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Pilchards

By E.J. Bramble



I find them on supermarket shelves across the country. I sit on buses and trains and trams and I follow maps and stories and directions from strangers.


I love the bulging eye of the fish, the garish contrast of the red words on the yellow background, the shimmer of the scales.


I buy the tins in every shop, I guzzle the pilchards with gusto.


I may add the empty tin to the collection in my home, or if it is marred I will leave it somewhere for others to find. The best ones I wrap up as presents for everyone I know, and send anonymous packages to addresses I find, in the papers, in the phone books, on scraps of paper.


I haven’t touched a brush since, haven’t lifted a pencil, or thought an idea.


The pilchards will be my greatest achievement, the bulging, and the contrast, and the shimmer. But the pilchards will be the end of me.


I have bought tins from every supermarket. My flat is full of them. I can barely move without risking an avalanche of metal cacophony. I creep around them, contorting my limbs, until I find a spot to sit in. I have finished. I sit in the dark with the faint salty tang of fish that dries my lips, and the echo of the silence in the tins.


I sit there for days until I start to fade away, overshadowed by the pilchards. My greatest achievement, but also my end.


It is quiet and dark and I am starting to believe that nothing exists anymore.


But.


There is a beep. It bounces against the metal.


I scrape my eyes open.


A message glows in the dark.


New megastore to open.


I pull myself up and shuffle towards the door. I hope they sell pilchards.



 


E.J. Bramble enjoys writing weird things. She lives in England and likes being by the sea.


You can find her on Twitter.

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