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Showing posts from June, 2013

Art Pact 271 - The Big City

Some facts I have noticed about the big city.

Everything is big! The buildings are big! The train stations are big! The parks are big! The people are big!

Well, almost everything. Not quite everything is big, but most things are. Some things are small. The mice are much smaller in the city than in the country, and the rats too. They're timid things, things that you see out of the corner of your eye as they scurry from one hiding-place to another. You could easily miss them if you're not sure where to look for them, and even then you might not find them. It's not the same as in the country, not the same as opening a barn and going inside to find a tool that you haven't used in years. You might look in the corner of your toolbox and see six little black eyes staring back up at you - nestmates, curious to see what has come to find them while their mother is away. The bit city mice and rats are reared in burrows or nests deep in the underground of the city, in the pipes an…

Art Pact 270 - First Dragon

From my place under the duvet, safely cocooned from the seasonal but rather rude sunlight that had pushed its way into my room, I could hear the unusual sounds of people moving around in the front room. It was not strange to hear my mother up early - she was a compulsive morning person, unwilling to sympathise with the idea that anyone might not be as chipper as her at seven o'clock in the morning. But my sisters were more like me, and my father even more so - if it wasn't a work or school day there were even odds that you might walk into our house at midday and find my mother the only person out of bed, the only sounds our snoring and the chip-chip-chip of chisel on concrete coming from her studio.

But not that morning. That morning the sounds of girls voices - one loud, one soft - took the place of the noise of my mother at work. Which in itself was strange, because my mother had been compulsively working on piece after piece for several weeks by that time, her rhythms of ar…

Art Pact 269 - Dawn Battles

We fought at dawn, the smack of rough punches echoing through the quiet valley and closer to the noises of exertion and exhaustion, coughing and panting and the crunch of knuckles and jaws and other bones that we could not identify as we hammered away at them. My hands were raw from blows, my knuckles just red ruins perched atop the milk-white of my fists, and I could see the crimson streams of blood rolling down my opponent's skin, darkened by the colour beneath. We punched and punched and punched, tore and kicked at each other, we wrestled so that at one moment my thumbs were pressing into his eyes, at the next his arm was around my throat and the world was all spots and lights and the sound seemed very far away. I stamped or wriggled or punched, or more likely I did all of those things, and I was free again to continue my assault, and to continue the sanctioned assault against my own body by means of a contractor. We tore at each others's faces with our nails like wild cats…

Art Pact 268 - Spotting the bird

She was putting her washing out on the line when she saw the bird. She froze, holding the basket of wet clothes in an awkward half-way: not up  entirely and tucked between her arms and her body so that her hips could take the weight, not down on the ground so that she could relax, but a foot or so off the pacing stone of her garden path so that her back was bent over at an awkward angle and the full weight of the thing pressed uncomfortably through her shoulders and in the small of her back. The discomfort grew into pain but still she was unable to move in case she spooked the little creature.

It was about the size of her salt-shaker, and about the shape of her salt-shaker, because her salt-shaker (as many of her possessions were) was shaped like a little bird. She'd been given it ten years ago by an ex-boyfriend - well, at the time just a boyfriend, it was the intervening decade, an ignominious break-up and her marriage that had made him an ex - when she first shared with him her…

Art Pact 267 - Dust Storm

Four-fifty in the afternoon, and a black cloud of sand and dust rolled over the city, sending the inhabitants scurrying indoors. Shop shutters rolled down, windows slammed, flues were closed and those few unfortunates who had nowhere to go hunkered down in place and pulled fabric over their mouths in the hope of keeping at least the big particles out.

Joseph Anonde, who had known about storm for ten minutes before its lazily violent arrival, was counting out the money from his till at the front of his shop, every few seconds peering out through a little window he'd made out of clear wine bottles and had set into the front wall of the building.

"Can you see anyone?" said a voice behind him.

"No-one," said Joseph. "It's thick out there, like the worst night ever."

"Ha, man doesn't know about how bad nights can get," said another voice. "Man has a shop and all the money in town."

"Man has a name," Joseph said, not lo…