Clench

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(continued from Heal)

From his glassed-in eyrie, Larry glared down at the impossibly young people milling around the nightclub entrance. Friday evening, mid-summer, the end of a gloriously hot day – the sun dipping, bands of cloud taking its colour and sweeping it across the sky in wild shades of orange and pink. A gentle rain began to fall.

And there he was. Alone in the office. Again.

Weary from beating his head against the script they needed for the next morning he rubbed his eyes. Almost done now, yet the contempt he felt for this company burned into his throat like thickened bile. He began the final read through – surely it was perfect by now; but no – another correction. Another minute of his life swirling emptily down the sewer that was his life.

He glanced out of the window again – some girl was laid on the ground. He watched as a boy strode out of the club and knelt down beside her, lifting and cradling her. Disgusted, he turned away as they began to kiss.

As he completed the final read through, he heard a creak behind him at the far end of the open-plan office. A click followed shortly afterwards – a little closer. A little louder. Concentrating, he saved the script. A slight pop jolted him. What was that? Doggedly staring at his screen he closing the file and attached it to the email he had typed earlier.

A creaking sound. Nearer again. Some force of will allowed him to send the email and shut the computer down without turning. He knew the building was empty and locked. He knew he was alone. Yet when he heard the faint bang, it was all he could do to stop himself from crying out. Hairs suddenly raising across his shoulders he stood, banging his knee. Quickly, he grabbed his bag and turned. No-one there. And yet …

Prickles across his face as he strode towards the exit. Another tiny pop, this time before him in the shadowy passageway – the dark tunnel between him and safety. He suddenly felt an urgent need to defecate and he caught it, clenched his muscles tightly. No way was that going to happen! Hurrying forward, gaining speed, he plunged in. Eyes adjusted. Sweat broke out. Nothing there. He whirled at a bang behind him. Nothing. Panicking, he saw toilets. Could he? No way!

As he burst through the main door into the fading sunlight he felt an enormous sense of relief, and as the door locked itself behind him with a clunk he sank to the step and sat, head between his knees, waiting for his breathing to slow. Forever passed by with languid haste. Rain fell across him unnoticed. Unfelt.

Finally raising his head he saw, across the street, a boy standing, staring towards the far end of the road, and he recognised the kisser. The boy seemed, somehow, to be a pure study of loss and longing and, just briefly, Larry took some comfort in the obscure feeling that he was not alone.

(continues in Release)

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