Gallery #SixSentenceStory

Wednesday’s Six Sentence Story Challenge #4

computer earphone figurine furniture

Photo by cody berg on Pexels.com

 

He looked back at the portraits of his ancestors, on the walls of the dusty gallery, and wondered.

What would they think of him, this ruin of a man, this wreckage?

There is no trace of glory for them to see, merely the shameless face of a sinner, a deluded thief.

But then, he is here, still, and they are long gone, ashes and dust, forgotten.

Sic fugit gloria mundi, he thought…

As his skeletal hand rubbed his polished, fleshless skull.

Causeway #writephoto

Thursday writing prompt

causeway

 

This is where we started, in these shallow waters, that erased our steps:

the slippery seaweeds, the smooth rocks, where we dreamed of another shore,

by the violet sea, hidden by parsecs of space,

on the planet of the five stars.

We saw the small waves, at the feet of the goddess, we felt the warmth of the blue sun.

This is where we started, inspired, led by this causeway to the universe,

soon living our dream. So far away, from our world…

I came back, you stayed, and now,

I am forever searching for you, excluded from your paradise.

On the second paradox of Zeno

Zeno_Arrow_Paradox

The people Marcel loves are people in motion. Like Albertine – always speeding off somewhere on a bike, on a train, in a car, on a horse or flown out of the window; like Marcel’s mother, perpetually on her way up the stairs to kiss him good night; like his grand mother, striding up and down the garden every evening for her constitutional even when it’s pouring rain; or like his friend Robert de Saint-Loup, whom we first glimpse scampering along the top of the banquette in a restaurant to fetch a coat for Marcel, who sits huddled and shivering at the table. Marcel is the still centre of all this kinetic activity, he is like the flying arrow in Zeno’s second paradox, which is shot from the bow but never arrives at its target because it does not move. Why does Zeno’s arrow not move? Because (this is Aristotle’s explanation) the motion of the arrow would be a series of instants, and at each instant the arrow fills that entire space of that instant, and this (Zeno would say) is a description of stillness. So if you add all the instants of stillness together you still get still. No one would deny that Proust’s novel streams with time, and with arrows shooting in all directions. But you could also think of the whole novel in your mind as one big stopped instant, since it takes Marcel the entire three thousand pages of the story to get around to the point of beginning to write it. On the last page he shoots his arrow but he does Zeno one better, he shoots it backwards, since you have just finished reading the novel he is proposing to write. It gives me a bit of a headache to think about Zeno and his paradoxes for very long, although I enjoy his deadpan delivery. Here is a shot of Zeno-antidote from that devoted Proust scholar, the filmmaker Chris Marker (Sans Soleil): “That is how history advances, plugging its memory as one plugs one’s ears… [but] a moment stopped would burn like a flame of film blocked before the furnace of the projector.”

From: The Albertine Workout, Copyright ©2014 Anne Carson, New Directions Poetry Pamphlet #13

Image source: The arrow

Sans Soleil

Anne Carson

Storm #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

storm

 

It’s lonely up here, one doesn’t meet humans too often, mostly the locals are ravens and rabbits and moles, and the occasional eagle. But I like it, this is my place, where I dream, and remember. There are sweet memories, and also dark and stormy ones.

Yes, there is a storm coming this way now. I love it, the low clouds, a drop of rain here and there, I can feel the strong winds already, snaking through my empty eye sockets, resonating in my skull. “The Old One”, used to call me the villagers, when there was still a village nearby, long ago.

Nowadays the Old One merely enjoys the peace, and the storm.

Daybreak #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

daybreak

 

“It must be done,” she said in a calm voice, her everyday voice.

The dawn was stunning. “I am going to leave you, and all the beauty…” he thought, silent. He had made the pledge long ago, when it all started. Invasion. Invincible machines. Cities burnt to ashes.

Then, all knew it would take some sacrifice. Against inhumanity, to win and survive would take more than courage. There, a short distance from them, lied the devils, yet unaware.

They would see him, though, but they would not, could not recognise what he was before it was too late. Just a human being. They may even try to capture him, to play.

His comrades had already disposed of the other aliens. It took only a small nuke, for each nest. But it took a human to do it. This was the last nest left.

The human spirit.

They kissed. There was no tear: they were both beyond tears. Her chopper waited nearby.

He checked his watch. In ten minutes he would start the walk toward the hill. By then his wife would be far enough. She would see the mushroom though. Just a small nuke.

Remembering H.G. Wells

Encounter with an Angel, a pre-Christmas tale

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I stood waiting at the traffic lights with a few other humans, and I noticed her immediately: her posture, the recognisable signs of strength and gentleness. There are some very beautiful beings in this city, but this was enough for me to keep my eyes on her, as the traffic roared past us. She turned her head round toward me, and I saw the light in her blue eyes, and heard the melody of her voice in a concert of crystalline bells:

“You look worried, my friend, and you should not be,” said the Angel with a dazzling smile, “We know that not all is well in this world, but this is no different from all times,” she continued, as I looked at her face in awe. “Besides, there are some very good things happening, even if it is sometime difficult, for you, to recognise them. You should know that every time the Enemy scores one, We win two, sometime even three. So, please relax, and keep your faith in Her, for She won’t abandon you, however stupid you might be, most of the time.”

I was speechless. People walked around me. The lights had changed from red to green and back to red again. The Angel had gone, in a cloud of bells.

She knows

Harvard_Theatre_Collection_-_Brünnhilde,_TS_40.40

 

She knows how much I value her, her role, her character, and she plays hard to get.

“You have to show me, not good enough just to say: ‘she possessed him, he was what her will dictated.’ You have to write it, convincingly, a good two thousand words, at least, showing how much this is true, this is his reality, the truth about my power…”

And, of course, she means her power over me too. I have to admit she’s at the center of this, the lady of the forest, the magician, the witch, she who inspires me. But she wants more. She wants success, fame, she wants to be on the stage. I have to work harder. The plot is too complicated. It’s not, solely, about her. She, is merely interested on how bright she will shine, a heroin for our time.

“And then you have to show what I can do, not fiddling in the bushes, the real me: just look, deep in my eyes!”

She has gorgeous eyes, a deep green, turning grey, when she’s really angry, like now.

So I must reform, understand that this is her book, not mine. That this is her story, not just any story.

Or else.

 

Image: Brünnhilde, By Odilon Redon – Houghton Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3721653b

Hidden

nemesis_now_licufer_the_fallen_angel_figurine_image_1

 

The little daemons I used to see, at the crossroads, or standing high up on roofs, pretending to be busy, have gone. Or, perhaps, I have stopped noticing them, or they have stopped inviting me to see them. What does it mean? Is it because the city is now used to me, no longer interested? Or is it me who is now impervious to her mysteries, unable to decipher the signs, to see through the deceptive appearance?

But they are still there, watching, without being watched. They are waiting for my next move: they have all the time, other strangers to amuse themselves with, other tricks to play on the unaware. They know that, day by day, this old man is losing strength.

Soon I will be ripe for the taking, for the offer I cannot refuse. The Master knows.

Image: Nemesis, source

Before the long journey

Rachael

 

From the gate it was a short walk to the ship, under the high protective dome which had been erected on their arrival the year before. The leader could see his crew was excited: they would find back their cubicles, their personal possessions, holograms, books, games, even the small pets they were allowed to keep on the journey. They would also find, for the lucky ones, messages from family and friends. He looked at each of them, smiling, as they stood before the door, at the foot of the small elevator. They exchanged jokes and greetings. Over half of them were humans, fourth or fifth generation colonists who had volunteered for the reconnaissance of their old world. The others were replicants, but an uninformed observer could not have guessed. He thought the replicants tended to be smaller and somehow more fragile looking, many were women for whom it was the first long range spatial experience. From what his first officer had told him, he knew already that it was them who had been the most agitated until his return. Now they were all boarding slowly and orderly the big ship.

He found the size and glow of the hull pleasing. Two thirds of the vessel were taken up by the drive, the giant fusion reactor that allowed the ship to achieve trans galactic speed. But they would use the much smaller magnetic drive to leave the earth. The leader had several hours of tests and preparations to work through before their departure. He was looking forward to this work. Himself a replicant of the twelfth generation, cosmonauts and navigators, he would steer the ship into orbit, and then out of the solar system. The entire crew, bar himself and the first officer, would then be sent to cryogenic sleep for most of the journey. This would happen about a year after their departure from earth.

As he initiated the first test programs, the leader reflected on their mission. It had been a great success. They had plenty of recordings and measurements. Non-human life was now again plentiful on earth. The machines the previous mission had left to roam the oceans had done  beautiful work of removing and destroying the plastic and other noxious material that polluted them. The atmosphere was clean.

There was more. One of the replicant ladies expected a baby. The first human being conceived on earth for three hundred years.

Picture: Rachael, Blade Runner

Is there still such a thing as a good (Vampire) story?

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I wrote this post as a quick flash response to #writephoto, and then thought I could build a bit more on the story. But this genre, pace Interview, has been flogged so many times that I have my doubts. Nonetheless the follow-up is here, but one word of warning: some adult content! At this point I am not sure how far I can go with this. Part of the inspiration is indeed in the streets of Berlin, and in the forests of Brandenburg, not so far from this city. As for the characters, let’s say that any resemblance to living persons etc…

Picture: Seestraße at dusk (©2019 Honoré Dupuis)