Issue #6

Plum Brandy and Top-Hats

Dance, princess, dance. Someone loved to see her smile once. Loved to simply watch her spin in her own direction. Now they pull her through flashing lights and spinning rooms, and she grins and follows, not noticing. And how can brandy and coke make her feel so buzzed? How can she feel so free when bony fingers wrap tightly around her thin wrist and pull and pull and she never knew she was moving until she stopped?

She sits alone in her bedroom. Ten sparkly top-hats glitter in the shadowed corners. Of her mind? Or is she actually awake? She stretches painfully, lazily, and kicks another bottle. The tinkling glass shatters her mind, and she tries to grip it tightly, finding only her hair. She’s tired of this. Tired of her hair hanging lank, and smelling of stale ale and sickly sweet, burning plum brandy. She wakes up properly now. But the pain has woken up fully too. And she grabs a bottle of cloud-white comfort and washes it down with the first glass of water she finds. But it burns. And her mind spins again. She laughs and remembers happy times. Spin, princess, spin.

Now. Cruel hands with cruel smiling faces pull her away, and her fingers graze a shining top- hat, and she grabs it, holding on to the last shred of sanity and happiness she has. She’s tired and wants to stop. But the next day finds an abandoned girl, and a top-hat, holding a bottle as her teddy. And miles away, cruel hands with cruel laughing faces gesture wildly and laugh at crazy memories of her.

Tanika Stewart

Tanika Stewart is a first year Chemistry & French student. She prefers to write poems and short prose that flows like poetry and describes real people. She sees her writing as an expression of empathy.