The ticks have fattened themselves on the host for many years. Only too aware, he has struggled with impaired health while his lifeblood is slowly drained away, but they are too firmly attached.
There is a gathering after the death to ingest the last dregs:
The reading of the Will.
Viv Burgess is finding life a bit dark at the moment. It’s about time she cheered herself up!
“How you get here?”
“Businessman—sold weapons and made a pile. Some collateral damage, but that’s life. Wife drowned me. You?”
“Dictator. Started war, made much money, killed millions until execution. This Hell not so bad.”
Their black carapaces reflect distant mushroom clouds as Earth’s latest inheritors scuttle for shelter.
Viv Burgess thinks her muse needs a pep talk and possibly a good holiday.
IN FOUR HUNDRED YARDS, TURN RIGHT.
“Oo, nonsense! Not that way. Go up Nover’s Hill. That’s Mrs Rathbone’s house. She just died of oldtimers. BUS! This car needs a good clean… Turn left, I mean right. Oo, you’ve missed it! We’ll be late. VAN!”
Unfortunately, there’s no turning off SatNan.
Viv Burgess is not a back seat driver herself, but is usually ranting at her own satnav.
After years of business suppers, his wife put him on a diet. The benefits were obvious. The uniform was looser and his delivery route was quicker. He could go in and out of buildings faster and travel lighter.
But refusing client generosity proved difficult. He never could resist mince pies.
Viv Burgess is aware that he also likes cookies or biscuits but on a diet he should really only eat the carrots.
Three new planets are identified orbiting a distant star. Humans take two generations to approach them, investigating for necessary colonisation.
The first planet is too hot.
The second is too cold.
The third looks just right.
Hugely excited they land to find
a lifeless wasteland
and seabeds awash with plastics.
Vivienne Burgess generally likes to write something vaguely humorous, but the news keeps getting in the way.
After my husband’s departure, I acquired a dog for company.
Out walking, Rufus found a body in the woods. The policeman gave him some treats.
He scented the second corpse in the canal.
When Rufus brought back a finger, he had to go.
He’d also started scratching at the patio.
Viv Burgess wonders why dog walkers who find bodies in crime novels never get suspected. There’s a book in there somewhere, but it would take more than 50 words.
Fingers table-tapping impotently. Clock striking, but not the keys on my laptop. Blank face reflected on white empty screen mirrors the inside of my dark empty head.
I prod my muse. “Any thoughts?”
She waves a bottle in my direction, hiccups and sinks into a torpor.
“Try Facebook,” she mumbles.
Vivienne Burgess needs to get some perspective in life, get her muse off the booze, and take a holiday from Facebook. It’s not helping her creativity… or blood pressure.
“We could sit there?” She points tentatively at a cafe table facing the busy market square.
He heads for their usual unpopulated corner. Following obediently, she glimpses a hanging cobweb. At its centre, a desiccated corpse spins slowly.
She watches him suck his drink dry and plans her escape.
Viv Burgess wrote this story.
Visiting a dark church, I notice a bowed head in the front pew, haloed with rainbows from stained-glass saints in leaded windows. I respect his need for peace and soulful prayer.
Quietly tiptoeing to the altar, a sidelong glance reveals his cupped hands radiating light, and that he is texting.
Viv Burgess likes writing, it’s the thinking that is troublesome.
Grandpa’s pain stops with his heart. Amid brilliant white light and the fury of a whirlwind, he is lifted and flies rejoicing to God.
He wakes joyously. “Lord, I’m saved!”
His angel smiles. “Only just. It’s a miracle you got to hospital in time. We had to send a helicopter.”
Viv Burgess says her inspiration has been absent without leave, and she is not a-mused.