The town surrounds the hill like a doughnut, and we are the hole. We lay side by side, staring at clouds like nature’s Rorschach. Here are warriors with spears and here are fucked up dolphins with five tails. There is a strand of DNA being broken apart with pliers and there is a dick with three balls. Three balls. She observes it dispassionately and says, dryly; enough to give anyone a stomach ache. Then she claps her hands a few times and shakes her head.
We endure below the waterline with the scum and the fools, but on this hill we can exist, and stroke the feet of angels. She tells me to splay my fingers out wide and to comb them through the clouds, to feel divinity in the webs. I half-heartedly swat at thin air and she stubs a cigarette out onto the back of my hand. Raising one shoeless foot she traces out her name, lets out a fart with a wince and demands another cigarette. I feel my phone vibrate but this hill has rules. No technology. No distractions. No unnecessary conversation. I wish I could live my life the way I live on this hill, staring at frozen water and being burned alive.
In the nearby churchyard she has a favourite grave. A young Italian couple died on the same day over thirty years ago. The tomb is expensive but forgotten – once pristine marble now dirty, a bunch of rotting artificial flowers in the honeycomb vase, slowly sinking into the ground head first. I ate her out on the cold stone, looking up at that glorious landscape – the round thighs, the scarred rolling tummy and through the gap in her tits to that gasping, eye-rolling face. But then my eyes lingered on their names, rusting and bleeding onto the off-white slab… names chosen by parents for children, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm anymore. Rolling off, I told her I had a sore throat and she didn’t speak to me for a week.
This is all memory to me now. She sleeps somewhere beyond where angels and demons sleep, a special place where she connects to the planets in far off systems and keeps them turning. The hill is no more and the hole is filled. There are no clouds, and I swipe my hands through a vacuum. I try to make shapes out of the nothingness, and I just end up trying to marry specks of dust into sculpture.
Just before the end, we lay in a trembling embrace. She hadn’t stood under clean water in three weeks and her hair stuck to her skin at every opportunity. I would do the same. She looked at me through gelatinous eyes. I’m just so tired… and she smiled sadly. I’m terrified because I’ve never seen her cry before.
A few years ago the town planners bulldozed the church and built a supermarket over the graveyard, the dead trapped under the aisles. I hate it but I tell myself; it’s just the next logical step. God creates Man. Man creates Walmart. Walmart destroys God.
Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.