Tag: Fiction

Once more he descends

“Inspire me!” he howls. The frustration echoing loud through the room.

“Step away” came the voice, the gentle caress of a whisper, fading almost before it had begun. That cold sheen of silk pulled across skin, comforting yet alien, the voice soothes him once again. Closing his eyes as the colours flow, emotions swirl vivid in technicolour, washing from blue to red, anger to love.

But he will not. He remains there, resolute in his determination. This has worked before and will work again. He will see this through, it’s all he knows, all he can do. The world washes white, then colour floods his view once more.

He is drawn through purple and green, closer still, knowing what he seeks is a fragment beyond his grasp, that translucent clarity will reveal itself in moments. Consumed, it’s all he can consider, totally, willingly focussed. The room slips away from him as he graps and grapples towards his sanity and the tortured salvation he seeks.

Behind his eyes, colours swirl and merge in the raging torrents and deep pools of his mind. Emotions cascade, tumbling through thoughts, eclipsing everything whilst he searches for the light, the release, the answer.

Suddenly, peace. A quiet resonate. He has arrived.

Blinking against the sudden, dazzling light he opens his eyes to a room that dazzles and glows. Quietly the voice rewards him, praises him, comforts him. He smiles, knowing the worst is over for now. One day he will heed the voice, one day he follow and learn more, one day he will step away and be inspired in other ways, he will accept what he didn’t know as true, he will succumb and no longer suffer his way through.

But, for now, he is happy and content. The room tilts back towards normal and with a slow smile he reveals what he knows, offers it up and finally placates her. She quietly approves and relaxes her grip, and as he breathes once more his mind spirals back to the beginning.

White slashed black, curls and lines form and dance, circles and dots wash into view. His fingers furious now, desperate to capture it all, to fill the void.

The words spill and dazzle, inspired by light, daubed in vivid colour.

He relaxes and calm descends.

And he types on.

The average man

He wanders through the streets, past the gentle glow of the houses, under dark and slanting drizzle. He has no purpose, no destination, and can barely remember where he started but this is all he knows, this is his life, his motion. He hunches forwards as another car drives past, plucking the droplets clustering on the edge of his hood and shining them like jewels.

His motion is fluid and organic as he ambles over the pavements, lightly stepping on cobbles and kerbs. He has been here before, he knows, been round this place more than once. He knows it well, too well perhaps, but like an old friend he enjoys the comfort it brings, the familiarity that makes it all too easy to slip into this place one more time.

A break in the clouds above and spears of light arrow down and smash into puddles. He pauses, splashed by scattered light, bathing in the warm glow of the rain, capturing every detail that he can. Processing them quickly in a vain hope of capture, knowing that few will remain with him but one or two will penetrate deeply enough to stick. Moments of beauty to add to the collection, fractured and precious he holds them dear. The very phrase echoes of her.

Almost as soon as they part the clouds start again to weave together, a blanket of gloom restored, drenching all beneath it.

Off he goes once more, without direction. Something that is neither required nor sought, instead he trusts he will find his own way. He has been lost before and found his way back.

The streets are quieter now and he fills his head with sound, pulling memories of pain and pleasure (never pleasure and pain) to keep him on track. Other times his head remains empty with nothing but the dull echo of his thoughts to keep him company.

Rube Goldberg

I always feel ridiculous when I put on the balaclava, but I know I must. I check my appearance in the mirror and a man in black from head to toe stares back at me. Hey, I think, at least I look the part. I yank the balaclava off and stuff it in my pocket for later.

I walk over to the table at the other side of the room, not a huge journey in such a cheap hotel, and check that I have everything I need, ticking each item off against my mental itinerary just as I’ve been trained. I remember all the drills clearly and trust that instinct will guide me should the need arise. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves I slowly fill the pockets of my jacket.

As I leave the room I pause before the mirror for one final check, one final deep breath and I know that I am ready, know that all that training will come to the fore, know that my first mission will be a success. Confidently I throw open the door and head for the rendezvous area.

I’ve surveyed the area for the past week and know the best entry and exit points. I know which cameras are where and what time the guards do their rounds. I’ve done my planning, nothing can go wrong. The adrenalin begins to course through my veins.

Twenty minutes later I gently swing myself down from a high window, landing softly on the balls of my feet, hidden behind stacks of empty boxes. I’m in the grand hall, a huge space with high ceilings that feels empty and bereft of life.

Checking my watch I wait for the guard to pass, still amazed at how lax the security detail is for such an important occasion. Then I remind myself that the security guards don’t care, not enough anyway. If it were my company we’d use our own people not hire in some part-timers, but then we know what is at stake and the price that will be paid for failure.

Crouched there I think back to my first encounter with the company, the quiet man at the celebration party who waited until I was alone to approach me, a congratulatory handshake was offered (it was my first world record) and accepted before he outlined the big picture, outlined just how much is resting on these events and why his company, my company, had to come out on top, had to be the ones with the upper hand. He stressed the seriousness of it all and I was soon converted.

There had always been a nagging doubt in my mind and I was quick to realise what a pawn I’d been. So keen had I been on placing the bones, stacking the stones, playing the game, that I hadn’t considered the implications. All the while I’d been concentrating on the details, steadying my hand, meticulous in my preparation. Ohhh how blind I’d been!

Footsteps pull me from my thoughts and I ready myself. I have precious seconds in which to make my move, but it is time enough unless something goes wrong. The guard walks past, whistling a nothing tune, and as he pulls the door closed behind him I slowly move out from the shadows.

Standing now I survey the scene before me, the floor is almost full, patterns ripple here and there, climbing stairs and bridging gaps. It take it all in and a tinge of sadness colours my view. I know what all of this took, I know the pain and sweat that has already passed, I know too the tears that will come but I cannot be deterred.

Carefully I step through the patterns, each foot placed slowly and carefully in the gaps. The pattern is etched in my mind and soon I’m in there, at the place where it all starts and ends. I’m still surprised that such a flaw exists for I know how painstaking the preparation will have been, diverts and errors are usually accounted for, and it seems a glaring omission for them to have left such an opportunity. A ripple of panic brings sweat to my brow. Surely it can’t be this easy? Is it a trap?

I know it’s not, I know the analysis of the design was thorough and I oversaw the simulations myself, I know that here, at this very point, this very piece holds the key to the entire pattern. The fulcrum on which power will tilt.

Slowly I bend and gently, ohhh so gently, I reach down and grasp the piece between forefinger and thumbfingers, easing it slowly out of place until it is free. I rests in the palm of my hand, such a small and fragile thing to hold such power. I stare down at it, amazed that after all this time it has come down to this. I feel like a god, ultimate power in my hand, the power to end it all. A flicker of doubt is passed off as guilt.

With my other hand I pull a small tube from my jacket pocket, unscrew the lid with my mouth and after a short pause to savour the moment, I gently squeeze out a thin line of superglue across the short flat side of the piece in my hand. I seal the tube, place it back in my pocket and check the line of glue. Perfect.

Slowly I bend and gently, ohhh so gently, replace the domino at the centre of the display.

There, I think, that’ll stop them.