As he raked the barn Kane’s mind wandered where it had often wandered lately. He preferred the old days, when thoughts of Linda were bright and overwhelming. Now they were ambivalent. There was no inhibition between them now.

He kicked at a sack. A tiger snake hidden beneath it struck out.

By the time Linda found him, halfway home, his world had turned purple. Liquid. She swam towards him mouthing something about horses, was it? Or dandelions? She landed beside him and folded her wings. She held him. She sang into a little box. She was beautiful. Everything familiar was beautiful. Kane studied her purple foot, as perfect as anything he could imagine. He wanted to dive into her voice hole place. He leant away from her. Spider webs and hot ice cream spilled from him onto the ground. He closed his eyes.

He woke in hospital., Linda by his bed. How beautiful she was. How caring. She lay a gentle hand on his shoulder. ‘You’ve had a close call, Love. I’ll get the snake man out tomorrow.’

‘No,’ said Kane. ‘Leave the snake.’ He looked at her under the clinical light and wanted to be nowhere else. He reached to touch the soft, warm skin of her cheek. That purple colour really suited her.


2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (