Heart of Glass
A city is just a desert.
Sand everywhere, transformed by furnace and chemicals into the spires of glass, transparent walls of opulence and gluttonous coffee-shop excess.
I run through the dunes, a blurred shape against the glass malls and lights.
The city also has an absence of intelligent life. The passer-by assuming I’m an unclean addict, or worse.
Like the desert, the city is cold at night, cold enough to kill; the frigid air inhaled by the nocturnal predators and scavengers who roam the lands seeking prey.
A car will offer warmth. A stranger offer shelter. But at what price?
The predators will not get me, for I am wise to them.
At first, I believed my mistakes had led me here. That I somehow deserved this infinite land of purgatory. Did I care well enough for mum? Maybe my blunders and occasional time spent eating or sleeping cost her weeks, months, or pain? I’d curse myself that she’d still be here and I’d not have gone into the care system. But I have come to slowly realise that I am not at fault.
One day I will proudly walk the glass dunes. My head will not be high. I will be looking towards to ground, where I once slept.
I realise it was a risky strategy picking a song title (and I couldn’t get it out of my head either). However, the title fitted well with the story and when I looked at the image for different aspects of a story, I saw the glass being transformed from the raw elements of sand.
I got a wonderful 1st Runner-up place. This was the joint closest I’ve come to the winning prize at FFF. Beaten by Rachael D (who hadn’t entered for many months) 🙂 – but her story was awesome.
Here are the judges comments:
Pratibha: I loved the creative use of the prompt. The story is touching, and the ending is optimistic and powerful. The somber and introspective tone of the narrator appealed to me. Loved the phrase “infinite land of purgatory.” The title is brilliant too.
Sinéad: From its great title (which set me humming straight away) to its wrenching ending, this was another tale I loved. It made excellent use of the prompts, and I loved how it reimagined the sand dunes as a cityscape, and the picture it painted of the protagonist and his/her struggles. I found it very touching, and I loved the sense of burgeoning self-forgiveness and possible hope for the future – and also the aspiration at the end, that this person will not let their circumstances define them. Such a fantastic way to conceptualise the struggle between the person and their environment as depicted in the prompt image.