Friday, 27 July 2018

My Own Worst Enemy

I haven't seen any Flash Fiction Fridays lately, so I thought to dig through the ones from years back and start over again. This was the first one I did in 2013 - pick one from 5 tables... it turned out more interesting this time than it did first time around.


The best way to see an art museum is after the crowds have left the building and the doors are shut for the night. Yes, the after-hours tours are always fun and more personal – more intense – than the daytime ones where you’re forever trying to hear what the tour guide is saying over the hubbub of the other people milling around the place.
It just doesn’t do the art and other work justice either when you’re sharing personal space with them either... when you’re breathing the same stale air as another person and want to reach a certain feeling with a statue or painting and some stranger is mumbling some crap about it that they’re ‘really not into it, because the artist wasn’t my first choice to study at uni’. Or they’re on the phone talking, talking, talking.. or texting, tweeting or commenting on Facebook, looking down instead of up and around for five fucking minutes of their mundane lives!

Yes, the after-hours tour is well worth it – even if it costs twice as much!

It takes you places you’d never thought possible – like the basement of the place where there’s real art there sitting amongst corridors of other art which will most probably never see the light of day with massive sponges to pull up the moisture which would usually destroy the work sitting in the darkness where the red-eyed mice live and the spiders cringe in the corners of the corridors as you pass by with your torches clutched in your hand, terrified that you might step on something in the dark.
But, then I saw it... the piece I had been waiting for... the painting which I had only seen photos of in books – and owned a huge print of in my bedroom.
It’s a painting by an obscure artist nobody had heard of from the 1500’s who worked for Michelangelo for three weeks in Florence before being fired for doing something minor and stupid and was sent on his way. This artist did only one major painting in his life and this was it: ‘The Love Triangle’.
In it is a gorgeous woman, who sits behind a window of a house, dressed in something only a person of wealth would own. However, as I stared at it, I found she wore a locket around her neck – her fingers were touching the chain tentatively as she stared out at the artist from within her – I don’t want to say prison – home, where if you looked hard enough, there was everything in there a house of that time had. There was a large, stoic fireplace, a bed, and a table where sat vegetables, a bowl of fruit and an urn filled with what could only be ale or larger. Bunches of dried herbs lined the walls and I spotted a man sitting at the table with a meal in front of him – but he hadn’t touched it, he was looking over at her instead.
“Sir, I said don’t look at it too long. This painting has pulled people into its hold before.” The guide told me firmly.
“I have a print of it at home... I’ll be okay.”
“No. You don’t understand, we have lost people on this tour because of how this painting affects them.” He took my arm gently, “This way please, sir, I can’t stay here long. There is more to see.”
“Okay, sure... no probs.” I turned for a last moment and took a last peek at her to see she was smiling at me through the window,  her hand on the glass of the pane; when it wasn’t like that before.

My drive home was a blur, and I unlocked my front door, flicked on the lights and found the print above my bed wasn’t there. My guts hit the floor, as I wondered where it vanished to! Dropping my backpack on the lounge I raced over to my bedroom and found it on my bed, facing the ceiling, and I stopped a few feet away. How could it be positioned like this when – if it had fallen off the wall – it would have been face down on the bed. I climbed onto the bed, carefully picking it up to find she was looking at me again... her hand on the pane of the glass, smiling at me.
“But, that’s the painting.” A whisper choked from my throat before I dropped it back onto the bed and turned to break eye contact with her to find her sitting at the window, her long dark lochs of hair cascading down her back and the gown that eye-catching green velvet was so much better up close than... but wait, what was she doing in my bedroom when I...? I turned to see the man at the table looking over at her, then his eyes shifted to me and I jumped, “Who? What’s going on?”
“Well, you’ve been pulled into this place too.” His voice was edging on angry, “And she won’t let us go.” He stood and walked around the table glaring at her back, “What was it for you? Her eyes? Her hair? Or was it the locket?”
“I’ve always loved her as the person in the picture.” I admitted, “But the locket has also been a mystery.”
Looking back at me, he snorted, “I’m sure you have your ideas of trying to get out of here, and believe me, I’ve tried everything to get out – and everything you do fails.”
“But we’re in the print of this.”
He shook his head, “No, we’re not. You came back to the art museum and stole the painting and hung it up on your wall last week; they don’t know you have it yet – or they won’t, not until you don’t show up for work tomorrow.” The man smiled, “I have figured out one thing though.”
“And that is?”
“I have forgotten who I am. But I know I am you... and you are me; because we both love her for the same thing.” He smiled, “And at long last, I’ve figured out how to get out of this.” He pulled a brass dagger from his belt, “And believe me, it’s not going to be pretty.”

I woke in the local hospital after undergoing emergency surgery. My next door neighbour had heard my screams of pain and called the police and ambulance and they found me next to the painting with a knife sticking out of my guts and blood everywhere. The painting was back up on the wall and when they rushed me out the door, I spotted her. She wasn’t at the window anymore; no, she was sitting on the bed with her face in her hands weeping.
It took me while to figure out what happened to me, but I didn’t want to tell anyone about it – I mean, who in the hell would believe me? So, I healed and went home to find the painting was still on the wall of my bedroom and she was sitting on her bed still weeping.
I wondered if she thought I was dead or if the other man escaping had broken her heart; in truth, I wasn’t sure.  What I did have to do was call the art museum and tell them what I had done – but really how could I tell them that I had done it when I don’t remember doing it?

The curator came into my house with a few other people and walked over to the painting. They did some tests on it and confirmed that it was the original as she had returned to the window, looking out with her hand on the chain of her locket.
“But how did you do this?” the curator asked, “We have so much security around the basement and the art museum, I’m still not sure how it works out that you did this.”
“Neither do I.” I shook my head, “If you don’t take it away from here, I’ll do it again; and I’ll...” I looked at the painting and motioned the curator away from it, outside into the hall outside my place, “...I’ll get trapped in it again. And I’m worried she won’t let me go.”
At first I thought he didn’t believe me by the look he gave me, then he nodded, “So the rumours are true. People are getting pulled into her dimension through the window.”
“I’m not the first?”
“No, and the man in the picture who isn’t there now is somebody who was trapped in there last time. He really didn’t like her doing that as it destroyed a family.” He smiled, “Now, we have proof!”
“You survived it!” he gripped my shoulder smiling like an idiot, “We’ll take the painting away and you won’t be bothered by it anymore.”

The security system was improved in Chicago as I raced through the darkened galleries of sculptures and paintings and found the doors to the basement, nearly fell down the stairs to where I could smell the dankness of the sponges sucking up the moisture down here... where she’d be always placed so she couldn’t pull in anymore people.
I turned a corner, hearing her siren song, knowing it was time for us, for me to free her. I knew what to do this time. As I approached ‘The Love Triangle’, I spotted more than just her in the painting. There were other men, other women, in this piece. They all sat around the table waiting to be released. I pulled out a replica of the dagger the first guy had used on me, and sliced my hand.
As my blood oozed from my wound, dripping to the floor and onto my shoes, I smeared it across the painting and onto the locket – which became real in my bloodied hand as I swept across it! Closing my hand around it, I ripped it off the painting and turned to find five people standing around me who had been in the painting only moments before.
“It’s mine, the locket is mine!” I said.
“Actually you are mistaken.” A woman’s voice said next to me, “It’s mine and you are the proof of how your envy makes you into your own worst enemy.” Holding out her hand, she smiled, “Now, that’s mine, along with your soul, because envy is a sin.”

I sat at the table looking at the food she had prepared for me. She sat at the window looking out at the people looking around the corridor. They were looking for me, but would never find me.
Now I was the man in the painting sitting at the table wondering if I’d ever get out. But I knew how to get out. There was one tiny problem...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Invasion

I noticed there was no Flash Fiction Fridays for a while. So, I've thought to write my own. Well, really, I've had ideas popping into my head like crazy lately and thought to keep mine going... 


1st, May, 2018

I thought having Netflix would be a great idea; so did my parents and friends. But we had problems from the very start with the installation of it. The damned thing just wouldn't work!

Every time I wanted to watch something, the television couldn't connect to my wi-fi or Netflix itself would have signed me out for some reason or another; and the very idea that it was doing this all the time during the trial period was really pissing me off.

And my folks had given Netflix and wi-fi to me for my birthday; so it should have worked straight up.

However, no matter what happened, it was so temperamental and weird that I didn't know what to do. One minute it was working and I could watch anything I wanted, but then it would have its glitches like you wouldn't believe! I'd stop an episode of something I'd be watching and go out out Netflix and watch free-to-air television only to come back hours later to find it was still running the shows I had stopped – it hadn't stopped at all, or even paused it. So, I'd have to turn off my phone, the television, the wi-fi and modem and it would sign me out of Netflix and I'd have to sign back into it.

15th, May, 2018

After two weeks of this happening three times a day, this was driving me nuts – so much so I just didn't want the fuckin' thing anymore.

However, I got a lot of things done around my house.

All my laundry got done, the carpets were cleaned, the house cleaned out and dusted. The floors were washed and window sills were scrubbed as well. I spent time renovating my garden and washing the car too... all of this in just a little over two weeks; and still I was trying to get my Netflix to work.

I did notice that while I was driving around my neighbourhood, I didn't see much of my neighbours. They had stopped having parties, stopped being seen outside and had stopped being very friendly to anyone around them. When one of them had their power disconnected, he completely freaked out and the police took him away.

That house stands vacant now... nobody has seen him since.

Well, okay, I haven't seen him for two weeks – seeing I can't ask any of my neighbours if they've seen him.

Anyway, last Sunday, I went for a walk around the streets and found there wasn't a single car around. Sure they were parked in the driveways and in the streets, but nobody was driving anywhere. But as I walked past the houses, I saw the people inside their houses staring at their television screens, watching Netflix movies and television programs.

Of all the times I had to have problems with my Netflix; and I had to figure out that it was designed to brainwash us into being the biggest, laziest mammals around! Stepping back from the window of the people's house – where they didn't even notice me peaking through the window – I walked back out onto the street, pulled my hood up, shoved my hands in my jeans pockets and started to walk home.

I was scared to death that what I just saw was going to me one day; that is if we fixed up my reception on my Netflix.

Gawd, I hope we didn't.

29th, May, 2018

It's been another two weeks and my property is the best-looking one on the street. Nobody is leaving their houses anymore. The police have been sending out drones to check up on us all; and every time they do, I hide from them. I pull the curtains, turn on the television up loud and sit on the lounge and make out that I'm watching a Netflix movie or a series of theirs.

But I don't think they're convinced about me anymore.

My front yard is too tidy and I'm the only one who goes out to do my shopping in my car in my neighbourhood anymore. The rest of my neighbours get their groceries home-delivered now; it's as though I live in a retirement village – or an alien village somewhere like on Mars, where the air is unbreathable.

Everyone's houses are now horrible-looking and I wish I knew what to do... except suffer in silence, as I don't know anyone else whose Netflix doesn't work properly.

You may be asking why I don't contact my parents or my brother about this, I have. I've been trying to phone them, but they don't answer any of my messages on the home phone or their mobiles. And I've checked their Facebook pages and they don't have accounts anymore. It's as though they no longer exist; and I'm too scared to go to their houses in case I get picked up for not being where I'm supposed to be... oh crap.

The computer has begun to do a scan.

It's never done that before... I knew I shouldn't have written this on here.

But how else am I going to get the word out that something in Netflix is …

hey, my Netflix account is working now. I'll be back soon... there's a movie I want to see. I'll be back in a day or so.

15th, July, 2018

I am sorry to have been away for so long. It's been around three months and I found this on my computer when I jumped on here today. I meant to come back and finish the article about Netflix and how it's brainwashing our population; making us lazy.

But really, I don't think it is.

It's a great thing to have added to your life. There's so many movies and documentaries and wonderful things to follow on there; and yet it's endless what you can watch.

I love Netflix and the movies I can access through it....Yes... Netflix is good... Good is Netflix.

Hey there's a light outside – many lights pouring from the skies above! Wow, look at that! I've never seen a meteor shower like this before! I have to get my camera to record this!

'… an uncontrolled Human has been detected.'

'Invade as per commanded. Overtake this planet immediately; it must be conquered. Kill the Human.'

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Secret Garden

Flash Fictions aren't happening right now, so I thought to keep mine going - besides, I've had a few good ideas. I've been doing up my backyard and thought to add in this one about mental illness and how it can affect a person too.

I pulled out my bunch of keys from my pocket and sorted through them as I kept a careful eye over my shoulder. It’s unsafe to be alone here. It’s unsafe to be looking down right now. I had leaned the two bags of potting mix against the wall and the two plants were waiting next to them.
I found the key, slotted it into the padlock, turned it and it unlocked easily. But the slid-lock was stuck, so using all my weight I yanked on it and gave the gate a good hard kick and... it swung open easily.
Yes, it had caught against the building.
But getting into this place was well worth it.
My garden – my secret garden to be exact – was worth it.
I walked into it, leaving the potting mix and plants in their spots to hide my padlock and keys in a good place so I wasn’t locked in, then I went back and picked up the bags of potting mix and the plants and brought them through.
As I dropped the bags onto the old red picnic chairs, and the plants onto the ground next to well-established plants, I turned around and looked at what I had already done here.
It was beautiful!
I had blocked out the neighbours, grown a lovely hedge along the side fence, and introduced a large greenhouse to grow my own food and herbs.
Yes the garden was going very well.
Picking up the keys and padlock in one handful, I walked out the gate, pulled it hard shut and locked it again – which is just as difficult to lock as it is to unlock – before walking away to the house and letting myself in there.

The weekend came and I had bought more potting mix and a few more plants before that arrived. I walked out the back door of my house and out into the garden where I felt so much more at home and more secreted away from the world than ever.
Scanning the yard, I spotted empty pots I had picked up from garage sales and off the side of the road, at charity stores and at cheap stores as well – all waiting for me to organise them around the garden and put the plants waiting around the edges in them. Yes, the garden looked like an unmade bed, a disorganised bedroom waiting to be fixed up by me.
I sighed, looking around at the plants and pulled out the phone and took a ‘before’ shot of the mess, then put it away, then went to work.
Pots were set around the garden first to see what they’d look like. That was fun, and I took my time. Then the plants were looked into and read. I picked and chose which ones were going where... and then changed my mind three times! I filled all the pots with mix after putting in a square of shade mesh in the bottom to cover the hole (so the mix wouldn’t disappear through there and into the soil). I placed the pots of plants on the top of the soil and looked at them... they looked really great!
One by one, with the plants in their places, I bumped them out, and opened a hole in the middle of the potting mix-filled large pots and inserted them into their new homes.
My hands turned black. The rich aroma of the potting mix filled the morning air as the sun filtered through the clouds overhead and the coolness of Winter here in Brisbane kept me from sweating it out. I love this time of year. It’s a time of year to clean up, fix up and organise my garden without damaging it.
With blackened hands, I picked up my phone again and took an ‘after’ shot, where it looked great. I had cleaned away all the empty bags of potting mix and stacked the little pots from the plants. I had watered them into their new homes with Seasol (a liquid fertiliser) and collected together their labels and poked them into the sides of their pots, photographing them with them in – so I knew which one was which.

I looked around my garden as I walked out of the gate, past the car and stopped at the entrance of my townhouse, where Paradise ceased to exist and the horrors of the world started. My feet were just inside the boundary of the last place around where nothing could harm me or my world – well according to me – and that’s all that matters.
Looking to my right, I saw them walking towards me – the police – and they stopped just shy of the boundary looking at me; pitying me. I looked at them.
“Have you finished your garden?” one asked.
“Yes.” I said.
“We beg of you, please, you must leave.”
“But this is my home.” Tears welled in my eyes.
“The trucks are here to pack it all up and move you to your new location.” He said.
Looking down, I sniffed, “It just wouldn’t be the same.”
“I know. But they’re going to destroy your place whether you’re here or not.”
I looked over my shoulder, then back at them. I had my house all packed up anyway, knowing they were going to do this on the day I finished the garden, “Bring in the trucks. I knew my garden wasn’t really a secret to you guys anyway.”
He turned and walked towards some people and they talked to him, “She really does think her garden is a secret; and she thinks it’s the end of the world.”
“Do you think she knows we’re her family?” a voice asked the policeman.
“No. She thinks this place is at the end of the universe. And that I’m a cop and not her Dad.”