Canvas (2017)

A frail man of eighty-three rises from his wooden stool behind the counter of a quiet souvenir store. He ambles to the front entrance, his shoulders hunched over a cane, his joints and bones creaking with every step. He reaches into his knitted cardigan for the key to close for the night but is confronted by a broad, dark-skinned, middle-aged woman–with thick knotted curls, and a flat nose who greets him at the entrance.

Read the full short story on Mind Shave

tanner muller canvas thea nicole art
Artwork by Thea Nicole @tnicolarts

She Has Seen the Light (Live at The Coffee Pot) (2017)

*featured in ‘Nico kicks Spoken N Slurred,’ hosted by Paroxysm Press, 25 March 2017.

Death

The woman lived in a cottage on the outskirts of Northumbria, overlooking the North Sea. She sat nestled in an armchair sipping peppermint tea. Despite her lips being coated with ointment, they were severely cracked. She thought this might have been due to the lack of humidity in the area. So, she took a sip from the Royal Albert rose teacup to replenish them.

The woman then felt a pulsating discomfort from under her scarf–so she lifted it to scratch between the patches of grey hair that were concealed underneath. Upon this, she noticed how strands of hair were caught between her decaying fingernails, so she brushed them away.

Her weak hazel eyes shifted focus and became transfixed on the program Songs of Praise at the beginning of a new hymn. The volume was muted, but she did not mind this at all. The woman was able to recall the song by the motions of their lips. She remembered precisely how it sounded:

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by his Grace

She savoured this moment. The woman felt at ease. She reassured herself.

When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

The woman then closed her eyes, dropping the teacup from her hands as liquid soaked the carpet.

Afterlife

I never knew the meaning of death until now.

I could gain a sense of it through passages from the Bible and their perception of the afterlife–that when you die, you see the light at the end of tunnel and enter through the pearly gates of heaven to live in harmony with fellow believers.

I also became aware of how those with a particular faith claimed that our life is remodeled in other forms once we pass.

But unlike them, I now have a clear image of what the afterlife consists of. I have become adapted with a heightened outlook, believe what you will.

I will admit that I once trusted in the scriptures–the distinct, though nevertheless, varied recollections.

Every time I read a passage, it felt as though my existence was enhanced in some way, I thought I grew wiser.

But now, my point of view has changed, so let the truth be known, allow my voice to be heard. I have been enlightened.

I have experienced it firsthand.

So listen to me when I say that what you are told can be falsified.

You have the authority to see within the cracks.

Deconstruct what has already been built.

Focus on the intricate details with a fine lense.

Emphasise the moments you question it. As a matter of fact, relish in it, for these are the moments you are closer to uncovering the truth.

Reference:
Hill, J 2008, Homecoming Picnic, Apple Music, Spring Music Group

Eternal Scar (2016)

tanner muller eternal scar story
(Artwork by Elyshia Lay @elyshialayart)

*featured in Verse Magazine, issue 11

You led me into the room, your hands pressed into my waist. Instantly, I felt a sense of discomfort. There was no escaping these four walls I had become so familiar with. In that moment, my bedroom felt distorted somehow, as though you had painted the walls or shifted the furniture. I sat on the bed, although it did not feel like my own. You winked at me, like you were proud of what you were about to achieve–to finally replace your imagination with reality, to fulfil your vile fantasy.

Those on the other side were unaware of the revolting acts that were about to ensue. You revealed to them only a small fragment of who you were. But, I saw your truest form.

‘I’m going to take my top off now,’ you proclaimed.

You took command of the atmosphere and manipulated my undeveloped sense of being. You stood in front of the bed, your body towering over me like a skyscraper. You removed each article of your clothing slowly, bit by bit. I quivered in fear as you took my hand and placed it onto your neck. It felt cold and rough to the touch. From that point onwards, you strung me around like a puppet, using my strings to manipulate and move me however you pleased. Your wish was my command. There was a clear look of uncertainty riddled upon my face, yet you proceeded regardless. You probably got a kick out of taking advantage of my youth. The more discomfort I revealed to you, the better it seemed in your mind.

‘Touch it,’ you said gently, almost like a whisper.

‘I think mum and dad will be mad at me.’

‘That’s why you don’t tell them. It’s our little secret. You have to keep it to yourself.’

‘Mum said that secrets are bad because they can hurt people.’

‘Well, you don’t want your mum to get hurt do you?’

‘No, no I don’t.’

‘Then don’t say a word about this to anyone.’

Over the coming years, these acts formed part of a routine I grew to expect. From that point onwards, I recognised it as something ordinary and natural. I became your instrument. With more practice, the more your skills developed. I was your hobby, your toy, your thing, and there was no way out. I could see no exits, only stop signs. You owned me entirely.

As for now, my thoughts are ingrained with doubt. Although recovered from the ordeal, it has plagued my existence, formed part of my past, present and future–like a scar that will never vanish, no matter the lengths I go to cover it.

It would be wrong of me to acknowledge how I look towards the future with anticipation. I do not let the incidents of my childhood reflect who I am, or who I want to be. I see developments within myself to rid these thoughts from my memory. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but I will always, and forever, be infected by the thought of you and the impact you will always have.