The cult section of the literary world

Flash Fiction Friday

Flash Fiction Friday: Enter the Salamander

by: Neil Sanzari

When the girl of malnourished complexion crossed paths with the ribbit in the ruins of Saint X’s Parochial Middle School, she refrained from drawing a single arrow. It was her first encounter with the dread creature. In fact, she had only heard the faintest of frightened whispers concerning its legend. But no one had ever admitted to seeing one before in the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing. So she drank in the ribbit’s dreamy protruding eyes before deciding whether or not to dispatch this wondrous-to-behold beastie.

When the girl returned to camp hand-in-hand with the ribbit, her father flew into a rage because he had given her strict orders not to come back unless she had made a fresh kill for her family to eat.

So the father played a little trick on the girl by cooking off the ribbit without telling her. And then the father fed the specially prepared meal to the girl without making her aware of what it was in particular that she ate.

Soon afterwards, the girl of malnourished complexion began to exhibit the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing, as if she were becoming something altogether new and different. In short, she was transforming into a much larger version of the ribbit. Yet she remained a kind of hybrid of herself and the thing at the same time. Maintaining her personality both whole and separate alongside the creature, where their aspects took turns sharing the spotlight.

This was all quite normal for the ribbit because the creature was a shapeshifter by nature. And it had absorbed more than a few souls in its day. They often interjected as a kind of peanut gallery in the background like so much white noise. Their incessant chatter caused the girl great anxiety, no matter how much the ribbit reassured her otherwise.

The peanut gallery claimed that the ribbit was the Bonnie Prince of Hares and Toads. That the creature might even be a long-lost cousin of the legendary Sovereign of Salamanders, who in turn was revered by many as the Deity of Arson.

Now the ribbit thought it best to do away with the girl’s father because the creature was not one to forgive such transgressions. This meant devouring the father whole, but the ribbit promised the girl that her father’s personality would not be incorporated into the spectrum of their shared-reality. Namely, what the ribbit condescended to as the afore-mentioned peanut gallery. The consumption of the father was only meant to be for fuel and nothing more.

Hence, the girl of the glandular flesh beneath the slimy fur of the thing observed the world and saw it all from an entirely different perspective through her fetching bulbous eyes. Taking in all the sounds with her great big ears. And that was when she heard the screams.

Her mind’s eye quickly turned inward to reveal the unmistakable countenance of her father holding court amidst the once-benign peanut gallery. Having stirred them up into a lather, a mutinous horde no less bent upon stringing her up.

Meanwhile, the ribbit had already been hoisted aloft and lit aflame as if the creature were a burning effigy of itself, save for its fruitless efforts to escape. Kicking and screaming all the way.

And so the girl began to pick off the lynch mob lickety-split with an arrow through an alderman’s eye here and another through a harlot’s heart there, with plenty more left in the quiver for that wall-to-wall turnout of lost souls closing in fast.

________

Neil Sanzari is an artist and writer from the New York City area, where he worked in advertising. Displaced by the events of 9/11, he now lives down at the Jersey shore with his wife, Celia. He has a novella and several short stories in the works. His preferred genres are Bizarro, New Weird, and Cyberpunk. He plans to adapt Enter the Salamander into a comic book series.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Vampire Swans Ate My Office Building

by: Cornell R. Nichols

When I got to work on Monday, 8 a.m. sharp, vampire swans were eating their way through my office building. Zipping around the corporate high-rise in a flock, a ballet, a whiteness, they have managed to strip away the concrete from all twenty regular and five executive floors with hundreds of razor-sharp teeth. Vampire swans can live on concrete from just about anything, even pavements and skate park ramps, but for some reason they prefer to collapse skyscrapers. Today they chose the one I work in.

Or used to work in, I suppose.

There was scarcely anything left except for naked plumbing and twisted steel rebar. Loosened glass panes kept falling onto the plaza, threatening to cut passersby in half, but through some amazing hive-mind instinct, vampire swans avoided them with ease, circling in search of another scrumptious bite of hardened cement.

I put up both hands awning-like to shade my eyes from the sun and located the all too familiar desk on the thirteenth floor. As I was watching, the entire structure groaned and bent to the side. The desk slipped through the absent window and crashed in front of the fountain. My worn out squishy stress toy wheezed its last, pierced through the chest by a pencil, and fell silent forever.

I sat on the bench across the road and took out my packed lunch. Biting along to the chomping of vampire teeth, I watched the urban tower collapse into a heap of debris. A pod of mummy seals flippered by, and each of them gave me an awkward hug, wet bandages brushing against my neck. When I finally stopped shaking with disgust, the swans were flying away towards the park—a dark wedge against the chemically bleached blue sky.
I went to the nearest antigravity bar. Half-flipping onto the ceiling, I noticed several people from work—silent, pale-faced, slumped over snifters of lighter-than-air whiskey and inverted beer bottles—but the place was mostly empty. My boss was committing hara-kiri in the corner booth using only a cocktail umbrella. Nobody tried to stop him, even as blood started raining down onto the hardwood floor.

I ordered a Bloody Mary and strapped myself to the seat next to some balding stockbroker type. I told him my office building had been eaten by vampire swans. He told me his lunch had been raped by ghoulverines.

“They started appearing last week,” he said, punctuating the sentence with a painfully long, bottoms-down sip of his Bud Light. “Long as you have a home-cooked meal in a Tupperware or some veggie shit, you’re all fine and dandy. The undead fucks won’t even sneeze at a thing. But who has time to cook at home, amirite?”

“Sure thing,” I said just to keep him talking.

“So there I am, my company’s food court, about to bite into one of those foot-long monster sandwiches, extra cheese, when the pack arrives. Salivating acid, stinking like an open grave somebody took a piss in. Everybody stops eating because, well, you can’t swallow a bite when you see—and smell—something like that. And then . . . and then raping starts. Male ghoulverines grinding against the table to ejaculate in bowls of ramen. Females masturbating with hot dogs and pickles. Some S&M freak putting his rotting nads in chili con carne and stabbing people with plastic utensils. Complete mayhem. Last thing I remember, two of them jumped onto my table. One put his foot-long dick in my foot-long sandwich and the other one started dripping snatch juices all over the special sauce. Then I went to my happy place. When I came to, that damn lunch was still in front of me. Like the vicious fucks expected me to eat it after what they did to it! Still feel like barfing just thinking about it.” He finished his God-awful beer and unstrapped himself to get another one.

When he returned, he launched into a spiel about secret government labs. “It’s all part of their plan, you know? I mean, where else could these aberrations have come from? Huh?”

I nodded, even though I knew he was wrong.

Vampire swans were never meant to eat buildings. Somebody created them to stop the bigwigs from filling the world with concrete, bulldozing nature. Ghoulverines? Probably a way to force people to eat healthier. Just like mummy seals and their hugs used to be there to reassure you, convince you that you are not alone.

But somewhere along the way, intentions got twisted. Skyscrapers started falling, more and more lunches got sexually assaulted, fleeting comfort became a reminder of your crushing loneliness. And we were left with this. A world forever unwinding, desperate for a miracle.
I left the antigravity bar around 8 p.m., just when my boss’s body started to decompose, dripping black juices from the ceiling.

Taking a shortcut through the mall parking lot, I heard a faint moaning coming from the alley behind the silent movie multiplex. Hardly believing my luck, I searched around the dumpsters, and sure enough, I found a grimy Bride of Frankenstein there, wavy white hair strands and stitches included. I managed to wrap my coat around it and half-carried, half-dragged it home.

Back in my basement, I introduced the Bride to the huge black ram I found in my backyard last week. Sitting on rickety steps, I watched the two of them go at it behind a stack of year-old newspapers.

Soon my new pet will give birth to a flock of Frankensheep. Maybe they will teleport into offices and stress people out by pissing on electrical outlets. Maybe they will roam the malls, eat people’s credit cards and shit them out onto a huge pile.

Or maybe—just maybe—they will pay off student loans, vomit lollipops onto sick children’s beds and wage nuclear war against vampire swans. I can only wait and pray, and hope, just like so many people before me.

Maybe this time the world can change for the better.

________

Cornell R. Nichols is a writer and translator who wishes he had a Frankensheep. Or at least a phantom okapi. He usually writes in his native tongue, but words like “chrząszcz” and “gżegżółka” are slightly too extreme even for the bizarro crowd. Polish speakers can visit his alter ego’s site at kornelmikolajczyk.blogspot.com.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Fuck You Very Much

by: Ira Rat

I wonder if there will be enough air in here to last the next few hours. The guys who built this fucking thing said so, but how would they know? It’s not like they would ever come down here and test it, bet their lives their calculations were anywhere near reasonable. I couldn’t imagine any of those geeks closing the lid on themselves and being lowered six feet into the ground.

It’s not like they even strapped down a monkey in this metal tube just to see if the damn thing came out the other end alive.

What about the meth-toothed freaks who helped seal this thing, should I trust them to ever have done a carnie-level job with this? It’s not like they went around burying people in tubes full of oxygen tanks every day.

What if this thing isn’t properly sealed? How would I know? The air could just be seeping into the ground around me as I lay her in this metal coffin with just enough air to get me through this alive. Or at least that was the plan. What if just enough seeped out so I run out of air minutes before they dig up this fucking thing ?

My last few minutes of air going out to the worms. Do worms have lungs?

I know I shouldn’t have trusted that fucking cocksucker Gary. He’s probably arranged it so I will die down here. Can you imagine the money he’d make selling the story?

The Great Pizzali dies during magic “stunt.” Great fucking stunt, the door didn’t even open.

The tabloids would buy that shit in a heartbeat. You know how those vultures are. My dead fucking body will make the cover of those four-color horror rags.

I’ve seen the way he looks at Sarah. He’s probably planning on fucking her on top of this casket when they pull me out dead. Motherfucker. Never trust someone with your life when there’s more money to be made from your death.

Damned if I’m not too late to realize this little scheme of his. Jesus, here I come. Could you give Gary cock-cancer for me over this? I know he’s trying to off me. Why else would he have suggested this stunt? It’s not even like it’s a big draw these days, ever since that masked dick-bag ruined it for the rest of us.

What kind of world do we live in, that a bastard like that can spoil our craft on network TV, while yours truly down here is stupid enough to risk his life doing a blown gag for a hundred-odd slack-jawed pudding heads?

Fuck you, Gary.

Fuck you very much.

Where’s the air going? I wonder if it’s getting pushed down by all this carbon dioxide that I’m spewing? What if I hold my breath?

Fuck… didn’t work, smells like a Frito died and evacuated its bowls in here.

How much longer do I have, anyway? Maybe I should have bought a digital watch before all this. The second hand on this thing seems to be going at one-third speed. Enough time to play with my prick? I wonder if anyone would notice the jizz-stain on my tux if I cracked one out right now?

TAH-DAH! “Look at the magnificence! The splendor!” If only the trap door would have let me out of here by now, I could be back at the hotel three-fingers deep into that blonde with meth teeth that was giving me the eye.

Now that would go down in the history books right next to Houdini’s exploding stomach.

What a dick that guy must have been. Before he turned up, this was a pretty chill job. Find a card, pull a rabbit out of a hat. I wouldn’t have to be six feet under just to prove that I could pull off a grade-school stunt. Meanwhile, I’m down here and I think my watch has stopped.

I hope some Halloween he’ll make contact from beyond and say that he is sodomized by a train of demons on a daily basis. That would show that Hungarian pole-smoker.

I think I can hear digging, but it sounds too far away to get to get six feet in the next few minutes.

Was Houdini Hungarian? I can’t remember. I should look that up, if I survive. Gary better have finalized those contracts. If I’m doing this for nothing, I’m going to fuck him on top of this casket so horribly that he’ll wish it was a train of demons.

I was supposed to be out of here ten minutes ago, at least that’s what it said before my watch started acting up. They were supposed to digging if I wasn’t out twice that long ago. I see dirt starting to sift through the cracks. Maybe that is digging I hear, but it sounds more like laughing.

________

Ira Rat is an artist, musician, and writer from Ames, Iowa. A member of Neon Lushell, Tape Ends, and Vicar Elm, his first collection of visual art “i’m sorry mom” is now available. His debut novella, Sliced, is soon to follow. You can check out his art and music at www.irarat.com or follow him on Facebook.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Bushland

by: Avichai Brautigam

We mined the planet dead. Not in the sense that we burrowed, like dwarves, carving Morias and Morias into the crust till it all came apart; it was Bitcoin that did us in. Somewhere, in the moldy basement of some half-forgotten Department of the Bureau of the Ministry of the So On, someone received a report about energy usage, marked up in red ink–absolutely bloodied by red ink–that said, more or less, that the total amount of energy spent mining Bitcoin was equal to the yearly energy usage of the country of Denmark. No one must have thought anything of it, for no one since Shakespeare has thought anything of Denmark. In some corner of an unprinted advertisement in a forgotten sheet of the Times, a breathless junior reporter and/or unpaid intern set to writing the story up, trying to fit it into the three lines given to him so graciously by Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists. No one read it, and it didn’t even make the news.

The next year, our basement schlub of So On got another report, this one dripping red ink onto the floor like globules of blood in the aftermath of a murder. It said, more or less, that the total energy expended on Bitcoin mining was now equal to the yearly energy usage of the US. Now that made the news! People actually think about the US–albeit rarely in a kind way–and they knew that the US used a metric shit-ton of energy, even if the US couldn’t measure shit-tons metrically. In the panic, some brave Pulitzer Prize winning journalist broke the story, like a modern day Woodward and Bernstein (the intern from the year before had gotten the boot from the Times and de Sales both). For this he was awarded the Nobel for Literature, since they give that out to anyone nowadays, even folk singers.

It was apparent to everyone that this state of affairs couldn’t last, but some meeting must have been held at the highest levels, possibly involving Elder Gods, and it was decided that this state of affairs could, in fact, last. There was money in it, and the price of Bitcoin could more than keep pace with the build-up of greenhouse gases. There was a positive correlation, and Americans adore positivity and affirmation, so we affirmed that the earth would henceforth be a sauna and everyone set to mining.

As the Warm-Up (that was the new, approved, and improved name for it) sauntered on, the outside world got unbearable. Underground, massive supercomputers chugged violently on, solving inhuman equations, and belching fumes. In the sealed glass domes of Wall Street, value accumulated like the rancorous ghost of Marx; in the brick-paved towns of Bumfuck, melting slowly away in the heat, preachers took to every corner, braving the fires of earth to warn of the fires of Hell. No one needed to do any imaginative work as Jonathan Edwards was dug out of the sealed vaults of Calvinist heritage and spewed to new crowds of the predestined.

In between the rutting of CO2 and methane, going at it like barnyard pigs, multiplying on and ever on, shutters were heard the world over. All of civilization (and America too) was being rocked by violent quakes. The scientists, done up in their lab coats and sweating cannonballs, stood in front of the cameras to warn that overuse of the supercomputers was causing the earth to rupture. Being good, sensible defenders of the status quo, they simply asked that the ceaseless mining be limited by 30%; to ask anything more would have been utopian. No one paid any attention, and the only people that paid were already mining Bitcoin, so the computers chugged on.

In any case, they were wrong about the causes of the quakes, as we later learned when an army of Kate Bushs–all completely identical and fresh off their 1979 performance of “James and the Cold Gun” in London–poured out of every cave, crag, valley, and depth to march on the cities of man. Mother Earth had dispelled, from all orifices in her pained crust, an unstoppable horde. Soon, we were getting reports by the day of cities lying in ruins, supercomputers flaming in the evening light, pale armies of identically-costumed Art Rock superstars, rivers of blood flowing in vast streams through suburban streets–the works.

London down.

Paris down.

DC down.

Now I wait, on the porch of my little ranch house in Central PA, gun in hand, boyfriend by my side, and the wan buzz of a bug-zapper above us. I wait for the army of Rock goddesses, bearing rifles and intoning lines from Joyce, to enter my swamp of a suburb. In no way do I believe that this rifle will do me any good; I simply wish to be able to die with dignity alongside my boyfriend. For a long time, the night is as silent as that one in Bethlehem millenia ago. Then I hear them.

Running up that hill.

________

Avichai Brautigam is a philosophy major and a local of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In his free time he writes fiction and talks Marx with friends. You can find him on Twitter and WordPress.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: MOM WANTS BOY TO GET NEW SLACKS FROM SEARS

by: Christopher Lesko

Mom: C’mon we need to get you some new slacks. They’ve got good deals going on at Sears right now.

Boy: You’re hurting my arm.

Mom: I need you to hold my hand when we cross. Could be a weed maniac zipping around the corner. People never go the speed limit in mall parking lots.

Boy hobbles behind Mom while she tugs him along. He’s fourteen years old and can probably make it on his own, but she insists on overprotecting him from weed maniacs.

Man in car sees Boy and Mom ahead. The man is a weed maniac. He puts the pedal to the metal. As he plows right into them, they pop like a lighter to a balloon. And that’s the end of the mom and boy’s story. No going to Sears for them. Ever again.

________

Christopher Lesko is the author of The Grlz Like Vodka, Long Live Crazy, That’s My Ghoul, The Electric Lunatic, Fukced Up, Roxy, and Don’t Thowe Away Please.  You can follow him on Facebook and buy his books on Amazon.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: Dollar Pizza

by: Ben Fitts

I was excited to be back in New York City. I had grown up there and always thought I would end up living my whole life in the city, but the four years I planned to spend in New England for college had into stretched nine and there was no end in sight.

But my and girlfriend Michelle I were spending the day in the city. We were going to see the stoner metal bands Canabyss and Capra Coven play at Saint Vitus that night, and I was stoked to show her all of my favorite spots.

“I promise Italianame’s Dollar Pizza is the best you’ll ever have,” I told her as we bustled down a crowded street. “And it’s only a dollar! I really hope it’s still there.”

Michelle and I paused outside when we reached the place. There was a big handwritten sign taped to the glass.

Now no longer accepting dollars.

“What does that mean?” asked Michelle.

I had no idea. She shrugged and we headed inside.

A sweaty middle-aged man mulled behind the counter. My jaw dropped when I saw him. He was Italianame himself.

It’d been over ten years and he clearly didn’t recognize me, so I didn’t say anything.

“Excuse me,” asked Michelle, “We saw your sign out front. What does it mean that you’re not accepting dollars anymore?”

Italianame shrugged.

“I’ve got too many dollars,” he said. “I don’t need no more, so I don’t take ‘em.”

“What do you mean you have too many dollars?” I asked.

“I’ve been running this dollar pizza place since I was a young man, and I’ve sold more slices now than there are rats in this city. Over time, you just get too many dollars. More than you can do anything with.”

“I still don’t get what you mean though. How can you have too many dollars?”

Italianame snorted. “I’ll show you too many dollars,” he said and swung open a door to a back room behind the counter.

The room was filled from floor to ceiling with stacks and stacks of single dollar bills. There would scarcely have been room for an ant to crawl in there.

“Now do you see what I mean?” he demanded.

“For twenty-seven years I’ve run this pizza place and the deal has always been the same. You give me a dollar, I give you a slice of pizza. Eventually, you get too many dollars! What am I supposed to do with all these dollars? You can only make a fort out of them so many times before it just gets old. So now I no longer take dollars in exchange for pizza.”

“Sure,” Michelle said. “I’ve got a debit card.”

“I don’t take debit.”

“So how do we pay for the pizza?” I asked.

“Pay with something that I have less of. Like toes.”

“Toes?”

“Yeah, toes. I’ve only have ten toes. I could still use more of those.”

“Could it just be one of my pinky toes?” I proposed.

“I only have two of those! I could definitely use a third. You give me one of your pinky toes, and I’ll give you any slice on you see on display there,” he said, gesturing to rows of pizzas with various toppings behind a sneeze guard.

“Just chop one off with this thing,” he said, handing me a long kitchen knife.

The toppings were eclectic. The pizza with I ♡ NY keychains salvaged from the corpses of murdered tourists didn’t look particularly tasty, but to be fair it did look better than the pizza whose topping was dogshit that never got picked up.

“I think I’ll have a slice of the Strawberry Fields pizza.”

“Sure, I just need that toe.”

I nodded, unlaced my boot, and sliced off my pinky toe with the knife. I handed him the bloody stump of severed flesh.

“And what do you have to pay for your pizza?” he asked Michelle.

Michelle examined the pockets of her denim jacket. “How much pizza would you give me for a quarter gram of weed?”

Once we had sat down at a table, I felt a little jealous nibbling on my slice with my toe bleeding in my combat boot while I watched Michelle devour the two entire pies that Italianame had given her. Michelle had already started pregaming for the Canabyss/Capra Coven show that night and had the munchies pretty bad, so I didn’t ask her to share. I knew her well enough to know she’d eat it all herself when she was this high and enjoy every bite of it more than I ever would.

I enjoyed my Strawberry Fields slice though.

The slice was a New York classic, a reference to the Central Park landmark of the same name honoring John Lennon. Each slice’s toppings consisted of four beatles scavenged from the very field itself.

I wasn’t expecting them to still be alive though. Their legs pumped madly and they flapped their little insect wings, but they couldn’t get away. They were trapped to the pizza by its sticky cheese and sauce.

“Are you going to finish that?” she asked, pointing to my half eaten slice.

“Yeah, I’m going to finish my only slice,” I said as sweetly as I could.

“That’s good,” said one of the beatles on my slice in a British accent, its wings flapping. “I thought you were full already.”

“Shhh, Ringo,” scolded another one of the beatles on my pizza. “I don’t want to get eaten!”

“Oh, come off it, Paul,” said a third beatle. “We’re beatles! What are we if not consumed? Turtles? Bay City Rollers?”

I had had enough of their yammering then, and stuffed the slice into my mouth. The beatle’s spiky thoraxes crunched between my teeth. As I chewed, I could still hear one of them singing to itself “Da da da, da da da da dum dum da”. The catchy melody echoed in my skull as I swallowed the bugs in my cheese.

________

Ben Fitts is a writer and musician from New York City. His stories have been featured in Bushwhacker Zine, Silent Motorist Media, and The Truth Is Out There.

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.


Flash Fiction Friday: A Fresh Perspective

by: James Burr

The Artist woke up face down on the wall, his favourite Braque print digging uncomfortably into his ribs. It seemed that gravity must have shifted 90° as he slept as he was now lying on the far wall of his bedroom looking up at his bed, which seemed to be hanging from what was now the ceiling. Yet it couldn’t be that gravity had shifted 90°, as his bed was where it always was, albeit at an utterly unfamiliar angle, and the rumpled covers still lay on it. Similarly his desk and chair were still in the corner of the room, although from his perspective, now wedged into the far corner of the ceiling. He stood up. Aside from his own position in the room, everything was much as it had always been.

He yawned and then made his way to the bedroom door, now embedded in the floor at his feet. He pulled it up and looked down. There was a drop of around 6 feet to the hall wall but then he would have to navigate a 20 foot drop to get to the far wall of his open-plan living room. He was already behind on several commissioned canvases and this damn gravity-thing was the last thing he needed. Still, he was an artist and it was the nature of the artist to explore experience. So he flipped over the door frame and dropped to the hall wall, his feet punching through the plasterboard. “Damn it!”

Prying his feet free, he then walked down the wall to the living room door, shaking the dust from his feet as he did so, before getting to his knees so he could peer over the edge of the doorframe, into the room below. The sheer drop was somewhat broken by the cupboards and units of his kitchen area below the wall he was currently kneeling on. But did this phenomenon extend to the entirety of his apartment? He could see his sofa and telephone twenty feet below on the floor/wall opposite.

I suspect that I have transcended the limits of ordinary reality and now perceive the world with the agility of a mind freed from entrenched perspectives, thought the Artist, and he grew eager to explore further.

If he could somehow swing from the doorframe across the room, it was only a drop of ten feet or so to his tall cupboard which, if he could reach it he could then land on before dropping down to the rest of the living room. Gingerly, he edged his way over the doorframe and then carefully lowered himself until he hung over the opposite wall. He then started to swing forwards and backwards as he tried to build momentum, before with one final kip, he flung himself across the room, landing on the side of the tall cupboard. However, as he landed he smashed his face into the wall and he could feel himself dropping backwards into the living room below. Desperately he reached out and managed to grab the side of the sink, and he pulled himself forwards. Above him were his other kitchen units, herbs and spices, yesterday’s Chinese wrappers, coffee jars and kettle all still resting, perpendicular on the worktop, in defiance of the phenomenon that seemed to be afflicting him. Damn it. He could do nothing in the morning without a morning coffee, but making one would involve climbing up the wall, perhaps using the side of the window frame as a foothold and then somehow monkey barring his way across the kitchen units, if they could even take his weight of course. So the Artist shifted position and sat on the edge of the unit; it was just a ten foot drop to the far wall of his living room.

The only logical explanation for this situation is that it is the manifestation of my will to transcend boundaries yet my apartment’s continuing existence continues to prove that humans may attempt to defy gravity but never wholly escape, thought the Artist. This could in fact be a manifestation of the human impulse to reach beyond our present reality.

He sat on the edge of the unit and again, dropped down until he was hanging from its side. And then, the distance minimised as much as he could, he let go, landing in a heap on the far wall. Grumbling, he got to his feet and looked above him, at the walls, paintings hanging horizontally, his dining table and chairs now suspended on a wooden wall, fifteen feet above him.

The Artist grew excited at this fresh development in his creative life. This physical experience could provide a radical shift of perspective so I can look at the world through a completely different lens. This phenomenon provides an opportunity to reimagine the physical and psychological reality I previously thought of as fixed as something more flexible, mutable, and light. Feverishly, he considered the artistic possibilities his new perspective afforded. He considered the colours, the shapes the conceptual possibilities that he could now exploit. He looked around these familiar yet strange surroundings for his easel and paints before remembering with a shudder that they were in his bedroom.

And so he jumped and jumped and jumped. But as he leaped, arms outstretched for the kitchen units out of reach above him, he realised there was no way back out of his living room.

And it was then that he finally saw the true gravity of his situation.

________

An English writer of dark, humorous, paranoiac fiction, James Burr is the author of Ugly Stories for Beautiful People and is working on a novel titled Razor Moccasins. You can follow him on Twitter and find more of his stories here. 

 ________

Send your weird little stories to flashfictionfridaysubmissions@gmail.com.