These Long Hours

Head in my hands
I stare down at the green tiles
(In my childhood home, in my mind, I)
Cross my eyes, and see the rough squares shift
– further –
And merge
– further –
And then blur.
I can’t hold them there long.
As I fail,
They reform,
A rigid pattern of tessellated randomness,
Of little meaning,
Whole once more.

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Purgatory

Opera House

Alone, in a hotel room, the boom-crackle of ignited Australia Day firecrackers and the screams of low-flying military jets, the zinging taste of Solo-In-A-Can, of gunky pasta marinara exploding slowly in my stinging stomach.

Sydney, why so Sydney?

A glut of solipsistic co-workers, with headphones (Apple buds, Beats By Dre); with hunched frame, a descending skeletal de-evolution; with sniffles and burps, with no salutations, no how-dya-do, and with a lunch half-eaten at their desks. Dying while sitting, minute-minus-minute. A life tripped-and-flipped, sliding slowly into the time slip.

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Time to Fly (300 Word Race The Date #6 Winner)

virus

The virus drifts, a long silk rope that winds in a loop deep within the man’s lower intestine.

Stuck here for days, embedded within the rotting meat of a cheap beef pie that the man has bought from an old mom and pop’s general store on the way home from his job at Johnson & Hibbard—‘The Tax Specialists’— the virus knows patience. In its limited way, it understands that the body encasing it is not, by and large, a strong body.

The virus unfurls and releases the initial infection.

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Ode to a Random Cat I Fed Earlier and Now It’s 3.20 AM

Dear Cat,

We started off so well,
I saw you outside 
(without a collar or bell),
I fed you to shut you up,
And keep you from little birds 
you might get rough (with),
Now you're yowling 
outside - monotone,
I was a fool to believe 
that you'd leave me alone,
And I have no boot to throw,
But you're black - 
if it hit you, 
how would I know?
We used to be close friends.
I'm not a catmurdererbynature
butyoudrovemetothis!

Review: ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark

50 Essential Wriiting Tools

Dear Readers,

Sparky here with a quick review. Page-by-page, I’m currently going through ‘Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer’ by Roy Peter Clark. I’m finding it immensely useful.

Clark approaches writing from both a philosophical and practical standpoint: ‘Writing is a craft you can learn,’ he explains. ‘You need tools, not rules.’ With four different levels of tools at your disposal—’Nuts and Bolts’, ‘Special Effects’, ‘Blueprints’ and ‘Useful Habits’—the wide variety of tips and tricks covered will help to improve your writing on both a macro and micro level.

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They Were Silent (300 word Race The Date Fiction)

John shot Sarah a look, gesturing impatiently for her to follow. ‘Come on! We’re getting close.’

She rolled her eyes and smiled, but started to pick up the pace. ‘Sure thing, Boss man. Whatever you say.’ She mock bowed, hinging at the waist as they walked. She was sweating profusely.

‘No sass today, thanks,’ he said, striding along a micrometre in front. ‘You wanted to come. We gotta be there by sundown; if we’re not, we won’t be allowed to join.’ He stared down the tracks at the dark line in the distance.  The horizon was nearer now, drawing into slow focus.

A crowd of teens lined the cliff face, bodies turned away from John and Sarah, faces looking down. They were silent.

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Echo (150 word Flash! Friday Fiction)

Nezarre looked down into the abyss.

The ancient waterfalls were no more. A stone dam had been laid across the Henabron River a half mile above, a thing of necessary evil in the dark times ahead. This had been the King’s wish, a way of halting the main water supply to Festborough’s southern lands.

‘What have the people of Dornaday done to deserve such unprovoked attacks?’ the old monarch had cried out from his gilded throne.

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Jeremy Was Changing (250 word Flash! Friday Fiction)

stock-illustration-21977118-howling-werewolf-silhouette

Jeremy was changing.

The lights of a behemoth barrelling down the nearby highway flashed, startling him into movement. He blinked, hunkered down in the backseat. As his lids lifted, illumination slithered across the ruts and rivulets of the back of his hand.

He frowned. These were not his hands.

The meat truck disappeared, a horn blasting in the distance. As the silence poured in, up rose the whispering of the waving weeds. That susserrance blotted at the trip-trip-tripping of his conscious thought.

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Smarmbeard: A Prelude to an Echo

They came at midnight.

Old George had drawn watch duty that evening. As he looked over the port settlement of Old Mandre, he could see all was quiet, all was calm. The sea below lapped and washed across the dark stones of the foreshore like a hungry dog licking its master’s boot.

Yes, all’s safe and sound. As usual.

George sighed. He carefully lit his pipe, then peered down again from his perch on the high wall.

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