Amaryllis

Amaryllis

 

It looks out the window and into my flat, lighting up my living room.

It has more colours the longer one studies it.

And its rubbery leaves smell of nothing.

Is There Anybody Out There?

anybodyoutthere

In a flat, there was a radiator that wondered whether there were any others of its kind out there somewhere. It had never seen any others, but after thinking a while it became certain that if it could only sent out a message, someone would answer. When the woman who lived in the flat hung up poster with a Morse Code alphabet, it knew how to send that message. It sent knocks up through the pipes;

‘Hello,’ and after a pause, ‘hello.’

The man in the flat above happened to be an air traffic controller who had learned Morse Code better than was strictly necessary. After he had heard the first three hellos, he sent one back, knocking on the pipes.

‘Do you feel lonely too?’ answered the radiator and the man did feel lonely, so they had a long conversation afterwards.

The day after, the man did not know whether he should go to meet this new friend face to face. After a week of communication, he was afraid that he might not like what he saw, or that the person in the other end did not want to see him. After a month, it seemed ridiculous to seek the person out.

However, one day when he when down the steps, he saw a woman come out of the flat which he thought the knocking was coming from. Trying to make sure, he asked:

‘Have you heard the knocking?’

‘Oh, yeah, it’s from the radiator in my living room,’ she said, and thought that she would have to ask the landlord to do something about it because it was getting ridiculous.

‘Will you marry me?’ asked the man.

The woman blinked.

‘No thank you,’ she said and hurried down the stairs.

The man did not go to work after that. When the knocking began that evening, he did not answer and the radiator had no idea what had gone wrong.

Radiators

(Credit: Wikipedia)

(Credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about how one could write a story about a radiator. This was the first idea I had:

 

The radiator had been cold for a long time, and it did not understand why. It could remember warmth faintly as something that filled it up with comfort and longed to feel it again. One day a family moved into the house. They turned the heat up as far as it would go. The radiator enjoyed the warmth spreading through it, and for a while it was just as comfortable as it remembered, but then it felt like it was on fire.

 

The next idea I had was about a radiator that escapes its house, goes off to see the world and ends up living in a dump with an old fridge.

The third idea will get its own post.

The British Fantasy Society’s Journal

British Fantasy Society Journal 12

(Credit: Howard Hardiman)

 

I got a short story published in the British Fantasy Society’s Journal. It is called “There Is Nothing Keeping You” and is published under my real name: Beatrix M. G. Nielsen

 

Between a Tower and a Storm

(www.zastavki.com/eng/Nature/Other/wallpaper-7271-14.htm)

(www.zastavki.com/eng/Nature/Other/wallpaper-7271-14.htm)

In my dream I am in front of a tower and it is snowing.

And there is a storm coming behind me. I can hear it ripping at the trees in the distance, and when I look over my shoulder I even see one fall, sending up a flurry of snow and dead leaves as it crashes to the ground. I need to find a place to sleep for the night out of the wind. The cold is secondary; I barely feel it at all.

In a sense I am lucky the tower is so close, but I don’t want to go inside.

It is not the crows that make the tower evil; the crows are just birds and noisy. There is something else. Perhaps it is something about the upper windows, red in the light from the setting sun, or maybe something behind them, watching me, waiting for me.

As sweat trickles from under my arms, I am torn between bolting from the tower and rushing inside and up the steps. I even wonder whether I should apologize to whatever is inside for making it wait.

So I shift my feet while the storm catches up. Then the first strong wind rips the breath from my lungs, and I wonder why I don’t wake up.

Flute Music

(Marsyas Enchanting the Hares by Elihu Vedder)

(Marsyas Enchanting the Hares by Elihu Vedder)

If you go deep into the forest, you might find a man playing a flute. He can play tunes sweet enough to make computers feel compassion, and if he turns it up a notch, it’s like syrup encasing your ears before it claims the rest of your body in a large sticky ball. He can also turn it the other way and let the notes jab from every direction and produce a bitter taste of dissatisfaction on your tongue. I have seen a few people cry tears of happiness when they heard him, but no matter what he chooses to play, remember that the breath behind the music is rotten.

So bring earplugs.

Tidying Up

’What about this vase then?’ his son picked up the very pink and very empty vase from the table and revealed a circle of shiny wood.

‘That’s a gift from the queen,’ he said, his slippers shuffling over the frayed carpet.

‘The queen?’ asked his son.

‘When I was five years old, I saw the queen. She asked me if there was something I wished for.’

‘And you wished for a vase?’

‘I was five; I asked for sweets, and she gave me that whole vase filled with pear drops and mints. You can still smell the mints if you try.’

‘Hm,’ his son took a doubtful look at the dust at the bottom of the vase and replaced it amongst the countless other objects covering the surface of his father’s coffee table. ‘But something has to go, dad. There’s scarcely room to breathe in here.’

‘You’re quite right,’ he sighed, ‘quite right.’ And a minute later his son was locked out of the flat.

 

 

 

Crystal Cavern

(Credit: firedudewraith from Deviantart, firedudewraith.deviantart.com/art/Crystal-Cave-2-128406747)

(Credit: firedudewraith from Deviantart, firedudewraith.deviantart.com/art/Crystal-Cave-2-128406747)

He lives in a crystal cavern. When the sun enters, the crystals flash and some create rainbows all around him and sometimes he can pretend that he is living in the sky. He thinks of the cavern as a shell around him, although he has never experienced any other shell with spikes on the inside; some of the crystals can cut flesh easily. Even when the sun enters it never brings any warmth, and he imagines ice crystals growing in his heart. Maybe when his heart is covered in hoarfrost, he will be more one with the cavern and it will feel soft and warm around him. He wonders about this and many other things. He dreams of it, and he dreams of distant forest fires and a red haired woman whom he will never meet. He dreams of cities and large green fields and cages and mobs screaming for freedom. Curling into a ball, he feels another crystal form in his heart and breathes in the safety of his cave.

Fragility

trickle

There was a small trickle, a very small trickle coming from the corner of her mouth.

‘That can’t be dangerous,’ he told himself, ‘she should have five litres of the stuff.’

So he got her onto the backseat, trying not to bump her head on the ceiling of the car and drove home.

‘The least I can do after giving you a fright like that,’ he said, putting her down on the bed, ‘I’ll just take the sofa, no worries.’

But she did not seem any better the next day. He could not make her eat even a single spoonful of oatmeal. He still had to leave for work, so he told her to just eat whatever she liked, if she got hungry during the day.

‘Maybe there’s something wrong with her head,’ he thought, ‘I hope that wasn’t my fault.’

Two days later, he thought she needed a bath, but it would be much too improper for him to help her, so he asked the neighbour for help. The neighbour screamed her head off for an extended period when she saw the corpse in his bed. Then she called the police.

‘But it was just a small bump,’ he said when they brought him in, ‘it hardly scratched the polish.’

 

In The Forest

The trees surrounding me are like four severed forearms, elongated fingers reaching far above my head, but still an eternity from the sky. Perhaps they will be satisfied with tearing holes in reality where they can and I think they have already done so, because when the wind blows I glimpse a void behind the foliage and I can feel it sucking me in. And I wonder how the rest of the forest can seem so unaffected. The dripping from the trees mingling with the bird song in the air, the smell of moist earth, a ray of sun peeking out from behind a could and making a rainbow in cobweb filled with pearls.

How can this world be torn?

I have to move or I will be dragged into nothing, so I climb the muddy hill behind me. I slip and slide and get grimy hands, but even as I near the top I sink deeper into the hole that I dug for myself. I don’t expect your sympathy, after all I could have let the spade stay in the shed, but I hope you understand how hard it can be to clamber out once one has reached the bottom. Not that I expect you can see the hole. I could try showing you, if you want, but there is a risk of me pulling you down instead of you helping me out.

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