Now Hold On by Jess Moody

You are assured that you can pass through. There will be a cost of course. Nothing unreasonable, considering.

It is late, she is heavy in your arms, and there is fire on the horizon. So you begin.

They ask for your security details, and you hand them over: your father’s middle name and the answer to a secret question. Her family tree, chopped for kindling. She is left with a distrust of you, the confidences you give away to others.

They ask for a picture and you look at a lens. Turn back to her with a face smooth like her baby heels.

They ask for your convenience, so you hand over your time. There is none left to play with her.  Next, your patience. You greet her fancies with scorn.

They ask for your blood, so you admit, you have to hold her too close, leaching off her heat. They ask for a recipe, and you feed her frost. They ask for your future, and you shudder in static while she stretches past midnight. They ask for your silence, and she finds no comfort in the dark.

They ask for a memory. She never looks at you as the person you were, or laughs with you at your own audacity.

Then they ask for your hope. Only now, you pause.

She stands tall beside you, bored of waiting and anxious to slip her anchor. No loyalty for a stranger. While you mumble and beg, she rolls her eyes and slips them your hope from your back pocket and she steps over the line and puts on a badge and picks up a list and turns back and smiles to the long queue behind you and says,

“There will be a cost.

Nothing unreasonable…”

Jess Moody is a Wulfrunian in London who likes her words and worlds a little weird. Short fiction in Lunate, Reflex, Storgy, and shortlisted for the inaugural Lunate 500 prize. @jessmoodhe.