Survival (Part One)

I was born in Little Emming the same year Christopher Tin taught the world how to steal other people’s magical abilities. That was a crazy year, though I slept, ate and shat my way through most of it. As you can imagine, it was a traumatic time for my parents; I should have been flying objects around my cot by then or turning my milk from plain to banana flavoured. They spent all year certain that someone had stolen my own powers, though what someone would want with a baby’s feeble magic is anyone’s guess.

The years passed and they slowly came to terms with the fact that I was Different. Even when they wrapped my spellsphere with their own powers, I couldn’t get it to work. So eventually they gave up.

I’ve heard in Asin that they treat people with green eyes differently depending on proximity. Everyone wants to be friends with a green eyed person, sure, but they don’t want to be related to one. Well it was the same with me. I had more friends than my personality warranted, but my parents distanced themselves from me or begged me to see a demon whisperer who would rid me of my evil.

And I did what they said, but to no avail. Still, not everyone can say they’ve talked in tongues to the Lord Cleric Overseer himself. I pride myself on that, at least.

So while all my peers were racing board wipers around with their mind, I had to hold mine and run with it (the wiper, not my mind… though I did do that too). Suffice to say I never won a race, though I excelled in morning exercises.

And when careers advice came around, all three advisers I saw were rendered speechless. They all gave me the same look over their glasses – startled and a little afraid, I think. In the end, I was given a written document which said there was no job I could fill in Emming and that I should try Asin with the other non-magical folk. Suffice to say I was pissed, so I decided to do my own research. I decided I would read all the Little Emming books I could to try and find my place in the world.

But I got through half a tome and fell asleep, my drool dampening the pages so much that they wrinkled and Mrs Kripp kicked me out of the research library. All I had access to was the fiction section – all Asin imports of course; no one in Little Emming has time for a novel when they could put on a play with magic in ten seconds flat.
So I read them instead – the only Emminger in a sea of magical Asinians (my opposites, I guess) looking for a piece of home in the weird and wonderful place they lived. It took me a while to learn Asic, but I met some good non-magical folk along the way and eventually managed to read even the hardest of novels – Battle and Calm.

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A perfect life

Don’t think, just do. High five the company’s number one sales person even though you haven’t sold anything in over a month. Give him that confident, killer smile you used to use on clients. Feel it fade as you walk towards the lift, wondering which of your stuff to sell next. Because that’s all it is: stuff, though you secretly cherish it. After all, it makes you you. You decide it’s your second car’s turn to get the boot (the boot? It barely had one anyway, it being a Jaguar F-type). Your wife will complain derisively (“how are we going to travel to Prairie House? By train?”), but at the end of the day she’ll realise a) it’s your decision, and b) it’ll be her money to spend, no doubt on a new pair of shoes or a dress (£60,000 can only stretch so far).

The street is yours as you walk down it; the crowd parts for you. You notice this, though you do not make any indication that you notice. And it is just as well they part for you for just then, a baseball bat comes flying through the air, spinning from God knows where, and you have no chance to stop it. You who have controlled everything – even your birth, in which you arrived three months’ late, refusing to budge from your mother’s warm womb. You are the only casualty, and you are an unlucky one at that: the bat hits you full on, not just one of its ends, and you find yourself on the pavement without quite recalling how you got there. You can hear a feral scream coming from somewhere close by and you realise just before you pass out that it is you and that something has changed deep inside you.

Next thing you know, you’re coming to and you can still hear screams, as though no time has passed and you’re still lying on the pavement, gum sticking to your tailored jacket. Except it’s Marcy, your wife – ever the theatrical – head bowed and sobbing away, not even realising you are awake. You shush her and she starts. You look closely at her as she raises her head and you realise she isn’t crying at all. You see she just looks shocked you’re awake. Before she can open her mouth, you speak – the first words you’ve said to her (besides “yes”, “no”, “honey” and “I’m busy”) in years. You say “I want a divorce,” or at least you try to say it but your throat is raspy and instead you just croak. So Marcy, oblivious, flutters around you, bringing you a glass of water with a straw in it, making little sympathetic noises. You take a drink and you can feel the water sooth your throat, giving you strength.

“I want a divorce” you say again and this time she hears you and her concerned eyes narrow. She throws the glass of water in your face. The straw hits your eyelid, which scars you far more than the bat did. Without a word, she leaves you – walks outside, leaving the water to drip down your neck and into your shirt. And in the weeks to come, you will find out she told everyone she left you, not that you left her. But you don’t mind, because at least you are free – Jaguar F-type and all.


The married couple was inspired by The Bonfire and the Vanities, which I read a few months back.

Gone

The gods have gone. They’ve left this planet without me – it’s the only explanation. Even kinsmit, god of love, has vanished from this earth.

In the early days, I searched every house for another living soul, but I haven’t checked any in months.  The bodies began to get to me; they looked so peaceful that each day became a battle I felt I would lose. I wanted to join them, of course, but hope stood in the way. My hope is waning now though, as is my sanity. We’re – or rather, “I’m” (I must get used to the singular) – a sociable crowd, us humans; apocalypses don’t bode well for our kind.

And then I heard it: a voice calling on the wind. I rushed towards it, trying to find its source, its middle, its end… any clue to locate it! but the voice was fading so I rushed back the way I came and saw… a human.

I should have known it was not so, for the alley was a dead end, just like this situation. Just like my life.

I stopped and he stopped a few yards ahead of me. He needed a good shave and his eyes were a little manic, but besides that, he looked fine. Beggars can’t be choosers, after all. He must have thought the same, for we both began running towards each other at once. As I raced closer, I realised he looked familiar but –

THUNK

– realised too late that he was me and I was he. I ran headlong into a mirror and was propelled backwards just as the mirror was propelled forwards. With horror and no way of changing my fate, I watched as it fell towards me. My head hit the cement and the mirror hit my head and before I knew it, the planet had lost its final inhabitant.

I took my last breath and lay there, still as death, awaiting my fate. Awaiting the gods to take me away – to heaven or hell I did not care; so long as the place was inhabited.

But all the waiting amounted to nothing, for I simply lay there, watching as nature sunk its claws into the world around me. Creepers wrapped around the mirror, hiding my reflection from me (much to my relief) but revealing flowers when the season was right. That is, until creatures took away my eyes and I could see no more. Dead and unable to move, but still waiting. In limbo.

Prompt: Write a story with no characters where the setting itself is the story.

There are no survivors here. You don’t believe me? Look around you if you can, though the water may inhibit that. Let us go to the deepest place on Earth that we know of. Yes, you see it now. The last human structure in existence. If there were any tourists left alive, they would flock to it. I’m surprised you can see it, though; your eyes must be good. It’s half hidden in the sand.

Seagrass has taken it upon itself to seek the light. It must have got stuck under the ship. It grows through the bullet holes, weaving itself around the structure. Adapting. Shame humans couldn’t do the same.

Let us follow a school of fish as they dance around the ship. Oops. One breaks free from the rest to dart under the upside down main deck. Half of it is blown away by a cannon, the fragments long since washed away with the current, but that doesn’t stop the little fish. It darts around, taking in the rust and corrosion.

But what’s that? A few strands of hair shimmer in the water. If you weren’t careful, you would mistake it for algae or an octopus. But the fish was careful, so it swims over.

And very quickly backs away, rushing back to its school as fast as its little fins will take it.

But we’re here now. Let us see what it is.

A man. Vanished from Earth; no longer a person nor a character. His body is bloated from too long spent in the water. He wears a brown uniform, though perhaps “wears” is the wrong word, for it hangs off him. Torn before or after he died? No one knows.

But we know this much: the ship marks the beginning of the end of the human race. You can see it in a white flag on the ocean floor, the bullet holes telling us the peace offering was not accepted. Let us move down into the ship to see what else we can find.

The captain’s quarters. His chest still gleams as though brand new. What could be inside? Let us open it and find out. Documents – plans, to be exact. A map of the world with tacks all over it. One on each country – all the countries in the world – involved.

You can see the corrosion too, can’t you? It’s too obvious to simply brush over. The bullet and cannon holes grow bigger than is humanly possible. Metals begin to rust and break apart.

That’s the problem with sea water – and nature in general, I guess. It always takes back that which should not Be.

 


 

This piece really made me think about what constitutes a character. Any living creature? Someone or something which walks and talks? I still don’t know if the fish, the narrator, the captain or the dead human would be considered characters. What do you think?

Well, I’ve been absent for far too long again. I think I have to accept that sometimes work will get in the way. I get grumpy if I don’t write (creatively) for too long. Antsy. I just need to use that as a means of writing again as opposed to lounging around and doing nothing.

The WordPress community always grounds me, though, and brings me back. Thank you.

Prompt: Write a story that consists only of monosyllabic words.

We walked down to the edge of the world – went there to take in the sights. But all that lay in front of us was dark and too true. We clung as one as we stood and asked why they jumped off the ledge. I had thought we would see a new world – one which was far more bright than Earth. But no – no such luck.

But there were eyes in the void. They stared right at us. They were as big as our heads, all round and green. They had flecks, the likes of which I had not seen on Earth. The flecks were dark. They swirled. We did not think when we stepped past the edge. We were drawn to the eyes, their odd stare – half dead, they looked.

And there we still are. We float in the void with the folk who fell for the eyes too. We try to swim through the air to the eyes but they still seem as far off as when we first came here. Soon the whole of Earth’s folk will be here, I am sure. We try to warn those on the edge but the eyes get to them all.

 


 

Orphan Black is fast becoming my favourite programme again. After a (relatively) crappy season, it seems like it’s back on track!

Hello 100th post 🙂