Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Where is home?

Standard

The plane lands with a thud, brakes screaming as we hit the runway. Cabin lights dim and then brighten. Rain lashes the windows and grey clouds hang low over the airport.

I tumble down the slippery steel steps, at the rear of the plane on to the wet and greasy tarmac. The wind grabs at my flimsy coat and cut me to the bone, my port slips in my hand. My fingers are turning blue with the cold. An argument starts in my head.

‘What the hell am I  doing here? What the fuck do I hope to achieve? And fuck it to hell why wasn’t I wearing warmer clothes? After all, I was coming home to Melbourne’.

Head down, bending into the wind while my coat slaps my legs, I head to the artificial, steamy warmth of the terminal building and the baggage carousel.

Sixty minutes later I adjust the soiled seatbelt of the shiny hire car, I head out of the airport. I have a four-hour drive in front of me. The argument in my head continues.

‘You’re a fruitcake, its as black as …well you know, the roads have changed. You haven’t been here for fifteen years. You idiot. Do you really think you can do this drive at night, in the dark! What if you drive off the road and into the sea?’

Self-doubt starts to nibble and my confidence level plummets past zero. I am paralyzed by fear, inertia gnaws at my gut.  The car beeps once, a second and third time each beep more insistent than the one before it.

‘Fancy fucking car, what the hell is wrong?’

In the dark I see the lights coming toward me. Oh, Christ! I am on the wrong side of the road. I swing the wheel back urging the car to follow without spinning out. The car rocks as the lights whiz past, horn blaring.

‘Concentrate you fool. Look what happens when you don’t concentrate’.

I scream into the darkness of the cabin, ‘for god’s sake SHUT UP you nearly got me killed’.

Silence fills the car. I turn up the radio full blast, the quiet is unnerving. The rest of the trip is uneventful. I stop at a layaway for fuel and a hot meal. I’m in such a hurry to get home I burn the roof of my mouth on the bloody burger. I gulp it down and choke on the crumbs. I suck the gooey bbq sauce off my fingers and chase it down with a Pepsi.

Back in the car, the key in the ignition, I turn it and the car roars to life. I head off down the highway. Not far to go now.

Dawn is breaking, a rosy pink sky flushed with gold I wind down the window I can smell the salt tang of the sea. I have arrived.

The door to the house is wide open. “Mum I’m home”

No answer. Just me and the house.

Welcome home.

Advertisements

3 AM

Standard
3 AM

3:00am. Bells pealing, noise! I crawl out of the warm cocoon of blankets to stand outside under the inverted bowl of the night sky. Inky black and pierced by a million brilliant diamonds of light. The wind sweeps down Mount Coochin driving all before it. The dust devils swirl and twirl carrying the tang of gum on the sharp cold edge of the dancing leaves. They rush and roar along the bitumen drowning out the cacophony of the chimes and then they are gone, only the whisper of their passing remains. The chimes are relentless. They click and clack, swinging, swaying in the breeze and then falling silent as one by one I lift them from their lofty perches and silence their tongues. I lay them on the bench and the silence reproaches me. Dull and heavy the air crackles as the next wave descends the mountain. A rustle, a whisper and then a soft caress fans my cheek, followed by the bitter slap of the wind. The moon’s crescent is brightly haloed and the rumble builds to a roar as the wind tumbles down the mountain. The leaves shiver and shake, branches quivering bend beneath its force and it is gone. The new silence is broken as the sleeping truck across the street awakes. I hear the deep-throated grumbling of the truck motor, as the key turns in the ignition rousing it from sleep. The grumble resolves to a purr as the motor rises to wakefulness and two bright orbs of golden light signal its departure from its lair, ready to meet another day. One last glance at the muted chimes I draw my robe closer and head back to my bed, I have stood a good hour captured in the thrall of the night sky and the mountain’s magic. Such beauty lies in nature’s wonder.

SAMARA

Standard

The world has never looked like this before. She considered this thought as she stood poised at the edge of the precipice surveying her dominion. Her robes caught by the wind fluttered softly about her. With a whisper, her white feathery wings unfurled as they enveloped her. She resembled a white luminous butterfly.

Samara scanned the multifaceted broken, blue expanse of ovoid space before her. She sought the light, signaling her next appointment. It blinked. She caught the blinking light and in the space of a single breath, she morphed through time and space. She was there.

Mortar shells exploded and crashed around her, the dark sky dark lit up with violent orange flashes.  Her timing was perfect. Samara smiled. The old woman with slow and painful movements heaved her lumpy body out of the bomb crater. The tears from her red-rimmed rheumy eyes scoured dust trails on her cheeks. Her hands weakly fluttered as she sought to cover her exposed, bruised and broken body.  Her eyes were focused on Samara’s face, the woman spoke,

“You have come, at last, I have waited so long. Why did I have to wait?”

“Your time was not right,” Samara replied. “I cannot come before your time.”

“Must I leave like this?” the old woman indicated her state of dishevelment. A mortar shell whizzed past exploding over ahead.  The old woman screamed. She grabbed Samara’s robes, buried her face and sobbed;

“Am I doomed to stay here, like this, forever?”

Samara raised her up. Gently holding the old woman, she untangled her hands from her robes.  Her soft feather wings opened and enfolded them both. The noise ceased, the crying stopped. She lowered her wings, a young woman stood in the place of the old one.  She looked at Samara, this time her bright eyes filled with tears of gratitude. The young one spoke,

“I knew you would come, I knew I would be safe.  I knew I was not afraid of death. I was afraid of pain. I cry for the place of my birth”

She placed her hand in Samara’s outstretched one, together they turned and walked away. Samara replied,

“We will both cry for Aleppo this night, remember this too shall pass.”

allepo

A One-sided Conversation

Standard

A One-sided Conversation was my entry in the 2015 Gary Crew  Award  Alas and alack I did not win. My congratulations to Archie on a brilliant piece.

 

My life began with the written word, a truism.

I have no memory before those words appeared on the page.

Sorry, what did you say?

Who Am I?

Who would you like me to be?

Let me think about this, for a minute.

Yes, I know you created me, but I can think independently.

How?

Because now I am here on the written page. I am like Dr Who.

I can move through time and space and between the pages of any book I choose.

You don’t know who Dr Who is – oh.

Such delicious alliteration.

No, seriously.

Oh, I see you are the big ‘L’ literary type, not popular fiction.

So I am guessing that I can’t be like Bella Swan or Christian Grey.

You do know those characters make their writers a lot of money.

What?

Okay, we have established you are not writing for money.

Interesting.

So why are you writing?

You want recognition, to win prizes and to be respected by your peers.

So would you like me to be like Kilgore Trout?

No, well maybe.

Maybe I could be like Billy Pilgrim?

We could have a deep and meaningful discourse about war and aliens and being kept in a Zoo.

No, you don’t like that idea either.

One last TRY.

Would you like me to be like Holden Caulfield?

A callow youth overcome by the woes of the world, bringing verisimilitude to your work.

No. Not that either.

Well, what do you want?

Give me a hint.

I see.

You want me to be unique, to have depth, to be noticed, but most of all you want me to have IT.

Now I am lost.

I need to focus.

What is IT?

Sex appeal?

I am sure I can steam up the page for you.

Let’s see how does this flow?

He grabbed her roughly, his deep-set eyes glowed with lust as he forced her onto the rumpled bed…

You don’t like that, too over the top.

You want literary wordsmithing, not purple prose.

You want me to tighten up my speech, lose the redundant words, minimalism and tense are important too.

You’re no fun anymore.

Then I am gone.

I will leave you to create your literary masterpiece.

For it seems my life does not begin with the written word but ends with it instead.