Category Archives: writing

Grave matters

Decay clung to the nostrils. Stones were crumbled to dust, wood rotted to dirt, weeds twisted and choked everything. The headstones stretched out as far as the eye could see, innumerable and indistinguishable. The plots were tiny and I became afraid that the bones of uncounted children rested here.
“Dear God!” I cried out in horror. “Spirit, what is this place?”
“Here lie all the blogs abandoned by their creators” said the Spirit.

Unboxing

The shell hung limply in the darkened alcove, inert.

Presently, a cascade of lights swooshed down the smooth surface of the alcove, and a host of umbilicals snaked out to seize onto the shell. It seemed to shiver, and then sagged slightly further into the alcove. The umbilicals disconnected and the shell switched on.

“Marvellous!” it said.

It ran a hand through its hair, slightly shaky. “Sync status?” From the alcove a voice softly replied “[Sync complete]”.

“Marvellous!” said Frank Hawthorne. He crossed the room to a full-length mirror and studied the shell – his shell. “They have captured me perfectly” he pronounced.
In fact, Frank Hawthorn could barely remember what his birthshell had looked like. He had long ago traded the last vestigial flesh and bone for a sleek synthetic physique.

He felt sure that the flawless complexion he now beheld was a much truer representation of his inner self, the self he really deserved to be, than any crude biological remnant.

“This model,” he mused, “is even more like me than last year’s.”

It’s A Delicious Life

I found him perched on the railing of a bridge, contemplating the dark water beneath.
“I’m going to eat you” I said.

“Oh, right” said the teenager, not looking up.
I tried again. “I’m going to consume your soul.”
“Whatever.”
“In your agonising last moments, your sense of self will be forcefully torn from your memories.”
“Big deal.”

My shadows drifted about us both. My stomach rumbled. I was not sure what to say.
“You seem unconcerned” I volunteered.
“I hate my life.”
“What?” I said “What? I’m a dark and bitter creature (lifeless and unfeeling), you don’t see me complaining about it.”
“So?”
“And you have a young and warm body and every reason to believe in a promising future.”
“Bullshit” he said. “I might as well throw myself in.” To emphasise his point he spat in the river. “I wish I had never been born” he added as an afterthought.
“That’s awful!” I said, somewhat horrified. “I can’t eat you like this!”
I reached out and took his hand. Time and space spun around us.

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The Ruins

We are some time and some distance from here. We are in the Future. We are in Fremantle. We are in the ruins of Old Fremantle. We are almost completely alone. There is nothing that moves here.

This was a Port. That is the word which was used. Port. It was Latin once, then it was English, a shape made by mouths while there were still mouths to make shapes. It held a meaning. It signified that there were lives here and they were fed by great ships which came from over the horizon. It signified that the water was deep. Words held a great many meanings and something as small as “Port” stood for a beehive, rumbling through the day and glowing and buzzing through the night, propelled by hundreds of lives. Now we are almost completely alone.

We are almost completely alone. However, there is a boy. He lives in the ruins of Old Fremantle. He has been seen walking around. He has been seen with a stout walking stick. He is about the same age as you, only somewhat younger.

There is also a girl who lives in the ruins of Old Fremantle. The boy and the girl have both lived in the ruins for quite some time. Luckily one day they met and they slowly became friends. The boy has a soft cap with a metal flower which the girl gave him. The edge of the flower is jagged which is a useful reminder to be careful.

One day it starts snowing, which is unusual for Fremantle. The snow is also unusual: it is a sort of chemical foam. There is some half-functioning factory nearby, perhaps. The foam floats on the river and coats the bank at low tide. When it falls on the girl her scalp becomes itchy and red and it spreads to her face. The boy has thick hair so he gives the girl his cap so that her head is protected. The flower reminds her to be careful.

The boy and the girl live together in a cargo container which is one in a stack of hundreds of cargo containers. There is one important difference between it and the other containers; it is a home. The boy and girl have collected only the nicest rubbish for their container. They have a broken table, some pillows, a wonderful pile of old newspapers, and a tea set.

When it is not snowing they have a favourite place. It is a playground which is made out of broken cars and cranes and pieces of machines. When they found it, there was nothing but junk, so they had to gradually remake it themselves. For example one day the girl said “Look, this old car is actually a cave!” and they quickly ran into the cave. Then another day the boy said “Look, this crane is actually a slide!” and they quickly climbed up the ladder and slid down the long yellow arm.

The boy and the girl are quite happy together in the ruins of Old Fremantle, although they are completely alone,

almost.

Night Walk

I felt restless, so I got out of bed and out of the house. The night made the city a stranger, and I wandered. After some time, it came to me that I was lost. The buildings had an unfamiliar shape and the streets were named for people I’d never heard of. I felt a growing sense of disquiet. I found myself on the edge of a graveyard. In the gloom I could faintly see the rows of tombstones. I was compelled to enter.

I found myself first in the oldest part of the graveyard. The tombs here were wrought from marble and loomed over me, holding the remains of the first families to settle here.  As I continued to walk, they gave way to more modest stones and more ordinary lives.

Finally I came to an open grave. The yawning mouth of the pit was strangely familiar. I could barely make out the inscription on the stone, so I leaned towards it, and with a jolt of horror, I saw that my own name was written there!

I slipped on the crumbling damp soil and tumbled into the grave. I cried out in panic and thrashed about, but the sound seemed to be absorbed by the dark earth. I continued rolling around and screaming for some time, but eventually I became tired. I realised that the grave was still completely open so I stood and looked about for a way up.

It was then that I noticed something: the headstone didn’t actually have my name on it. Blast! I’d misread it, probably because it was the middle of the night and there were no lights in the graveyard. I made several attempts to climb out, but the earth crumbled through my fingers and I kept slipping back in.

“Hello?” I yelled experimentally. There was no answer. I had to wait until the funeral the next day before somebody noticed me and helped me to climb out.

If you asked me

If you asked me, I would say the best thing about it is being able to see the stars again. But you can’t ask me. You’re dead. Everybody is dead, but it’s you I miss most.

Another thing I like is how quiet it is now. Although it can get to me at times. Sometimes I shout, or talk to myself. I used to sing but I’ve been forgetting things and I prefer not to be reminded about the gaps. I can’t remember what your face looked like. Somehow that hurts more than everything else we’ve lost.

I was at some work function a few years ago, and I didn’t know anyone. I’ve always been rubbish at starting conversations, so I was just listening to the jazz lounge music and staring out the window. One of the few people I know came up to me, saw me staring at this tall, glittering tower, said to me deadpan: “Thinking of buying it?”

For a moment.

Anyway, I stopped time, no, I transcended time. It held no meaning. Everything was happening in the same busy instant. But it was not the dizzying journey I had hoped for. It was like flipping through a book. I read the first page and the last page and skimmed the chapters, and that was when I realised that the only good thing about the whole lousy affair was watching it unfold. All I’d done was take away that rush of blackness we’d all been plunging into, and there was nothing more to learn, just a vague irritation with myself for spoiling it.

The wisdom of King Solomon.

Two women came before King Solomon. The first woman said to him: “My Lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a child and a few days later, she gave birth too. No one else lives with us, only the two of us were there. This woman’s son died during the night, and she arose and took my son from my arms while I slept, leaving her dead son in his place. When I awoke, I believed my son was dead, but when I observed him later on I realised he was not the one to whom I had given birth.”

The second woman responded: “It is not so! It is my son who lives and yours who died!”

The first woman replied: “It is not so! Your son is the dead one and my son lives!

King Solomon watched them argue for a little while, and then spoke to the second woman.

“So, you claim that your son is the live one and hers the dead one.”

She agreed. He then spoke to the first woman.

“So, you claim that her son is the dead one and yours the live one.”

She, too, agreed.

King Solomon then spoke again: “Bring me a sword!”

He gave the sword to the second woman and said to her: “You may cut the child into two. However it will be her choice which half to take.”

The two women saw that he had ensured they would each recieve an equal portion of baby. They left and spread the word of his decision. All of Israel heard of his wise judgement and held him in great awe.

Through the rain and darkness.

The storm was so heavy last night. I couldn’t sleep. I got a glass of water and gazed out the window as the wind and rain beat against it. That was when I saw it.

At the edge of the field, a rain-soaked figure stood silently. A flash of lightning cast it into eerie relief for an instant. For a moment I thought it was a large, emaciated dog, standing on its hind legs and staring mutely towards the house, its shaggy fur hanging wetly. But then I realised the gaunt figure couldn’t be a dog at all.

Despite an odd feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, I went outside to see if they were alright, being out in elements on a bitter night like that. By the time I opened the door, the figure was gone. The next morning, with the storm clear, I walked up to the edge of the field to investigate and found muddy footprints. The rain had beaten at them and I was strangely unable to tell if they were left by a human or an animal.

A Strange Request

The manager of the advertising company stood before her employeees.

“Alright everyone, we have a strange request.

Either it was a typo by our client, or else we’re going to have to be more creative and hard-working than ever before. I choose to believe it was not a typo.

No one has ever done anything like this.”

Several weeks later, the advertisements were displayed on the world’s first Tele-Bison. The applause was thunderous. The Tele-Bison was startled, and rushed into the night, never to be seen or heard from again.