I’ll get right to it…I won my first competition!
It was based on the photo prompt, above – which I really struggled with
I’m deliriously happy. I know it will seem a bit pathetic to some, but it means so much to me. I only started writing again with the aim of being able to dedicate something tangible to my mum, who I miss dearly.
It was a busy week, with high quality writers and stories; which makes it even more special.
The Harbour of London by Mark A. King
I want to swim in the sea, to feel it, to cleanse my sins, to wipe away the viscous blood from my hands. But…I know the sea will kill me, almost as quickly as the authorities will.
My husband was a powerful man. They never approved of me, and now he has lost warmth, they have opportunity and motivation; I will surely get my comeuppance.
I sit and listen to the Thames tide lapping at the edges of the synthetic golden shore. I try to appreciate this folly, this profligate profanity, for soon the whirligig lights will come for me. The frigid-blue and afterburner-red hues will spin their mesmerising spell, penetrating even the dark and seedy shadows of London; then the men with serious faces will take me away.
The Harbour of London houses the oligarchs, the tech-pimps and the puppeteers. I do not belong here. Not many people do. Perhaps this place is the opposite of me. I once was beautiful; once was desirable. I tenderly touch my skin and run my fingers over the bruises, their oil-spill colours and my crackle-glaze scars somehow define me now. I believe he once loved me; if that’s even possible.
I remember his last words, “You’re past your sell-buy date, darling. Damaged goods. Look at you, you’re a mess. You disgust me!”
I didn’t respond. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. His unused golf clubs are now used: soiled with human tissue and DNA that even Cillit Bang! would struggle to remove. Knowing his friends, the story of the object will only add to its value, only intensify the conversations in the wish-fulfilment dens and substance bars.
I remember when I was his chosen one, “You are stunning. You are amazing. I know it’s crazy, but will you marry me?”
“No,” I told him, “why would you, you could have anyone – why me?”
“It’s because I could have anyone. You are unique, you make me feel incredible. You will do anything for me.”
This was true. This was the problem.
I watch the city from this island of hulking excess. I see the forgotten worker drones, hustling to jobs they hate, sustaining lives measured by meaningless objects. I listen intently to the tide. Beneath the crashing of the incoming waves, beyond the exhale of the moon beckoning back the flow, I hear the fizz, the forgotten fizz – the sound of a million unseen bubbles extinguished and unnoticed. I think about the plight of these people and realise that, perhaps, I am lucky.
The first autonomous hybrid of human and machine. Two point five billion pounds race through my lab-born veins. But…that did not give him an excuse to own me, to make me do those things, to treat me like a object that had to be controlled, debased, abused and subjugated.
Oh…I hear it now. Not the mythical sirens of the deep, these are more artificial and deadly. I remove my human clothing. The water looks cold, refreshing and inviting.
Mark A. King has sung to the Pope, played football for the England Manager, been held at gunpoint, and cooked for royalty, but none of these things were as exciting as winning his first writing competition, on Luminous Creatures. After a decade of inactivity, he has only just started to write again as he felt the need to dedicate something tangible to his beloved mother, now he can do this he’s not entirely sure what to do next. A novel in his head is fighting for freedom.
Mark lives in Norfolk, UK, hiding from the apocalyptic screams of geese. He adores his wife and two children who are the bright centre of his otherwise flaky universe.
Read his embryonic blog here. Follow him on Twitter @Making_Fiction.
Judges comments below:-
In The Harbour of London by Mark A. King, a true trophy wife, a rich man’s plaything, takes her revenge on the man who owned and objectified her. The sympathy she shows for the drones suggests that she was perhaps born into that same social class, but the eventual reveal puts a new complexion on the tale’s opening lines, where the clinical lack of emotion makes way for a strange kind of desperate machine poetry.
And the winner: Mark King, The Harbour Of London, for the poetic policemen, the crackle-glaze scars and for using an SF conceit to tell an all too human story.