Archive for death

Where we belong

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 06/09/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

Where we belong

“Valentine, what’s death like?”

He gestures at all, his large hand gliding through the liquid heat, heavily floating in the cigarette choked air. I nod, taking the ugly silence of the empty stage.

In the cabaret, that’s death; wood swollen and cracked, curtains moll-eaten and reeking of thousand perfumes, wine stains looking like blood stains, dirty glasses hanging loosely, each sip bringing the taste of ten others, bringing the taste of a forgotten era. Each night a different tune, and now silence.

‘Where are the dancers?’

‘Ain’t working tonight. Ain’t notin’ workin’ tonight.’

His voice lingers, contrabass playing solo in the quietness; I listen holding drum sticks in sweaty palms, looking at them with hazy eyes thinking I don’t remember how to play. I roll them down the counter, watching them fall.

Valentine moves like a shadow beside me; a tall, slim curator in the gallery of death, a crooked spider, with a top hat and mourners eyes sometimes black, sometimes with no distinguishable color. Just deep and wet. He dusts a record, flipping the vinyl with his long fingers. Then the needle touches the black surface, and his song drags a nostalgic voice, a melancholic sax play, sex talk, long lost, love lost.

He puffs out a cloud of smoke. I stretch my hand wanting his poison filling my lungs too.

The song goes on forever. I stopped hearing the lyrics long ago. I’ve aged too. But here sits Valentine, humming, a word rolling out of his parched lips here and there. He knows it all too well.

My body aches. I am tired, and this timeless life bears no mercy for me.

“Valentine, can you take me home?”

He doesn’t talk. He slips out the keys from his pocket and draws skeleton fingers through tick, curly hair. He and I are both tired.

I turn around glaring at the spinning record. As Valentine clicks the door open the needle pops up, giving way to the grim silence.

We walk outside, away from the stillness, and a cold wave of air brushes my face. I shiver. Dusk has fallen.

I don’t remember it ever being day. This night is so full of dark I can’t believe it turning light.

Even outside the bar the world seems dead itself. People visible indoors, the café across full, no one bothering to look beyond the glass walls. Not a single couple occupying the charming light spot beneath the old-fashioned laps aligned up and down the street.

“D’ya fancy another fag?”

Valentine’s voice breaks about, spinning me on heels towards him. How does he seem so out of it all? Calm, casual. I shake my head and pick another poisonous dose, allowing him to light it for me. Then I follow him down the road.

Around the corner is a dim curtain, fog crawling about the street, what is beyond it, invisible. I pause and watch as Valentine’s tall and slim figure dives inside. Not wanting to be left behind I stride faster, catching his shadow inside the whiteness.

I think myself lost. This is not the road home. The more we pace together in the late night, the more I realize it is just us two outside. Alone. Or not existing at all.

“Valentine, where are we going?”

“Home. Twas what you wanted, nay?”

He looks at me then, his eyes black marbles, long, untamable curls swinging before his white face.

I want to run away from that stare.

“I don’t remember where that was.” My voice suddenly trembles and I can see him catch up that tremble in his eyes and blow it to dust, reassuring me of my own mind and my memory.

“Sure you do.”

Then I speak again.

“I remember different street names, those that are no longer here. I remember how the buildings were built and when this street was paved. I remember when there was a Yantsy Brothers there on the corner, and I remember when Clermont’s was on fire and the women burned to death. I can see them, all of them, inside their world, but can they see me, Valentine? Can they see us?”

He shakes his head, his gaze fixed on me.

How could’ve I forget? Valentine was eternal that much I’ve always known, but…

“Valentine, did you know you were dead? Because I think I am.” The words slip out of my mouth.

Valentine slowly nods.

“Twas a good run wiv ya, but we both got to go, you mostly, I to follow. It’s over there, down the road, you know, where the streets cross each other.”

He offers me his hand and I take it, his cold fingers tangling firmly into mine, and he leads me onwards, downwards, to the end. Now I remember.

What is there to question anymore?

There goes Valentine, a man I’ve known all my time around these parts, where my transparent self, operated against the rules of the mortal world, against the rules of the outer one. I wouldn’t want anyone else to take me to my final rest, but Valentine.

Now the fog clears, I can clearly see the illusionary plaza. The buildings around it smell of ashes, and seem worn out, somehow gloom in color. A white fire burns in the middle, erupting from the crooked pavement.

Valentine tells me to walk cautiously. There are eyes upon us, older than Valentine. They hover, invisible, but there, making sure I walk the flames, and Valentine follows.

I stop.

“Valentine, I’m scared.”

My sudden weakness and my voice aloud brings four hooded figures.

“You must go now. There is nothing to fear ahead. I’ll be closely behind.”

I look at my patron, then at the dark spectators. Have I any right to damn us both?

The flames soak through my skin and as they fill me, the watchers draw nearer. I try to shout them off, but I have no voice.

I begin to fade.  Within the brightness I can’t see…did Valentine follow me?

Freedom 2.0

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 21/10/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

I’ve taken my time with giving this piece a different ending. It is not a big change, but I feel that last line says enough for the conclusion to be understood, or felt, or whatever you seek in this story.

Freedom 

Version 2

A sparrow flew through space that is known and then it flew through space that is unknown and unexplored.  The ease with which he flapped his wings and glided between gas clouds and strangely shaped nebulas amused the sparrow. He was used to the sky back home, and after years of surviving the blue vastness he had come to the conclusion that there were limits; boundaries even invisible were set and one always knew where he would get if he flies south or north or east or west.

But this here… This was endless. Infinite.

The sparrow thought he could fly forever and still be just at the beginning of it.

He was all alone but that didn’t bother him. It made him feel safe. How odd was that? For the first time in his life he didn’t feel tiny and unimportant, he wasn’t scared that some rock thrown by a small human would snap his neck or a clawed predator would tear his chest open.

Being surrounded by billions and billions of glistening bodies and variety of colors made the sparrow happy, and he cheered with a skuak! which the darkness of  space took and shattered in particles of sound that died in the depths and looped back around moving inside holes and worlds until it was lost.

The sparrow was in peace.

Truly free forevermore.

Vicarious

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 01/10/2012 by Cindy Vaskova


Something someone said during the drive on the first day of my weekend trip. This is what it resulted in.

Vicarious

“There’s no secret to dying”

We drove past the abandoned construction sites in the old industrial region. It never got be one, never was urbanized or highly populated. Something about ground property they said. Local fishermen still swam the river in their creaky old boats, but the expensive buildings were only concrete skeletons erecting above the river bank. It was a dead zone, lonely and attracting the homeless and the abandoned dogs.

Though it was a cold month, the sky wearing a pale mascara of grey and white and the scenery being colorless, left without a single shade of life, a stench emerged from the waters sliding itself through the gap in the window. I rode it up separating the smell of the interior with that from outside. The scent of cheap cigarettes nested itself again, continuing to soak into the leather seats and my clothes.

The river curved and with it the road. My eyesight caught the rapid movement of dozen crows, circling around one spot of the river bank; somewhere down below where my eyes couldn’t travel and observe. I watched them, those vultures of death, the predecessors of illness. Even from the moving car I thought I could see their glass-like eyes glisten with hunger and desire to rip large pieces of meat and swallow them down their shaggy, skinny necks.

Why where they so many? A little tornado of black wings and piercing gazes.

Even with the loudness of the engine their cries penetrated the safety of the car; shouts from Hell escalating and resonating with my thoughts, confusing my senses and provoking some sort of sudden self- preservation. I yield before it for a mere moment, than I frowned, shaking away the grasp of fear. “Why are their godless pleas for wrong so easily heard; that ugly sound of laughter that chills the heart, but what is good and kind and asks for nothing more than kindness in return remains unheard, unnoticed?”

I averted my eyes.

Still the curiosity aroused by their numbers left me restless.

“Why do you think they are so many?”

My father responded with an extended “Hmm” which meant he hadn’t heard my asking.

“The crows” I enlightened.

His gaze skipped to the window on his right then quickly returned to the empty road.

“There must be something dead down there. Seems their fighting over it.”

He said nothing more. Nor did I.

My mind drifted from the daily, and the abstract, the horror took place.

What was dead down there? A man? A woman? A child? Someone who would no longer love, laugh, cry…feel? Someone to be missed, to be spoken of… or was it someone forgotten? Someone thrown back by family, by strangers, by society, left to sleep in puddles of city mud and dirty sewer leaks?

What poor creature was left lying there, to decay, dissolve till a dog comes and snatches a bone? What soul was offered to the descending black devils to eat from its flesh and tear its insides until their primal needs are satisfied?

Who was now no more, no longer, never again?

Or was it going to be like it had never been at all? Existence never happened… No tears were shed upon its demise, no memories were brought upon its release, no mothers had felt their hearts destroyed at that very moment when the waters of the river had spat out its lifeless body?

What fate had that mysterious carcass face? Whose image of hate had it met before the end? Whose cold palm had caressed it with anger?

Was it Mother Nature? Was it my own kind?

I wept inside for it. A little helpless thing, a poor and fragile soul, there alone and dined on. Ruthless world!

And I contributing to it from my warm and comfortable seat; a spectator like anyone else, watching from a safe distance. Was I any different from those who had guided it undoubtedly long before to that grave beside the muddy green waters?

Further down the road I entered a quiet state of mind. Not long after the crows were left behind.

But I still wondered, I still craved to know despite all…what was dead down at the river bank? What?

As a single crow glided over the car, its cry mocking

I wondered…

Down by the river

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20/08/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Down by the river

Schlange stehen! Bewegen!”*

The group of chained people moved forward. They were dressed in civilian clothes, although the days spent running and hiding had made them look more like torn pieces of dirty material stitched together only to resemble clothes. They were about to be executed in those dreadful outfits, stripped from their true identity.

Some of them whimpered, howled, screeched as their feet sunk into the mud, as the barrels of the guns touched their necks, pushing them forward, faster. But the majority of them remained silent, their eyes dim, staring into the blazing horizon.

They had nothing to speak of anymore. They were betrayed by those whom they trusted the most. It was all over. Their era was to be no longer.

The soldiers took them to a crumbling farmhouse, down by the river and ordered them to stand before the wall, their backs up against the solid structure. They faced five machine guns, surely fed by wanting release bullets.

A woman with once golden hair turned to the man beside her. His black hair was damped and his eyes were hollow but still she could recognize the King of the fairies, her beloved husband.  The forest spirit was gone; the sparkle of power was gone, only a shell of a desperate man trapped in human form remained. The woman, who was the Queen of the fairies traced each face as much as it was possible, trying to remember those forsaken, forgotten and sent to death – the Minotaur was there, his face trapped in the transfiguration of a beast to a man. His horns were cut in the middle, the blood dried on the edges; the Werewolf trembled and growled, the cuts on his face burning with pain, his human eyes glowing yellow; the Dragon was no longer resisting the restraints on his hands – he no longer desired to rip his own heart out; the Nymphs were pale and one by one were about to be consumed by madness, so they begged the fire to start sooner and vanish them from the realm of people forever; the Unicorn had lost its shine- a young boy he stood with eyes glaring to the ground without truly seeing. A red circle like a burned wound stained his forehead where his horn had once been. The queen averted her eyes. She could see no more of this torture.

There was a click coming from each gun; the sound was short but made the condemned push their backs further into the wall.

Before they could shout, or plead or run the soldiers fired for what seemed like hours, the thundering cries of fast flying, skin piercing bullets prolonging into the day, and extending more into the night. When it ended the silence was so fragile, the world thought it shouldn’t exist.

The only ones to blame for this massacre were the people, who had forgotten them over countless bloodshed wars. In fear they turned to selfish Gods who wanted only blood sacrifices in their name. Humanity asked them for help, for victory neglecting that they have won their victory many eons ago and the help had always been there with them, carried within those who protected their homeland, their sanity, who kept them alive.

And so, their protectors, the offspring of their imagination were left aside to rot and only watch as their world decays. All the creatures of myths and legends and folklore fell dead that day. Imagination fell that day.

 

*“In line! Move!”

Freedom

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 15/06/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

I’m a bit off track this week, apologies for the out of tune and style flash but… next week a better one, promise!

Freedom 

A sparrow flew through space that is known and then it flew through space that is unknown and unexplored.  The ease with which he flapped his wings and glided between gas clouds and strangely shaped nebulas amused the sparrow. He was used to the sky back home, and after years of surviving the blue vastness he had come to the conclusion that there were limits; boundaries even invisible were set and one always knew where he would get if he flies south or north or east or west.

But this here… This was endless. Infinite.

The sparrow thought he could fly forever and still be just at the beginning of it.

He was all alone but that didn’t bother him. It made him feel safe. For the first time in his life he didn’t feel tiny and unimportant, he wasn’t scared that some rock thrown by a small human would snap his neck or a clawed predator would tear his chest open.

Being surrounded by billions and billions of glistening bodies and variety of colors made the sparrow happy, and he cheered with a skuak! which the darkness of  space took and shattered in particles of sound that died in the depths and looped back around moving inside holes and worlds until it was lost.

The sparrow was in peace.

* * *

“Mom! Mom! The birdie isn’t moving. Why isn’t it moving?”

“It’s dead idiot. The car ran over him”

Issy hissed at her little brother and poked the dead sparrow with her stick.

“Stop that Issy. Let’s get back in the house. Don’t cry Jamie, it’s all right. The little birdie is in a better place”

“Heaven?” asked Jamie in between sobs

“Maybe. A Heaven for birds”

hocuspocus13

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