In this new story by Alex Wyatt, a man and woman get more than they bargained for on a night out in the second city.

Victoria Square at Night



Darkshining outside and everywhere.


Dark through windows, alleyways and doors. Arm-in-arm, couples stroll steambreathed down Bennett’s Hill’s rainsmoothed cobbles. On Saturday, the day when the word is given. Some head home into light, into electric arms. Away from the grip of the dark.




Some hold firm in the clench.


The Lost and Found.


Warm inside; just friends and tightknit circles; groups of hearts. He stands, surrounded, listening; who did what and where and why, cradling his glass. His darting eyes from group to group, face to face; all circled, all smiling. Diluted by noise. They laugh and talk, are echoed under marble. Shirted men are smart and suited, women in heels and skirts are dazzling. Flesh; seen and noted in light and shadow with snatched and longing looks. An orchard of life under chandelier glow.


The false light hides the real dark.


The false light hides the real light.


The false light is all the reality they need.


This is the weekend. Relax and make hay while the sun hides in shyness.




Between his friends he sees them all chatting, all beautiful, all poised with wineglasses; effervescent.




Her brown eyes, twinkling, two stars on him they are shining. Him. Unspoken and unprecedented, they see and do not say. He is delivered to the paradise of her stare. Twinkling, on him, burning, with a hopeful, hungry flame.




Her stare is straight and fixed, her brown hair flows and waves. Bare shoulders, a sleek black dress and a stately stance on heels. Lost in her depths, he looks intrigued and fearful, his hand trembling, just trembling a touch.


She gives food because she gave the hunger.


She is the weekend’s sweet revenge.


She is music, she is love, she is submissive silence.


Fear is getting what you really want, so believe in the beauty of chance.


Unaverted, her gaze never falters. He is the candle to her flame. Her finger twists a coil and plays; lets it loose and twists, releases. A peeping tongue pokes and parts her teeth. She knows her nature. Bite down harder, harder, align her desire, bite down harder, harder.




A pleasured prey, he sins, he acts against himself and freedom misapplied. Surrounded yet suddenly alone, himself a hair; blown by her whim, her look, a beat of her lashbeating eyes. A man, a soul, a sin, a substance; nourished to her full satisfaction.


Existence; just a tempting fruit.


Lust blooms in full, flickering flame.


Unheard words, unnoticed, unseen, with her upon him, his friends are ghosts. A hand, a touch; he is ok; laughs and smiles with those from before and they resume, reassured and, returning to her, he stares at her stare.


At her feet he kneels.


As she is him as female, her friends engage and she is still; in another time and place and lust. She breaks the look to watch them briefly, nod and smile and urge them back so she can steal a piece of him once more.


Lost and Found.


Hold it, drink it, sink it, feel it and fight the quickening nerves. Her grip so strong, a steel eyed stare, he wills and fights, to release and run and break to find the bar and drink for foolish courage.


A fear that cannot endure.


Through crowds, through thoughts, stoked with hope and fright and will and looking behind a glance, a tease, she watches still as he withdraws, her right foot swiveling slightly, tip-toed; waiting with impatience. He walks and weaves, to sanctuary, the bar. She has always lived and loved where rising men lie human, troubled, wavering, changeless.


She is everyone.


His spine it fires and tingles; sensations of her close yet too far to touch. Stumbling too quickly to rest his hands on the bar and orders. He not he from memory, the eternal he, the he as other hes have changed; part of no beginning no end, only now the middle, living, being part of her, this moment, this secret, this chance.


She now far in the crowd, swallowed by distance yet she loves in a place only he knows.


He fights and moves his glass now full to stand by his friends, too scared to check her waiting, watchful eyes. Instead he sips; it slides, it is cold and straight, it finds the places fear fails to find, a little voice of light and he looks up.


Her full, brown eyes, kindling a sensual flame, never looked away.


All the world’s motions.


All the world’s guidance.


All the world’s tears.


All part of the body’s long madness, so little, so looked, so devious.


On his body falls her sight on her body falls his desire. With a checking twist, he looks behind; two blondes; one bearded, one a peacock, bequiffed, animated in conversation. Them, not them, he, hope he. She on he must be. Back he turns to her gaze; in fear, alive, he turns again; more groups, more men, more whistlewet amusement; they away from her eyes and face and body, unaware, unafraid of the pull of lust.


And the silence falls as he on her on him, a twobodied attraction. All desire is desire in vain but it is an unceasing urge. Not a murmur, not a sound, just looks and silence, just them; full focused in the midst of conception.


The Lost and Found.


He motions a pace; the time to talk, and she turns too, with just a backwards glance.


Enticing him, the look of love, the breath of life; he infused, baying, inflated. True night, true fright is perilous but sweet to those who know it.


A trail of smoke vapors in the air; mystery’s mirage.


And she snakes, slinking between bodies, her braless back obscured by falling hair. That skin unblemished, smooth and soft to a touch, if only to touch, to reach, to feel. Shimmering scales of her black dress. A look, just a look, behind, the eyes, the eyes are watching, still and always, just leave a last look and turn away.


Storm and calm, a sound of waves, of striving, self and self creation, asserting life and love and on the edge of love in vain.


A faithful servant, obedient at his mistress’s heels, to attention he stands and follows; the sense of better Earth before a fall, to fly pursue a fantasy above these men and times.


With an easy grace, she slides and writhes.


He observes the most careful of distances.


She sets her glass, drained, a careful hand, a lucky glass, trailing the table with a finger softly, deftly, around the wooden rim. Lights in the eyes of strangers succumb to social soubrette and through the door she passes into the dark.


Outside. Not a person, voice or sound.


Darkshining real dark lit by thrill. Hollowblack soul; design of darkness and light, the taste, the moments; delicious and dangerous as eyes grow used to the black.


A bow of twinkling stars, a night chilled darkness, an echo: step by step she walks, near, yet far, further, to the left and follow in the night that tells no tales, only watches the chase with glee.


Chase the butterfly.


A caranto form, pitter patter across the road and up the steps to twirl round pillars free and flailing. Flesh that is prey to man. Uninhibited, shameless dark. A phantom’s playground, a disciple’s trail; softly stepping, following the flesh of the fairy, behind the dancing shadow plays a hunter’s fearful pride.


A crop of ripe stars charting a lovers’ course.


She turns to look, a sound, a snap, he ducks, a car, a shield; never break the fantasy of silence. Through glass, distorted, she stares, she knows he knows she knows and smiles, tosses her hair, breaks into dance. His steps, but slow, lead him to her; free in the middle of the road and open in open air; a beauty holding one through heaven. Begin again, alive again, no more breath of bitter air again. They will come face to face, mouth to mouth; they will, they must and soon; they are players in love’s fair game.


Silence but for her carefree steps, she runs into doorways; a nightchild, racing, disappearing, appearing; his loss, his fear, his relief at her return. The dark, at will, remorseless, takes it’s victims when it wants. His heart beats and what a beat; a sign from love and land and star.


Cascading, the fountain, louder yet louder, near on Victoria Square.


She is closer, blackly backlit, the emerging lights, the life of the Square; a legkick, an armtoss, a flick of her flowing hair. A stillness now stirring, she moves lightly to the fountain; trace by careful trace. In her burns a wild flame for the truest heart of hearts. His hiding eyes through the railings; fixed from silence, fixed from within, fixed on the form; dark, dancing sprite, skipping slowly; drawn to the water.


Every trickle a trickle of love.


He can only stare, want near, yet far as she comes to the current dancing darkly. Sweet trails of her musk he can chase; curling and whisked by the wind. Falling water, everywhere a falling sound. Vanity, glory and eclipse. He cannot be heard, he rests, a bench, to watch, to approach too much to break the spell; real or fantasy.


The Lost and Found.


Splashing water. Rushing water. Cascading water.


Steps on stone; mingling as they merge. She is elevated, a jump and raised, and she dances to the music of the water. The River, just a floozie in a jacuzzi. Lit by light by green and purple, cast in vivid shadow. He looks transfixed, her reflected moves a glimmer in his bluestrained eyes, a shadow’s glance.








Rush and dash and splish and splash.


Youth and eternity; guardians and object, water of sunlight she outlines and rises, quietly, quietly. Heart of light. Variations of all but tonight it is they; she ecastatic, mesmerized he.


Green, purple, blue overhand; light by light, steps lead to her, only her. Why burn, so moved, to see alone the living lights? All aglow; green by blue by purple splashing. Free, she dances, her legs apart; kicking and jumping, black skirt rising: a little, just a little, more and more and her steps slow to grace, twinkle toeing along the fountain rim, from left to right and back, again in Heaven, in Hell, in harmony.


She is music.


She is dancing.


She is real.


She is just a lonely nymph in need of a hero.


Black outlined in rainbow, a shape, a feeling, a passion, all want, all need, all feel, all lose, electric; every move and toss and play of her spirit radiates, rising, wasted into the night. There will be an end and the end will be us. Her image, unblemished in his lustfilled eyes, the gong strikes the hour, he raises, suddenly brave, releasing his grip on the bench, to go, to take, to make her his, to make them one, none, something more than anything, everything.


Now is the time.


Now he must take.


Now he is true to everything he has been living for, loving for, striving for; dark joy and dark longing.


Straining towards this joy of no more joys for all is here.


He is hidden in the life she gives; I and I and we and us, he leaps the bench and walks, hypnotized and courageous; not back, not think, not err, not fear; she wants to be taken, she led the way, she is the way. Drawn closer by their single flame, to her he walks, to her throne he will kneel, to her he will bid forever, to her who dances, to her who stares, to her silhouette, to her.


And yet.


Up the stairs a stranger comes.


Ordered disorder.


She turns and stops, awaits him, frozen. Blonde and bearded he runs to her and grabs and whisks her, twirling, hold and held. She wants him, real lover, he whom she dances for, smiles for, bites down harder for; harder and harder.


A halted breath in his splintered soul, to the bench he retreats; never tried, never fought, never close, never wanted; his eyes reflect the love he will never have.


The Lost. The Found.


Kissing long and lasting, lovers held in lovers arms. Her nowlit face, a smile, like his, they speak no words, just actions; to hold, to grasp, to touch, to feel. Soft and warm and gentle, gentle lovers resting, armwrapped. Just the little things. Proud lover, he whispers, she smiles, they smile together; for what they were, what they are, what they will be. Passing from dark to light with the flame of life and love.


He watches, still; flickered love in stinging eyes, a gulping throat’s dry thirst. Neither lit nor burnt, his own flame flounders. His own failing flesh; prey to whims of man and nature, prey to female charms and sighs, prey to love’s great teasing promise.


Some kind of heaven for those not thrown by the storm.


She was everything he believed in.


She is another’s heart and soul.


She will be dancing in his dreams tonight, a dance as he is alone.


Handheld they walk, away, a clumsy pair into each other, chatting, laughing, an occasional kiss, away, moving through the shadows as one, away from him, she gone, never his, never there, never were. stroll away, far.




And again, gone.


And so he blows a sighing breath.


Just the fountain and him; in vain, alone and benchbound.


But love it is at last unites.


Noises far off, far from here, among the ruins of sound. Back to the world of strangers, slowly, he rises and walks, with weary limbs; tracing the path she danced. To kindle a saddened flame. There will be an end to the long, dark road where all is held in the past’s cold hands.


Walk slowly.


Walk truly.


Walk away.


The steps she danced, no shape, no trace; silence in the silent street; empty doorways, empty hope, empty solace. His steps are slow, confused and ambling; no life in the path he treads. A journey dies on it’s return.


The Lost and Found and Lost.


Found; a man alone and not divine.


Darkshining. Say goodbye to the dark. Inside they talk, still talk, all together, all happy; the sound that will never stop.


They are far now. Together and in love and far.


And getting further.


The door is pushed, his hand, not him and he steps inside.


At last unites; it fades away but never dies; in front, behind, anywhere, everywhere. It belongs to the past, sung in the present, waiting for the future. It’s cry will end triumphant.


Image CC Motoeque

By Howard Wilkinson

Director of Satire, Paradise Circus. Howard adds stability at the top, taking a strategic overview of operations whilst also stepping in from time to time in a caretaker author role.

Author: Howard Wilkinson

Director of Satire, Paradise Circus. Howard adds stability at the top, taking a strategic overview of operations whilst also stepping in from time to time in a caretaker author role.