Pure Fiction

Flash fiction and short stories

This Pain

Sunlight shines through his window. A washing machine runs in the background, dogs are barking next door, and his girlfriend is beating cake mix upstairs. The song plays out and he sits quietly with a heavy weight in his soul and nothing but words to help.

No matter how hard he tries to shake it and break free, it always catches him up. A woman’s kiss will sweeten it and almost make it worse, like too much dessert. As he fills his glass, the ice clinking, he just about fools himself this bitter liquid can heal. Remembering the first time, with everything going blurry, he thought this was the cure. But you can’t fill a hole by digging it deeper.

He still tries to run. With the wind in his face, the blue sky above, he escapes now and then. Young and fast, youth is on his side. As he grows older the cloudy days come more often. He puts up an umbrella and lets the rain beat it down until he is bare to the hailstones.

He is scared. He is worried he’s starting to like this pain.

Trees

They have been here since the beginnings of life on earth watching over this planet like silent guardians, standing tall.

Everything about a tree is powerful, from its inner strength to its stillness. Less calm beings can sit under their branches and breathe deeply knowing they are in the presence of knowledge.

Trees know when the sun is shining or if it will rain. They can sense their network of friends standing around them, or perhaps lack of. Our human ears may listen to them rustle and creak but trees know far more than they will ever say. This is another strength, to hold your tongue when others do wrong. They watch us and shake their heads, bowing in shame.

Earth creates life: a miracle and a conundrum. Why life? Where did we come from? Trees know the answer, shifting and swaying, embracing wind as it rushes past much like they reach to embrace humans as we hurry along on the ground. They try to seduce us into their branches to learn from their wisdom and be peaceful. With many of our cousins they succeeded.

You see, as humans we assume we are the pinnacle of evolution. We seem to feel some pride in our destructiveness, that the ability to destroy somehow lifts us above other species. This is a baffling thought.

Nature tried its best but we ignored it at every turn. Go outside and search the skyline. Feel that hunger in your breast until you spot a shifting haze, an ethereal substance in the wind. Maybe a splash of green or orange, depending on the season. The sentinel of good, never criticising, always willing to forgive, breathing, pulsing, waving, smiling, caressing. Humble.

Stand under a tree. Talk to it if you want and make sure you listen.

tree

A Loner and a Girl

Sitting alone in his room.

Partying with her friends.

Drinking wine from a coffee cup.

Knocking back shots at the bar.

A bright screen, keys, clicks.

Strobe lights and bar fights.

He falls asleep in his armchair.

She falls into another man’s bed.

At 4 a.m they both wake.

Her: “Can’t sleep.”

Him: “ikr.”

They met online, how else? He never leaves his room.

Promiscuous, socialite, cosmopolitan, beautiful. What did she see in him?

Maybe it was how different he was to most guys she hung around.

Maybe he was kind of cute in a geeky way.

Maybe she just really needed a friend and this guy looked reliable.

He always replied to her 4 a.m texts.

Her: “I had the worst night.”

Him: “That sucks. Mine was lame too.”

Her: “Drinking alone again?”

Him: “Yeah haha.”

3 months later

Her: “I need a friend to go shopping with.”

Him: “Oh yeah? Shopping isn’t really a talent of mine.”

Her: “It’s okay. I just need company. You want to come or not? No pressure.”

Him: “That sounds alright. Would be nice to finally meet you.”

Her: “Oh don’t get all sappy on me lover boy. See you at the mall at 10.”

Coffee, laughter, and affection. Delightful surprises.

Holding hands. Singing. Lingerie shopping.

Slow, inevitable adoration. The emergence of a goddess in a young man’s eyes.

The pain of realisation of what can never be.

The healing power of innocence on a worn out heart.

Giving, taking, and most of all a powerful bond, a friendship.

4 years later

“Hello, Mr. Ryan?

“Speaking.”

“We have you down as an emergency contact for a Miss Foster. She is currently in a critical condition at the RAH.”

A popular girl with nobody to turn to. A broken soul wrapped in a hospital bed.

Him: “Hey I came as quick as I could. Why did you put me as emergency contact?”

Her: “You’re the only one who was ever there for me when it mattered.”

Him: “Why didn’t you tell me? I know you drink but you didn’t have to take drugs. We could have hung out, done anything you wanted. You didn’t have to take them.”

Tears. Hugs. Apologies.

Her: “Thank you so much for coming. I really need your support right now.”

A loner and a lonely girl.

10 years on

A wealthy business man circles the west end in search of his usual entertainment.

He spots a girl his type and tells the driver to pull over.

When their eyes meet both see a flash of recognition.

“Kate?”

She turns and walks away.

He chases after her.

“Leave me alone Richie. I don’t want to speak to you.”

A burly pimp heads their way as Richie begs Kate to get in his car.

“I just want to talk. I can do things for you, get you things.”

“I don’t want your money Richie. Leave me alone.”

Shame and pride are powerful feelings.

Richie hops in his car before the muscly brute gets closer.

The next day he drives down the same street but Kate is not there.

Richie ends up finding Kate.

In the obituaries, 3 years later.

She would always be his goddess.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola plan presence on Mars

Two giants of the food and beverage industry, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, have begun negotiations with Mars One to sponsor their 2024 manned trip to Mars. An employee of Mars One who reportedly spoke to the NY Times claimed the two companies were in talks with other organisations such as NASA and SpaceX.

At this stage there are limited details. There has been no official word from either company but there is strong indications that these are more than rumours. John Hamersmith, President of AFBA (American Food and Beverage Association) insists that at least three major American food manufacturers see Mars as ‘the next frontier’ in terms of consumable packaged edibles. Some may remember the famous moon pie of the moon landing era.

There is a good chance McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are two of those three. Both cultivate the image of being omnipresent. Their global strategy revolves around the premise that wherever you go, you will be able to purchase your favourite cheeseburger and soft drink, with little or no deviation in terms of taste, size, price, quality, and dining experience. Food scientist Ronny Johns, from Harvard University, says it is an exciting time in food processing.

“With the advent of 3D printing, suddenly many of the academics I know are talking about printing food. Those magical machines in the movies that make food appear might soon become reality.”

Maybe in the near future we will see McDonald’s vending machines next to Coca-Cola ones, where the food materialises before our eyes. It makes sense to be seen as the first restaurant (or vending machine) on Mars in order for McDonald’s to take that next global marketing step. Despite growing concerns over the health benefits of fast food and soft drink, last year profits rose for both companies by 800%, indicating exceptionally strong demand. This has been attributed by qualified researchers to the massive increase in fatness by Americans, and as we all know fatness only leads to desire for more and more food. This cycle is expected to continue in the future with McDonald’s planning to build their first ‘feeding trough’ style restaurant in late 2014. The CEO of McDonald’s, Donald Thompson, has described the ‘feeding trough experience’ as

“…grossly disgusting and humiliating for all involved. Basically our strategy is ‘build it and they will come’. By providing irresistibly tasty food that people will be drawn to gorge on for long periods of time at bulk prices we hope that eventually our customers will become so fat they will simply lie down at the trough and never leave. This will ensure a huge percentage increase in demand and our factories will need to up production to satisfy these absurdly obese blobs.”

At this stage shareholders are waiting on an official statement from the two companies on their Mars plans, and see it as an exciting opportunity to destroy the dignity and mystique of space exploration forever.

The Queen and the Hatter

The Queen needed a bonnet for the next game of croquet so she sent a summons to the Hatter.

‘You know,’ said the King, ‘you can’t have his head chopped off if you want him to make you a hat.’

‘Shoosh. Why is he taking so long?’ The Queen bustled around her bed chamber impatiently.

The Knave knocked and entered. ‘The Hatter is here.’

‘Off with his- I mean show him in at once.’

The Knave waved the Hatter through the door.

‘Your Majesty,’ said the Hatter as he bowed.

‘Off with- um… er… what took you so long?’ The Queen was a ball of confused anger, barely contained.

‘My Lady, I was at a Tea Party.’

‘Whose Tea Party?’

‘No milady, it was the Mad Hares.’

‘OFF WITH HIS HEAD! No no no, ignore that, ignore that. Come, come you must make me a bonnet at once.’

The Hatter fidgeted and fiddled.

‘Well what’s wrong with you?’ said the King, ‘She wants a bonnet so make her one.’

‘The Dormouse was awfully sleepy. I must get back.’ The Hatter turned and attempted to leave but the Knave blocked the door.

‘OFF WITH HIS HEAD! OFF WITH HIS HEAD!’ screamed the Queen. She had turned bright purple from her effort to contain her rage, and she had to let it out.

The Hatter jumped and scurried to the corner of the room.

Alice entered, side-stepping the Knave. ‘Oh this is nonsense. None of you can exist unless I am present. You only occur in my head. Stop living alternate realities.’

The King, Queen, Hatter and Knave all stopped moving and slowly turned towards Alice. ‘Your rules don’t apply down here,’ they said in unison, ‘we can do anything we want.’

Their glassy eyes gave Alice the creeps. ‘Oh, nothing ever goes the way I expect in Wonderland.’ She backed away as the others circled her.

They closed in with their hands outstretched and just before they were about to grab her Alice woke with a shriek.

‘I wish they would leave me alone,’ she moaned.

‘Don’t worry Alice, Wonderland is just a dream,’ said the White Rabbit by the window.

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