Tag Archives: Short Story

“A View From the Alley” – A Short Story

grotto-61059_640

My life was once a simple thing, all I worried about was food and whether I would have a warm place to sleep. Avoiding getting kicked while in pursuit of either was my greatest challenge. I was free.

I left home rather young you see; I missed out on the easy food, the wacky summer haircuts and maybe some of the love, but I like to think that while I might be a little scruffy around the ears, I’ve made up for it by achieving a worldly form of wisdom.

Oh sure, there were the pretty young ladies that tried to tame me; sure they could drive out my wild side with sweet hugs and baked salmon, but I’d always found I just wasn’t quite ready for that kind of life. At first glance it seems so sweet, but after a while, if you’ve watched like I have, you start to notice things.

A lot of them, they’re not quite right.They start out happy and ready to take on the world, but soon they’re going about their lives all twitchy and agitated, like they just walked out of a room filled with nothing but wall to wall rocking chairs. It didn’t make sense at first, but lately I’ve been getting closer to the true heart of the matter.

In my travels I’ve come across a few spectacular locations to simply watch the world go by; a few choice walls, a perfect sturdy tree branch…. from my vantage points I can see into a thousand individual worlds. Each one different and yet so many plagued by the same tragic disease.

I was running, the day I found my way into one of those perfect ‘just looking’ spots. There had been a slight misunderstanding between myself and a fish vendor, not even really worth mentioning if it hadn’t led to one particularly memorable moment. There I was, perched in the crook of a sturdy tree branch, trying to be as still as I possibly could, when it happened. I looked out, straight ahead of me, to this incredible yellow glow.

It was a portal into a realm I’d never imagined, they say that my kind has a connection with the spirit world, with magic; perhaps that’s what it was. Or maybe it was just my fate.

They performed these rituals, these dances that I didn’t understand, being a lonely wandering tom. But after a time, perched in my tree, I realized that it was something magical called family. There was laughter, and a feeling I knew without a doubt had to be love. It was a heady combination, leaving me reeling like the time I accidentally drank that water that wasn’t water. The two larger ones, I could see they were connected; gentle touches, sweet glances. The smaller, they were cared for, taught – and by their bright smiles I knew that they felt the nearly tangible love that I could see. I left in a daze after the glow went out and the scene faded away, but I now had this longing in my chest I’d never felt before. My wandering life suddenly seeming like a burden and not a spot of luck.

In that moment I was utterly confused by this new view of their world. I couldn’t see how those twitchy, rocking chair people that I was used to, could even be the same species as those within the glow.

I have died a thousand deaths since then. The next night I tried to return to that spot, to that magic, but I was in a such a state when I left that I didn’t pay attention to where my wandering was taking me. I couldn’t find my way back. The streets blurred together, the trees all looked the same; and I knew that leaving that place was the greatest mistake of my life. I should have kept hold of the magic, I should have tried to find out if there was a place for me within that perfect glow. I can’t imagine why I didn’t. I’d give up my freedom for that. Not that I would be any less free, I’d just be choosing something that has the potential to make me happy.

I watch, every chance I can get, looking through the portals that I’ve found, but so far they have all been different. They’re lit by a flickering glow, a dangerous light that comes and goes and changes colors. The walls are filled with movement that isn’t natural and the laughter isn’t the same. There is love, to be sure, but it isn’t all-consuming. It’s tempered by flashes of anger and most often; something I can only describe as detachment. They remind me of myself in that way, never truly embracing each other because no matter how much they might care, their own self is blatantly the most important.

They don’t tell stories either, to bring laughter, they are seduced by the flickering light and let it instead entertain them. Individually, with no interaction. I cannot understand their fascination. I had assumed that nine deaths was my limit, but each time I climb a wall or tree and fail to find what I’ve been searching for, I swear that my heart stops beating, just for a moment.

Curiosity hasn’t been the death of me yet, it has just brought me an awareness I’m not sure I would have asked for if I’d known the longing it would bring. Sometimes I think that ignorance would have been bliss, but I’ve seen the light now – I’ve seen it. There is no going back.

I came across another likely looking tree today, perhaps this is the one.

I know what I’m looking for, I know what I want now. Do you?

Oh come on. You can tell me, it’s not like I can share your secret.

No?

…Cat got your tongue?

Authors Note: This story is an amalgamation of two ideas presented by a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure she never imagined that this was the route I was going to go after I picked her brain – but then again… I was a little surprised myself!

I’d like to continue writing short stories, I would like the practice and if they ensure that I write every day… even better! If you have some random idea you would like to see expanded upon, leave me a comment. You never know, I might just run with it! ;)

A Wish Upon A Snowflake.

snowflake

The curser blinked slowly, waiting for her to write something, anything. The blank white box of MSWord mocked her in its stark emptiness. Faint whispers of Jazz music floated out from the small speakers in her laptop. Slightly tinny, but it wasn’t any big bother. Nearly drowning it out was the patter of rain on the living room window.

She was slouched on a shabby blue couch in her shabby one bedroom apartment. Her toes freezing cold despite the enormous fuzzy slippers that currently adorned them, honestly she didn’t think they had been warm since the moment she stepped into the country.

But no matter, her lap was being kept toasty by the little firebox that wished to consider itself a marvel of technology. Whirring away. Still an empty screen.

She peered past the rain at what on a good day would have been a remarkable view.

Remarkable to her at the very least.

To a small-town girl from Canada the ancient buildings and townhouses that made up this section, and honestly most of the city were something incredible. Her own apartment was a renovated factory, used in the manufacturing of the famed Nottingham lace. It was converted into an apartment building many years after it shut down.

Nottingham. The English city she had chosen as her place of residence for the next year. Partially because other than London it was really the only city she knew anything about. And that only because it was the epicentre of the famed Robin Hood story, and the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham.
And partially because it really was part of a fairy tale, something she only imagined for so many years, it was still somewhat hard for her to believe that it actually existed.

Three weeks she’d been living in her fairy tale and still, there was nothing. She watched as daily the money she had saved and hoarded for this trip disappeared in a steady flow. She could get a job to allow her to stay longer, that was true. But that wasn’t the point of this trip. She wasn’t planning to stay here forever. It was supposed to be a six month leap of faith, somewhere new, some place that her muse couldn’t fail to find her. No work other than concentrating on what was supposed to be her big break. A novel that was going to jumpstart her career as a writer.

A blank page.

For three weeks it had been like this. It was ridiculous. The story was there on her fingertips, it was always there, hundreds of plotlines and ideas chasing each other around in her brain but never quite making it out onto the page.

She still didn’t even know what this story was going to be about, she could pick from any genre, but hadn’t even done that yet.

I guess I just thought it would be so much easier.
That her fingers would write by themselves and without any difficulty to herself she would be able to create a masterpiece.
And so she waited, the rain continuing to drum down.

It was a beautiful country.

Yes, it is. And I have no muse.

In frustration she tossed the laptop onto the couch cushion. Gently of course. Despite her unhappy mood it was still her best friend.

Best friend? Or only friend?

What, really, was the point of writing a fantastic book if you were miserable while doing it?

She glanced up at the only thing adorning her walls. A piece of white printer paper with big black letters scrawled on it, stuck up with scotch tape.

“No one ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have while trying to write one.”

The quote had in recent months taken on a whole new meaning.

She threw her body back on the lumpy cushions, stretching up until her toes curled.

It would be nice if my toes curled for another reason.

But what was the point of thinking about it? That wasn’t why she was here.