Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

Beyond the Dreams of Men

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Perhaps check out my latest flash fiction anthology?

The Second Explorers

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

The jungle has its own life: dark and steamy, wet and clammy. It clings to me like those haunting images that I will remember for years to come in the warm, dry and safe comfort of my home.

Back home.

If I survive.

Every now and then a blinding burst sunshine cuts through the canopy above me, but then just as suddenly the wet darkness is back. All over me. Strange sounds hiss and scamper through the undergrowth as I move forward. Countless insects buzz around me as a chorus of strange howls start far away floating around me like some primordial choir.

Other howls suddenly strike up on all sides of me.
And then disappear as quickly and mysteriously as they came.

My hands are wet—perhaps from the dank humid air, perhaps from my nerves. The steel blade in my hand seems almost too hot to hold. Too heavy to carry. Too important to drop.

And my arm goes up.

And my arm goes down.

The vines and twisted vegetation falls—inch by inch—under the blade in my hand allowing my slow advance, almost a proxy for civilisation moving deeper in the wild untamed jungle. I briefly wonder if the first explorers had gone this way? Had ancient man faced this jungle with the same mixture of disgust and fear as wells up in me now? How had he kept on moving forward in the face of this?

And my right foot moves forward.

Then my left foot.

Foot by foot.

Inch by inch.

And so I move forward.

Something slithers over my foot and disappears into the jungle’s cover. An explosion of colour flutters over me as a strange beast shrieks somewhere in the distance.

My breath is sticky and I lick my lips tasting faintly of salt. I take a last small sip of the last of my clean water. This land is still spoilt this far south. Its ground water still tainted by the fallout so many centuries ago, so I cannot drink of its waters nor eat of its fruits. At least I have been able to save my rations this far on from the sacrifices of my companions along the way.

My arms goes up, steel flashes in sudden sunlight and my arm goes down. The vines fall temporarily away and I push forward.

Step by step.

All my technology has failed me. Transport crashed and broken, power sources are all gone, med-packs used up and masked blocked and cast aside. I savour a grim smile, as the first explorers had no more to use than what I carry now.

If they could get here, then so can I.

The rain comes at night. It always does. Not a trickle, but a flood of beating angry water attacking the land and the miserable life that survives here. I take shelter under a large strange leaf of some unidentified plant and try to find warmth in thoughts of home.

Home?

Home seems so far away as to be nothing more than a dream. A dry, warm and safe dream.

At least the jungle’s beasts also seem to take shelter from the rain. The strange howls and hisses around me have disappeared. Or drowned out by the roar of the rain on endless miles of jungle foliage?

I try to ignore the last thought, but it is no use. I cannot sleep.

Eventually the rain stops and then there is just darkness. A deathly darkness before the dawn’s moist red eye rears its head through the jungle heights. A welcome light in a fatal wild land still steeped in man’s past folly.

Step by step.

Foot by foot.

Arm up, arm down and inch by inch, I keep moving.

Suddenly—

Suddenly, I am no longer in the jungle. I have burst out into a clearing of sorts…

The mud behind me has given way to the strange fading grey rock that ancient man used to build his pathways from. Faint white lines still mark out portion of it, perhaps indicating lanes for those travelling on it? It is cracked where it lies, but leads my eyes to the structures dotted along it.

The old dwellings lie here. Forgotten. Abandoned by mankind, but still unclaimed by all but few jungle vines and errant foliage. It is empty and dark, but I can almost imagine ancient man moving up and down these roads in their ancient land machines running on hydrocarbons and primitive power sources—some of the same primitive power sources that ended that age of man. The land machines filled with ordinary men off to whatever work filled that age’s day, children running laughing along these streets as woman bustled the markets…

Like in a dream I wander down that cracked forgotten road quietly as if they would speak to me of the images they once saw.

I pass by rusted signs and poles written in ancient, square tongue. Some of the land machine’s rusting carcasses lie scattered along the way. I pass a strange domed building on my left where I believe ancient man worshiped his primitive god, represented by a cross with a stretched bottom vertical.

And then I am in the centre of the skeleton of that city: a tall frame of rusting iron spirals upwards. Ancient man ruled from here. He ruled from these great architectures of control as his world connected across ancient machine-based networks.

So I climb it.

Endless crumbling stairs later I am standing on the top of the architectural skeleton and gazing down at the remains of the city below me. My breath is taken away and, finally, the steel blade in my hand clatters to the ground.

But I barely notice it.

The sight before me is so amazing, so unique, so vast… I do not really have any words for it. The crumbling remains of the city spread out beyond my very field of vision. It so huge. So vast. So endless that even the jungle seems to fear its size…

I do not think we realize how large ancient mankind really was. None of the old tales have truly captured quite how vast his control and dominance of this world was. The size of the remains of just this single city implies how thousands, no, millions of ancients must have lived here…

And suddenly it dawns on me exactly how devastating the nuclear bombs must truly have been to wipe out New York.

The Butterfly and the Dreamer

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

What if I told you that it was all true?
Everything.
What if every thought you ever had was true? What if every screaming fanatic’s religious belief was true? What if every twisted scientist’s theory was true? What if every dark murderer’s fantasy was true? Every hazy daydream, every fleeting prose, every miserably morbid thought, every optimistic hope…
All true.
Everything.
What if every being’s thoughts is the seed that births another universe? A parallel thought to the universe from whence it came. What if our universe was birthed by the thought of some distant other being that became our omnipresent god.
As our thoughts made us the gods of other universes.
How long does a thought last? If you dreamt of infinity, would you ever awaken from it? Well, you might, but the dream itself would feel like it went on for infinity. And, if felt like it went on for infinity, then it did.
There is no difference between perception and reality.
Reality is built on a three dimension scale with space on the one axis, time on the other and thought on the final one.
The thought that birthed our universe has not ended yet, but our thought birthing other universes that spin within that one. A dreamer dreaming of a dreamer dreaming of infinity that dreams of the dreamer dreaming…
What if I told you that it was all true?
What if I told you that I could prove it?
What if I told you that I did prove it…
For, if in this cocooned fleeting existence you think of the answer, it is the answer. The thought is the proof of the thought and we are the gods that drift lazily over oceans of existence birthing whole universes on pure whimsical impulse.
Who exists between the dreamer and dream? Perhaps both. While the one awakens from the other, the other’s existence overrules that of the former for the brief length of its existence.
Ssshhh…
I am about to awaken and this dream will end. Soon the universe in which you are reading this will no longer exist, but mine will. And mine will exist until our dreamer that dreamt us awakens from his dream.
How long is a thought?
Such a question misses the beauty of perspective, for surely, it is more important that a thought and a dream existed than for how long it did so?
My eyelids are flickering. Good morning! I am leaving. Light will strike me through the curtains as my mother lets the daylight in or my alarm clock goes off or the dogs next door start barking or the farmyard cock begins to crow… Maybe a plane will fly over or soldiers will attack our trenches? Who knows what is left for me outside of this dream, but right now—
Right here.
In this dream.
Now.
You are beautiful.
You are beautiful and I want you to know that. This room is beautiful, this place, this time, space and thought… The gold of the light above and the blue of endless skies hold you and carries you to the heights of infinity.
Infinity!
I… I must go.
Honey, wake up…
Just—just, if you want me, if you want to live again, just think of—

Fate of Ghosts

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

I have forgotten why I am here.
I think someone died. It might have been a girl? Or my father? I remember something dear to me that left me a long age ago. Or it was lost?
There was… There is a sense of loss that keeps me. It keeps me here.
Man rose and fought. The east rose against the west. The virus came. People died around me. And then world grew cold as the northern winds conquered the land again with its ancient icy embrace.
But I remained.
Waiting.
Then the spring came as crisp and full of hope as the first sunrise. The land thawed and colour poked its sleepy head out from under the ice. Man resurfaced, rebuilt and the stars came closer as the warm night air made dreams possible.
Was it a dream? A dream I lost? Or a dream I had to find?
There is a single smell I cannot forget. Slightly sweet, slightly… But I cannot recall what it is? Where does it come from?
I think I had a garden once? With a post box. I think I can almost hear a dog barking and see a glint of sharp metal in the moonlight.
Some tried to talk to me. Some heard it when I tried talk back. But the colours changed and moss covered where the highway once ran. Another highway was built over it once the ice had left and eventually beings of metal walked down it with determination.
And then no one ever tried to talk to me anymore.
Still I waited. Lingered. Waiting for something… Something I have forgotten, forgotten what I am waiting for. Were my sister’s eyes blue? Did I have a sister?
Perhaps it was her that died?
The buildings rose again as the dust settled after the next war. Soldiers in different colours screamed around me in a language I could no longer understand. There were women screaming.
A lady screaming.
Was that what I was waiting for? I wish I could remember.
But then she was gone. And so were the soldiers. The bodies became skeletons, the skeletons became dust and the dust blew away. And then the highway disappeared with the dust. The beings of metal fell silent, like statues lost in time.
Above the stars started to grow dim. The sunlight was fading. The sun itself was burning out.
I wish I could remember? Recall any fact. What am I waiting for? Why? Why am I still here?
And then there were no more men and no more women. No children. Man was gone. The earth was quiet.
Everything was still.
Slowly the plants claimed everything as the land moved backwards to what it was long before war and conflict. The skies grew dark and the stars disappeared one by one. The northern winds quietened and the earth held its breath. One last breath.
And then there was a light in the sky.
A single pure light.
It landed near me, humming quietly.
Out of the light stepped beings; strange grey beings that moved slowly like they were under water. They talked or thought amongst themselves. But I could not hear them. They could not see me.
They took dust and pieces of the ages around me back into the vessel of light. They carefully placed pieces of what they found around us into strange boxes. I could see their sadness.
But they could not see me. I tried to call out, but they did not hear me.
Was I waiting for them? Where they coming to find me? Where they trying to find me?
But then I knew that they were leaving.
This planet was dying and there was nothing that they could do.
So they left. The final light, humming quietly, left this planet.
And then the earth died.
Dust began to float up, as the land cracked. Oceans roared in to claim the land. Fish of strange shapes swam briefly past me, but even they eventually died. The oceans turned black and when the earth cracked, the oceans first seeped into the land. The steam preceded the eruptions as the fire reached out to colour the skies red. One final blazing red colour, like the gasping bloody hand of a dying artist. And then the core of the planet itself was torn apart and the world shattered.
Rocks flew away in all directions as the sky became night and night became space. And space became the land. And the land left this place.
Leaving only darkness.
And me.
Alone.
Why am I still here?
Floating in the quiet of space, even my memories of memories have started to become vague. I know I am waiting, but waiting for what?
How did she die and what is her name? Do I miss my father? Are they coming back? What colour… What… What is colour?
But the endless space around me does not answer these questions. The silence of its dark depths mockingly echoes the silence of my own existence.
I have forgotten why I am here, but I cannot leave.
I am waiting for something.

Silhouettes

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Soft red hair complimented the sunlight shimmering across her subtle frame with a fragrance like sweet roses. And I remember the time we were kicked out of as cinema, ran away laughing on a hot summers night and ate cold ice-cream on the lonely midnight shore.
The oceans rolled back and forth. Waves broke and reformed.
We made love under the moonlight.
She would make me coffee in the mornings and complain, jokingly, about how I had no sugar or milk in it. I laughed at her and would chide her for the amount of tea she drank.
And the tequila the night before.
The bitter black coffee in my cup would stare up at me. Lapping back and forth as I sipped it, bringing my consciousness out of the soft morning shine and into the waking world.
And we would make love, penetrated by the shy morning sunlight that pierced the gaps in our curtains. Our forms being one, breaking and reforming.
A black crow looked down on me that night. The moonlight did not glimmer in silver, but whispered of darkness.
I remember meeting her parents. The distance and awkwardness as I saw older, critical people sitting across from us. Questions and shouting broke and did not reform, so she cried and we left.
The car drove and drove. The streetlamps became stars shooting past us as the road was the fate of those upon it. And we were the road.
We stopped on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We stopped and, in silence, looked at the stars dancing on the waves of the midnight ocean.
They were rolling back and forth, breaking and reforming.
And we made a tearful love in that car. Her salty tears mingling with my mouth, as I held her quivering form against the cold leather seat and the moonlight played across her pale breasts.
The sun rose, as those days all did. It rolled back and forth, breaking on the shores of memory and reforming against the silhouette of daily life.
And then the silhouette became a shadow.
The shadow became a darkness.
I miss her.
I wish I had never killed her.

Time Shifts

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Time shifts. And time shifts again. Reality snaps back like nothing changed at all.
Almost nothing.
Overhead cars flow like shooting stars with the neon night, dark and crisp around me. I am cold, but it is not the night air that makes me shiver.
I am standing on an earth that is completely oblivious of the reptilian gods that are coming from their distant dark and cold world. A couple holding hands walks in the distance, completely oblivious of the devious leviathans sleeping far below them on this earth dreaming of the enslavement of all mankind. All the people around me on this earth are completely oblivious of the coming storm that will blow them all away like a fragile falling leaf.
There is blood on my hands.
There is a body at my feet, crumpled where she fell. Her running gear still on. Her head skew and her arm wrapped behind her at a strange angle.
I remind myself of the costs of failure. I remind myself how one life means nothing against the whole of mankind. I remind myself of how my daughter died in the spiral feeds…
But I cannot help bending down and checking the body.
Dead.
Hey! Hey you!” I hear a shout from behind me.
I swing around and see a man coming towards me. His body reads cybernetic implants with some genetic-mods and his attire indicates some sort of official. He will die of cancer in ten years time. This earth still has governmental structures and governmental structures have enforcers of their laws.
“Stay where you are!” he is flying straight at me.
And I remind myself of the costs of failure. I remind myself how one life means nothing against the whole of mankind. I remind myself…
And sigh.
I raise my right hand and activate the bio-circuitry embedded into my shadow mind. I feel a tingle run down my arm as the energy fields warp out beyond my aura, the thin feeble fabric of reality begins to flow towards my will and tendrils of change spread out.
Time shifts. And time shifts again. Reality snaps back like nothing changed at all.
Almost nothing.
The policeman is no more. It is as if he never even existed in the first place. Probably a better fate than death, I remind myself.
She was seven years old when she died. My daughter, that is.
I look up at the night sky and around at the twinkling city of lights and streets and people. Billions of lives all moving towards an unknown finite fate. This does not differentiate this earth from any other earth.
What does differentiate it is the unknown.
On this earth the virus has not broken out and infected the very air that you breathe, the sand has not turned to salt and the trees have not all died. On this earth the oceans have not become tainted as the sun was blotted out by the fallout. On this earth the fire has not fallen from the sky, man has not turned on himself, the dead stay dead and the darkness and light from outer space has not descended upon the land.
What will happen on this earth?
That is the unknown.
But, I am here to stop it.
I take one last look at the body at my feet. She was a healer in this land, but her tools and research would have unleashed one of the ends of an earth. Potentially.
Now she won’t. Now she can’t.
I remind myself of the costs of failure. I remind myself how one life means nothing against the whole of mankind. I remind myself of how my daughter died in the spiral feeds…
She had to die. The lady in front of me, that is.
They all have to.
And then I am gone. It is as if I never was.
Time shifts. And time shifts again. Reality snaps back like nothing changed at all.
Almost nothing.