I was lying in bed when I heard something scratching at the window. I got up, turned on my bed light, and looked outside. The autumn night was so dark that all I could see was the reflection of my room in the mirror. The jewelled metallic chandelier on my side of the window had taken on the shape of a crowned fiend of Asian origin. Its huge eyes were as black as the night outside and its large pointed mouth was open wide as though it were ready to consume my entire room. Its ears were pointed and hideous, and crystal earrings dangled from them.
My bed light threw visions of creeping ivy on the wall and jagged icicles protruding from the tops of the curtains. I could see my glass globe and antique teddy bear facing away from me, in the distance.
I sat up and moved a little closer to the window. When I saw my own image, it too had changed. I could see the outline of my blonde hair, but my face was outlined with a black shadow. I could make out the features on my face except that my eyes were nothing but holes. I was distressed by this image of myself, and yet, I could not look away. For several minutes I stood in the middle of my room without socks on my feet, staring at my reflection. A chill tickled my toes before creeping up my legs like unseen fingers making each tiny hair stand to attention. The scratching had stopped, but the visions remained.
I went back to bed, turned out the light and tried to go back to sleep, but I could hear my heartbeat echoing in my head, like my brain was pulsing against my skull. I lay and tried to relax, repeating: “rest in natural great peace, this exhausted mind” yet I knew that this time, it was in vain. I had glimpsed another world in that window – and I saw it: the start of something.
Do you ever feel like you are carrying the weight of the world in TEARS that hang in the bags under your eyes?
Like the SKIN on your face is losing the WILL to hold itself up against gravity and at any moment your jaw will DROP to the floor from your head?
I am truly SORRY self, I cannot do you any BETTER right now; I am having difficulty holding my MOUTH up.
I did think this KITTEN would help, but she makes the tears come and then she BITES me.
There is another ME somewhere but I can’t get to her, she is far away in the distance walking by the SEA.
Why would she leave me here on my own? I HATE it when she does that.
The day STARTS with promise and ends with disappointment, yet it is merely me who DOES the disappointing and you see, it all comes BACK.
A fretted edge is the BEGINNING of an unravelling but the composition of the thing whatever it may BE cannot become NOTHING; it can only change into something ELSE and that SHOULD comfort.
I have worked all day relentlessly on EVERYTHING and still I cannot see any real POINT in any of it.
It has occurred to me that it probably does not even MATTER because words do not actually EXIST.
She sits still on the bed, her legs outstretched her face apparently blank although if anyone cares to look closer, they will see her brows are slightly furrowed causing a line to appear above her nose. No one is looking closer.
The thoughts and feelings turning around in her brain do not quite match the look on her face or her apparently comfortable surroundings. She is thinking about the expression “You have got to grab life by the horns” but she is thinking that more accurately, she would like to sink her teeth into life and tear out its flesh. She is currently imagining violently tearing it apart and swallowing it. She is sick to death of waiting around for it to take shape on its own.
She is so sick of people around her who make her want to throw up her own heart and spit it onto the floor. Every bloody day in life she tries and tries and tries. She makes an effort to be gracious and to smile, but people touch her and it makes her want to peel her skin off. They look at her and it makes her want to sew her eyelids shut but she would still feel the peering. Even people she loves suck the energy out of her with an iron straw and make her feel guilty for letting them.
It is ridiculous and excruciating to have to find the will every day to be positive, to believe, to have faith, to keep going, to work for something better when she feels like she is breathing in muck. She breathes it out as hate, but no one seems to notice.
A scream travels around her blood stream gaining strength and echoes in the very air in her veins. She imagines letting it out atop a mountain and her eyes pop out with the force of it like a cartoon skeleton. Perhaps she thinks, if she lets it out she will be like a deflated balloon and the effort will have been pointless. How futile she is as a deflated balloon, you can’t even damage a deflated balloon with any satisfaction.
She thinks of having a drink with friends at the weekend and pictures herself eating the wine glass, the sharp shards of it slicing open her lips, tongue and throat.
She has to think of new ways to get it out of her; all of this poison, but it is regenerative, like life. She pictures herself pulling it out of her mouth like a vein. There is no end to it because it is part of her insides and she begins to unravel own body. Even when she unravels it all, for some reason she is still there and the dark abhorrence at the core of her remains, and she knows that no amount of violence will kill it. Nothing will but no one can see it because no one is looking closer.
Flash fiction. You might know it by one of many other names, including sudden fiction, micro fiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction, or short short story. No matter which name you know it by, flash fiction is the ultimate challenge to writers everywhere — to tell a story in very few words.
A drum beats in the distance. Fires light the night sky, smoke obscures stars. Chanting chills from toes to hair. Tonight the earth will have him.
I let you lie head in my lap. Only one I would. I touch your neck, warm on my legs. Only one who should. Can’t reach the keys but I don’t move. Only one I would. Sounds outside, lost to us. Only one who could.