2022 minus 54: flocculent and requiem

Posted: 8 November 2021 in 2022 minus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Housekeeping Note: I wrote yesterday

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.

OK, so you’ve read that? Same applies today. Sorry but the foot’s still on fire…

Today you get another couple of ‘fiction from the vaults’ tales; these two from long ago stories of 2009.

I like surprising people with the stories. Occaisonally, like the subject of the first story, I like to remember that a specific concept exists, no matter how distant it can seem.

The second story is one about obsession, and where it can lead one.

The second tale is a warning; I’m not sure the first is.

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: Frankenstein Can’t Die
Word: flocculent
Challenger: [Livejournal: secretia]
Length: 200 words exactly

The door slowly closed behind them, and the room seemed empty. I sat behind my desk, relieved, trying to stop shivering and not entirely managing.

It had been an unexpected inspection under the Maintenance of Order (Fiction) Act: the Fiction Police. They had another title, but the nomenclature fit.

Spot visits now. We’d been moving that way for a couple of decades, but even so… Twenty years of advancement towards the anodyne; one way of looking at it, not a view those who had just left my office would support. They’d prefer everyone regarded it as twenty years of retreat from anarchy and chaos.

I’m a good citizen; I won’t break the law. Bend it possibly, almost to breaking point… but never beyond that position.

I looked at my bookshelves. Yes, they were all there, the mandatory horror books, the psychological terrors. Anything to keep a population unsure and uneasy, to ensure the government was re-elected, and re-elected.

I opened a drawer and pulled out a book with a lurid cover. Within the sensation, though, was a romance novel, something entirely flocculent and trivial.

Mere possession was risking death.

But, just occasionally, I like to recall the concept of love.

© Lee Barnett, 2009

Title: Second To None
Word: requiem
Challenger: [Livejournal: absinthe_delacy]
Length: 200 words exactly

The music. Always the music.

As the final notes echoed through the church, there was an awed silence.

The music had more than done its duty, evoking memories and emotions of a life lived and as I sat there, I could feel the admiring glances of the rest of the congregation on my back.

I wiped my eyes, the moisture there arising from a mixture of emotions. I sat in the front row, of course, wearing black in commemoration of a friend I’d known since childhood, someone with whom I’d shared so much in life: the joys of victories won, the despair of life’s disappointments.

There was also the power of the music itself. More than a mere hymn of mourning, I felt his presence; several moments during the recital, I’d closed my eyes and half expected to hear his calm, steady voice.

Of course it wouldn’t be calm, nor steady. Well, I wouldn’t have expected it to have been. Not now.

I’d written the music before his death… and when I’d finished it, I knew it could only be performed as a requiem.

For him. After his death.

I regretted his death, of course.

But the music… the music…

© Lee Barnett, 2009


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.

  1. bundybob says:

    Feel Better Soon :)

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