Fiction Challenge


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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


8 Responses to “Fiction Challenge”

  1. Blogger Fence 

    Great response.

    You always have these great endings to your writing.

  2. Blogger andrea 

    That gave me a chill. Fantastic choice of image.

  3. Blogger jason evans 

    A powerful image.

    And a powerful interpretation. Great work, FM!

  4. Blogger banzai cat 

    I concur. You write lovely lines, FM. :-)

  5. Blogger LiVEwiRe 

    Intriguing image you've selected. I'm still amazed how you can write such a hypnotic piece so quickly; I really enjoyed the process of this.

  6. Blogger Kelly 

    Good GOD man. That was fantastic, and I am SO screwed. I was going to find a picture of someone picking his nose, so I could write about boogers.

    There's nobody like you, FM. xo

  7. Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! 

    I am in awe and drooling yet again... :).
    I am tempted to try something like this but the catch is in writing it all in one go. I'll never be ale to pull that off.

  8. Blogger Carl V. 

    I probably just missed it, but who is the artist of that cool pic?

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