I’m honoured to have my flash fiction story, Elsewhere, at the Ekphrastic Review, along with many talented writers and poets. Many thanks to Annaliese Jakimides for her inspiring painting as the ekphrastic challenge and to Lorette C. Luzajic for her wonderful literary magazine.
So happy to see my flash fiction story, Interstellar, included besides many talented poets and writers, for the inspiring Ekphrastic Challenge, Nature’s Way by Jo Zider. Many thanks to the editor, Sandi Stromberg and to Lorette C. Luzajic
A photo my brother took last week, besides many others, reminded me of this story, Weeds, from Ripples on the Pond, my anthology of Flash Fiction and short stories. Since Spring is in the air, I thought I might share it with you again.
After the torrential rains in April, a riot of flowering weeds covered the lawn in multi-coloured glory. Daisies, poppies, dandelions, marigolds, clover and varieties of many unnamed wild flowers, flourishing under the warm spring sun, spread their beauty in undulating waves of bouncy grass across the garden. Bunches of slender mallow with purple blossoms gracing lush green fields, watched over their brothers and sisters.
It was a blissful time until the guillotine man arrived and began the massacre. A blizzard of yellow, pink, purple, white and red petals flew through the air and scattered, while their stems fell to the ground. On the edges of the waving grass, the survivors drooped to hide their stalks and disguise their blooms. Even tall Mallow didn’t have the chance to warn them in due time. At the end of the day, the executioner swept the dead bodies into bags and dumped them by…
The islands lie in the water, like dinosaurs sleeping, their heads and tails concealed. Their backs forming the contours of the seascape.
I know there’s no water there, otherwise they’d be inhabited. Maybe a good thing, saving nature from mankind’s destruction. Not much vegetation can be observed from afar, either. Perhaps some bushes that can last the heat of the summer months without rain.
On the shore, I see pebbles of all colours. Emerald green, ruby pink, cobalt blue. They shine like precious gems. Once I take them out of the water, their colours go dull. I know this, because I fell in love with them and took them home, but they weren’t the same. Perhaps, I shouldn’t have, and should have left them in their own natural environment. Perhaps that’s what I did with you, and that’s why you stopped shining.
I must not be a hoarder, a collector of pebbles with attractive hues. The colours depend on the light and water. Their nourishment. Once the circumstances change, the pebbles change their nature. Is that why you changed as well?
I’ll return the pebbles where they belong. I’ll watch them from afar. I don’t wish to possess them, but to see them alive.
One never knows when one is safe in life. I’m sitting in my lounge, with the aircon on, while an inferno builds around me. Outside the temperature is 42+ C, inside, a comfortable 26C. But then it all depends on the electric company, doesn’t it? Once they decide it’s safer to cut my power, I’ll be immersed into the heat. Once the wind turns, from the east to the west, I’ll sit in the middle of the flames burning the pine tree covered hills around me.
Where would I go? Into the pool, I’m thinking, but would I have to stay underwater while the inferno takes me hostage? For how long? Will I survive? Who knows?
This is the fourth day of the fire. No, it’s not a bush fire. I know this for certain. I’ve lived here for the last 11 years, and never seen anything like this. Usually, the fires are local, and firefighters put them out in a few hours. This is different, deliberate, mean and calculated. Set ablaze in various spots. Mankind is the cruellest creature on the planet.
The villages are left on their own. Their livestock, greenhouses, homes, and fields at the mercy of the flames. There is no state, authority to protect them. The president visits the disaster sites in a convoy of hundreds of cars and throws tea bags out of the window. Not flowers, not water, but teabags…
Have I come here to die in an Inferno? I do not know. I miss my hometown, but I also got accustomed to this place which has given me hope. A fake hope, perhaps. Hope is a wish that keeps us going.
At dusk, the scenery resembles an apocalypse, a blood red sky, smell of burning, and the death of the forest. Hot winds blow ash and burnt pine needles everywhere.
In daytime, driving through the once thick woodland, the ghosts of pine trees lament their lost glory. No more the rich green against the azure sky. Only carcasses in brown, dead and dying, weeping. I weep for them, and all the creatures who have lost their homes and perished. It seems it takes 50-60 years for a forest to recover its ecosystem. The flora and the fauna that provide livelihood to the locals. I won’t be around then, but I have seen the best. No one can burn my memories.
So, I wait for fate to turn its wheels. As far as my view and binoculars allow, I watch the forest day and night, to spot intruders with heinous motives. Will the wind change, the power cut, or will I be saved, redeemed, and perhaps understand what I’ve come to learn in this life.