The Kn!ghts of Slipway Seven

by Lee Williams


In the city the sky is forever a deep blue, and the sea here in the docks a rank and splendid green. The miniature Kn!ghts of Slipway Seven live here, almost forgotten by the city they once, perhaps, swore to protect.

“I am Toxic Somebody!!!” proclaims the Emerald Kn!ght, whose totem is a hermit crab and whose secondary element is iron. He is punching the air with his little fist.

“Mobilise!!!” reply the others, roused by his sudden enthusiasm. They clatter down the slipway and into the drink, one after the other: Plunk! Plunk! Plunk! Six perfect circles form in the bay. Six tiny helmets bob to the surface, framing brightly coloured faces. Later they will regret the risk of rust, as they do every time.

Who remembers them now?

The Ruby Kn!ght is a bum. He owes everybody, even the miserly Onyx Kn!ght, and his totem is a timber wolf. On Friday nights he kicks off his weekly drunk in the Botanic Gardens, yelling at people through the railings. “Extrapolate!!!” he demands, unreasonably. Framed within his helmet, the split cackle of his mouth is like a gash in the fabric of reality. His specialist style used to be kendo.

The Diamond Kn!ght and the Quartz Kn!ght were once inseparable. “More precious than gems!!!” was their catchphrase, and they fought the capoeira as if it were going out of fashion, each upon the other’s shoulders. Now they seem listless and confused. It never used to bother them that the world around them was so big, but these days they are frightened even to lift their visors.

Who will remember them when they are gone?

The Golden Kn!ght is the only one who can still raise a real smile. He recalls the days when the others would turn on his words, when his breath could bend the Kn!ghts like a ribbon of rainbow, when they would all fight together in the Peacock Stance. He would root his feet to the ground and feel his two fellows on his shoulders, feel the weight of the three above them. When they hissed in unison, the world around them would waver, unsure of itself.

Now, scared his memories may trick him, he rubs them together all day long, like pebbles, comforted by the sound.

Slit their soft armour with a curved knife and peel it from them, and what would be left of the Kn!ghts of Slipway Seven? Six bright jellies straight from the mould, six jellied Kn!ghts. Naked and unsupported they would soon lose their forms, lose the very last of their dwindled will. They would become sea anemones, sat at the water’s edge, each a different colour. The hues which had once, possibly, startled an apathetic world would be their only remaining possessions.

The sea, it is to be hoped, would welcome them back.

 


Lee Williams is a writer and teacher from the Isle of Wight in England. A number of his short stories have been published in web magazines.