Atria (Short Story)

Two friends and I decided to do some short-form writing based on io9‘s Concept Art Writing Prompts. The furthest we got was 2/3 of us did it once. This is my entry based on the image below, titled “A Boy in the Hall of Hearts“. The piece is by concept artist Brun Croes, via Concept Art Brun Croes

The boy stood perplexed at the scene in front of him. Arranged in a regular grid were wooden pedestals, atop them bell jars containing what could only be hearts. (He’d studied organs in science class last term and the heart was his favourite because he liked the word “ventricle”). Stranger than the appearance of the suspended army was the sound. Each heart was still beating, but not in unison. A deep cascade of thuds expanded throughout the room, unceasing. There were so many hearts that the first had beat its second before the last had beat its first. It created a tension as the tumbling sound had the listener expecting a crash at the bottom of the fall. But the crash never came. He closed his eyes, screwed up his face and shook his head, attempting to lift the mesmeric effect of the rumble. He reached toward the nearest jar but stopped as he noticed the undisturbed dust covering the stately container. Below the glass he could see a small brass plaque, too dusty to read. He ran his finger across it, lifting a layer of dust and leaving a line of shining brass in its wake. He played with the dust between his fingers and felt its grainy texture resolve to nothing as it rejoined the air. The plaque read

Meredith Finchley
How he looked at Sarah in Ivory

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A Secret (Short Story, I guess?)

One of my friends was taking a creative writing class as part of his Master’s and I’d been giving him feedback on some of it.  I’d felt guilty just criticising his work so one week I decided to write a piece to the same brief.  An attempt at empathy.  The brief was about “a scene between two characters, one of whom is finding it difficult not to reveal something to the other”.  This is what I came up with.

A Secret

“Thanks for doing this.  I know it was short notice.”

“It’s honestly not a problem.  I was actually going to call you anyway.  I needed to give you this.”

Patrick reached into the side pocket of his coat and attempted to remove the wrapped, Blu Ray copy of Die Hard from it.  He’d put it in with longest sides of the case parallel to the bottom of the pocket, since otherwise the wrapping protruded upwards.  The bright blue and yellow Batman motif on the paper didn’t look particularly inconspicuous against his black, woollen coat; the fact that he was still wearing it in a heated café looked even less so.  He’d blown the smooth reveal, since he was now fumbling, half-turned-round in his seat, trying to remove the gift by force.  He was conscious that in this particular position his gut appeared at its least attractive, but he’d anticipated this and was wearing a loose black t-shirt.  Patrick fleetingly compared himself to Sherlock Holmes but was shaken from the fantasy by the realisation that his hand might now have been stuck in the pocket along with his dignity.  Douglas watched the spectacle with impatience, but obvious affection. Continue reading