Red Balloon.

The bastard's gone again. Left before I woke up and didn't leave a scent of himself behind. The thick spread over my nose, lying as my eyes blinked open and my fingers gripped the sheets tighter than usual, a wave of bitterness gusting through the shut window.

I feel his body over me, fingers at my sides running slowly lower, tantalisingly softly and his breath across on my neck, my lips whispering nothing to his ear in a stretch of need. My own fingers work their way around his back, pulling him down onto me as his finally find their way back up and his lips smooth down to my breast as I dip myself, down onto the tantalising core of desperation.

My breath meets the ceiling as my voice rises to meet it. Thin white flesh over me, covering me, a mad picture if ever I stood back, the need curling in my throat and thickening, releasing itself in a coiled, sprung ache that chokes its pale way out and leaves me reeling in its way, moth kisses to the touch at me again

I stop. my eyes blinking open in raw shock at the memory, the surrounding sauna suffocating and I drag myself up, chocking for some clothes and stagger my way out dragging my sheet after me, the door behind left as a museum.

The stairs meet my feet as I stagger half drunkenly down them, bases slipping slightly in my sweat against the wood and I sway to the kitchen, my fingers scraping slick hair away from my throat as I fight to breathe through my madness. I lean on the counter, spitting through strands and switch the tap lever, throwing water in my face to wash it all away; this horrible, foul mess. I smell.

I lick my lips and swagger off to another part of the house, my eyes watching the doorway suspiciously as it passes overhead. and off I go down the hallway before I'm on the first step off the stairs, swinging silently on the rail, stopped moving all together. I stare at the gold tarnish under my fingers and lean back on one foot, the fastened ring slipping around as I sail past it before I step away again, not going upstairs but off down the hallway again past the stairwell to the lounge.

I laugh sourly in a mix of gin soaked sheet as I trip and lie, rolling round in the narrow hall, I cough of cotton and kick me legs feeling five and wiggle, feeling like the hungry caterpillar on a Sunday morning of leaves.

The fingers work my shirt over my head and the head ducks to my neck again. I stare across at the ceiling wondering what's on TV. The waistband slips again and suddenly I swoon against him and I'm Judy being eaten by my crocodile while Punch is busy chasing him, the working inside me, dictating my moves. I slip backwards against the sheet and the fingers knot at my flesh, slipping up and down like my breath and I no longer wonder about TV but just what he does to me. My ankles snapping like hangers caught against each other and I won't let him go because he's mine and he does this to me. A finger moves out, replaced at the lips then pushed and I tilt my head back, his lips from the neck at my jaw-line and I'm squat but a gasping mess on him

and he must know this

I scowl again and get up from my mess on the floor, swaggering back towards the stairs again, stamping up them and into the room where the heat comes at me. I kick at it, colliding with clothes that lie, yellowed, flying to the side of the room, dust flinging out from behind them. I scowl again and make a face and sigh, grabbing some things and dragging myself and my newly befriended sheet to the bathroom.

Within the hour I'm dressed, surprised and stalking out the house without keys. I spit yellow at the road and follow the signs to Tipperary like the soldiers sing in their songs. I wander down the pavement and hum in my voice about a cat going on holiday without thick boots. Just how I feel.

The cars zip past me and I wave at one or two, not bothered about the rest. Someone else can wave at them, wishing I was back in the house with my smelly sheet rolling in a mess. without the bastard not to tell me he's leaving.

He's at my neck again but I shake my head and off he goes out and away through the gutter and I stamp my way down the pavement of second year playing hopscotch and throwing that bloody rock.

So I'm nearly there. or so I figure. and it's dark now. the day seems to have gone like crisps in a bowl at a party we had a street away. They just kept going and going and then they said I wasn't wanted and shut the door, so I ate the crisps from my pockets at home.

The moon glints at me and I swagger across the road in my glory to a petrol station, seeing a display '3 for 2' outside on a the yellow shelf that waves me over as I walk and I stoop to pick three up, grunting as I struggle to hold them, fingers slipping. I turn left and wander left down the side of the station where people with cars are filling up and the pay station's getting smaller. The cans jiggle against my stomach in the mess I'm holding them in and I go down a snicket with ivy on each side and get prodded by evergreens until the cries of the attendants drown out and there's only the stars spitting the way to wonderland. I laugh, wondering how much they'll have lost because of me.

My feet skip me down the road again, I take the next turning back to the main where the cars flick past me and I feel small. The balls of my feet bounce me higher and I smile.

I spot the lighter, finally, in the third shop and rattle to the counter in my mess, dropping the cans outside the door all covert and incognito so I'm an innocent as anything. My eyes glare, telling me I'm alone in the shop with the old man who knows no better, the aisles ready for takeoff. I rock on the balls of my feet again, hands clasped behind my back and I grin a toothy grin to say "Half a pound of Liquorice" sweetly, my sugar-coated self gesturing to the back shelf where bonbons and laces remind me of school fetes and childhoods.

His eyes look sideways and I wonder if I've used this shop before for a scattered moment, his sigh hitting me in the face, tobacco staining his teeth and he looks back at me. I blink and the sugars change to packets, the shop around me changing from my memory. I breathe out "Uhh" in my wonder.

"Can I have," I crane forwards from my pedestal of pointed shoes and read the packets, my head swinging from right to left taking in the gold and red and blues blared behind him, "Marlborough lights," I finish, my cheeks turning rounded and blocking my vision from the smiling I'm doing today. Mama always said to answer with a smile and people hear it in your voice, so today I'm smiling my innocence out like a torrent, bowling people over in the pavement.

He turns to the shelf and his grubby palms stretch for the top while my feet pull me backwards down the aisles and the lighters I've pulled from the side stick to my pocket in their gaudy green and yellows. I'm at the door and he hasn't noticed so I'm gone before he can ask me if I want 10 or 20 thank you very much, the pavement under my feet and I'm slapping away towards his house to be a wretched female again like usual after this long.

I look down at the space on my finger, my left hand barren and I stamp my way again, the pavement shaking in my mind and I grin to myself. This time he's going to be leaving for good.

I sit leaning against the car, breathing in the sigh of a happy ending, the silverwork cold and calm in the night breeze. I blink, a crooked grin and dart my way over to the bushes down the side of the house, pulling the caps frantically off the petrol containers in a mad clamour to have this all out the in open. The filmy petrol slides against the wall of the whitewash house and I grin, throwing grime as high as I can with all my effort, a lighter flipping out of my pocket as I smear.

Soon it's covered and I stare. Petrol everywhere and round the sides of the house too, the back's more covered than the front but I figure it'll do. I drop the last plastic red container into the bush and flick the lighter, testing the power in my hand. Queen of the world I could be right now.

Smugness rings out of my face and I flick finally, lighting the slick furthest away and looking back, pulling my arm back as I feel the intense 'whoosh' as the pool lights and I flee back, marvelling at the brightness of the burning. Running along-side the bush that goes down the side of the property I cross the road to crouch behind a parked car.

I sit at the rear, my head on the far side hitting the metal work and I laugh to myself silently, amused as hell, my head crooked sideways to see the shit burn.

The sirens come and a woman staggers out, screaming for inside somewhere. She's pulled over and struggles uselessly in a blanket for him, mine. Mine or no one's. Her shoulders shake, mine too, laughing. Amused like it's comedy on a Thursday TV screening.

Smoke clogs out from the house and I stare, wondering if I've killed him. Trying to find an ounce that cares. Finally a man's pulled out of the house, looking up in wild hope for anyone, looking for the woman he's with that's far from me.

I stop dead, my skull thumps against my ribcage, heart in hand and falling out of my grasp, shattering on the pavement I'm crouched by in less than a word. In this quick defining blink of an eye I see - it's not him, and my world crushes. Videos on fast play smoke back into my sight and I, living in my hazy past wonder how it is that everyone moved on from what seemed yesterday so soon, when it's really ten years gone now and I'm just a drunken gin-soaked, tea-stained perpetual state of remorse. A modern day Haversham rotting in my yellows.

. Haversham – character created by Charles Dickens in Great Expectations; a female jilted at the altar on her wedding day, sits in revenge for her whole life, the wedding dress yellowing and her turning older in pain. Reviews would be.. well, fantastic.