12 November, 2013

Pisces by Joe Hickson

Welcome to Part Ten of my 12-part Zodiac Blog Series. On Tuesdays in autumn I'm posting a story or poem each written especially for this blog by a different author. Each piece of writing has taken one of the signs of the zodiac as its inspiration. For the full list of participants - from established authors to first-time writers - plus the posting schedule and links to previous stories and poems, please visit the Zodiac Blog Series Page.

This week's story is inspired by Pisces and is written by Joe Hickson.

Joe obligingly allowed me to post his story a week early to give the last couple of writers a bit more time to finish their work. So give Joe a little round of applause at your desk before reading on...

Joe works on a computer all day but doesn't normally write joined together sentences. As a programmer he spent a long spell not writing anything outside the third person, since before starting his university degree. He started writing a food blog about 18 months ago before switching to join up with his wife, Jenny, on a joint project blogging about all the projects they get up to in the house. This is his first attempt at creative writing of this sort. Joe has been a Pisces since birth and found inspiration in science and nature for his story.


There is nothing but dark and light. It comes slowly at first, like a cold winter refusing to surrender its icy grips. Gradual awareness arrives, there is more to the long gaps in the dark than just light. It fluctuates and ripples, occasionally guttering as a candle on a summers night. An instinct to twitch, to escape from the spectral shadows, that is all consuming. Hide. Shelter. Seek refuge. Beneath a great fortress there is peace, where there is a slight calm and safety. But still there is a tether, a cumbersome life giving link. It restricts, it slows, it hinders. Hunger comes and the fortress diminishes. Moving out the tether is no longer there. Freedom to move, to stretch, to grow.

Restlessness. Things are changing. Home no longer feels right. Something indefinable. An itch that can’t be scratched. The pace increases. Open spaces expand. Suddenly salt courses over the taste buds. Oh sweet salt. Powerful motions propel ever onwards. Further. Deeper. Darker. The great celestial source of light is weaker here, swallowed in the gloom. New sights. New sounds. New feelings. Giants pass on the edge of detection, engines add their din over nature’s perpetual cacophony, and pressure constricts every surface. This is where destiny leads.

A yearning for home. It comes to everyone eventually. A longing for the familiar, comfortable places from childhood. Tension builds. The time to move has come. Expectation, anticipation and stress all add their notes to the harmony. Bodies jostle. Skin hits skin, hits stone, hits nothing. Great claws rent the air and teeth snatch at pink flesh. Scales from fallen comrades rush past in the current. Home is close, its taste grows stronger. Others fall by the wayside. Strength fades but it is complete. The calm at the end of the storm welcomes with its cool embrace. Exhaustion overcomes and for the final time light loses its battle with dark.


  1. Joe, if this is your first piece of writing like this, you have an illustrious path ahead of you. I thought it was a powerful piece and captures the majesty of nature.

  2. Agreed with the above - really powerful words, very different from the other pieces

  3. I agree too. When I first read it I was particularly taken with the line "Skin hits skin, hits stone, hits nothing." It still comes to mind occasionally, weeks later. Beautiful!

  4. Wow. I'm with Derek, Simon and Chloe. Wonderful! 'Further, deeper, darker,' indeed. Thanks for this.


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