“Suspicious, but still benign…”

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When they left the S-Bahn station a thin drizzle was falling on the deserted sidewalks of Wedding. It was about 1:30 in the morning, there was hardly any traffic, dawn was still some hours away. They were tired of carrying their luggage: it had been a long journey, all the way from the other side of the other capital… But home was now very close!

On the plane they had celebrated with a half-bottle of half-cooled champagne, just happy to have made it, through the grid-locked roads, the late and overflowing trains, the idiotic obstacle course through duty-free (!) at the airport.

As usual, they felt happy to be back, under a sky that meant, for them, peace and love.

And then there was that diagnosis: something not right, but not so wrong that they should worry, for now. They were not going to, as they had long learnt that being suspicious was an attribute of free people. And so it went for these cells inside him, and their mysterious behaviour.

As she opened the door, they kissed. This was not their last trip.

Picture: ancient bell, Invaliden Friedhof, Berlin Mitte, ©2017 Honoré Dupuis

Cracked #writephoto

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt

 

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The ground was dry, it would be some days before rain fell again, perhaps longer. As we walked through the field we saw the small shell, among the debris of the last harvest: was it murder, theft or accident?

You looked at me and said: “Just think, if it was ours, our egg, our unborn child?” I looked again, the pale colour of the thin shell, the fragility of the poor abandoned egg.

Life is so fragile, and yet, it perdures.

Messenger #WritePhoto

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt

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I know he will come, one day, or, better, one beautiful evening, a calm, unhurried flight punctuated, at dusk, by the black birds’ song, and, even, if I am lucky a nightingale’s.

They know me, they know I admire them, and they keep looking down at that fragile, elderly silhouette, on my walks. Time is soon, of that I have no doubt, for I have seen the signs. So, one of them, I am sure, will be the Messenger.

When time comes I will welcome the Messenger, if not the message. After all, I had a long life.

The tunnel #writephoto

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photoprompt

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At first his vision was not clear, as if the world around him was out of focus. Minutes passed, then, step by step, he started making sense of what he was looking at. He was in some sort of cave, and far, far away in front of him, he could see light of day. He must have been lying down on a slab of rock, perhaps flat on his belly, but he could not feel the hard surface under him.

He tried to move, and sensed some motion, at the periphery of his vision. He wanted to touch, move his limbs, scratch his body. His body? He had wide angle vision, could look down at the floor of the cave down below, or up its ceiling, left and right.

Some oblong objects appeared, sideway of him. It took him some effort to recognise what they were: the pincers of some crustacean creature – was he in the claws of a giant spider?

He tried to move again, got some feeling in his right front limb, the claw had moved. Could he lift his head? Yes he could. It was so simple, the powerful limbs could lift his body up, shell and all.

The shell was his, he was the creature, the large sea spider, whose armour was scraping the floor of the tunnel, as he moved forward toward the light.

Temporary #TheDailyPost

The Prompt

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After sundown the city soon wears a cloak of silence: aside from the main avenues, traffic thins out, children rush home, buses and trams, stop by stop, deliver their cargos of precious and tired humanity to their homes. This leaves the freedom of the quiet streets to the flâneurs, to the tramps, and to the night lovers. Except on Friday, when the young revel late, and noisily (bless their voices and their smiles) this temporary truce lasts until the early morning, just before five o’clock, when a new work day starts.

In these few hours of peace, the ghosts roam unheeded the deserted parks, along the canals, and if you are lucky, you may even see some poet, lost in her world, in the semi darkness of a bridge, or lying on a bench, near a lake. It is as if the city was catching up with her inner thoughts, before her children awake from their dreams…

Picture: berlin 2017 © martin u waltz. streetberlin.net, at http://streetphotography.streetberlin.net/image/158029491898

Empty #writephoto

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Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo prompt, 23rd March

I woke up in the open: behind me the sun was setting, and I could see, on the ground ahead of me, the shadow of a large tree. Some old wreckage appeared half buried, atop a small tumulus, and beyond it I could see the reflecting mirror of an estuary. In my mind some vague memory was floating, telling me that I knew this place, and I knew its significance. But I had forgotten what that was, who I was, and where I was.

Images were flashing in front of my eyes: a beach, a river, a bridge, a garden, a stream… Then there was the cave, something had happened there. When? I did not know; what? I did not want to know. Was I still in the same time, in the same world? Was I supposed to be looking for someone? Was I a fugitive, or a predator?

Once I had read a novel, a story about a non-Aristotelian world. There, time had another meaning, the hero was killed, was reborn, and killed again. The forces against him seemed invincible, and yet he kept coming back, brought back to suffer another death. Was I caught up in one of these loops, surfacing in another place, not knowing for what reason, or for what purpose: was I being manipulated, or was I the manipulator?

I looked around: I was on the edge of what may have been a cultivated field, some time back, but now, there was no trace of whoever had lived and worked here. When did I have last seen another human being? Then, it struck me: was I still human?

Controversy #SaturdayPrompt

Inspired by https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/controversy/

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“No, you won’t do that, and as you well know, if you did, you’d be on your own!” The statement sounded pretty final, so I stayed silence: from then on I’d have to demonstrate I understood where I stood, in the order of things.

And I did. So we are, in a state of cease-fire, neither war, nor peace. I have made-up my mind of course, but I won’t risk a return to this controversy: I value the silence, the long lazy mornings, the quiet evenings. Is this wisdom? Or is it cowardice?

Picture: Orange, Helsinki, 2015, via osmaharvilahtiosmaharvilahti.tumblr.com

 

You #IWD2017

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You haunt my dreams, you haunt these pages, and the places where I once was, and the ones I haven’t seen yet, indispensable, sometime smiling, sometime not, as if you wanted me to know when I keep to the path of truthfulness, and when I don’t.

In a crowd you always find me, and, in my worst nightmares, I no longer see you…

Without you I wouldn’t be here, just a few mineral atoms lost in vacuum. I would not write, what is a writer without muse? How would I even know that this world existed?

Yet, without me, you would be around for sure, but someone else entirely: her reflection in your eyes would belong to another being, maybe even the opposite of me? Can I imagine that strange being, in a world I know nothing about?

No, you are saying, this couldn’t be, for you have made me, and in many ways, I have made you.

Picture: The river, by Chris De Becker

Sound #DailyPrompt #WritersWednesday

The Prompt

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For some days I have been deep in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, perhaps one of the most daunting reads of the past decade. I intend to review the novel on my Goodreads page, but for now, suffice to say that sounds have a role in that astounding saga of the end, and rebirth, of mankind. Space is silent, but not those tiny cramped tins, where survivors hide waiting for death… And then…

The source of the dappled light, as she now saw, was sunlight sparkling from waves on the lake below, shooting rays through the branches of trees, perhaps a hundred meters down the slope from her, that were beginning to stir in the morning breeze, making soft noises, as when a sleeping lover exhales.

The light of the sun, the sound of waves, violin notes in the evening air… The symphony of Peace.

Image: “Seveneves: the end and beginning of life on Earth”, The Seattle Times

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