Sunday 23 January 2011


From somewhere in the grinding, glitching scratch of the music a deep, bass sound pounds out arrhythmically. Shadows dance in the strobing darkness, somehow holding the beat, sensing the change, a switch, a kick, a pop, a dip. They are oblivious to everything but their own existence, they are alone in a new cosmos of boundless energy and dark sound and yet, paradoxically, bound together as a single being. Hair sweeps wide, flesh glistens, sweat flies, muscles stretch and pull, feet stomp. All this in worship of a thumping, snarling god that tears its way through the air around them.

Starling stumbles, startled from her trance by the fickleness of her treacherous feet. She laughs, her damp face stretched in a grin of pure joy that ignites a playful spark in her cobalt blue eyes. She shakes her hair forward from where it has clung to her forehead, reaches up with her hands to check the bunches on the top of her head. Her hair is almost the same cobalt blue as her eyes, varying in shades as though it were her natural colour; the bunches are loose balls like half-open chrysanthemums. Her vest top is white, with a brown-grey cog pattern picked out in a different, gauzy material that reveals hints of the pale white flesh of her chest and abdomen. She tugs the short, a-line, denim skirt down, somewhat ineffectually, doing little to narrow the distance between its hem and the odd knee-high socks crumpled at the top of her old, loved boots.

She rocks a little on the balls of her feet, shifting slightly as her body finds its rhythm again, as she falls into the spirit that fills this place, as she closes her eyes and begins to dance.

Hours later she is still bouncing when the music ends and she joins her fellow grind fiends on their exodus to the real world. No one is alone when that glorious, savage industrial sound fills the air; in the music they are together in their individual release. But now the early sunlight scorches them, it separates them and scrutinizes them with its accusing glare.

Starling steps away from the others, turning down a quiet alleyway, falling apart, falling to the ground. She inspects herself in the daylight, curious, heads bobbing at an angle, interested. Someone steps around the corner and half of her startles, a flustered flurry of feathers. Then at some unspoken signal she takes to the air as a single flock. She wheels upwards in the narrow confines of the alleyway until she is above the surrounding buildings, until she is free to spread out and dance on shimmering wings across the city’s skies.

Recommended reading: Maps by Dee Harding

Startling Shifts in Form: I talk shape-shifting and ambiguity.


  1. Some great descriptive imagery in here John. Well done.

  2. Thank for coming back, Steve. Glad you like it. =)

  3. I like the details of the dance that combines nicely with the surreality of the starlings at the end.

    Nice how you linked this with the recommended reading.

  4. Thanks Aidan, micro/ flash fiction is a passion of mine and when I come across something really good I like to share. =)