“Wall Art” – Flash Frenzy Round 57 | The Angry Hourglass

 

Wall Art

 

Berlin.

China.

Hadrian.

Pink Floyd.

Forget them all.

The wall behind Greggs Bakers on the periphery of the M1 service station is the most famous and valuable wall of them all. But it wasn’t always that way…

“Oi, watch wot ya doin’,” the man with the scruffy hair and spray-paint jeans said to the older lady, who he watched suspiciously.

“Oh, come on Robin, I really don’t know why you insist on talking like that,” the lady with the blue-rinse replies.

“Like wot, ma?”

“Call me mother, please. You and I both know we spent a lot of money on your education.”

He looks at her as she holds his precious tools. He thinks about disobedience. Then just rolls his eyeballs, knowing (despite the fact he’s 43 and rather successful,) he’ll be grounded if he doesn’t comply.

“Sorry, mother. Please be careful with that. It’s the new equipment.”

“You’ve only made me carry cans and stencils before. I’m getting on a bit, Robin, I really shouldn’t be carrying all this stuff for you.”

“Yeah, but you have to move with the times, mother. Anyway, you know I can’t carry it, I’m doing the work.”

Scruff-man, AKA Robin, takes the 3D printing equipment from his biggest fan and spray-paints the wall outside Greggs?

He stands back and admires his greatest work. The 3D graffiti is so life-like that the man and boy appear to be standing there.

“You’ve done good, Robin. Fancy a nice treat? Maybe a sausage roll, from Gregss?”

“I’d love one, mother. Oh, and if it’s not too much bother, please call me Banksy.”

via Flash Frenzy Round 57 | The Angry Hourglass.

“Babes in the Wood” – Flash Frenzy Round 55 | The Angry Hourglass – Shortlist


Babes in the Wood

Wayland Wood is a place of folklore, enhancement and magic. Others use the ancient name, the Wailing Woods, and talk of a place of dark fairy-tales and death.

The spring equinox is a time when darkness fights light and in their annual war, they call an uneasy truce, that can last but only one day. In this dalliance of daylight, the children that never lived, or barely lived, will live for just one day, and by nightfall they will be gone.

The boy watches her from behind the shadow of the giant oak, cushioned underfoot by the drooping whites and structured yellows of spring.

The girl has seen him, she knows he hides, but she continues to twirl in the hushed winds of the Wayland. She dances as if today is the only day.

He approaches her. Softly offers his hand.

“Tommy,” he says.

“Isla,” she smiles.

Then she turns and runs.

He chases.

By rising steam of the mid-morning sun, the two children who never lived are awkward teenagers. Stumbling and avoiding what is obvious and inevitable.

They hold supple and unwrinkled hands. They embrace, but they are too young to kiss.

By midday, the memories of their first kiss are but distant echoes in time. They no longer play in games of children but enjoy the exploration of young, invincible adults.

She dresses for him. Her hair is long and falls from her like the abyss of an endless night; a night they’ll never see. In the sky, the gaps between the canopies conjure stars made of pure sunlight that shine more brilliantly through the cracks than the glittering nebulae of the Milky Way. She fans the leaves of the maple tree and looks at him like he is everything to her. Everything.

By afternoon, they are tired. They lounge on the warm carpet of bark and soil. Isla rests on his rising and falling chest. And in the rhythm of his contented heartbeat she dreams of nothing but this moment in time.

By dusk, they hold hands that are weathered. They look through eyes of grey.

Before nightfall, they sleep.

In the autumn equinox, it starts again.

via Flash Frenzy Round 55 | The Angry Hourglass.


I got a wonderful runner-up place – my thanks to judge Rebecca.

I have to say this is one of my favourite stories of mine and probably one I’m likely to explore in the future.

“The White Tail of the Metal Dragon” – Flash Frenzy Round 52 | The Angry Hourglass


The White Tail of the Metal Dragon

The little boy plays in the field outside the city.

He tenderly touches his father’s hand, looking for respite from the gathering of the crops. It has been so long since he rested.

“These are times of war, son. You know we have to gather the crops to feed the soldiers.”

“Yes, father. I am sorry.”

The boy wants to tell his father that he is tired, that he is hungry, that he doesn’t understand why they are fighting a war they cannot win. His nation stands alone.

He hears the faraway rumble. It sounds like the gruff incessant grumble of a dragon sigh. He knows, in his pounding heart, that it is getting louder. The dragon is getting nearer.

Maybe his father cannot hear the coming dragon, or maybe he chooses to ignore it. Father has been ignoring many things since the war started and he was left to tend fields, unable to fight.

The boy feels the vibrations in the ground; they shake through his feet like the pulling of furniture across terracotta tiles. The dragon seems angry.

The boy remembers the coins he stole and knows, with certainty, that the dragon is coming to take him away.

Then he sees it.

High above, it shines like metal button in the cloudless sky. Its two wings are outstretched. The four claws on its wings turn and spin at a speed he cannot comprehend.

He watches the metal dragon leave long and white clouds behind it. At first, he thinks they look like a tail. No, they look like fishing ropes, cast against the blue-blue sky.

Above, the Enola Gay skims the skies of Hiroshima.

On board, another Little Boy.

This boy, born of the metal dragon, breathes hellfire on the innocent. He leaves the eternal ghostly shadows of atomised people on concrete. He leaves unparalleled shadows in history.

In the sky, the white ropes fade away and a new shape cloud appears.

The metal dragon leaves fires that will burn forever.

via Flash Frenzy Round 52 | The Angry Hourglass.

“Silhouette Sunday” – Flash Frenzy Round 51 | The Angry Hourglass

Hourglass stairs


Silhouette Sunday

Religion never really died – it just moved on.

Technology. Lust. Money. Fame. The religions of the first-world fed on the detritus of absconded gods.

And so it came it be; Silhouette Sunday, once born of ancient Easter – a time of birth from death.

In the sterile factories filled with embryonic stem-cells, the DNA of the once-living sits waiting to multiply, to grow in predetermined sequences, to breathe the recycled oxygen of all that ever lived:  once again.

One day each year, the dead can be brought back – for enough money, or favours that grant what money cannot buy.

When they come back, they’re as alive as we are now – so the brochures say.

Forget bringing back Elvis or Mandela. These are the walking-dead that fill Silhouette Sunday with their personal gratification, whatever that may be.

In the subways. They rise from the tunnels of darkness, up the stairs and into the light of life. They clutch their Prada handbags like they are the forbidden fruit of Eden. They move silently through the shoals, the city-dwellers, the religious extremists of a different kind. Like bioluminescent fish, we swarm the streets with faces mood-lit in the spectrum of the latest emoto-tech. Stay away from me, come to me, I’m enigmatic and mysterious our mood-colours say. But the Silhouettes can see us no more than an earthworm can comprehend string theory.

In the fields, the Silhouette people of bloodlust persuasion leave pink carpets of bovine entrails and bones. The snipers enjoy the practice once a year. The authorities call it containment, the snipers simply call it fun.

In the strip-clubs they drool, they rub: they never last long.

In the towns they watch the rain dancing, ping-ping-ping, in the puddles of xenon lights.

They seek discarded trash; just to touch, just to feel the scratch of polystyrene on fingertips hours old.

So much beauty. So much life.

Sometimes they just sit there and breathe. They suck the recycled air of all that ever lived into their expanding new-born-lungs. They just breathe.

The rapture of a life fully lived for one day.

Religion never really died – it just moved on.

via Flash Frenzy Round 51 | The Angry Hourglass.

“The Time Traveller” – Flash Frenzy Round 49 | The Angry Hourglass


The Time Traveller

Perhaps this is the thousandth time I have witnessed this.

Yet, this is the final time.

I am a time traveller without a DeLorean.

This pitiful attempt to rewrite the past has eaten away at me like a parasite. I know it has destroyed me more than the growths which now suffocate my consciousness.

I cannot change what has gone before.

I stand on the distant shore. Around me the lights twinkle, sparkle and shimmer. I take the corroded coin from my pocket and place it in the static binoculars that are normally only used by tourists. I place my eyes into the cold metallic sockets and swivel the device. The distant fairground comes into focus and I see the knowing and hungry grins of carrousel horses flash by. Then I see Bethany, my beautiful daughter.

It is June 1996, the summer of Euro96. The sounds of Brit-Pop echo through warm evenings full of joy, promise and hope. Noel crones Don’t Look Back in Anger, and two comedians sing Three Lions.

She absentmindedly laces up her roller-skates. I help her, half-awake half-asleep through the fog of yesterday’s alcohol. I replay that goal in my head. I see myself check the Nokia, laughing to myself at the joke my friend sends to me: black text on ethereal green-screen.

I play Snake on the chunky device ignoring her increasingly confident twists and twirls – her elaborate (yet futile) attempts to get my attention.

The water that separates us has become cold and dark and seemingly eternal.

I scream. At her. At myself. At a god that can sit back and allow this to happen.

The laces come undone and wrap around the wheels.

She falls.

Falls.

Falls.

The visions have become more frequent as I sleep more often. But I will suffer them no more.

Now, for the first time, I see a boat is waiting on my shore.

I climb in and let the tide pull me.

I sense that when I reach the other shore, she will not be motionless, she will not be cold. There will be music and hope. I will hold her hand and never let go.

via Flash Frenzy Round 49 | The Angry Hourglass.