The taste of copper coins. A spot of blood on my sleeve. Radek, you said. Why go to live there? Tomasz, Tomasz. These people have a history of Roman occupation. They're like us. This city has walls, Tomasz. It feels like home.
The conductor will come soon. Concentrate. Speak the words clearly. The others shall not stare. This is the correct note. It is blue.
Do you remember the bridge? The bridge here crosses a narrow brown river. It twists like the alleyways at the back of our tenement. Horses parade on the field, in bright colours. I have been told they rebuilt the bridge, and that Stefan can now take the pony to graze.
I dislike bridges, Tomasz.
Here is the conductor. Speak the words clearly. He will not notice me. They will not notice me.
We arrive. I am part of the crowd, Tomasz. History is unknown here. The city walls are more than a thousand years old, but these people ignore their history. What is a people without a history? This is a land of forgetting. I am content here.
I leave with the others. I put my hand to my lips. The taste of copper coins. A spot of blood on my sleeve.
(first published in An Anatomy of Chester: A Collection of Short-Short Stories, ed. Ashley Chantler (Chester: Chester Academic Press, 2007))