praha shakes | fiction

novella | extract

praha shakes

Praha, Czech Republic

Gabriel stood alone on Charles Bridge at dawn rise on a Sunday. It was the tail end of a long winter where his mind wandered to dangerous places. Organ failure caused by fierce levels of alcohol consumption grew from a threat into a promise if unable to slow down.

He stood alone in a nation’s capital unsure of his own thoughts, unconvinced if anything mattered anymore if he even cared to find out. At this moment, he trusted himself no more than he would an approaching stranger with gritted teeth.

‘These hangovers are making me paranoid,’ he said, slapping a cheek.

He waited for his brother in the dark and the cold. A thin mist floated underfoot with the flowing water of the Vltava River as though an apparition, drifted overhead as though mustard gas.

Pulling on a smoke, he took in the view of an ancient city set among rolling hills. Little moved in the near distance until a plague of pigeons took flight from a green-domed roof. Arrowing the sky they flew with the wind until dipping out of view.

Gabriel took a look at himself: torn white converse, ripped denim jeans, a black overcoat covered in burn marks and ash, wool gloves worn and frayed.

‘Even the vermin have more grace,’ he said, ‘everything about me feels old.’   

On the water, empty boats built for tourists rocked steadily by the walls of the embankment. Soon it would be morning once again in another nation’s capital.

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