Monday, 26 September 2011

Type Triggers 2

You may remember that a month or so ago, I posted a number of flash pieces that I’d written for Type Trigger. Well, since then, I’ve written a number of other pieces. Given that I have nothing else to blog about this week, I thought I’d bring them to you. I don’t plan on making this a monthly thing, or even particularly regular, given that you can read them on the Type Trigger website, but it’s useful filler when there’s nothing else on.

So, without further ado, flash in 300 words of fewer:

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to ashes, falling like snow. Drifting, dancing in the wind to settle atop more ash, piling up, inches deep, never melting, never disappearing, burying the earth in dull grey, choking the rest of the life out of a dead world.

The world has been burning for days now; fires raging in the heart of every city, smoke and ash being pumped into the sky, forming the blackest of skies, blotting out the sun. The sky is black, but for the red glow of the fires on the horizon.

Since the sun was taken, it's become cold. The ash could be snow; it feels like ice when it lands on bare flesh. But there's no moisture, no sustenance. The fires are the only source of heat, now. Raging furnaces, burning all that we gathered about ourselves; all the tools of our survival, all the engineers of comfort, burning bright and hot. Surrogate suns, warming our faces.

We, we sad few, we band of survivors, gather, wrapped in all that we own, our hands outstretched to the bonfires, seeking their warmth. There's hunger in our gaunt faces, thirst on our cracking lips, but we dare not leave the sanctuary of the raging infernos. We dare not venture out into the cold and the dark in search of the living. Nothing can live long in the barren, ash-covered hellscape we've painted for ourselves.

So, we wait for the fuel to finally run out, wait for our society to finally burn up and die. We are the final survivors of a society that has collapsed in on itself and dragged the whole world with it. Soon we will join the rest of those who fell into the inferno. Soon the last flame will die.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, fade to black.

Crack open the…

Crack open the world and see its insides. 

See the vicious, savage beauty. See the beast upon which we walk. 

See the lion chase down the antelope, the old, the sick, the slow antelope. The vulnerable one. It sinks its claws deep into the animal's flesh and pulls it down. Hear the scream of the prey as it sees its life about to end. Hear the scream cut short and the sharp teeth sink into the soft neck. See the fountain of blood. Smell the acrid stench of it. See the life flee from the antelope's eyes. See the lion feast. 

Over hundreds of years, see the Strangler Fig germinate high in the rainforest canopy. See the root run down the trunk of a tree and into the ground. Root after root. See the roots grow and swell, watch the bark of the tree disappear underneath the mass of roots. See the tree suffocate. See it die. See it rot away, leaving a hollow lattice of roots. 

See the bulldozers and the men with chainsaws. Carving the forest away. See the animals flee from the destruction. See the concrete and the bricks. See the builders throw up a dozen identical houses and make another identical suburban neighbourhood. 

Crack open the world and see its insides. See that the world is cruel and heartless and destructive. See that the fittest survive, and the weak and the small die. 

Crack open the world and see the rotten core. The world that doesn't care, the beast upon which we walk, and ask is it really worth saving?

Favourite Thing

Jenny was Sarah's favourite thing. You could tell because she had one eye missing, her right foot had been chewed and sucked beyond recognition and she was splitting at the seams, allowing the white, fluffy stuffing to spill out. Her mother had kept telling Sarah to get rid of it and let her get her a new one, but Sarah would have none of it. You could not simple replace Jenny. Jenny was special, Jenny was unique. Jenny was Sarah's favourite thing in the whole world.

So when her mother had told Sarah she was only allowed to take one thing with her, because they were in a hurry and had to leave, she had not even had to think before scooping Jenny from her bed. 

She'd followed her mother outside. All the loud noises had been scary, but her mother had held her close and told her to be very brave, for her and for Jenny. Sarah was not about to let either down, so she tried to breath deep and stop herself from crying. She hugged Jenny very close. 

Her mother had looked at her, right in the eyes. There was a funny look in her mother's eyes. A scared look, but also a determined look. Sarah did not understand how her mother could ever be scared. She had told Sarah that she was going into the house, but that she would be back very soon. she had told her to stay where she was and be brave for her. 

She hugged her, kissed her and said goodbye. Sarah thought she'd seen a tear in her mother's eyes, but thought she must be mistaken because her mother never cried. 

Now Sarah was waiting for her mother, hugging Jenny tight. Trying not to be scared, for either of them.

For the Taking

My soul was for the taking. And the Devil didn't want it. That was his first mistake. 

His second mistake was letting me walk out of Hell alive. 

His third mistake was letting me back in again. 

In his defence, I was his man down to my toenails. I was an evil man. One of the worst. The kind of evil man who makes murderers look like reasonable blokes. 

You would not have liked me at all. 

So when Satan decided to send the best servant he'd had in a long time back to continue fighting the bad fight, you can understand where he was coming from. 

The problem was that one does not simply walk out of the Underworld. Especially having got there through the legitimate paths. No songs for the ferryman, or wrestling with three-headed dogs. All legit. As you can imagine, God doesn't want anyone coming back from that. So Satan turned me into a ghost and sent me back. 

The problem with being a ghost is that you can't touch anything. I never had been one for jumping out of closets and scaring little girls. But let's not go into what I had been into. 

It was a bit like always going to brothels, then being told you had to go to a strip club instead. So used to doing whatever you liked, then suddenly, all you can do is look. 

I'd never really been doing Satan's work anyway, not consciously. That had never been my motivation. So I walked back into Hell, which isn't difficult when you belong there, and decided that I'd have a lot more fun doing Satan's job. 

So now I sit on the throne, torture the dead and use the devil as a foot stool. 

Not bad for a dead man.

Not the one

The man was tall. The tallest of the lot. She'd said he was tall. He wasn't fat, but he wasn't thin either, but then none of them were. One was a little heavier set than the others, one looked a little skinnier, a couple were a little chubby. He had a couple of day's worth of stubble that she didn't recognise, but clean-shaven could be fixed. 

His hair was the right colour, but it was short and very neat. The sort of neat that came after a haircut. She'd described the man as having long hair, nearly down to his shoulders. Straight and lightish brown. A couple of the others had hair that length, or longer. Long hair could be fixed as well. 

His eyes were icy blue. Just like she'd said. Looking into them sent a chill down her spine. She couldn't work out whether that was because of how they were, or just because of the memories that came with looking into those eyes. She'd had a good hard look that night. Eye colour could not be fixed, especially when you had those eyes. He was the one. 

She looked into those eyes again. Looked over the man that, in another time, another place, she might find quite attractive. What he'd done to her made it very hard for her to consider him like that. 

"He's not the one," she lied to the policeman. "I don't think so, anyway." 

A look of surprise, puzzlement and thanks flashed across the man's eyes. His face didn't change, only his eyes. He was good. Maybe he was used to this. 

She wasn't sure why she lied for him. He was the one who raped her. He should be going to prison. 

Then again, he was the father of her child.

Where it hurts

"You should just kick him where it hurts," Sarah said. She was always full of helpful suggestions. 

"How would that help?" I asked, suppressing a smile. 

"Well, he broke your heart, so you should break his dick in return," Sarah explained. "It's only fair, I mean you think with your heart and he thinks with his dick, call it justice." 

"I'm not sure that's justice, plus, I still don't see how this is going to solve the problem," I said, throwing myself melodramatically back into the sofa. 

"What problem? He cheated on you, for almost as long as you were dating. There's nothing to solve, just forget that asshole and move on. Kicking him in the dick is a great way of beginning that process." 

I had to admit, she made a convincing case. I sighed. 

"Oh god," Sarah said, looking at me in disgust. "You're not still in love with him, are you?" 

"I don't know-" I began, but Sarah cut me off. 

"He cheated on you, for a year. How can you even stand to think about him anymore? How can you even consider loving him?" She was standing now, shouting at me, her brown hair shaking in anger. 

"I can't help how I feel. I can't choose whether I love him or not. It's not something you have any control over," I protested.

"Of course you do. He's a lying, cheating, deceitful bastard who deserves to be kicked in the junk. Hard," she was still shouting. 

"How the hell would you know?" It was my turn to shout. "You've never had a real boyfriend, you've never really loved anyone, so don't go lecturing me about love." 

Her expression turned in an instant from anger to sorrow. 

I realised I’d hit her right where it hurts.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Alex - not sure if you're still accessible at your previous email address (hotmail) but just incase you aren't, I've been trying to reach you to request an update on that article you sent in