Friday, 27 March 2015
Oh, how we loved.
Hard and fast.
In any place or where.
In any when.
And as we loved, the world fell.
But not for us.
It wouldn't dare.
Our love was feverish.
Unlike the virus.
Cold and creeping.
It took most everything.
From most everyone.
A world left weeping.
Our only tears were ecstatic.
Post orgasmic crying.
The world was dying.
But still we loved.
With maniacal fury.
As was right.
As was our right.
As we wanted to be.
As it fell.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 20 March 2015
There was no real need for me to visit the recycle centre today, other than it was warm and sunny, and I just felt the need to get out of the house for a while.
The few items in my shoulder bag chinked and rattled slightly as I made my way the couple of hundred yards from home to where the recycle skips sat in the corner of the supermarket car park, luckily no-one heard, or if they did they chose to ignore.
I slipped the bag from my shoulder and began posting the items through the holes into the separate containers.
A Coke bottle, a coffee jar, two crushed beer cans, a tuna tin, a soup can, and two corned beef tins.
Hardly worth the visit really, but it certainly was a beautiful day to be out and about.
I slung the bag back over my shoulder, glanced at the ruined mass of the supermarket. No point in even looking in there for anything. Nothing left in there but inedibles, armed scavs, and rats the size of dogs.
I set off back towards home, quietly making my way from one burnt out car hulk to the next, keeping low, eyes and ears working overtime.
There was no real need for me to visit the recycle centre today.
Maybe I am insane.
I prefer to think I'm clinging to the hope that maybe one day everything will go back to how it used to be, and someone will turn up to empty the skips.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 13 March 2015
When Daddy passed away I let him sink into the deep part of the swamp, right alongside Mommy's marker.
It's not very far from the shack, but it was hard pulling him there. I did it 'cos I think he would have liked to be next to Mommy again.
I don't remember Mommy, Daddy told me she passed away when I was born, but Daddy always told me what a good and kind person she was.
Sometimes he would tell me stories about the things him and Mommy used to do.
Where they lived before they came to the swamp they had things called Sinny Mars, and Dry Vins, and Daddy told me he used to hold Mommy's hand in these things sometimes, and watch something called Moo Vees.
My Daddy used to cry sometimes when he talked about Mommy.
I don't understand why he used to cry, no-one was hurting him, there was no smoke or nothing, and the marsh gas don't do that to the eyes.
Sometimes he would kiss me and hold me real tight. He used to cry then sometimes too.
The fire don't work no more now Daddy's gone. I miss those flames, and it's cold in the night.
I caught a snake yesterday, ate it without even pulling its head. It squirmed some, but quieted before I finished.
Last night I heard the splish-splash as one of those Zom Bees went by. It seems they come by more often these days. Maybe Zom Bees like the water. Maybe they like to eat snakes too.
I ain't never seen a Zom Bee. Daddy told me him and Mommy came to the swamp so they didn't have to live next to them.
Daddy told me that Zom Bees were people who are different from us, and he always told me to cover my eyes and lie very still and quiet until they had gone away. I don't know why 'cos they don't make much noise, and they don't bother us none.
I really miss that fire.
I wonder if Zom Bees know how to make the fire work again?
I really miss my Daddy too, more than the fire even.
I wonder if one of them Zom Bees would like to be my Daddy?
Next time one comes by I'm gonna go and say hello.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 6 March 2015
I was inspired to write this story after reading a short, and powerful piece written by Ally Atherton entitled “INCHES” which was Ally's debut story on the Friday Flash site, and it carried an impressive punch. I liked the story very much, the concept was somewhat offbeat with an underlying darkness, it stuck in my head and rattled around in there until I decided I just had to create something with it.
Although “WIDENING THE GAP” is not a clone of “INCHES” and takes a different direction, it was Ally's story that provided me with the spark.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
WIDENING THE GAP
I used to love him... I was supposed to love him, and he to love me. That's the way things should be... Isn't it?
It is... Isn't it?
The bond between flesh and blood to bring unconditional love, the embrace of father and child strong and comforting.
As the years passed I began to realize that his was not love, not affection, not how things should be... not how others lived.
Some days were harder than others, but none of them easy, none of them painless.
Yet still it took time to break those feelings. To finally accept that maybe... just maybe, I was worth more than the life I had, the life he allowed me to have.
I fled to the only haven I could, inside my own mind.
I don't sleep much now, outside time is too precious to waste in slumber.
I spend every moment I can in my own special place.
There, I am far away, untouchable, free to be... whatever I want to be, to live the life I want to live. Though that is imaginary too, for I have never seen that life... I can only imagine.
At first I was often dragged from my special place, jolted back by the sound of the door slamming open, and the rapid, heavy footsteps, the alcohol breath, the shouting, and the sting of his palm.
And the other things...
Each time I visit my own special place I feel further away from this world.
Further from him.
But not closer to anything else.
Closer, it seems, does not become me, closeness being something never shown me.
And so with usage, the skill grew, the gap widened.
I could look down on the room, on myself, experience the detachment, savour it even.
Came the night that he went the step too far, and took the life from me, the gap between what I used to be and what I had now become was so wide, that had he known about it, he would have made his own distance.
But what he had, is now gone. It lies lifeless amid a tangle of soiled sheets.
I am still here. The gap that kept this part of me safe from him now serves to shield him from me.
I will soon be leaving my special place.
I am angry...
My turn is coming now.
And the gap between us will be closing.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 20 February 2015
Dyson sat on the edge of the cliff, swinging his legs and savouring the cool breeze.
His headgear lay on the scorched ground several feet behind him, and beyond that trailed the rest of his protective clothing, discarded over the last few yards of his existence.
He held the pistol between his hands, much as he would have held his wife's hand over the table sometimes.
A long time ago. How long ago? He couldn't recall. A tear trickled down his cheek, forging a meandering path through the encrusted dust
He couldn't even recall how long it was since he last saw another human being. A month? A year? A decade? Maybe he never had.
He wasn't sure how to tell the difference between memory and imagination any more, or even sure if he ever was able to.
Behind him the sun was setting over the mountains. A beautiful sunset, multi-hued with every shade of red, pink and purple.
He knew this without the need to turn his head to see it. Every sunset was the same now, the contamination had seen to that. What it took in life, it returned in those sunsets, the one beautiful gift it gave.
Dyson checked the load in the pistol once more, then laid the weapon down on the ground beside his thigh.
He listened intently for a while. No birds chirrupped, no insects droned, just the faint lap of the ocean on the rocks far below his feet.
And the feel of that cool, cool breeze on his skin.
He had been wrapped in the sweaty confines of the suit so long he had forgotten just how it felt. Just how so, so good it felt.
He was paying for that cool breeze with every exposed second, with every unfiltered breath.
He didn't mind.
He wouldn't suffer like so many had before him. He had the pistol.
He allowed himself to fall backwards and lay on the ground. He stared at the sky. The brightness of it hurt his eyes. The blue of days gone by replaced with an almost unfettered harsh glare. There were no clouds any more either, another contamination casualty.
Before long the heat from the ground began to burn into the bare skin of his back. He pushed himself into an upright position and stared out to sea once more, the cool breeze flowing over him.
He leaned forward and glanced down at the sharp rocks far below, considering whether to just close his eyes and lean further forward until he reached tipping point.
The sea would welcome him, he had no doubt of that, just one more piece of dead meat to mingle with all the other dead it already contained. Another ingredient in the soup.
Dyson breathed a deep sigh.
He stared out to sea until his vision blurred.
Until his thoughts wandered.
Until his mind's eye found what he had lost. What had been taken from him.
For the last time in his life he experienced the love of a good woman. The joy of holding his new born baby. All happy, beautiful memories flooded his thoughts, coursed through his very being, bringing the deepest joy he had felt for such a long, long time.
As the happiness inside him strengthened, so did the feeling of violation in his skin and bones.
The pain within him grew as his organs strove to function effectively.
Dyson resolved to carry those happy memories and emotions with him on the last leg of his journey.
As he reached for the pistol he called his wife's name over and over.
No-one would hear him.
Just as no-one would hear the sound of the shot as it was carried away on that cool, cool breeze.
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 13 February 2015
I have heard it said that everyone can remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, anyone who is old enough to remember that is.
Well, I imagine you could say the same for the day the colours disappeared, anyone that is still alive to remember that is.
One minute there they were, in all their myriad glory, unappreciated for the most part, taken for granted, just a part of everyday, humdrum existence for all to see. The next minute they were no more, ripped from the spectrum. Plunging mankind into a drab, monochromatic existence. A world of black, white, and varying shades of grey.
At first there was confusion, bemusement, bafflement, even panic, as scientists futilely searched for a cause, for a remedy, for a way to put things right again.
If they had known why the colours had disappeared, they would have spent their time more fruitfully, preparing defences, arming themselves, barricading doors and windows.
The reason why was soon to manifest itself in all its horrifying glory.
Taste was the next casualty, followed closely by the sense of smell, then hearing.
In the gigantic mothership, presently in orbit on the far side of the moon, Second Commander Qairt argued for immediate invasion. Slavering in anticipation as his trident tongue flickered over row upon row of needle teeth.
“Patience, Qairt.” Said Commander Pzeen. “We want to make this as easy as possible. We will add another beam frequency to remove their sight next, leaving them virtually senseless, then we can go down there and eat our fill. There is an abundance of food available, and we can stock our freezers to bursting point before continuing our journey.”
First technician Zaphon looked up from his instrument panel. “The beacon is now fully installed on the moon's surface, Commander. We can now switch these senses on or off at will. Awaiting your command to remove the menu's sight, Sir.”
Commander Pzeen beamed at the technician.
“Thank you Zaphon, you may commence immediately, I am feeling rather peckish myself.” Said commander Pzeen in accompaniment to a mighty tummy rumble.
“We must remember to restore their senses before we leave this system though, we don't want to inhibit their breeding ability do we? This place will be an ideal refreshment stop when our intergalactic budget tours reach this quadrant.”
©2015 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 12 December 2014
Bernard Hardy stared into the darkness, stared at the curtain-less window. A faint, barely perceptible tinge of light was evident, dawn was on the way.
The dining chair felt like concrete beneath his buttocks. The hours of immobility had taken their toll on his muscles and joints. He ached like a bitch, but still he remained motionless. They would hear any movement.
Hardy sat without moving, without blinking, and strove to sit without even thinking, as the light grew, crept to grey, crawled to full daylight. Then, and only then, did he feel safe to move.
They couldn't see movement in full light. Couldn't hear movement in full light. The day brought them deafness and blindness. They shut down until the fading day came around again, renewing, revigorating.
Hardy stuck to his routine. He had survived where most had not. His routine gave him life, continued existence.
He ate, bathed, then slept. His alarm would wake him before dusk. He would replace everything back exactly where it had been. Nothing must change. A place for everything and everything in its place. They would notice the difference, would investigate, would discover him.
Hardy had no idea how much of the town's population still survived, he hadn't been out of the house in a while, not since his last supermarket scavenge, but he suspected it would not be many. If the initial TV reports were to be believed the situation was global, so Hardy supposed that the world population had dwindled somewhat too.
The TV reports were no more, of course. TV was no more. Radio was no more. Traffic was no more. Electricity was no more. Muchly most of everything was no more.
Except them. They were more. They were everywhere. Watching, listening, snuffling... eating.
Creatures of the shadows.
When they first came they were like foxes in the chicken coops. Glutting out on the abundant flesh.
Now most of the chickens were gone they searched for change, for sounds, for anything that signified food presence.
The smallest things warranted attention. A fuller trash can, a recently closed blind, a fresh footprint.
Hardy awoke to the ringing of the clockwork alarm, the sound jarring his senses.
He forced himself to a sitting position, his brain struggling to become fully aware, to take In his surroundings. His almost constant depression made his first hour of consciousness the worst of the day, the hardest to deal with.
He sometimes wondered if he should just end his routine. Just give himself to them, but his fear always won out, and every evening saw him walking the walk, checking that everything was just where it should be. Just where it was when they first came.
As the light began to fade again, Hardy placed the chair back into its exact spot, sat in it in the exact same position, and tried to think of not moving.
Winter is coming, and the nights are getting longer.
Hardy stared unblinkingly at the window, watching the darkness creep back in, and did wonder to himself how much longer he could carry on doing this.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 14 November 2014
Madeley sprinted down the corridors, his heart thudding in his chest, breath rasping in his throat.
Barging through gaggles of lab technicians, physicists and virologists without apology. Ignoring hostile stares as he shouldered his way through, leaving a wake of red faces and strewn paperwork.
He had been in reception when word had come through to his personal phone. Carson had called. His voice sounded tight and nervous. “..Err... there's been a spillage in the isolation lab Sir, I'm afraid it's...”
Madeley hadn't waited for Carson to finish. Panic swept through him. He snapped his phone shut and set off running.
Madeley's mind raced as he sped down the corridors. The present projects were robust, elegant, dangerous beyond comprehension.
Rh704, a rapid spreading virus with a ninety percent fatality rate, very nasty.
Even worse was BGX1402. An air-borne virus with a ninety eight percent fatality rate, a three day incubation period, and an agonisingly slow death for anyone coming into contact with it.
“Oh please god, don't let it be THAT one, anything but THAT one.” He silently prayed to himself, all the while, knowing in his heart that it would be THAT one.
He skidded round the corner towards the elevators, hesitated for a split second, then continued on, ploughing through the waiting crowd and punched through the access door and down the stairs, deciding it would be the quicker option.
Almost faint with oxygen starvation he reached the Level Seven security door, swiping his card through the reader and punching in his personal code.
The door hissed open and he stepped quickly through, chewing his lip impatiently as the the door closed and the lock cycled before the inner door opened.
What greeted his eyes did not herald good news.
The three technicians before him huddled together in a primal act of communal safety, they trembled in their white coveralls, staring at him with wide eyes.
There was an almost overpowering pungent aroma in the air, an all too familiar smell that Madeley's panic-stricken mind immediately connected to a worst case scenario.
Madeley glanced at the grille in the wall, the cold tendrils of sheer horror danced down his spine. The green light on the panel told him it was in active venting, his heart sank. It was too late, whatever had been spilt was out, vented into the world. It was probably a matter of weeks, or maybe even days before everything started to come apart.
Madeley sank into a nearby chair, he was close to tears. He reached for his phone, the sooner Operation Exodus got under way the more lives would be saved.
His voice was on the verge of breaking as he spoke.
“Wh... Which one was it? BGX1402? ...Rh704?”
“Err... what do you mean, Sir?” Ventured Carson, hesitantly.
“The spillage, you moron, the goddam spillage! What the hell else would I be talking about?”
“Err... it was ...err … tea, Sir.” Stuttered Carson, shrinking back into the embrace of the other two.
“Tea? TEA?” Said Madeley, staring incredulously at Carson.
“Y... Yes Sir. Th ...the special blend you had imported from Ceylon. It was an accident Sir, Janet tripped while carrying the tray and the packet split spilling all over the floor, the milk jug smashed and milk soaked into all the tea leaves Sir. I'm afraid we had to bin the whole lot.”
Madeley let his head sink into his hands and he sobbed uncontrollably. That tea was expensive, and it would be weeks before he would be able to get more shipped in.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 24 October 2014
She lived for her art.
The pride swelled within her each time she browsed her gallery.
Each one a masterpiece.
Each one a unique complex of curling swirls and whorls. Intertwining patterns interspaced with fine carvings and vignettes.
She surveyed her latest, her best to date in her opinion.
The memory of composition still fresh in her mind. The glint of bright light off steel still fresh in her eye. The feel of red swab still fresh on her fingertips.
And not an inch of skin without pattern.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
Yes, she lived for her art.
That others had to die for it mattered not.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 3 October 2014
“One point seven... eight... nine... Two. The bid is two million. Two point one... two... three... four... Two point four... I have two point four... Anyone else? Two point five at the back there, six... seven... eight... Two point eight... The bid is two point eight... Anyone else at two point eight? Going once... Twice... Sold to the man in the green jacket for two point eight million credits.”
Zaphor strolled out of the auction room clutching his newly-purchased document feeling rather pleased with himself. Two point eight mill' was a small price to pay for the twenty first century. The price would have been much higher if any of the regular hunters had been bidding.
Luckily, Baphram and Peoren were at present on safari in the first century, plenty of swords and sandals escapades to get themselves involved in there.
Duggle was somewhere near the beginning of the twentieth century, slaughtering his way through some sprawling trench-based conflict. Zaphor shuddered at the thought of wading through all that mud and barbed wire.
Rumour had it that poor Genevieve La Rouge had been having fun in the middle of a civil war in England somewhere around the middle of the seventeenth century, and had been tried and found guilty of witchcraft, and was burnt at the stake. “She always did take risks did that one. I blame her father for giving her too much self confidence.” Thought Zaphor. But he still made a mental note to look up a fellow named Matthew Hopkins if he ever found himself in that era. Zaphor and Genevieve had never been really close, but they were still in the trade, and he felt her loss.
Zaphor studied the paperwork closely. Exclusive rights to one year's unrestricted safari in the twenty first century. He rubbed his hands in excited anticipation.“Yes!” Thought Zaphor. “Fortune has certainly smiled my way today. Two point eight mill', a snap at twice the price. Boy am I going to have myself some fun.”
His timeleap car was in for service until tomorrow, so he would spend the rest of the day packing clothes and weaponry, picking out a few choice twenty first century conflicts to get himself involved in. Oh boy, he could barely wait.
Zaphor hummed happily to himself as he stepped onto the conveyor walkway that would take him homewards.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.