This week’s Flash! Friday contest was seemingly a no brainer. A photo of a grimy underpass that would easily have fitted into the landscape of La Jetee and the directive to fit in the notion of space travel seemed well within my narrative capabilities. Yet the screen remained blank, a few tentative characters emerged, some apologetic ideas wandered into view, all rejected, cast back into whiteness.
Finally someone rather unexpected emerged, and the story slowly revealed itself too me. I love those moments of writing, when the act of creating feels almost out-of-body. Anyway the competition was a tad fierce this week and I wasn’t too surprised to find my entry had failed to be shortlisted amongst the winners. Then I noticed that the runner up spot was listed as ‘pending’ and Flash! Friday were apologising for a slight technical hiccup.
Well you can guess the rest …
So please find below my piece inspired by the photo … I’ve also included the judge’s feedback … hell this is my blog/ego after all …
Fading light glints off the spaceship fueled and ready for launch. I don’t board just yet, teasing the desire burning deep within me of escaping this cesspit of a planet.
Cold concrete aches into my back as I strap myself down.
Footsteps approach a stranger hurrying past, arms folded, head down. Classic flight pattern, fearful that the vagrant slumped within his cardboard boudoir is going to attack, or worse, talk.
Unaware that I’m the last of the space cowboys, my comrades long since departed for alternate realities.
The stranger exits the underpass, my hunger now beyond control.
Ten … nine … eight … seven … six … five … four …
The dirty flaxen light of the underpass plays along the needle. Biting tenderly into flesh, tasting crimson.
Three … two
Scarlet flowers bloom deep inside my interstellar craft.
Red plunges deep into a network of blue.
Taking me into the stars.
“Interstellar Trip.” An entirely different take on the theme of “Space Travel,” this story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It has everything, effective imagery, humour, sadness and anticipation which result in flights of fanciful space fantasy wrapped in bleak stark drug addiction reality; it was very clever. There are so many critical lines in this piece which weave the two realities together. I particularly loved: “a stranger hurrying past, arms folded, head down. Classic flight pattern, fearful that the vagrant slumped within his cardboard boudoir is going to attack, or worse, talk.” Ultimately despite the excitement and furry of colour and adventure that grows throughout the story, the overall feeling the reader is left with is sadness because we know this man is not a space traveller, he’s a homeless heroin addict and clearly reality simply cannot compete with the sad joy of his drug induced escapism. Wonderful story, well done!