Skyscrapers


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Klaus spooned the last of his cereal into his mouth, careful to avoid any potential rivulets of milk that might form on his chin. He kissed his wife, readjusted his tie and as the front door closed behind him, he slipped between 07:45:01 and 07:45:02, as a letter would an envelope. The world was always sepia toned. Klaus often wondered whether it had more to do with the nature of Stretchtime, or perhaps it was to ensure that all remained focused on the job at hand. Would it have killed them to use Periwinkle Blue every now and again? He could see others now, walking slowly but purposefully, a slight glaze over their eyes the only clue that each was being reminded of the inappropriateness of social niceties. Klaus located his Pinnacle, endured the nausea that always accompanied the telltale flickering, and with fearless eyes surveyed the expanse of city that suddenly lay stretched out below him. He placated the sudden urge to chuckle at how ridiculous he must look, perched high atop this finger of steel, swaying in the breeze. Well, it surely would have, had the possibility of a breeze existed. Or that anyone could have noticed. Performing a last check on the assortment of jars that hung from his belt, Klaus slipped the scraper from its leather sheath and reached to the sky. There was the usual assortment of 'Allah preserve' and 'hare, hare, Krishna', all with the consistency of honey, and all removed by the efficacy of the scraper, the skill of a hand that had been doing this for more than a decade. With a flick of the wrist, 'please' 'almighty' 'sick' 'heal' 'God' 'my' 'husband' all slid from the scraper into a jar. This particular one now being full, he carefully sealed the lid and readjusted his belt so that the maw of an empty jar gaped up at him. He gazed across to another patch of sky, where he thought he recognised Tim, rushing through his allocated section with a youthful vigor. It wouldn't take a while before Tim would realise that it didn't matter how quickly he worked, just that he didn't make mistakes. He knew how costly it might prove if a skyscraper should miss a prayer. This tangent was quickly interrupted, as Klaus felt his fingers slide into what felt like a tear. His heart skipped a beat, but breathing steadily he slid his fingers further, prising apart the thin barrier until he felt the coldness of space caress his cheek. It was a tear only about an inch wide, but he could see the vast blackness beyond. "Oh shit...". His voice sounded strange to him, as if it were an echo. "....one's gotten through." * * * * * * * * * * * Inspired by this picture. This is a new 15 Minute challene, brought to life by Dinesh and answered vehemently by JP. The rules are as follows: 1. Click here and choose any image you like. 2. Compose your piece in less than 15 mins. 3. Post it to your blog. 4. I think for this round it might be interesting to read the piece without seeing the image first, so just provide a link to the image after the piece (note that since the website uses frames, you can get the URL for particular images by hovering over the thumbnails).


14 Responses to “Skyscrapers”

  1. Blogger Carl V. 

    I can see, but my vision isn't that good anymore! (Surprisingly your post looks fine if viewed here in the comments section but is all messed up on the main page.

    Great picture, I love Robert ParkeHarrison's work, I have a photography book with many similar pictures in it. Great story.

    I suggest that all the people participating post their story and picture on their own blog if possible otherwise you may have alot of unhappy people if you are hotlinking to pics on their sites.

  2. Blogger forgottenmachine 

    Thanks Carl, but you're a little too quick for me. Had picked up the text issue and was busy fixing it, but you'd already posted a comment by then!
    Should be fine now, but let me know if it's not.

    As for your suggestion, I just copied the rules straight from Dinesh, but if people want to follow your advice, that's cool. I'll just be glad if people take up the challenge!

  3. Anonymous fence 

    I don't think people are too bothered about people just linking to images from sites. It is different if you actually post their image but don't host it yourself, that is the big problem.

    but to the story. I loved it. Course now I wanna know what happens when a prayer gets through? You can't really just leave us wondering can you?

    I've never done one of these challenges before, but have been trying to write more lately, haven't really done any in quite a while, so my effort is here http://www.bloglines.com/blog/fence?id=5

  4. Blogger Luke 

    Very interesting interpretation of one of those enigmatic images from the website - and if you came up with this in fifteen minutes, then holy shit, where's your book already?!!!

    Those pictures are all very surreal.

    I also echo what Fence says and would love to know more ... specially this bit:

    "He knew how costly it might prove if a skyscraper should miss a prayer."

  5. Blogger Luke 

    Oh and I've lost yer Yahoo email addy, please send me one at some point, when you're not studying that is :)

  6. Blogger Carl V. 

    You're right fence, that was what I was getting at.

    And yes, it looks great now. My dog had gotten me up for his morning bathroom break so I did a little blog checking early in the a.m. and caught you at a bad time!

  7. Blogger jenn see 

    i'm going to have to play with this challenge, methinks.

    there's a word for this by the by, & it's one of my favorites:

    "ekphrasis".

    isn't that lovely?

    by the by, this is like another part of a story written by Jeanette Winterson--her characters go up in a balloon to clean words & emotions out of the atmosphere.

    it's like Klaus is on the other side of the same city.

  8. Blogger jenn see 

    by the by, i realize i use the phrase "by the by" far too often.

  9. Blogger Carpathian 

    Well done for spotting the challenge - and more so for your 'entry' !

    I've just sat and enjoyed spending 15mins of feverish writing for the first time in a week or two.

    I've posted mine and would advise others to have a go too.

    Carpathian is happy.

  10. Blogger LiVEwiRe 

    Really wonderful. These are the kinds of words and creativity that make me love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I'm really impressed; perfect ending.

  11. Blogger banzai cat 

    "...he slipped between 07:45:01 and 07:45:02, as a letter would an envelope."

    I like this piece. Kinda like a religious PKD-feel to it. Which is weird, if one thinks about it altogether. ;-)

  12. Blogger cardboardjudas 

    here is my entry/effort/challenge taking place thing

    this all sounded like a fascinating idea so i thought i'd give it a whirl (god bless the lame cliches)


    http://cardboardjudas.blogspot.com/2005/06/you-know-that-monty-python-line.html

  13. Blogger mysfit 

    thank you, FM, this story made me smile - good writing as always, imagry and idea, I esp. liked the way Klaus talked about Tim...

    The images are wonderful, but blocked in my head are the words...

  14. Blogger JP 

    'Would it have killed them to use Periwinkle Blue every now and again?'

    I liked that. I liked the whole piece - I'd love to more, but it works fine as a little vignette.

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