Doorways...

4 comments

Kelly Parra, webmistress sublime over at Fictional Musings, is hosting a flash fiction contest. You have until midnight (PST) Friday, March 31st to email your 80 word flash fiction exploring the theme "doorway." There are already some wicked entries. Have submitted mine, so keep an eye out for it! *****Update***** You can read my entry here.


The Great Pretender.....

9 comments

Robbie Williams kicks off his first SA tour in less then two weeks. Please will you all be patient with me in this dark time. Your support and words of comfort will be greatly needed. I suppose I should just use this time to be reflective. Every now and then, life will force you to endure horrid and unspeakable things; but these are the things that shape us. I hope I will come out of this a better person, but I can't be sure. This will be a test of my resilience, patience and ability to endure extreme pain. I may not be strong enough. Wish me luck.


F*** God........

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So, the abridged version of the story is this: Fokofpolisiekar are a local punk band, who as a result of hard-work and a unique voice have established a loyal following and a great deal of critical acclaim. One night, after a performance, the band are hanging around with some fans (imagine that!!!), enjoying a few shooters and whatnot. "It was 5am. We were drinking shooters. I was having a discussion with a guy about religion. I jokingly wrote 'F*k God' on his wallet," explained guitarist Wynand Myburgh. Fan goes home, only for his mother to see the wallet the next morning. She starts a chain letter that stirs up an outcry in the Afrikaans Christian community. Christian action media group Jesus Project take out a full page advert in a local newspaper, to the tune of R40,000, slating the band for their 'half-hearted' apology and calling on the community to boycott the group. Oh, and they also happened to ask for donations of R10 for the cause. Persecution has always been an expensive business........ Reverend Jannie Pelser, head of Jesus Project said: "There can be no regeneration of morality if you don't respect God." Hmmmm. Regeneration of morality. So let me get this clear. When an 18yr old gets involved in a religious discussion, of his own volition, in the privacy of a bar and allows his wallet to be 'defaced', the correct course of action does not involve having a discussion with your son and asking him whether a)he agrees with what's written on it, and b)how he actually feels about religion and providing him with an environment in which he feels encouraged to express and formulate his own identify. No no no. One must take the course of morality regeneration. This is a difficult concept to define, but even trickier to put into practice. You must choose your cause carefully. For example, when a young woman is raped and falls pregnant, a full page advert calling for greater protection of woman, and a collection to aid her with paying for a safe abortion are not required. The chain letter is also an extremely efficient means of spreading morality regeneration. But again, this technique must be used sparingly. For instance, it is only suitable for decrying movies or books 'slandering' your beliefs. I'm sure you all know by heart the passage in the bible where Jesus says, "Above all things, protect my name and reputation. Oh, and if you have time, help your neighbour." Meanwhile, a group of ministers from Oudsthoorn have put pressure on the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK) organisers and sponsors Absa to retract Fokofpolisiekar's invitation to perform in the country's biggest Afrikaans Arts festival starting April 1. Before there is any further outrage, I would publically like to apologise for the fact that I do not believe in the Easter Bunny. I know it is a contentious issue, so I will endeavor to re-examine my feelings on this. I am sorry for any harm I have caused the Bunny Acolytes. In future, I will be sure to provide you with an outline of my actions and deeds, so that you may approve of that which does not endanger your sensibilities. KN, I apologise for writing 'F*** the Bunny' on your helmet. I will be happy to buy you a new one. Yes yes yes. I KNOW that within every system of religious belief, there are intelligent, caring and other-centered people who do far more then I to uplift those who need it the most, to raise issues that need attending and who devote their lives to the benefit of others. I also know that as much as I am calling for tolerance, the above rant was rather devoid of that. As alien or illogical as another's beliefs may be, public debate is needed, not public humiliation. That said, where two people engage in a private discussion, it is beyond ridiculous to allow things to escalate in the manner in which they did for Fokofpolisiekar. When religious groups turn to bullies, we're headed in a scary direction. And what does God make of this whole debacle? I'm not sure, but I'll ask Him when I see Him at this year's Witchfest..... Click here for the full article. ***** Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website are fully supported by the owner. Any offensive material published IS intended to offend closed-minded religious fanatics or other bi-pedal, lobotomised earth-dwellers. Full page adverts will not instill in me any feelings of remorse, nor can I be blackmailed into contrition. Come and get me, motherfuckers.


And the winner is......

6 comments

Thanks everyone for taking part, what a great response! I think I'll have to make competitions a regular occurence at Ten Miles....... But at the same time, I'm regretting having done this, as now I'm left with the god-forsaken task of picking a winner. With no hair left in my head, I still could not decide between two stories, so I've been left with no choice but to declare two winners. **** "Still raining. Mark watched those grey skies with no hope of spotting the sun. No hint of blue. He looked nonetheless. Everywhere the sky was filled with the one grey cloud. Everywhere the rain fell. Nonstop. So soft you wouldn't feel anything, not til a gust of wind whipped water in your face. But always falling. Had been falling for four years now. Bloody long-term low-grade psychological weather warfare." by Fence **** The clambering dishes from our favorite diner, black coffee and the smoke swirling from the clove cigarettes of our miserable youth, what an unfortunate backdrop. Your thick mascara starting to run before the words can escape my trembling lips. How does one approach this arduous task of saying goodbye? I blow a smoke ring into the tense air; it’s inappropriate, but so is my leaving you for your sister. by Vamprun **** So, if the two of you would be so kind as to pass on your mailing details to forgottenmachine@yahoo.com, your prizes will be sent asap.


Bribery and corruption....

25 comments

No, this won't be a rant about the local elections (you may well get one of those tomorrow), this is in fact a rather superficial attempt at getting attention. Er....I mean....this is an awesome chance to win big! Following on from the 69 words challenge, I was rather disappointed to see nobody take up the challenge ('cept Fence, and forgive me if I missed anyone else). Why did JA Konrath receive such an avalanche of responses? Aha! Prizes!!! (it obviously has nothing to do with him being a damn good writer....er...cough....) So, since I am not (yet) a published author....hey, stop giggling in the back there, it could happen! Where was I...oh yes.....my offer needs to be a little different. So I came up with this: The winning 69 word story, as judged by me, will receive a unique 700 word story, hand-written and never to be printed or posted anywhere else, so that when I do make it big, you can sell it on Ebay for thousands. (Rupees? Yen?) Oh, and the accompanying soundtrack to the story. The catch? A winner can only be declared at a minimum of 20 entries. But you can enter more than once. Closing date? Ah....heck....I dunno. Saturday midnight GMT? Will this work? Does anybody care? Time will tell......... *****UPDATE****** Deadline extended to Monday 12pm GMT. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, I was seriously expecting around three stories.......


69 Ways to leave a lover....

12 comments

Found via Kelly, JA Konrath has issued this challenge: Write a 69 word story. Simple? Well, give it a shot and see! Here's mine: * * * * * There are bodies in the Garden. I watched from the shadows, where shadows should never be. Watched as two of my brothers fell. Watched as they spat words at each other, as words should never be. “We dally too long with them….” “But they make music!” Something is there, under the blood and crumpled wings. It glitters, sickly, humanity’s last gift to Heaven. There are bodies at the Gate. * * * * * Took a lot longer then I thought it would!


Linkage

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From Bookslut, I'm not sure how I feel about this casting. Also via Bookslut, a recipe for disaster? If you've never been introduced to largehearted boy, well, now you have. Via Screenhead, Peter Stormare is very, very scary.


Icarus Falls - Part Six

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(Just starting? Part One is here....)

The music swells; an effusive language threading its way through the gallery, just beneath its ebb and flow a whisper of something equivocal. Anticipation, certainly, but as a cello starts to float above the rising drone, there is also a hint of anxiety.
Twenty rows of chairs curve along two sides of the auditorium like smiling teeth; the back row sloping downward toward the first, whose lucky occupants could reach forward and touch the stage should the inclination take them. Every seat is taken, every pair of eyes drawn toward a ceiling that towers as high as the sky and seems to thrust ever higher.
Sheldon Haywood was particularly proud of the lighting effect responsible for that special brand of vertigo. He peered though a slit in the dark velvet curtain, eager to gauge the mood of this latest audience. He could immediately pick out those who had been to a performance before; they seemed a little less relaxed, yet despite themselves completely engaged with the reality of what could go wrong. Sheldon understood what most in his audience would never admit. They did not return because the skills of his performers were inconceivable, they came back because with every successful show, the chances of something going wrong at the next were escalated. It was the same part of them that, for one fading moment, found disappointment in a bloodless car accident. On posters in some of the more stygian clubs across the city, it wasn't the picture of an acrobat in mid-flight that caught the attention, but those small, black letters emblazoned across it.
Performed without safety nets!!!
* * * * * * *
Cloris shuffled along behind her mother, trying not to step on toes or knock over popcorn, until they located their seats. Most of the adults were squeezed into chairs that seemed more acceptant of her eight-year old frame, but the intermission had rejuvenated tired limbs and replaced stiff joints with a fresh sense of wonder. Cloris had struggled to take it all in; the colour and the smell, how everything seemed more real than real, yet utterly fantastical. Her list of favourites had been rapidly revised with every performance, so it was not unexpected that it was currently topped by the richly costumed acrobats whose trampoline-aided spectacle had concluded the first part of the show.
The house-lights went dim and a beam of light illuminated the Ringmaster. But as he began his embellished introduction of the next act, Cloris was distracted by a figure making its way up a steel ladder. The figure was clearly a man, and as her eyes adjusted to the shadows, Cloris gasped at the size of him. His powerful arms seemed sketched from a comic book, rippling with the exertion of climbing, as if something were alive beneath the skin, yet his face appeared smooth, unnerving.
The Ringmaster's voice gave way to a sudden surge of applause, and suddenly the Trapeze was revealed, bathed in a glow of red and blue lights. A smaller, older man had joined the first on a platform to the left, whilst the platform to the right was now occupied by two woman and a third man. Cloris could see now why she had found the man's face so unusual. They were all wearing masks. White masks, to finish the white of their outfits. There seemed to be strange designs in a dark red along the legs, and the women both had dark hair tied-up in an intricate weave. They were the most beautiful people Cloris had ever seen.

* * * * * * *

Constance sat on the high bar, one hand keeping him balanced whilst the other adjusted his mask. He searched for any kind of detail in the crowd, but the glare from the spotlights made it difficult. Far below, Sheldon was hyping up the last trick. Constance could only admire how effortlessly he took them into his confidence, his hands as animated as his voice, almost as if he were conjuring a spell. And it was a spell Constance knew well; had it not made him leave the circus? Leave his family?

At least he could still draw comfort from the sight of Aurelia standing on the platform opposite. She was breathtaking, enigmatic. He knew the mask was a big part of why they adored her, why they packed the auditorium for every performance; yet she had as much need for them as a dying man for poison. Her reasons were hidden behind a mask of her own choosing.

* * * * * * *

The noise from around her seemed to fade to a dull rumble. Cloris could not bear to look away, her every sense enthralled at the events unfolding 30 feet above. She'd quickly flipped through the programme and discovered that this was a family of aerialists. The father had acted as catcher for the first few tricks, the most exciting of which had been one of the sons performing a double-somersault. But Cloris found herself drawn to the daughter. She wasn't sure if their outfits were threaded with silver, for with every pirouette the girl shimmered as she spun, as if she were covered in pixie dust.
And now, the eldest son took up position as catcher. At least, Claris guessed he was the oldest, as he was taller and stronger then the others. The daughter took up position on the opposite platform, and as quick as the audience had been to applaud, now all were silent. Drummers took up the beat of her heart, quickened its pace and built to a crescendo. Bar held firmly in her grip, the silvery angel stepped off........
* * * * * * *
Aurelia signalled her readiness, and like a pendulum Constance began a high, arching swing. He cleared his mind of everything, but for the growing realisation that perhaps he no longer did this for the thrill or the acclaim. Perhaps it was as simple as the need for greater concentration, that 40 feet in the air he could hide from the guilt and anger, dark twins that shadowed him constantly.
He gave himself over to the motion of his body, making slight adjustments to keep at the right speed. At the apex of his swing, Aurelia began hers. To those looking on, they must have appeared as mechanised parts of some great machine, their movements so precise, so perfect.
Constance focused every fibre toward the next four seconds, allowing everything around him to blink out of existence. His fingers twitched, anticipating the touch of her hand, but as she released the bar he felt his blood turn to ice.
Oh god, she's too early..........
* * * * * * *
Cloris watched her angel twist in the air, trying to count every turn. When it seemed as if the girl might spin forever, she finally extended her body and dropped toward her brother. A woman in the front row could not hold back a scream, as another covered her eyes with both hands. But the brother barely flinched as he caught her forearms, ushering forth a collective gasp of delight that grew to thunderous applause. He let her slide from his arms into the safety net, and as the girl dismounted into the centre ring, Cloris heard a singular thought repeat in her mind; a prayer, a wish, a desire stronger then anything she'd felt before. I want to be her........
* * * * * * *
As quick as thought, Constance let the bar slide from under his knees, letting his feet catch the sideropes. He willed himself to defy gravity, to delay swinging backward as long as he could. But as her third spin flattened out, he felt the gentlest of tugs, pulling him away from her. For a second, she was above him, her eyes aflame, her mind lost to the sky.
A fingertip. The most precious of fingertips, and he clutched instinctively. But nothing. Just the rush of air as she plummeted past him.
Constance hung there, eyes closed. He would keep them closed, until the muscles in his calves finally gave in, allowing his feet to unhook, his body to fall. Or perhaps the flow of blood to his head would flood his mind, casting him into darkness. Bitterly, he opened his eyes, as far below him chaos surrounded a body. Aurelia. Broken.


8 comments

Hi everyone, I know it's been a while since the last part of Icarus Falls, but with the power crisis facing the Western Cape and constant blackouts becoming part of everyday life, finding the time to get Part Six written and posted is proving troublesome. But I do have it finished in my head. Promise. So instead, I will attempt to placate you with the news that today we had our first ultrasound, at 13 weeks and 3 days. Baby is growing well, and the test for abnormalities and downes syndrome showed nothing to be concerned with. To see that tiny life in such detail for the first time, words can never be enough. But you know how they say when you fall in love, everything seems a little clearer, music even more powerful....almost as if you see how everything is connected..... Well, it's truer then I'd ever imagined.


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