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Cadi Cliff

Hands first, she clutches at itchy purple heather stems. Their knotted roots strain under her weight. Mountain goat steps cut hand holds upwards, worn out of layers of peat. Folds of decayed matter burrow themselves under her broken fingernails. Muddy waters ink her fingertips.

Time forgets its purpose and flows in rivulets as it bubbles free. It slip-slip-slips down the frayed edges of sheep tracks and places a wet shiver in her ear.

Inside the cloud layer, the grey fog figurines of city memories below rest amongst the moss grown blankets. Strands of horse hair catch in the eye of her boot and twist their thoughts amongst her laces. She sinks damp knees into the squelchy half-broken peat – pauses. He looks back. She can smell wet wool and crushed heather bells. Flint shards cut her corduroy trousers and mix fierce young blood with greedy earth. The shiver slinks down her ear canal.

Cloud ghosts form.

Time slips through and burns nameless spectrums into uncertain retinas. She can feel energies in her brain; feel her spilt blood thudding in the earth. He keeps climbing into a space they don’t own, as though he doesn’t see the colours breaking apart.

She can taste sulphur and wet pebbles. There is calloused skin knapping at flint – crack – to make scrapers. The air sparks and bites. Wild eyes watch across the broken borderlands and hill men move upright through the cloud fog on trails she has tripped and fallen on. There are ghosts in her head that leave footprints in the heather.

She climbs, knees bloody and leather boots worn. She tries to see through the strangeness that is playing with the spaces before her, finds the mist forgets to move aside for him. With fingers splayed she feels silently through newness, through oldness, for warm skin made slick with rain.

Fingers keep stretching, reaching further out –

Empty spaces coil around her hands; the cloud ghosts slip into the cracks. She cannot find him.

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