I’m a member of the Queensland Arts Council Writing Group. They gather prospective authors together where we can converse, safely tucked away from human eyes. Techniques are discussed and debated, guest authors are flown in, discounts with loyal merchants are offered, tea and coffee is free.
But the word “free” means many things to many people.
One could say that it is, in fact, not free since there are annual membership fees. Considering what is offered in exchange for the momentary coin of the realm, I like to think of it as “Close enough is good enough”. Only one letter separates “Free” and “Fee”. However, there is another price. And it is a heavy cost to bear.
Every meeting a topic is brought forward. That topic is the nexus through which a story must be channelled. And not just any story, a 200 word story. No more than 200 words about this nebulous topic that waxes and wanes from month to month.
This month’s topic is “The Environment”.
Because I am an effecient dictator, I shall dispose of two matters with the same piece of writing: The story for the Writer’s Club and another notch in the Livejournal. This introduction is so I may prove that I am a benevolent dictator putting to rest the slanderous comments made that I will subject all but a chosen few to a life where slavery is treated as the paradise that awaits in the hereafter (read: fictional).
Do not expect such generosity in the future. You will have plenty to be disappointed about without the notion of false hope. And speaking of disappointment, onto the story!
I hate The City under a full moon.
Unnatural things happen during that time. Three nights of fear a month you mightn’t think is that bad until it happens to you. Pray that it doesn’t.
The skyscrapers were painted in silver light, a soft hue that complimented the kaleidoscopic rainbow of neon. I walked home slowly, savoring the sight with each step until something snapped under my foot. It was antennae thin, crooked and brittle. I stumbled back but my feet did not find firm concrete. Something soft and wet instead brushed my ankles with its tickling fingers.
My ears pricked at the sound of something rustling and whistling. Glancing about I saw rows of poles but made of the same rusted material. Atop the poles were branches, a web of brittle sculpture and green mould. There was nothing sturdy to their construction, they moved, swaying, threatening to fall.
I looked to the heavens for comfort and I saw the moon nestled between two stalwart buildings. My heart stopped when these towers swallowed the light as branches burst from its side jutting like knives, towering over me, locking me in.
I fled, haunted by the ghosts of the forest.