Breakfast simmered saucily up the hallway stairs, summoning me from beneath my pillow as usual. In spite of myself, I noticed the veins proudly flexing from beneath my arms as I dragged myself out of the bed. No shirt today then. As usual.

Caribbean music caught my hips on the last step, and I found myself bopping into the kitchen. The brewing thunderstorm in my heart temporarily abated. As usual. By the time I sat myself down in my customary spot at the table, Mera already had the steaming, spiced food sitting before me.

I gazed up into featureless opacity that I had come to know as her face, finding solace in her mere presence.

“Thank you Mera.”
“You are welcome Steve. It is a lovely day.”
“And so it is.”
“And so it is.”

That was it.

Those were the only words we would exchange today, or any other. It was a quiet, peaceful existence. I do not entertain such words as “monotonous” or “repetitive” here- the Mold cannot sustain even the most minute of stress fractures. Yet even beyond that, there is the logic of it all; thousands of galactic wars have been forged in the name of peace and safety, but so precious few actually manage to achieve it. Even fewer appreciate it once they have.

I vowed to be different.

The food mechanically makes its way to my mouth, steaming with freshly cooked heat, and smelling like a thousand first nights of love making. Of course, once it enters my mouth, there is no taste. No heat. It is pure muscle memory that causes me to eat and process this food. My mind carries within it only enough bio-resonance for exo-sensory perception; not enough for sensory engagement.

It makes curling up under the blanket at night significantly less enjoyable than I remember…

I don’t know how I pass the time in this place. I don’t know if there is time in this place. Mera disappears until dinner time, where she serenades me with musicality she’s been instructed to tell me resembles an ocean’s waves. The ocean…

The first night I asked her what the music was, she told me and my whole body locked up. My fingertips felt like they were on fire, and my brain like it was swelling inside my skull, pressing against my cranial boundaries like stem ravers at a roaring light show.

“Steve. Steve!”

Her voice had faded in and out, but her face grew in distinction. As I stood there, increasingly paralyzed with smeared starlight washing through my eyes, I couldn’t help but think… “I know that face…”

Next thing I knew, I was in my bed once more, Mera peering worriedly over me. Sirens ringing? I couldn’t be sure. All I knew was that nightmares ransacked my body with images and sounds that entire sleeping cycle like nothing I had ever experienced before. When I awoke, the severity of the onslaught had faded, leaving only the faintest resin on my tongue as reminder.

After that, I forbade Mera to ever again say that word. But every now and then, that taste comes back to me…

I guess I had dinner already. I’m back in bed. No need to keep a journal, because I have no sense of being able to write, and even still- who would I be writing for? I have peace and safety. My story no longer bears any meaning.

I snuggle under covers thinking faintly of forbidden words, Mera’s long ago face, and this stubborn sapor on my tongue…


I waken like a tornado in heat, barreling into the wall before my surroundings come into focus. I stumble down the stairs ahead of the music, driven by this grating conviction that something is dreadfully wrong. That Mera needs me…


I skid around the corner, and her picturesquely blank oval greets me, usual warm tones edged with something I once knew the word for but have long since forgotten.


She holds up breakfast. I look down at the plate, look back at her face, and blink twice. Moving slowly, I take my customary space at the table. Like usual. Mera beat me to it again, and the plate was there before me smelling like a thousand first nights of love making. At this moment, I realized I was shirtless. As usual. I gazed up into the featureless opacity that I had come to know as her face, finding solace in her mere presence.

“Thank you Mera.”
“You are welcome Steve. It is a lovely day.”
“And so it is.”
“And so it is.”


Thank you for reading!
See you at the next story.

Twitter: @joshevansgo
IG: @joshevansgo

Categories: Black Speculative Fiction, Blog, Short StoryTags: , , , , , ,

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