Issue 5 cover

Lost Lying on Your Back

by Steven J Dines

Issue 5 :: Winter 2009 (stories)

I will tell you what happened, since you choose not to remember.

You left the grocery store laden with bags and took a shortcut through Lily Park. It was a hot, sticky afternoon and you were on foot. They don't want people like you driving around in cars. They think you'll pick a fight with whomever you thought you saw in the rearview mirror. You don't laugh at things like that. You can't.

Near where the lilies grow, you stopped and stared awhile at the cherub in the birdbath. You were unsure if he was meant to be Cupid or not. He seemed to be just a boy without wings. Forever poised, with bow and arrow aloft, ready to fire but holding, he stood on one leg while pushing back the other, almost toppling, almost, but with luck and grace he would never fall, never release the bowstring from his fingers, but stand there instead, still, perfect, forever.

You walked on, laden.

- - -

You pushed open your apartment door with your foot. The dust and clutter of neglect that you had come to accept, if not embrace, suddenly embarrassed you in the presence of a neighbour.

"Go on inside," you said. "Just drop the bag on the couch."

"Sure, Mr. Burgess."

A good kid, David. You knew his mother, Neve, but not his father. The boy, you were certain, did not know him either. David's mother rented the apartment two doors down from you. She worked long nights in short skirts. You never bought.

The boy entered, looked around.

"Wow, it's dark in here," he said. "Forgot to open your curtains, huh? Mom opens mine way too early in the morning."

At the end of a long shift, no doubt, you thought.

"I can open them for you if you like." He dropped the brown-paper bag of groceries onto the couch arm.

"No," you said. "Thank you, but you don't need to do that. I'll open them later."

Look at the boy's eyes, you thought. You're confusing him.


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"Lost Lying on Your Back" is roughly 4660 words.

Steven J Dines lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. His work has appeared in over sixty print and online publications. His story "Unzipped" (published in GUD Issue 1) was selected as a Notable Story in storySouth's Million Writers Award and received an Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008. He is currently writing his first novel. For more information (and stories), visit