Fiction Fursday/Reblog

Today’s story comes in the form of a shameless re-blog of my own material. Some months ago, (EIGHT, to be exact! Where the bloody hell does the time go?!), I wrote a story which was all about my beloved Brighton. This week’s choice is mostly a cop-out because I wanted to post something and have nothing ready, and partly because I miss Brighton so. It’s been more than six months since I moved up north and I haven’t thought about it much, but this week has found me strangely reflective and a bit sad to have left that lively, vibrant place behind. Still, I hold it dearly in my heart and will return very soon; I have a particular friend who lives there whom I owe a beer or five, for one! She knows who she is…

Anyway, here is an extract from a fun little story, “Pride and Seagulls”. It made me smile and cheered me up to re-read it; I hope it interests you enough to follow the link and that you enjoy it if you do.

P.S. If you would like to suggest a story for me to write in the coming weeks, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. I will take on any genre and any prompt!

P.P.S. In reaction to the changes in my life and my ambitions, I have been giving some serious thought to the future of this blog. I will explain all in a post very soon. Watch this space!

 

Pride and Seagulls

By Adam Dixon

“I’ve always wondered why that worship that one,” said Waark the seagull, wiggling his scruffy feathers. “I mean, what’s so special about him anyway?”

“You sure it’s a he?” Kai-Kai replied as he dug his beak into his wing. “I’ve always thought it was a female.” He shuffled to adjust his balance as a gust of wind nudged him sideways.

“Nahh, can’t be!” Waark scoffed, but he still cocked his head for a better look. From their vantage point on the roof of the American Express Community Stadium the two gulls had a very good view of the whole building. They were scrutinising the gigantic image of a seagull in flight which decorated one of the walls facing the freshly-cut pitch, the same gull which was depicted onto several rows of plastic seating. They stared at the image in silence for several minutes.

“No, it’s definitely a male!” Waark said triumphantly.

A – Z Challenge Day 23

It is Day 23 and today’s word comes from another one of my work colleagues, Jamie. As it happens, Jamie is my supervisor, which makes his suggestion all the more amusing. His prompt is the word “WASTED”, and judging by the grin on his face when he suggested it I knew exactly what kind of story he was hoping for!

Well, I had a bit of a think and came up with an idea that I really like. It’s been partially inspired by my thought process for each word during this Challenge, and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks again, Jamie!

WASTED

By Adam Dixon

“Settle down, class!” the stern-faced robotic teacher commanded. She was fully seven feet of gleaming chrome with stern feminine features carefully painted on to her “face”. She had even had glasses added to complete the academic effect. The babbling group of forty children quietened to a murmur before reaching complete silence. It was a young class as most of the children were between five and seven years old. The teacher surveyed the room with her highly-attuned sensors and confirmed that every pupil was concentrating.

“Your English Language class will now begin,” the teacher buzzed as she spoke, turning towards a large metal disc set into the floor. It looked very much like a polished version of the manholes that used to lead into sewers during the last millennium. The teacher stretched out a shining arm and the disc began to glow. A cone of light erupted from its surface, creating a shimmering image of the word “WASTED”. The teacher turned to face the children.

“Today’s lesson will consider adjectives, and we will begin with this word: wasted. Listen to how it is pronounced and repeat after me. WASTED.” The class dutifully repeated the word back to the teacher. She nodded and waved at the disc again. The image shifted, and in the blink of an eye transformed into a high-definition image of an industrial skip which was filled with half-eaten sandwiches, water bottles and sweets. The children began to talk and gesture at the image, but were silenced by a sharp glance from the teacher.

“Now, here we see an example of the formal use of the word. Please note that the inclusion of this ancient device known as a “skip” is purely for your amusement. This collection of partially-eaten food demonstrates that potential nourishment has been wasted. There was no need to throw it away as there was plenty left to eat. What do we call this kind of behaviour, class? Please reflect on our previous lessons on adjectives.” A few of the children shouted out their answers.

“Juvenile!”

“Ungrateful!”

“Greedy!”

“Shitty!”

The teacher strode over to the desk at the front of the class and pressed one of forty red buttons spread out across it. There was a sharp buzzing sound and a small, ginger-haired boy yelped and leaped out of his seat, rubbing his rear. The rest of the class burst out laughing, jeering and pointing at the unfortunate youth.

“Be advised, Macolm, that whilst your use of the word ‘shitty’ can be considered correct, you are not permitted to use curse words in this classroom.” The teacher said, her painted face aimed at the boy.

“Sorry, miss…” Malcolm mumbled, carefully sitting back down. His classmates stopped laughing and paid attention, afraid that they would be punished next.

“Good,” the teacher said, moving back to the holo-disc. “This word can also refer to an action, a fitting example being Malcolm’s wasted effort at answering my question.” The class sniggered and Malcolm hung his head. The teacher waved at the disc and the image warped and was replaced once again. In place of the wasted food, there stood the image of a badly emaciated woman. Her skin was stretched across bones which could be seen easily even at the back of the class and her gaunt face was skull-like. She glanced up at the class and her long black hair moved away from her face, revealing a chilling smile. A few of the children gasped and four of them started crying. The teacher ruthlessly buzzed the sobbing youths until they held back their emotions. They sat trembling, enduring the wretched image in order for the lesson to continue.

“This is another example of the word wasted,” the teacher continued as if nothing had happened. “In this sense, it refers to the body of this woman; it has shrivelled and become very weak through lack of nourishment. This was a common problem among the people of the early twenty-first century due to the “Size-Zero” phenomenon in fashionable society, as you will recall from your History lessons.” The image of the woman gazed around the class with haunted eyes and raised a hand towards them. This time several more children began to cry and the teacher was forced to change the image more quickly. The hologram shifted and a tall, reasonably healthy-looking man replaced the skeletal woman. His face was slack, his movements were clumsy and he wore a ludicrous smile on his face. He hiccoughed, belched and laughed every few seconds, clutching a half-eaten kebab in one hand and an almost-empty bottle of beer in the other.

“Here, we have an example of the informal use of wasted,” the teacher droned on. “This man has been rendered incomprehensible and unbalanced through severe intoxication: therefore, this man is wasted.” The man giggled and dropped his glasses. As he bent down to retrieve them, he also dropped his kebab. Swearing loudly, he leaned down further and performed a crab-like shuffle as he tried to decide which of his belongings needed saving first. Before he could reach a decision, he fell on to his hands and knees and promptly vomited on to the floor. The hologram was very sophisticated, recreating every image in stunning detail. The horrified children screamed as one as the very real-looking vomit spread towards their desks. The teacher frantically waved her arms and the image faded.

“Silence, class!” She ordered, stabbing the shock buttons at random and ignoring the shrieks they caused. “It was merely a computer-generated image and nothing to become agitated about! Please sit quietly so that we can move on to our second adjective of today, the word SCARY!”

The children wailed collectively and the robotic teacher tutted. She was running out of buttons!

 

A – Z Challenge Day 19

We’re approaching the end of the third week of this April’s Blogging Challenge, and I can hardly believe that it will all be over next Saturday! Well done to everyone who is taking part this year, I’ve seen some brilliant themed blog posts from some fantastic writers. Let’s keep the momentum going until the end!

Today’s word comes from my colleague, Sarah. Working in a cafe can be a bit dull sometimes, but not when you’re working with someone like Sarah! She is a great laugh and she was keen to offer me a suggestion for my Challenge when I had a few letters missing. Her prompt for me is “SAUSAGES”, which came about after she rescinded her original word which I believe was “SEX”. I don’t think that the former was a serious suggestion, anyway, and for that I’m extremely grateful and relieved!

Here is what I was able to come up with. Thanks again, Sarah!

SAUSAGES

By Adam Dixon

“Well, Mrs Warburton, we’re almost done,” Becky said, smiling as she flipped through her the pages of her notepad. “There are just a couple of details which I need to run through with you.” Becky’s efficient, somewhat scruffy handwriting spread across the pages to the underside of her hand and her fingers in a mess of black ink. She scratched her pierced nostril and left an inky smear behind. Finding the page she was searching for she scanned it, reaching for her now-cold cup of black coffee.

“Right, here we are!” Becky took a sip and glanced up at her interviewee. Mrs Warburton was in her early forties, slim and rather attractive with her natural-blond hair cut short. She was sitting up straight with her elbows on the small table, looking around the café with an air of contempt.

“I still don’t know why you insisted on meeting me here,” Mrs Warburton sniffed, nursing her pot of peppermint tea. “You do realise that the owners of this company don’t pay their taxes, don’t you? Nor do they pay their bean farmers properly; it’s nothing short of modern slave labour! And of course they waste milk by the lorry-load in here…those poor baby cows deprived of nourishment for the sake of an overpriced latte…”

“Erm…yes, Mrs Warburton,” Becky pressed on, the feeling of bemusement returning for the umpteenth time that morning. It was becoming quite familiar.

“You said that you’ve lived here in Brighton for many years and-“

“It’s Hove, actually,” Mrs Warburton interrupted. Becky paused and altered her notes, inwardly rolling her eyes.

“Okay, Hove, then,” Becky continued. “And you have been frequenting that particular restaurant in Brighton for more than two years now. Is that correct?”

“That’s what I told you, young lady. I’m not in the habit of repeating myself unnecessarily.”

“Sorry, I’m just double-checking the facts first.” Becky felt herself blushing under the woman’s steel gaze. She busied herself by reading her notes more carefully. “So, you believe that this incident was deliberate? Part of a prank?”

“I do, indeed,” Mrs Warburton folded her arms and lifted her chin haughtily. “And I think it is disgraceful that a vegan restaurant of such high-esteem should number such juveniles amongst its staff!”

“Quite so, Mrs Warburton,” Becky smiled sympathetically, hoping it would disguise the smirk which had arrived an instant before it. She adjusted her thick glasses with her inky fingers

“You’re sure that it couldn’t have been a mistake? A mix-up with one of the orders?”

“Young lady,” Mrs Warburton’s stare turned the air around her to ice. Becky was surprised that her breath wasn’t misting before her eyes. “I am not a fool, and I sincerely hope that none of the workers in that kitchen are foolish enough to ‘accidentally’ add pork sausages to a meal they have no purpose being a part of! There shouldn’t have been a single sausage in the whole building, for God’s sake!”

“Of course, of course,” Becky raised her hands defensively, her brown eyes wide. “Like I said, I’m just double-checking here.”

“Well, there really is no need,” Mrs Warburton huffed. “You appear to have listened to what I have told you and managed to dictate it well enough, so I believe that is all you shall require. I would like to leave this ghastly place now, if you don’t mind. I can’t stand the smell of those cheese toasties!” She shuddered dramatically, twisting her mouth into a snarl. Becky smiled and stood up, holding out a hand.

“Well, thank you very much for your time, Mrs Warburton,” she said warmly. “I do hope that your case goes well.”

“It ought to,” Mrs Warburton replied, giving Becky’s hand a limp squeeze. “Veganism is finally getting the respect it deserves these days, due in no small part to you young people. That is why I agreed to be interviewed by you and your Student Union; I usually wouldn’t involve myself with trivial university newspapers but I believe that my story will strike a chord with the more open-minded pupils. At any rate, I must go. Goodbye, Rebecca, and thank you for the tea.” With that, Mrs Warburton buttoned up her long coat and strode out of the café with her head and chin held regally high.

Becky sat down and took a moment to process the events of her morning. Mrs Warburton was undoubtedly one of the oddest people she had ever met, let alone interviewed. She felt rather sorry for the legal professionals who would have to deal with her!

“Still, it was quite a good prank!” she said to herself, chuckling as she flicked through her notes once again. Her stomach rumbled and Becky wanted a fresh coffee anyway, so she stood up and approached the counter. She perused the menu for a few seconds before she broke into a grin. Oh yes, she knew exactly what she fancied!

“Good morning, how may I help you?” the smiling barista at the counter asked her. Becky thought she might recognise him from one of her lectures.

“Hi, I’d like a medium Americano, please,” Becky answered, still grinning. “And I could murder a sausage sandwich!”

 

A – Z Challenge Day 18

Today’s suggestion comes from my dear old mum! Yes, yes, I know, it’s not very rock and roll to get Mummy Dearest involved one’s projects, but personally I couldn’t give a monkey’s about that! My mum has given me plenty of encouragement with my writing and I am very pleased that she wanted to help me out directly this time. Also, I’m not very rock and roll anyway, so nothing changes!

Anyway, today’s word is “RANCID”. One can only speculate where this suggestion came from…I do hope it’s not a character association! I like the word a lot and decided to use it today. Thanks again, Mum!

Here’s what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy it.

RANCID

By Adam Dixon

Tobias squinted up at the midday sun and cursed the torturous sphere with every ounce of vehemence he could muster. Even the stone block he was sitting on was warming up, much to his dismay. He lifted a bony hand to his face and wiped the remnants of a rotten tomato from his left eye, wincing as he felt a tender spot on his cheek.

“That must be from the potatoes the washer-women were throwing,” he muttered to himself. “Damn good shot, that one! Nearly bowled me over!” He looked down at himself and sighed in resignation. He was covered from head to foot with an array of interesting and disgusting detritus, some of which could be readily identified. He could see that tomatoes, onions, potatoes, apples and even turnips had been pulverised against his arms and body, making him slick with stinking, sticky juices. Almost all of them had been rotten, which was something of a blessing because the few unripe projectiles among them had left him battered and bruised. Tobias attempted to make his legs more comfortable, but the wooden stocks clamped around his ankles gave him no such freedom. He supposed that he should be grateful that he hadn’t been placed in the pillory instead; at least he could mostly shield his head this way.

“How I long for the days of greater acceptance!” Tobias cast his dejected expression Heaven-ward once again. “Oh Lord, why must I be humiliated so? I did no harm to anyone with my antics! It was only a dress…” He trailed off into silence miserably. With all the great strides men were making in science, technology and enlightenment theory it baffled Tobias that an old man deciding to wear women’s clothes in his own house could cause such an uproar. There was no need for all this, surely! At least the villagers had retired for the afternoon…

Tobias glanced up as he heard giggling and approaching footsteps. He saw three local boys, none of them more than seven years old, creeping steadily towards him carrying dirty sacks over their shoulders.

“Oh, what fresh terrors await me, now?” Tobias cried aloud, causing the boys to stop suddenly. They were about ten feet away from the stocks and for a moment they looked doubtful over their purpose. However, this hesitation was quickly dispelled when the largest of the three dropped his sack and plunged a hand into it. He pulled out a suspicious brown substance and tossed it right at the helpless Tobias. It was not a particularly good throw as it hit him in the thigh, but no sooner had it made an impact the other two boys were following suit. As they flung double-handfuls of the stuff at Tobias he realised with horror and disgust what it was. It was manure!

“You little wretches! You stop this at once!” he roared, flinging his arms in front of his face. “By the Lord Almighty, if I weren’t trapped in here I’d give you such a thrashing! STOP!”

The boys began laughing uproariously, continuing to pelt the impotent Tobias as he bellowed at them. When they had exhausted their ammunition they stood still, staring in wonder at their accomplishment. Tobias was covered in steaming brown muck, his fury so intense that he was incapable of coherent speech. He waved his arms about madly, shaking off bits of manure as he did so. The boys ran off laughing, slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves for a job well done. Tobias lowered his arms and looked at himself again. He was appalled by the sight and had never felt so humiliated.

“All for a bloody dress!” He managed to squeak out once his throat had loosened a little bit, his eyes wide and his breathing heavy. After a few minutes he had calmed down enough to feel miserable again, so he slumped forwards, resting his filthy head in his filthier hands.

“Oh, Lord!” he groaned. “It will take me days to wash out the smell!” He looked up at the sky again, his face scorched by the sun. “I don’t suppose there is any chance of a spot of rain soon?” He asked hopefully. As he stared upwards, he heard more footsteps approaching. The three young boys were coming back, and they were puffing and panting as they supported a large bucket between them. A pale yellow liquid slopped to and fro as the bucket swung with their movements. Tobias almost laughed!

“Oh, but what a big mouth I appear to have!” he said as he braced himself. He only hoped this day would end soon!

A – Z Challenge Day 15

Week Three of the April Challenge has began, and that means a fresh batch of stories from Yours Truly! Today’s prompt comes again from Sakina, and her word is “OVERCOMPENSATE”. Now, I think you’ll agree that this is a right good ‘un, and I had fun working with it!

Here’s what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy it.

OVERCOMPENSATE

By Adam Dixon

“Oi, Gaz! Over ‘ere, mate!” The stocky, bald man called from one side of the road to the other, waving his arms eagerly.  A tall, muscular man in a tight red vest and shorts turned round and frowned from behind his sunglasses. The first man waved again and the second’s face broke into a grin.

“Bazza! ‘Ow are you, my son?” the second man shouted back. Neither of them showed any intention of crossing the road.

“I’m all good, mate, cheers!” Bazza declared, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his tracksuit. “Just popped out to the bookies. I reckon my luck’s turnin’ today! ‘Ow about you?”

“Yeah, I’m alright, mate!” Gaz replied, shrugging. “Same old same old, innit?”

“Too right, mate!” Bazza nodded sagely. He gestured towards the gleaming silver car parked a few feet from Gaz.

“That ain’t your motor, is it, Gaz?” he asked hopefully, shouting over the noise of the mid-morning traffic. “I ‘eard through the grapevine that you’d got another one.” Gaz’s grin widened and he switched to a causal pose, cocking his head nonchalantly.

“Oh, that? Yeah, mate, I bought ‘er last month! She’s a beauty, ain’t she?” Bazza’s eyes widened and he whistled in appreciation.

“Fuck me, mate, she’s gorgeous! Second-‘and?”

“Nah, brand-spankin’-new, mate!” Gaz was almost bursting with pride. “Fresh outta the factory, almost! Set me back a fair bit, but I thought ‘fuck it, why not?’! You only live once!”

“True, Gaz, true!” Bazza laughed, unconsciously raising himself to his full height. “Convertible too! I bet your bird loves it! What’s ‘er name again? Sally? Sandy?”

“Suzie,” Gaz’s smile fled and with it his cock-sure composure deflated. “Me an’ Suzie ain’t together no more…things didn’t work out.” Their conversation was cut short as a freight lorry thundered past them, blocking their view of one another.

“Oh. Sorry to ‘ear that, mate,” Bazza said, as quietly as his shouting would permit. Gaz cleared his throat and puffed out his chest, shrugging one shoulder and curling his lip before he spoke.

“Ah, it’s alright,” he replied loudly, waving his hand. “She was draggin’ me down anyway! Too much baggage on ‘er, I’m well shot of all that now!”

“Glad to ‘ear it!” Bazza shouted. He fumbled for something else to say as the traffic continued past them.

“Well, you’re lookin’ pretty trim these days, anyway!” He exclaimed. “You’ve gotten well hench since I last saw you! What’s your secret?”

“Oh, well I’ve been ‘ittin’ the gym, ain’t I?” Gaz brightened, flexing his arms and sounding pleased. “Yeah, I’ve got some spare time now that me an’ Sooz are finished, so I figured I’d get pumpin’!”

“Yeah, gotcha, mate!” Bazza replied enthusiastically, rubbing his own arms sheepishly. “Been meanin’ to get goin’ with that myself, but I can’t seem to find the time.”

“You should, mate, it’ll sort you right out!” Gaz insisted. “You should use them protein shakes an’ all! They taste like shit but they really ‘elp you bulk up quick! I’ve been ‘avin’ to beat the birds off with a stick since I’ve been goin’!”

“Yeah, I bet you ‘ave, mate!” Bazza joined in with Gaz’s laughter, despite knowing that it wasn’t true.

“Anyway, I’d better get goin’, mate,” Gaz shouted, raising an arm in farewell. “I’ve gotta see a bloke about a dog an’ then I’m off to the gym. Nice seein’ you again, let’s ‘ave a drink some time!”

“Sounds good!” Bazza called after him, smiling and waving. “Nice to see you too, mate! Take care of yourself!” Bazza lowered his arm and took a final glance at Gaz’s new car. He sighed and shook his head before walking off down the street.

Two young women seated outside a nearby café watched Bazza as he shuffled past them, muttering to himself about the cost of gym memberships. They looked at each other with bemused expressions.

“Well, they obviously wanted everyone on the street to hear them!” the brown haired lady laughed and fiddled with the spoon on her tray. Her blond friend grinned and lifted her steaming decaf latte to her lips.

“I know, right?” she replied, blowing on her drink. “What d’you make of those two, anyway?”

“Oh, they seem harmless enough,” the brown haired lady shrugged, lifting her own coffee. A mischievous smile crept across her face.

“Although they’re definitely overcompensating for something!” Their laughter pealed out into the morning, unheard by Bazza or Gaz as they went about their days. Perhaps that was for the best.

A – Z Challenge Day 13

Today marks the half-way point of this April’s Blogging Challenge. It’s come around bloody quick, I must say! It’s been great fun taking part, and although I’m not as on top of it as I would like to be, I’m enjoying reading the posts of other bloggers who are involved. Geoff’s and Lindsay’s in particular are proving to be very interesting reads! I’ll do my best to better follow the work of others during the second half of this challenge. If any of you here on WordPress can suggest a blog which I may not have come across yet, feel free to let me know!

Today’s word was suggested by the wonderful Esther, a lady who spends a hell of a lot of time inspiring and encouraging wannabe writers like myself! Go check out her blog if you’re a writer, you won’t regret it! Esther’s prompt is the word “MALEVOLENT”. A fine word and one which to my mind conjures images of cloaks and daggers, of contemptuous sneers in the dark and unspeakable deeds inflicted on the unwary. I was stumped for a short while on this one, but I have come up with something which I hope fits the word in an interesting way. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks again, Esther!

MALEVOLENT

By Adam Dixon

“I say we take a stand!” Number Twelve insisted, bristling with anger. “Just because they are bigger than us doesn’t mean we should let them push us around!” He addressed the gathering once they had all returned from their foraging expeditions. The haul was meagre at best and they had lost at least six of their number to the enemy this time.
“I agree.” Number Forty nodded. “I’m sick and tired of them and their smug superiority complex. Size isn’t everything! It’s time we brought them down a peg or two.” A smattering of voices were raised in approval and several individuals present fidgeted as they began to pay more attention.
“They fear us; that much is evident.” Number Nine said, rousing himself from a deep thought. He had survived longer than most, and so his words were taken very seriously. “In fact, it is laughable how much distress even one of us can cause them if we get too close! We should exploit this to our advantage.”
“Yes, good idea!” Number Twelve replied with excitement. He wandered around restlessly, the paper floor rustling slightly under his weight. “We ought to hit them where it hurts; to be most effective we should target their young! Experience shows that they are very afraid of us, more so than the older ones.”
“That’s true.” Number Nine said, cocking his head to one side. “Personally, I enjoy the idea of chasing after the children! They will flee like startled rabbits, heehee! Their screeching will be hilarious!”
“Very true, my brother!” Number Forty sniggered. “It will be pleasing to hear it! But we must not let our sport distract us from our vengeance; we must attack any and all of the elders who may seek to protect their young.”

“Attack? You lot?” Number Seventy laughed aloud, and the other females joined in. “You lot can’t do much more than get in the way! Attack them my striped thorax!” The males grumbled angrily, their enthusiasm ebbing away in response to the jibe.

“They may still be of use, my sister,” Number Seventy-three added, flicking her legs enthusiastically. “Our adversaries can’t tell any of us apart, so they won’t know which of us carry the real threat! The smallest of swarms will be enough to terrify them, even if there are only a handful of sisters among them!”

“Hmm, that’s a good point, sister,” Number Seventy stopped laughing and appeared thoughtful. “Very well, this is action both sexes can be a part of! Let’s be about it, then, whilst we are all in agreement!”
“The young ones will have more of the sweet food, too! We can bring food back to the nest! The Queen will be thrilled!” Number Twelve shouted, his excitement peaking. His mood was infectious and soon several buzzing voices were raised in agreement.
“Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that…” Number Seventy said with a hint of lust in her eyes. “Yes, we can do that, too, but as a secondary objective. Our primary objective should be to spread panic and fear.”

“PANIC AND FEAR! PANIC AND FEAR! PANIC AND FEAR!” Dozens and dozens of voices filled the stuffy air inside the nest, and soon the swarm was on the move. One by one, males and females left the safety of their home and travelled with purpose towards the nearest enemy dwellings. They were outnumbered and outgunned, but that wouldn’t stop them. They wanted to inflict pain and fear and by the wings of the Queen they would do so!

The nearest such place was a short journey away. A tall man and his pretty wife sat in their garden, enjoying the warm rays of the late summer evening. Their two children played in a paddling pool, splashing each other and roaring with laughter. A pitcher of sweet fruit juice and four half-filled glasses stood on a table nearby. The clumsy giants were content for the moment, blissfully unaware of the army of wasps which were about to descend upon them…

A – Z Challenge Day 7

I can’t believe it’s Day Seven already! My word today is “GARGOYLE”, once again suggested by Kate.

This one was fun to write. I began wondering what it would be like for the gargoyles if they were alive and what they would do to pass the time. I had to remind myself of the difference between “gargoyles” and “grotesques” before I did so, mind you!

Anyway, here is what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy reading it.

GARGOYLE

By Adam Dixon

It was a wet, miserable Wednesday morning in London, and as usual everyone was scurrying about the vast city with nothing but themelves in mind. It’s not that they didn’t care about the world and other people in it, it was merely that that kind of morning always succeeded in making the most cheerful of people recede into his or herself. With their consciousness sheltering in their skulls like turtles in their shells and their tunnel-vision modes activated, nobody was paying much attention to anything except avoiding the many large puddles dividing the pavement. But they should have been paying attention, and they should have been looking towards the rooftops, for the gargoyles were certainly paying attention to them.

“How about that one?” The Bearded Man said around the rainwater which was trickling out from his open mouth.

“Which one?” Several irritated voices answered at once. There were roughly two dozen other gargoyles within range of sight, clinging to their respective buildings and issuing forth the contents of their gutters. None of them could move, of course, so they needed the Bearded Man to be more specific.

“Oh, yes, my apologies,” the Bearded man mumbled sheepishly. “The woman in the bright red raincoat just passing by the Lloyd’s bank on the corner. Can you see her? She’s on my left.”

“I see her!”

“Target confirmed!”

“That’s an affirmative!”

“Wait, I can’t see her!”

“She’s by the entrance to the Tube now, moving towards the Nandos!”

“Oh yes, I see her now!”

“Good,” Bearded Man said, pleased. “Well, what do you think?”

There was a slight pause as the gargoyles thought for a moment. The rain fell more heavily, dancing a merry pattern on their stone features.

“Well I think that she is going to the library!” The Bearded Man announced proudly. “She is wearing glasses and she is carrying a large pile of books in that plastic bag, I’m sure of it!”

“No she isn’t!” scoffed the Rearing Lion from the other side of the road. “It’s got food in it! She’s probably just carrying around her lunch for this afternoon. She’s going to work, probably in one of the offices.”

“I think she’s goin’ to stop at the theatre,” the Grinning Imp asserted. “She looks like the thespian type to me.”

“Balderdash!” The Bearded Man said, incredulous. “Look, she’s going straight past it!”

“I mean the other theatre, you pigeon-fouled buffoon!” laughed the Grinning Imp. “That one’s only for the cheapos of the city, and judgin’ by her shoes she can afford to go to the more up-market one down the street!”

“Wait, I can’t see any fancy shoes!” the Stunned Dragon shouted.

“You can’t bloody see anythin’, you’ve got an eye missin’!” The Grinning Imp cackled. More voices filled the minds of the gargoyles playing the game, all eager to put forward their interpretation of the unsuspecting Londoner. In the end, the Screaming Man guessed correctly: the woman had walked into an infant’s school at the far end of the street. She was probably a member of staff or a mother dropping off a forgotten packed lunch. Screaming Man was very pleased with himself and made it known, whilst Rearing Lion grumbled that he had at least been right about the packed lunch.

“Oi, Crouching!” the Grinning Imp shouted telepathically. “You never made a guess. What’s up with you?”

“I’ve got more interestin’ things to look at!” came the Crouching Imp’s sniggered reply. That particular gargoyle was set facing a particularly grim-looking block of flats, so naturally the others were curious to know what he had been so preoccupied by.

“There’s this couple on the sixth floor,” the Crouching Imp chuckled. “They’ve left their curtains open an’ let’s just say that they’re havin’ a better mornin’ than most of this lot on the street!”

“Oh, you utter cretin!” the Bearded Man said in disgust. “Avert your eyes, for the sake of dignity!”

“Hey, I didn’t tell them to leave their curtains open, did I?” the Crouching Imp protested. “Besides, I can’t avert my bloody eyes, can I?”

“Oh, you lucky sod!” the Grinning Imp was very amused by this. “You’ll ‘ave to give me all the saucy details later on!”

“I should think not!” the Bearded Man shouted, eliciting a burst of laughter from various gargoyles who were listening in.

“Oh, shut it, Beardy!” the Crouching Imp snorted. “You get on with your bleedin’ game, I’m doin’ just fine over ‘ere!”

“Fine, I think I will!” the Bearded Man huffed with an air of contempt.

“Right…” the Rearing Lion began awkwardly. “Erm…what about that one, then? The fellow in the brown suit with the small umbrella? He might be a teacher as well!”

“Who, him? Nah, he looks more like a journalist!”

“Don’t be silly, look at his briefcase! He must work for the Council!”

“The Council? With that tie?!”

So the game continued on into the morning, with the gargoyles happily protecting their buildings from the worst of the rain. It was not a complicated game, but it served to pass the time.