go-round that rose and fell with piped music running through my veins to make me realise that  I froze with the motion into nothingness. The air was cold. The blood in my veins felt thick and black and heavy. It was as if Death held a stick against my throat for a second restricting the passage of air to my lungs. Next, a painted clown came and did the same circling me like a lion his eyes just pinpricks of black light. Then it was the ringmaster in his high boots cracking jokes with me and the merry go round continued. I held on tight watching and listening senses burning alive and feeling marked now for inspection. Introspection! I got off the ride a different man and sank slowly to the ground. The dew soaked through onto my knees bent in agony against what might prevail should I look up again to the innocent sky, glance at the bodies of passers-by instead of their feet or regard the milling people buying things and browsing the stalls like candles glowing too brightly. Candle mass would have been appropriate with the organ music coming from the ride behind me. The moment passed I stand up and look around with my eyes and staggering feet and feel glad to be groggy but alive. I feel a little gloved hand take mine and I look down into gypsy black eyes and the little ride begs me Again! Again!. Splinters of ice pierce my heart and I get back on the ride again smiling widely. It’s now or never I think and wait for the ride to start..


Walking Up The Beach

I found a pretty stone one day while walking up the beach and put in my pocket. When I got home I put it under the tap dried it then put it on top of my piano. The stone stayed there for years and I always looked at it when I played alone or in company. It was a part of me, of my make up that little stone.

One day I was walking up the beach and I found a bone. I put it in my pocket carried it back home where I washed it I then put it on top of my piano next to the stone. And I always looked at the bone which sat next to the stone on top of my piano when I played alone or with pleasant company. It became part of my make up that little bone.

One year In midwinter I was walking up the beach when I found a mobile home. It was deserted and the keys were in the ignition so I drove it home where  I took  my little stone and my little bone and put them on the dashboard.Whenever I put on a CD of piano music while in company or while alone I would tap the beat on the dashboard of my new mobile home. It became part of me that mobile home.

A decade later I was walking up the beach and I found a woman alone. So I took her home washed her and sat her by the piano next to my mobile home parked outside the window opposite my piano where sat the bone and the little stone. And while playing my piano  in pleasant company or alone I would look at the woman and smile. She became a part of me that woman.

Now In my eighties, I can’t walk that far so I take my mind for a walk up the beach instead and what do I see but a little pretty stone, a bone, a mobile home and a woman alone. Ohh I say and smile. It was there all the while. So I get rid of the little stone , the bone and my mobile home. And when I play the piano in pleasant company or alone I open my minds eye and see the woman alone, the mobile home, the bone and the pretty stone and knew they were a part of me.

Now I am dosed up on pills and painkiller  and  have no time for walking up the beach in my head or with pleasant company.  When I am playing my piano sometimes I hum out loud a tune I wrote. One for the stone. One for the bone. And one for my mobile home. And the woman alone sings.

I first loved a stone,

Then I loved a bone,

Then I loved a mobile home,

Then along came a man alone,

And I loved him too.



and I crashed my spindly hands down on the keys harder and louder until the vase fell off the top and smashed on the floor. With tears in my eyes, I put my hand’s between my legs and sobbed for a life not equalled except by this woman alone.