100-Word Challenge

In our latest workshop we gave our writers a 100-word excerpt and task them with finishing the scene in just 100 words themselves.

Here is the excerpt they were given:

Silvo groaned and opened his eyes slowly. The three monstrous dragons were amassing from every side, their huge shadows enveloping him. The blow he had been dealt had not only knocked him out long enough for the dastardly warlock to summon the dragons but had also severed our brave knight from his trusty sword. Warm droplets of blood trickled down Silvo’s forehead. The dragon to his right was red and winged, the dragon to his left was green and horned. The dragon behind him cast the largest shadow of all and its warm breath was encroaching upon Silvo’s neck. Suddenly….

 

 And here is what they came up with:


 

SUPER DRAGON HAZE

The vapes were charged and ready. Silvio preferred old-fashioned cigars, the fat phallic stumps of carbon; but he was being hospitable to his candy-crush dragons, whose penchant for vapes could be traced back to the saturated valleys of their infancy. Silvio matched flavours with the colours of each dragon: pastoral apples for the green one, cherry-cola haze for the red one. Together they smoked, each warm breath mingling delightfully in the air. Logos for corporate sports brands flashed like religious symbols in the darkness and suddenly the lights of the mall flicked on, drowning among dead muzak.

/ DJ Misty

[word count: 100]

 


 

PEE-EW!

Silvo turned around and shouted at the dragon behind him.

“Woah man, you need some tic-tacs or something ‘cause your breath stinks!”

The dragon, looking dejected sat back on his haunches and huffed a mighty puff. “You think so?” he asked glumly “I’ve been trying to eat healthier you know?”

The other two dragons had come put their wings around the largest’s shoulders.

“It’s okay dude,” said Silvo. “Here, try this.” Silvo ripped off a branch of a nearby mint bush and gave it to the dragon who ate it and instantly perked up.

He smiled toothily, “Wow, cheers man.”

 

/Tricky Dicky

[word count: 100]


 

LET’S GET IT ON

…the green dragon transformed into a bottle of champagne, the red one into a rose, and the large shadow cast behind Silvo fell as a blanket at his feet. From a cloud of smoke appeared an Adonis-like man with long flowing locks. His rippling bare chest was exposed and Silvo suddenly felt the strength of his ‘sword’ return to him.

“My name is Fabio and you are my hidden desire,” breathed the sexy sexy man.

Silvo tossed his armor aside and Fabio popped the champagne and then they lay down on the black silk blanket and had hot passionate sex.

 

/MC Bubble

[word count: 100]

Flash Fiction February Submissions

As you may or may not have noticed, it is no longer February. But never fear! GUCW’s favourite monthly challenge is not all over and done with just yet.

As we get to compiling our anthology we are still in need of flash fiction stories for many of our daily prompts. So if any of you still have some work in the pipeline you have until mid-April to submit your stories for the anthology.

As well of stories we would love submissions of your artwork to accompany any pieces or simply artwork to decorate the anthology. You can use the prompts on the flash fiction page for inspiration but there will be a general “kitsch” feel to the anthology (-think cheesy 90’s pop).

Submit your work to: gucreativewritingsociety@gmail.com

Find the prompts here: Flash Fiction February 2k17

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!



**Days/ Prompts that haven’t been written on yet:**

22/02/17

Non-binary, pride,

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24/02/17

Inconceivable, Iridescent,

“You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”- Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

 

27/02/17

Negligible,  Damask,  

“This world that we’re a-livin’ in, is mighty hard to beat; You git a thorn with every rose, but ain’t the roses sweet!”- Frank Lebby Stanton

A Hidden Spirit

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The children were always making wild claims for the magic of the garden.

“Look, we found fairies!” they gasp, brandishing handfuls of glitter that bounce of the sparks in their eyes. Feigning amusement at such games is one aspect of parenthood I don’t think I’ll ever perfect.

“I wish you wouldn’t come in with muddy boots on,” I hear myself echoing my mother, her voice querulous and knackered, coming from long ago; a dusk-lit kitchen, the smell of shepherd’s pie.

“But Daddy, fairies!”

Samantha is tugging on Tim’s arm so hard it’s difficult to tell if he’s enthusiastic or just wincing. I concede to the whole performance and find myself led up the path to the back of the garden, noting the places where serious weeding needs to be done. When was the last time I ventured in this far? Ever since Emma left there seemed no point to mowing the lawn; the children love the grass when it’s long. Sometimes, washing the dishes at the window I’ll watch them, pushing each other and laughing. Tim’ll come in like clockwork, ten minutes later, eyes streaming with hay-fever.

“Right kids what is it I’m supposed to be seeing?”

“Fairies, you big oaf.”

“Fairies, huh? What do fairies look like then?” Wearily, I crouch to their level, the old knees stiff from last night’s squash match (Michael swamped me with that backhand of his).

This time, Tim pipes up. “Lights. They’re lights.” It’s dusk and the garden is full of shadows. When they were tiny, I used to take them up here, hand in hand with the torch. We’d have a fire and tell ghost stories till Emma called us inside, pronouncing it too chilly to just sit. She wouldn’t even try the fire.

“What kind of lights?” It’s cold enough now. Summer almost over, the promise of autumn frost, school uniforms to iron…

“You have to take a picture.”

“Come on, Daddy’s getting tired now.” I straighten up.

“No really. You take a picture and then the photo shows them up. They’re ever so tiny.” Samantha with her matter-of-fact tone, a hallmark of Emma’s.

Tim scrambles up the ash tree and whips a polaroid camera out of the birdhouse. I marvel at the way he leaps down and lands like a cat on both feet.

“Where’d you get that?” They exchange a glance which I take as suspicious, significant.

“You have to be very still,” Samantha warns me. Obediently I stand there in the dusk, straining my eyes to see. Beyond the garden fence, beyond the slope and the rooftops and chimneys, Emma and I are up at the top of Kildoon Hill, a blanket stretched before us, her face bathed in violet starlight. Or maybe it was the town that was bathed, the way the bluish dusk mixed with all the flickers of those amber streetlamps. We’re eating sugared strawberries, because it’s summer and everything’s ahead of us.

“Daddy! You’re not paying attention!” Samantha snaps.

“OK OK I am now. I’m watching.” After a nod from his sister, Tim creeps forward. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be looking at. There’s a swarm of midges clustering around the nettles, whose ominous stalks are taller than Tim himself. Tim lunges forward at once and takes a snap. The flash floats briefly in the air, like a white glowstick spilt underwater, slowly melting away into nothing. The darkness rearranges. Jackdaws rustle in the leaves above us.

Excitedly, Tim shuffles over to me and holds out the polaroid while the picture develops.

“We saw something about this in a book,” Samantha explains, “how cameras can capture a hidden spirit. Who knew we had fairies right here, in our garden? It’s a remarkable discovery.”

The picture pulls out fully. Tim hands it to me and watches, nose dripping eagerly, while I examine it. There’s the sinuous shapes of the shrubbery, the black slant of the shed. Most of the image, however, is taken up by a cloud of tiny lights, pulsing in my shaky vision like silver orbs, millioning gleefully. I’m not sure if it disappoints me that the children are enraptured by a throng of glowing midges, caught momentarily as fairies in their camera flash. I think about what Emma would say, anxious about the questionable origins of the camera itself, about Samantha’s magpie-eye for shiny things out of reach in shops. Isn’t there a film about this, two girls faking photos of fairies in their garden? What are they trying to prove?

“Well?” The kids are impatient. I’m impatient too, waiting for my own reaction. Samantha rolls her eyes.

“Look, if you’re worried about the camera, it’s just a present from Mum.”

“Oh.” The force of this blow is surprising. I glance over at the midges, still humming away beside us, indifferent to the available flesh of our faces. Tim’s expression was devastating.

“You don’t care,” he whimpered. I tuck the polaroid photo in the breast-pocket of my shirt.

“Aw kids, of course I do.” I draw him towards me, folding him tight the way I’ve seen him hugging the neighbour’s dog, craving that sense of what I’d forgotten. His hair smells of grass and it needs a wash. Samantha looks bemused at our clumsy embrace. She’s pretending to play with the camera now, but I catch her eye without meaning to. There’s a spark there, a flash of something I know is mine. We both smile and I think she half believes me.

Maybe that’s the magic of the garden.

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompts: exposure, <photo>)

The Life and Times of Fabio

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You might see this picture floating around GU Creative Writing Society today. Its the prompt today for Flash Fiction February and the banner for our Romance & Erotica Workshop. This is of course because today is Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and romance and this picture oozes sensuality. However this picture is far more than an ode to wine, good hair and adorable kittens, the man in this photo has played an integral role in Creative Writing Society’s special celebration of February the 14th for the last 4 years.

This is Fabio. Often dubbed ‘the original male model’, Fabio came to fame at the age of just 14 when two photographers approached him in a gym and told him he should become a model. Oozing with natural charisma and rippling good looks (not to mention his galloping abs) Fabio set a new standard for the ideal man. It was not long before he was approached by author’s of erotica fiction to feature on the covers of their novels.

That is why Fabio is so important to us, he is the face that launched a thousand fictions. The statuesque prowess and heroic demeanour inspired writers to mould their characters to  fit Fabio’s ample dimensions. This man is an idol, the living embodiment of the narrative muse in action. Without Fabio great epics of romance, fantasy and love would never have come to be. And without Fabio Creative Writing Society would not have such a glittering icon upon which to centre its best-loved workshop.

So if you like good hair and wine (lots and lots of wine) then come along to our Romance & Erotica Workshop but if you like Fabio, then please let him inspire you as he has inspired so many others and write us a story for Fabio. (Send us your work here.)

 

 

Source: Fabio in his own words.

 

 

Images of Fabio on the cover of Erotica Novels:

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Kernel

Kernel 

You would have given anything to trade these white walls for the impossible depths of the forest. Sometimes, when time refused its submission to the laws of physics, you applied your third eye to the blankness, trying to conjure the trees and the passages of mosses and curious flowers. The child who found comfort in the smells of peat and fern, the pollen of trees.

“Water?” The voice at the door. Sometimes, reflections shifted along the metal grate and you mistook them for rats. There was a reason for the nibble marks at the corner of your bed sheet.

Back in the summer of your most significant year, you spent all your days in the forest. She taught you it all: how to use moss to squeeze out drinking water, how to make garlands from branches of ivy, how to select edible mushrooms, to pick special berries which made you sick for days in a wild coma. Nobody cared where either of you were. The first time with the berries you had tangled yourselves in a fall of leaves and lay there for what felt like a week. The changes from dawn to dusk, twilight to midnight, startled your heightened senses. Dark lashes upon gold would gorge your eyeballs. She found you endlessly hilarious in a way nobody has since. Her limbs around you like tree roots, securing. She was three years older; she knew everything. She would talk about the early days when the country was ravished by conflicts. It was a fairy tale, a terrible fiction cloaked in the dust of her accent, its gravel, its distance. Impossible to predict that such a thing could happen again.

“Water?” The door banged open, a bowl was set down. A shadow turned and left.

Sometimes in dreams you’re under a waterfall. The deepest grove in the forest. The sun from above refracts and sparkles in the downward surge, which you see from beneath as a converging spiral of quartz-bright light. When you wake the white of the walls is blinding. The water tastes metallic. The bruise round your eyes never heals; its permanence is the nightshade power of poisoned safflower, a strong red tint that blurs your vision. He comes in the morning to beat it again, beating the sight out of you. You focus on the white, on the waterfall, the shimmering distance of the forest.

Your ribs have been cracked. Your spine twisted like a thread of rope pulled tight in a coil, each knot clicking out of place, screech after scratch. The searing quality of this pain you have channelled back into the white. The edges shiver. Your skull has been cracked against the cistern. He holds your hair in a fist, calls it torture. You have no answers. You are only white.

There is a hollow inside you. A child inside you. She is cold and quivers in the bowers of pines, her skin scored raw by the coarsest hide. She listens for the girl who would tell her the secrets. She has not been broken; she lives in the hollow like the seed of an oak tree, her breathing remembering a dream of eternity.

One thing he cannot crack.

She taught her how to tie a necklace from dark elastications of pitch and sap. The little acorn pendant hidden in the crest of her neck, a bead between two chest bones. How she relished those chest bones, the unbroken curves, the bead of the acorn, impeccably shelled. The child inside her, cold, quivering, alone?

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompt: acorn)

The Concrete Warrior

The Concrete Warrior

He peels the stripping from an incense stick, with such precision as to suggest it’s been his life’s goal to discover what was hidden by sawdust paste and sandalwood slivers. It turns out to be a mere bamboo reed, ancient tool of inscription. There’s a sense of the inevitable here. What good would it do to now lick the coating? It tastes of terrible regrets. His concentration lacks thrift; thrives on the excessive.

You could cure depression, he argued in last semester’s essay, by drinking from city rivers. The amount of oestrogen in the water was warping school after school of fish; contraceptives left the body in women’s piss and slowly diluted their chemicals through the current. Not to mention the lithium deposits, the Prozac mass surreptitiously making sediment of riverbeds, embedding its serenity in sand particles, gemstones, fish eggs. Pesticides were supposed to remove residues, but inevitably contributed to further contamination. He drinks freely from the river, drinks like he’s making a statement. Back at the tower block, the others survive on stolen Lucozade, but he maintains a healthy faith in l’eau naturelle.

His skin, they often said, has that uncanny glow. Like it’s been purified with butane, the acne blasted away. Unnatural. Not sleeping, he wrote screeds about the lovely truth to be found in raiding bins. No other method could reveal the secrets of our governing corporations. The titles were varied and strange:

Haunted Monopolies: How Our Supermarkets Invoke the Waning of History
Circuits of Trolleys: What Your Shopping Basket Says about Fertility and Self-Governance
Euro Trash Girl: How Nightclubs are Hotting Up the Biosphere
Junk Hook: Washing Up Culture on the Brink of Extinction
Alice’s Mirror: Looking Back on Our Selves through the Broken Glass of Suburban Play-parks 

Perhaps there wasn’t a quick logic to his method but the tutors seemed to like it. Scholarships promised like the neon lights of a Vegas strip, but he managed to resist the allure. He wanted to remain digging deep in the dirt; could never see himself imprisoned, shimmering, in the ivory tower, crowned with the laurels of knowledge. He knew his work was utter sludge, the bullshit pulled straight from the earth and recycled with choice and sensitive words.

Morphine pulses through his sleepy veins, night and day. He snaps the stick in his mouth. There’s a new immediacy to his presence of being. Stay in the moment, he scribbles, it’s the only way to resist the messianic pull of the past as it threatens to sandblast every particle of your purified being. Switch off your smartphone, before it’s too late. Toss that transient saccharine pleasure away. Crunch the coke can to cut your mouth.

When the riots broke out, many youths came past the tower block on their passage of looting. The sky crackled with ersatz thunder, which he concocted himself from the safety of an 8th floor window, occasionally dropping M&Ms on the crazed kids below. Some of them relinquished their grip on the stolen televisions, the screens of which smashed on the concrete. Others waved their fists with invisible placards, making wild proclamations about the vengeance of the earth. By sundown, everyone feasted on pizza, leaving the cardboard boxes to grease the streets. He waited until their cries died down then left the building to pick up the mess. Single-handedly, he cleaned his street. Not out of pride, or civil duty; but a robotic sense of necessity.

The incense wafts through the 8th floor window. He assembles his collection of needles. There’s an archive of noise he hasn’t yet tapped, an ecstatic whole that would affirm itself in the choir of angry shouts. He feels their riots at night, remembers the orgiastic disarray of society as something he once needed but now didn’t. The tower block seems to rise, its roof of concrete block threatening the fiery tips of the sun. Eventually, he knew this would all be molten. The sun would fall. He’d bite off each piece of the candy necklace, marking the end of another day. The sugar would mix with the heroin in his veins and he’d feel the calm come over him, wave after wave; the residue waste of the river washing up, swirling its gurgles in his seashell ears, threatening the spillage of sewage, the sludge-work of words, the colliding extravagance of year after year. The leftovers, the children. The silt of the earth, rising and winning.

/ Maria Sledmere

(FFF prompts: underwater photo, riot)

For a Kingdom

They say that full fathom five a goddess lies, in a shark-bit sepulchre worn by waves.
They say that she hangs in chains there, locked away in the deepest of dungeons.
They say she waits, for something.
For someone.
And they are right.
The crown prince was thrown, amulet of office and all, over the cliff and down
To find his own way back from the storm-tossed sea. He did not find his way back,
In the end, but his way forward.
He was dragged down to the darkest depths, where the sun does not deign to light,
Anyone’s way, but leaves that duty to the things better suited to it.
The Amulet his father gave him, to be passed on to his queen when he was a man grown,
Was stolen away from him to lie amongst pearls, another sunken treasure.
When he found air and light again he was amid candles and stained glass, and the
Soft clanking of thin chains.
His amulet lay on the stone before him, and when he snatched it up he found himself
Staring into eyes like bubbles of jet, over rough coral lips and a jagged shark’s teeth grin.
There she knelt, chained in her own temple. The Nameless Queen, cast from heaven,
Her name never to be spoken, not after her little war so shook the earth.
“What do you seek?” she said, in a voice like clacking shells. “What sad pilgrim makes
visitation here? There are no gods this deep save those pulled apart by crabs.”
“I seek my birthright,” he said, clutching his amulet so hard his hand bled. “My kingdom.”
“What would you give for it?”
“Anything.” He grasped the necklace. Responding to his unspoken resolve, the chain slid open.
“Then give me your hand. Slip it through my chains, and be bound here with me. Give me
The life taken, the soul stolen. Give me the love, fill the void that binds me here.And so bind the
world above.”
The amulet wound over her chains, dangling around her neck. “What will I call you, my lady?”
“A man might call his lady love, he might call her his sweetest dove, but I…I was called…I was called
harpy and I was called whore, I was called to by sailors who yearned for the shore…I was called
by the hermits who prayed themselves mine, but now you shall call me, I shall be…Undine.”
The temple shook. The windows broke, and water poured in in torrents.
“What would you have of me, my lord husband?”
“A riot, first. A rebellion. A war. A conquest.” said the prince, as water lapped at his ankles.
“A kingdom.”

 

by Thomas Boyle

(prompts: riot, necklace, sunken temple)

Starlight Smoke

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Starlight Smoke

Six packs. He slips them neatly in his pockets, stubs a cigarette out on the concrete, orange tip entering a galaxy of gum and gravel. Stars are incongruous tonight, too much warmth in the air; there’s something about a star that suggests silvery shivers and winter. Pieces of ice, dead shards of light.

No less than ten minutes till the bus comes, but for whatever reason he lets it pass when it does, trundling by in hot dark smog.

He wanders all the way up the high street, cuts down two alleys, across the park and up to the close along near Tesco’s. Takes twice as long. Ash stains on the buttons where folk have stubbed out fags. He can feel the crinkle of their fingerprints as he pushes the buzzer for flat 6/3. There’s always a delay; he pictures her listening to music under the sheets with her legs swinging long in the air. Smell of burnt pizza and marijuana. Sweat. Such a walk up the stairs.

– Hey.

– Hey yourself.

They kiss so casual now. He’s perfected it on the stage of street corners; the quick nip before she twirls away.

The flat’s in total shadow. She hovers in the doorway like a moth, briefly attracted to the light in the hall, before ushering him in. This is the moment he’d like to melt his tongue in the heat of her throat, but they don’t do that anymore. The walls don’t bear their bodies like before. They’re fixed to the ground, a distance between them.

Some kind of lo-fi dub thrums from her room. The vibrations stir in his gut.

– Kitchen?

– Sure.

Whir of kettle steam. Dirt-rich grounds of coffee. He watches her fuss in the cupboards, looking for mugs. Pulls out Silk Cuts.

– Want one?

– I thought you were gonna quit.

– Six more. Packs that is. Jason bought them in duty-free, seemed a shame to waste.

– I wish you wouldn’t in here. The landlady…

He lights it anyway, then lights another one on the glow of the first. Passes it to her. Electric twitch as they brush fingertips. She takes the longer drag.

– Damn.

– It’s been some day.

– I’ll say.

He watches her float by the cooker. There’s a 27% chance she’ll cook rice and chilli if he sits tight long enough. The smoke swirls up in wispish clouds from her mouth as she fingers a bottle of wine in lieu of the forgotten coffee. In ten minutes, the lipstick will dry with a reddish stain and the soft skin will peel and crackle, plastic. She’s prettier that way, a bit of a bee-sting. Later, her hair will drape over the sheets, tobacco scent gleamed with grease. In the morning, by the window, she’ll comb out the aroma. The nicotine mist comes off her as he reads her aura. Under her nails, skin flakes and fridge crystals. Suddenly, he wants to kiss her.

Steam from the kettle. Shuffling of slippers; the flatmate practicing speeches next door.

– Can’t keep her grounded, that one.

– I’ll say.

Her mouth breathes out greyish vapours when she talks. Soon, he’s feeling his hand in her hair, its sticky rivulets. His vision slipping out of focus. Somehow she’s with him on the chair and the candlelight flickers. Tiny particles spill like glitter against the window. There’s a sign on the wine saying ‘Recipe for Lust’. Together, entwined like this, they can only combust.

/ Maria Sledmere

(FFF prompts: galaxy, cigarette)

 

White Tulips

White Tulips 

I’m half in love with the man who comes with the flowers. Every Wednesday afternoon he’s here, when the coffee cups are cleared and we’re waiting in limbo for five o’clock and the changeover and the evening folk. He wears grubby fleeces that my ma would sniff at, sometimes a baseball cap; but it’s okay, it’s turned the right way. He doesn’t speak much. Actually I was scared he was English or something, but then one day I took the tulips off him (they were white tulips, they lasted longer than a week so I took a few home when nobody was looking). When our hands brushed he looked up and said, all Glaswegian like, Will I just get the payment at the bar? like he’d not been here a million times before and like maybe he just wanted something to say. I looked back and smiled and I was still smiling when I realised I should reply and so said Aye.

It’s his last day today. I’m hiding in back of house because I don’t want to see him and be sad. J is texting me asking if I want to come over to his tonight cos he has a waterbed now and a new Xbox game, like I care about either of those things. Go on, speak to him. My manager’s taking glee in my discomfort as always but it’s only cos she loves me. Just ask him for his number. She brushes my hair through to make it shiny.

I’ve never asked a boy for his number in my life. Like, I’ve never needed to. It’s never occurred to me. Guys watch me like I’m something on the screen and they can’t draw their eyes away. Creeps are everywhere, you just have to pick the good ones. They’re always nice at first but then it’s boring. I never think of what comes next, just what’s on offer the now. All those WhatsApp notifications and the dirty pictures they send me—like a girl wants to look at a thing like that, mushrooming in darkness and ugliness. My manager calls it Ego.

There’s never enough time to sort through the messages, to sift out the good ones. I could have a man for every night of the week if I wanted. But who would?

I don’t even know his name. I used to have this daydream where we’d be walking around B&Q together—you know the outdoor garden bit—and every now and then he’d stop to tell me what things were called. He knew the names of all the flowers and shrubs and sometimes the trees. He’d say words like cascades and ovals and crescents, gesturing to the jungle of stuff around us. I didn’t care about the names but I liked that he wasn’t quiet or awkward like other boys and that he would just talk and talk so I could listen. We’d go for hot chocolates afterwards and maybe he’d meet my granny who would like him a lot cos he always says Thanks and Take Care. He’d bring her tulips, white ones, like the ones he gave me.

He’s leaving out the door now with the other girl from the florist whose fleece matches his. They’re carrying the boxes of last week’s flowers, with the shrivelled tips and the silver gravel and that weird green thing they call oasis. The bell for the kitchen is ringing but I wait till he’s all the way out the door.

Take Care, I whisper, hating myself.  I enter the kitchen and my manager pulls me aside.

Here.

What is it?

I flip open the card and there’s a clipart picture of Robert Burns roses in a vase. The name of the florist, an email, a number.

Never too late, she says, brushing past me with the confidence I want.

/ Maria Sledmere

(fff prompts: vase)

Flash Fiction: Now You’re Gone

 

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~ * Source * ~

[This piece was inspired by two workshop prompts: BREAKDOWN and SHARP]

Now You’re Gone

It starts like this: thrum after thrum, the slick build of a Eurodance tempo that seems to shower serotonin on my brain. I always found it heart-breaking, that cute wee detail: I’ve been waiting here by the phone…

It was our favourite song! We shared it with a fondness reserved for the act of splitting an ecstasy tablet; pirouetting our way across the continent, spilling our limbs over a thousand discos in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin. They were even playing this tune in Prague! Being a cultural city doesn’t preclude a penchant for crappy Swedish ~trance lite~ and holy shit did we milk it. The whole summer, Jenny on my shoulders, fist pumping to that tune. So fucking beautiful. Cut me open and I’ll bleed Jagerbombs.

Last stop: Magaluf. End of the trail. Our livers ached and sleep kept dragging us back into absence. On the train, I dreamt of a dark forest where I could drink from a lake of Lucozade. Electrolytes restoring my sanity. I woke up to Jenny pulling on my arm, trying to steal my mp3 player so she could drown out the chants from a carriage of rowdy Geordies.

I’m coming up again in a strip club where girls in wigs are sliding their oiled-up bodies round poles. All those sensuous serpents. Everywhere you look: another girl, a different coloured wig. Jenny finds it hilarious, throws fivers at them as if our precious euro funds were just Monopoly money.

“Show us your vagina!” she shrieks in broken Spanish.

Just when I reach the high point, the DJ cracks out ‘Now You’re Gone’. Jenny is scrabbling for my shoulders but I push her away; this high is entirely mine. I’m deeper in the crowd now and the bass pounds through me like I’m in the belly of a whale.

That’s when it strikes me. That A minor. I never noticed it before, but now it’s an irretrievable spasm of sadness. Cuts me wide open. I’m spilling my guts up, hurling on the dancefloor. Pot noodles shoot from my throat like I’ve been harbouring a nest of worms. Everyone’s shouting and parting, backing away from me. I’m literally owning the dancefloor, triumphant in my puddle of vomit. Now you’re gone……the way that A minor hits you! Belting it out! All this time I thought there was a sharp in there; by god I was wrong!

My brain was wrong. In that moment, seriously wrong.

Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
Now you’re gone
I realised———-

What is air? Breathing, breathing, a word that means breathing! Are we hitting the breakdown yet, the transcendent solo where he really wrecks those decks? I gasp and a girl shoves me back, the sick still dripping from my teeth. I’m back in that forest. Jenny, help me?

I’m Basshunter. I’ve literally become Basshunter. The sexy Swedish motherfucker, wow. Look how clean and smooth my face is. The stars shout back how cool I am. The dance poles are now trees, taller than lampposts. They’re everywhere. Yep, a fucking forest. What do I do? I’m a Basshunter. What does one do as Basshunter? I guess I should… hunt bass.

Bass is everywhere. Bass is the timbre of the trees breathing, the earth turning, plates shifting. Bass is the sound of bees laughing at wasps dying in saccharine cesspits of jam. Bass is a fish an old man once held up with a knife stuck clean through it. Saltwater, tongue-bitten tears. My mother spitting in her whisky. Jenny with the stereo cranked up in the car. Bass is an instrument banging against my chest. Bass is anchoring the melody, drumming a gong of oil from my heart. Bass is where we end, we start. Jenny? Jenny…?

I end up in the base. They call it a base, but I know it’s a cell. They have taken me; they have based me. Debased me. Everything pounds and it’s so trashy, ecstatic; one day someone will make a PowerPoint out of my misery. Jenny, come back to me? Just one little text? I’ll go crazy…what’s the next line? Now you’re away, without your face…?

[ [ [ Eat it up man, it’s just the bass ] ] ]

/ M. Sledmere (dj misty)