The Snake, Nutshell Magazine

To be featured in the upcoming issue of Nutshell Magazine

Here’s an extract:

The Snake

It is easy to be frightened by the responsibility of love. Jemmy was for sure, and when he left all the lovely possibilities I constructed in the air between us were dissolved, leaving me clutching at the shapes of nothing at all. Didn’t even have the decency to slam the door behind him. He clicked it shut;  the sound of an apology.

He never bought me anything, didn’t Jem, but I inherited things from him. A tee shirt, odd socks, books, a snake.

The snake was long and lithe and inscrutable. Still a baby really. Why did Jemmy leave the snake behind? Why did Jemmy fucking anything? God knows if I know. And God knows, I suppose, why I do anything. First, I put on his tee shirt and snivelled and slept in it. Then after that I wore his socks inside my hot shoes. When the scent of him was gone from these, and my bed was full of his books which I fell asleep reading every night, I got the young snake out of its tank and held it. The snake, unlike Jemmy, responded very well to my affections.

The snake is long and muscular, a scaly rope of muscle. Jemmy never gave the snake a name and neither did I. I gathered it up in its brown coils and held it to myself as best I could. I fell asleep with it bunched resistantly in my arms, but I woke up and found the snake had stretched out languidly beside me, like a lover, though not quite the length of a lover. Its pointed head did not reach the pillow. Sleepily I ran my hand up and down its length. I imagined how that would feel to a snake. Good, I thought.

After that I took the snake to bed with me every night.