I wander near the edge of the Slough several days a week now. They seem less vigilant – the pizzigamorte with their big tridents either patrol lazily or don’t care that I touch the fence and look out.

But little black shapes, fleet and cruel, snatch at my ankles with needle teeth and claws at every step. Sometimes they attach, sometimes they don’t. I prise them off, but often leave teeth embedded. Their bodies pile up in the corner of my room. The cleaners won’t touch them. They have to stay, trophies or victims, like me.


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