>With nothing more to offer you (except for complaining about the constant struggle for publication), I thought I’d drop in with a couple of Flash Fiction offerings for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy them.
No sound came from a nearby street; no rumble of traffic or sound of feet. Not even a distant horn or passing aeroplane. No light. No steady amber streetlamp glow or pulsing blue (and I wished for that, and prayed and begged). No smells of civilisation wafted down the vent; it was too high and small to see through but I’d sit under it and sniff sniff sniff for the sweet scent of kebab or exhaust fumes. Anything that smelled like life and freedom. But I smelled leek and potato, and the broth he made from them; then it was all I tasted. No sound, but what he made. I never heard a single footstep that wasn’t his in the kitchen above. But I heard birdsong, and the crunch of leaves (always him with his thumping march, preceded or followed by the bang of a screen door I never saw).
So when he said I’d never be found, I believed him.
Not Before Bed
I’m outside your bedroom door.
Go take a look if you like. It will only take a second.
Nothing? But as soon as it clicks to the jamb, I’m there. Stood in the darkness, my toes curling in your carpet, my body tense with anticipation, inches from your door.
As you change, as you turn out the light. I’m there. As you slide down into your linen cocoon, I’m there. I’m patient. I can wait.
I press my serrated ear to the wood panelling. I can hear you breathe. I listen as you turn over, shifting your drowsy weight into that familiar position. It’s familiar to me too.
Your breathing slows.
I’ve listened to you for a long time, I know when you’re asleep. And when you are, I slip inside.
You are fascinating to me, you creatures that sleep. Slumber on sweet dreamer. I lay on your chest and breathe in your scent. Oh, you sleep on your side? I like that better. Then I can squirm up behind you, fold myself to match your form. Sometimes you feel my breath on your neck, or my delicate fingernails as they brush your hair. But you won’t wake. I won’t let you.
I lay beside you and sing soft nightmares in your ear. I know when you’re dreaming, I can smell it. When you mumble in your sleep, I’m the one who answers. When perspiration prickles from your tormented dreams, I’m the one who licks the brine from your skin. And when you open your eyes, and can’t move, it’s the fear of me that freezes you. It’s the fear of me that halts the voice in your fragile throat.
Lucky for you, I’m not hungry. Not tonight.
I’ll see you tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!
>I thought I should finally post something on here that everyone can read. Having checked that the electronic rights have reverted back to me, here’s March of the Broken. My first (very) short Zombie story from Murky Depths #9:
Unsteadily I take to my crippled feet, make my first shambling step.
Survey the carnage. The ground is slick with scarlet and I drag my reluctant toes through the gore unsure of my destination. The silence is maddening. I can not feel myself as I move, propelled forward by preternatural will, but I can feel the hunger. It rises in my dulled mind with insatiable ferocity that catcalls and jeers to only me.
There are more, so many now. We move in shuffling unison, a broken battalion, an exodus of the hungry.
And there are the others. They move so swift, and always away.
Please. Don’t leave me.
My voice sounds so morose and the words merge into a single hollow syllable. Some of them cover their ears as I plead in vain.
Only in the earliest morning has the city ever been so still. There is a dreadful tension in the chill air. The buildings themselves seem to quiver with the effort of remaining still. There is a vacuum caused by the holding of mortal breath as I wander by.
A sound. It catches my instinctual ear and I am drawn.
My tattered hands scratch ineffectually at their walls, their doors. They plead like prisoners, afraid of their guards. They beg me to leave them alone. I can hear them from behind their barriers of brick and wood. They think them impenetrable. Nothing is more timeless than me. I am beyond the grasp of Time and Death. Not your bricks, not your wood, not your fragile lives can withstand my patient hunger.
I wait. Outside.
There is a press of bodies without people. Torsos and limbs held together by force of habit. We jostle and sway in the dark, our senses strained toward one inescapable goal. There is movement and the mob flows with wilted vigour. A sorrowful lament rises from our swelling ranks.
I’m here. Can you not see me? Help me.
Let me inside. I’m so alone and the world hurts my insomniac eyes.
Sometimes they shriek and writhe in my arms. They beat at me like a beast, thrash and struggle. The thick taste of tin as it jets against my palette or the wet crunch of flesh is all that I ask for. Yet, they are so reluctant.
So warm. I just want to be warm.
I see you, a face from the locked vault of my mind. Your hair, I remember, it felt as if I were touching a dream. I knew you before. There was something before the stained shirt. There was something before your face was so cold and scarred with tear tracks. You know me. Who am I now, that you see me with such loathing? There was love there once.
A whisper as you raise the rifle to your shoulder.
Yes. That was my name.
You say you’re sorry.
Thanks for reading.