• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07


Never trust a man with a thick neck. Take it from me (I didn’t take it from her).

He wasn’t from the village. But I’d enjoyed the feel of him between my legs. The weight of him pressing against the mole there.

Sometimes I inadvertently got carried away with what felt nice. It was a habit of mine.

I’d heard him before I saw him, that first time. He wore a giant chain around the neck. A tarnished steel thing, worn down by relentless rubbing on flesh. A thick neck was to be revered where he was from. Him and his kind were constantly building strength there, chains placed on babies at birth, increasing in weight as they grew.

So, you’d hear him coming. ‘Clang, clang,’ he’d go. The ‘clang, clang’ would announce his arrival, some stocky emperor.

The village was yellow. It spanned the area from the water, up the hill and finally branching out into the expansive meadows at the top. The buttercup storm that had blown in several years back had left scarcely a patch free of the things. Tall, stately drops of sunshine covered the place, washing the landscape in a golden glow, even at night.

I’d enjoyed my time with him, amongst the vegetables and the wood in my tiny shop. But by the fourth time he wobbled into town, I no longer wanted him. I no longer wanted to feel his chubby hands on me. I’d mistaken his silence for mystery, when there was nothing to work out. This was another bad habit of mine.

So I positioned myself quite prominently on the veranda of the shop with Z, all splendour with her red hair flowing and the pink scarf billowing. I held onto her waist and I looked at him in the eye, and then I looked away.



The clanging came to a halt.

And I knew there’d be a price.

And now they were coming for us.

It was a strange sight, seeing those fat necks bobbing up and down in the water. They paddled like dogs. It was a slow assault, a clunky one. It seemed to take a lifetime for them to appear on the shore, an army of angry Thicknecks.

From their chains hung scythes.

He locked eyes with me. Then he ran at us, pulling out the scythe and lacerating the back of Z’s knees. The others follow suit. Villagers crashed down around me, bleeding out from the back. The tribe swarmed into the hills, leaving me to watch on. Pollen exploded in the air, as they hacked at buttercups along the route.

I remained by the water. The death scent of buttercups filled my nose, and the yellow glow seemed to intensify across the sky.

It appeared my desire, which had turned to disgust, had destroyed my home and my people.

I must learn not to do that.