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Posts Tagged ‘flash Fiction’

Four weeks since we took shelter in the Observatory Golf Club. One month is all it took for the greens to turn yellow and dry, for the water to stop pumping and the power to turn off.

Almost everyone in here, almost everyone still alive is white. The dead outside are almost all black.

The comfort of the hotel rooms quickly faded. The whole place stinks of rot and ruin, of the shit that is piled in the corners of the bathrooms, nowhere else to put it. People don’t know how to take care of themselves, many of them are ill.

I’ve spent my time staring out of the window at the dead beyond. Listening to their moaning, seeing them claw hopelessly at the fences, the wall and the doors.

Bloemstein shot them, the first week we were in here until the bullets started to get low. He decided to keep what he had left: ‘In case the kaffir try to break in’. He seems to think the gangs are a worse threat than the dead – and I have to agree.

The constant moaning and scratching drove Miss Grobler to suicide and she wasn’t the only one. Because I watched I saw things differently than the rest.

Day by day I saw the dead turn purple and swell. Saw them get weaker and weaker, saw their tongues swell and stifle their moans. Then the flesh began to fall from their bones, their clothes soaked in fluids. One by one they fell and could no longer move. They were replaced by those that could still move but even they began to thin as the flies, the vultures and even the dogs took their toll.

Six weeks and even they stopped coming. They’re just a pile of rotting meat, settling into muck now.

Eight weeks and the others came. Men in masks and armour. Men with guns and American accents. They’re picking off the few remaining strays and they’re coming this way. What will come after?

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(You bury hatchets in trees, right?)

Flash fic challenge from HERE.

The fox sat in the mist, panting, its tongue lolled, its breath curling and mingling with the miasma that surrounded it. Behind it the tree stood, slumped and heaved over, protruding from the bank after the rain had loosened the soil. Even now it creaked as the ground shifted more, pebbles tumbling and a slick mass of damp earth sliding from around its roots, exposing them.

The fox turned and looked at the tree, seeming to sense that it something was wrong with it. Black-tipped ears pricked up and twitched and then the creature turned, loping away with envious ease, a twitch of its brush vanishing into the swirling vapour.

The tree groaned, again, the weight of its own trunk pulling it over, inch by grudging inch as the earth gave way. Leaves shook and quivered, shedding droplets of water onto the grass below. It was slipping faster now, moments from falling flat to the grass, to vanish into rot and ruin as the fox had vanished into the mist.

The moment came, the ground gave way with a final lurch and then…

Twisted branches shot out and braced the tree against the ground. Twigs spread amongst the grass and took its weight. The fall slowed, stopped and reversed. The crooked tree creaked and quivered, green shoots erupting from every point, questing outward like the spokes of some great wooden wheel.

The tree heaved forward, branched flexing until its swept-back leaves kissed the ground. It rolled, impossibly, pitching forward until its roots thrust up into white sky, bursting with green shoots and unfurling leaves, a second canopy of foliage at its other end. Higher and higher it stretched until it was straight as an arrow and then, crackling and twisting, it keeled over again.

Twist by twist, end over end, into vaporous brume.

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The Venom Club

I spot the little man the moment the door opens. He’s nervous. He knows that he – anyone – shouldn’t be here. I watch, intently, not even blinking, as he closes the door behind him with needless care. Nobody is going to appreciate his care, nobody is going to hear him over the thumping beat of the music.

This isn’t a place that needs to be careful or quiet. We don’t even need a man on the door. Casual trade knows not to fuck with us and if they don’t at the start of the evening, they do by the end. This means he’s either here for a reason, or he’s utterly clueless. Given his care and wide-eyed fright I’m laying my money on the first.

He moves across the floor as though it is shards of broken glass, gingerly, carefully, every sense alert. I can practically see the panicked pulse in his neck and his eyes look dramatic in the half-light, wide-whites, black holes of pupils.

He edges around the serpentine sway of the slithering dancers. He can’t help but look. Who could resist? The sisters are almost identical, they move like whips and arch and twist and writhe in a way that looks effortless and boneless. When they feel his eyes on them they press their cheeks together, tangle their long, straight hair. As he’s drawn in their split tongues lap from their mouths and wind around each other.

I smile as he stumbles back in shock from the girls and I keep my eyes upon him. Finally, he notices, this stumbling, bovine man. In incline my head, slightly, to encourage him and lift my drink. A sip of burning, bitter green, the bile I’ll need to get through talking with this man.

It’s a room of corners, the club. The people who come here don’t like being on show. They like being tucked away. Something to put their back against. Here, in one of the many nooks I’m shielded from the loudest of the music and I can receive this little man and conduct our sordid little business that let’s me live my life.

“I need someone killed,” it’s the first thing out of his mouth, even before he sits.

“No. You don’t.”

“What?” I pull my drink closer, he’s he type that would drink it to ‘settle’ himself and that wouldn’t be a good idea.

“If you need someone killed you can get anyone to do that. Any sneak or footpad or thug. Or you could do it yourself. You need a problem removed and this problem just happens to have a pulse and a name.”

“Semantics…” he growls, the cow-man has a little spine after all it seems.

“Respect will get you a lot further than disdain,” I tell him and I knock back the last of the bitter green liquor, swallowing the scale at the bottom of the glass. I flick my tongue against my fangs and lean forward over the table. “So, tell me about your problem…”

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My choices highlighted.

Saw
Milkshake
Bath
Flowerpot
Wheelchair
Bully
Zoo
Heretic

I am well aware that it makes me a heretic to say so, but I can’t fucking stand disabled people. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against them per se but, rather, that one particular disabled person was such an extreme arsehole that he created a sort of mental immune response completely out of proportion with what most disabled people deserve. You can’t get antihistamines for prejudice, unfortunately, so I’m stuck with it.

Derek was wheelchair bound and Derek was also the most unpleasant, manipulative little bastard you care to mention. He used that chair to get out of anything and everything, to get fawning sympathy from the girls and to get other people into trouble for shit he did. Since, as teachers and parents seemed to think, cripples can’t be fuckwits.

It came to a head for me when he stole my girlfriend. It’s not easy having a girlfriend at school at the best of times. Most girls don’t want anything to do with the lads of their own age, you can’t canoodle in class and the only times you get together in school are on breaks. Seeing each other out of school isn’t that easy either, everyone thinks you’re too young.

Now compound that with a grandstanding, wheeled lech who keeps asking your girlfriend to push him around and who keeps making mouth-open, licking gestures when she bends down to adjust his leg┬ácallipers and all the shit he talks about her when she’s not around and there can be little surprise when my patience runs out and I clock the bastard.

Then the tune changes, then it’s all: “I’m a helpless cripple!” and she joins in with the “You worthless bastard, I never want to see you again!” Then it’s suspension, expulsion for bullying because, as I said before, cripples can’t be fuckwits.

And that, Your Honour, is why I took a saw to his brake and kicked his chair down the hill into traffic.

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“Will a flute collapse on top of the radical bat?”┬áThat was the question Inspector Vole asked himself, hopefully, as he watched the would be riot convene from the safety of his police balloon.

Woodwind wasn’t a nice neighbourhood, jammed next to the even worse String section and abutting the classier Brass District it was the place trouble seemed to flare. No mammal gave a pair of stink bugs what went on in Strings, the place was a hell hole, guitar towers full of rats, breeding in numbers, dying their fur, piercing their tails. Scum of the Earth. Half of Woodwind was just as rotten and if it did collapse that’d save him some trouble.

Arse, wasn’t happening.

Inspector Vole had a nice flat all to himself in French Horn, right on the edge of the Brass District. He got to see it all, the encroaching scum taking advantage of the well-meaning rabbits and squirrels living in Woodwind, trying to convince them it was about social activism and not stuffing all the money and drugs you could into your cheek pouches and fleeing back to the shithole they called home.

Rats were bad but bats? Bats were the worst. You couldn’t bust the bastards because they could fly. The moment they caught of a whiff of the police they were away into the sky. Rats you could catch and clap in irons, lock in the sewer prisons beneath Percussion. This… bat block were getting away with murder.

But, no more. Now they had a new weapon.

Inspector Vole twisted the trumpet to his mouth and preened his whiskers. “He’s in range,” he spoke into the tube. “Fire the dog whistle.”

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