A Gloomy Room

I’d like to preface this story with a bit of explanation. I first started writing it around April, 2015. It was my first time really trying to write something serious and of value and it took me about 6 months to write the first draft. At the time I was listening to copious amounts of King Krule/Archy Marshall, reading wordy books like Infinite Jest and was suffering from a late onset of teenage melodrama and love-sickness. The writing was taken very seriously (it was my magnum opus after all) and only done when in the perfectly depressed mood. 

It’s not great. It’s too wordy, slow in the middle and the ending feels rushed. I realized this soon after I had finished it and ended up not doing anything with it. I’ve axed some of the more clumsy, long sentences from it and tweaked a few other things but other than that, this is it. What I admire about it though, is it’s earnestness, I remember trying so hard and feeling so much writing this. Reading it stirs some of those old feelings.

I’m still listening to copious amounts of King Krule, I’m still reading wordy books (the last one was Hemingway but Joyce is next), and the year-end melancholy has crept up. It’s quite nice to look back.




He sat with his eyes held at a distracted angle, their movement interrupted by a pervasive thought. He almost-recoiled and shifted his gaze to the other side of the dimly lit room. He was aware of the slouch that seemed to descend heavily upon his posture. His shoulders were tensed in feeble resistance. The dull clinking of ice in a glass came from the bartender’s stirring, shadows had pooled into the indents of his face.

He had walked past a group of children playing in the street on his way to the bar. The road was still wet from rain and glimmered metallically in the cloudy light. The manner in which they played was rougher than that of his own childhood. They were comfortable in their environment, running through the coarse-edged street with an apparent disregard that could only be developed through childhood familiarity. Their entire focus was reduced to the game’s objective and the enforcement of its rules, rules which every child seemed to both acknowledge as sovereign and yet willingly bend and break when given the opportunity.  He had felt a fleeting sense of admiration for their innocence, the world was still to them irrelevantly big. They were blind to the hardships that would inevitably alter them and to the bleak perspective that they would develop with age. They were yet to be trapped in the predicament of a bitter reality, forced to decide between soberly facing it or numbing, drowning and distracting themselves in it. This haunting premonition, this knowledge of the world that they would soon enter into gave rise in him to a tragic sense of power. The power’s concept was vague and cruel and involved a replacement of their blossoming innocence with his own sad and hateful perspective. When had his mind become so rotten? He had thought.

He waited for the bartender to look up before raising his hand, pointing at the empty glass in his other hand and mouthing “Another”. He completed the performance by raising his eyebrows and pursing his lips in what could at the very least be interpreted as a polite attempt at a smile. The bartender barely nodded. His eyes returned to the table with a sigh. You didn’t have to be so pathetically explicit. He acknowledged the insecure inflection in his thoughts with indifference. It often loudened and became more pronounced when he drank. It made for loathsome company.

He tried thinking of why she had taken a liking to him. He smiled at her sometimes and she probably ascribed some depth to the stoic expression he adopted when he was boredly scrutinizing the patrons of the café she worked at. In reaction to the strained politeness he affected during their brief conversations she would respond with a quiet air of understanding, as if to console the tortured artist she imagined to exist beneath his polished surface. In reality however, the innocuous topics of transit and weather were used by him to forensically probe her for information. He chose this bar because it was close to where she lives. There was something sinister about it all. The premeditation, what he was willing to sacrifice for the hollow gratification he barely expected to receive. You chose this bar because it was close to where she lives. Compassion and laziness had prevented him from behaving so sociopathically before, something in him must have corroded with time and loneliness. You’re still fucking lazy, the voice jeered. His sinking exhale was muffled by the refreshed glass he had brought to his lips. The brandy’s fumes stung sweetly at his eyes, beckoning him to cry.

The door opened, the outside light casting a silvery haze upon the drifting smoke and dust, and she walked in. She smiled immediately and brightly. Her long hair descended behind bare, glowing shoulders. She was wearing a blue summer dress. He was quite sure, in that suspended moment, that she was the only source of light in the entire gloomy room. He wasn’t sure whether or not to take note of how her smile faded as she made her way to his table.

He rose to greet her, tugged out of his chair by a dreamy force that could not have originated in himself. He drifted through their greeting in a daze until once again he was sitting in a heavy slump, the only evidence that the moment prior had actually occurred was the lingering sensation of her cold lips that she had delicately pressed into his cheek. And yet there she was, across the table, before his eyes. Her slender arms, traced by fine, blonde down, bristled with goosebumps. She was shivering. She smiled again, as if through it all. He shuddered. The dress was clearly not worn for her sake.


“You look lovely.” He said.

“Thank you.” She beamed.

His smile back was involuntary, a flinching response to a sharp ray of light.

“And you look..”

“Tired?” He offered with what sounded like far less conviction than he intended.

She looked at him directly and quizzically, earnestly evaluating either him or what to say next.

“How was your day?” He interjected hastily.

She began to cheerfully recount the daily struggles of her job at the café with what was for him an impossible amount of enthusiasm. She paused to recall an exact minute detail. He might have considered this endearing had he not been so preoccupied with trying to look pleasantly engaged in the conversation. Each moment of eye contact was a searing, white-hot flash, a surging discomfort that clenched his jaw and tightened his face into an exasperated wince. He took the opportunity to look away to a spot of emptiness diagonally behind her. He allowed his face to slacken slightly. Breath. He tried to swallow and became aware of a lump in his throat. As if emboldened by his awareness of his current instability, the lump grew more resilient. He released his hands grip on the armrest and lurched forward, grabbed his glass and gulped.

He placed his glass down with deliberate firmness in an attempt to disguise his trembling hand. His eyes had fallen once more. His head throbbed. He was crushingly aware of his own worthlessness. The sense of dark omnipotence he had desperately tethered himself to was gone, he knew it was merely the sum of the bitter rhetoric he had told himself as he floundered and wallowed in his puddle of mud. Scum. He couldn’t look at her. His head lolled forward and he closed his eyes. Worthless. Worthless. You disgusting fool.

Cracks of lightening in a dark sky revealed with horrifying lucidity his own wretched soul lying crippled and ashamed at the bottom of some abyss, held down by fear and sadness masquerading as resolve. He had grown cold and numb down there and it was dark enough to delude, to willingly mistake himself for a part of it. Yet he was not the abyss, the absence of light and love, he was just a boy, drowning. He felt a fluttering in his chest, it felt like fear, it felt like air. An upwelling of helplessness began to tenderly lift him. As he rose he felt the cool light, shattered and mottled by the surface dance on his body. She had taken his hands. He raised his head, his eyes welling and his breathing shallow and what stared back was the concerned face of innocence, soft and beautiful.



The End






The Kimono Dragon: Snout For Justice


The Humble Abode of The Kimono Dragon

Shaolin City

11:20 pm


The front door was flung open and, hanging onto the door handle for support, The Kimono Dragon staggered in. His grunt was constricted by the pain in his abdomen, it squeezed itself out from him in a long, thin moan. He swam his way through the dark room like an injured fish. Instinct led him to the kitchen counter. Biiiiitch. He whined as he reached around the section of wall that joined to the counter. His hand found the bottle of sake. He readied himself to lift it but found that he couldn’t, or rather that it was a bit sore to do so, so he tilted the bottle onto the rim of its base and dragged it slowly back towards him.

Holding the bottle by its neck, he turned from the counter and drifted to a cabinet in the living room. He ran his finger along the waxy spines of his DVD collection before picking the one at the very end. He let a childlike sense of wellbeing warm him as he held it. Prompted by a surge of pain he took the DVD with him and moved towards the blue pilot lights of the DVD player. After inserting the DVD he limped to his old faithful, a plush leather Lazy Boy seated just meters from the TV screen. A combination of pleasure and pain struck his body as he collapsed into the chair.

Aauughh fuck. He closed his eyes. He knew what he had to do. Slowly he pushed himself out of his comfy seat. Placing a hand on the low coffee table, he leaned forward and stubbornly, not wanting to overexert himself, stretched across it to grab the remote. From his awkward, strained position he looked up at the screen, tilted the remote in its direction and pressed the ON button. The screen remained black but began to wickedly illuminate the space before it. His thoughts and body movements jarred to a halt as he caught a horrifying glimpse of himself in its awakening screen. His posture beneath his grimy kimono appeared crippled and weak, blackened blood caked half of his long snout, above which glared his desperate, tired eyes. It was at this point he thought that the traditional method of standing up to fetch the remote might have been preferable. Shuddering, he fell back into the Lazy Boy.

Alone in the dark room, his silhouette set against the now pallid blue square of the TV screen, The Kimono Dragon felt blood seep from the gash in his abdomen. He swigged from the bottle of sake and gritted his teeth. The glorious, crimson lettered menu of Steven Seagal’s Out for Justice, appeared on the screen.



Earlier that day

Mushindo Dojo

Outskirts of Shaolin City

06:34 pm


They were knelt in a row before their sensei. The Kimono Dragon, like the other students, was silently undergoing his own personal suffering that resulted from sitting on his knees for an extended amount of time. They periodically shifted their weight from one side to the other, back and forth until every inch of their legs from the knees down ached. The sensei was still. His face, like the rest of his body, seemed to be forged into a weapon. He had high, sharp cheekbones, dead black eyes, a muscular jaw and oily black hair tied back into a ponytail. His skin was a peculiar brick red. He would often refer to himself as a demon from a different time.  Nobody had questioned it.

“Budo, the way of the warrior, does not end once you leave this dojo. It is a path, it must be practiced in every moment.” The sensei’s expression darkened into an evil, knowing grin, as he looked at one of the students directly. “Yes, even in your worst nightmares.”

The student laughed nervously.

“To become, you must practice. To practice, you must train. To train, you must learn. To learn, you must know nothing.”

The Kimono Dragon had heard countless variations of this speech from his sensei over the years. To become, you must train. To become what though? He thought of his own path. A stumbling uphill climb driven by the vague notions of greatness and self-worth that sat further above. He tried to picture what exactly was there, on the sunny side of the summit, shielded from his perspective but suggested by the peak’s golden lining, but couldn’t. Only a feeling, or rather an imitation of a feeling arose in him. Insubstantial and transitory in its imagined form, the concept once formed immediately deflated and left him empty and sad. The wished feeling was solace. And as sure as the sun would set every day, and the peak’s foreboding silhouette would pierce the bleeding sky, the chill of failure that lived in the shadows would be stretched across everything by dusk. The Kimono Dragon, forfeiting his hopes, knew he would arm himself once again with a bottle of sake to warm him through the night. He steeled himself back on the words of his sensei.

“Only then can you receive the supreme ultimate, mastery of yourself, everything you wish to become.”

Yes! He saw him again. A silhouette stood atop the peak. His features were obscured by darkness but he knew who he was from his ponytail and the oriental, tasselled jacket he wore. The mountain was now a mound of bodies, of evildoers, dope pushers, abusers of the environment and of the native peoples, of fat cat businessmen who illegally maintained monopolies, no longer abiding by the free market principles of Ayn Rand, of whom he was a fan. Yes, his heart flickered frenetically, a beacon of hope in his darkest moments. He felt his resolve harden, his aspirations were reaffirmed, he would continue his training – in all things.

The sensei placed his palms together and inhaled a powerful breath in preparation to end the class. He suddenly turned to face The Kimono Dragon and said in a softer tone, “And remember to find stillness in yourself.”

But The Kimono Dragon’s mind was elsewhere.



Upon leaving the dojo, The Kimono Dragon pathed through the dusky streets in a direction that did not lead home. There was no definite destination in mind yet his strides were purposeful. His slit-like pupils stared straight ahead from behind a forced squint. This narrowed field of vision shielded him from the perplexed gawks of those he passed and allowed him to begin his submersion.

The Kimono Dragon turned his head deliberately one side to the other, as he did every so often, to take in the environment. He performed the movement with gravitas. Raising an eye ridge, he affected the inward-smirk of a seasoned detective coming across an all too familiar scene. Few could hold eye contact with The Kimono Dragon when he adopted this expression. Those who could he would think about for minutes afterwards, usually in a combat scenario. It appeared that he was going in the right direction. The streets grew progressively more squalid the further he ventured into The Slums of Shaolin. The number of cheap Asian restaurants occupying a given block had tripled since he had last looked around.  Sick neon puddles of oil gleamed at their feet, sitting stagnantly beside the open gutters. Illegal wiring webbed across the low sky. A pretty Thai woman was watching him from the doorway of a massage parlour. His eyes continued past her to the building’s XXX’d sign – Hmmm… I haven’t been there before – He cursed himself for breaking character and turned his head stiffly forward, clenching his jaw against the stirring in his loins.

The sounds of muttering rang off the walls of a particularly sinister alley to his left, causing him to stop. He tilted his head in its direction, took a breath, and followed the noise of injustice.

The voices came from behind a dumpster placed against the right wall of the alley. As he approached the dumpster he called out in a strange Brooklyn accent, “Anybody seen Richie?”

Three men stepped into view. From their ostentatiously placed tattoos he could tell two of them were local gangsters. One of them, wearing cheap torn jeans and a grey tank top, walked forwards in meandering steps. His arms were held supposedly politely behind his back.  He leaned his torso forward and looked The Kimono Dragon up and down. “No, Mister, I have never heard of such a person, but I suggest that you leave this area and never come back. This is a dangerous place.” He over-enunciated his words, crudely attempting to polish his rough accent. The Kimono Dragon ignored him and shifted his head to face the other two. He again called out, “Anybody know why Richie did Bobby Lupo?”

The gangster had also turned to face his cronies, his expression was twisted into something between disgust and disbelief.  The Kimono Dragon moved passed the first man and peered around the dumpster. Needles, pipes, and a dark substance in crinkled tin foil sat on an upside-down bin lid. He looked up at the man who now stood in front of him. A beanie was pulled low over his face, hiding his eyes in shadows. His mouth was harsh and grimy.

“Whatta we got here huh?” The Kimono Dragon remarked.

“You better get the fuck out of here before I put a fucking hole in that fucked up head of yours”

The Kimono Dragon was unfazed. He continued in a slack-jawed, Christopher Walken-tinged drawl, “I noticed a lot of boxing memorabilia, we got some gloves over here…” He gestured to the bin lid, “pictures everywhere…” He flicked his hand at some graffiti on the opposite wall. “Who’s the boxer?”

The man in the beanie had opened his mouth to say something but it had become momentarily paralysed in confusion. The Kimono Dragon turned to eye the man in the tank top, who was squinting diagonally upwards in search of a coherent train of thought. He heard a foot scrape heavily across the ground. He whipped his head around. The third man, a large man in an even larger trench coat waddled forward. His beady furrowed eyes were framed by a silly middle parting and moustache. His meaty fists were balled tightly.

“You a boxer? Tough guy?” The man nodded slowly. “Really?” He continued nodding. “What could you do?”

The man threw a punch. The Kimono Dragon slipped past his arm, deflecting the blow, and rammed his elbow into the bridge of his nose. The man let out a yelp as he flopped to the ground.

“That was a grave error of judgement.” The voice of the sly man sounded behind him. “Our business associates, his comrades, will be very upset. You are now in a world of trouble I’m afraid.”

The Kimono Dragon adjusted his position in the alley, bringing the two gang members within his limited field of vision. The intensity in his eyes was betrayed by his ludicrous, rapid head swivels. The gangster moved his hands from behind his back, one of them held a long hunting knife. The man in the beanie had lifted his baggy hoody up from his hip and was reaching for the black butt of a gun.

“Let me show you something.” The Kimono Dragon stared at the man who was reaching for his gun. Holding his own hand in the shape of a gun, he raised it in front of his face and began to rapidly slide his other hand back and forth across its finger-barrel as if he was unloading imaginary bullets. Once again the man in the beanie was dumbstruck.

“Here’s my gun. Fair game now okay” He awkwardly stretched out the “ee” and the end of “okay”. He then looked at the man with the knife, more for dramatic effect than for confirmation. “And here’s my badge!” He mimed throwing his finger gun to the ground before gripping the lapels of his kimono with both hands and thrusting them forward. “This is your trophy. This is your trophy! Okay.”

He tried to control the breaths that fluttered euphorically in his chest.

The man was aiming his gun at The Kimono Dragon’s snout. “You’re nothing but a delusional lizard wearing a fucking kimono, and now you’re gonna die.”

The vicious words seemed to strike him in his gut. The Kimono Dragon felt his composure shatter. He couldn’t breathe in. His eyes were gripped in thoughtless anxiety, they stared vacantly at the ground. A nauseating wave of sadness had hit him. No…he’s…wrong? His lowered gaze drifted across to an arm. He followed the arm’s length to its hand. In it was a bloody knife, half of it still in his stomach.

Train to become. The words of his sensei boomed in his mind.

He sucked in a breath. A fresh sensation of fear shook him awake. He trapped the man’s arm with his left hand, keeping the knife in his gut. With his other arm he scooped under the man’s elbow, locking the joint. He then shifted to his left whilst pivoting to his right, popping the man’s elbow and flinging him in the direction of the other gangster. The gun went off. Blood splashed on The Kimono Dragon’s face. The man had let go of the knife and become limp in his hands. The beanie’d man was training his gun onto The Kimono Dragon. Dropping the lifeless body, The Kimono Dragon lunged forward and grabbed the inside of the gun-bearing wrist. The gun fired again, this time the bullet ricocheted along the alley. He then spun around the man’s arm and, controlling his elbow with his other hand, he directed the man’s face into the ground. Bssshhhhkk! The man lay with his arse in the air, his weight was supported by his face and his knees.

“Motherfucker you knocked my teeth out.” came the gurgled murmur.

The Kimono Dragon briefly surveyed the grim scene. Leaning against the alley wall, he closed his eyes and pulled the knife out of his gut, immediately applying pressure to the wound with his other hand. He began to limp down the alley towards the main street, muttering a few lines to himself.



The Humble Abode of The Kimono Dragon

Shaolin City

11:58 pm                                         


The Kimono Dragon took another gulp of sake. Sedated, alone, unshakably sad, his tired eyes stared at the screen. Steven Seagal’s character passes in front of a purple neon sign reading “BROADWAY”, his eyes were darting side to side. He looked unsurprisingly composed after having beaten up an entire barful of scumbags. In a horrendous Brooklyn accent that was more than slightly off, he calls out “Anybody seen Richie?” The Kimono Dragon mouths the words along in silent synchronicity. “Huh? I’m gonna keep coming back ‘til someone remembers seeing Richie!”



The End

sake finished


The Kimono Dragon: The Battle of the Stoned Fists


He was wearing a blue kimono. He shifted forward in purposive, steady strides.  Kicked up dust trailed behind him, broadening and dissipating lazily in the evening air.  His arms moved stiffly back and forth. They were held perhaps a bit too far away from his torso. His face was composed in a strained, serious expression. A rustling came from the green wall of sugercane that lined the road. He tilted his lowered head in its direction. His pupils were held uncomfortably in the corners of his eyes.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the KI-MO-NO DRA-GON” The mocking voice over-pronounced every syllable.

The Kimono Dragon didn’t move. Staying in that same visibly uncomfortable position, he raised the ridge where an eyebrow would be. “And who, if I don’t mind asking, which I don’t, uh, who the fuck are you?” His strange drawl seemed to originate from Brooklyn.

“Oh you don’t recognise me? How ‘bout you turn that fucking lizard head of yours around face me. Your neck craned like that with your eye straining, you look so fucking awkward.”

He closed his eyes and let out long breath. He did want to move, but now that this guy had told him to, he couldn’t. He let his eyes rest behind their lids. His peripheral vision wasn’t great due to his slit-like pupils. He sighed another breath out of his nostrils and trained his eyes back on the bozo. But the bozo wasn’t there.

“Oh my God! I’m right here you fuckin-“

He gripped the guy’s throat, swept his legs out from under him with his foot and slammed his head into the ground. Finally he took in his features.  Beneath the gurgling and the popping forehead veins, he saw something familiar in his beetroot coloured eyes. He let go of the man’s throat.

“Who are you?”

The man turned onto his stomach, wheezing and coughing.  He began to retch violently.

The Kimono Dragon’s expression fell back into that mildly constipated look. He looked up, squinting at nothing in particular.

“My brother…He sent me to tell you something…If you don’t leave Shaolin City tonight, you’re gonna die.”

“Sorry, you’re not ringing any bells here? Who’s your brother?”

“Coco Nut….from the Iron Palm Tree Clan.”

He sighed all the air out through his nostrils. It sounded like icy wind being expelled from an ancient chasm, thinning and thinning until finally there was none…BWWKKK! His hand had split the man’s head in two and had become lodged in his throat.

“Yeah, I got no idea, man.”



The doors of the Umebachi Dive Bar creeked open and he shuffled in. He paused at the entrance and with shifting eyes he assessed the room. Low tables and chairs that occupied the dark wooden floor and a frail banister to his right led upstairs. Everything was cheap and fragile, accustomed to being smashed into splinters. One dim lamp, a globe of white paper blotted with five red circles, glowed above the bar. The place was mainly uninhabited, save for the owner, an old, worn and saggy woman who had served him his first drink many years ago, and a drunkard at the bar with his face pressed deeply into an ashtray.

“You’re in shit again.” The old lady tutted.

“Why’s that” The Kimono Dragon angled his face towards her.

“You don’t come here at this hour unless you are. How deep are you in it this time?”

“Some guy was saying something about a brother called Coco Nut. He showed me great disrespect…” He watched her expression droop into a frown. “Sake, please.”

She hoisted a giant bottle onto her hip and tilted its contents into a ceramic flask. She returned the bottle behind the bar with a grunt and placed the flask in the microwave. A few beeps later and the microwave whirred into life. She set two cups on the counter and using a dry cloth as protection, fetched the heated sake. The Kimono Dragon sat opposite her and watched as she poured the steaming liquid into his cup and then into hers.

She looked at him gravely. “That sounds like the Iron Palm Tree Clan. You stupid motherfucker.”

“Cheers” he smiled wryly as they both nodded towards one another, raised their cups and sipped.

He breathed out a long, satisfying breath. Sake steam rolled amongst the floating dust.

“So who are they? The Ironing Board Bitch Clan?”

“Hmpff. Not a gang you should treat so lightly. They run the marijuana trade here in Shaolin. About a hundred men, Capoeira mixed with iron fist techniques, they train in the petrified palm forest on the east coast. A group of them came here last week. Didn’t have one drink, eyes red as hell, they ordered a bunch of desserts and smoked a lot of weed. I still feel funny from all that smoke.” She giggled.

“Why would they be after me-“ He thought of the man’s face falling apart around his hand. “Initially…”

“How should I know? Did you dick down one of their girlfriends?”

Stifling his wince at her coarseness with another sip, he thought back over the myriad of women he had been with recently. Through the fog of limbs and orgasms a memory bounced into view.

She held his hands into her milk chocolate breasts as she rode him, her dreadlocks danced and twisted. Moaning in a Jamaican accent with what he thought was just poor grammar, “How do you like that coconut! How do you like that COCONUT!”

“I might have.” He said through a smug, post-coital glow.

“Ugh. Well you’re gonna need to get outta here. I don’t need my furniture getting destroyed in one of your exercises in machismo – Thanks.” He topped up her cup before pouring the remaining sake down his gullet.

“Sure.” Steam streamed from his mouth as he spoke. He stood up to leave. “Anything else I should know?”

“Their strikes shatter stone, try not to get hit.”

He smiled and began moving towards the doors.

“And Kimono Dragon!” He turned to back to face her, half-expecting a warm goodbye or a touching expression of concern. “Take this asshole out with ya.” She said, glaring at the collapsed figure wheezing clouds of ash onto the bar.

Squinting, he stepped out of the bar into the morning sunlight. Below the wooden steps stood a gang of about 100 men with varying lengths of dreadlocks. The man at the front stared intensely at him.

“Another one of your victims?” He gestured to the passed out man he was holding by the scruff of his neck. “My petulant brother wasn’t enough to quench your thirst for blood.”

The Kimono Dragon dropped the man on the floor.

“Oww.” He groaned. The Kimono Dragon eyed his supposedly sleeping frame suspiciously.

“Come down here! It’s time for you to face the music!”



A rhythm had begun to be drummed by one of the Iron Palm Tree Clan. The clan shuffled to surround the Kimono Dragon and Coco Nut. From beneath the shading leaves of a palm tree sat Coco Nut’s wife. Dark lines of tears ran down her cheeks. DumDeDeDumDum DumDeDeDum. Coco Nut began shifting from side to side, from one foot to the other. As he lunged onto his left foot, his right leg would sweep behind him and vice versa. His eyes were bloodshot and fierce. The Kimono Dragon thought that perhaps he had been crying but this thought was soon snuffed out as the members in the circle began lighting and smoking palm leaf blunts. This guy was high as fuck. The air was quickly filled with sweet pungent smoke. Dum DeDeDum Dum Dum. He watched the figure dance, his feet left deep imprints in the earth. Left, Right, Left. Coco Nut suddenly leapt off his left foot. He rotated, bringing his right heel around. The Kimono Dragon shifted backwards to avoid the apparent attack. Coco Nut seemed to float. The right heel was merely for torque. From over the top, axing through the haze came the right leg. He had dodged to the side when the leg made a devastating impact in the ground.

“Woooaaaahh…” came the clan’s inebriated slur.

Coco Nut, not missing a beat, sprung off the ground launching a flurry of strikes. He deflected them and getting to the outside of his arms, he aimed a strike at his exposed elbow. Knnn! The Kimono Dragon stepped back clutching his hand. A smile had spread across Coco Nuts bleary face. He held his fists in tight balls, rippling the muscles along his arms. “Our bodies are of iron and stone.”

“Stone…” The Kimono Dragon repeated the word to himself in a sluggish drawl. He listened as it reverberated inside his head and became lost in the thumping haze surrounding him. Yup, he was definitely high. He turned his head. Dum…Dum…The clan members’ laughter seemed disconnected from their convulsing bodies. An ember flared inside a blunt. Further around the circle he saw the old lady peering at him. In her hands was a tray of deserts. The section of the circle she was about to serve stared at the desserts, their faces glazed and dreamy. He looked back at the old lady. She raised her eyebrows and shrugged. De…De…Dum…Dum. Damn… He thought, They do look goo-

“AAAH!” He threw his head to the side as a fist grazed across his cheek. Having gone past him, Coco Nut thrust back a heel kick at his floating rib. Sliding forward past the kick and hooking his foot behind Coco Nut’s grounded leg, the Kimono Dragon scooped his extended leg up and in a circular motion threw Coco Nut backwards. Coco Nut flipped,  sprung off his hands and landed, resuming his rhythmic bobbing.

He held out his arm and snapped his fingers. The drumming stopped. The crowd bustled with excited murmurs. A clan member entered into the circle and held out a coconut before Coco Nut. Carvings adorned its shell, a hole had been chiseled into the top of it and out the front sat a small bowl. The clan member placed what appeared to be a greenish rock into the bowl. He then felt at his pockets for a moment before whispering something to Coco Nut. His face trembled with anger.

“Does anyone have a lighter?”  He sternly surveyed the clan who was now silent. His eyes flitted at the Kimono Dragon. He gave his head a little shake. “Well?” he shouted.

“I got one.” A member replied. His head was lowered into his chest as he stuffed his hand into his pocket. Finally he raised his arm triumphantly towards his leader. Coco Nut glared at him. The member’s placid face stared back. The Kimono Dragon felt his face tighten. Another agonizing moment passed.

“Well, bring it to me.”

“Oh…Right.” He clambered to his feet and trotted to Coco Nut.

Coco Nut took the lighter and began to touch the flame onto the rock. “Petrified marijuana bud…Now you’ll feel what it’s like to be stoned to death!” He placed his mouth over the hole and as he inhaled, sparks began to crack over the rock. He closed his eyes and handed the coconut back to the one member who shrinked back into the crowd. He opened his eyes. Violent crimson shrouded his black pupils. He held his fists before his face and blew the smoke over them. An emerald sheen began to spread across them and soon they were fully encased in crystal. He looked up at the Kimono Dragon.

“Can I get my lighter back?” The gormless member held out his hand.

Without looking away from the Kimono Dragon, Coco Nut thrust his arm to the side and through the man’s chest. Blood burst out of his back. He slumped forward onto Coco Nut’s arm before he was thrown onto the dirt. His body was dragged from the circle.

Coco Nut began advancing towards the Kimono Dragon. He saw that his right arm was pulled back, close to his ribs, cocked for another deadly blow. He closed the distance, one threatening step after another. Silence creaked across the circle. He lowered his gaze and softly exhaled out of his nostrils.  This was not what I bargained for…

“Look out, my Dragon!” Exclaimed a familiar Jamaican accent.

The punch had been launched. Stepping to the side and rotating his torso, he sliced below the crystalized fist with the knife-edge of his palm, drawing it to the ground. The fist cleaved deeply into the earth. The Kimono Dragon, maintaining control of Coco Nut’s wrist, slid his palm to scoop the back of his fist. Turning his whole body and twisting the fist back in on itself, he thrust it back towards Coco Nut, driving it into his jaw. The sound of a boulder splitting cracked through the air. A plume of red and green had shot up from his face and had begun to drift down, engulfing them both. Coco Nut’s jaw hung onto a shred of cartilage, his tongue waggled in blood. He dropped to his knee, and then onto his back.

KD bloody hand RB.png


The Kimono Dragon stood still, his body was flecked with blood, his eyes were lowered. A breeze pulled at his kimono. He wasn’t quite sure what to do. The clan had seemingly forgotten about him, and was busy trying to resuscitate their leader with blunt smoke. He took a breath in, quelling any doubts about his next action. Lifting his head, he turned to the woman beneath the palm tree, gave a sheepish smile and with a slight head shake gestured that they get out of here. She stared at him for a while without blinking, before finally smiling back.


The End


sake finished


Pieces of the Forest

Artwork by Jemma Clamp

Her breaths shook in rapid grasps. Trees approached and blurred past her. She jinked one side to the other, hopping over obstacles that littered the forest floor. She threw herself downhill. Air was dragged desperately into her lungs. She was afraid. She was running for her life.

Trees and branches rushed towards her. She suddenly sprang off her right foot and darted to the left. Through the sounds of her breathing, her heartbeat, and the claustrophobic rustles of the forest another set of footsteps could be heard, purposive, giving chase. FUCK! Her eyes flitted across the procession of trees in search of a possible path to take. The forest had grown denser, the branches reached out in hooks. She forced herself through a thicket and felt a hot sweet sensation as something sharp clawed itself down the length of her back. She yelped and gritted her teeth.  Run! Fucking run! She felt blood wetting the back of her leg.

“Look at the mess you’ve gotten yourself into.” a voice cooed through the forest. Her head whipped around in shock before returning forward in time to narrowly avoid a tree. “Come back, you’re so much better off with me.”

“GO AWAY!” she screamed, purging her lungs of air before sucking in the next breath.

She was now using her arms, swiping away braches, pushing her way forward, forgetting self-preservation, driven by the strongest sense of fear that blinded all thoughts except that she had to run.

She felt the presence behind her, its fingers barely touched the nape of her neck. She clenched her eyes shut and ducked forward. Nauseating shivers crept across her body. She grabbed at the ground and flung dirt backwards. Premature screams resided in every exhale. She couldn’t escape this nightmare. Tears streamed backwards from the corners of her eyes into her hair.

She opened her bleary eyes and they immediately trained themselves on a spot of light barely visible through the black web of branches. Her body immediately sharpened in its movements. She lunged and leapt, snapping branches under her steps as she thrust forward.

“NO! YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME!” The voice shrieked.

She burst into the light. Falling to the ground she scrambled blindly, creating distance from the dark forest edge. She stopped. Her head was lowered, she looked at nothing. Her breaths began to steady, the warmer air relaxed her lungs. She was tired. She looked up. Soft beams of light shone through the treetops, cradling the dust that floated in the air. The air was painted in brushstrokes of varying shades of gold. The ground was soft and warm.

She heard rustling behind her and turned to face it. The figure of a girl stood at the edge of the forest. Her arm was held behind the trunk of a tree as if using it for comfort. She seemed unwilling to part from it, caught in a moment of hesitation. Her face was not unlike her own, yet it fluctuated, breaking into fragments, a mosaic that billowed in an internal wind, fluxing and reforming. At first an angry scowl seethed amongst the rippling shards, however gradually a sense of sadness and longing began to appear.

“Please don’t leave me…” Her eyes fluttered on the verge of tears.

A sense of peace seemed to extend the distance between them. She gave the girl a final look of understanding before she turned away and strode amongst the light.