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.
Many thanks to The Rye Whiskey Review for including my flash fiction story, Exodus. So now I’m officially a Whiskey person! Cheers! 🙂
As the website is on Blogspot, I can’t re-blog it. So, I’ll just post the first paragraph here and then the link to the story.
Exodus by Sebnem E. Sanders
He walked into the bar, and set the room on fire. A magnet that pulled me into his dark eyes. I tried to look away, but his gaze held me captive and stripped me bare. A force I could not resist. A friend mouthed something, yet I had become deaf and blind to anything except his presence. Surrendering to the magical glow and the current that washed me to his shore, I became his satellite.
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.
Death was an inelegant solution to an elegant game, an imperfect answer to the most perfect of all solutions. Yet here, Death held no sway.
Memories were never my forte. I remembered in fits and starts, never then till now, nor here to there. I recalled moments, or fragments of moments, nothing more, like a jigsaw turned upside down and with no means of reference to piece it back together. This was how the first conjunction occurred, grey on black, black on grey, always white in-between.
The small, white bird was not a creature of feathers and pumping blood, but of glazed porcelain with a copper beak. It sang, though, trilled its little metal heart out. It sang and sang and sang.
I put the bird in my pocket only to realise many years later, when next I checked, that it had a hole. I panicked then, something to…
I remember my first time in Amsterdam, a magical city with dainty bridges over canals, and quaint buildings along it, whose tops symbolize various forms of architecture. Different gables, bell, neck-shaped and laddered, according to the fashion.
Our hotel was far from Rosse Buurt, so we walked and had dinner in an area close to the district. I never forget that name because it is a vivid memory of how things worked in that part of town. The restaurant had a good view of the Red Light District, comprising of houses whose windows displayed young women in their underwear. Once the curtains were drawn and the light faded, it meant they were busy. Other windows lit up and faded into darkness throughout the dinner. What a life, I thought, open, uninhibited.
Prostitution is the oldest profession in history. I remember seeing a sign in Ephesus, probably the oldest bit of advertising, stating, “If you go right, you’ll find your heart’s key,” pointing to a house of joy.
Men marry proper women who bear proper children, but some can’t stay away from the women of joy, can they, and perhaps have some illegitimate children. What’s the secret? The proper versus the improper? Perhaps they prefer the less inhibited? There are many answers to this question. I think it has to do with the alter ego and the rebellion against what’s proper.
Recently, I read that Rosse Buurt will be moved out of Amsterdam. Amsterdam will not be Amsterdam without Rosse Buurt. It will never be the same. With this on my mind, I listen to Jacques Brel.
You’ll never see unless you look by Janis Freegard
Your head sinks into the pillow, you pass through the tunnel where sometimes, briefly, voices speak words that don’t quite make sense, where there are shapes and patterns you only ever see in this state, then you’re through to the other world, the sleep world.
It’s different here. Life happens in fragments. Time means nothing. A friend can become a cat and then your cousin. You see someone you know but they are wearing a stranger’s face. Electrical appliances will not work. The dead were never dead.
Try to wake up inside this world. This way you can influence events. Flying is a good option for you. It may take a few tries. To start with, you might be hovering just above the ground, worrying about crashing down. Don’t. Don’t think about that. Concentrate on levitating above rooftops and trees. Get…
Blanche stood before the cheval mirror and adjusted her fur hat. Tucking wayward curls inside the headpiece, she buttoned her fitted long coat, and picked up her gloves.
Fat snowflakes dancing like butterflies greeted her as she stepped into the street lined with terraced houses. She pulled up her collar, and glided over the soft mounds on the pavement. Warm lights pouring from windows and lamp posts illuminated the blanket of snow which muffled the sounds of traffic and footsteps. A postcard scene, as though time had stopped. Turning left at the bottom of the road, Blanche continued towards the High Street.
Loaded with bags, Christmas shoppers headed in all directions. Passengers stepped onto or off red, double-decker buses along the main street decorated with colourful lights. Children fascinated by displays, stuck their faces on the windows of the Toy Shop as their parents pulled them away while…