Private Brown stepped off the shuttle, unclipped his face mask and wiped his brow with the back of his hand, shifting his heavy helmet backwards in the process. He took in a deep gulp of the cool mountain air which tasted impossibly clean and fresh after a day breathing through the mask’s chemical filtration.
Jeffery Jenkins turned his silver BMW into the gravel driveway, switched off the engine, and sighed.
Streetlights hadn’t yet been installed on the freshly laid brick road that led to his house and the moon was new so as he killed the car’s headlights he was plunged into an oily darkness.
He sat in the soft leather seats and stared at the house—no longer a home—that gradually came into focus as his eyes adjusted. His was part of a sprawling new development and the only one currently occupied on the long cul-de-sac. It stood detached and alone, a monstrous square visage, screaming back his loneliness at him.
Silas Damon was kicked out off the boat last night after E caught him rifling through her stuff. Frankly, he’s lucky that she didn’t shoot him right then and there: she’s killed for a lot less.
Instead, she marched him to his quarters, a tiny windowless cabin on Deck Three, where she had graciously allowed him to collect a few things.
There’s nothing quite like having an elephant charge at you. Its grey, tree-stump legs slamming against the hot concrete; its lumpy, hairy head bobbing up and down, trunk swaying from side to side as it runs. It seems to move in slow motion—a lumbering charge that feels more like a truck reversing than a speeding freight train—although its size means that it is, in fact, covering a fair distance with each stride.
“Man, I need a drink,” said Raymond, massaging the back of his neck as he entered the dressing room. His ripped Pixies t-shirt was still soaked in sweat and there was a dirty white towel draped over his shoulder. “Any beers left?”
The small, windowless dressing room was covered in graffiti and smelled of stale beer and staler BO. Mags, their striking twenty-one year old drummer in a black tank-top and jean hot pants, was lying across a beaten up red arm chair in the corner, reading her phone with one hand, an open beer in the other.
She looked over at Raymond, moved her choppy black hair out of her eyes and smiled. Without taking her eyes off him, she drained the can she was drinking, crushed it and threw it across the room at him.
“All out,” she said.
At four thirty in the morning, Drake’s tiny, fitted earphones start playing a fugue by Bach and a large rectangular section of the wall that butts up against the end of his bed slowly fills the room with a soft orange light, gently waking him up.
After a quick shower, he puts on a black suit, white shirt and black tie and sits back down on his bed to eat his breakfast. His windowless studio on the 37th floor of the apartment complex is small. The bed takes up one corner and a kitchenette occupies another. An old, beaten armchair sits in a third and his bathroom—a wet room no bigger than a decent sized closet—takes the fourth. He has been living here for three and a half years.
The office was small and cluttered, with filing cabinets topped with folders and papers lining both walls. At the far end of one row stood a sorry looking plant. Every long, thin leaf but one was brown and wilting. Professor Akshan sat behind a large wooden desk, reading by a banker’s desk lamp, and behind the Professor’s chair was a grubby second floor window that let in a dirty orange light from a street lamp below.
The Professor had a shock of long white hair and was wearing a dark brown tweed jacket. When Jamie entered, he was absorbed in reading a loosely stapled document.
Some context: at the time this was written, there was a lot of arguments in the travel blogging world about whether or not travel blogging had ‘lost it’s soul’ through blogger’s partnerships with sponsors and so on. Some people have very strong views about this.
When I went for a walk
To find blogging’s soul
Where I thought it should be
Was a deep dark hole!
I called out: “Hello!”
The hole was so deep
And I listened intently
But heard not a peep.
“Where is the soul?”
I said to myself.
And looked all around me
For somebody else.
But I was alone,
Alone by the hole.
The hole that once held
Every blog’s soul.
I sucked up my courage;
I tried to be brave.
“I suppose I should enter
That deep, dark cave.”