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Monthly Archives: September 2014

 

Yominokuni

From the dockside Emma-O watched crested horses leaping over the lurching ferry’s bow. A grey cloak of rain concealed the rest of existence and, not for the first time, Emma-O wished she had more than her umbrella to shield her. Yet as father had reminded her, first impressions counted.

Her phone purred in her hand distracting Emma-O from the vessel’s struggle, her twitter feed exploding with doom-laden hashtags.

#Typhoon
#D3struct10n
#Tsunami
#Deathcount

So many lost souls, yet all Emma-O could do was keep to her routine, trust that people would survive nature’s onslaught.

For what was she without people?

The boat docked, ropes thrown, tethering the swaying vessel to land, a gangplank extending out. Tentatively the first of the passengers disembarked, rain slickening skin and clothing.

“Welcome everybody, sorry about the conditions.”

Silently they gathered on the dock, confused, uncertain.

“Are we all here? Excellent, well just follow my umbrella and mind your step.”

Emma-O led them away into eternity.

 

I Am Myth

The rain danced upon Hinata’s umbrella, the greying skies a refrain to the melancholy in her heart. It was foolish to mourn. For so long death and destruction had blighted the land. Yet as she had cast the last victim into the dark turbulent river below she felt only regret.

It seemed inconceivable that once she cruised for temptation in neon lit realms, flitting between gyrating bodies. The world filled to the brim with potential.

Now there was just her.

Hinata dropped her umbrella, rain slickening skin as she slipped the gas mask off her face. Her ally that had disguised her on those nights of hunting yet was now inconsequential within a realm of solitude.

Hinata breathed in deep, dead batteries filling her lungs, toxins rushing to corrode her veins. She knew she could have carried on, scavenging, eking out an existence.

Yet what’s the point of a serial killer when there was nothing left to kill?

 

Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin.

Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin.

 

Unrequited Love

365

The stark light of the mirror betrayed the price. Line etched eyes, echoing the slashes Elijah had scarred into faded grey walls. Counting days in a life outside time, insubstantial to the staccato world lying beyond the bars.

730

An existence spent subjected to threats, propositions and fears. Strengthened only by cherished memories of Krak Des Chevaliers’ twilight interior. The caress of interlaced fingers, of shared pulses racing. Walking in shadow, the pain of longing giving them courage. Seeking escape, seeking their true self. Stolen clandestine moments, lips entwined, shared breath.

That fateful morning, whispered promises of a future, a ring slid onto Elijah’s finger.

Walking outside together, apart, the police waiting in the morning light.

1095

Elijah rested his elbows on the railing of the balcony. Chavaliers lay before him basking in the afternoon light. The hotel door opened, Firas entered, older, hurting, still beautiful. Wearing those very clothes he wore three years ago.

Fingers interlacing.

Together.

1

 

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

Below is my latest submission to Flash! Friday taking the photo prompt above and the theme of “war” as inspiration. I blame the resultant outcome on stumbling a box from my childhood which contained some once fondly loved companions, being the works of pulp writer Sven Hassel.

 

The Art of Finishing

Sven’s body moved measuredly, untroubled by the torments of the marathon. The cries of the spectators, ten deep, spurred him on as Wembley’s ornate arches crested the horizon.

“London 1948″ flags fluttered from atop the cage ahead, soldiers thrusting bayonets within. The crowd’s energy intensifying as the cage sprung open and the newest participants spilled out ahead of Sven.

He dug deep, everyone else had fallen these last untermensch were nothing. Muscles responding, Sven increased his pace, passing under the archway, into the stadia, the finishing line in sight.

They were metres away now, a frantic maelstrom of shaved heads and tattered rags cloaking skeletal limbs. Sven threw an elbow as he went past, sending one sprawling.

Arms spread wide Sven crossed the line to the pulse of photoflashes. A microphone thrust in his direction, the crowd quieting.

Sven paused, teasing back perfect blonde hair, raising his fist in triumph.

‘FOR THE FUHRER!”

photo courtesy TheShakes72

photo courtesy TheShakes72

 

Leo’s boots parted the damp leaves that cloaked the forest floor, the heady aroma of rain and decay filling his senses. A crow, ink feathers flexing, looked down from a branch, its beak opening and closing in tranquility. Leo was tempted to launch a stick at the bird that surveyed his progress with malevolent beady eyes.

The ground slowly ascended under his feet, trees fading away with each upward step till Leo found himself stood in the clearing. He ran his fingers over the rain-beaded surfaces of the statues. She had fashioned them, vague memories stirred of being with her in the workshop, sunlight on her face as she tousled his hair. Under his touch bronze gave way to wood, wood to steel, steel to bluish-green stone, wonderful beings that he had always wanted to believe had just grown out of the ground.

A hand grasped Leo’s shoulder, his father smelling of cigarettes and deodorant, face crimson with the effort of keeping up. Leo watched his father mutter something into the silence, gesturing across the horizon to birds cutting across the sky. His hair, once a fiery red had cooled into a winter that reached down towards a yellowing collar. Leo watched him write something on the pad that eternally hung around his neck on a fine chain.

“ALRIGHT?”

Leo nodded, giving him a thumbs up. His father seemed satisfied, kneeling down, clearing dead leaves from a small bronze seedpod. Leo didn’t need to stay to know that when satisfied his father would leave a single red rose at the statue’s base, as he did each year.

Leo headed the other way towards his favourite whose plaque declared it The Lion’s Roar, his father had told him it was an odd name for an ammonite. Yet he was never present on those days when Leo would sit beside her on the beach, listening to the sea roaring within shells, the sweet scent of salt in her hair, her laughter chasing away the gulls.

A time before his world fell silent.

Leo slipped his head inside the ammonite, holding his breath, focusing everything on the darkness that engulfed him.

Hoping that today the waves would return.

st-kilda

St Kilda, Scotland. CC photo by Neil Wilkie.

The Survivors

The dingy slid through oily waters, treacherous waves causing Isabelle to cling onto the ornate box in her lap. Muttering a prayer to St Ellard, Isabella looked back at the sullen isle. A sanctuary that over time had lost its way, traditions discarded, community replaced by dissent and mistrust.

The awaiting ship was vast, callused hands helping Isabella aboard. No cabin for privacy, just the darkness of the hold, weakly resisted by a lantern’s flaxen light.

Settling in a corner, Isabella ignored the mute stares of her fellow evacuees. Their ignorance had caused this, their lack of appreciation, of respect.

A man, emboldened by shadows, whispered that Isabella and her kind would soon reside within the forest of bones on the seabed. A woman’s trembling voice hushing him.

Isabella ignored them it was time to feed the baby. The blade drew scarlet across her wrist. Isabella lifted the box’s lid, resting her hand within.

A rough tongue lapped hungrily.

 

gemini-5

Incoming

“South, eleven o’clock.’ Tex whispers, his binoculars trained across the yellow earth towards the border.

A bead of sweat drops from Pete’s chin, hitting the arid surface. Pete ignores the discomfort of the sun, calmly focusing on Tex’s prompt.

‘Look at him go! One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,’ Tex snickers.

’He got that wrong y’know?’

‘Who?’

‘Armstrong, really screwed the pooch, pardon my french. Should’ve said, small step for a man.’

‘Yeah like he’s bothered what you think! Focus, rabbit’s bolting for home.’

Pete readjusted the sight, training his rifle on the man trampling through the brittle undergrowth. By the look of him he’d been walking for days, dirt crusted on bruised skin. He zoomed in, inspecting the face. A missing tooth, a dragon tattooed neck.

Crosshair hovering over a blue eye.

‘When your ready partner, take him to the moon.’

Pete slipped the safety, finger on trigger.

‘One … small … step …’