Hello again Fellow Adventurer,
I hope you’re keeping well!
On the Highveld spring has definitely sprung (and so has the accompanying allergies) and the garden is starting to come alive most beautifully. Most of my succulents are also starting to make flowers, so in two or three weeks’ time I’ll have some lovely blooms to share with you. (The one cactus takes about three weeks to grow its flower that blooms for one day.)
This week I’m bringing you two flash fiction stories – “Homecoming” and “Just a Nightmare”. I hope you enjoy them!
Flash Fiction: Homecoming
We reached the small harbour just in time. The full moon turned the town’s small, whitewashed houses to silver and my eyes scanned the thatched roofs until I found the one with a chimney where smoke wasn’t rising. I knew a candle would be lit, though. My home was waiting.
The narrow streets between the houses were scattered with sand and broken seashells that crunched beneath my boots as I wound my way along the paved paths. The smells of spiced cooking welcomed me home as the ocean breeze ruffled my hair.
Inside the other houses families were sitting down to eat, pray, or read from the Bible. Mine, I knew, would be clustered by the window to watch for my coming just like they were on every anniversary.
I pushed the low garden gate open, my craggy hands showing the years of toil that I’d been through since the ocean’s siren-call had lured me away. My face would show my age too, I guessed. As would eyes that had seen too much of the world on the vast voyages that stretched the globe.
The house still bore the scars of the fire that had swept through the town before the first time I’d left. On the windowsill stood one flickering candle. In the feint light their ghostly faces crowded by the window. Far-away voices greeted me, echoing as if they came from much farther away than my old family home.
Tomorrow morning this home will again be little more than a sooty, decaying ruin. But tonight, with the full moon anniversary and the candle in the unbroken window and the shadow faces of the lost, I would eat and drink and remember. And we’d all share stories of our travels in this world and the next.
Flash Fiction: Just a Nightmare
A network of glass tubes, beakers, and flasks filled with a dark green fluid wound their way over the shadowed workbench like ivy. Here and there stood Erlenmeyer flasks or was clamped separatory funnels with other liquids. The Bunsen burners’ blue flames cast a sickly glow across the table as the light faded outside.
The creator was too busy to notice the dying day where he stood with bent shoulders above his new humanoid creation of wood, metal, and glass.
Candlelight glinted on the metal and glass gears of the chest cavity as he worked within to slowly set the last pieces in place. Then, removing the stopper from the new glass heart, he poured some of the green liquid inside and closed it again before placing it reverentially into the wood-encased chest cavity. It fit perfectly, and he closed the chest with a piece of carved heartwood so that it barely left a seam. Now only the head was still empty and open.
Taking some purple liquid from an Erlenmeyer flask, the creator added it to the network of glass tubes that formed the creature’s brain. It was all that remained of the memories that he had been able to salvage.
Ever so carefully he closed the top of the head and screwed the wood in place over the glass brain. He took a deep breath and turned the machine on.
The creator stood back and watched it come alive, opening its eyes and looking at his creator.
It opened its wooden mouth and spoke.
“Father? I had an awful nightmare. I dreamed I died.”
“It was just a dream, son” the creator said, cradling his returned son to his chest. “Just a nightmare.”
I’ve finished reorganising my books! So here are some shelfies, as promised:
Music (for ending on a lighter note!)
Until next time, stay safe!