Sunday, 15 May 2016

Dead Line - Flash Fiction

The hands were the last outpost of activity. Or rather the fingers gripping his pen. The rest of the musculature had withered through disuse. The mouth, that other outlet for words, had seized up through a wholesale aridity, dry river beds of sputum, meaning his desiccated lips were unable to form even the simplest phoneme. His legs stilled through stagnation in the chair, had now become paralysed with a deep vascular thrombosis. He could no longer feel his feet, uncertain and uncaring that he was receiving no proof of the floor pushing back at his undersoles for being in contact with one another. His abdomen, having initially echoed the current concavity of his sallow cheeks, had now blazoned its tocsin through distension, an ill-windsock of fetid air. A second, unadvised gastrulation returning him to a state of the scaffolded truss of the womb. His serpentine labyrinth of bowels having fruitlessly demanded their regular oblation, therefore began to devour him from within. While the sphincter had drawn down its shutter and closed for the business end, but only after its liquidation sale had left him marinading in his own soil in the writer’s chair. There was a deadline to be met after all. 

I have commissioned the above image as a T-Shirt design from the wonderful Little Appleseed.

It's a bastardisation of one of the tenets of Sergey Nechayev's "Revolutionary Catechism" which I use as the epigraph in my book "Not In My Name" in its original, unadulterated form for a book about terrorism. 

What do you think? 

Possible coda for the above story:

His literary agent prised the pen from the author's cold, dead hand and set it on the writing desk. He shuffled the sheaf of papers straight and slipped them into a manilla envelope. He smiled at the thought that the publishers had little chance of getting their advance back as it would go into the marais that was probate. How were they to know what he held in his hand was the final work? he could claim it was an old manuscript found beneath dust on the author's shelf. He would pocket all the proceeds, save for an honorarium to pay for the author's pauper's grave. A writer's final resting place marked without any words at all. 


Sayer said...

The uncommon word choices make this such fun to read that I almost didn't care where it was taking me.

Helen A. Howell said...

Your use of the English language is to be admired! Dead lines can drive to neglect all other things ^_^