Erasure

Image of Andrew McCall's solid light sculpture You and I - Horizontal II (2009) at Australian Centre for the Moving Image
You and I – Horizontal II, Anthony McCall (2009). Photograph by Richard Baxter.

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Read Part 3: The Droste Effect

Read Part 4: The Order of Things

Read Part 5: Rift Valley

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future. Edward Lorenz

Every news channel was streaming the very little details of the case that were known, each trying to get a more ‘exclusive’ angle than their competitors.

Channel Z8 was running an interview with a local grocery store owner.

‘I’ll never forget when that girl disappeared. What was it seventeen, eighteen years ago? Whole life ahead of her, and boom, suddenly gone, just like that. I’d been watching the cricket when one of my customers mentioned her remains had been found. What I want to know is- how the hell did she end up in Siberia of all places? Long way from schoolies week on the Gold Coast…’

The journalist probed for as much anecdotal fluff for the news piece as he could get  ‘You say you knew Eckles? Can you describe him Albert? Can I call you Al?’

‘Yeah, call me Al. He was just like everyone else in the neighbourhood- nothing unusual in his purchases, milk, eggs, bread, fruit, knew enough about sport to keep up a conversation. But he did have a strange tendency to disappear for long periods of time…’

Fiona rolled her eyes at the familiar face getting his 15 minutes of fame. He was milking it, and the journalist was relishing this ‘exclusive insight’. Switching the channel, she saw news item after news item on the same rolling coverage of the case that was set to change the world. Continue reading

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Game, Set, Match

Photo of a woman whimsically dancing on wet tennis court- used as prompt for three line tales microfiction
Photo by Sam Burriss

As much as she hated needles, Lynne was game for another dose, high spirited for 9 in the morning because Frank was home doing the vacuuming and once their respective chores were complete, they’d join the Senior Spartans on their monthly lunch outing. With the cold infusion slow dripping like a hipster’s coffee- into the orifice forged by the nurse’s ‘… little sting’- there was nothing to do but look around the room, make small talk with the nurse and other patient, or- as was mainly the case- look down at her gnarled hands, driftwood garnished with the ring Frank had given her 55 years earlier- hands that had changed Noel and Fiona’s nappies, held a glass to toast each child’s wedding, cooked countless shepherd’s pies- now too set in their ways to do as Lynne instructs. No way they’d hold the arm of the hoover much less a tennis racket these days, at least not long enough to raise much dust. Continue reading

The Droste Effect

watercolour of a vermouth bottle, in the style of droste cacoa, beside a martini, painted in sepia tones, illustrating a story in which the 'droste effect' is alluded to

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Garnishing a Blood Mary with the stick of celery I’d bought at Al’s Corner Produce, I had no idea where I was, or where the hummus or Forrest were for that matter. Swallowed in the dark nothingness, once I’d lost my grip on Forrest, I was alone for what felt like hours. Time enough to regret my meddling that had caused all this. ‘It’ was what I wanted, but now that I was in It, feeling like the same person, but dressed differently, and from all appearances, working at a bar, I wasn’t sure what kind of mess I had created. Continue reading

Missing Person

Watercolour image of objects in outer space- a milk carton, twinkling stars, a satellite and a gold medal, illustrating a short story serial

It was with a heavy heart that I worked my way through the Sandersons that had spent the better part of their youth at Henfield Primary School. There was a whole brood of them- some related, others just sharing a relatively common name. James, Felicity, Veronica, Sandra, Jack, Noel, a lot of Kates, and many Peters. Finally. Cynthia. Occasionally I received a phone call from an ex-student or the parent of an ex-student, usually with an inspired idea for a 21st or wedding. Otherwise, the time capsules were returned to the ex-students themselves at the 20 year reunion- enough time would pass by then for there to be an appreciation of the insight into what their 10 or 11 year old selves could give them.

Cynthia’s mother had called grasping for something, anything, of her daughter. I knew who she was immediately when Mrs. Sanderson told me her daughter’s name. For the past year, her face, smiling with a hand proudly holding a medal that hung around her neck, had been plastered around railway stations, at local convenience stores and occasionally on the news in what has been shorter and shorter segments as time moves on and other missing persons, wars, government budgets and natural catastrophes compete for screen time. Not for Mrs. Sanderson though. Her grieving voice told me that the world and all its news had stopped for her and her husband the day Cynthia went missing. 17 years old, at another milestone in her life, having just finished high school and celebrating on the Gold Coast during Schoolies Week. No one knows what happened to her, or at least no one has come forward with what they know. All her mother wanted was one more piece of her little girl. Continue reading

Luminosity

Image of the Bubble Nebula, Three Line Tale prompt for flash fiction
Photo by NASA

“Mission control, do you read me? The nebula is burning at a greater intensity than previous recordings, just concerned the hubble is drifting since yesterday’s calibration.”

“Mission control here, Captain- news just in suggests the increased luminosity coincides with a terrestrial event in the Southern Hemisphere of Planet Earth at roughly 03:00 GMT, little boy blowing out his birthday candle, a lunch time celebration in his local time.”

The astronaut breathed a sigh of relief, first mission nerves had made her question her judgements, but it seemed it was the instrument’s range that required adjustment in this instance- the kid is a force to be reckoned with.

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Happy 2nd birthday to my little boy – my constant source of love and inspiration, combined here with image prompt from Sonya’s Three Line Tales Week 19. Fittingly, the NASA image is an anniversary pic celebrating the Hubble Telescope’s 26th year in orbit. The fiery object is a Bubble Nebula, cloud and hot gases released by the brilliant star at its core. Other pics capture the birthday boy and the moment that threw NASA’s measurements off, and his observation of a sound/light/bubble installation in Melbourne, taken yesterday by Richard Baxter, also known as Daddy.

Violet Nebula

violet nebula illustration for a tanka tribute to Prince

full moon’s tidal dance

breaking waves of purple light

reign of crying doves

scent of violets in bloom

solar orbit, fleeting life

 

Inspired by the artist we knew as Prince. His music lives in the souls he moved. Prompt words sun (interpreted as ‘solar’) and moon from RonovanWrites’ Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge.

Postscript: It was after posting this that out of curiosity, I read about the scent of violets (it is late here, so I couldn’t go seeking violets to have a whiff). I learnt that after stimulating your olfactory receptors, the aromatic compound that gives violets their scent (ionone) temporarily shuts off the receptors, taking away your ability to smell the flower. How fitting and serendipitous that violets are known for their ephemeral scent! There is nothing more I’d like to do right now than smell a violet for a little while.

Gatekeeper

Garden_tailpiece_with_sundial

Well, it’s time to begin as the summer sets in. You could say it is my busiest time of year. No days off, and it’s when I’m closest to the workings of things, as the system literally revolves around me. I know, I sound like a seasoned bureaucrat, but I’m it, basically, with my relatively sedentary but global role (I won’t bore you with the details of the outermost corners of my reach). A creature of habit, I make my presence known from East to West, for the most part receiving a welcome – open doors, smiling faces, songs written in my honour and a hit that becomes an anthem for the season. I cross paths with birds moving this way and that, following my warmth and the harvest it brings as Earth rotates around me.

What keeps me going? what lights my fire? that’s easy, summer love. I guess I’m a romantic.

When the cooler months and all their darkness are shed, new layers are revealed. Kissed by my rays, and in keeping with the first law of thermodynamics, my radiant energy transfers to the warmth of a smile, crinkles in the corner of the eyes, a contagious joy that makes strangers take one another’s hands and decide to trust in the moment. Sometimes I see those summer lovers through the changes to follow- changes that are inevitable and start with the fading summer glow- clouds form, winds sweep away words no longer spoken, and the growing darkness begins a countdown, time divided and apportioned by my appearance and disappearance over the course of a revolution, till  summer sets in once again. Love that lasts through the seasons knows I am always here.

 

This is my response to Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt Challenge #11 (start with the first line of one of your favourite songs, max 300 words). I have previously written about a ‘favourite’ song. For this challenge, it came down to Gatekeeper by Feist or Off the Wall by Michael Jackson. I chose Feist’s Gatekeeper for being fresh as a ‘favourite’ as I only recently really listened to the lyrics and gained an even greater appreciation of it. It is lyrical perfection. ‘When the world is on your shoulder’ would have taken me down a different path- perhaps one to traverse in another post!