Maybe human beings get through life by focusing their attention down to the smallest details, those soap opera comings and goings that make up the flickering magic lantern show of day to day existence, the little things that make life worth living, the details that stand between us and the chasm.
Maybe we are not really designed for total awareness of the harsh random cruelties of life, the cold limitless potential, so to protect ourselves we narrow our field of vision, or we turn away.
There are times when the harsh facts of existence make their presence felt. Late at night, alone in bed; a time for painful truths.
Calvin lay on his side, the twisted sheets of a broken and disturbed nights sleep coiling about him; another night spent watching the sweeping light and shadow patterns that passing cars project across the ceiling and walls.
First traces of dawn, purple drizzle turning the streets all leathery, fragmentary bird song embroidering the early traffic sounds of Hull.
Calvin turns over.
His reputation made severe demands upon him, demands that needed to be filled. Reputations need to be fed. Offerings had to be made, trading acts of violence for status.
The vicious and cruel things he had done left their mark, for in order to do such things he dehumanised his victims, and in the process he also dehumanised himself.
He feels the scar on his upper right arm; it aches in the early morning autumn chill. War wounds from the streets, alleyways and pubs of the city.
He feels tired. But it is not an exhaustion of the body, of the flesh, but of somewhere deeper, down into the bones, the very DNA.
Across the inky abstract landscape of his bedroom, the bedside table, he reaches across for the tobacco and cigarette papers-by accident picking up the folded paper with the address, he lets it drop from his fingers.
Daylight is taking hold outside, giving definition to the world, and gradually drives away the shadows, exposing the concerns of the day.
Fiction - The Hunch-Back (in the style of The Hitman by T.C. Boyle) By Katherine Horrex
By the age of nine the Hunch-Back is aware that he has no place. He questions the existence of everything he sees and it is not until he grows shady from first stubble and hard with distracting pubescent bulk that he gains any sense of purpose, or raison d'etre if you will, for he is half French.
It is his mother to which the French in him must be attributed,
Fiction - The Terminal Brothel By Christopher Skolik
Gales crashed onto the housing estate. Grey sky like fractured mountains.
In the passenger seat Dennison read through the paper, as Snaith drives. As some story or headline caught Snaith's attention he would ask Dennison to read it in full.
The council estate was a maze of similarity -a dizzying optical illusion where homes, roads, and people all
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Kundalini By Andrea Longstaff
She was homeless and walking the streets.
Her mind was unhinged but full of new found awareness. A realisation that she was now free in the true sense of the word.
Her life always did have a surreal texture to it but after a night of no sleep and helping the stranger who had dropped his pens.
He looked into her glazed eyes, "I hope you get a good nights sleep tonight"
Fiction - The Artist By The Silver Fox
Pencil in hand, he stands immobile. His eyes are locked onto the pristine expanse before him as though searching for some secret buried within the paper itself; an image that his pencil will simply be highlighting rather than creating. Above and beyond his eye line, the graphite point gleams dully in the harsh light that cascades down onto the easel.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Crackers By Pete Texas
I was 12 ½ when my dog ate my rabbit
He chewed on its head like a malnourished Gannet
So I traded Ben for an Arini Parrot
Put her in the hutch with the lettuce and carrot
I was sure with the straw to build Polly a nest
So when she fell asleep she'd have somewhere to rest
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Flat By The Silver Fox
He emerged from the oven to see the landlord eyeing him as though enquiring as to what he'd expected to find in there. He adopted a knowing expression - as though saying that he hadn't found it and was disappointed.
"Seventy a week?"
"That covers your water rates," came the expansive reply. He nodded, fearing that further conversation would bring
Fiction - Independent By Katherine Horrex Photos by Darren Rogers
The room was pulsing with white noise and euphoria. Giles was positioned behind the sound booth, stupefied by the scene on stage: five Burberry clad men thrashing manically at their instruments, their sixties feather cuts flicking through the damp air.
A final power chord growled through the Marshall stack, reverberating triumphantly and the lead
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Prescription By The Silver Fox
The pen flashed across the pad like a magic wand. Jeff watched, appropriately spellbound. The prescription was pushed across the desk with neither comment nor eye contact.
"Not much of a bedside manner."
"This isn't a bedside."
Pain sent a stinging retort flying to Jeff's lips; need bit it back.
"Not funny," he mumbled, leaving.
After an agonising moonwalk
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Kids Like That By The Silver Fox
The abuse, though muted by the noise of the engine, was clear and vile in the thick afternoon air. It poured onto the bowed head of the smaller boy; rank as his sweat and tears. He pressed down upon the accelerator and the car shot forward, elongating the bully's last insult into a thin scream.
He was out onto the hot road before the broken bundle had rolled off of the bonnet.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Who's The Daddy? By Catherine Horlax
I heard footfalls; hollow thuds echoing down the corridor, and drew my knees up so my boots wouldn't be visible. He'd said he'd be there. A tap gushed.
I noticed the door was inscribed with idiocy, and calmed myself with the fact that
'Lisa Hyde stuffs mashed potato up her cunt'.
At least I'd kept my word - I'd said I'd be there too. I laughed because, barring crying,
Fiction - 3 Phones, 300 Words By Joe Hakim
She smiled as she handed him the bottle. He took it from her and poured himself a glass.
'So what do you think?' she asked.
'I'm not that bothered,' he replied.
He was pretty drunk by now and he attempted to think of something to say, but the silence remained stagnant. She took a gulp from her glass,
Fiction - Lessons Learnt By Nick Quantrill
DS Richard Coleman pulled into the lay-by and headed towards the flashing blue lights. An hour later it would have been someone else's problem. But it wasn't. An articulated lorry had been isolated from the other vehicles, cones placed around it, linked together by barrier tape.
A mobile generator providing power to the small floodlights
Fiction - Mr Keith Fortner By The Silver Fox
In assessing the nature and worth of Mr Keith Fortner, it helps to be acquainted with one or two salient facts about his background. This is true of anyone, of course; understanding can rarely come without some awareness of their past experiences and emotional development after all.
Even the vast majority of people who tend to exist in a very limited context - the parameters
Fiction - After The Rain By Joe Hakim
He noticed there was another crushed snail by the doorstep. It was the third one he'd found this week. It was funny because he could never recall standing on the snails, but there they were.
He opened his back door and lit a cigarette. He'd been in this place for a month now, but it still didn't feel like his home, just a place he was staying in for a while.
Fiction - The Suicide Park, Self Surgery And Brutalised By Affection By Christopher Skolik
Dennison followed Snaith from the road, through trees, to a wire fence. Snaith slipped through. Beyond the skeletal
trees, Dennison could see a smoky illumination. Snaith and Dennison walked around as if inspecting a gallery.
It looked like a derelict industrial estate from a distance. Only when he got closer could Dennison hear the sound
of 22 engines humming.
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 4 By Frank Beill
'There, there bai'n. It's o'right now. The bad man's gone away.' Sal walked up and down her bare living room, hugging her sobbing baby.
'Sorry, Sal. I shouldn't have done that.'
'Don't matter, Sammy.' She kissed the child's tearstained cheek. 'He deserves a good hidin'!'
'What was it all about? Sounded as though he was up to no good.'
I put two large lumps of coal
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Rosemary By Merle R. Stone
"Have you the time?" she asked. As always when our eyes meet, my thoughts turn to tender things.
Cuddling naked by the fireplace, chilled chablis in hand. Her charming giggle rising above
the crackle of the flames. Twenty-five years married and still we idle like teens, content
in each others' embrace. The children grown, grandchildren on the way.
How long we have
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 3 By Frank Beill
The red brick Board School stretched for nearly half the length of the street. Did Sal still live 'somewhere opposite'? My heart sank seeing all the doors to be knocked on especially after the Westbourne Avenue experience.
Fortunately, shops and other businesses occupied most of the buildings facing the school.
One caught my attention: Henry Tiplady,
Fiction - Smooth Operator By Edward C. Lynskey
Kenny was a thief. Nothing big. He'd only rip off the 'swag' owners wouldn't miss right away: CDs, auto parts, jewelry, tools, handguns from nightstands. Yeah, he was a smooth operator, nickelling and diming 'ditch-digging chumps.' A pawnshop run by his pal (never mind who) did a bang-up business, too.
Why did Kenny steal? Can't say. Could be he swore the world owed him
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Shipwreck By Michelle Dee
I sat on a shipwreck, the proud bow pointing at the river slowly drifting by. Most of the ship had rotted away long since. I sat there wondering what lay ahead, what life had in store.
The afternoon sun warmed the wood, until hot to touch. I sat longer.
The water lapped against the vanishing timbers. I sat until the sun dipped the water; waves turned gold,
the air turned cold.