I was walking down Llanbadarn Road when I saw it. It was too fast and it was too dark to make it out. Was it a cat or a fox? It sped across the road, low, low to the ground. It caught my attention, I was taken dream-like to the time I saw a fox in our garden in Cambridge, it’s eyes holding mine in a long stare. I must’ve heard a noise, or perhaps caught the flash of flame, I turned to glance down a small side alley to the right of me. Two balls of orange flame dancing in the black. A man bare to the waist juggling fire. I gasped, openly. It was such a shock, how, why? I continued walking, not stopping. I think I’d seen him on the beach years ago. Two, maybe three.

A restless night. It was muggy. Dream after dream. Only the last remembered. I was in the company of two others, he was one. The other was a woman. An older woman. We were watching a film on TV. It ended. I missed the beginning, I said to them. It was the beginning that made me want to write, said the woman. I felt a longing then. Could I find the beginning, could I watch it too? I felt suddenly claustrophobic, trapped. Shall we go for a walk? I said and then woke.

Two dark shapes were perched on a bench as I walked down the Perygyl. I saw the red circle of a cigarette and then heard the voices, muted, Eastern-European, I think. I kept silent, not wanting to interrupt their intimacy or mine.

I feel edgy today, my skin thin.

The update has fucked-up all my settings.

And then she writes to end the residency. It’s the photography thing. I knew it was getting close. Let it be. Let it go. It has been rich. It is enough.

When I walked home past the little alley the fire-juggler had vanished.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.