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23 Jun

I’d promised the bitch I’d marry her. Must’ve been drunk on alcohol, lust or both.

As if the embarrassing lapse of reason wasn’t enough, we told our friends. Or, to be more accurate, I did. I flaunted my commitment, let everyone know, almost invited a few of them to some sort of mysterious wedding in the epic future. Got a house for us, shoved a few friends in there too, knocked on neighbours’ doors with a “hey, fellas, here we are, new to the neighbourhood and fountainpens full of spunk”.

So it was unavoidable that, at some point in time, she told herself “this is it, I’ve changed the bastard at last” (all women say that to themselves at least once in their liftime) and smiled to me reassuringly, put her hand in mine and patiently waited for the ring, guests, cake and a beautiful dress to stain with dove shit in front of the church.

It’s not that I got cold feet, you know. It’s more of a … they were never warm enough kind of situation.

New options, new ambitions, smells like career, you know. Fuck the broad, she’s holding me back.

I went the other day to our small house. Smelled the curtains, felt the tang of mildew in the back of my nostrils, all the way down to the throat. Coughed just to see floating dust panic in the dim light of dirty window censorship.

She’s still there, you know. I locked her up in the basement a few months ago. There’s no stink ebbing and flowing up from between the floorboards, nor any fattened rats squeeking around in dark corners, there’s no sign of foul play.

But she’s there and not doing very well.

I’m sorry, girl. We could have been so good together. They would’ve loved us, your ideas and my way of phrasing them … or was it the other way around? Oh, hell, doesn’t matter know, it’s doesn’t amount to nothing anymore. Everything that’s left is a sliver of remorse lost in my bloodstream, hardly registering in any chemical test except for those painful moments when I remember the horror in your eyes when I strangled you and crushed our hope, love and dreams together with your trachea.

I guess I got scared. Scared of us, scared of being the weak one.

I was never good enough for you, Calliope.

The Bufoon Who Made No One Laugh

22 Mar

Beneath the gilt archways, in luxury’s shadows, snaking between fits of night and day, treads the Bufoon. The ugly wretch knows not its own name, its age or even kin. Born as he was, an exception to the rules which God had thrust upon the world, he is lost to Love.

© Wizards of the Coast

Ageless he is, this Storyteller who may yet live to see the end of Life itself and tell it to those who come to sweep up the filth left in Armageddon’s wake.

Some say he’s sidestepped death and passed straight into nothingness. After all, his flesh is not flesh any more, not the pink, vibrant morsel they call living. His veins weave into sappy tunnels, his brows grow hair and moss together, his skin grows warts and mushroom heads alike in the hidden creases of his skin.

It scalds the eye and churns the stomach to watch this immmortal wretch, but no heart would take notice of the trembling soul underneath the horrific shell. After all, he who no longer fears death should have naught to fear.

Yet he starts at any noise, crawls humbly out of sight and whimpers when called out of the shadows. He thrashes in his sleep and wakes in a drench of sweat, screaming horribly.

It’s perhaps the stories he knows, the truths he has seen about this world that frighten him so. Or maybe just knowing he will live to see just as much wickedness as he already has whisked in his broken cup.

Perhaps not.

Perhaps what he dreads most is the sound of shuffling feet at his door, when the master kindled by his sickening hunger comes to his room at night. Perhaps it’s the blood bath at every moonlit carnival, and the feeling that somehow all his knowledge of the world’s secrets is what drives the splintery spike through their entrails.

Perhaps it’s Life that spooks him so.

His own.

Strictly business

16 Mar

Ding!

I’ve always wanted to do that.

Ding!

But it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Ding! Ding! Di …

… finally, the genie moves his ass out the bottle and I’m asking for a room.

“Let me check, sir, we‘re fully booked with the convention, but some may have checked out already.”

He gives me a wink while I stand there and wonder what the hell should I make of it.

“Ah, yes, two rooms have cleared this morning.  I’ll give you 27. Very clean, the cops didn’t even bother to dust the place.”

“Cops?”

“Yes. They have to come, you see. Even if it’s all so official and organized, they have to sign the papers when the guests kick the bucket.”

“Man, what the hell is this place? Hotel California?”

He goes all serious all of a sudden.

“Please, sir, don’t say something like that. We are a very, very serious establishment and wouldn’t have been chosen for five years in a row as hosts of the BlissCon if it weren’t so in the first place.”

“BlissCon?”

“The annual convention of the National Association of Suicidal People.”

I carefully scan the room for hidden cameras. I’ve had the experience before and I know entertainment when I see it.

Only this time, it’s the real thing, conference agenda posted in the hallway and everything:

14:00 – 16:00 – 2Fast, 2Furious: Crash Course into Traffic Suicide

16:00 – 18:00 – Serendipity:  The Art of Getting Caught in the Act

18:00 – 12:00 – Break & pill-tasting cocktail

Curiosity gets the best of me and two hours later I’m in the lobby. There’s a colorful table with shitloads of pills and girls dressed in slutty synthetic leather invite passers-by to sample the wonders of medical progress.

This is when I see her, a complete waste of hotness on a suicidal girl, browsing through pills with a melancholic look on her face, shifting from one stupendous leg to another and biting her lips with the slightly oversized dentition that always hooks me on a girl. I offer to buy her all the drinks she would have in the company of a lost soul and regret it right away.

“I met him in college. We were young and stupid, but he was the only man I would have followed to the end of the world. The way he talked, the way he acted, so decisive, but still warm and kind made me feel …”

She tells me for about half an hour how happy they were and how great the schmuck was. Then, all of a sudden, she takes a long break sipping her Martini. Time for everything to go bad.

“I got pregnant. He wasn’t ready for a child, he wanted to finish college, have a career, have fun with the guys. I wanted the baby so bad I fell out with my parents too, completely. Then, one evening, he went out slamming the door, got drunk and splattered on the tree he’d drove into. I had a nervous breakdown.”

The Martini lets me know it’s not over yet.

“A month later I lost the baby.”

Guilt takes a screaming rollercoaster when she touches my hand, thanking me for listening so sincerely and offering to listen to whatever troubles I have.

“It’s getting late, perhaps we should get some sleep,” I suggest, trying to get out of the guilt trap, but I’m out of luck. Before we know it, I’m in her room to make sure she won’t “do anything regrettable”.

At some point during our lovemaking, I do realize that I’m having an affair with a delicate, fragile woman, but it doesn’t last long. I am lost in her, completely sucked into how much she needs me to comfort, caress and love her and it’s probably the first time in my life that I am making true love, unselfish and loving, so remote from sex that I would still consider myself a virgin if this were my first time.

As I leave the room, she smiles radiantly and whispers in my ear:

“Perhaps there IS hope …”

I’m walking on air for the rest of the night, pacing through my room before I doze off in the armchair. Morning glory hits my windows with fury surpassed only by the banging in the door.

“Police, sir, open up.”

She’s dead, swallowed a jarful of pills. They wanted to let me know since we’d been seen together.

I’m moving through poisonous treacle for the rest of the day, with a bitter taste in my mouth, bitter as the coffee I’m having at the train station when I see her in the crowd, pulling a small luggage with the carelessness of a teenager out for a holiday. Her surprised stare confirms I’m not being delusional.

“You …”

“Yes, me … surpised?” This looks worse than the hidden camera incident and I feel my sarcasm overheating to meltdown levels very fast.

“Somewhat. You should be dead,” she says, an undercurrent of discontent in her voice.

“Because you’re so good at getting people depressed?”

“Please,” she says, straightening her back and pushing the familiar breasts forward, “I’m one of the best.”

“On the payroll of the National Association of Suicidal People?”

She loses her confidence now – no pride in being the best if you’re a bloody mercenary.

“And a couple of pharmaceutical companies …” she adds, getting gloomier.

While I am struck with disbelief, there’s only one thing I feel like saying right now.

“Would you like to have another drink?”

She stares at me with Viagra-blue eyes wide open.

“Are you sure? Doesn’t it bother you? My line of work, I mean …”

“Let’s just say I have a vested interest.”

I take out my business card and hand it to her. It’s all there, printed in golden, crisp letters, with large serif and warm font marketing the support and deep understanding that we sell with our services:

Daniel B.

Sales Manager

BARNARD & SONS UNDERTAKERS

The story of dirty Mari

10 Mar

Mari was was serving stale beer and cold food in a crummy pub when the Flying Spaghetti Monster walked in and ordered a Bloody Mary with extra tomato juice.

He sat at a small table in the back and sipped his drink through a yellowish straw. Funny. Mari couldn’t remember giving him a straw.

He looked handsome. Actually, he looked too good for the place; he just didn’t fit in the picture. His presence made the tables look dirtier and the floor beneath his feet stretched out greasy palms begging for a sweep.

She unbuttoned one more button on her shirt, but felt like slut right all the way to his table.

Oh God, everyone’s staring at my meatballs. Mari you’re so stupid. He’ll think I’m …

“Easy choice.”

His voice struck her. It was unctuous and deep, and no matter how uncomfortable the intercourse between his words and her thoughts made her feel, it also soothed her beyond anything she’d felt in a long time.

“Excuse  me?” she asked, barely squeezing the words past the lump of mince meat in her throat.

“Easy choice, with a menu like this. I’ll have some pizza. And some other drink, something finer than this cocktail. A glass of wine. Chateau something fancy.”

Saying ‘no’ to him, any kind of ‘no’, felt like the hardest thing in the world. She cursed herself for being a loser waitress in a losers’ bar instead of a smart waitress in a high class restaurant, where she could have spoiled his long, thin lips with the best selection in the world …

“ … Sorry, Sir. I’m afraid we only have the standard pill-brewed slipslop.”

Why on earth had she been so honest!?!

“Mari, get a hold of yourself”.

“Then get me a pitcher of Coke and I’ll make do.”

She wrote that down as if there was a goddamn chance she’d forget and was just about to leave when he said it.

“Since you will join me, make that a pizza for two. And two wine glasses with the Coke.”

It would have been impolite to say ‘no’, since this was her chance to atone for the redneck’s reply she’d just given.

It would have been impossible to say ‘no’ too, but Mari refused to let this realization into her consciousness.

“ What’s your name?” he asked pouring the Coke.
“Meatball Marinara. My friends call me Mari.”

He lifted the glass up in the air and examined it, swirling the Coke like an expert wine taster.

“Then history will remember you as Mari. Sweet, dry or any of the nuances inbetween?”

“S … sweet I guess …”

He placed the glass in front of her with an inviting look in his eyes and repeated the drill with his own glass as she tasted it.

It was wine. So fine, so expensive and good, it would have tasted of dollars had she sipped it in different company, but right there and then it was a cocktail of myrrh and frankincense and nectar and ambrosia. It tasted alive, frolicky, cleansing and diamond-sharp, it tasted of unrefundable lost time and great expectations and all the caressing hands of darkness, it tasted …

…  godly.

“Who are you?” she dared to mumble, squeezing into herself to brace for the answer.

“My name is Monster. Flying Spaghetti Monster, but you can also call me…’ and as he said this his head seemed to surround itself with a halo of starchy pure white”… God.”

Funny, it didn’t feel like he was joking. In fact, his olive eyes stared at Mari so intently, and the uncooked spaghetti rays around his head shimmered with such an unearthly glow that she could ask only one question.

“Why have you come to me, God?”

“Well, I had to meet the mother of my only son. So please, tell me all there is to know about you.”

Mari told him the stories of her entire life, the ones which register on the fabric of time under the weight of our actions, as well as the secret ones, of heart and soul, which pull happiness and sorrow into our life through the gravity of self-fulfilling prophecies. She told him about the marble she’d swallowed when she was eight, about the pup she’d drowned in the washing machine trying to show her mother he could be clean enough to keep, about the one exam she cheated on, the poetries she never wrote, and the days she just lay on the ground trying to feel if the growing grass was taking her closer to the sky. She told him about washing dishes in the kitchen, about Grandma and her foul smelling medicine, about the scare of her first menstruation and the relief of the following sixty-seven. She told him about her dreams, her hopes, her fears and insecurities.

She told him about everything, until, at some point in the ever winding story, he put a finger on her lips, then took her head between his thick fusili-fingered palms and drew her close to him. She closed her eyes. His breath smelled of basil, his hands held her with the firm kindness of velvet vise grips and everything else took a time-out from existence. There she was, table-scrubbing Mari, the uber-nun of Mortadella High, as virgin as an unopened can of peeled tomatoes, about to be kissed by a man so aweso…

No, by a god. About to be kissed by a god.

His lips touched her forehead, hot as pasta fresh from the microwave, and then he left, paying exactly what he owned, not a dime, not even a pence or a centime more.

It wasn’t until two weeks later, when she missed her period, that Mari realized she’d been over tipped.

~~~

My entry for the Chuck Wendig Irregular Creatures Challenge

Competition

8 Mar

Go on and join the Chuck Wendig flash fiction competition. 1000 words to spare for telling the story of an awesomely wrong, terribly irregular, hyperbolically twisted creature.

I’m working on my own version right now. Join the rest of us weirdos, for the fun of it …

Competition link on the banner below …

© Chuck Wendig

Day of the Sphinx

28 Feb

Siluan threw the curtains aside and squinted at the sky. The day was so clear it hurt his mercury eyes, and as the sun rose on the southern edge of the hexagonal horizon, he knew the time drew close without even looking at the everclock.

A black dot flickered in the distance.

Siluan turned to look at his house. He had built it over the past two centuries, after his first architectural mechanum had crashed in an abysmal display of the ever growing cosmic yearning for entropy. Everything had been scrapped – metal, stone, marble, wood, gold, copper, chrome, silver, cloth, ceramic, crystal and water.

The dot grew wings.

Everything but the artwork. No true maester would conceive of recycling beauty. It was an irrepeatable and incomprehensible occurrence of fortunate uniqueness. It was a thing no maester could complete himself and always bought at high cost, but never forgot to respect it in full. Never scrapped for transformation. Never reused. No matter how poor he had been at the time, the platinum statues of egrets were molten and sold as bars, for a thousandth of the value they had as art objects.

It occurred to Siluan he had never seen real egrets.

The sphinx began it descent.

It would soon reach his balcony through the cloud alley Siluan had sculpted for it one hundred and fifty years ago. Working on a cloud fence for the house had been like etching filigree on armor.  So fine, so difficult to pin down and shape into a solid shape that would hold to wind and rain. Building the tools alone had taken him forty years, but it was well worth it. It looked … fitting. Perfectly.

The sphinx entered the inner cloud circle.

© Wizards of the Coast

Siluan raised his mask, made from silver. The metal acknowledged him as a maester, the mask acknowledged him as dead.

The sphinx landed softly on the open balcony.

Siluan put his mask on and stepped in front of the funeral mechanum. The sphinx’s gilded face reflected the sun, while Siluan’s silver face, built to perfect similarity, reflected it back. The maester’s mercury eyes looked into the golden mirrors of the winged mechanum. A metallic tune humming inside the winged funeral chariot confirmed recognition, and the two touched their foreheads.

The huge, golden masks lining the walls stood mute, looking in the distance. Each one of them was, to atomic perfection, an identical copy of the two worn by Siluan and the Sphinx.

The maester climbed on its back and caressed with critical fingers every irregularity he had purposefully allowed into the cast to simulate muscle and feather. An eccentric imperfection he had allowed himself in preparing the hearse.

The sphinx shot up into the sky, traversing the corridor cut through clouds by the maesters’ fog trimmer.

The huge, golden masks lining the walls whirred their own metallic tune, grieving for the maester.

The house began the mourning by disassembling itself.

Mirrordemon-nomedrorrim

11 Feb

The old maiden cried in front of it for many nights and many days and out of her frozen tears the vitreous furies have spun a web across the cursed chasm between this world and theirs. Now the interloper feels at home staring into her eyes, staring at her flesh, drilling imaginary peepholes into her soul.

Nowhere is this fragile creature as comfortable as in her mind. Sweet oceans of longing for the selfish love lost and found and lost again of long gone beauty. Bitter gales blowing the parched leaves of spurned love. Gargantuan canopies of brooding loneliness, rolling like clouds chased out of paradise.

‘Oh, the warmth of home’ the mirrordemon-nomedrorrim sighs.

And so, the master of imagery cradles the favoring light, bends the straying curves and sculpts together the earthen colors of an underworld rainbow.  A painter of unholy talent, yet most modest in his claims for reimbursement.

The hours pass, and the spinster cannot take herself away. She … she used to be much plumper, did she not? For what other reason could that young knight have spurned her? Her face? That ripe blossom of exquisite fruitiness? Could not be. Or perhaps her lips? Where they too dry the first time they met? Impossible! They ooze glistening desire, moist as a peach, sweet as a pear, hungry like the wolf …

The mirror comes alive now, oh, how it all comes back – that faithful night when he came in at the ball, floating in on a magic carpet of women. Their fluffy dresses billowed around him like waves in a tide of lust as they chirped around him. But love speaks true and he will not stay deaf, no, this time he will hear his nightingale call above the cawing of those pink jays.

He turns to her. He smiles. His eyes burn with love and desire. He comes to her and bows his head. He stretches out the most elegant hand for the most elegant invitation to a waltz nobody will forget. He pulls her close to him and his fragrance hammers her heart.

They waltz, the foolish maiden and the illusion in the mirror as the prince in her head takes her around the hall,  around the castle, around the world in spinning circles, takes her in his arms and to his bedroom. He opens the door and they step together out of reality, him crawling on his serpentine belly, her holding his long hooked claw like the most elegant hand, drawing circles across the bridge of her frozen tears, slowly slipping towards the quartz hive to feed her to the Everblooming Mother, whose crystalline roots turn all the world’s pure hearts into compost.

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