Monday 30 June 2014

To Engrave a Tetra Star

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

It surrounded us. A ring untouched in a cyclone inferno, we stood immobile, unable to take our eyes off the hellish blaze. Could it be that we would escape death or would our island haven tighten around us until we too were finally consumed?
As if answering my question, the ring twisted in on itself so that Ambrine and I hugged each other, neither of us squealing, simply waiting.
“Nardone,” my sister whispered. “Do not show them weakness. Do not show them you are weak.”
“We will prove to them we are Gifted. A Minor is nothing.” I repeated along with her.
Of course, it was this vow that kept my lips firmly closed over those cowardly grasshoppers bouncing up and down my chest. As the whirling walls closed ever closer, my hand squeezed Ambrine’s hand and hers mine. Never minding the sweat drenching my body, the dry rasp of my throat, I continued the chant until it amassed a faint glow around our hands. Still this did nothing to stop my brain from losing the oxygen necessary to focus and my tongue began to twist on itself. My sister responded by squeezing my hand harder until both locked fists became halves of one and I made the effort to match her voice again, slowly this time, but steadily.
Never in my eleven years of life did I consider it would all come to an end like this but if it must, as my Gran always said, better be proud than kneeling pitiably. I’ve done my part in this world, time for my energy to be used by the next person.
No, we would not yield to a cowardly death, not at the hands of Fortune Raiders.
Clarity brought a brief waft of cool air in my head as I realized for what purpose I had been brought up like I was. It was to face these vessels of hate with a martyr’s resolve. It was to stand unyielding as they snickered while tightening the field of fire around us.
“But I don’t want to.”
Suddenly, my sister’s grip loosened as she slowly crumbled to the floor. Desperately I tightened my hold on her palm but she had always been the stronger one and my little flow of magic could do nothing to aid her in standing up again. So I kneeled with her. As loud as I could muster, in a sandpaper dryness that scrapped along with my tongue on my chapped lips, I recited our chant, “Do not show them weakness. Do not show them you are weak. We will prove to them we are Gifted. A Minor is nothing.”
“We’re dying, Nardone,” Ambrine whispered. “And for what?”
Finally, I revealed the last line of the chant. My heart rising to my throat, as my eyes squeezed out steam, I nearly mouthed the words, the walls close enough that the pain scorched through my sodden clothes.
“To engrave a tetra star on this earth as a mark of our undying strength through sacrifice-”
I coughed, a bout that wouldn’t end. There wasn’t any saliva left.
“And…” I tried in between coughs, “for that…”
A wave rose to my sister’s throat. Her hand in mine suddenly shook, building with the pressure. The grasshoppers nearly escaped my mouth.
“I would gladly die,” she sobbed.
Relieved, I let go of her hand, ready to let the flames envelop me at last. A cry echoed from far away but I was ready to go. There was nothing more I could do for my sister.
As I closed my eyes, I imagined a boy stepping through the walls of the infernal prison, bearing the crystal eyes and silvery hair of a Cursed born. The last thing I heard before darkness claimed me were his words.
“Neither of you will die, you hear?"
I smiled and let go completely.

A Man, Or a Diamond

By June Glasgow

More often than not, he dances without changing. Sometimes he changes places. There are never spotlights. There is no spotlight. In a corner of a mall. Seven nights a week. The man dances.
Without thinking if he has ever fathered a son or daughter. He sleeps. Or whether another woman has died for him. If he is lucky. Sometimes a woman would blow him for free. He is blue one day. Another day he is gay.
He does not put on a mask each day to face what comes. Only a hat. And he takes a piss behind any shrub he finds. He dances and he does not think why he dances. The man dances for nothing. Dancing cannot heal a man.
He puts on his hat and leaves wherever he is. And he puts his arms up to stretch. What is God, he thinks. Or stupidity. Or fate. Another kind of charm. Serendipity. The man dances as freedom dances on emancipated prisoners’ faces. When he remembers the past, he dances the past away.
The morning is a syrup smell. He walks in search of cigarette butts. He is in one piece. He has not lost anything. He is lucky if it did not rain the night before. The man dances on mornings of winter when he wakes up in parks.
He even forgets the ocean is mostly never blue. Never the smell of the ocean. Or the smell of seamen. Cunts. Fallen leaves. Wild wind. Cat piss. There is nothing like the smell of winter in open parks.
He hangs around the city. Now he does not remember the smell of the ocean. But that was many years ago. He took to dancing. He decided to leave his job because the ocean was overfished. He danced as a fisherman. He thought he’d drown himself one day at four o’clock in the morning. He worked as a fisherman. He has been to the ocean and heard its churns. He dances like a captain.
When he stops, he contemplates a suicide he witnessed two years ago. He thought the woman gave him luck. He got more money than ever. He danced that night in the mall. He was not sad. The man danced in mourning for another loss of life. Her hair dark. Her neck was broken. The woman wore no make-up, was ugly without it, dead. A woman jumping off the roof two blocks down china-town. It was nothing special.
The man dances. He always does.
It hasn’t rained for days. His suit stinks. They get washed when it rains. He hunts with coins in his pockets. He thinks he is a snake that is condemned to dancing. He has not seen into a mirror for three months. He has not brushed his teeth. The man has bare feet.
As summer warms up the city lights, he strips off his shoes. He gives them to a friend. A bum that lives down an alley in china-town. The bum dances like an old Indian. The two men dance like a humans without shoes. They both danced together once. The performance was good. They earned money and left. As men, they dance to this day. But on separate plains.
The man who dances only dances at night. Only at night. He forgets his friends who dance also someplace. Drawing the eyes of a woman, or a cat. He would like to straighten is shirt and comb his hair with spit. He dances while his shirt is stained. He thinks he is dreaming. The mind is psychedelic like dreams. When he dances, he hardly thinks.
He thinks life is good. He thinks his life is stable enough. Sometimes on trains in early mornings. Often in dark corners. He tugs at his cock when he pleases. He does not need a stable woman. Or poison. He does not need a good woman. Old time blessing. Something down his blood. Enough.
So he will keep dancing. He thinks there is a purpose to his dancing. He thinks he believes in God. Sometimes he contemplates religion. He sometimes skips dancing even though he never gets sore. He picks up cigarette butts off where he finds them. If they are dry, he’d light them if he has a match or a lighter.
He dances, tugging his hat low. Here and there someone recognizes him. They nod and grin. He nods and grins. Sometimes they skip the grinning. He grins back anyway.
A woman once gives him her phone number. It is raining outside. He calls her in a telephone booth. He calls when he finishes his performance in the mall. The booth is warm. The clouds are dense. He calls and she never picks up. He tosses the paper with her number on it into a bin and walks on down the streets. He does not whistle. He flies his hat into the air. His hair stinks. The rain washes him clean. He is a dog in the rain. Everybody has gone somewhere. He dances alone. Or he dances with his shoes. His shoes his partners, he dances with them.
Sometimes he smokes when he dances. People still give him the money. He smokes as much as he can. He wishes they’d give him money for just smoking. People toss coins into his hat and looks away when he flashes his tattered yellow teeth with smoke stains to return something they forget they gave. He dances free jazz and jams samba. He dances psychedelic. He dances all shapes. He shifts his legs and makes circles with his feet. An Egyptian man. Almost.
The man dances good. He dances in colors he does not know he sees.
The women that play violins on weekends near the Lutheran church recognize him. One of them spreads her legs for him in public toilets. The grime is not too much for her. He likes her long hair down. She has no beliefs. The church is tall. Sometimes she spreads her legs in the alley to the back of the church. He fucks her very good and leaves her. He goes dancing with her at the far back of his mind.
He hasn’t touched anything for years. The police don’t touch him because they know he is clean. They never catch him doing it. He would piss on the walls if he needs. He would do the same for nothing or for everything. Whirling in and out of other people’s jealousies, unrealized ambitions. On streets of black sewers, green plants, twisted cans, the man dances like a soldier in the snow.
Two years ago, he danced for a woman in a mall like this. Now there is none of that. Two years is not a long time but it is enough for a man to stop dancing for love. A woman is trouble. There is only safety from troubles when one stays the distance. A man can swim in a river. But he has to keep going or he will sink. The man thinks like this.
The women would close their doors for a man like him. His nerves are calm. His fingers twitch like nerves. There is ecstasy in his moves. He dances like a Pygmy. He dances at times like a woman. He was born in Chile. Down near his throat, he cannot feel his sweat.
The man dances as a woman passes. The maids, the rich old lechers, the young wenches that expose their bodies all pass as the man dances. The woman who passes passes as all the others have passed. His hat is upside-down in front of him. The ground is clean. Relatively. A girl drinks hot coffee at the table closest to him. Her eyes droopy. Her legs long and covered in silk stockings. Her legs crossed like creeks. Black. Crossing creeks. The man dances. He does not have an erection but he thinks he might soon if he keeps looking. Another woman passes. They all pass, are fleeting.
He never whistles to start a song. He only waits for the music to start at the far back of his mind. There is no ocean that is close enough for him to hear it. He is dancing where the crowd does not gather. The night is Friday. The wind is black. The mall is thick with the morning smell.
Money is less important. But here he dances. With poison in his blood. What he doesn’t want. He takes it. Coins. Women. A woman comes to him to give him some money. She passes, is fleeting.
He cannot speak. There is no music. A deaf man. Mute. At least not blind. Can still smell and taste things. The night is made of ocean and the surfaces between what the man can see and cannot. The world is open. His left lid twitches. A good omen.
The man dances on.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Blue Fire.

 By: Michael Carta.

      Matiac slowly forced his eyes to open and was soothed by the beauty of the foliage above him. He felt as if he was floating as he looked up through the tree branches into the deep blue sky. Suddenly he started gasping for air and began to panic. As he tried to sit up, he cried out as a sharp pain in his left side made him collapse back. His limbs were heavy and he struggled to move his hands to the source of pain. He gripped at his side out of reflex and was alarmed to find it wet. Delirious, he rolled over to his side and looked down. To his horror he found that his fingers were now coated in dark colored blood. Instantly a rusty aroma filled his lungs. “What the hell…” he moaned. “Where’s my sword… where am I?” Warmth glazed over his body and his vision began to narrow. “Is this it?” he pondered as he drifted from consciousness into darkness. At last moment he saw a tall dark figure approach him.    
      Several hours later he awoke with a pounding headache. It was now late at night with plenty of visibility due to the full moon. “I am not dead?” Confused, he lifted his hands up and stared at the blood which was now dried and caked to his fingers. He tried sitting up again and to his surprise experienced no pain. In fact, his limbs were light and he felt well and rested. Bewilderingly, he pulled up his bloodstained tunic to investigate his wound. There was only a fresh bruise roughly the size of a fist located above his hip. It was sensitive to the touch, but gave no source for the blood. Relieved and thoroughly confused he staggered to his feet. His bones ached but his head felt better. 
      Strange silver glimmers danced in the moonlight and caught his eye a few yards away in the dense bushes. Without hesitation he was drawn to it. He could not make out what it was at first, but after several moments of rummaging through the leaves and roots he unearthed an apple sized orb. It fit perfectly in the palm of his hand and was strangely light weight. The silver color faded into absolute blackness so dark that it seemed to make his hand disappear. Warmth engulfed his entire left arm as his grip tightened, and he was then filled with revitalizing strength. He was oblivious to any pain and forgot about his current situation. In that moment his world was silent, all that mattered was the orb. He failed to notice that there was something walking up behind him. 
      Off to the East and without any warning a cacophony of horrendous screams pierced the air. It made him shriek and his muscles tensed. “What is that wretched sound?” The ambient noise from the insects ceased and all Greg could hear was his own breathing. Moments later another voice blared out, but was silenced by an unknown source. It was louder this time and whatever it was, it was getting closer. In the distant trees north of him, he began to see a faint blue glow that was spreading outward and moving in his direction.
Behind him a deep voice spoke: ”Midlander”. Matiac turned and lunged back to gain distance from whatever was behind him. Before him stood a tall dark figure with bright blue eyes that illuminated the long lines of his pale face. He was too tall to be man, and those eyes were bright like small flames. “What are you, where am I?” Matiac insisted as his mind raced with questions. “What is going on, what is out there, where am I, is this one of the woodland folk my grandfather used to tell stories about?”

     The deep voice responded: “Great fortune smiles upon you this day midlander- that orb is no mere trinket. I was able to heal your wounds; you were very close to the other side, I must say. Though, you must make haste. For, what approaches is unknown to your kind. If you wish to survive this night, take flight now and never return to these woods!”
     “I do not know where I am, or where to go. I need some answers.” The blue glow was more prominent and began to illuminate the area in which they stood.
      “There is no time, go that way as far as you can until daybreak- take the orb with you. Only then will you be safe!” The tall stranger then pushed Matiac towards the southern tree line with a concerned look upon his face. The compassion was genuine and he felt this new acquaintance was trustworthy. He ran as fast as he could manage, but noticed the tall figure stayed behind. The orb began to become heavier in his hand and his feeling of fear diminished. He slowed his pace and decided to crouch behind the cover of the bushes fifty or so yards out. Curiosity overwhelmed him as he decided to wait and see what was approaching the tall stranger.
     Moments later the blue light faded and a small outline emerged from the trees. Bathed in the moonlight there stood a woman. She was completely nude and had short blue hair, which flowed as if it were underwater. Her form was captivating and majestic. Matiac was easily enchanted by her beauty and could focus on nothing else. She was approaching the tall stranger who stood ruggedly facing her. He cried out: “You have failed this night!  For, the orb is safe and far from here!” His deep voice was shaky and fearful. 
       “Why was he so afraid her? I must talk to her, I must hold her.” Matiac tried to stand up and walk towards her like a horse drawn to water, but the orb was too heavy to lift. He looked down at it frustratingly, and then was distracted by the return of the strange blue glow. He look up at women who was now covered in a soft blue flame, her hair too began to dance like fire as the light grew. The tall figure stood his ground and look up towards the stars. “I join you now my brethren.” He said to himself.  The woman calmly reached out and placed her hand on his arm. There was a slight paused before the tall stranger erupted in lavish red flames. He broke away from her grip and began sprawling on the ground screaming as he was burned alive.  The red flames turned greenish as his body was consolidated into a small pile of ash. The ashes were then consumed by the woman’s blue flames that now covered the ground around her. There was a subtle smirk on her face as she stood there in the glory of fire. Her head turned right towards Matiac and she spoke: “Come now, my child… bring me the orb. Do not fear what you do not know…” Her seductive voice was soft and laced with deceit. In her wake, as she approached his hiding place, a path of burnt remnants trailed behind her.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Steady Flame

by Lyra Reyes

Paul was on his way home one foggy summer evening when he decided to divert from his usual route. He meandered through the quiet streets,  opting to go the long way, hoping to avoid people he knew.

In the six months he's lived there, Paul has grown very tired of people. Sandra said it was because he was a loner. He said it was because the people in the small quiet town are very nosy.

Curious, Sandra said. People are curious about the new members of the neighborhood. It's called being welcoming.

It's called being bored, he said. When the only exciting thing people talked about was when the Mayor's wife ran away with the artist commissioned to paint the town hall mural twenty years ago, people are bored. They need another artist to run off with the current mayor's wife. Or the mayor.

Sandra laughed so hard she almost dropped the plate she was rinsing when he pointed this out. Then she suggested that they think of doing something that would be talked about for longer than twenty years.

Sandra. He smiled as he thought of her. They met one summer night five years ago when Paul decided to get drunk alone after he sold his first book. He ended up having only one drink as he spent the whole night exchanging stories with a beautiful, petite programmer. Sandra.

Warm, bright, and sweet, Sandra is like a steady flame; gentle, warm, and always glowing. Paul's world shifted and he found himself wanting something he never thought he'd want. Three months after they met, they were married.

And now, Paul agreed to plant roots when he never thought he would. Not that they were planted very long, he thought wryly. In their five years of marriage, they moved twice. Paul's restless nature meant that sooner or later he'd dragged her someplace else. And because Sandra loved, she happily let him.

She was lucky enough to have a job that allows her to work anywhere. Right now, she's on an overnight trip to assess a site, as is sometimes required in her job as a security systems consultant, and won't be back for another six hours. But Paul knew that she would rather stay at home (wherever that is at the moment) where she can putter around their garden or sit outside reading a book. He was lucky enough, he thought, to have a wife who can turn anyplace into a home.

Paul's musings stopped when he realized he had been walking for twenty minutes without coming across anyone he knew. Or anyone at all. He wondered briefly how it is that a town this small could actually have almost-deserted streets, then concluded that the streets he is walking on are so far the town's center that people rarely used them.

He rounded a corner that took him to a short street he realized he's never been before. Narrow, yet well lit even with the fog, the uniform row of buildings on both side looked both sinister and charming. Charming because of the different colored doors, and sinister because he found it odd that he can't seem to guess whether the buildings are houses or apartments or offices. He looked up, stared at one window, trying to catch even just a little glimpse of the inside. He caught a movement at the corner of his eye and saw a large burly man step out of the shadows. The man stood in front of a bright blue door with a yellow lion knocker. And stared at him.

A guard, Paul thought. He was unnerved enough by the man's stare that he smiled, nodded, then hastily walked away. As he turned into an alley, he heard the click of heels. He stopped, leaned against the side of the building and peered back into the street. He saw a woman walking along the street. He couldn't see her face beneath the hood of the black cape she wore; he couldn't see anything but yellow stiletto heels peeking out from under the long cape. But something kept niggling at the back of his mind, something about the woman bothered him enough that he stood hidden and watched.

The woman lifted her head, and Paul froze. He saw the woman smile at the guard who nodded and opened the door. The woman looked around and, seeing no one, stepped through the door. The woman. Sandra.

Paul started to step out from where he was hiding, then stopped. Shaking his head, he walked on home, his mind filled with questions. What was Sandra doing there? Should he go back, see what that was about? By the time he reached their house, he has convinced himself that he was mistaken. Sandra was four hours away by plane. She left with a backpack containing a change of clothes and sensible black pumps. No long hooded capes, no yellow stilettos. She doesn't even have yellow stilettos. Chalk it up to his writer's imagination - the foggy alley, the hooded cape - and the fact that he was thinking about Sandra while he was walking.

He was able to put in a solid three hours of work before he dropped off to sleep.

The following morning, he woke to find Sandra wrapped around him. He dimly remembered waking up when she slid into bed and kissed him goodnight. Careful not to wake her, Paul dropped a kiss on top of her head, stood up and tiptoed out of the room.

He turned on the news as he ate his breakfast. Still sleepy, it took two sips of coffee before his brain registered what his ears are hearing. He snapped awake, snatched up the remote, and turned the volume up.

A massacre, the reporter said. A backroom poker game in what is now a suspected hideout of a smuggling ring that has eluded the police for years. Twelve men dead. The reporter broke off her speculation on an assassin hit due to territory rivalry to stand by the door when the police started bringing the body bags out to the ambulances. Paul stared at the television screen, horrified. But he wasn't looking at the body bags. He was staring at the door behind the reporter. The bright blue door with the yellow lion knocker.

Twelve men dead. But where was the woman? he thought. Maybe she got out before it happened. Thanking his lucky stars that he decided not to loiter around that street last night, Paul stood up to top off his coffee and cursed as his elbow nudged Sandra's backpack off the stool and into the floor.

As he was about to bend down to pick it up, Paul stopped. Scattered on the floor, thrown out of the open backpack, is a pair of yellow stilettos heels.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Raising Fire

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014

Why Time has chosen me in particular to tempt is beyond my ken; I guess that’s just the way things are. Father Time I’m talking of, a particular figment of my peculiar imagination. My hyperactive imagination is probably well due to having two parents with schizophrenia. But we were talking about Time.
     When I first met Him in a dream about six weeks ago here in Redferne, in glorious Sydney, Aus, a sunny clime that noted theorists are beginning to aver has its twin in a parallel Universe, He was very amiable, and I awoke fully refreshed.
     ‘You really do sleep too much, Davyd,’ He said deep within my mind, myself later enjoying the day’s first coffee.
     ‘Who’s that?’ I naturally asked.
     ‘You know who it is, Davyd. Give up the wine; you’re sleeping practically all day and night. Verily, a waste of my precious time. It’s not easy keeping the Universe’s clock ticking over and you’re making things appreciably harder. It wouldn’t be so bad if you had chronic fatigue syndrome; that would be natural and easily accounted for.’
     ‘Father Time?’
     ‘You know who it is, Davyd.’ He then seemed to harrumph, as if giving in to an idiot. ‘Yes, it’s Father Time. You’re hindering my time-warding. Get out more, sleep less, and see some of life. The dole isn’t meant to aid your sleeping death-in-life. ’
     I ignored him. I suppose I should see a doctor about His presence in my mind and what He said but dreams are much more exciting than this mundane life, and they really are just as real as life for me, being quite able to use all of my senses in an interesting dream world. On the other hand though if the good Time begins to tempt me to suicide, as my parents’ inner Voices have sometimes tempted them, I will head off to the local doctor’s. I think Time is just jealous anyway, having to maintain the whole Universe instead of just lying in bed and dreaming pleasantly.
     But Time is persistent, determined to make my dreaming less, determined to make me use my own allotment of time more fruitfully. Shortly after He first began to visit me He appeared in a dream, in the middle of an orchestra serenading those in Paradise, promising me that classical music was what I needed, that classical music would make my life really real. I awoke humming a tune, a simple, nonsensical tune, and I felt great. Father Time may well have been onto something; after all, if it’s good enough for those in Paradise it’s good enough for me, Davyd Brian Wensen, an average twenty-four year old man who’s easily amused and who lives with his parents.
     ‘Well, Time,’ I said to Him that morning after seeing Him in Paradise, awaking with the morning coffee, ‘where should I start? What classical piece promises to make life real?’
     ‘Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, without a doubt. My own all-time favourite piece of music.’
     ‘I’m on the dole, Time, and there’s not much left after board, cigarettes, wine and household bills, I can’t possibly afford a CD.’ I can’t even afford to maintain a smartphone to download the piece.
     ‘The library is sure to have it. Yea, every library probably has a copy, or at least ought to.’
     And so well they should! I did not expect such vistas to open for me with Time’s suggestion, such unfathomed commitment to Life and living as the Ninth presented, listening to it for the first time. The beautiful nature of my dreams paled, paled significantly, in comparison. Here was meaning for my life, here was a real direction I could take, a path that could bring me back to a reason for living other than dreaming. Here indeed was real life. The last choral section seemed to be meant specifically for me and was probably why Time had recommended the work: in this section Beethoven holds up all of Life’s myriad joys and sorrows with eager hands outstretched, and it seems so easy to choose the joys forevermore, to lustily sing along with the choir and affirm that ‘Yes, I am real! I am very real!’
     Thus I began to search out more classical music, baroque music, Gregorian chants, firstly researching the genres on Wikipedia, looking for composers and other works of infinite magnitude similar to the Ninth. The works I listened to fulfilled their promises of a substantial life, of real living, of fundamental purpose embellishing the everyday, and I was now sleeping a lot less, starting the day with the Beethoven and avidly consuming Telemann, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Mozart, Brahms, Mahler, and, of course, J. S. Bach. Each day was now the best day I had ever had thanks to these great composers, each day was now heightened sunshine enwrapped in the promise of eternal bliss.
     ‘Now,’ said Father Time to me two weeks ago, again over the morning coffee, ‘now is the time to delve into Bach. There you will be able to gauge other connections.’
     ‘Nothing can beat the Ninth, Time.’
     ‘Trust me; have I misled you so far?’
     ‘Then explore more of Bach, J. S. most certainly, but the other Bachs as well.’
     Did the great J. S. intend to download his mind into his music? Was his music intended to achieve his own eternity? Such were the questions prompted by my listening to him. In every piece of his that I listened to I could feel his presence, simply wafting on the currents of life, smiling and well content. Life must indeed be real if a man, any man, or woman for that matter, can so easily use one of its aspects, music, to guarantee their own perpetual life and continue living through their chosen medium of expression.
     It was only natural then that I should search for him, still alive and gaily present wherever his music was playing. Being so sure that he had downloaded his mind into his music I completely expected to find him nearby, or signs of him, willing to likewise concur with me that life can be infinite, with infinite joys and peaceful surrender.
     But I only found Father Time, His voice declaring, ‘A greater art. A greater art.’ What He meant I had not the slightest idea, but the timely fall of a leaf throughout all of my search for J. S., the inevitable sunrise or moonrise, all caused His voice to proclaim, ‘A greater art. A greater art.’
     It was someone other than Bach who showed me what Time meant, always having had a variety of music throughout these past weeks. Handel and his Music for the Royal Fireworks. It was the only piece of music that represented one of the four elements so perfectly, showing fire in both its healing and destructive expressions. Handel represented fire as both easily able to be wielded and the utter tool for damnation.
     ‘A greater art,’ said Time after I first finished listening to this piece.
     ‘Fire is the most basic art,’ I replied.
     The most basic art. And fire is what I need, a deep, basic fire; to be an artist is maybe what I need, moulding and creating my life, like a flame. A theme worthy of fire as the medium. And after all I have plenty of free time. But how best to harness fire for art’s sake? Sculpture obviously, but it would be a tenuous sculpture, burning out in brilliance. But still isn’t that what life is, a glorious burning ending in ashes?
     ‘Indeed,’ echoed Father Time.
     The trouble with art though is that there’s no money in it, or at least so I’ve heard from my scant twenty-four years. And if there’s no money in it there’s no livelihood, and thus no real Reality, just a continual chasing after meaning while one sits at home striving, crafting, and starving.
     What to do? Here was my life’s meaning so close, sculpting in brilliant fire, but inevitably doomed to failure in such an artistic course. What to do?
     Four days ago I received the answer to the dilemma: I could pay to sculpt in fire, expending money to create small sculptures that reflected Handel’s portrayal of flame as both boon and bane. I just have to give up the drink and the smokes and that will free up enough money to enflame my dream.
     I have this evening, early June 2014, finished bequeathing the first set of four small wooden sculptures coated in Playin’ with Fire Stunt Gel, a fire stunt chemical, in an aluminium housing and an attached sheet warning clients to keep the work away from flammable items. My parents loaned me the one hundred dollars for the tub of gel, and another two hundred for the wood, aluminium, and some tools, on the condition that I give up the drink. No problem. I’ll even see a doctor on how best to combat that particular fiery demon. The smokes I’ll give up too, saving my fire to create for others rather than to destroy myself. I had one sculpture on display, and five to bequeath, at the touristy Darling Harbour, encouraging passers-by to take some home for free and enlighten their home with an elemental force, explaining how to coat the gel. It took me about an hour and a half to bequeath the five works and I won’t be back there until another week with another set of works. Wish me luck!


If you've been enjoying Denis' stories on this blog you may also enjoy his debut novel, This Mirror in Me. It tells the story of Tonia Esqurit Ailbe, a mathematics professor, and her unusual manner of making her home a social hub, her life's fundamental aim: sitting at her dressing table mirror and imagining socialising with friends and family. It seems the only way, for one reason or another, that she can achieve her deepest aim. It is available on Kindle at for US $4.14, and via Smashwords, whom cover most of the other ereaders, at for US $3.99. If you don't have a Kindle or other ereader you can download one for free onto your smartphone or tablet.