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Clash of the Titans

The reality of being a superhero was beyond most people. Steve understood this, for he was an acolyte of isolation, devoted to the pursuit of vigilante perfection. Every night he spent at his secret base, the bedsit above the chip shop on Stapleton Road, pouring over volumes of comic book deeds.

Then he heard about Kick Ass. Steve was not what you would call a people person so he kept his distance from the neon hell that was the multiplex in town. He was tempted to download a pirated copy, but the hero within him chastised such thoughts. No, Steve waited patiently till the postman delivered his limited edition DVD box set with added postcards.

That night he sat on his beanbag and watched the film.

He hated it.

Some young upstart who lucks his way, via a near fatal accident, into being an inept hero fixated on girls? A total cluster farce Steve concluded as he munched into his second kebab of the evening. What use was such a hero when the world was being torn asunder by war, corporate greed, climate change and selfies?

It was time he made a difference.

Steve worked feverishly into the early hours, fuelled by a diet of lemonade and marshmallows. In the morning the god who stared out from the mirror was not Steve, though Steve knew he was in there somewhere. Before him was no mortal, nor a child in scuba gear.

This was Super Steve.

He wandered outside, his cloak of curtains billowing, his duvet harem pants surprisingly chafing. Yet he strode down the middle of the road flips flops flip flopping, his Staff of Power™ forged from a swingball pole and glitter feeling mighty within his grip.

From above a voice serenaded Super Steve’s emergence into the world.

‘OI WANKER!’

Super Steve looked up, a builder hanging from scaffolding, finger gesturing furiously.

Steve waved back, heart swelling with pride, oblivious to the No37 bus currently hurtling towards him.

Some witnesses stated that the tennis ball on the string tripped Steve up, others that his cloak got caught on something.

All agreed that the oddly dressed man lost.

Rather messily.

Photo by Ashwin Rao

Photo by Ashwin Rao

 

 

Adventures in Monochrome

A checkerboard flanks my every step up the worn wooden steps towards the lookout. The flowers of the ornamental garden are a constant lure for those intrepid collectors of light and time. As a man encumbered by foolish rituals I had lost many a day watching a petal unfurl, or the waltz of a pollen flecked bee from temptress to temptress. Gaining satisfaction from the poised finger, that moment one is sniper and artist. The click and serenade of spooling film confirming another kill. Followed by hours spent isolated under crimson light, watching time erode blank paper.

Regretfully since the diagnosis I have become tired of such things, so I’m certain it’s neither jealously nor pity I feel as I watch the photographer adjusting f-stops, tinkering with lenses. An old school acolyte quite rightly disregarding the obsequious phone, packed to the gunnels with deceits that mimics in seconds what real photographers spend days capturing and perfecting.

He notices my presence; a nod of the head enough of an interaction to satisfy us both, before he presses his eye into the sight, fingers slowly adjusting the lens. I tread lightly, peering over the rail to see his subject. Below poses a wonderful ebony orchid, from whose alabaster stamen hang pregnant bounties of ivory pollen.

‘Beautiful isn’t she?’ he whispers, looking up from the sight, ‘such richness, such grace, figured if I get this right I’ll submit to the comp.’

I nod appreciatively, then bid farewell with a raised hand as tiredness already threatens to overwhelm my spirits. I should be thankful, I mean I’m not the only one. Self help groups have sprung up, whilst doctors and specialists try to figure out what has caused this epidemic. They have at least given the condition a name:

Chromophobia.

Some opine its viral, maybe a psychic disorder. Some conspiracies have directed their suspicion at 24-7 rolling news, whose binary perspectives have split everything into black and white.

All I know is that that I exist in blandness. As if the world has been dished up to me unseasoned.

I walk home, past row upon row of monochrome.

Trying to recall yellow butterflies.

 

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?

 

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 …’

A long time ago, in the mists of time, well in 2013 anyway I signed my first every publishing contract. Sadly not for a novel, script, or play, but still a creation of my very own being a short story entitled Thirst.

Anyway, Happily Never After from Fey Publishing, the anthology that Thirst is featured within, is now available. The tome offers some fantastic short stories that take a dystopian slant to the familiar narrative mode of fairy tales.

You can have a peruse, and of course purchase if you so desire, from Goodreads and Amazon.

Hope you enjoy

best

IR

 

Another flash fiction derived from the photo prompt offering of Flash Friday! The word limit was 150-160, you had to include a fire in the tale and of course take your inspiration from the photo below:

bell-tower-of-guadalest

Bell Tower of Guadalest, Costa Blanca, Spain. CC photo by Anguskirk.

Hope you enjoy.

The Messenger

From the bell tower Arcane watched orange flowers bloom in the twilight. One after the other, a constellation of beacons spluttered into life. Sending their plight to the capital.

There was nothing else he could do. Arcane slumped down by the bell, whose rough rope had flayed the skin from his hands. He had tolled The Sentinel till his shoulders had ached, her solemn declaration almost overwhelming the screams and sounds of battle that emanated from the village.

Tolled till orange flowers bloomed.

The sound of wood giving way to force stirred Arcane back to reality. The invaders had gained entry. Soon they would ascend the worn stone steps to find the young scholar.

Shoulders complaining Arcane took up his axe and buckler. He had hoped the invaders would have moved on, or that the Capital’s knights would arrive in time.

But such thoughts were that of a child.

Now he had to die as a man.

SpeckLit

I love a good drabble? Which does sound like some kind of clinical condition or a dyslexic drool. I recently stumbled across SpeckLit who specialise in drabble writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

As their about section comments:

SpeckLit arose as a response to modern life. We live in a soundbite world where people deal with constant distractions. Instead of battling that reality, we embrace it and therefore embrace the drabble – a complete short story told in 100 words. This form of storytelling fits perfectly in a world where readers want to absorb a piece of fiction in between receiving Facebook notifications and Whatsapp messages.”

Worth checking out just for the drabble film reviews section.