Tag Archives: fiction

Edge – Trifecta

23 Feb

 

Here’s what this weekend’s Trifecta is all about:

“This weekend we are playing another type of word game with you.  Below are photos from the 33rd page of one of our very favorite books, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.  What we want you to do is to scour the page (click to enlarge), choose 33 words, and reshape those words into a piece of your own.  Your piece does not have to tell an entire story.  We just want to see what you can do with this particular word bank.  Punctuation is up to you.  Use whatever you need, whether or not it appears in the photos.”

 

 

I absolutely love this!  It has bones and flowers and children and rifles, such intriguing contrasts. Here’s the 33 words I chose:

 

Blackness carried him along

Wild woods of his mind

Starflowers so hollow-boned

Entrails of umbrage

Ripping, flapping panic

So hidden

Beneath the green leaves

He picked up the rifle

Edge of life came

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Four Letters Forgotten – Friday Five Sentence Fictioneers

18 Jan
Mouth by Thomas Saliot, I own no rights. Image source and more of his art at:http://www.thomassaliot.com/?gallery=mouth

Mouth by Thomas Saliot, I own no rights. Image source and more of his art at:
http://www.thomassaliot.com/?gallery=mouth

Four Letters Forgotten

I can see the shake in your eyes, the ache strumming at your spine. I can hear your stomach mourn every miscarriage of words like a loving parent would, crying in pain as your expressions melt in the hell’s kettle of acid and hurt that has filled your hollow bones. Steam gathers in your eyes and foggy ghosts of the past lurk in the corners of your lips. But in all their darkness, they’re still scared of your glorious cupid’s bow, the god-carved figurehead of your brave spirit. Because when every shop and soul is sold out of smiles, you lead your mouth to another wondrous waltz and your laugh rings like the bells of Notre Dame, in a loving concerto that revives the four letters forgotten.

————————

 

That little piece above is my first ever Five Sentence Fictioneers and needless to say, I’m excited! Five Sentence Fictioneers is an intriguing challenge that, as lovely Lillie McFerring explains in her blog, is ” about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. ”

Five sentences, a prompt word, inspiration. A recipe for an imaginative adventure.

This week’s prompt word is forgotten. To check out other creative Fictioneers click here, to know more or to participate dance over to Lillie’s place.

Peace and love, always!

xx

Hunter of El Dorado- Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

14 Jan

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

 

Ooh, fiction fuelled by facts! How could I resist!

I picked mine from BBC’s website. It’s  El Dorado- Truth Behind The Myth,  and it discusses recent archaelogical research that has comfirmed El Dorado, the ‘golden one’, to be not a city but a person – a ruler so rich “he allegedly covered himself in gold from head to toe each morning and washed it off in a sacred lake each evening.”

Originally I clicked on it because I loved the animation film The Road to Eldorado when I was little. But reading about the old customs and rituals of the Muisca people actually got me  thinking about man’s search for riches, our society’s views on money and what we find desirable in life.

“Within Muisca society gold, or the more specifically an alloy of gold, silver and copper called tumbaga, was highly sought after, not for its material value but for its spiritual power, its connection to the deities and its ability to bring balance and harmony within Muisca society. As Muisca descendant Enrique Gonzalez explains, gold does not symbolise prosperity to his people.

“For the Muisca of today, just as for our ancestors, gold is nothing more than an offering… gold does not represent wealth to us.”

–  Extract from the article El Dorado- Truth Behind the Myth

So, are diamonds really girl’s, or man’s, best friend ?

Hunter of El Dorado

He remembered the day he lost his sight clearly.

One morning he simply woke up and found that he had lost his eyes. Instead, he now had diamonds crushing his eye sockets.

As he blinked wildly, he felt them drilling their way deeper, their spiky tips cutting on his retina and optic disc.  He felt an ache trickling down his temple, back of his neck, his spine. It was followed soon after by an insane panic, the fear that his diamond eyes would suddenly shatter and send million knife-sharp spalls into his brain, blood stream and bone marrow, paralyzing him forever.

In his mind, he could already see himself helplessly lying there, like some child’s abandoned ragdoll, just waiting for death. Till one day, his neighbour would be alerted by the smell of his rotting intestines and would finally find him, only to discover it was too late. He would be pickled and stored away in a museum, caged into a glass cabinet for everyone to goggle at like some freakish zoo animal. Here it is, ladies and gentleman and all you snotty kids, a sight so gruesome it might eat your eyes! Are you ready? Witness a man, a monster hardened by money, a hunter of El Dorado, cursed to watch life through diamond lenses! Heeeeere he is!

He could hear the gasps and shrieks of the audience. A middle-aged woman covering her child’s eyes. Don’t look at him Edith, he must have been a bad man.

Was he? A bad man? Just a foul shell of a feeling person?

It shocked him that he had never even considered this before.  Never… that word was like a fat exclamation mark laughing and pointing at him, a proof of his inadequate nature. He had the feeling of entering a room confidently, in a dream, only to find he was stark naked. Heads turned, chatter was sliced into silence. Eyes spread wide in shock-white faces.

No! This was not him!

He was leather briefcases, polished skin like precious china; he was a blank slate to be tinted with the most flattering shades at the start of every press conference, such colours that would complement everyone in the room. He was successful, smart, business. But underneath his Armani suit, he was empty.

But why now? Why today? What was this, distorting his vision?

He tried to strain his eyes immobile and unblinking, squeeze them into clarity, but in vain. His sight was ever more dispersed. All he could focus on was light, random and chaotic lustre racing in front of his eyes. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was some kind of sick joke; his mind repeating again and again the flickering light of his bedside lamp, the last thing he had laid his eyes upon. And whether his vision would be entirely different, happier, had his last sight been lover’s hair falling in loose twirls down their neck. Would he then see only love?

Nauseated by his own thoughts, he finally forced himself to move and fell out of his bed. He crawled on the floor like vermin, trying to find some shelter, a dark hole that would guard him from the firework display dancing on the surface of his irises. Instead, he found a wall to support himself with and he lifted himself up slowly, only to face the full horridness of his condition.

He saw himself staring into the full length mirror next to his wardrobe. His reflection was fragmented to him, but he could still make out one particular detail. His eyes. Terrible.

Indeed, they were perfectly shaped, purest diamonds. For a moment he got lost in them,  admiring their beauty foolishly like a child looking up to his parent and seeing the face of god. But all too soon he was ripped away from his fantasy, to witness their true nature with horror rising in his throat like pulping acid.

For his diamond eyes, like the most precious diamonds, were utterly transparent when inspected from the outside. To him, they were a cage, that frightening glass cabinet he had just conjured up in his mind. But from the mirror stared back at him the image others saw: his eyes like still, shallow water; windows reaching to the very bottom of his soul, exposing all. All his signs of weakness, his dreams, were laying there, drowned into the lake of tears. There they were, pooled into a sad pit of discarded emotions.

Then he saw it, the one dream he had most guarded in his life. It was swimming into the ether, to be lost forever.

As he watched it float by, he felt it stripping him out of his armada of ties, his armory of perfectly fitted suites, his gold watch, dropping all the zeroes on his bank account one by one as it went. It swam up, to the surface of his diamond eyes, where he watched it leaving him, his dream of love. Quickly, too quickly, it became just another light in the distance. And too late did he realize that his rich offerings, his watch and suits and money,  were but clutter. For if he had only touched love, given his dream a fleeting caress as it passed him, that…

That would have been the brightest kind of gold.

Dear Santa – Trifecta

22 Dec
A little girl's letter to Santa, taken from a Finnish newspaper

A little girl’s letter to Santa, taken from a Finnish newspaper

 

This letter has been published in a Finnish newspaper to which it came from a nursery. The writer is a 6 year old girl. The letter reads:

Dear Santa,

I don’t maybe need Monster High (*a toy) as a present or I do want it but if mum and dad would not fight and drink beer at all that would be the best christmas, best.

Best wishes,

Neea 6 yrs.

It broke my heart. And inspired me to write a peace for this week’s Trifecta. I hope that be it this Christmas or next year, we can all give some time to a child near us, play with them, listen to them or just smile to them. They will answer that smile eagerly because children were born to love. Let’s not allow the world to suck that love out of them. Children are precious, wise and fragile.  Here’s my contribution to Trifecta:

This weekend we want you to give us a pithy summary of your feelings about the holidays.  Your response does not need to be cynical or sarcastic.  We welcome all thoughts and feelings about this time of year–so long as you express those thoughts and feelings in 33 words.

Dear Santa

When mum is sad she whispers. Mum always whispers at Christmas. She doesn’t eat Christmas dinner, maybe because she has so many tears to swallow. Mum can have my toys, I love her.

What could you do to help a child out?

Questions on life and death- Daily Prompt, Connect the dots

23 Nov

Today’s Daily Prompt:

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

 

Questions on life and death

I dream of murder, I dream of murder sleep or wake.

I’m afraid people can see the shameful glow of it on my skin. Oh I can feel their suspicion, it is screaming loudly at me from behind their pursed lips as they pass me by. They know. You know.

So what are we going to do about it?

“We?” ask your raised eyebrows.

Yes, we. Because now it is your secret too, this dream of mine. So would you please listen to me?

I have only had one dream in life so far. When I was little, my dream was to be a rally driver. But my legs were too short to reach the pedals. I cursed and a teacher slapped. Sorry, am I boring you? I know you didn’t start reading this to make a Freudian analysis of my childhood.

You started reading this because you saw murder. It rose in your mind, the blood-coloured shadow of it. It scared you, it drew you in. Can you not see? Even you, even you dreamed of murder then. You coloured it in, in your own mind. Even you got curious, just then, curious of murder. You and me are not too different, after all, you see.

You could love me.

You would, as a matter of fact, you would love me. If I had started this differently. If I had started by quoting T.S Elliot, The Wasteland perhaps, you would have said: “Oh, I love poetry! What else do you like?” And then you would have discovered that I am funny, and an attentive listener.

Or maybe, I could have started this by carrying your grocery bags for you in the rain. You would have still got wet, of course. But you would have been grateful to me, grateful that I freed your hands from the handcuffing bags. Grateful because the weight of the bags was pulling you down to the ground with them, your head heavy of responsibilities. Actually, how do you know that I didn’t help you out? How do you know that I wasn’t the person who opened a door to you today? The passer-by who you watched with a kind eye? How do you know?

Or I could make you hate me. Right now, with my next sentence. How do you know I have not already killed? How do you know I’m not the most hated convict, the one that even other criminals despise?

See, the seed of hate could be planted in your mind, just by giving you those impressions. They had an effect upon you, and whether they were right and just impressions was totally irrelevant to your feelings. That is the difficulty in life, first impressions. You know one thing about a person, and you think you know it all. Or enough to like them or dislike them, at least.

Isn’t it funny how it works in jails? The bizarre hierarchy they hold. Think about it. A man comes in who has killed a woman. Other people, convicts themselves, spit on him. They shout at him, they judge him. They kill him. Then in comes a woman who has killed a man. Everyone is quiet. No-one knows what to say, what to do. Because they have just killed a man too.

“But surely, that is not as bad as killing a woman?” they ask the woman.

The woman disagrees.

“You’re not killing women and men. You’re killing humans. All killing is the same, it’s killing of life.”

The others get angry now, they don’t like being contradicted. So, they kill the woman. They don’t want to see her at breakfast. Then they would see their guilt, staring at them from the other side of the table with its suprisingly gentle brown eyes. But now, they realise in horror, they have killed a woman. Just like the man they killed because he had killed a woman. Before, people who despised them in the street didn’t matter. But now, now they have become what they despised. Now it matters, because they despise themselves.

So who are you to judge my dream? Who are you to judge anyone’s dream? Anyone’s deeds? Who is anyone?

Don’t get aggrevated, I’m not trying to piss you off. I’m asking you this because I don’t know the answers myself. You don’t know either? Oh… See, you and me are not very different. Because after all, we are both just humans.

So can I reveal you my dream now, reveal it all? Because there is something you don’t know.

I have only one wish for you, before I do. Do not judge me. Do not hate me. Pity me, for there are men who dream of many great things. There are men who dream about buying their children new shoes. Buying a ring to their girlfriend. Oh, those are nice, strawberry-tinted dreams. Then there are men like me. The only dream I have been given, since I abandoned my childhood one, is a dream of murder. Which one of us do you think leads a happier life?

And if you judged me, if you sentenced me to death because death it what I supposedly want to give others,  you might think you did a right thing. Congratulations, you’re the noble heir of Hammurati. An eye for an eye. But is that justice to you? Is that justice? Are you the one with the keys on your hand, are you the one who has the right to unlock life and death? To decide? Are you the judge, powerful enough to halt and restart the order of life? Are you?

If you are, please reveal your wisdom. Please, let me kiss your hands and buy you flowers. Please let me show you respect. And please please, you wiser being, solve my problem:

Love Thy Neigbour As Thyself. Now that is a golden rule of life, don’t you think? But tell me, what do you do if you don’t love yourself? Who is going to save you then, and your neighbour, from yourself? I treat people exactly as I treat myself. Disrespectfully.

And don’t you think for a second that I don’t admire those other kind of people. Those who love themselves. Those girls with prim dresses, cradling heavy books on their lap like they were precious babies, their ankles pointing forward. They’re always going forward, learning. Loving. Once, they will have those books on their shelves to remind them of their university days, when they met the guy who had the most dazzling blue eyes. (I wish I could have been that guy. Oh shut it. On with the story.) And she has put the books aside now, to cradle her baby. The baby has the most dazzling blue eyes. His father is in the kitchen. The kitchen fills the house with warm air but it is not the steam of his cooking. It is his love.

And me? Only hate was given to me, in the womb. It is like a violent serpent inside me, it is like drunk Dionysos ordering me to drown yet another pint of bitterness; drink, drink my love. Drink up, sink down. Hate is acid in my throat, it burns my heart.

So now, now I should tell you my dream. I think it is time. I have disgusted you out of your wits, scared you a little perhaps, the way those weird men do when you’re making your way home and it’s dark, those men who talk to lamp posts. Let me tell you, those men, they only talk to lamp posts because they have no-one else to talk to. Not because they want to bribe the lamp posts to attack you with him.

But I cannot do it! I cannot! Now, that I should reveal my dream to you, I cannot. It is too much. Oh, not too much for me, you silly. I have to live with it everyday. But it might be too much for you to take. I’m afraid I have wasted your time. We must depart. Goodbye!

Did you say something?  Sorry, I couldn’t quite hear you? My dream? What… Oh you want to know?

That changes things. Hmm… I was not given a choise with this dream, maybe that is why it pains me so. But you made a choice, how brilliant! Maybe making a choise will save you. You take this dream off me, out of your own free will? How strange! Thank you! Here it is:

I dream of murder, I dream of murder sleep or wake.

But not because of what I have just told you, no. Not because of hatred, not because of my past or because I feel lost. I do not dream of murder where I would hold the knife on the throat of this world, no!

I dream of murder where I would be the blemish on the pavement left behind when the murder scene has been cleaned up, when the murderer has been arrested. I dream of murder, one that I would not carry out. I dream of murder in which I was the victim.

That surprised you. I bet you thought I walked out of the Shining (That guy, he wanted best to his family too maybe. He just didn’t know anymore what best was.)  But why dream of such a horrible thing?

Because I have seen a child being murdered.  After that I thought, if I could save one child I would give myself away.

After that I thought, if I had to choose one side of the blade, one side to view life and death from… I would choose the side of death. I would choose to be the victim. Not because I want to die, particularly, but because I don’t want to be the one deciding who lives.  My life is the only life I can decide on. And I would like to give mine to a child.

So what do you think of me now? What do you think of dealing out life and death? Right and wrong?

Playing God – Daily Prompt

20 Nov

The Daily Prompt- Coming to A Bookshelf Near You

Write a summary of the book you’ve always wanted to write for the back cover of its dust jacket.

Playing God

Have you ever lost someone to death?

He had.

In his dreams he could see her falling, the car like a raging bull that sends her spinning, throws her up, up, higher. She glides through the air, gracefully at first, the wind humming peacefully… but then she starts to fall, her limbs looking all mangled and dislocated. An unhuman crash rings out as the wind screen pierces her head open, the tenderness of her temples forever disturbed. She falls down the bonnet, falls down into nothingness, into death.

But seeing her die in rewind is not the most painful part. No,  the most painful moment is the blissful forgettance that follows, as he wakes up panting and then fools himself into believing that it was just a dream, just a horrible dream. And as he reaches to her side of the bed, just to feel her soft hair, all he finds is a cold pillow. It still has the shape of her head imprinted on it, a solid proof of the nights they have spent together, curled up in love.  So he listens to her tapping downstairs, waits to hear the kettle boiling and breakfast plates clinking, just like every morning. But the house stays silent now, the house stays empty.

In that moment, in that hammer stroke of reality, death finally sniffs him out. It gatecrashes his heart, moves in with its heavy luggage and makes itself sadistically comfortable. That is the moment he remembers that love is forever lost.  That she is forever lost.

But what if she isn’t? What if she survived?

That is the question he has to ask himself when an unknown woman suddenly walks through his door. That stranger, she carries a tint of familiarity on her face. That woman, she moves like her. She smiles like her.

Then she confesses that she is her.

Is he going to believe her, welcome her back? Is he going to take that hope, embrace the sweet solace it brings? Is he going to love her as if she really is his lost love?

Or is he going to turn her away, tear apart her words, forever carrying that little regret in his heart? That little doubt, that bittersweet seed of a newly found faith in life. That one, burning question:

What if she really is her, resurrected?

Happy Birthday Dracula!

8 Nov

Okay, I know that technically it is not Dracula’s birhday, but his creator’s. Actually do vampires even celebrate birthdays, they’re living dead after all right? (Does that mean they never get birthday cake? How sad, no wonder they want a bit of your warm blood. Or maybe all the vampire kiddos have black pudding for pudding on their birhday, who knows.)

But since I missed out on all the Halloween haunting in the blogworld, passing Bram Stoker’s birthday without a nod would have been a disgrace. I mean, this is the man who began the vampire craze, who gave inspiration to such things as Twilight… thank him for that or slap him, matters of taste are debatable.

Anyway, let’s get some guests to this birthday party. H.P Lovecraft should certainly be invited, his stuff is so scary even Stoker might turn in his grave in an attempt to escape. Shall we hear some of it?

 

If this didn’t get you scared enough, for extra chill factor someone can be positioned behind you and then attack you during the ending climax. (Thanks brother!)

There is a few reasons I have come to love Lovecraft. Firstly, his stories are different from the horror conventions of today that seem to penetrate especially some of the blockbusters; they are not gory, they’re not full of blood and guts and flying heads, they’re not spiced up with serial killing rampage. Instead, they can appear very pedantic at times, like the beginning of  The Rats In The Walls when you get the family history of the main character and all the dates. And yet, even if they’re full of detail, they still possess that ambiguity, that abstract feeling, that primal feeling of fear. And not only a fear towards what’s going on in the story, but a more vague fear, the fear of unknown dogging us. It is deliciously psychological, the details making his work scarily believable and realistic while the lack of rationality, the lack of any justification as why such monstrosities leap forward, stays with us long after we finish reading. It is this combination that makes the fear feel so real, that pulls you into the story, strangles you, as you feel it closing in on you claustrophobically.

Another reason I love Lovecraft is the love he has for his craft.

Sorry I just had to, the guy has a funny name. But it is true;  I admire how he manages to capture emotions with his writing. When I read and write, I’m always interested in the lexical choices because I would like to find a way to not only describe emotions, but to relate them, in all their essence and abstract qualities. Anyone who has felt something big, something all-encompassing and overwhelming inside them knows that it can be really hard to find words for that something. How do we convey all the tiny nuances we feel? How do make sure that when we’re writing them down, we are not doing just that: writing them down, reducing them, shrinking them? How do you find fitting words?

We have all struggled with these questions, whether it is because we love to write or because we’ve been in a perplexing social situation. Or because we have experienced something massive, something so very unexplainable, like the loss of a loved one or the finding of one. Something that makes us wonder the hows and whys of this world. So, if emotions are individuals, how do we find a way to convey them to a greater audience?

Lovecraft seemed to know how.  When I read his work I find myself asking: How, how does he make these emotions, these scary visions so real to us? So tangible, so breathing?

Perhaps because they were so very real to him. He had first hand experience from his night terrors.  And who is to say that the things he witnessed are not as real as the sun on the sky and the ground under our feet? Isn’t perception as debatable as taste?  There is more… Is there more?

Listen to ( or read if you prefer) From Beyond and decide.

“What do we know,” he had said, “of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the
boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break dawn the barriers.”

 

 

And now, your turn, who else should be invited to this birthday party and why? Whose writing do you admire?