The Flash Fiction Issue Issue No. 3
WORDS OF LIFE
Delay On The Line
For the sake of twenty pounds he is catching a later train and now finds himself surrounded by everyone he could have been, people he no longer wants to be and no longer knows how to aspire to be.
She walked across the village green, her blue raincoat distinctive against the grass. A bird of prey would have found her easy to spot from hundreds of feet above.
Reaching the top of the concourse he trips over his shoe-lace. A juvenile mistake. He reels from imaginary sniggers, contemptuous glares and complicit smiles. The most basic of tasks are beyond him. It is 5.15pm. Everything pains him, scares him and makes him jump. From the most innocuous embarrassment of unintentional eye contact with a woman, to a minimalist chant that swells in the growing congregation of football supporters. They find strength in numbers - determined to convert or destroy apostates who will not join their Eucharist of violence - dressed in the validity of healthy competition.
She walked slowly, a target, if the kestrel had chosen to dive, but as the attack of a human was rare, she was safe? She was the talk of the village and she knew it. Here there were no secrets. She had sold herself to a man. A number of men, if the truth be known, over the course of her life but this one had talked and everyone knew. She felt uncomfortable; looked around, couldnâ€™t see anyone, looked up, no birds. She continued to walk.
He sits unnoticed, drink untouched, then rises and ignores the young, beautiful couple who take his vacated spot. The concourse; caught between the upper level of outside and not yet as low as the platforms; a purgatory for the living where even the most basic task is taxed. Even the use of a toilet.
She glanced over her shoulder, thought she heard something. Nothing. Reaching into her raincoat pocket - quickly, slick, like the kestrel snatching its prey - she produced a pair of sunglasses and put them on. It wasnâ€™t sunny.
Having fumbled in his pocket for a twenty pence coin he enters the white room. The acrid smell of barely disguised piss and caustic cleaning products have the reviving effect of smelling salts. Impermanence morphs from the advertising in front of him as he empties his bladder for the penultimate time - little blue pills, or some such nonsense, no longer needed or considered.
Stepping off the grass she looked down at the pavement.
He leaves the toilet and checks his pockets; keys, a little change and most importantly his wallet replete with ID and letter.
She could hear the cry of a kestrel above.
She could hear the villagers talking. There was nobody there. It was silent.
She continued to look down.
Prompted by the beads he constantly plays with, he recalls a time, at the bottom of the Himalayas. He remembers seeing bodies ascend on the backs of loved ones.
The voices of the villagers grew louder.
Loved ones who would cleave them limb from limb with brutal efficiency, steel stripping flesh, severing tendons, reducing the remaining bone and flesh to pulp.
The kestrel began to screech. She stepped from the edge of the pavement.
The bodies were left on a flat rock, to be picked over by vultures, feeding the ariel hordes at the top of the world. Though seemingly cold and clinical to his sensibilities, in their eyes he saw love and respect; a celebration. true.
They were shouting, the bird was screaming, she began to run. Then it hit her.
He descends to the platform and wonders if the wheels of the train will be so
The blue Land Rover. She was flying and they were watching.
Then everything was silent. Dave W
The Plug Socket James sat alone again, playing with his Lego. He never read the instructions, so he didn’t take responsibility if it didn’t turn out like the picture on the box. He loved to create. Janet - James’ mother - sat in another corner of the room, or in the garden, sorting her crystals into different orders whilst keeping a watchful eye on him. This repeated for months.
The Secret On Tuesday morning at precisely 07.24am Troy looked up from his work station and simultaneously spilt lukewarm latte down the crotch of his black slacks. He jumped up, yelled out and then felt really foolish as there was no scalding pain, just the warm, wet puddling sensation akin to pissing himself. He looked up again.
Until, one day, Dad came back home, the oil rig work was done and he replaced the fuse on the plug for the telly. Now they sit and eat. Expand their stomachs watching day and night-time crap and trying to remember what the outside world looks like whilst engrossed in judging others’ bad habits and chewing between pointless fictions. James B
There it was. Troy had a soft spot for office machinery. He kept a secret stash of Office Man catalogues in his garage at home. He knew every make and model, the basic fax machines from 1974 up to the King of King`s, the Stepsom 913 – OA; the Big Boy of photocopying. The office was still deserted as Troy walked over to the machine, smelled the factory fresh out-of-its-packaging bubble wrap aroma. Sniffed hard and deep, took that smell in, held on to it. He admired its functional display pad, the Stepsom`s operational screen glowed a soft green and he saw his reflection in its beauty. It was humming imperceptibly on standby. A drip of saliva fell from the left hand corner of Troy`s mouth onto the copy button.
Our Beautiful Interiors
The Stepsom purred into action, responded to his flush of body fluid, and began to print out its owner’s manual in conference-colour quality print, fully bound. Troy shut his eyes and listened to its looping hardcopy shake.
In Large Red Interior, painted by Matisse, I see post-war optimism in his generous use of vibrant red. The loss of life. I cannot bear the fiery, sensual assault for too long. There is a white attic-room that I inhabit. Its feature wall is painted sandstone, a blue carpet is flecked by multicoloured interweave. It is chilled by a draughty, double dormer window cut into the rafters on which I relentlessly bump my head.
Ker-chunk-a-chicka-chunk, ker-thunka-chicka-chun-chun. Troy couldn’t at first recognize the groove, but he was a patient man, knew the rules and enjoyed this foreplay. Groups of single notes formed a pattern - crystallized. A melody emerged. Troy`s hips began to grind to the beat, aroused, crotch latte-damp. Troy got his mobile out, pressed record and slid it back into his warm hip pocket. He moves close up to the paper-feed housing door where he instinctively felt the groove was really at. Paul H
The reclaimed shelves are furnished with literary giants. Chekhov, Keats, H.G. Wells - handed down to me at budget prices. Found and gifted articles, one step away from landfill. After repeated attempts to place artwork the walls are flat, bereft of inspiration. Matisse’s room depicts two of his own paintings on its wall. There is a line drawn between them, top to bottom, before and after. Left, a black and white abstract study: Right, a vibrant blue chair with perhaps an exotic fruit perched on top. Both paintings are simplistic and crude at first glance. Below the table a naively painted dog is chasing a cat. There are no windows in Matisse’s room. No reference to an exterior world. In my interior, I envisage a gargantuan window, like an old master: framing expansive meadows of swaying grasses and wild flora. Far away, white horses gallop over aquamarine seas. Far off, colossal clouds punctuate the azure blue sky to the horizon. The artwork I hang keeps being removed. My twin brother’s hand. As we dance around this space, colliding with the furniture, I reflect that maybe I could appreciate him too. Andrew S
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