Electric Blue


Electric Blue

The bedroom swirls in plumes of dust. This is what she loves: spinning and lifting her skirt, eyes rolling back in mock ecstasy. Nobody has entered her room for a long time. The curtains have been drawn since April. In here, there was no summer.

The music skips, judders between trance and breakbeat. It is maddening, a trip of rhythm, of time signatures. She loves it. She spins and lifts her skirt. 4/4 drums and looping synths. Eyeshadow electric blue meeting the glow coming from the corner, by the bed. She will let no stranger into her bed. The glow is unnatural. The sheets are pristine, though everything else is trash. Broken crockery, smashed glass. She cuts her feet as she twirls and leaps, but feels nothing. She is waiting for the cry on the other side.

Blood spatters everywhere, quietly on the carpet.

She rises for her first laugh. Her makeup so blue, her lips drained translucent. This is her crazed performance. She is like the atoms dancing in space, aligning their beads into exquisite shapes. Her laughter is like the bending of glass, so close it might break. But still, she laughs. Eyes opening and closing, still she laughs. Her body the bending of glass.

Turns to the corner, the emanating glow. Unnatural. The light moves in flickers, as she does. She is like a sprite of glitched pixels. The music is fading, as she does.

A voice comes into focus. Sound waves expand and compress.

There is a screen, and she is dancing. She is dancing for the screen, casting her shadow on the sound beams of a hologram. She flickers. The screen spills out electric blue.

She blinks, she flickers.

–Maria Sledmere

(Flash Fiction February prompts: misaligned, breakthrough, Kate Bush- Running Up That Hill)


Dreams in Cerise

He awoke from cerise dreams of her blushing cheeks to find the water had taken him at last. The sun bore down upon his bare chest, warming him with the sadness of a knowing mortality. He had been told that there were five days left, just as the trees in Arden had five leaves left, but the fact that he had been tricked by prophecy was of no consequence to him now. The forest was far away from him and so was she; with her voice becoming the wind itself, blistering his cheeks as they sank into the sea.

He remembers this moment with vague precision; as a string of words might assemble into a glitchy mass of pixels. He has written it down many times and tried to understand it. The tide of wireless has brought him streams of emails; emails from the time to come; messages that he might make sense of. In the small hours of the morning he types her letters about what has happened to him. He dreads being sucked into the past again; for the future is certainly a strange place, but he is only just starting to get used to it. He sees himself in flux and knows that she will be much older now. Dead, perhaps. He imagines all the particles of her earthly body slowly dissolving into the soil, mingling with the insects that take their homes from the filth and the litter left by humans. And all the time, the stars in the sullen sky echo a warning.

He lives in a world of barren land and beaten trees, of snowfalls that soften God into the molten endlessness of his oceans. The survivors who live on their tiny islands, connected only by their computers. In his heart he returns, frequently, to the wormhole which brought him to this future. In its memory he sees himself brilliant and glimmering. He cannot bear it: the pain of atoms tearing shreds from the world’s membrane, the layers of his skin. But he knows about the Sun: she too hurts, fading as she falls closer towards him in the whitening sky. Somehow, in his loneliness, he finds this presence comforting. For in the mist of her rays, and the bleeping dust, the signals are always reverberating.

(Prompts: ecology, technology, Shakespeare)

by Maria Rose Sledmere