Tag Archive: Short Story


boundaries

Boundaries

Emma was dead.

I mean, she got that, she really did. Although to be fair, it had taken her quite a while.

But, in her defense, this was completely different to anything she had experienced before, and so recognising it was perhaps not such an obvious connection. What was so distinct about her present state, ‘Was this a state? A condition perhaps? Or do you have to be alive to be in any form of condition? Let’s stick with state for now,’ was its complete and utter differentness to anything else she had previously known.

‘Known?’ Know. To be aware of. Hm, even that seems wrong. It’s like i am in this place of complete awareness with regards to things known and experienced, but i still don’t really have a lot of idea of what is really going on. And what comes next?’

There had been no Terry Pratchettian CAPS LOCK voice speaking directly to her brain to let her know that Death in his, ‘His? ‘Its’ maybe? Does Death even have a gender? All that assuming Death actually has a form and persona of course. I think I may have read too many fairy tales on this topic,’ skeletalness was present and ready to take her away.

‘Skeletalness is NOT a real word. I seem to be really struggling with words to describe my current scenario. That’s the whole trick when you’re introduced to something so well and truly differently different I guess. Urgh, my mom would have cringed at ‘differently different’. Okay, focus, Emma, and let’s try and figure out what comes next. I mean, there is a next, right? This can’t be… it?’

Emma had actually lost count of the number of hours that she had spent trying to “figure out what comes next” before the moment of realisation had struck her that she was in fact dead. You would think it would have been more obvious, but there had been a certain confusion about her, a kind of mist, when she had woken up, ‘No, it can’t be woken up. That would imply sleeping. But I wasn’t sleeping, I was dead. Um, but it had felt like waking up, so maybe we’ll go with that for now,’ and tried to go somewhere else.

The cloud had so descended upon her that even though grasping at a door handle with fingers that were no longer there should have itself been a deafening clue, it had simply delivered to her the information that this particular exit was not a viable one and would she try somewhere else. The second door that led out to the, well previously had led out to the pantry, was also no help. She had moved to windows to no avail, and then, in desperation, and with a sufficient amount of panic, even attempted to pull a chair below the trapdoor in the roof. ‘But pulling anything becomes an impossible endeavour when you have nothing to pull with. Oh look, there I am.’

‘Hours? Had it been hours? It had seemed so, but what was time now? It might have been minutes, or even seconds? Every moment seemed to fade into the next one, in silence of course.’ The one thing Emma had picked up quite quickly on, once she realised, was the deafening silence that, ‘No! No! No! You cannot have a deafening silence. That does not make sense and it has never made sense no matter what ridiculous name the teachers had given to it. Silence is quiet. It cannot deafen you. Overwhelming, perhaps? That is what this silence has felt like. Almost like it was the presence of nothingness as if that could be a thing either. Where was I?’

Even when she was looking down at her lifeless body, transfixed, mesmerized, paralysed, hypnotised, spellbound, enraptured, bewitched, captivated, fascinated, engrossed, stunned, immobili… ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Remain calm. You’re losing it. You’re losing it. Keep it together. What is going on here? Surely something has to happen next. Surely someone, some… thing… has to appear and help me or lead me away or something? Tell me what to do.’

Those last five words she had meant to scream, but there was no screaming here. There was no sound at all. She could barely register her thoughts as words and even they were starting to make less send to her. She felt trapped here. Once she had discovered her body and however long it had taken for her to join those dogs together, to realise that she was in fact deaf, she had quickly become hysterical. Walking through walks had not proved fruitful. It definitely screamed as if something was keeping her in this roam.

What was she meant to don’t? She had no ideal. Her hedge seemed to be spitting now. Lied and worms humming at her foam awe differential erections. No right minded bacteria carpool battery battery emphasis derivative.

Hated.

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And we’re back – just three bloggerists this time, but two amazing story-tellers joining me for another season of Tandem Blog posting. Join myself, Megan and Dave as we take the same title and give it our own personal and unique flavour…

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THAT NAGGING FEELING

‘Gently does it. Keep your speed average. Not too fast. Not too slow. We don’t want anyone suspecting anything out of the ordinary.’ Nick was talking to himself in his inside head voice again.

But everything was out of the ordinary. Nick Jenkins had been planning this moment for two years and as he tried to remain calm as he drove down the main road and made a right on to the highway, his mind was in absolute panic mode.

‘You did it. Everything happened absolutely according to plan. You have gone over this a thousand times and today, this day, everything has gone according to plan. Stop worrying. You are only going to cause yourself to make a mistake.’

Nick glanced at the clock on the dashboard. He had synced it with the satellite time and checked it three times today already. 23 minutes. Twenty three minutes until the bomb goes off. More precisely his bomb. The one that he had made. From plans he found on the internet. ON THE INTERNET! That fact still drove him a little mental. That he was able to find a way to craft a bomb in one tab while playing a ‘Words with Friends’ move against his mom on another. He still felt a little embarrassed at making the word ‘COCK’ in a Scrabble game against his mom. But she would know he meant the bird and it had allowed him to put his ‘K’ on a triple letter!

‘Are you sure you kept to the plan? You’re very nervous now and nervous people make mistakes.’ Nick systematically went through the plan in his head as he indicated right and then made to turn off the highway, now just a few streets away from his home, where he would be far enough away to be as shocked and surprised as the general public when the announcement flashed across their tv screens.

It was the perfect bomb. No mistakes there. He had checked and rechecked and made sure that he had kept to the plan. The miniature version he had put together and tested in the local quarry had gone off perfectly and so there was absolutely no reason to assume this more powerful model would be any different.

‘I will show THEM. They will be sorry that they treated me so absolutely disgustingly. As if losing my job was not bad enough, for them to embarrass me so disdainfully in front of the whole office…’ Nick realised this was really extreme, but he reconciled it with the fact that nobody was going to get hurt. He was going to hurt the company. And it was going to cost them a lot of money. More money than if they’d just kept him on and allowed him to try a little harder. He had made absolutely meticulously sure that everyone would be out of the building. Cleaners and everything. The building would be as empty as his impending bank account.

Right turn. Two streets to go until the safety of home. Nick replayed his movements as if watching them on a camera. ‘Gloves on. Security cameras disabled the night before. Each piece of the bomb bought at a different location over a 6 month period so there was no way even two of them could be placed together. Bomb checked and countdown started before leaving his house, giving him plenty of time to make it there, place the bomb and return home just before it goes off.

‘Why is it something doesn’t seem right? Surely i’m just psyching myself out here? I know this. I’ve gone over it and over it until it is so deeply engrained in my mind that there is no way i could…’

Nick turned into his driveway, mind suddenly racing. ‘Wake up. Get dressed. Check bomb. Set bomb.’

With a foreboding feeling now surging through his entire body, Nick is starting to visibly sweat as he grabs the car keys and walks nervously to his car boot.

‘Put bomb in car. Cover bomb. Drive at average speed on practiced back roads route to office so that car would not be seen. Arrive at office.’

As he shakingly tried to turn the key in the boot, the realisation hit him like a waft of hot air completely knocking the breath out of his body. In his hurry to ensure that he was in and out of the office with no one noticing, with no-one in a neighbouring office perhaps remembering that his rust blue mazda had been the last car seen parking on the edge of the car park, he may have forgotten one tiny detail.

 Nick Jenkins finally managed to get the unwieldy key to turn and flipped open his car boot to catch sight of a digital display, attached to a bomb, still sitting in the back of his car, displaying the numbers, ‘7…6…5…’

bomb

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