First Steps

plant pots come to life and go for a dander

It began with the closing of curtains, and the trample of footsteps to bed. The gentlest breeze whispered through the grass, and those who waited in the shadows lay patiently, awaiting their time.

            A plump spider felt the gathering hush, and recoiled into a thicket of weeds. 

            Dusk thickened into the black band of night, and they nudged each other, muttering and murmuring softly.

            At last, every star was lit, the neat lawn illuminated. 

            So they crept out from the nooks and crannies, emerging from behind the shed and under the wrought-iron bench, pouring onto the patio like spilt milk over a table-top. In a great rolling motion they tumbled together, the wheels of a train but crashing and colliding with haste.

            Some were shattered in the rush and lay in pieces. They were forgotten, as the plant pots jostled one another on their way to the strip of moonlight that washed the grass silver.

            And then they were all assembled, a mass of black on the smooth turf. A shiver passed through the circle, and they fixed their blind attention upon the sky. 

            A cloud shifted like a veil in a breeze, revealing the ten-penny moon, and the first of them began to transform. His firm terracotta skin started to melt and stretch. The surrounding pots gave a shudder, as they too began to swell and grow.

            One by one, the assembled pots sprouted long limbs that elongated as nerves and sinews twirled into life beneath smothering flesh. 

            Ears unfurled like flower petals, and noses pushed out of flat faces. Great rips in the skin formed belly buttons, teeth, and glistening white eyes that rolled in their sockets, before swivelling into position.

            Flexing cold fingers in the soft shade of night, each plant pot stood now, as it stood each night in the moon’s glow; as mortal men, standing straight-backed and bare-skinned. They blinked and shifted. One wiped soil from his brow. Another plucked a worm from his shoulder.

            A tree creaked in the wind, and they took their first steps.           

A town by the sea, where darkness meets darkness as the sea and the sky gently kiss and smudge; a glimmering strip of azure marks the point of contact, a blue ribbon guided by the curvature of the Earth dwindling into a fine seam.

Weightless upon the waves, fishing boats bob and rock with the gentle movements of the surf, their sunshine splashes of red and green forgotten, all colour sucked to black and grey by the moon and her gentle indigo night. 

And it was into this night that they travelled. From their gardens they navigated high fences and low stone walls, lithe and smooth and naked they made their journey. Through the red-brick green-grass suburbs, the wide, bright high street and narrow, dustbin-lined alleys they walked unsteadily on new-found feet, noiseless, the colour of shadows. Avoiding the neon glow of street-lights, they made their way through an encompassing darkness that grew deeper and deeper as they drew closer to the shingle beach.

At the shore their footsteps crunched and ground towards the lapping shiver of the water’s shallows. They paused just before the dark line where the dark, damp sand marks its meeting with the dry, and there grew over the crowd a hushed stillness. Their line stretched as far as the eye can see, innumerable, a broad, black line of figures gazing over the undulating surface of the sea, standing in absolute stillness and silence.

A streetlight flickered; glowed grapefruit-pink. Sputtered and went out. 

The End

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