Sunday 26 December 2010

Fire and Eternity

She sits alone, and still the flames do not die. They lick at the air behind her, fine feathers of hungry orange-red sprouting from her spine and shoulders like wings. The gentle wind blows them slowly sideways as she sits, watching.

Below her, people move about. She could be amongst them, and feel nothing, or she can sit here, and watch them from afar, and feel. And burn.

It is no choice for her. To feel nothing is a kind of walking death; the flames would cool and die and she would never hurt someone again. But no one deserves to live like that, and so she lives apart, and burns, alone.

She perches here, on a rock that overlooks everything, an impossible pinnacle at once so far away and at the same time just beyond reach. Her feet dangle over the edge, she rests her chin in the palm of her hand and she smiles a bittersweet smile as she looks down, watching.

She watches them live, and she lives, while the flames flicker and softly burn behind her, within her.

(Flaming Metaphors: John Xero's thoughts)

Sunday 19 December 2010

Lost and Found

Sorry, no fiction this week.

Not because I don’t have any, but to serve as a bookmark between chapters. And to make an exciting announcement. (Exciting for me, exciting for the Xeroverse... ;) )

So this post is something of a placemarker. It marks the end of ‘Lost and Found’, which began with This Unholy Place and ended with So This is Christmas. Odd that what was primarily SF and Fantasy micro-fiction should be book-ended by two pieces of horror.

These 24 stories represented an experiment in finding myself, in rediscovering the writer in me who had become somewhat lost... I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring these strange worlds as much as I have. =)

Next week a new chapter begins, new worlds await.

There's a mixture of some pieces I was working on over a year ago (for a project that never happened) and some new pieces. It is provisionally titled Torn Pages.

And while I’ve got you...

I also blog about writing: processes, inspiration and theories: here.

Two more pieces of my micro-fiction were published on MicroHorror last month.

And the announcement... this January Xeroverse 101 launches. One word of title, one hundred words of story. Every Wednesday. *^_^*

Thanks for reading,

John Xero.

Sunday 12 December 2010

So this is Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas...

‘Twas’? Really? And they say grammar nowadays is bad...

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, in your living room, the night before Christmas. Santa Claus, sitting in your favourite chair. You know, the faded green one you bought when you first moved out of your mum’s (aged twenty-three...); the one you had your first spliff in (check out the hot-rock burns); the one you were sitting in when you got into the top 1000 on the guitar hero leaderboards, for Ziggy Stardust, second proudest moment of your life; the one you had sex with your wife’s younger (slimmer) sister on while they were both so drunk on absinthe (and passed out)... proudest moment of your life, you sad fuck.

So Santa Claus, as I said, sitting in your favourite chair. Red and white suit, fuzzy trim, bushy white beard, shit-eating grin on his face. And your wife? On her knees, on the floor, slumped against the chair (your favourite chair). It’s been a tiring night for her, all that screaming. But that’s what’s great about this place, remember, the space, you never have to hear your neighbours. They never have to hear you either, or your wife, no matter how loud she was.

And your wife’s face? Where? Well... that would be telling. You don’t get that last look, that last look is mine, to keep, forever.

You can keep the chair though.

You’ll never get that stain out, but hey, all those memories...

Sunday 5 December 2010

This Bedtime Story

"Devils,” She insisted. “They climb from him at night. They tear their way out from inside, from his belly and his brains. Poor Mr. Tuffington, ripped to shreds, stuffing everywhere.”

“Now, now, Audrey. They’re just nightmares. Do you want a night light, like little girls?”

“But I hear them, ripping him apart.”

“It’s probably just squirrels on the roof, dear. You get your over-active imagination from your father.”

“When is daddy coming home?”

“Soon, dear, soon. Would you like me to take Mr. Tuffington away? To protect you from the creatures.”

“The devils.”

“Where did you learn a word like that, anyway?”

“Daddy told me. In a dream. I have to look after Mr. Tuffington; I have to put him together again every morning so that daddy can find his way back.”

“What a strange thing to say, dear.”

“Daddy told me he needs Mr. Tuffington, he said he can hear him singing me to sleep. He said he can follow the songs home.”

Janet stared at her daughter. She definitely had her father’s imagination. Janet feared her daughter would one day follow in his footsteps.

“I’m just afraid, mummy.”

“I know dear, I know.”

“Sometimes I can’t find all of the stuffing.” Audrey began to cry on her mother’s shoulder, “I’m afraid because one day I might not find enough to put Mr. Tuffington back together again.”

(John Xero talks ambiguity)