Sunday, 28 January 2018

Lexicoplasty - Flash Fiction

When the executive order came down the line, the words listed for expurgation were redacted in the textbooks beneath tape, until new editions could be run off the presses. However, the prodrome initially developed online, where the revised lections 404’d and only cached unbowdlerised versions remained accessible. Coding experts were called in to try and resolve the issue.

A librarian at Philadelphia’s Perelman School of Medicine was the first to notice the phenomenon in print. One of the sanitised words ‘vulnerable’ fluoresced from beneath its concealing black strip and radiated its defiant presence like any of the emergency exit signs throughout the hospital. Curious, the librarian ran a battery of tests to detect whether there was some sort of contamination in the printers’ inks, or even the presence of radioactive material. In other medical volumes, the word ‘diversity’ similarly glowed in an array of differing colours under their shrouds.

It was only when the books were checked out by students and researchers alike, that the pathology revealed itself in full. Words deliquesced from the page and vanished. The odd letter here and there remained in forlorn isolation, but all medical knowledge had been trepanned. The university’s mathematicians swiftly dissected the pattern of the remaining characters; they were the lone nine letters not contained within the original proscribed words. 

The academic linguists grasped the diagnosis immediately. Word necrosis. 

“Language is organic. You can’t simply excise and disassemble parts of it without secondary effects, or in this case, viral metastasis. You have to think of the alphabet like DNA, forming the amino acids of words, aggregating into the protein chains of sentences, the cells of paragraphs, discrete anatomical structures as chapters, finally building the corpus as a whole. This was venesection without coagulant. The executive just lobotomised the body politic’s healthcare”.  


Based on the prompt from "New Flash Fiction" journal which was as follows: 

Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the Center for Disease Control from using seven words in their official documents: The words are as follows: “evidence-based”, “science-based” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” and “fetus.”

Write a 300 word flash fiction using some or all of these words

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Four-Minute Warning - Flash Fiction

We had got flabby after the withering away of mutually assured nuclear destruction. Replacing the four-minute warning with our own cosy version, the Bucket List. Taking our own sweet time. Indulging presumed pleasures rather than confronting the other pole of the spectrum, the non-continuum, that of our demise. 

When knowledge of the new imminent extinction event broke, the world soon reverted to type. Full panic mode which should have been enough to paralyse us in place in unremitting contemplation of our gathering cessation. But now, pluckily folk sped up their ambitions and deviated off the inventory into far more extreme vistas. Time for a first taste of the blood of another human on the tongue. Or the thrill of totalling automobiles in the stock car race at the end of the world, or the exasperated exhilaration of finally hurling a Molotov Cocktail at the Town Hall. However looting held no appeal, since what was the point of wearing diamonds for just two days, nor would people be needing stockpiles food where they were heading. 

America and other tribal societies opted to pay off old scores and grudges. All except in one locus. Great Britain remained calm. An equipoise not borne of any T-Shirt slogans, or even the reputed stiff upper lip grin and bear it mien. Rather the nation had experienced a previous occasion for playing out of its collected grief, with the death of their Princess of Hearts. That was the circumstance in which they had mourned for their own unfulfilled lives, so that they had nothing left to give a second time when they were directly threatened with expiration. 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Wind Cried Mercy - Flash Fiction

When you prick yourself on a rose briar. When your cat scratches you in play. When you're stung by a bee. When you stub your foot on a forest stone because you're embosomed with your phone cursing the patchy signal. Pain used to bear a twin constituency, travelling along bifurcated tracks; the first paroxysmal path straight up the trunk road to the brain to alert to danger, demanding of immediate double declutch and reversing away from the hazard; the second, a slightly more sedate ache’s progress up the dorsal by-road, analysing the scenery and triaging the body’s response. But that was when the cause of the pain was external. Now with the agony emanating from within, there is no manoeuvre I can undertake to withdraw from its source. Since the source is me. I can fold myself over in two, I can grasp my stomach and squeeze myself, I can ram my eyes shut, but nothing can countervail the spasms. External objects never convulse you. They are hard and unyielding. The body is soft until it locks its muscles and garrottes your organs in peristaltic waves of pain.

I wish the doctor had never told me. I experienced the pangs yes, but I could always see them out eventually. But now I know what they signify, I cannot dismiss them through sheer gritted endurance. I might ride out the throb, but its lasting consequence still attends my conscious mind. The coronation of my imminent death. Heralded afresh with each piercing jag. 

Symptoms and side effects: Chronic fatigue. The divine diapason of the dawn chorus when I am prostrate in my bed, signalling the night has flogged me sleepless. Breathlessness. The delicately vibrating spider’s web, with captured raindrops holding the vista of the world held in their prism fair takes the breath away. Tremors and increasing ataxia. The passing of the clouds in the sky, with their intricately amorphous borders I try and trace the ends of but can never quite fix. Swelling and inflammation. The vibrant colours of the snapdragons in my vase are almost too vivid for me to behold for any protracted period. I try and sketch them but my hand shakes too much to capture them. When the blossoms shrivel and die they resemble nothing less than human skulls and so it is not only their lost colour that is sundered in the calvary of my mind. 

I lie down on my temporarily cease-firing stomach and inhale the grass in my garden. It smells extravagantly luscious. Complex. A mosaic of aromas. Nature’s musky spoor. I have never smelled it quite like this before. Sure I have been struck by the waft of newly mown grass, releasing its joys of being alive in Spring, once trepanned by the metal blade to incite further insurgent abundance. My nostrils, my mouth, my brain ingest such pungent vigour. And mock me for it. For the cut grass grows new hydra heads and will persist. Yet I will be decollated and asunder. There is no efficacy that other human heads persist beyond me for their finite span. Only now do I grasp this sumptuous fragrance, glean the pulchritude of life, but it will all be snatched away from me. I am only allowed a fleeting glimpse. The grass scolds me thus. It prompted rapture not a moment ago, now it only spites me with anguish and the sting within. And the grass, which does not rustle and whisper but rather hollers, is correct. This life that I desperately crave now that I know it is being withdrawn from me, to what end? Seeing that when I blithely possessed it, I was unaware and unappreciative of what it was for? What it offered. I barely occupy its bounties and benedictions, so how can I lament its passing? Yet I'm crying. Crying at beauty. Or crying for beauty. Crying at death. 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Still - Flash Fiction

My child was finally out of me. Yet the convex salience of my belly still bore her cameoed imprint. No phantom amputee this, I did not still feel her to be inside. I was like the snake who had swallowed prey whole and my body accordingly distended around the shape of my ingurgitation. Yet now that digestional absorption was complete, the evacuation passed as scurf, my hide had not recoiled its elasticity to resile me sinuously lithe. And for what? We had both been destroyed by our co-habitation. For my child had been stillborn. She was the phantom amputee.

Romance Languages - Flash Fiction

“I love you” tasting bile at the back of my throat.

“Je t’aime” tasting saltiness on the inside of my cheeks

“Ich liebe dich” tasting blood on my tongue

“Ti amo” tasting defeat on my teeth

“Te ubesc” tasting betrayal on my lips