The best thing about living alone is that you can take your bra off the second you get home. You don’t even have to wait until you get into your … Continue reading Half-Eaten, Out of Place
My Grandfather fixes clocks. He used to do it for a living, but now I think he just does it for fun. He says it keeps his hands busy and … Continue reading Time’s Up
I don’t hear things like you do. I hear them in colours.
It doesn’t quite translate the way you think. White noise tends to be a little pink. Finding white noise that is purely white is as difficult as finding untouched snow in a playground. There’s too much going on these days- too many radio frequencies, too many phone calls- it pollutes it all.
Water tends to speak in violet and not deep blue like you might think. Stormy seas shout to me in a loud, purple haze. Blue noise is low and kind of unsettling. You can find it in small, glowing lines around wires. Electric blue, you might say.
If the world is a canvas, it was first painted green. Not just in the trees and plants, but in the background noise too. Man-made noises throw a lot of red and brown in to the mix. They bleed together a lot and it can get messy. I used to walk in the woods a lot, away from the city, to try and find that undiluted green.
It’s the only place I’ve ever seen black noise. And I haven’t been back since.
I suppose I had always known that it must exist. For white noise to exist, black must also, and so turns the colour wheel. I just hadn’t given much thought to what that might actually mean.
I was alone in the forest, enjoying the green, when I started to notice it get darker. At first, it turned to a mossy green, but then it grew darker still- like a terrible mould had spread across the forest floor, climbing up tree trunks and turning everything to rot. I couldn’t hear anything different, but the green was fading.
And then I saw her.
She lay motionless and pale beneath a tree, deep cuts on her arms and chest, at least one of them fatal. Her mouth was open in a scream and black noise poured from it.
Black silence, the true colour of a sound that would never be.
Usually, when I do the daily prompt I google the word for inspiration. Just to see if there’s a way of interpreting it that I hadn’t immediately thought of, or if something else sparks an idea. Today I found this cool Wikipedia page on the Colour of Noise and it was really interesting.
Via Daily Prompt: Noise
The key is kept in the dead man’s grasp.
That was it. That was all I had. A clue whispered to me through breaks in a fever dream. I held on to it tightly. I repeated it to myself over and over so it would not slip away.
I had been aware of someone in my room- a dark figure that I immediately knew was not a nurse. He came closer. He smelled of the sea. He made no noise when he walked. I did not see his face, but I did hear him whisper. The key is kept in the dead man’s grasp. I remember the moment of clarity in hearing those words. I knew exactly what he meant. I remember nodding, or at least trying to.
And then he was gone and the room was painfully bright. Monitors beeped beside me. A nurse had just finished opening my curtains. I remembered the man. I remembered his words. But I did not remember the meaning. I tried to sit up. If I could just get to the man. If I could just get him back I could ask him what he meant. The nurse gently pushed me back down. “Good to have you back with us,” he beamed at me. He did not sound like the man. “We thought that fever might never break. It’s best if you lie still for a while, so we can keep an eye on you.”
He poured some water in to a plastic cup and handed it to me. As I drank, I looked around. The room was familiar. I knew where I was. I’d flitted in and out of consciousness in this bed and taken some of it in. It had felt like I’d had one foot here and one foot… somewhere else. Perhaps not so much flitting in and out of consciousness, as flitting between consciousness’s. I was crushed that this reality was the one which I was now confined to.
That thought arrived in my head and, as if on some kind of cue, my family arrived in my room. We talked and they seemed happy. The talked to the doctors about keeping me in for a few more days until they were sure the fever had passed. I couldn’t really focus on any of them. They had layers they kept hidden from me and I hadn’t been able to see it until now. There were secrets in their smiles, lies hidden in their hugs and in between us there was discord between who we are and who we all thought each other to be. We were all strangers on a first name basis. I was restless until they left.
They key is kept in the dead man’s grasp.
I whispered it over and over again until the sun set. Until the main lights went out. Then I got up and put on some of the clothes on that my mother had brought me and left on a chair by my bed. I took a nurse’s pass from behind reception and walked down the stairs and through the door marked ‘Morgue.’
I checked the hands of every corpse. No keys. Nothing. The closest I came to finding anything was a scalpel blade that had been left lying beside the hand of a dead man. I picked it up anyway and held it tight.
Maybe a bit too tight. The blade cut my palm.
The pain was another moment of clarity. The first I’d felt since I woke up. All of my former grogginess was gone. I grasped it tighter. My blood ran on to the floor.
I hear it drip, drip, drip. I heard it gush. I smelled the sea.
A dark figure that I knew was not a nurse stood by the doorway. “Come home,” he whispered.
Via Daily Post: Grasp
She got to the station at 11.58 PM. She realised as she blinked at the electronic clock on the wall that she hadn’t even considered the possibility that there wouldn’t be any trains running at this time of night. She’d just packed up and stormed out. There was nobody around for her to ask, the station was empty- too small and too rural to bother staffing at this time of night.The station was poorly light and darker than usual, due to tonight’s Blood Moon that had turned the full moon red and stolen it’s light.
She sat down on a cold bench and considered going back to her boyfriend’s. She checked her phone. No call. No text. She wasn’t going back to him without at least one of those. Perhaps she’d have to sleep here. At least there was a vending machine nearby if she got peckish.
The clock ticked closer to midnight and she heard the sound of wheels on the track. A bright light in the darkness grew bigger as the train approached the station platform. She stood and picked up her bags. The train came to a stop as somewhere, deep in the village, a clock began to strike midnight. It was dark grey, with tinted windows that meant she couldn’t see inside. Perhaps because it was a night train? On the side the words “Lunar Express” were written in silver. It puzzled her that an express train would come to somewhere so remote.
She opened the door and stepped up in to the carriage, the gap between the train and the platform was higher than she was used to. The light inside the carriage inside was low, with a slightly orange hue. It was surprisingly full, but incredibly quiet. She sat down in the first seat she came to at the back and rummaged in her bag for her money.
The train pulled out of the station as the last of the clock chimes faded to nothing.
She didn’t know where she wanted to go- or even where the train was heading, but she hoped she had enough for at least one stop. That would be far enough to prove her point. She checked her phone again. Still nothing.
Oh wait – no signal. No Wi-Fi.
Maybe he was trying to call her and couldn’t get through. Were they in a tunnel?
She looked up. She could still see the full moon in the sky. It caught her off guard. It looked bigger, closer… and no longer red…?
She could no longer feel the judder of the trains on the track. It was too dark outside to see anything but the moon. Something felt wrong. She sat up a little straighter. The interior of this train was older than she had expected. and turned her attention to her fellow passengers. They all faced away from her in silence. She opened her mouth to clear her throat, but before she could make a sound they all turned to look at her at once. Old, faded faces with blank, dead eyes.
“I need to get off the train,” she heard herself say, standing up.
“You can’t do that, dear,” a voice behind her made her jump. “Not for a few hundred years at least. We only stop once in a Blood Red Moon.”
The clock in the village struck 12.01. A man arrived at the station to look for his girlfriend. In the distance he heard a train whistle that sounded like a scream.
Author: Clara Ross
Throwback to an older post because I’m too tired and full of the cold to write a new one today.
He emerged from the shadows. A streetlight shone down on him, turning his blonde hair into a halo and forming a pool of ethereal light at his feet. His piercing green eyes spoke directly to her heart. She was instantly enamoured. Love at first sight.
He smiled and she felt warm. He beckoned her over, towards the light. She went without question, amazed he’d noticed her at all.
She stepped in to the light around him. His outstretched hand turned in to a claw. He scooped out her eyes. And love at first sight became the last thing she ever saw.
There’s a parasite that lives behind mirrors. A detailed shadow that stares back at you when you clean your teeth or get caught in the dark screen between episodes of a Netflix show. It watches the way you walk past shop windows. It studies you from reflective surfaces at times when you think nobody is watching. It knows you better than anyone.
If you get too close it will climb through the image of itself in the reflection of your eye.
It won’t kill you right away. It will paralyse your first and take control. You will watch it live your life. Watch it do things you never wanted to. Watch destroy your relationships with people who don’t know it’s not really you. Because why would they?
It looks like you. It talks like you, walks like you. It fixes your hair like you do.
You will die and nobody will know there is a fraud living on in your skin.
Pictures sent back from early probes had only partially prepared her for how much the new planet looked like Earth. Well… how much it looked like Earth before they’d all fucked it up.
Planet B had been hailed by many back home as a miracle. It had been discovered by an expedition that had run in to technically difficulties and drifted off course, so Sarah saw it as more of a happy accident. They had spotted a small planet that looked a lot like Earth from a distance. Later investigations found that it was a lot smaller, but it had water and a similar atmosphere and that was all most people on Earth had needed to hear. We were saved. Old planet be damned.
The landing was smooth, as if the new earth had been waiting to cradle their shuttle. There was cheering inside the craft and all the way back home in the NASA base. Sarah wondered if this was being broadcast to everyone like the moonlandings. Would there be someone watching from the comfort of a sofa, thinking it was all a hoax and that she was an actor?
The doors opened. She saw grass. And trees, much smaller than the ones back home. They had landed next to a large cliff face that cast a shadow over the land. But above them, two suns were shining in an almost cloudless sky. Everything looked still, with only a little breeze to rustle branches.
Isaac leaped out in front of her. He leaped too enthusiastically and tumbled down the steps. “Fucking hell,” he said over her radio. “Can confirm gravity is the exact fucking same here.”
“Fucking hell?” she repeated. “Is that really what you just said stepping on to a new planet? Is that really going to be our ‘One small step for man…’?”
“Hadn’t thought of that,” he admitted. “Sorry.”
She shrugged it off and stepped out to join him.
They walked away from their shuttle for the first time in years. Sarah ran. It felt good to run again. She reached the bottom of the cliff face. She looked up. There were a series of vines, growing like a large web all over it. They moved in the wind, but everything was perfectly still.
“Don’t see many animals here,” she heard Isaac over the radio. “Wonder why that is.”
“Haven’t evolved yet?” she suggested.
And then she looked to her left and saw someone staring back at her. Isaac heard her gasp. “You alright? Sarah? You alright?”
“Yeah,” her heart was in her mouth. “Isaac there are people here…”
Another face appeared in a well-concealed hole in the rock. And then another one. They had large, dark eyes and what appeared to be a kind of beak. Their skin looked a lot like human skin, except it was leafy-green in colour. The one she had made eye contact with let out a screech that set the rest of them off. She jumped back.
Were they trying to scare her off? Were they threatening her?
It sounded more like screams of terror… were they afraid of her?
Leafy-green arms shot out of the cliff.
“Sarah!” Isaac’s voice was panicked. “Run.”
She looked back. Their ship was gone, devoured by the earth while she wasn’t looking. Isaac was sinking down into it. He screamed. She could hear his bones crunch. She ran towards the cliff. Something bit her foot. She jumped. A hand grabbed hers and helped her scramble up until she was balancing on the cliff.
She climbed up the precipice, the vines making a kind of ladder for her. The ground rumbled underneath her, digesting its latest snack. Worried faces peered out at her until she reached a hole in the rock that was big enough for her to fit through.
The people native to this planet had built an entire civilisation in this rock and now she was trapped here. She sat down and stared at the place her ship and her crew mate had been. It was now just flat and peaceful ground. Like they’d never even landed.
How could she send a message back home? How could warn them that Planet B was ready to swallow up anyone who set foot on it?
via Daily Prompt:Planet