Friday, 17 October 2014

Where Are you Now?

Where Are you Now?

Look at you, looking at yourself
No real sickness, perfect health
No reason to be stuck on a shelf
Except a missing sense of self

Who are you? The question flows,
Into your ears and out your nose
Exhaled once, your eyes are closed
Then opened, and looking to and fro

And once more you repeat
Like music from a sheet
The story memorised so neat
To satisfy with words so sweet

You're doing fine, just on a break
Yes, you know what is at stake
You know that you just have to make
An effort, then you will be great

And you could change it all today
You could leap up from your chair,
You could go outside and find the place
That's waiting for you there
Yes you could make a change right now
It's easy, don't you see?
Get up, go on, it's time, it's out
Just climb down from your tree

You once sat on mountains high
Watching life just pass you by
You had no cares, were doing fine
No fear of falling from the sky

But life caught up with you too soon,
And stood you there, outside a room
Within was dark, but in the gloom
You're told it smells of sweet perfume

And though you heard from every side
That there's no need to run, or hide
Your resistance only multiplied
For fear that you'd be trapped inside

Yet nonetheless, the door remained
Unclosed, in case your mind would change
And so you sat there, feeling strained
Neither option called your name

But you could change it all right now
You could get up off the ground,
You could join along with any crowd
I'm sure they'd all be proud
Yes you could make a choice right now
You're absolutely free
The moment's here, no need for doubt
Just climb down from your tree

Monday, 17 February 2014

A different thing altogether

Just Desserts: A Tale of Two Toppings

Candy Lane had made its name as a place where dreams came true, and looking up at her new house, the strawberry could see why. It smelt gorgeous, its honeycombed walls glistening tantalisingly in the sunset. From her days as a young, naïve country fruit, the strawberry had always dreamt of escaping to the big city. Her parents, both very traditional people, disapproved of such worldly notions; however, here she stood, on the most famous street in all of Sweetopolis. The strawberry had worked very hard to earn her way there, having transformed from scruffy farm worker, to unglamorous secretary, all the way to high-powered young businesswoman. She sighed, enchanted by it all, and with a deep breath she pushed open the door and went inside.

It was everything she could have imagined, and more.

The ceiling was high, made from sparkling pink rock. The floor was similar, and on it sat an array of sumptuous furniture. The tables were a deep, gleaming lime colour, with bright lemon yellow chairs surrounding them. Both sofas radiated class, each being composed of luscious brown chocolate, with delicate pink candyfloss cushions. Through another honeycomb door was the bedroom, which contained a large four-poster bed. The magnificent toffee bed frame was decorated with bubblegum sheets, which lay upon a luxuriant jelly mattress. The strawberry sank slowly onto it, an expression of decadent bliss on her face, and for the first time in what seemed like an age felt truly relaxed.

"I've made it," she thought. "After all this time, I've made it!" She let out a long, happy sigh, but she knew she couldn't just rest forever. After all, her arrival here was only possible thanks to a recent promotional transfer at work, which she started tomorrow. Her employer, Food Bank Ltd., had recognised her potential early on, which the strawberry was immensely thankful for - after all, had they not done so she would never have made it to Candy Lane so soon! Work had been stressful, but engaging, and the strawberry was nervous about being in a managerial position for the first time in her life. However, it was a good kind of nervous - the kind you feel as you get on a rollercoaster, or before a first date with a cute fruit.

"First date?" she thought. "Now where on earth has that idea come from?"

One thing was for certain: the strawberry didn't have time for relationships right now. She had already seen a few hunks around Sweetopolis - including a particularly handsome pineapple - but she had to concentrate on work first. If she didn't make an impression at the office right away she knew she'd end up stuck on the same rung of the corporate ladder with no way up, and she was far too ambitious for that. No, men definitely came second as far as the strawberry was concerned.

There wasn't much daylight left by the time she had finished unpacking, so she decided to call some people at home with her bananaFoneTM . First on the list were her parents, of course, though she didn't expect much conversation. Nobody else in the family communicated much outside of talking face-to-face, even though the eaternet had been around for decades now, and phones for even longer. "Typical backward country folk," she would think to herself, whenever the subject came up. After that, she would call her best friend and tell her all about Sweetopolis so far. The two had been inseparable for as long as the strawberry could remember, ever since she had met the outgoing young raspberry as a child on the farm.

The strawberry had been planting the next season's crops out in the summer sun, when in the distance she heard the sound of laughter.

[This piece has yet to be finished, and has been published for personal reasons]

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The second thing.

Continued from the first thing, which can be found here.

The problem with hospitals is that they're never completely quiet. The ward was dark and still, lit by nothing more than a single dim light bulb, which buzzed as it fought ceaselessly to keep the room from falling into pitch black. The clock ticked, trying insistently to tell the world that it was a quarter to three. Machines here and there whirred and beeped and a patient would occasionally mumble or groan, or call for a nurse. A window was open, and the occasional strong breeze would whisper its way past, informing anyone unfortunate enough to be awake of exactly how cold it was outside.

Amid this muted cacophony, a man stirred from his rest - though rest might have been altogether too gentle a word for the unconscious state he had been in for the last twenty-five hours. The first sensation he registered was an itch on his left elbow, so he went to scratch it. However, he found himself stymied by something that seemed to be covering most of his arm. Confused, he opened a bleary eye and looked down - or tried to, as there was a hard, immobile object keeping his neck in place. Failing that, the patient lifted his arm up high enough that it was visible and saw that the object covering his arm was a cast. Presumably, he thought, another one was stopping him from moving his head. But why did he have them on him at all? Dimly, he began searching his memory for any clues as to how he'd injured himself. Last he remembered, he was on his way home, having very satisfyingly made off with some unfortunate soul's valuables. He recalled walking up to the main road, crossing over, and then a loud beep...

A car. Suddenly the night's events came rushing back to him with startling clarity. The patient relived the thrill of taking his victim by surprise, the elation at his success, the pride as he escaped the scene. Stupid, stupid, stupid. How could he have been so careless? With acute embarrassment, the nickname 'Lion' came floating back into his thoughts, taunting him with the arrogance that had initially inspired the idea. So much for a clean night, with no cuts or bruises; the patient could only imagine how his face looked, dreading his next encounter with a mirror.

He was surprised at how little pain he was feeling, considering the circumstances, though he did not know he had been unconscious for more than an entire day. Instead, very powerful sensations of hunger and thirst had gradually made themselves known, so he was forced to temporarily put aside his self-pity in favour of sustenance. Casting around (as much as he could, given his restricted movement), his eyes eventually fell on a remote control with a circular button decorated by a faded green picture of a telephone. Assuming that it would call somebody to his bedside, he reached over with his free hand and pressed it down for a second or two. Then, for good measure, he pressed  it two or three more times. That should do the trick, he thought to himself.

Within minutes a petite, slightly bedraggled nurse came in through the doors, taking care not to let them slam. She was not altogether unattractive, the patient thought to himself, but certainly not up to his own high standards for a female companion. She had brown hair, drawn back into a bun, which no doubt had looked much neater earlier in the night. Her pale face was exaggerated by the pronounced dark circles under her eyes, and though it was too dark to tell exactly what colour her eyes were, the patient could make out enough to discern that they were a light colour, maybe blue or green. Reminding himself that he was in no position to be flirting, and that he was probably too starving to try, he called out to the nurse and was immediately shushed. He hadn't realised how late it was.

A few hushed exchanges later, the nurse had set off and returned with some bread and water. Hardly haute cuisine, the patient mused, but as far as hospital food went it was at least edible. He wolfed the bread down in seconds, downing the water immediately afterwards. Soon he felt a lot better, and fatigue once more began to overtake him. He would worry about his face some more in the morning, he decided, and idly wondered whether his stolen merchandise had survived the crash along with him. It would be a while before he could go out on the prowl again, he guessed, so having access to the wallet and phone to sell would help make sure he could afford supplies in the meantime. Such thoughts would have to wait, however, as the patient drifted off into a deep sleep, oblivious to the sounds of the ward as they continued playing their quiet concerto of the night.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The first thing.

The assailant hated hitting people in the face. It always hurt.

He sat back, nursing his hand, but relieved that his victim had gone down without much of a fight. Of course, being surprised in an alley from inside a large skip doesn't leave much room for counterattack, but the prospect of bruises always slightly worried the assailant. He was a man many would describe as handsome, himself included, and he preferred to keep it that way. He sighed as the pain began ebbing away, and turned back to look at the unfortunate soul laid flat on his back on the floor. It had rained recently, the assailant noted with displeasure, as he rolled the now damp body over and began searching its pockets. Thinking of his targets as 'it' made him feel better. No chance of feeling guilty that way.

The man rose, one more wallet and another phone in his possession. He'd put the phone for sale online when he got back, buy some things with the credit cards before they could be cancelled. Pulling off his mask, he took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the muggy night air. There would be a storm soon. He turned and made his way out of the alley, delicately stepping over his victim and avoiding puddles for fear of the splashes being heard. Turning right, the assailant headed off down the street, towards a main road. There were always people there, whatever the time, and he could easily get himself lost for a while before slipping off home in safety.

The road was still fairly bright thanks to the faded yellow streetlights and tacky shop signs lining it. He always felt at home in places like this, especially after dark - each downturned face a comrade of the night going about their business, in equal parts oblivious to and wary of what was going on around them. The assailant always felt quietly superior to all around him in such settings. He knew he could handle himself, whatever the situation, with the confidence of a young man on a mile-long winning streak. The nervous, jumpy bodies around him turned him into a predator, a lion prowling through a herd of gazelle. He smiled to himself at the thought. The creature he had subdued in the alley certainly fit the part. The poor thing had frozen at the sight of him leaping out from his cover, and barely had time to react before the assailant pounced on him, knocking his defenseless body flat in seconds. It was pure poetry. David Attenborough couldn't have faulted his technique. "A lion, eh?" he chuckled. "Maybe I'll do something with that. A nickname or something."

Lost in thought, the assailant did not hear or see the large car speeding towards him as he began to cross the street.