Nicola Belte's 'Scissors, Paper, Stone'

Scissors, Paper, Stone

Glitter and glue. Paper. Scissors. Child’s ones, with red plastic handles and blunt edges. Safe.  She’s making decorations, poking out her tongue, like I do.  We sit side by side; her, snipped from me, the diamond gap that gives a paper snowflake shape. Precious. Me, formless without her.

Paper dolls, holding hands, impossibly orange and purple and green. I fold the paper for her, and think of black crepe chaos, creased up like an accordion; me, concertinaed against you and the wall, in the darkness of our room, cutting her out of nothing.

She draws a human, carefully, and runs the scissors around the outline, slowly; especially gentle around the fold, ensuring that the chain remains intact. She delicately opens them up, determined not to tear them, smiling as they jiggle and bob, multiplied, but one, between her outstretched arms.

She gives them smiley faces, and scarves and hats and buttons, and I hang them across the window in her bedroom.

They watch her sleep. I watch them.

I think of those dolls pegged to the pylons, screaming in the breeze; their cries just static in the night. I think of them cluttering up the guttering, blocking the drains; see them impaled on a litter-picker’s spike: arms splayed, severed, alone. I see the drawing pin stigmata on her small, sticky palms, see her falling, leaving behind a prick of chipped paint, invisible, on the great stone wall of the universe.

*Nicola Belte lives in Birmingham, U.K, and writes fiction. You can find her here:

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