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by Jon Ransom

Nothing’s really real. This caravan marooned in an abandoned field. Three of us on the hard floor inside, hunkered down like baddies hiding out. These dogs we’re running from are not really dogs, but hard lads hounding us. Growling. Before we legged it, they circled us with clever paws. Paws that can hold shiny hammers. Smash-your-head-in-mate. Following us from the dodgems, to the edge of the fairground, losing them in the dark folds there.

Big moon looking through the windows, watching what we’re up to. Bullet in front of me. His skin polished with sweat. Along the shadow, Tim’s weighted against the door, keeping the trouble outside. Nothing bothers Bullet. He tells Tim to calm down before he pisses his pants.

Whose caravan d’you reckon this is? Tim asks.

Dunno, Bullet says. Scorcher of a night, and dragging his T-shirt over his head. The shape of him familiar. Church quiet, I’m watching pretty patches of light on his chest, killing time. Wondering where it goes when it’s dead. Believing maybe I’ll find out if these lads catch up with us.

Now Tim’s talking rubbish. Telling us everything we see is really just a picture in the back of our head. Like watching television. There’s nothing outside our skull.

Bullet says, You’re wrong. Unzips his jeans. This ain’t on television. It’s right here. Tugs down the waistband of his underpants. In moonlight his pale dick burning, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus hanging on my nan’s wall. A trick conjured in the night, I don’t want him to put it away.

We can mess about a bit, Bullet says.

Alright. Because it’s why we’re running.

Tim turns around, not before telling us he can hear dogs outside. Maybe he can?

I’m occupied. Eyes somewhere between open and shut. Nothing’s really real. Abandoned caravan beside a field. Three of us on the floor inside, messing around like idiots. These dogs we’re running from, busting the sweat from our skin. Bite-your-bollocks-off-mate.

Jon Ransom grew up in Norfolk. He is currently writing his debut novel, The Whale Tattoo, selected for the 2018 Arts Council England TLC Free Read Scheme. His short fiction has appeared in SAND Journal, Foglifter Press, Five:2:One, and others.