Friday, 1 March 2013

Grey's Elegy

Grey's Elegy

Where am I this time?
From habit, I scan the square. Nothing. Not even a scabrous pigeon lives.
Mea culpa.
Venice? Maybe.
I steady the image from memory, force back the darkness a few scant yards. 
Each time somewhere new; my mind drags me relentlessly through the monochrome album of my life, scouring the silent cities of the world for anyone, anything, that had survived my apocalyptic rage.
I’d cursed them, screamed my throat raw for them to leave me. Then the lightning flashed in my head - and they were gone.
Pain floods in again like the rain. I shiver, mind and body drowning in rank, brackish waters of guilt.
Wait! A faint voice, familiar somehow, whispers from the encroaching darkness. 
“What’s that? It asks.
I listen.

“Couldn’t that be something?”

“That? No, it’s just residual electrical activity, Mrs Grey. Now, if you’re ready, that’s the switch, there.

150 words

This story was written for Angela Goff's Visual Dare Challenge 9 and also has a follow on episode - 'Out, Brief Candle' 


  1. Nick, this is magnificent. Your word choices are so uniquely chosen to provide 'colour' in the wash of gray, and Grey.

    Wonderfully structured to gut us all with the dark realization at the end.

    Always love seeing what you've developed for these flash challenges. Another wow!

    1. Hi Jo-Anne
      Thanks for your comment. I am always knocked out by praise from other writers, as they know what it takes to wrestle a piece into any sort of shape and then shoo it out into the world to fend for itself!
      I haven't had much time for writing recently, so found this one a bit like pushing jelly uphill with my nose! I couldn't resist this image. Angela has been on a bit of a hot streak recently with her photo prompts. She does a great job for us all. Also thanks for the Twitter boost!

  2. A dark and deft spin on Grey's "Elegy" - and I agree with JoAnne, those last two lines really deliver a punch to the gut. Your description of his guilt spoke so vividly, really communicated the depths of horror and self-loathing and regret after such a monstrous act. Is this going to be an add-on tale as well? (I would certainly like to know more!)

    1. Hi Angela
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. As always I appreciate the detail of what strikes you about the piece. It is always helpful to know what works and what doesn't.

  3. Brilliant piece. Scary too, that this could actually happen, that someone supposedly not alive anymore could actually be. Great imagery, love the confusion that makes sense at the end.

    1. Thanks M-K! The idea frightened me, so I worked to try and translate that for anyone who read the story. It started with a recent discussion about the final flash of lucidity that is often reported in dementia sufferers. This led to a 'what if' based on the premise of a kind of locked in syndrome and what that might feel like from inside.