Fiction Challenge


Fence has challenged, and I have attempted to answer. Find a piece of artwork you like, a painting or sculpture, somethng visual. Link to an image and write a story inspired by it. 500 words or less. Write it in one go, no going back and revising.

A month before a condemned man is set to die, it is customary to ask him who he wants present at his execution. The theory is that the prisoner, in the unforgiving grip of contrition, will want to see the faces of the ones he loves, that it would make the 'transition' easier. But the truth is, the fear of death blinds you. And even if you were the most fearless son of a bitch to ever grace this earth, it would matter little. Once you pass over, you can't see a living soul.
Am I condemned you ask?
Only in the same way as everyone else. But I have not taken another life, I am not caged.
Then how do I know?
Is it not obvious? I am dead. And I am alone.
I do not care to convince you of this fact, just as I did not scream when I became aware of my utter desolation. Something inside me, not a voice, not a thought; somehow I simply knew. How can I scream if I cannot recall the sound of my voice? And whether you believe me or not is of no consequence.
I do remember the heat, the violent incalescence and smoke and desperation. I remember a figure, reaching in, and flashing lights and industrious hands. And then I remember nothing. Just waking up, although that's misleading. Not waking up, but returning to your thoughts after a daydream. And finding myself in this place. Or outside looking in. Outside the cast-iron fence of Cullcass Cemetery.
Behind me, a traffic light turns from amber to red. The air is cool, and ever-darkening clouds are reflected sharply in shop windows. Everything is here, everything goes on, yet there is no one. As if every person alive slipped politely out of view.
Almost everyone. Inside the cemetery, only a few yards away from me, there is a figure swaddled in bandages and prostrate upon a small wooden board. Without question or thought, I know that it's me.
Is this what I have been brought here to see? That my death is but a pinprick of light in a distant sun? Why has no one come? Is this my torment, my hell? There are no demons, no wails or shrieks, only the bitter realisation that all relationships mean nothing.
It starts raining, as if someone has taken a knife to the clouds. I gaze upward, wishing the droplets were shards of glass, to pierce my eyes, to blind me. But as I look upon that pathetic figure one last time, something changes. Off to the side, barely a foot from my corpse, an umbrella opens. And then another. And in the slowest of heartbeats, twenty more.
Before I am even aware that I have fallen to my knees, there are opened umbrellas as far as I can see.
A roof of hope, a curved defiance. Painting by Edger Ende

Icarus Falls - Part One


Tenebrous. Eight hours ago, a caller had asked Constance what it was like living in Icarus Falls. He'd fumbled his way around a few descriptives, but the word he was really looking for had strayed somewhere between his cortex and his larynx. Yet now, with the sickly green LED flashing 4:20 at him from the bedroom floor, it seemed the prodigal word had returned. It had better not expect some sort of welcoming feast.
A casual observer might question how he could see the time if the clock was on the floor, but this would be based on the assumption that Constance he been stirred from sleep. The unfortunate truth is that tonight, and for the last four nights, he had been battling insomnia from a variety of positions, the latest of which saw his feet dangling from one side of the bed, whilst his head hung languidly from the other.
Constance had come to Icarus Falls as an exercise in reanimation. It was both enough of a city to make him feel comfortable, and enough of a small town to provide his jaded soul with some much needed rest. Most days, the sun was consumed by the smoke from the industrial quarter, leaving the corpses of shadows strewn across streets and pavements. At least, that's what it looked like the day Constance had arrived, but he soon learned that most of the locals just called it gloom. There was something about the light, something about its saturation that mirrored what he felt; an intoxicating bittersweet. Perhaps that was where the town got its name from. There were certainly no waterfalls that he knew of, nor any association with the myth that he could deduce; it must have been named by someone with a sense of humour. Icarus Falls, a city forgotten by the sun.
A final twist of irony had not escaped him; Icarus Falls, the city where he would remember how to fly.


Stolen from Fence when she wasn't watching....

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Fm!

  1. Reindeer like to eat fm.
  2. Fm is actually a fruit, not a vegetable!
  3. Fm once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest!
  4. Ninety-six percent of all candles sold are purchased by fm.
  5. During the reign of Peter the Great, any Russian nobleman who chose to wear fm had to pay a special fm tax.
  6. Carnivorous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by fm.
  7. Fm is incapable of sleep.
  8. Antarctica is the only continent without fm.
  9. The pigment Indian Yellow was manufactured from the urine of cows fed only on fm.
  10. Over 2000 people have now climbed fm, with roughly ten percent dying on the way down.
I am interested in - do tell me about
I'll let you draw your own conclusions, shall I?


When it comes to dreams, aspirations; when it comes to completing the more creative tasks I've set for myself in my life, I would be lying if I told you I had a great track record. I started piano lessons when I was 13, but after two years I let it slip through my fingers. When the guitar whispered of future glories, I answered. And although I still play, I do regret not having seen my then guitar teacher for more than but a handle of lessons. I finished school,and eagerly flung myself into theological studies, only to find myself at this present time further away from those things I once believed then I ever dreamt I might be. Photography, started not finished. Numerous bands, started not finished. I have more 'bits' of songs then I know what to do with, and enough half-finished lyrics to write a book. Which incidentally is yet another endeavour, begun with great gusto and honourable intent, yet now fading in the half-light of dusk. And deep inside of me, there is a yearning to ignore the screams of past failures, tramp excuses into the ground, lower my head into the wind and finish something which, in time, will be an indication of what I am, what I'm made of. My faults and my glories. And I know that my lament is purely what it is to be human, and is a burden shared by more people then I can ever imagine. I know too that I do have successes. I only need look at my wife's face, or wonder at the natures of those I can call friends to see that. Yet I still choose to listen to the inhuman voices muttering in the back of my mind. Will I ever finish anything worthwhile? This afternoon, as I saw a seven-week old heartbeat, everything else faded. And I realised that I may yet finish a novel, or perform a song, or achieve something I have not yet conceived of. But whether I do or do not is no longer a burden, or a taunt. It is no longer some ill conceived measure of who I am. The mutterings have been silenced by something smaller then my thumb. I am to be a father.

Fear my pink line.......


This had me both laughing and feeling a little Jurassic. Continues here. I'd like to meet this Tim kid.


I should never have met with Kyknoord for coffee last night. Being seen in public with someone smarter and cooler is not a clever move. Oh well, at least I'm better-looking.

Scarecrow rules in Oz........


Something Kelly said in her latest post made room for a subversive thought to slip in unnoticed. She was talking about Diane Lane in the film Must Love Dogs, which is apparently horrendous, but which I have not had the misfortune of watching. She used the rather perfect 'rumpled gorgeousness' to describe Lane, who makes no attempt to hide her age behind surgery or reams of make-up. Anyway, I'm not here to debate Ms Lane or whether or not Must Love Dogs did suck eggs completely, rather, I'd like to ask my learned readers for their opinion as to when the moment was, that we mutated and perverted the definition of beauty to include the scarecrows that grace magazine covers and fashion ramps, where every blemish is digitally removed. Is there some secret Taiwanese factory that churns out these creatures? When did the Mona Lisa become Paris Hilton?

In Motion


Haven't written anything in three weeks, so this is just a small something to get the cogs turning, to clear the cobwebs. This may mean more to some than others.


You taught me well, taught me to look past the colour of a man’s skin. When I asked you how to discern between right and wrong, you showed me that answers lay not in scriptures or words from antiquity, but that I should look to the rain.

The rain keeps men honest, it cleanses the earth of all the ridiculous notions we would thrust upon it, reminds us to tread carefully, forces us to rely on each other more than we would prefer to.

I was not as mischievous a boy as the others, was I? While they were smoking behind the school gymnasium, discovering the image of a woman’s virtue on dog-eared, glossy pages; I was more enraptured by the ridges on the spine of a book then I was at the imagined smoothness of a woman’s legs. They were put to war with cricket bats and rugby balls, while I battled Minotaurs and Leviathans.

I know you were proud of me, mama. That’s the only thing that keeps me going sometimes. But I don’t live in that world anymore. This place is too dark for your wisdom; but I have been patient, I have become wise in my own way. You were right; I should look to the rain. The clouds that roam across the sky like wildebeest on the Serengeti; they turn the sunlight to grey, everything to grey. What colour is the rain, mama? The colour of survival.

A man jogged past me this morning, on my way to collect magazines. I think he was perhaps 40, or 45, but I have never been good at guessing age. He looked so relaxed, in his blue running shorts and white t-shirt. It must have been around 7:30, and I wondered how it was he didn’t even need to get ready for work yet. Imagine that, mama. To run for pleasure, to not have anything to run from.

I know it’s wrong, but I envy him. I envy his delusions, every muted thud of his running shoes on the pavement. And as survival fell from the sky, I found solace in the arched doorway of a clothing store. I checked the opening times on the small sign in the corner of the window, and prayed to God that the rain would stop by 9:30.

Oh mama, I no longer have any books to read, only people. But I read well, and of all the faces that pass me by, those who glance at me from their car windows are all of the same author, the same words. They assume me a victim of circumstance, that as the rain spatters off walls and thrums against glass, I hear in it a profession of my innocence.

How I would love to tell you they are right, that I act as I do because I know no better. Yet I know something they don’t. I live with it each day. It’s the last thing I see before sleep grants me a reprieve. I’ve wanted to tell you so many times, tempted by the hope of a mother’s fathomless love, her mythical capacity for forgiveness.

But I can’t. I lack the words, the courage; or perhaps it is my last gift of love to you, I have no desire to see your heart shattered.

To tell you why. Why I can never come home again.

Miss me?


No overlong exposition today, just checking in after a much-needed three weeks off work. Hoping to post something relevant this week, but for now, its good to be back. For reasons which are still somewhat opaque, I missed all of you.

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