Tag Archives: flash fiction

Surveillance

He watches the lives of others through the end of a telephoto lens.

It’s 5:42 a.m. on an ordinary suburban housing estate and he’s been squatting for the past 6 hours in an unmarked delivery van when he catches a fleeting glimpse of a window-framed face. The same face that’s appeared at the same time at the same window on each day that he’s been here.

Parked in the driveway of the house opposite, he’s taken on the role (at least in his own imagination), of ethnographer studying and recording for academic posterity the esoteric habits and rituals of an hithertofore unknown indigenous society.He records in the neatest handwriting the ephemera of the lives of others.Their daily routines timetabled in line-ruled pocket notebooks of which he keeps more than sufficient under his seat.

Outside his ethereal realm as disembodied observer, in the lives of others a telephone rings.

Its receiver is lifted. It’s followed by a rush of silence.He adjusts his earphones and enters a menacing voicelessness.The spools of his tape-recorder engage.”Click , click ” as though a conductor is tapping his baton bringing an orchestra to order.

There is to his mind a haunting absence of noise. When telephones ring and their receivers are lifted, conversations follow. Except when they don’t and he catches another fleeting glimpse of the window-framed face that he saw just a few minutes ago.

Inexplicably, the receiver is replaced,” Click ” .The tape-recorder stops.

It’s 5:52 am and across the city in a sound studio on the fourth floor of an otherwise unremarkable office building the voices he’d captured less than 24 hours ago are on playback. Their rhythms and cadences mimic the lives of others.They hear him listening to them, listening to him listening.

Observed. Recorded. Collated. Analysed.

“Click”

Flashpoint

FLASHPOINT

It’s Aiko’s birthday today. Just as the new chrysanthemum dawn begins to beckon, she awakens and her naïve sleep-filled gaze is captivated by the spreading dawn that’s only an hour or so into its ineluctable theatre of nature. Its flamingo-hued fingers are drawing back the veil of night; a clarion call if any were needed to announce that today is little Aiko’s birthday.

An auspicious day with celestial harmony and tranquility prevailing. Later, once this nascent day has matured into full morning, Aiko will show her draughtsman accurate hieroglyphs to the school-teacher and he will smile, applauding her endeavour.

Having breakfasted with special treats her Mother made and fastidiously donned her uniform, Aiko accompanies her grandfather holding his hand on their stroll to school. Looking up, far up in the early morning sky, the observant Aiko says that she can see a silver kite drifting slowly, slowly across the azure canopy. Her grandfather squints and knows it cannot be a kite. Though from that”kite” a tiny silver sliver appears to begin to somersault endlessly earthwards.

Momentarily transfixed, Aiko pulls impatiently at her grandfather’s sleeve, and in that moment he understands that all the rumours were true and that this moment would forever be separated from all the other moments and all the other times and all the other places would be separated from this time and this place by this silver kite.

Without knowing that to-day is Aiko’s birthday and she would show her classroom teacher her draughtsman perfect hieroglyphs, that silver kite brings with it an inauspicious augury. Aiko will not be celebrating her birthday today, the day when time itself will come to an end, and it will foreclose on all birthdays. On this sixth day of August. 1945.