Sunday, 16 December 2012

Candleflame Jenkins

Aunt Lily was a puma and uncle Jack is a snake. I mean, Lily isn't much to look at now, what with the sunken cheeks and nicotine eyes, but back then - wow, she'd have devoured him in one bite, a midnight snack. All tooth and claw and velvet lashes. Pick her teeth with his backbone she would.

They say I see dead people, which isn't strictly true. I just see who they were before their parents were born. I can tell what you were before and what happened to you afterwards, assuming that you died of course, like uncle Jack did, all shrivelled up by spite and whisky.

Aunt Lily is still alive, though. Best thing she ever did was outlive him, and he pretty much reaps what he sowed, slithering round mangrove swamps with one eye on the clock and eels for breakfast.

Name's Jenkins. Jimmy 'Candleflame' Jenkins. Why candleflame? I can make a candle flame appear in your mind. Go on, you don't have to close your eyes or nothin'. Candle flame, about three feet in front. Am I right? Course I am!

Careful now, you might singe that lady's hair. I know, magic, right? Just pops out like a midnight torch bug.

So you might allow that knowing this stuff is a strange thing, but I'll let you into a secret. What I can't say with any kind of certainty is who we are now, and that's got to be even odder. Why, it's almost as though none of us exist, not in this ten-toed, lug-eared thinking form anyways.

The best I can put forward is that I think we might be angels. We might just be angels. Careful you never fall from God's grace, like uncle Jack. That's a cold toe in the water, right there.

You can let that flame go out now, it's nearly my stop. Wouldn't want you being a fire hazard without me here to douse you. Say, you look nice, and since you've put up with my old man prattling these last seventy miles, I'll let you into a secret. Yeah, another one. Seems like this is a two-for-one day.

I know what you're thinking; you want to know what you were, right, before you became an angel? I can tell you that. Then, we can go around the cemetery, looking at the gravestones, and I'll tell you what became of those people too. Come on, this is where we get off. Take my hand. Run.

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