THE FIREFLIES

‘The fireflies will take you there.’

She heard the voice, strong and determined through the muddling noise of her day. It had travelled with her since she’d left her house that morning, echoes on the wind and fingers on the back of her neck.

“Stop that now please.” She said, startling an old lady passing her by. She turned away and hurried up the street, mindful of the ice on the path. The first big winter frost had settled in the night, and the overcast clouds threatened a grey and cold day ahead.

‘Come listen….’

That voice again, buzzing around her head like real fireflies. She stopped in the middle of the path outside a small coffee shop. Her warm breath exhaling in mist around in her in the coldness of the morning.

“I mean it.” she said, though there was no malice in her voice. She turned abruptly, and entered the small shop which was partially filled with people eager for their coffees on their way to work. She stood looking up at the board, her mind in two places. She looked at her watch and realised she was late for her interview. Time for a coffee at least, I’m only human she thought. She approached the counter, smiling at the man behind it; all smiles and eager to take her order. There was suddenly a huge creaking sound as if something were breaking. She looked up to find the entire roof being pulled back, opening like a can of beans.

She gasped as the seams of the room dripped in a starry gold dust, exposing the sky above them. But it was not the bleak winter clouds that she had seen outside, but a glorious sun baked blue haze smiling at her through the opening above. She staggered back from the counter, knocking into the person behind.

“Hey, watch it.” He said, unimpressed with her foot landing on his shoe, and clearly apathetic to the sight of the roof now missing above their heads. She glanced around her, the whole shop casting their confused eyes on her and not the sight above her heads.

“What? Oh Sorry!” she mumbled before flying out of the shop, letting the door smash behind her.

Out into the cold and muddling crowd, she tried to catch her breath. That was a new one she thought as she glanced back inside, watching as the people careful sipped their coffees as their own little world’s continued to turn. She felt their eyes on her still, so she moved off down the road in the same direction she had come.

“The fireflies are waiting.” She heard once more in her ears. Quietly this time, like whispers of a ghost. She shook this off and hurried quicker, making her way as fast as she could back to her apartment.

Inside she locked the door forcefully, though she knew nothing from outside was the problem. She turned around and with a flash of light the floor beneath was transformed into sand. The apartment dripped away, with a sea lapping the shore where her sofa used to be. The sky above exploded in a million sparks as if the stars were coming down from the sky. Fireflies buzzed around her, tingling her skin and whispering in her ear.

“Heena booraa, conallou.” They sung.

She smiled, she couldn’t help herself. The beach at night beneath her feet, the smell of the sea on the breeze that flowed so softly and silently down into her lungs. She walked forward and dipped her toe into the sea, her black work shoes finding a bit of sea foam on the end like a tuft of snow. She dropped her bag on the sand and walked along the beach until she walked into something hard with a loud thump.

“Ow!” she said aloud to the empty apartment which had now appeared in its headache haze around her. She rubbed her head where it had bumped, and sighed. A long deep-felt sigh that weighted with realisation and defeat. She steadied herself by putting her hand against the wall, thankful momentarily it hadn’t turned into a palm tree.

“Come back to us Stacey. We are waiting.” She heard quietly, whispered around her empty apartment.

Her mobile phone broke the silence, echoing from her bag that she had dumped on the floor. She wondered for a second whether to answer it, then quickly found her way to the bag; brushing off the sand on the bottom and retrieved the irritating device from within.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Miss Adams? I’m calling from Stacks Global.” The shrill voice called out from down the line.

“Oh, yes this is she.”

“Well Miss. Adams. We were expecting you promptly for an interview this morning.” The voice stated, hovering in an expectational way.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry I’ve had a few problems getting in this morning.” Stacey said, noticing now the curtains beginning to shimmer with the gold dust she’d seen before. The woman on the line made a disgruntled snort as if she’d heard nothing so preposterous in her life.

“Miss. Adams, I needn’t tell you what a reputable company we have here. We don’t give interviews her needlessly to fill our time. You are making a very bad first impression and I must stress…” But Stacey cut her off.

“Okay, thanks then. Have a good day”. She said and hung up the phone, placing it on the sideboard. She stood there, no longer in a daze but with a twinkle of determination in her eyes.

“Okay. Okay. I’m coming. I’m sorry it took so long. Hana lowlalei.” And she made a circle with her hands in the air. The ground shock for a second and room burst with a flash of light, raining sparks all around her. She smiled once more and walked across the room to find her laptop. Still with her coat on she logged in, finding the cheap website for flights she had used before. Using her credit card she booked herself a ticket, first class none stop. And only one way.

 

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Fluorescent future

4am as the world whispers me awake.
All is calm, and the night travels in my veins still.
I slept the day away.
Rubbing the tiredness and memories from my eyes.
Half a world away, yet right where I started.
Right where I belong.
The veil is yet to be lifted form my shaded stay.
Talking to me still from the past in a language I slightly recognise.
Talks of entangled vines and harkening songs.
The red land beneath my feet.
Sticking to me like sand on wet skin.
Rub away these English oaks. This chitter of festivity.
Don’t lead me blind with your patriotic stories.
Colour me sunlit gold and let me sleep.
Crying into the night.
Drifting away on the tide.

I know what I am chasing….. (PT I)

Alex stared out of the dirty window in his third floor apartment. The noise from the streets below floated in on the wind, sounds of traffic and everyday bustle. The water had finished boiling about five minutes ago, but Alex continued to stare outside; transfixed on a moment in time far removed from anything in the here and now. Something was missing, or perhaps a miss he thought. He’d watched it play out a hundred times before, the movie in his head rolled forward; staging the moment time and again when his heart had collapsed. Bodies all around, pavement; yellow in motion, blurring around a corner. Lost…

The phone on his desk rang, splintering the images, sending them cascading down out of the window and out of view.  He looked over and saw his phone next to the piece of paper he’d been avoiding for the past few days. Alex ignored the phone and made a cup of tea. Light was coming in from the window to his left and felt good on his face. He sighed and sat back down at his desk. The blank paper loomed in front of him. One missed call, nothing important. Nothing that will change his day and not the person he wanted. Suddenly the smell of flowers and formaldehyde washed over him. On warm days, the funeral parlour below him would open their back doors; today the sun was dripping down like butter on the city. Alex shook his head trying to shake away the smell, the masking of death and decay with flowers; the beauty of a funeral against the ugliness of death. He’d been looking for interruptions all day, but enough was enough.

Sipping his tea he picked up his pen to begin. Where to start though? he thought to himself. He had everything before him, the paper, the envelope, the stamp with the inaccurate face of the queen poised in time at twenty six. He had everything but the words. Words usually betrayed him, like cheap sentiments they were always conjured so freely. Tongue tied and twisted when the face appears, loosing his breath.

‘’Well, they’re not here now!’’ he spoke aloud to the empty room, only the pigeons on the window sill seemed to hear him, ruffling their feathers in supposed agreement. Here was the opportunity to say everything, overkill if need be, but time to get this out; it had been like a cancer corroding the heart. Suddenly a shadow passed over his window, darkening the small room. Alex looked over, spilling his tea slightly. Entering the frame and coming into to his room was a heart the size of a football, it throbbed as it descended inside. Alex watched as it came in, making only the rhythmic sounds of a heartbeat. It wasn’t the medical kind like that of a human heart sliced up by tiny lasers in hospitals, more of the ones that appear above people’s heads in cartoons.

Despite its crude appearance however, the insides were swirling around like of a washing machine with torrents of blood, motioning backwards and forwards in their swell. It stopped a few feet away from him and started to get darker and darker. For some reason images started flashing through his mind; silhouettes of faces, a date in a diary, tears over his own face as he watched from above like a spectre. The images pulsated through him like a radiation wave from the heart. His head ached.

Blinking back to the moment, Alex watched the heart; mesmerised. It was changing from a bright red, blurring down into a deep rich maroon colour. It remained in the air in front of him for a few minutes and then began to shake slightly, vibrating statically like the buzz from a telephone line. Alex held out his hand to touch it when a blinding flash of light crashed outward and cracked the room around him. Suddenly the heart started to move. Alex exhaled, paused only for a moment and began to follow it.

Opening the door and down the stairs Alex rushed, the heart floating through objects without a care like in a video game. Out in the mid day sun people around him seemed not to notice the Hannah-Barbara world into which he had descended. The heart it seemed was his apparition alone, his illusion, his spiral into madness. Down the street, past the newsagents that sold tatty imported porno magazines stuck next to cheap greeting cards for ‘A special niece’ and ‘ A Birthday boy’. He caught up to it for just a minute, he reached out to touch it before being pushed back by a force that felt like the heat from an oven, smothering his pores and taking his breath away for split second. Like many things it seemed, he could see, witness and be in the presence of the heart; but never touch. At least not without pain.

A spark was beginning to glow from within it now, at the bottom tip it began to throb and sway with the motion of its movements. Alex couldn’t take his eyes off of it, much to the annoyance of the few pedestrians currently making their way on that particularly warm March day. He rushed on, not giving a care to those he banged aside. A mum with a pushchair dropped the middle class façade her tailored clothes offered and shouted enough fucks to turn the most desensitised passer-by’s head. Alex was oblivious to it all, the spark had triggered something within him, and a memory was coming into focus like a body out of the fog.

If only the people around him could take a picture Alex thought to himself, as his life un-paused and free-fell into the future. If they could take a souvenir to remember this moment. Alex breathed out as the tears crawled down his face. The memory he’d only allowed himself to remember in a picture book, and very rarely, had exploded before him. Vibrant colours illuminated a world distant and familiar. An array of images blended into one another, his face with theirs. The words ‘I love you’ spattered the floor like an emotional downpour.  The moment when he knew he loved them, told them and was pattered on his head for his efforts. For a few seconds it seemed the words would be returned, the lips pursued and suspended in a opera of tension, translucent trails to happiness; the quiet suggestion of infinity. He had to walk it back from the edge, the help of an invisible force pulled him down. What he’d witnessed had happened to him, not too long ago; but it had all seemed so foreign to him them.

Suddenly, he was back in the street, the heart hazy now in the sun. The blue sky seemed to overwhelm him and press down on his body. Why was this so important now, on this day?  Hearts break everyday, his had been shattered for a while; the pilot light flickering just to keep him alive. Everything happens for a reason, he shook off his dizziness and continued to follow; the heart responded by increasing its speed.

The noise and clattering increased as he reached Baker street station. The familiar sight of London maps in stranger’s hands as the vacant eyes swept the surrounding buildings. Alex sped on, past the lines snaking outside Madame Tussauds. Clicks and whistles of foreign tongues culminated into the passing traffic. The heart it seemed was starting to fade….

TBC….