She wakes early in an unfamiliar bed, the man from the night before, from New Year's Eve, lying next to her. She leans over and kisses him. His breath tastes of whiskey and cigars, hers of vermouth. He doesn't wake, just turns and burrows his head into the pillow.
Sky had been addicted to fireworks since first tasting them scorch through her in China over a thousand years ago.
To try and explain the narcotic rush of these chemicals would not translate into our language. Nothing else compared.
The burnt fuel of airflight was weak and insipid. Sky watched humanity develop the hydrogen bomb with barely concealed anticipation, every cloud of her waiting for the hit. The intense concentration of substances only brought a sickness beyond any overdose.
I sleep shallow and my memories whisper in my ear, their hand on my shoulder so I cannot evade them. They speak to me of the first time I came to the market of fragrance, 16 years old and face bare apart from one age branch carved above the broken brow of my nose. I pay them no heed, but it's hard, hard to ignore the first taste of the air surrounding the market. Then and still the greatest wonder of the Land of No Light.
About the author
Steve Toase is an author, archaeologist and journalist living in North Yorkshire and occasionally Munich, Germany. As an author he writes mythic fiction, weaving elements from folklore and legend into a contemporary setting.