Dr Hannah Stevens is a queer freelance writer. ‘In Their Absence,’ her collection of short stories about missing people and broken lives, will be published in 2020. Her work has been widely anthologised and featured in numerous literary journals. She currently co-directs Wind&Bones, a company exploring the crossing-places of creativity, writing and social justice. Originally from Leicester in the UK, she’s currently based in Sofia, Bulgaria.
By Dr Hannah Stevens
The bread is lodged in his windpipe. He grips the table edge, tries to cough. No noise comes. His face turns red, and then blue. The woman from the next table stands and punches his back.
The room flips, and the floor is cold beneath him. He feels the woman’s breath on his face.
The noise of the restaurant fades away. Somebody holds his hand.
He hears the faint sound of a siren far away and then, he hears nothing.
The Night Before I Left
The night before I left I listened at your door. Your breathing sounded like sleep and so I stepped into your room.
You didn’t wake as I pulled back the sheet. Your skin was pale, quite white through the darkness. I slid in beside you. I felt the heat of your body but didn’t dare to touch. Instead I lay there, breathed you in and wondered about the taste of your tongue.
I got up as light began to bleed through your blinds: the smell of your bed on my skin. I closed the door silently behind me. You stirred as I left but I didn’t look back.
Copyright © ‘Bread’ & ‘The Night Before I Left’ Hannah Stevens 2020