Excerpt from

Of The Riverside 

Book By

George Gad Economou

 

“Oh, hi,” she giggled when her gaze fell on me and unceremoniously collapsed next to me. Her short dress hiked even further up, her long, naked legs all exposed and the sweat on her smooth skin glistened under the sun. She took her high heels off, stretched her legs, and curled her lips into an effulgent smile. “Want one?” She proffered one of the bottles—they were unopened, indeed!—and I took it with great thirst. I thanked her coldly, and opened both bottles with my lighter. She struggled to bring the neck of the bottle to her lips with her gently trembling hand, a small sip resulted in beer getting spilled all over her open cleavage. I ogled at the effect of the sunlight catching the spilled beer soaking her skin. I had a sip and tried not to leer. I puffed on my cigarette, she took one; we sat in silence, smoking and watching the rising sun. “I’m lost,” she admitted.

“How did you get lost?” I asked. I desired quietness of mind and spirit, but I was deprived of it. Hence, I figured I should play along with what fate had thrown my way.

“I was out with friends,” she said amidst a chest-rocking burst of hiccups, “we drank some, then, I decided to walk home for I had too much. One thing led to another, and I ended up here; we’re at the permanent, right?”

“Yes,” I nodded—it was a famous beach spot that expanded all across the north side of Aarhus.

“Ok, good,” another hiccup quaked her body and she burst into giggles. “So, I just have to walk forty minutes to get home; shit,”

“Don’t worry, soon enough you’ll be able to take a bus.”

“Oh, right,” she snapped her fingers and clapped me on the shoulder. “Thanks.”

“Uh-hum.”

“Are you lost, too?” She asked, clearly in an elevated, talkative mood.

“No,” I shook my head. “Just needed some time alone.”

“Oh, okay,” she pressed her hand over her mouth, trying to muffle a loud burp that passed through her fingers.

 

a grand parade expanding for miles at both ends LOOK AT US the youth cried loudly WE ARE YOUR HOPE AND FUTURE they falsely promised and they believed their own lie  YES YOU ARE  the crowd chanted along they too accepting the lies all too eagerly the benevolent regime looked from high up away from the crowd and congratulated one another heartily IT’S ALL DONE WE DID IT they said and champagne was poured and swallowed NO MORE RESISTANCE THE REBELS ARE ALL ON CROSSES THEIR FLESH FRYING UNDER THE SUN

 

“You think you’ll be able to find your way back home?” I asked. I had given up on the hope of having peace of mind.

“Probably,” she nodded, then her hand clasped my upper arm. “Of course, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find a gentle knight to help me,” she fluttered her eyelids at me, failing to keep her voice low.

“I’m sure you will,” I leered at her as I tilted the bottle’s neck in my mouth, letting more beer glide down my throat and swarm my brain with delectable thoughts.

She peered about, then her smile widened for no apparent reason. “You know, it’s getting too hot.” With a kip-up, she leaped to her feet and undressed.

I watched her trot to the edge of the water and dip her toes in the sea; she stood there, stark naked under the sun that made her skin glisten, the surf hugging her ankles and the wind blowing her hair.

 

fires everywhere monuments turn to ashes THERE’S NO ROOM FOR OLD FOR REMINDERS OF TIMES WHERE BIGOTRY EXISTED the arsonists sang as they poured gasoline over thousands of books and danced naked around the bonfire throwing more books dancing around the fire with their spears KILL THEM ALL THERE’S NO ROOM FOR THE OLD they sang and danced till the fire died out the ashes were swept by the harsh wind of yesteryears and into the sea the final remnants were taken there to rest for eternity

 

She emerged out of the water, her damp hair falling over her shoulders while water dripped from her body. With the stronger sunlight right behind her, she appeared like the shadow of a nymph straight out of old fairytales about unexplored oceans in alien words. I remained seated, sipping on my beer, bombarded by thoughts and mental suggestions, all born out of the desperation of the moment, formed by the sudden need to decide on things for which I never asked.

“Come on,” she pleaded, “the water is lovely. It’s wonderful,” her voice echoed like music from a distant radio and I drank up, dropped my dead cigarette in the empty can, it sizzled as it landed on some drop of beer left in the bottom, and walked over to her without removing my clothes.

She skipped toward me as I stood close to the water; her hands cupped my face, her wet, hot skin too close to me, the air turned scorching, I was barely able to stand still, sweat torrented down my forehead and burned my eyes. She was the only sole thing existing in the world. Her luscious lips brushed against mine in a soft, gentle kiss; her fingers dug through my hair, pulling me closer to her and towards the water. I stood passive, idle, a standing statue with no mind nor will.

 

the tomb of gods empty there’s nothing left a single slave tries to set back up the throne too much work a palace in ruins the arenas closed forever nothing left to see MOVE ALONG THE NEXT GROUP IS COMING from within the catacombs whispering constant resounds attempts to escape no one to listen no one cares STAY IN THE DESIGNATED PATH PLEASE DON’T DISTURB THE DEAD SHOW SOME SYMPATHY FOR THOSE THAT DIDN’T KNOW BETTER the flocks plod forth following the umbrellas whispers in the wind silent ghosts from other universes shadows flying on the walls look for the handwritings in the places of no tomorrow nor yesterday DON’T GO THERE THE TAPES ARE FOR A REASON MOVE ALONG NOW WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME

 

Her body swayed back and forth, unsteadily following the gentle waves landing at our feet, her fingers laced behind my neck, her lambent green eyes staring dead into mine, glazed and blurry and full of lust. Thousands of thoughts swirled around in my mind, ghosts engirdled me, staring at me with judgment in their blind eyes. The moment all that was, that single second under the effervescent sun. The town was asleep, so was Christine, and I was alive, breathing, feeling. For a single moment, the world had ceased to exist, the temporal was not even a notion, it was all about the there and then, the fraction of a second our lips met, our eyes, our bodies, all becoming one.

She swayed and wobbled back and forth, forth and back, losing her balance and holding on to me tight, scared I’d vanish like a dream if she let go. My arms hung down, parallel to my body, I was terrified of making even a tiny movement. I was the statue everyone touches but never gives an approving glance. I peered up at the sun, the blinding light showing me all the broken dreams and promises. The faint kisses of yesterday became memories for a distant deathbed, for when the men in white will come to unplug the machines and let the final distorted exhalation be blown.

Another kiss, it reawoken the soul, blood heated up and all thoughts were drained from the whirling brain; the soul came to life, everything belonged in that fraction of a second. Isn’t how life is, a collection of infinitesimal moments that never last but remain in the nightly dreams and hazy recollections that cause the heart to thump and the stomach to clench?

One more kiss. I saw nothing but her shadow, blinded by the sun. Her heavy panting the only sound reaching my ears. I stood in a bright graveyard from whence a ghost rose, seeking absolution and a final moment in heaven before descending to hell.

I took a step back. She tripped and fell face-first into the water. A tiny cry of surprise escaped her lips, she lifted her head and her bulged, effulgent eyes peered at me. I glared down at her and ran my tongue across my arid lips. The splashing waves went over her naked body, the crystal-clear water keeping her perfect figure visible. I gave her a smile, she giggled, and I snickered. My shoes were wet, my socks had stuck against my feet, feeling heavy.

 

years of hardships torment a psyche almost ruined yet the task too important working nonstop for eons restoring the lost balance and the slave collapsed as soon as the throne once more stood proudly atop the mountain the first snowflake fell NO DON’T GO IN THERE IT’S TOO DANGEROUS NOOO it was too late the lost child walked into the tomb overwhelmed by the starving spirits  DON’T RUN CALM DOWN WE CAN FIX THIS the men with the guns said came fired shots found a painless death the lucky ones they were the ruins were rebuilt order was restored another failed attempt to reform the world HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? asked the regime the parade was interrupted the crowd stopped their chanting no songs were sung silence death pain WHY CAN’T WE MOVE FORWARD ALWAYS REVERTING BACK TO OLD ROTTEN WAYS? the regime asked one another sipping their champagne whilst death reigned over the streets blood on the sidewalks shit on the walls gunfire green flames swallowing up the revolutionaries of no cause LET US RUN TO THE BUNKER the governing body agreed and rushed the lions were reborn and released no one escaped the starving fangs only bones left no one to sing praises

 

I stepped on the back of her head, burying her face in the sand. The splashing waves reached up to my knees; she fought, rather valiantly considering her state of intoxication, flailing her legs and arms in desperate attempts to evade the grip of death, incapable of seeing the salvation I offered her for free. Quickly, she succumbed; her movements ceased, the sand settled, the soul was elevated, and the body remained empty and still.

I took a step back and stared at the lifeless body floating with the waves next to the bottle of beer. It was still too early in the day, we were away from all houses, it had just been the two of us. Now I was, once more, alone. I picked up the empty can and bottle, stole a final glimpse of her body swaying along with the waves, and sauntered away, heading home with a head heavier than before but with my chest liberated from the leaden weight.

 

THE KING IS FREE yowled the horrified crowd of peasants RUN a restored throne the palace standing once more tall dominating the scenery the mountain no longer a barren wasteland of former glory the gods on their thrones jerking off once more releasing tension and frustration pent up for far too long as they wandered the catacombs of past landmarks tears of terror from the basement under the whip arenas were rebuilt beasts were caught tamed fed TIME FOR REVENGE proclaimed the gods as they masturbated seeking the first victims of the new era LET’S REMIND THEM THE VALUES THEY WISHED TO FORGET LET’S BRING BACK THE CRUEL REALITY AND BURN DOWN THEIR LITTLE FAIRYTALE WITH THE HAPPY ENDING only an umbrella stood in the corridors buried in the ground a monument of a revolution and no one to shout STAY IN LINE FOLLOW THE UMBRELLA MOVE ALONG OTHERS ARE COMING until someone takes over as the brainless head of the flock so we can move back in history and let it all happen over and over again

 

Thomas Flower’s life takes a dark turn when he becomes entangled with Duck, an imposing figure who dominates every aspect of his existence. Despite moving from his idyllic hometown in rural Denmark to various cities in search of a new beginning, Thomas remains forever trapped in Duck’s grip, fearful of disappointing his demanding and all-powerful master, will Thomas be able to break free from Duck’s hold on him, or is he doomed to a life of submission and violence?

 

George Gad Economou

Currently residing in Greece, George Gad Economou has a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science and is the author of Letters to S. (Storylandia), Bourbon Bottles and Broken Beds (Adelaide Books), and Of the Riverside (Anxiety Press). His words have also appeared, amongst other places, in Spillwords Press, Ariel Chart, Cajun Mutt Press, Fixator Press, Outcast Press, The Piker Press, The Edge of Humanity Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Modern Drunkard Magazine.

 

 

 

 

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