Cleaner Than There

It’s better here at night. Rust-red spots and smudges on steel can’t cut through darkness. You can’t see broken glass or step in something you shouldn’t. It may never be clean but it is safe, in this cottage alone, under the cover of a bruised-blue sky.

I am living in peacetime.

When morning comes, Skye shows herself to me. She is all rolling hills and open fields, but she is poison; an island of disease disguised as beauty.

It is better here than the city, where the people leave their messes through kisses and sickness and callow ways.

Wartime.

Here at the top of the island I look down from my window, where the dangers are fewer but the people the same.

I turn on the tap, cleansing my hands of the dirt and my mind of the thoughts. Routine is medicine.

The skin peels and flakes as I scrub, and I smile as every inch of fresh, raw flesh is kissed by pure, clean water.

Hours pass. Skin burns. Night falls.

In the dark, I am cleansed as the tap drip, drip drips.

I am living in peacetime.

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