Solitude (flash fiction)

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Solitude

Gertrude turned up the stereo while listening to Symphony No.2 by Sibelius. It was her most loved piece of music. She looked through the window and gazed down at the world below. The tower block she lived in was built by the Kren after they invaded the Earth and now she was so far up she could barely see the surface. It made her imagine she was down below wearing her favourite dress and among all the other people attending a concert in the new town hall.

The music enriched her drab life and enabled her to carry on.

Joanne Fisher

 

This was written for the January 10 flash fiction challenge by Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch to write a 99 word story using the idea of enrichment.

 

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Life After The Invasion (fiction)

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Commodore Starship by oigaitnas

Life After The Invasion

 

Katie awoke to the sound of her alarm. She sighed. She didn’t want to get up but she had an appointment with her doctor. She pulled back the curtain and looked out the window. The sky was clear aside from the large spaceship in the air above them all. It just hung there with the underside displaying messages: Remember You Are Special! and We Love You! Katie inwardly groaned as she got out of bed. It didn’t help she was on her period and felt even more wretched than usual. She felt life sucked after the aliens had invaded. If they had been aggressive aliens intent on wiping out humanity she would have understood that at some level, but the Kren were not what anyone had been expecting.

When the Kren first arrived in their large spaceships they announced to the world they were invading us. They said they loved us and they believed they had to invade our world to save us from ourselves. All the governments of the world united with a military response against them. However Kren technology was so superior to our own that our response offered no threat to them whatsoever. They just disregarded it with a good nature and then took over our world and we all watched helplessly as they did so. All top branches of government were now controlled by Kren. They cleaned up the environment, destroyed all our weapons, and ensured everyone was fed and housed. Katie just thought of them as sanctimonious bastards. They were worse than having helicopter parents or overly zealous social workers in her opinion. And now she had to go and meet one, since her doctor was a Kren.

She showered and then got dressed. Though she didn’t feel like eating she made sure she ate and drank something as she knew her blood sugar levels and nutrition would be monitored and if her doctor wasn’t happy with it then Katie would be told off and she didn’t want to risk ending up in Re-education again. As she ate she watched TV which had become a mixture of bland and annoying due to the constant updates from the Kren. She sighed again and switched it off. She left her apartment and entered the lift and stood in a corner watching the display counting down all the way to ground level. Once the lift doors opened she left the building and headed for the subway.

On the way she spotted a Kren in the street since they were rather unmistakable being eight foot tall with green and bluish skin. They were bipedal like us but instead of arms and legs they had two sets of tentacles which they could manipulate the ends of into any shape. They also had large soft eyes. This one was making a cooing noise at a human couple holding hands that walked by it. For some reason humans showing signs of affection to each other delighted the Kren. Katie walked past grimacing as usual. The Kren seemed to ignore her. Luckily once she got to the subway there was a train leaving almost immediately. She hurriedly squeezed through the doors just as they began to close. She found a seat and stared at the blackness outside the windows once the subway car started speeding along. On the walls there were messages: Remember You Are Loved! and You Are Special! There Is No One Else Like You! She tried to ignore them, though she was grateful there was no one else exactly like her…

For once she arrived at the medical centre on time. They gave her a blood test, checked her blood pressure and temperature, changed her pad, and lastly did a data scan of her. Then she sat in a small white room waiting for the doctor.

“I see you are currently menstruating.” said a robotic-sounding voice. Katie was startled and looked around to see her doctor slithering into the room. The doctor was using a computer synthesised voice, as all Kren did due to their physiology; they could not speak human languages unaided.

“Um yes.” Katie confirmed not really wanting to talk about it. The doctor she knew as Doctor Fy-Lo nodded it’s head. It had a data pad in it’s right tentacle that it seemed to be consulting.

“You are aware if you were impregnated you would not have to worry about the effects of the menstrual cycle, at least during the term of the pregnancy.” Doctor Fy-Lo’s large soft eyes looked into hers.

“Yes I’m aware of that.” Katie replied flicking her long dark hair out of her brown eyes. The Kren had the annoying habit of telling you things you already knew.

“According to this you prefer to mate with other females of your species. You are aware that impregnation can only occur with medical intervention this way?”

“Or a turkey baster.” Katie added. The doctor gave her a puzzled look and then continued on undeterred:

“If you were to mate with a male of your species then impregnation is more likely and will probably not need medical intervention.”

“Well sorry I’m not interested in being with a male of my species.” she said mimicking the doctor’s robotic voice. “And why do you seem so keen to get me pregnant anyhow?”

“We notice you have never given birth to any offspring and thought you might be happier with some.” The doctor informed her seemingly ignoring her attempts at mimicking them.

“The last thing I need now is some screaming brats. Maybe in the future…” her voice trailed away. She had never seriously thought about having kids.

“The records state you are still single. We could assign you a mate that we think would be compatible with you.”

“I’m used to being on my own.” she answered skeptical about what sort of match-up the Kren would make for her. “Besides why do you care so much? And why do I have to come here so often?”

“You come here regularly because we are worried about you. We want you to be happy. Assigning a mate will give you some companionship and make you feel less lonely.” Fy-Lo replied.

“Maybe I don’t want to be happy.” Katie stated. The doctor looked at her in shock. They then consulted the data pad.

“Our information shows you have been sent to Re-Education three times now. It does not seem to have had much effect, but we can send you there again if you think it will help.”

“I don’t want to go back there.” Katie informed Fy-Lo.

“Then what will make you happier?” Fy-Lo asked their eyes looking into Katie’s with almost a deep sadness.

“Maybe you can’t fix everyone.” Katie suggested looking away. The doctor looked at her silently for a while, as if it didn’t know what to say.

“You are an interesting species. Very creative, but also very destructive. We try to make things better for you all, but some of you resist us and we don’t understand why.” the doctor stated.

“Did you ever wonder if by getting rid of our destructive side you also destroy our creative side as well? That maybe to have a creative nature we also need to be destructive?”

“Your destructive nature was going to destroy yourselves and possibly take all the other species of this planet with you. If this was the case, maybe the cost was too high. Maybe your creative side is worth sacrificing if it means you all survive.” the doctor informed her.

“Yeh so you came to this world to make everything suck.” Katie replied belligerently.

“Made everything suck.” the doctor repeated. There was a pause. “When we came to your world many of your governments were spending more resources to harm others of your own species than they were for education or healthcare. In parts of your planet your people were starving to death or lacked decent housing while in other areas food was being thrown away. The biosphere was dying. Many species were becoming extinct and your own species didn’t seem to realise that you too would become extinct eventually because of this as well. None of this planet’s species exist anywhere else. Once the biosphere is destroyed they are gone forever. You were fortunate to live in a prosperous area of this world. You always had access to food, healthcare, decent shelter, education, and anything else you needed. The fact that your skin has low levels of melanin also helped you, for a reason we don’t quite understand. If you had been born in some other area of the planet your life would have been very different. So maybe our coming to your world may “suck” for you, but I don’t think other members of your species living in other areas of this planet would say the same thing.” There was a silence. Katie felt slightly uncomfortable though still rolled her eyes at the lecture from the doctor. “All we are doing is trying to curb the worst excesses of your species, even if some of you are rather self-involved.” Katie could feel her face go red.

“I’m sorry I just miss the old days when I could drive a car really fast down the road, or eat a nice big steak.” Katie said. Doctor Fy-Lo looked at her and shook their head, or at least did the Kren equivalent of it. The doctor consulted their data pad again.

“Maybe Re-Education is pointless for you. Maybe we should send you to Re-Processing.”

“What’s Re-Processing?” Katie asked with a feeling of rising concern.

 

Joanne Fisher

 

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Hunger (flash fiction)

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Hunger

Burying bodies among the foundations of my house is not how I thought my life would go. At least not when I was younger.

I have this insatiable desire to hunt, to feed off other people’s life force. In the dark I look for stragglers in the city’s empty streets. Once I have one I chase them down and charm them to come back to my mansion. When I am done with them I bury them below. There seems to be no end to my hunger and the delights of the chase.

Joanne Fisher

Ugh I so didn’t want to write this one, but this is the story that came into my head when I saw Sammi Cox’s word prompt foundations. At least I made the narrator a bit more ambiguous about what they were…

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Remembrance (micro fiction)

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Remembrance

Jenny accidentally knocked the cup off the bench. She helplessly watched as it fell in slow-motion to the floor and broke into two pieces. She picked up the fragments crying. This had been the cup that Kirsten always used.

Jenny remembered the day Kirsten broke up with her and moved out, leaving the cup behind as a painful reminder. She never thought she would get over this loss or be able to love anyone ever again, but now looking back some months later she realised she had already come a long way. She would survive this and love again.

Joanne Fisher

This was written using the prompt provided by Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch of a story about a character looking back, in 99 words.

 

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2018: Year in Review and Future Goals

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I hope you’re not getting too sick of these types of posts at the moment, but I thought it would be fun to do as I find numbers and statistics quite interesting. I also thought I would use this opportunity to talk about my future ideas for this blog.

At the beginning of 2018 I wanted to end the year on 200 followers. As there was a sudden increase in followers during the last couple of weeks of 2018 I managed to get to 200 and then pass it by, which exceeded my expectations. Currently I’m on 207 followers. And here I would like to thank everyone who follows me. It is appreciated and I’m glad you like my work enough to keep an eye on what I’m posting. Thanks also to everyone who read, liked, and/or commented on my posts. I have an ambitious goal of ending 2019 on 500 followers. We’ll see how that unfolds…

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And now the numbers:

138 posts (that’s a post every 2.64 days)

4,388 views

1,886 likes

379 comments

The top five countries people viewed my posts from were:

United States 1,749

India 722

United Kingdom 474

New Zealand (where I live) 388

South Africa 97

Most Viewed Articles:

Who Were the Istari?

A Last Jedi Remake?

One Year On

When All Else Fails I Bake

H.P. Lovecraft

Most Viewed Poems:

True Story

I Remember South Brighton

Second Letter

If I Was Closer…

Buying Sheets With My Girlfriend

Most Viewed Flash Fiction Challenges:

Their First Christmas

Taking A Photo

Graffiti

Awakening

The Mirror

Most Viewed Stories:*

Rekindling An Old Flame

The Visit

Second Conversation With A Vampire

The Inquisitor, part one

The Day They Arrived

Thanks again to everyone. That’s the Year in Review part done with.

Future Plans

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So where to now?

In mid-December I decided to finish my Durn story offline. Though that’s caused a problem with lacking the motivation to finish it. I found posting it on my blog gave me the impetus to keep writing it as I thought some people might be expecting to see new chapters from me. Once I stopped doing that finding the motivation to keep on going with it has been difficult. I’m hoping to find a three week space where I can just work on it uninterrupted which should give me enough time to finish the last third of the book.

There is a horror story I’m working on which will be in two or three parts which should start appearing later this month. It’s one of my first forays into the Cthulhu Mythos. I’ve also got a humourous science fiction story as well which should be published here within the next week or so.

Three years ago I was working on a vampire novel and I have considered publishing what I wrote in weekly installments here. It may inspire me to continue with the story. I’ll need to tidy it up a bit to have it in publishable form, and I probably won’t consider doing this until I have the Sky-Pirates of Durn draft finally finished, so watch out for it in a couple of months at least. The working title is My Life In Darkness.

I also have around three new poems I’m working on, so hopefully they will begin to appear shortly (though my poems can take a long time to form), and there is also another article on Tolkien partially written.

As well as all these projects I will continue writing the flash fiction challenges from Sammi Cox and Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch (and others) as they are fun to write and I think they help sharpen up my fiction writing skills.

So at least for the next few months I’ve certainly got a few ideas of things I can do and hopefully there will be more new ideas as the year progresses. And maybe that pesky vampire might want to continue talking to me…

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I would like to thank Sammi Cox and Charli Mills for their writing prompts, H.R.R. Gorman, Sunilmdabral, Fractured Faith Blog, A.P. Christopher, Louise@DragonspireUK, Angela Archer, Tony Single and Tetiana Aleksina of unbolt me, Edmark M. Law, Charles French, Blackwings 666, Arcane Halloween, Our Little Red House, kaddietucker, and anyone else I’ve neglected to mention for their ongoing support and excellent posts over the last year (which I probably have) and a special shout-out to Count Vlad Dracula Tepes. Sorry I’m A- but I’m sure you’ll find someone to feed on eventually…

All the best and I hope you all have a great year with your own projects. May the words flow!

*Classifying stories differently from flash fiction was a bit difficult as some of these stories in this category could also be classed as flash fiction due to their length. In the end I went with the idea that this classification covers stories that were not written due to a prompt from another blog.

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It’s after five in the morning and I’m still working on this…

Volcano City (full sequence)

I thought I would finally join all the parts of Volcano City together to show the full sequence for the first time (I added two lines by the way).

1998

 

Volcano City

(or, my adventures in Auckland)

 

1

 

my arrival was a speeding taxi

along the airport highway &

Manukau Road

with a driver from somewhere

in Eastern Europe

 

I have been here five years

& has changed so much

he says in a thick accent

 

it has been eight years since

I was passing through to Opua…

 

then my luggage is in a corridor &

the Poet appears & shakes my hand

 

we go in search of coffee

among the tangled streets –

the porn shops, tattoo parlours,

& bars of the central city

 

we talk about poetry

New Zealand & elsewhere,

its movements & cliques

we compress the literary scene

into a ball

to roll around the table

while chain-smoking cigarettes

& gazing out of windows

where the world is full

of people I have loved

 

he says:

I have lost that little voice

the little voice

inside my head

that enabled me to write

 

the next day I find a second hand copy

of his book & buy it

 

2000

 

2

 

in a car we quibble about

geological classification

Lyttelton is extinct (I say,

he disagrees)

while most of the volcanoes

in Auckland are dormant

 

there are over 30 volcanoes

in this sprawl of a city,

we only have the two

back home

I think I suffer from

volcano envy…

 

none of the volcanoes have erupted

during European colonisation

& only Rangitoto has during

Maori habitation

but I am told the real danger –

 

the real danger

is that a new one

might suddenly appear

 

imagine a volcano

coming to life

in the middle of Queen Street

or Ponsonby Road –

all those wine bars

suddenly engulfed in

liquid lava

 

2012

 

3

 

my dreams are feverish

I’m in a garden

bordered by tall

dark green cypresses

in the centre a white

marble fountain &

stone statue

 

I’m slowly unwrapping

a friend peeling off

items of her clothing

& then layer after layer

of her skin…

 

I wake stewing in

sweat-drenched sheets,

the shrill buzz-saw of

mosquitoes circling above

there are large swollen

bites all over my arms

& legs

 

outside an unending

procession of foot traffic &

a woman laughing

 

underground

underneath

the layers of earth

there are boiling

magma streams

 

4

 

I’m taken to the zenith of Mt Eden

to see a panorama of the city

the Sky Tower a giant hypodermic needle

shooting straight up into the arm

of a vibrant azure sky

 

I’m shown the cones of volcanoes:

Mt Albert, One Tree Hill, the Three Kings,

Mt Roskill, Mt Hobson, Rangitoto…

they rise like points of scar tissue

on the city’s living skin

 

I look for threads of steam

coiling up into the sky

 

2020

 

5

 

I arrive at Mataitai Bay

by ferry from central Auckland

& she is waiting for me

 

Waiheke Island

rocky coastlines & sheltered marine-blue bays

 

a group of hippies with

long dreadlocks play hacky sack

waiting to travel back

 

Waiheke Island

haven for artists, poets, & potters

 

on her veranda we have

a cup of tea & the noise from

the cicadas is deafening

 

Waiheke Island

native bush & kauri forest

 

after the ringing ends

she gives a tour of the inhabited

part of the island

 

Waiheke Island

vineyards, olive groves, & rugged farms

 

we go to a café for lunch

& I spill fresh orange juice

all over her new white pants

 

Waiheke Island

sawdust slopes & new hotels

 

2022

6

 

Christchurch has straight lines

but here everything folds in

upon itself, I try & sort out

 

the spatial geography but

the streets follow their own

logic, they spiral around

 

like quarreling serpents,

as though you have walked

into a quantum paradox or

 

Escher drawing, I may walk

down one street & end up

in a parallel universe…

 

 

7

 

the poet drives me to the airport

 

on the way I notice

a raised green hummock –

another volcano bursting

through the suburbs

 

the poet doesn’t know its name

 

I tell him I write to communicate

& I like poetry because so few

care about it now

so it doesn’t matter

what I say…

 

at the airport my luggage

is unloaded, the poet says

goodbye

 

I try to take a picture

but he turns & walks away

 

after two weeks

I miss Christchurch

& my bed

 

home is only an hour away

 

Joanne Fisher

 

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