Stalker-Jimmi Campkin


I lay in bed, setting fire to pieces of books. The smoke dances around my fingertips as the words dissolve and are set free into the fresh air.  Maybe humanity will change, or maybe this is futile destruction.  I feel the air waltzing around the hairs on my legs and arms as I dream of stockinged legs, like broken pillars either side of my hips, and the wet, vibrant warmth of her embrace on a humid summer evening.

When we last embraced, her dry lips scraped against mine in the fetid atmosphere of a subway, surrounded by the desperate, depressed, and drunk.  In that artificial neon miasma, her curls caught the light like scythes in an autumn sunset.

Taunted and haunted by memory, I feel too depressed to go downstairs and face the world with its textures, shadows and reminders.  Instead I stay upstairs in the glow of unattached memory, looking out my window and into the infinity of the sky and the clouds; I listen to crackling old vinyl that smells of time capsules. I wish I knew where I could find purpose.  Even the thrill of the chase would be better than stagnation and regret.

When I sleep, I dream about walking in black and white on the middle rail of a five wide railroad with steep concrete walls on either side.  An old Diesel train clanks up to me, pulling six coal trucks and a guard van, seemingly empty but filling the air with the stench of dry charcoal and oil.  Inside I can hear children playing games, although I can’t see them.  The cab is black as a moonless night, and tar oozes from the steps leading in.  I don’t see the driver, but I feel eyes staring down at me with disdain and suspicion.

Someone emerges from the van to the rear and stumbles on the ballast towards me as I stand, breathing in the fumes.  Dressed in a muddy blue uniform and with no arms, the sleeves sewn up to the shoulders, the Guard waits in front of me and tilts his head as though trying to see under my jaw.  I can see soot and dust in the creases of his face, and his jet black eyes reflect back the faces of people I once knew, cramming for attention as though scrambling for the only window in an airtight box.

He shakes and trembles, and as I try to reach out and hold his arm he jerks me away violently, breaking my forearm in the process with a shock I feel down my spine and into my ankles.  I stumble and collapse to one side, resting my good arm on the rail of the next line.  The guard shambles back into his van; and the train begins to grind away from me, the children’s voices growing in terror and intensity, as I feel the rail under my elbow vibrate.  I know something is coming, and I realise that I don’t want to move.

Puncture-Kindra M. Austin & Jimmi Campkin

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Kindra M. Austin and Jimmi Campkin

I know damn well where the bastard’s been, but I ask him anyway, just for shits and giggles. He tells me to take a short walk off a long pier—idiot, stinking of another man’s piss and strawberry nudy-bar incense. He’d sat in his car getting blotto before going inside. I know because this particular club only serves soda. What a ridiculous image: a carpark full of man-children rubbing premature hard-ons while sucking down whiskey or beer, and snorting snow off of steering wheels. I wonder how many make eye contact with their fellows as they walk across the pavement, and enter Titty McGee’s.

Hate is a strong word, and only suitable for a wretched fool.  Earlier that evening, whilst going through a drawer, I blew the dust and little balls of melted cotton from my thigh-highs and looked at them through the diseased light of a yellow lamp.  They hung from my fingertips like dead skin, stripped from some worthless cadaver fucked into permanent oblivion.  I dream of shackling his wrists and ankles spread-eagle and slowly inching the only sharp stiletto heel I have left towards an eye until the lid closes; wherein I push the tip against skin until it punctures and he begins to tremble.  My daydreams now invade my night, and I welcome the embrace from anything that purports to care enough.

I sit down, light up a smoke, and make sure the robe slips enough to see the gap between the stocking and skin. I can see him staring ahead at some shit game show re-run with the grim determination of someone not wanting to look at a road accident, or the second honeymoon video of the ex-wife. He doesn’t want it, and I regard him with all the disdain of a soiled mattress; but it’s nice to tread on his already flimsy principles. I like to remind him that the only pussy that intimidates him is the pussy that stays dry and grates like sandpaper. My cunt was silken once, back when I was a dancer he coveted. Now, the TV glows as he slumps in front of the screen, images passing over him like Teflon—nothing sticking, nothing absorbing.

I’m onto my third cigarette, and my mouth is full of cotton. He finally switches everything off and goes into the bedroom. Like a shy virgin, he mumbles a goodbye and looks at me from over his nose. Following him, I peel off the stockings and throw them into the corner of the room as he begins to undress, embarrassed by a body shaped like dead clay. Snapping my disposable lighter in half, I pour the contents over the rumpled nylon, and throw the glowing end of my cigarette into the mess. It ignites instantly; he jack-knifes over to put it out, stomping and pounding on the melting garments. It gives me pleasure, the confused fear dripping from a pair of black orbs and into his mouth.

When he asks me in desperation why did you do that? I can only give him an honest answer.

Exactly I say, looking into his empty eyes. Exactly.


© Kindra M. Austin/Jimmi Campkin

Original image courtesy of Jimmi Campkin      

I Count His Dollars


Another drink! Gin and tonic, don’t mind if I do. And yes, I’ll have a hit of that shit, too. Or three. It helps to ease the pain. See, I like it best when I am numb. He likes it best when I am dumb–pliable. All of his women are manageable. I’m his favorite one.

A menthol ciggie is placed between my booze wet lips, tickled by his rough, yellow fingertips. Now a match ignites. I lean toward the flame and drag a kiss–I hear the red hiss, and loll in my chair. Translucent blue tendrils envelope my head and cling to my hair. I blow smoke rings as he begins things; so eager he is tonight. I was hoping to be number and dumber. Because I don’t want to remember.

He tugs at my panties; I lift my ass, straighten my back, and let him pull the dirty white cotton down to my knees, no sass. His women don’t sass him–not if they want the dollars.

I’m settled back into my chair by the force of his mouth–rock tongue. I moan on cue, as I’m supposed to do. I wrap my dancer legs around his neck. I squeeze–a tease of suffocation, just like he likes. Yes, my thighs are his favorite thighs. Lack of oxygen gives him the highs. So I’m squeezing. And he’s wheezing; I realize now how much I hate his boyish face, his cowboy hands, and his tough guy cock. I’m his favorite, and I’m bruised, and I can’t take it tonight.

His face is turning shades.

I laugh inside as his life fades…fades…gone.

And I count his dollars.


© Kindra M. Austin


A Typical Day in the House of Henry


Every morning, she’d find Henry in his pajamas, sitting at the table with a newspaper, and a cup of sweet, pale coffee. Good Henry, since his wife had fallen ill with madness, he kept quiet and no longer bothered her for his breakfast.

“Can’t you smell that, Henry?” she’d ask.

Something in the kitchen smelled to her like animal death; the odor was perplexing, and had been vexing her for weeks. She cussed over a bucket of diluted bleach—her daily ritual—inhaling the fumes through flared nostrils as she slopped the disinfectant all over the cracked linoleum, swirling the mop from corner to corner. Then she’d clean out all of the cupboards, soaking the old porous wood with bleach water, scrubbing and scrubbing until her knuckles were raw and splitting. By the time she was finished, defeated by the persistent stink that only she could smell, the lunch hour had long since expired.

“Are you sure we don’t have mice rotting in the walls?”

But Henry never would answer his mad wife’s questions.

Henry never said anything at all.


© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Pinterest)

Day-Walkers and Night Terrors (originally published on Sudden Denouement)


You won’t appreciate the night until it rips you awake late in the afternoon; until it forces you to stare down the cold yellow sun. Then you’ll know the day-walking ghosts—the ones who fraternize amongst parkland rose beds, unaware that their garden tea has aged one hundred plus years. These specters who sport ring-around-the-collar or cut-outs in their chests smile stupid at one another while the drink they swallow whizzes down between their legs like healthy streams of urine. At first you might think that ignorance isn’t so bad; but as the sun begins to descend, necks will bow and chests will weep anew in recognition of reality. Lamenting will stir the twilight, and whisk the sky into black—you’ll recognize the increasing heavy, and at the height of the Witching Hour, you will fathom the pain of a ghoul.

You will finally understand your own kind.

© Kindra M. Austin