Hunter’s Moon by Sebnem E Sanders

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I’m honoured to have my story, Hunter’s Moon, at Punk Noir Magazine.
Many thanks to Author, Paul D Brazill, for publishing my story. 😍

Punk Noir Magazine

Hunter’s Moon

A freelance journalist and photographer, Ali had been on the road for six hours. Although he had intended to reach his destination in Izmir that night, he almost dozed off as the head and taillights from the motorway traffic danced before his eyes. Sipping coffee from the thermos no longer kept him alert. He decided to stop for rest and took the next exit marked, Altınkum 50 Km, a seaside resort on the Aegean, famous for its golden sand beach.

The idea of driving another fifty kilometres sounded challenging. In hope of finding some kind of accommodation on the way, Ali followed the country lane that snaked between vast olive groves on either side. His thoughts drifted to the past, long before the motorway to Izmir had been built. The old road meandered through quaint villages and lively small towns, then. Coffee houses full of men sipping…

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Loss

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Loss

Loss is like something torn out of one’s soul. Something strong grabs hold of it and takes it away. Never to be replaced in this life.

I’ve lived through loss. Of parents, lovers, and relatives, but this is the first time I’ve faced the loss of a very good friend, the only male one. We had been friends for life, he was a month or so younger than me. Our grandmothers were friends, our mothers, and us.

I keep thinking of England, when he came to my wedding party in Warwick. He and his wife were the only Turks there, besides another friend Mehmet, and his English wife. Azmi and his wife gave me a silver tray as a wedding gift. That tray has been sitting on my coffee table for a while, waiting to be put away. You know how one forgets things, after a recent event.  I wonder if that was a sign. It is still there and now I cannot put it back in the dresser. Another gift he gave me, sits among the small silver knicknacks. A milk pitcher with a ladle. I love it and polish it, thinking of him.

After our school days, we were apart. He got married and moved to England, while I got married and began to work. We had no contact during the time I lived in the Far East. When I returned to London, we were both separated from our spouses. It was a difficult time for both of us. We stuck together, supporting each other and shared things. Going out at night, to shows, dinner with friends, and countryside rides.

During my miserable days in London, he was the only beacon of light that kept me going. I hope I was the same for him, for his losses.

He used to take me to a night club called The Escapade in South Kensington, very close to the Bibenium. That was the only venue open until the early hours of the morning, after the Pubs closed. South American owners, Argentinian steak, music, and dancing, and Londoners from all walks of life. Then, he’d drive his classic Lancia along Park Lane, breaks and tyres screecing, taking me back to my flat. He was a gentleman, generous, courteous, intelligent, and kind. Despite his excellent education and high qualifications, I don’t think he found the dream job of his life. But he tried, through thick and thin, he tried, to his last day, always…

Then we’d have Fish&Chips at Notting Hill, watch the Talking Heads movie at the ICA, go to Sunday lunch with his friends, or mine at my flat.  

I returned to Istanbul after two years, he followed a couple of years later. Being an engineer, he had turned his skills to IT. He became a programmer, an international one. He worked in Beirut, in the UK, and wherever his services were required.

Then life happened. Companies closed, he had the big C. He never ever gave up, until the last moment.

Wherever you are, my friend, may you rest in peace. I have thousands of memories to cherish, once I can deal with your loss.

Dedicated to Azmi Tenikalp, 1950-2020, Istanbul.

Dark and Light

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Dark and Light

The morning was dark as night

the evening bright, as the moon,

stars, and constellations

illuminated my path

There is light among the darkness

and shadows of darkness in light

The magic is to find the beam of hope

whether it’s daytime or night.

©S.E.Sanders 2020

The X Factor by Sebnem Sanders

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Many thanks to Author Paul D. Brazil for publishing my story, The X Factor, at Punk Noir Magazine. This story first appeared in Ripples on the Pond.

Punk Noir Magazine

The X Factor

Notting Hill, London

Scarlett gazed at Frank, lying next to her in bed. His tousled hair covered part of his face, eyelids framed by dark curly lashes fluttered in sleep. She stroked his hair. He opened his eyes and looked into hers.

“Good morning,” he said, yawned and stretched, and kissed her on the mouth.

Scarlet sighed and held his hand. “Why do you always disappear?”

“Because I’m a spy.”

“Liar, if you were, you wouldn’t tell me.”

“True, but it could be possible — the X-Factor.”

“There’s something spooky about you. I can’t put my finger on it, but you go away for a long time, never call, then you surface and ask me out.”

“I told you. My job requires me to travel.”

“Why don’t you call when you’re away?”

“What’s the point? I won’t be able to see you.”

“Is that what this is…

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The End and The Beginning

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Richard Ehrlich Photography Homage to Rothko

 

Richard Ehrlich photography, from “Homage to Rothko, Malibu Series” 2012
(In collaboration with R. Mac Holbert, a series of montages composed from original Malibu sky images as an Homage to Mark Rothko)

 

I wrote this story a while ago. I submitted it without success. I think this is the right time to share it. Dismal, but true. We don’t change, do we?

 

 

The End and The Beginning

 

They said the Day of Judgement had come and the end of the world was near. Then the skies turned granite, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis devastated towns and villages for days until all the unwanted were washed away from the surface of the planet.

Waking on strange beach, I looked around and saw that everything had changed. Not a building in sight, nor any remnants of “civilization”. A vast emptiness as far as the eye could see, bordered by tree covered hills. Even the sun didn’t look familiar, an alien shade of red, casting a rosy light upon the land.

Following the sound of water gushing from an unseen source, I dragged my feet towards it until I came upon a rivulet fed by a spring. Scattered around its banks, people talked to each other while perusing me with suspicion as I approached. I bowed my head, then cupped my hands and drank water to quench my thirst.

Resting on the grass to observe the survivors, I noticed everything was different. Snow White was no longer white, but black. Rapunzel had close-cropped hair. Alice had lost her wonderland. Soldiers and pirates exchanged clothes and identities, as Sleeping Beauty walked around, eyes wide open. Lords had become peasants as peasants flaunted their elegant outfits.

“Who are you?” a young girl asked.

“No one special. I’m me.”

“How come you haven’t changed?”

“No idea. Are we on a different planet? Is this Earth or elsewhere?”

“We don’t know, yet. Nobody does. We’re gathering to decide on a plan.”

I joined the discussion about our survival and voted to move up the hills to take shelter rather than staying on the beach in case of a Tsunami. Perhaps we could find food up there and a safe haven to settle.

Scouts explored the mountains and returned with the news of a valley beyond the hills. Hunting for food with sharpened sticks, on our way, we reached the meadow at dusk. Gathered around fires lit with flint,  the head count of 500 remaining humans discussed the strategy of our survival on this strange planet.

“Back to the stone age,” one said.

“At least we have the knowledge. We can make tools, wheels, and shelters. Start farming, agriculture. Keep livestock, form a community.”

Knowledge without tools was a sad consolation, but we could always try as humans had done in the past and advanced.

Survival being our mutual cause, we worked in harmony as a leader emerged in the colony. He formed a council of advisors, and much to my surprise, included me they called Unchanged. It seemed like a privilege, but I wasn’t sure. Perhaps it meant unchangeable, inflexible, rigid. Was I so, though I tried very hard to adapt to the difficult conditions of our existence?

“A transformation,” they said. “A test for humanity to do better this time, understanding the past to build the future. At least we speak the same language and can communicate. We’re civilized without being civilized.”

I wasn’t sure about that either because I heard a wise woman and a wise man speak.

“You know what will happen at the end of this, don’t you?” she said.

He chuckled. “Politics, greed, wars, division, and devastation. The rich and the poor.”

“Progress and destruction.”

“Can’t we prevent this, having the knowledge?”

“Not unless we can stop time, but you know we can’t change human nature.”

 

I wept with the knowledge that someday this world would end, too, despite the efforts of survival and co-operation here. Perhaps, that’s why I hadn’t changed. I represented all of them, in my perpetual state of being.

 

Thank you for reading.  🙂

The Song of Spring by Sebnem E. Sanders

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My Story, The Song of Spring is at Punk Noir Magazine. Many thanks to the Editor-in-Chief and author, Paul D. Brazill. 🙂

Punk Noir Magazine

The Song of Spring

Belma

Belma watched over the crowd gathering in the courtyard of the mosque. On the altar, stood a coffin. Draped over its raised head, a muslin scarf with a crocheted edge, and a small wreath of white and purple freesias placed upon it. Her favourite flowers. The men were lined up before the altar and the women, their heads covered, assembled on both sides. Belma scanned their faces. They all had tears in their eyes. She recognized most of them. Friends, relatives, colleagues. Someone must have died, a woman. She saw her mother, her best mate, and her cousins. Her eyes searched the congregation. Where’s Aila? She jabbed a finger at her mother’s shoulder and whispered in her ear.

The sweet aroma of the freesias reminded her of the Song of Spring she used to sing to Aila when she was a little girl, and how…

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Quote

Cercis Siliquastrum, my first story at Spelk Fiction from 3 years ago

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It must be Judas tree time in Istanbul. As it’s the 1st of May, I remember the picnics we used to have on this day, the happy memories of childhood, surrounded by purple blossoms.

Here’s a link to my first story at Spelk Fiction, from 3 years ago: Cercis Siliquastrum (Judas Tree/Erguvan Agaci)

https://spelkfiction.com/2017/04/21/cercis-siliquastrum/

 

 

via Cercis Siliquastrum

 

Erguvan zamanı6jpg

Red Napkins – Corona Chronicles – Flash Non-Fiction

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Red Napkins 2

 

 

 

Red Napkins

 

While looking for tissues at an online supermarket, I come across my favourite red napkins. Two packs into the basket, I continue my virtual shopping. Going over the list, adding, deleting stuff, I complete the task and pay by card. My provisions for the lockdown replenished, the delivery due the following day, I resume my daily chores. Red napkins on my mind.

Why did I buy them? It’s not likely I’ll be inviting people to dinner in the near future. I like the colour, haven’t seen them on the shelves in the days I could visit the supermarket, and I can use them myself. Good excuses, but the cupboard is full of paper napkins in all the colours of the rainbow. Why not use them instead? Red napkins are prettier.

I’m not a panic shopper. I don’t stock things and have little room to store them. Yet, the question of what if  lingers at the back of my mind. Instead of buying one packet of hair dye, I buy two, an extra pack of cheese or two more cans of tuna fish. What if they run out of stock? It’s helping the economy, but depleting my budget.

Behind this hoarding tendency, lingers the anxiety of holding onto a lifestyle which may no longer exist. A variety of choices, favourites, brands that dominate our daily lives. Despite knowing this is not a matter of life and death, that the groceries or dry goods at home might last me at least three months, I worry about running out of stuff  I’m accustomed to buying. I won’t die of starvation, but my choices in the future might be limited.

The supermarket delivery arrives. I look at the red napkins and laugh at myself. I make a pledge not to buy any more until I use the ones at home. It dawns on me Mother Earth is suffering due to the mass manufacturing of this diverse merchandise and choices in the market, whether it’s  food, household items and chemicals, not forgetting clothes and accessories. Buy less, waste less, be inventive and creative. The lack of choices is not a death threat, but the virus is. I’m learning …

 

#StaySafeStayHome

 

 

 

 

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Stream Of Consciousness Drawer Four

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I’m delighted to have my story, The Pedestrian Underpass, together with many tales from brilliant writers, in The Cabinet of Heed‘s Stream of Consciousness Issue-Drawer Number 4.

Many thanks to The Chief Polisher, Simon Webster.

Thank you very much for reading.  🙂

 

via Stream Of Consciousness Drawer Four

 

Cabinet of heed cover

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Venice

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via Venice

It’s great to be back at Spelk Fiction, my favourite literary magazine, with a love story. Many thanks to the Editor-in-Chief, Cal Marcius.

Thanks for reading and Happy Easter! 🙂

 

Venice by Monet

Venice by Claude Monet