Writing in short bites

22nd Century Fury


(Another image challenge, the image created by the murdered artist Zdzislaw Beksinski.)

“I know all your names.”

Aristid takes out a Ex-hilatory® cigarette, lights it with a silver Zippo that lasers the end alight. Inhales. Exhales.

He stands waiting, cigarette in one hand, the ominous-looking mag-gun in the other, staring. He takes another drag, starts speaking, changes the topic:

“Poor Alexa. My dear sweet sister. My twin.”

“I don’t suppose I’d get a reprieve by admitting my crime? No?”

He takes a drag again, looks at the figure barely visible in the horizon of the Mediterranean coastline as the sun sets behind him in the sea. But Astrid knows who it is, or what it is: goggle-eyed masked, clad in leather and cobweb, astride the black motorcyle.

“Is it you, Tisiphone, avenger of murder? Megaera the jealous? Or maybe Alecto of the constant anger? Where are your snaky hair, your bloody whips? So much has been lost about the ancient days that even mere surmise could possibly be true.”

“But I do know the names, accessed via in the Ethernet of the world, the databanks of history, scribbled down in electronic archives of mythology. You three have so many of them. Eumenides. Erinyes. The Daughters of Night. The Furies.”

He grins as he finally feels the cigarette take effect, raising his serotonin levels. He takes a drag again and raises his mag-gun and puts the figure in the horizon in his sights.

“I know the scream of your engines, you know. I hear it night after night as I try to sleep, roaring down the street in a cacophony of dust, gasoline and skid marks. The beat of your wings. And I constantly taste noxious fumes on my tongue: it’s in the food I eat, in the alcohol I drink. I can’t escape it.”

“Do you appreciate my attempts to kill you? Stab you? Shoot you? Throw acid at you? Once I even had the police go after you with lawsuits and handcuffs, you know. You ignored those attempts. You littered your contempt at me by leaving them in your dust. And then you come back to haunt me again.”

“Ah Alexa, if she only knew the trouble she put me through.”

“I remember the first time I saw you: it was the same night I killed Alexa. I was so jealous then when I found out she was going to marry that Japanese boy. But after I killed her, I felt nothing: my anger emptied out like the fleshly vessel before me.”

“I dumped her body in the sea and took the yacht back to the boathouse. At the mansion, I washed the blood on my hands and face and changed clothes.”

“Afterwards, I went to Constantin’s bar to relax. As I stood there, feeling the chumb-bom beat of the Beltane music throb through me, as I watched the psychedelic light strobe thru the empty Verdigris glass in my hand, the feel of the crowd parting around me like the Red Sea… I saw you, gunning your bike through the crowd.”

He giggles, waving his gun manically. The cigarette in his other hand burns steadily down to the filter.

(First posted Monday, February 28, 2005 at 3:44 P.M.)



2 responses

  1. cornerseat

    as usual, haunting and beautiful.

    and that zippo lighter is taunting me! i’ve always wanted to buy one but am not too sure about it. this one especially:

    May 13, 2009 at 5:18 am

  2. alas, refillable lighters have a low shelf-life with me. some people have a natural reverse affinity for technology. me mum is the same with her laptops. me, it’s lighters.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

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