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Earth grips me fiercely as I awaken. Struggling I scream into the breathing apparatus. Yet the suffocating darkness is unyielding.

I cannot move.

My last recollection is meeting the Leader, discussing my research breakthrough. Walking together across the meadow towards the hub. Explaining how I had perfected the technology, that my research would be the salvation of our resource stricken world.

He stooped inspecting the cables that drew out power, the tubes that fed nutrients down into the dirt. Enquiring after the batteries. My boastful assurances that below lay enough for a hundred years.

Now there’s just the darkness and I.

Cables slowly siphoning out my soul.

Fueling the colony.

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This month sees the launch of the first issue of UK literary magazine Firewords, that features, alongside thirty one better writers, my flash fiction piece, The Courier.

The editors eloquently describe the project thus:

“Firewords was set up by a small group of creatives, frustrated by writing magazines that concentrated on substance over style, or vice versa. Firewords Quarterly aims to have an abundance of both; powerful writing enhanced by bold design – leaving pretension behind.

We believe there should be a better platform for exciting new writers to have their voice heard and remembered. We also think a literary journal should be easy to pick up and dip in and out of; a rich, immersive experience that takes you to another world. This is why, for a long time now, our dream has been to create this magazine.”

Firewords can be bought online from their site, they ship worldwide and it is a venture that deserves support.

Enjoy

IR

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 …

best

IR

 

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Interstellar Trip

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.

Commence countdown.

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.

One!

Blast off!

Red plunges deep into a network of blue.

Taking me into the stars.

 

Judge’s Comment

“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!

Yesterday was having one of those days of rejection and dismay. In a moment of frustration I went hunting for somewhere to dump a drabble or two that had been lingering unwanted in the notebook. Anyway during my hunt I stumbled across Drablr that seems to be a relatively new online presence allowing writers to self-publish drabbles.

As Drablr describes itself:

“Drablr is a real-time self-publishing platform connecting readers and authors.”

So I chucked a drabble online entitled The Protester, doubting that I had accomplished anything other than virtually repressing my inner demons.

Anyway today I receive a tweet from Spec-Fic ‘Verse who’ve decided to feature The Protester within their daily story section. Maybe these folk from Drablr really are connected!

Life sometimes is very odd.

Strange things occurred this year in terms of writing. Nothing more odd than getting a drabble (100 word short) entitled The Baggage Handler accepted for publication in the collection 100 Worlds.

The drabble is based on a larger piece of work of the same title, the aim is to have a series of short stories that are all connected through, what I currently refer to as, The Black Cube syndrome ….

Anyway check it out as there are other far more talented and interesting writers within the collection.