Tag Archives: fiction

Darkness

It started in darkness!

In the darkness of the study, the silence was broken by the ‘kapoof’ of the monitor turning on. Its soft, fluorescent blue light eerily lit the desk and surrounding area. There followed a soft ‘buzz/scatch’, then a fanfare of music as the hard-drive sprung into action, its small green light flashing as the system booted up. On the screen, a logo lit up for a second, then the desktop appeared, and started to load the shortcut icons, and the system tray. The mouse moved silently over a blue ‘Save the Whales’ mouse pad. On the screen, the pointer moved quickly, with obvious purpose, to the ‘START” menu, and clicked. The menu opened, displaying the program names, and highlighted the ‘INVID’ video program. The program booted, to show a cyber-punk-skinned media player. The pointer moved to the ‘PLAY’ button on the player, and in the darkness, a man’s smiling, handsome face appeared. One click on the maximise button, and the face filled the screen. The smile broadened!

Out in the hallway, an over-active six-year-old played on the landing with an Action Man figure, placing a huge studded plastic ball-on-a-chain into the figures right hand, and stretching it back over its shoulder. When he let the arm go, the ball sprung over the Action Man’s shoulder, and shot off down the hall, ricocheting off the study door. The ball made a loud THUD as it hit the door, then fell to the floor and rolled back about one foot. Young Christopher cheered. ‘I’ve killed you, Spiderman!’ he yelled at the top of his voice, crawling forward to collect the ball for a second onslaught.

Down below the stairway, in a small alcove, Karen Peters was about to make a phone call. She smiled as she looked up the stairs at her son. It was good to hear him yell. He was getting over his father’s death at last. And not before time, either! It had been nearly twelve months since he had died, and though she didn’t really miss her husband – it had never been a love match, let’s face it – Christopher did, and she thought, not for the first time since the accident, that he was never going to stabilise. If she had known how long things were going to take to return to normal, she would never have involved herself in Paul’s plan to get rid of Andrew. Divorce would have been easier, but Andrew would fight to the very end. His family, running a long established marketing company, had amassed millions over the generations, and Andrew had access to it so she faced losing Christopher in a custody battle. Especially if details of her infidelity happened to come to light! That was a risk she wasn’t willing to take! She loved her son, and knew that Andrew did as well. He would deny her a divorce just to give Christopher a fully parented growing-up.
She had met Paul during a major opening at her gallery, just after Christopher’s birth. They had been having the affair almost from that point. She was sure Andrew knew, as there was certainly no fucking in the marital bed these days. If he did know, he wasn’t saying anything. She didn’t know if he was fucking anyone or not – though she did suspect one of her closest friends – and she really didn’t care. Let’s be realistic, she thought to herself. If he was screwing someone else, he was leaving her alone.
It didn’t take much convincing on Paul’s part to talk her into putting a slow leak into one of the car tyres. It was winter, and the roads were icy, so accidents did happen. Andrew did have a reputation for not looking after anything mechanical he owned. A few crocodile tears when the police showed up at the door; some kind words and a comforting hug to her mother and father-in-law; regular trips to the cemetery. She was pretty sure nobody suspected anything.

The coroner had judged it a misadventure, and that, frankly, had been that! Though Paul was keen to move in, she felt that would be a bad move. She had told him to hold off for a year, until a ‘normal’ amount of time – as deemed reasonable by their parent’s and friends – had passed, and people would be expecting her to be getting her life back on track.

Christopher’s perchance for fantasy toys however, she hadn’t counted on.

Upstairs in the hallway, Action Man was about to launch his second assault. He had bought in reinforcements in the guise of rocket-roller-blades Action Man, clutching a long, hard-plastic lance, which he was rolling down the hallway towards Spidermen. Muscles bulging, his lance poised in front of him like a knight of old, Christopher pushed the lance-bearing figure a bit harder than he intended.The figure shot straight past Spiderman, and through the banister rungs at the edges of the landing. Christopher cheered at his accuracy. As he moved towards the edge of the stairs to climb down and collect the errant figure, the study door creaked open. In the darkness beyond the door, he saw a soft blue glow. He was momentarily distracted by a scream f issuing up from the lower floor, but curiosity got the better of him, and he headed towards the partially open study door. Pushing it open, he broke into a beaming smile.
‘Daddy!’ he yelled, as he entered the room.

Karen had just lifted the phone to her ear. She looked up just in time to see the Action Man figure hurtling toward her through space. If she had time to comprehend what was happening, she would have laughed at the incongruous sight of the figure taking flight, but it was time that was denied her. It hit her full in the face, it’s spear entering her left eye, and piercing right through to her brain. She didn’t even have time to hear Christopher cry “Daddy”, as if she would have believed what he cried out anyway.

In the study, two figures embraced on the screen of the monitor. They both peered out, as the pointer moved to the ‘SHUT DOWN’ command.

It ended in darkness!

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2002©.

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The Troll Affair

This was a comic story I started when writing at UTS. It is an ongoing story and obviously not finished.

‘Bloody trolls!’ Cadfel muttered, slamming the front door behind him and entering the small dining room.
‘What are they up to now?’ Fingel asked, putting the morning edition of ‘Gnome News’ on the table, glancing at Cadfel as he plonked himself into a chair opposite.
‘They’s got the bleedin’ Fairies up in arms, they has,’ he said, thumping the table, making the teapot, cups and saucers jump several inches. ‘Tryin’ to take over the garden fountain, filthy creatures that they is!’ he yelled, thumping the table again. The teapot moved precariously towards the edge of the table. ‘Fairies ain’t happy at all. You know how they feel about the fountain, especially after all the wand tapping and sprite spells they’ve used to get it right.’ He folded his hands on the table and peered at Fingel over the top of his glasses. ‘They’s talking about a strike! They want the trolls out, and I can’t says I blame them. Where goin’ to have to talk this out with them.’ He tapped his fingers on the table, suddenly giving it another thump. This was too much for the teapot. It teetered for a second, then crashed to the floor. Steam emanated from its remains, tea leaves splattering the table legs, and the shoes of the gnomes seated at the table.
Fingel jumped, a look of exasperation crossing his wrinkled face. ‘Please Cadfel, not another meeting. You know trolls and fairies can’t be in the same room together. Shit, can’t we find some other way to negotiate? Bloody trolls will stink the place out! They only want the fountain out of spite. You know that!’
‘Yeah, I knows,’ Cadfel answered, bending down and starting to collect the pieces of broken china scattered over the floor. ‘Bloody rotters never wash, so I don’t know what they ’s wantin’ with the bleedin’ fountain. Probably just want to muck it up, just to give them fairies the shites.’
‘Reckon you’re right’ Fingel replied. ‘Best we go and see the fairies and try to sort this out right now. I don’t want a meeting if I can help it. Bloody fairies flitting all around the room, tapping their bloody wands on everything, and making out they’re so bloody high and mighty.’ He rolled his eyes. ‘Then the trolls humping and grumping everywhere, shaking their fleas over the fairies just to give them the shits, scratching and moulting everywhere. Hell, Cadfel, we have to sort this out without a meeting.’ He headed towards the door.
‘Come on, let’s go and see if we can calm Pookie and her lot down a bit!’
Cadfel dropped the pieces of the broken pot in the garbage tin, and followed Fingel out, slamming the door behind him.
The cup and saucer crashed to the floor.

Leaving the gum tree, they waddled down the path towards the dell. Elves, now resident in the plots of Kangaroo Paw that had been planted in groupings down the path edge, peered out at them as they passed, tittering to each other in elf-talk. Pretending that nobody could see them was one of their favourite games, though Cadfel occasionally ventured the opinion that is was pretty stupid pretending no one could see you when they were looking straight at you. Still, that was elves, and like everything else they did, none of it made sense.
Continuing down the path, a group of six fairies floated toward them – you could tell they were fairies from the gossamer wings on their backs – bearing placards with ‘GIVE US BACK OUR FOUNTAIN’, ‘DOWN WITH TROLLS’ and ‘FAIRY POWER’, rounding a bend that led around to the wishing well. Pookie, the lead fairy, was in a tizz, buzzing backward and forward through the group, yelling rousing chants and trying hard to get the group agitated. They halted when Cadfel and Fingel approached, grouping tighter together to form a barrier across the pathway.
‘Okay Pooks! What’s going on?’ Fingel asked, ducking his head to avoid a shower of fairy dust aimed straight at him. ‘Can we try to keep this civilised. We don’t want any trouble from you lot.’
‘Don’t talk to us about trouble,’ Pookie warbled, swooping over his head, swishing her wand and sending out another shower of dust. ‘It’s those awful trolls. It’s not enough that they go around stinking up the garden. They’re now leaving tide marks in the fountain, splashing around in it like they owned it. The waters polluted, Fingel! Polluted, I tell you!’ she grabbed a ‘TROLLS LEAVE TIDE LINES’ placard off the fairy closest to her, and shook it in their faces. ‘No more favours from the fairies, boys! We’re on strike! No pleasant dreams, no magic mushroom rings, and no fairy bread, fairy floss or fairy cakes until we get our fountain back!’ She thrust the placard back at the fairy she had grabbed it from, and with a heave-ho of her tiny hand, ushered the hovering, glittery group straight through the middle of the two gnomes.
‘Shite!’ said Cadfel, watching them as they vanished up the path, thrusting the placards at the elves as they passed by, as if the elves would care! Too bloody busy pretending nobody could see them, as usual. ‘What we gunna do now, Fingel?’ Cadfel asked, turning back to his friend.
‘Guess we’d better go and see what the trolls are up to,’ Fingel replied. ‘Let’s go and see what damage they’ve done, and try to negotiate a peace.’ He started to work his way down the path, ‘Shit Cadfel, they threatened no fairy bread. We can’t have this! We can’t go without fairy bread!’
Cadfel sighed, following him towards the wishing well.

They continued on down the path, kicking up fairy dust litter as they went. Turning a bend just past a bed of Aster daisies, the tiny-pitched roof of a wishing well came into view. A light plume of steam rose from behind the well, then suddenly a small dragon appeared, nipping at their heels and singeing their shoelaces with tiny licks of fire emitting from its mouth.
‘Calm down, Scales,’ A tiny water sprite appeared from the bucket suspended over the opening to the well. ‘It’s only the gnomes! Don’t carry on so. I’m sorry guys,’ the tiny figure replied, climbing out of the bucket and standing on the edge of the well. ‘Scales is still a baby, and a bit on the naughty side. You know what these Australasian dragons are like. They either say bugger-all, or you can’t shut them up!’
‘What’s ya doin’ in the well?’ Cadfel inquired, peeking over the edge.
‘Hiding from the bleeding fairies. Cor, ain’t they on the warpath,’ the sprite replied, grabbing the dragons lead, and attempting to bring it to heel, without much luck. A small shrub near the edge of the path went up in flames, causing Fingal to jump.
‘Well, trolls will be trolls,’ Fingal said, blowing on the small fire in an attempt to put it out. He gave up, turning back to the sprite, who was walking back from the well with a pail of water in his tiny hand. He threw it over the flames.
‘Bad boy!’ he shouted at the dragon, shaking a finger. The dragon ignored him, singeing a patch of grass as he snuffled around.
‘The fairies are a bit upset, losing their fountain and all. We’re on our way to negotiate with the trolls. We’ll try to broker some sort of agreement. Want to join us, Gaddy?’
‘Naw, don’t think so, Fingal. Got my hands full with Scales at the moment. Anyway, never have liked that Pookie. A bit high and mighty for my liking,’ he replied, finding himself being dragged back towards the well by Scales. ‘Good luck, all the same. It’s time those trolls were put in their place. Always causing trouble.’
The dragon was on its back, and Gaddy was rubbing its belly. Steam puffed out the dragon’s mouth as it rolled around, obviously enjoying the attention.
‘Yeah, we understand. Cute dragon!’ Fingal said, starting to move back down the path. A sudden whoosh caused them to look back. Gaddy was stamping his feet, a puff of smoke rising up from his shoes.
‘Can we gets a dragon?’ Cadfel asked. ‘They sure looks like fun!’

The sound of splashing water and raucous laughter reached them before the fountain even came into view. As the gnomes came out from behind a poinsettia tree, a stream of water hit them, knocking them to the ground. They stood, wiping water from their faces. A grizzled figure stood a short distance from them, watching the shenanigans going on in the fountain. Five trolls jumped and splashed about in the murky water.
‘Your boys enjoying themselves, Wiggat?’ Fingel asked. The troll towered over him.
‘And what can we do for you nosey gnomes,’ Wiggat replied, guffawing as one of the swimmers did a double somersault, knocking a concrete frog off the edge of the fountain. The frog smashed, green concrete spraying in all directions.
‘This is Pooky’s territory,’ Fingel said, bending down and picking up some shards of concrete that had skittered as far as his feet. ‘She’s not happy about you boys dirtying up her fountain, and I can’t say that I blame her. Just look at it! It’s a right disgrace.’
The usually blue fountain water was dark grey, a scum mark noticeable where the water had retreated to, as the trolls frolicked about.

To be continued…

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