Monday 31 December 2012

Dark Fiction - Resolution

Dark Fiction Image


By Casey Douglass

The bulging net bounced along angrily behind him as he stomped along the cobbles; low guttural snarls and murmurings punctuating the thuds. He blew the air from his lungs and heaved his burden up the stark stone steps, the hard grey surface twinkling with late evening frost.
‘Careful!’ a grating voice slinked through the holes in the net. ‘You might slip and break your neck!’ The thing laughed like a chain-smoker, rasping and struggling for air.
The net was dragged into an open courtyard area, the stars of the night sky gazing down on the tableau. The tall figure let go of the ropes and left the quivering net, his quiet footsteps walking around and around.
‘Let me out Gillespie! You don’t want to do this!’
‘Do I not?’ Gillespie walked up to the net and crouched down, his dark coat tales fanning out behind him.
‘No! I can make a deal, there’s no reason why we can’t be friends!’ A splotchy hand pushed its way through the rope fibers, its long black talons greasy with dark liquid.
‘What did you have in mind?’
Gillespie watched as the skin on the hand rippled and shifted, the talons retracting, the skin turning a more healthy colour. A dainty hand waved at him, red nail polish and a scent of perfume completing the change.
‘How about it?’ a husky female voice said, the sound caressing his ears, the tone promising unthought of pleasures.
‘Put it away before I cut it off. You lot are always the same.’
The hand shot back into the darkness of the net with a booming snarl. ‘Should it have been a man’s hand?’
Gillespie stood slowly and stretched his arms over his head, his back arching. The first fireworks of the evening were bursting into the sky already. He walked to the parapet, making sure to tread on the net as he passed over. An angry yelp brought a slight lift to the sides of his mouth. This was a good place, the lad had done well. He placed his hands on the frigid stone and looked down across the city, the castle wall below him illuminated in the shifting colours of numerous spotlights. Cheers and laughter floated up on the night breeze, the chill air losing its battle to keep people inside. New Years eve. It was always the same up here. He wasn’t one for celebrating, but it was certainly useful.
Gillespie turned and eyed the large rocket on its launch station. It was the height of a man and deep red with a cone shaped top. He smirked; it looked just like something Wylie coyote would strap himself to when chasing the road runner. He made a note to ask his assistant where he had procured it. He hoped to himself that for his sake, it wasn’t A.C.M.E.
He ran a hand over his grey stubble, the lines on his face nestling against his fingers as they traced their way up to his brow and, as usual, to run along the still angry looking scar. It was an occupational hazard.
He produced his pocket watch and flipped it open. Snapping it shut angrily he strode over to the now motionless net. He stooped and wrenched it up and over his shoulder.
‘Wait! Wait!’ his captive cried.
He moved to the large rocket and pinned his struggling charge to it with his hand, the other feeling for the dangling ropes and coiling them around and around. A warm stench blowing into his face caused his eyes to prickle; it was rank and smelled charnal. With a satisfied grunt he knotted the ropes securely and stood back, his breath coming in small gasps.
‘You are ill Gillespie! How about I heal you?’
‘I’m not ill. It’s just your foul breath.’
‘No, its not. I can hear your breathing. You have something brewing in there Gillespie, something nasty.’
‘We all have our time.’
‘Hogwash! You take what you can get, allotted or not!’
‘Like you?’
‘Yes like me! I got into the sanctum and lifted the hourglass, and see what I have achieved!’
‘Yes but your time is up.’
A firework fizzed up from the darkness below, sputtering out in the sky with a small flower of white sparks.
‘It doesn’t have to be.’
‘Oh it does.’
‘Why? Because you say so?’
‘Because you broke the rules.’
‘Rules! Rules are created by the people in charge so that they are the only ones allowed to break them.’
‘Maybe. Maybe not. It has taken many days to put right your dabbling. Thankfully most people will never know how close the world came to it.’
‘To what? Empowerment? Justice? You think this will get you into Heaven?’
‘Won’t “He” reward you?’
‘Yes “He” will. You just have the wrong “He.”’
‘No never!’
‘Yes. All I needed was your admission of guilt Larnax,’ Gillespie’s voice was deeper and stronger now, his breathing deepening and slowing to an unearthly degree.
‘Checks and balances.’
‘That’s all?’
A clock in the distance began to chime the first stroke of midnight. A cacophony of cheers and fireworks burst into the night air, the odd stray note of music accompanying it.
‘That’s all.’
Gillespie raised a finger and flicked it towards the short fuse. It sputtered into life, showering the ground with hot yellow sparks. The net began to struggle and writhe as the line of fuse fell away, the rocket rumbling and vibrating. Seconds passed and it looked like it would not lift, but finally with a shuddering whistle it rose, the high pitched noise masking the screaming of the thing tied to it. It shot up into the sky, the air left in its wake hot and shimmering and smelling of gunpowder. Other fireworks bloomed around it like electric fountains as it reached its apex and exploded with a rumbling boom. A sickly green miasma seeped into the sky like a pestilent cloud, the reflected light of the explosion reflecting from its particles like tiny crystalline pebbles.
Gillespie stood and watched as the night winds began to disperse it, pulling his high collar up around his ears. It was always too cold up here. He listened to the sound of running feet in the courtyard below and squeaky iron gates being opened and clattering closed again. The footfalls grew nearer, on the frosty steps now. A gaggle of revellers rushed onto the open courtyard, staring around them, their faces falling as they struggled to find anything worth looking at. The courtyard was empty. No rocket stand, no footprints and no Gillespie.

The End

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Happy New year to everyone. Hope it brings you everything you are hoping for.