Dead Letters Teaser #12

The Days of Our Lives, Adam LG Nevill

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Inside her vinyl, crab-coloured handbag the ticking was near idle, not so persistent, but far below the pier, in the water, I was distracted by a large, dark shape that might have been a cloud shadow. It appeared to flow beneath the water before disappearing under the pier, and for a moment I could smell the briny wet wood under the café and hear the slop of thick waves against the uprights. A swift episode of vertigo followed and I remembered a Christmas tree on red and green carpet that reminded me of chameleons, and a lace cloth on a wooden coffee table with pointy legs similar to the fins on old American cars, and a wooden bowl of nuts and raisins, a glass of sherry, and a babysitter’s long shins in sheer, dark tights that had a wet sheen by the light of a gas fire. Legs that I couldn’t stop peeking at, even at that age, and I must have been around four years old. I’d tried to use the babysitter’s shiny legs as a bridge for a Matchbox car to pass under, so that I could get my face closer. The babysitter’s pale skin was freckled under her tights. And right up close her legs smelled of a woman’s underwear drawer and the material of her tights was just lots of little fabric squares that transformed into a smooth, second skin as I moved my face away again. One thing then another thing. So many ways to see everything. One skin and then another skin. It had made me squirm and squirt.

 

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