With over 500 followers it’s time for a small treat, so here’s a light-hearted little flash story of mine, shared here for the first time, which is suitable for anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 (give or take.) Perhaps I’ll publish it one day in a collection. I hope you like it!
With duvet pulled to my nose I lie still, silent. A ceiling of fake stars and moons illuminates a hovering metallic disc above my bed, so close I could reach out and touch it. Four plasticine figures are stood upon the disc, each holding a musical instrument poised to begin playing. One has a bass guitar, one a trombone, another a trumpet, and the last a saxophone. The saxophone player—a lumpy thing like a vague, cartoon elephant—is stood in the centre, forward from the others. It lifts its instrument to its knife-slit of a mouth and begins to play. The others join in and a discordant, hypnotic tune spills into my bedroom.
Time becomes meaningless as the music plays, and the world shrinks to just the metal disc and its occupants. At last, the music ends. With the fading of the final notes the saxophone player turns to me. Its baleful, otherworldly gaze bores into my soul. It lowers its instrument to the disc and extends a podgy, grey hand to point at me. It looms closer, its head expanding, arm elongating. Something brushes the tip of my nose and a tingling numbness spreads over my face like an ice-cold spider web. The beady, black orbs are no longer eyes but deep, obsidian pits …
The bedroom door swings open and light spills in. The disc and its occupants shatter into a million motes of moon dust as my grandmother shuffles into the room, breaking the encapsulating spell. All is gone but the lingering tightness, prickling across my face. My grandmother tucks the sides of my duvet tighter under the mattress, her rheumy eyes full of kindness and love. My arms and legs are straight, pinned by the bed covers, and I remember why they tuck me in so tightly: It’s to stop me floating out of bed as I sleep.
Was it my father who first suggested that? Son, if you don’t tuck your bedclothes in, you’ll wake up on the ceiling and fall back to Earth. And you might never stop falling. Maybe it was Dad. It could have been anyone; memories are often slippery things. I was only glad there was a ceiling above my bed—a roof over my head—otherwise I might never stop floating. Up, up through the plastic moons and stars, plummeting upwards through the sky and on towards the Sun.
And then I would wake and fall back down through the night, all the way to Earth.
My grandmother leans down and kisses me on the forehead. I can barely feel it through the numbness. My eyesight blurs and her image fades, the moons and the stars go out. Without a word, she leaves, and I hear the soft click of the door latch as she closes me in.
Slowly, I drift into another world.
A small world of discordant music.
Like a leaf buffeted by a gentle breeze, I float up through the glow of a sky full of five-pointed stars and crescent moons towards a silver circle. I land lightly on the disc, slow like the men walking on the Moon. The soft impact lowers me to my hands and knees. The metal is yielding to the touch. Sponge-like under my—
My hands … Indistinct, swollen. Grey.
Between them—lying upon the disc—a saxophone.