Reflecting Time

Streetlights

 

Ever since my twin brother, Kyle, was killed in a road accident, I’ve come here in the late afternoon, to meditate and reflect. I sit here, overlooking the scene, and try and make sense of what happened. It was only a week ago, but the pain feels like a year of winter.

His car swerved off the coast road into a barrier and he was killed instantly. The post-mortem found he was well over the drink-drive limit, as he often was. The times we had all warned him…

I put on my headphones and try and chase the negative chatter from my mind. I’ve been using a system of binaural beats to help me drift into alpha state and relax. Ironically, it was Kyle who introduced me to it.

I must have fallen asleep, for almost the first time since it happened. After thirty minutes the audio moves on from alpha, into theta – where we access our dreams and nightmares. Another half hour, and it’s deeper into delta, where healing and regeneration takes place.

But to me, it all happened in an instant. I’m in the car with Kyle, as he’s driving towards the coast road lights. I’m telling him to slow down. But he’s telling me “No!”

His lips aren’t moving, it’s like I’m reading his thoughts. He could maybe stop the car this time, without hitting the girl on the crossing. But he can’t stop his drink driving. He said he’d already ‘seen’ his future. Soon, he will hit and kill someone. He said this way is ‘for the best’. He half turns to me and smiles. “See ya!”

Then I’m gone. Back on the grass, near a busy road junction, tears streaming down my face. Nothing in my headphones but silence.

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, April 17th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Pipe Dreams

Water Pipe

 

“At the bottom of the field, James, is all that’s left of my first house. I know it’s just an old drainage pipe, but to me it’s a bitter reminder me of what used to be. Those houses had stood for a hundred years – they knew how to build them in those days. None of your modern conveniences, but I guess you can’t have everything. For years, I remember watching kids playing on the streets around here. They didn’t have much, but I’m sure they were all happy. I knew them – they were my people.

“It wasn’t just a house they tore down. It was a somebody’s home. Until the compulsory purchase order took it away. All in the name of progress.

“They said these terrace streets were overcrowded and unsanitary. So what! No one cared when I was brought up in one, we just had to manage. Now it’s all ‘Nanny State’, with your Health and Safety regulations to punish entrepreneurs like me. Overcrowding? I provided these people with a roof above their heads! Of course I got compensation for all of my houses that they bulldozed, but what about my future profits?

“I’m well out of it. They’re pushing honest businessmen like me away, with their ‘affordable housing’. If it wasn’t for my offshore accounts, I’d be down to my last Bentley! Take me home, James.”

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, April 10th, 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Storm

Photo: © Al Forbes 2014

 

Even the worse storm of the winter has to pass. But this one wasn’t over yet. Jack Hammer saw swinging lanterns being carried towards the harbour, and was fully dressed by the time a knock came on his door. He hardly recognised a bedraggled Jeffrey Smith. “A ship’s been pulled onto the rocks, Jack! It may already be too late!”

Twenty minutes later, Jack and Jeffrey pushed their way through the throng at the harbour wall. Soon, they were among a small flotilla of boats battering their way towards the headland. The wind, though blustery had dropped, and the rain was little more than a drizzle. The moon kept a watchful eye through dark, scuttling clouds.

As they got nearer, the conversation from each little boat was overpowered by the shouting and pleading of the ship’s crew. Time was running out.

Jeff piloted the boat to within a short distance of the listing ship, as close as he dared. Jack instinctively checked his appearance in a hand-held mirror, before barking orders to his producer. “Jeff, make sure those other boats don’t get into shot! Get the sinking ship in the background! Where’s my cameraman? Are we rolling?”

“Hello and Welcome! I’m Jack Hammer. And as this nautical tragedy unfolds…What? The other crews are rescuing survivors? Get me onto that ship, Jeff! If my ratings sink because of this, I’ll keel haul you!”

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, March 13th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Happy and Glorious?

 

March

 

“You are trying my patience! As an Official Archivist, you have received many grants from the Glorious National Government to study this ancient photo. Surely after all these years you have reached a conclusion. We must have a true account published!”

“Lord Prefect, I am close to the truth, but I still need more time. I wish my findings to be as accurate as possible. For posterity’s sake.”

“Enough! The Ministry of Everything You Need To Know has prepared a statement for you that matches with our harmonised historical accounts of that period. This is the one you will release.”

“As you wish, Lord Prefect. But I have other similar photos in my possession. Would I be able to obtain grants to study them in depth for several years, before reading an official pronouncement?”

“I will make the arrangements.”

The official statement reads:

‘The much-loved Britain First (To Accept Diverse Culture And Give A Big Welcome For Foreigners) Movement hold one of their family-friendly urban strolls. In this unique celebration of cultures ancient and modern, there is room for all. Without any hint of bigotry, racism or any other unpleasantness, these ‘cheeky chappies’ seek to represent and celebrate all that is good with Britain in the early 21st century. Just one of many such happy, informal meet-and-greet sessions.’

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 28th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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Rowten to the Corp

Rhinos

 

Deirdre Barr-Lamb, the new CEO of Rowten Corp announced she would be directing her talents to cutting-edge environmental improvements. If extra funding was secured, she planned to work with the Ecuadorians on a major expansion project in the rainforest.

Deirdre also announced the main focus of her plans was to open and stock a huge Bio Dome Safari Park on every continent. It was billed as being the crowning achievement of Rowten’s decades of research and development. For security reasons, the location of the parks would remain secret until they were up and running.

After only eighteen months, the world was informed that the simultaneous grand opening days had arrived. Potential customers were told only those with a high net worth need apply. Only the ‘One Percent’ were wanted at Rowten’s website. And it was payment upfront only.

Once the ticket was bought, it was a done deal. Despite costing a King’s ransom, the ‘Golden Ticket’ only gave access to a content-poor website. This consisted of grainy footage of a few 1960s safari tours. They were overlaid with a Commodore 64-style graphic representation of a bio dome. A few pixelated animals jerkily wandered around. The user experience was supposedly enhanced by clicking on a button representing each of the continents. The ‘Antartica’ dome had a few lazy snowflakes drifting down, and a penguin.

Unfortunately, due to the non-disclosure clause in the small print, no one could reveal what they had witnessed without further financial penalties.

Deirdre Barr-Lamb, is believed to be on extended vacation on her sprawling Ecuadorian estate – recently carved out of virgin rainforest – and is currently unavailable for comment.

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 14th 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.