Search
Browse
  • Endless Joke
    Endless Joke
    by David Antrobus

    Here's that writers' manual you were reaching and scrambling for. You know the one: filled with juicy writing tidbits and dripping with pop cultural snark and smartassery. Ew. Not an attractive look. But effective. And by the end, you'll either want to kiss me or kill me. With extreme prejudice. Go on. You know you want to.

  • Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip
    by David Antrobus

    Please click on the above thumbnail to buy my short, intense nonfiction book featuring 9/11 and trauma. It's less than the price of a cup of coffee... and contains fewer calories. Although, unlike most caffeine boosts, it might make you cry.

  • Music Speaks
    Music Speaks
    by LB Clark

    My story "Solo" appears in this excellent music charity anthology, Music Speaks. It is an odd hybrid of the darkly comic and the eerily apocalyptic... with a musical theme. Aw, rather than me explain it, just read it. Okay, uh, please?

  • First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    First Time Dead 3 (Volume 3)
    by Sybil Wilen, P. J. Ruce, Jeffrey McDonald, John Page, Susan Burdorf, Christina Gavi, David Alexander, Joanna Parypinski, Jack Flynn, Graeme Edwardson, David Antrobus, Jason Bailey, Xavier Axelson

    My story "Unquiet Slumbers" appears in the zombie anthology First Time Dead, Volume 3. It spills blood, gore and genuine tears of sorrow. Anyway, buy this stellar anthology and judge for yourself.

  • Seasons
    Seasons
    by David Antrobus, Edward Lorn, JD Mader, Jo-Anne Teal

    Four stories, four writers, four seasons. Characters broken by life, although not necessarily beaten. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse of our slow decay?

  • Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited: 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology
    Indies Unlimited

    I have two stories in this delightful compendium of every 2012 winner of their Flash Fiction Challenge—one a nasty little horror short, the other an amusing misadventure of Og the caveman, his first appearance.

Networked Blogs

 

 

Tweets
Places I Hang Out
Friday
Sep012017

Ink Into Blue

All the warm lights settle into the glow of evening, that umbra of deep blue before it accedes to black. You can still see the ridge with its dark fractal conifers and a deepening gloom beneath, backdropping this pretty town, beyond the amber necklace of I-5 lights. This melancholic summer twilight. All our crew and passengers anticipating night.

"I walked for hours alongside the interstate and no one noticed me. Till I stumbled. Then everyone gathered to watch me stumble again."

"The way of things. Said it before."

"But surely it ain't right. Ain't normal!"

"There is no normal; only what we become accustomed to."

The bay is flat as a hockey rink, barely a ripple on its reflecting expanse. Blue and blue and more blue, deepening to ink, punctuated by the copper and brass of streetlights, passing ships, the breathless tremor of awakening stars.

We are on an ark amid those stars.

You write like HST, like Hitchens: whipsmart and hairshirt honest. You're a heartbreaker the moment a heartbreaker's required. Because the truth barely hides within all the voices. Hurts, though, hurts so good.

It's a dark room, massive as a hangar. I can't even tell what the floor is made from, whether it's natural or even solid. A doorframe filled with light gleams on the other side, far away, and every footstep leads me there yet doesn't. It won't come closer. I walk and walk before the traceless course is set. 

People have been seeing stairs in the deep woods—in the peace and the pure dark of those woods, stairs and no floors, concrete risers absent handrails, going up, descending—and have heard music notes that rise and fall with the wind on still days. Like a sudden mist, a shudder, an air of something terrifying, trees inhaling en masse then holding their breaths.

***

They left me here. To deal with Mother Russia, or one of her misbegotten spawn. Inside this grim building that feels like an institution. Flats, I hear; never apartments. One syllable will suffice. The single pane windows are framed in cold metal once painted a green so pale it's almost grey and is grey where it flakes. I stand at one and hear the spite of the windflung snow like grit on the glass. Did you know glass is a liquid, one very slow tear from an eye that cannot blink? I hear someone moaning, not close. Outside, a narrow road set back beyond an open area that is barely ever grass, even in springtime. Now it is patched with snow and strewn with ugly, unwanted things. Unloved things. A scarred dog the colour of dysentery investigates. The deep fissure between its eyes suggests something treacherous; I see the same in some men. The dog first sniffs then begins to chew on a used condom, and my nausea returns, beached like a gulping fish. There is nothing out there. I am in some blighted quarter of some nexus where all Cold War stereotypes happened upon truth for once. Someone left me here and isn't coming back. Nothing moves on the road and the ghosts of centuries hurl cold grit at the window and I try not to blink.

*** 

The man who speaks to birds divulges troubles. An emphysemic blues harp trailing in sync with the failing blue light. A hierarchy of blue. Near-black to india ink to royal blue to cerulean to shimmering abalone, that inbreath, the vestige of light unreal.

Bird man is on this. Where is the two-step hoot of the cuckoo in the bluebell woods? he asks. Our childhood springs were punctuated by its veiled predation. Its dulcet faux-solace bored into our brains unnoticed. Those auspicious Aprils. That banded marauder. Now silence presides over the wildflower lake that laps against dead bark, its waves curling midbreak and browning. How is it the birds are silent, the odd lone interloper gallant in its solo aria? Did we make of progress a ligature with which to choke the rest?

Bile and drool. Factories, refineries. They all sound like chickens. Astonished and blest.

Great swaths come of age defrauded. Cheated of this: supine in fragrant grasses as the lark spirals skyward buoyed by its own sweet song. Twitter is scant compensation, is weaksauce.

Close those massive doors and stop dreaming. Nostalgia is the devil's favourite trap, your fretful yearning throat in a capo grip, your flustered avian heartbeat faltering. 

Undressed.

Behold the false spring. Here, things live in things that grow on things. Cryptic. Larval. Something lives inside the holes, appallingly aware. You came and lived among us. The earth itself cries torrents.

"I'll never be accustomed to this."

"Shhhh…"

"I'm right, though, ain't I?"

"Hush now."

We are all writers. We lay upon this world black ribbons. We lay upon this world vile detritus. We lay upon this world our open, defective hearts. Sigils and glyphs. We lay upon this world our fathomless regret. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« A World Abandoned | Main | Majestic »