A Little Fiction – No Matter

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The ectoplasmic cloud swirled gently around the room. At its centre pulsed two indistinct orbs, one of pink and one of blue, both of which were quite unlike anything you could find in the Dulux catalogue. As the cloud drifted around it coalesced slightly, resolving itself into two separate nebula that swirled lazily around the pastel orbs. Between them was a world of silence – not because they were unable to communicate verbally, not even because communication between them took place on a plane that transcended the verbal realm (the language they used was actually, to the human ear, slightly reminiscent of somebody inhaling a jelly fish) – they were silent because the blue globe had just returned home from his works ‘do’ some two hundred years after it had finished. (Perhaps I should explain here that the lifespan of the blobs was something approaching fifty thousand Earth years. Furthermore, the planet upon which they currently bobbed, circled its sun five hundred times every Earth year. Time passed very differently – especially if you were waiting for the pizza delivery.)
“Look,” said the cyan sphere at length, desperate to break the silence. With an audible grunt the pink nucleus pulled her aurora around her so tightly that it almost became solid. If she had a back, she would have turned it.
“Look,” continued Blue. “It was two hundred years, not millennia. I just got lost on the way back. You know what it’s like – can’t tell one constellation from another after a while. They all look the same, bleedin’ planets: round, brown, spinning… mostly. Before you know where you are, you don’t know where you are.”
“Particularly when you’ve hung a few large ones on,” spat out Pink, with a vengeance that made her drizzle slightly. “Who were you with between leaving the party and fetching up here two centuries behind schedule?”
“With?” Queried blue. “With? I’m a wosname… amorphous cloud, barely visible at my core and I trail away God knows how far into the ether at my perimeter. I don’t know. I could have been with anyone. That is part of the nature of being vast.”
“Doesn’t stop you getting home on time,” said Pink.
“Look, O.K. I’ll level with you. I needed some space. You know what it’s like, trying to squeeze yourself into a physical void of finite volume.”
“Of course I bloody do. I was stuck in here for two thousand years last night on my own whilst you were out partying. I’ve got the kind of omni-directional cramp that only an ectomorph can know.”
“Why don’t you go out and get some fresh air?”
“Fresh air?” cried Pink as ice crystals instantly formed throughout her being. “Fresh air? Have you forgotten where we are? Space is a vacuum. There is no air, fresh or otherwise around here… Mind you, if you were any kind of a blob, you’d find me some. In the past you’d have popped across to that little blue and green planet… what’s it called? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. You’d have gone there and brought me some back.”
“It’s two billion light years away…”
“And in the opposite direction to the pub.”
“Right then,” said Blue. “Right then. If that’s what you want, I’ll go. You want fresh air, I’ll bring you fresh air. Don’t wait up, I may be some time.”
“Particularly if you get lost again,” said Pink.
Blue snorted derisively, sending out a pulsar that engulfed a neighbouring solar system (the third planet of which was, ironically, in an Earth-like orbit and brimming with fresh air). “Right!” And, slamming the door behind him he sped off into the vast emptiness, leaving behind him a trail of vapour that would, one day, give birth to life on a million planets. All was quiet.
“Blimey,” said the room, at last. “That was close. I thought he’d never go…”

A Little Fiction – The Custodian of Time

A Little Fiction – You’ve Got A Geriatric Friend In Me

A Little Fiction – New Book (Title Unknown) – Introduction

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I was going through some old files on my computer when I found this. It is just titled ‘New Book – Title Unknown’. I thought you might like it…

i.

The first time I saw him he was peering under the bonnet of a car, pulling at wires and whistling “Blowin’ Free”.
“Wishbone Ash,” I said.
“You know them?” he asked. He neither looked my way, nor ceased his wire pulling. I took a couple of steps backwards to stand alongside him. “Every note,” I said.
He lifted his head from his work and peered at me. He had a smudge of oil across the bridge of his nose that I wanted to wipe away. He didn’t speak. I fidgeted, unnerved by the silence. I looked down at the engine. “You got a problem?” I asked.
“Just looking for something,” he said.
“Anything I might know?”
“I think there’s a sensor.”
“What kind of sensor?”
He straightened his back and looked at me properly for the first time, swatting his hand across his face, aiming for something that as far as I could see, wasn’t there. And then he leaned back under the bonnet and recommenced his wire pulling, but I noticed that he’d shifted over a little, just enough to allow me to stoop down at his side. I peered inside.
“The lights,” he said finally.
“The lights?”
“The lights. They know when I’m coming. They turn red… always.”
I stared at the engine, uncertain whether he was serious. He could have been psychotic, or neurotic, one of them, I’m never sure. He turned towards me, his face now only inches from my own. I realised he wore spectacles and it struck me as strange that I hadn’t noticed them before. Underneath his beard his face was tanned, not overly, but he had a weatherworn skin that actively defied any attempt to age him. There was something, I don’t quite know what, but there was something in his eyes. Was he mocking me? I felt uneasy and I realised that he hadn’t blinked. I don’t know why I noticed that. Why should I notice that? He turned back to the engine and pulled enthusiastically at a wire that might just have been very important.
“I don’t know too much about cars,” I said, “but I don’t think you want to go pulling too many of those.”
He grinned, suddenly and fleetingly and I wondered whether I had imagined it.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “I know I’ll never find it, but it’s important that they think I’m looking.”
He shook his head in a theatrical way and eased himself upright. I followed and he closed the bonnet.
“I don’t drive as much as I used to. Don’t seem to have much of a place to go these days.” We lapsed into silence again.
“Well,” he said, wiping his hands on his trousers.
“Yes,” I said. “Well…”
He held out his hand and I shook it. “Better be going, I suppose,” he said.
“You have oil on your nose.” I pointed and he wiped across his face with his sleeve. The oil spread further, the stain became paler.
“OK?” he said.
“OK.”
I continued on my way and he wandered off across the road ahead, when a thought struck me.
“Your car,” I shouted after him.
“My car?”
“Your car, you haven’t locked it.”
I could see the amusement bubbling across his face as he slowly turned away. “Don’t worry,” he said. “It’s not my car.”

© Colin McQueen 2019