Richard Pierce


Day 228

My first 5E acupuncture for a month. I needed it. And the treatment just emphasised to me how important it is to have a connection with your practitioner, and how 5E works so much better when there is that connection. We talked for an age (and I guess, as I pointed out to L, that not having had therapy for 3 weeks, I was full of stuff that needed to come out), and then I lay down on the treatment table and said “I guess what I mean is that I feel in stasis,” and she said “That’s one of the things I wrote down, stuck.” And my whole body relaxed, because I was understood. And the point I need to make here is that it’s not a question of not being understood elsewhere (by family or friends), it’s a question of being understood by someone outside that immediate circle, and by someone how is actually physically treating your maladies.

This is probably one of the main reasons I prefer female practitioners – they’re more empathetic and more spiritual than men (all generalisations are false, I know), they feel more connected and grounded, they’re not afraid of showing what they feel and think, nor afraid of being out of step with traditional thinking. That’s probably why right-wingers and misogynists hate them so much, because they’re afraid of them. But that’s another entire post for another day, for when I’ve finished the dystopian novel I’m reading right now about the suppression of women.

And, of course, she had the courage to tell me I should stop walking for some time to rest this troublesome foot. And she knew I would argue back about that, because my sequence of a minimum 2-mile walk a day is now over 1,500 days on the trot unbroken. In the end, we compromised, and she said I could make the 6-minute walk up to Mousehold Heath, and sit in the open air and write and then walk back, as long as I didn’t push it – I mean, A tells me that even when I’m walking very slowly for me, I walk “aggressively.” I am cursing myself, of course, for not having decided I needed treatment more frequently after the last one. Too obsessed with too many things.

The rain has arrived but is only coming in dribs and drabs; not even in a monumental downpour, and all the glorious symbols for thunder and lightning have disappeared from the weather forecast for the next few days. We had some rumbles of thunder earlier, but that was just about it. I want a massive explosive thunder storm that goes on for hours, that makes the houses shake and the glasses in the bureau sound like they’re about to smash. A proper thunder storm. To exorcise, however temporarily, the demons of our present, to stop us all holding our breaths, to stop us all being in stasis. Because we all are, and the storm, when it comes, will be explosive and deadly and frightening, because the cost-of-living crisis hasn’t begun in earnest, and nor has the oppression of those who are against this current government.

Be alert, good people, be alert.



As Aggie rolls noiselessly away under the chairs that are still set out in the nave, there’s a pop in the space where she was standing less than a spit second ago, and the stone hisses and fizzles, and white bubbles seethe from whatever it was that landed there. The stone froths and the foam eats a hole into it so voraciously that it’s more than an inch deep and two wide within a second. Another pop, just a foot across from the hole, and another one appears in the floor.

Acid? Aggie’s puzzled. Why acid not bullets. Silence? She shrugs and crawls back towards the altar under the chairs. More pops, more hissing. Who can know she’s in here. Has Cassie set a trap? Lilibet said it was a trap. But Aggie wouldn’t believe it, can’t believe it. The criss-crossing of sides, the constant swapping of sides and causes – that’s not something she could ever understand. Another pop, right next to her, and on side of her coat goes up in tatters. Why the hell acid? You can never die. The mentor’s words, not hers. What if she can? What if this is the way? She zig zags across the floor, knows she’s not making a sound, knows that whoever, whatever, it is up there shouldn’t be able to see her or hear her. She’s close to the altar now, close to the Pulpitum, just the other side of it. A pop further down, away from her. They’ve lost her. She nods grimly. There’s only open space between her and the altar now, and then more open space between the altar and the stone arch. She has to get inside it, she thinks, and up onto the next level of it, or the next half level, because that’s where that slight unevenness was, that’s where the acid pellets are coming from, that’s where she needs to be to grab the shooter, to rip from them the secrets of who is chasing her. She wishes she could make herself invisible. An impossibility. Seed is the only way she’ll make it, and she forces herself into her mind, into her stomach, finds that coil that makes her who she is, and tightens it even harder than it is, ready to unfurl it in a single explosion that no-one will see, that no-one will be able to comprehend.

A deep breath, two more, and no exhalations. Eyes closed. Mouth closed. Visualise, visualise. The ochre cloth, the hard ground, the path, the stones beyond, the metal memorials, the rough edges of stone and age and time and footsteps. The corner of the foot of the arch, the sudden falling away to the left, the roughly-hewn steps, seven of them, and then the sharp turn, left again, to the stone platform hidden inside the arch, where manipulators of old would watch the congregation and the priests from to ensure they were being as obedient as a flock should be. Opens her eyes, and she’s there, and the dark figure in front of her hasn’t even noticed, is still shooting now useless pellets at the ancient floor. One more step, hands out in front of her, those massive mitts, those long fast fingers, one movement away, and she pounces, and hits the spot as she knew she would, and the figure falls to the ground, but doesn’t hit it, because she’s caught it before it can even get there. She pulls the black mask from the evidently male figure, and focuses her eyes on his face.

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