2022 minus 55: quantum and demeanour

Posted: 7 November 2021 in 2022 minus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Housekeeping Note: I’m genuinely sorry to have to do this only a few days after starting the 2022 run, but I woke up today with my foot on fire, something that happens every so often and, not unexpectedly, is happening a bit more often as I get that bit older.

I had a post semi-written for today; a few hundred words written with the rest bulletpointed. I’ll finish it tomorrow or it’ll be Wednesday’s post, I guess.

But I absolutely did not want to ‘skip’ a day, so I’m reverting to one of my ‘in case of emergency break glass’ posts.

OK? Good.

Today you get another couple of ‘fiction from the vaults’ tales; these two from long ago stories of 2008.

I liked writing fast fictions about the, if you’ll forgive the word, ‘ineffable’. Not only because of the links to a story I huge enjoy, but because it feels a bit like sneaking a look behind the curtain. The first is one such tale.

The second story was one I was genuinely surprised to reread when I came across it recently. Not so much for the story itself but because, rarely, with a decade’s worth of life, experiences and writing, I wouldn’t change a word of it. Often, I’ll see old stories and think ‘oh, I should have used this word or that phrase’. This one? No, wouldn’t change a thing about it.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it. The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

I hope you enjoy them…

Title: Murder In Heaven
Word: quantum
Challenger: Corey Klemow
Length: 200 words exactly

The area was empty. And then it was not.

A soft light seemed to suffuse the place before a large golden clock appeared. The clock chimed loudly, but the angel whose responsibility it was to respond was already there before the sound ended.

It summoned the guardian angel which looked almost amused as it realised that once again, it had to go through this. It stated its case as it had done so before and the angel heard the argument, and ruled against it. As it had done so before.

Cain had killed Abel. And the former’s guardian angel had killed the latter’s minutes before Cain had taken his action.

And He had deemed the same should apply – none should commit the slightest quantum of harm to the murderer but Him. And He had not yet decided the penalty. Almost a million years later (as Cain and Abel would have measured time) and He had not yet decided. But then He worked on different timescales, to be fair.

Both angels returned to their previous points of existence. And a moment later the area was empty.

And then it was not, as a soft light and a large golden clock appeared…

© Lee Barnett, 2008

Title: I Want To Believe
Word: demeanour
Challenger: Regie Rigby
Length: 200 words exactly

He sits there, waiting patiently, entirely relaxed, wholly at odds with his usual demeanour.

It had been the undercurrent of barely restrained activity that had first attracted me to him. And even last night, afterwards, while we had been talking in bed, his hands had been constantly moving, developing thoughts, attempting to show in physical movement what he was unable to express in speech.

The constant movement, the boundless energy, the thriving on change… never wanting to accept things as they are, but always seeing what could be… I can’t deal with it any more, and I told him so. This morning.

And now, six hours later, he sits there, pleasantly vacant, patiently waiting for my answer.

I know he says that he’s willing to change. For me.

I wish I could accept that his love supersedes all personal desires, that his yearning for me overwhelms his desire to be himself. And I ask myself: must he change who he is, or must I change who I am?

I love him. But for us to survive together, one must move forward, or backwards.

And then I answer, and I hate myself just that little bit more than I did previously…

© Lee Barnett, 2008


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Sixty-one days. Sixty-one posts. One 2022 slowly approaching.

I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of quid every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to the new year. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

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