Sea of Deception

Awoken by cold water sloshing against his face, he winced, rubbing at his salt-filled eyes. Blinking tears until his vision cleared to light blue skies, he was surrounded by a flat calm ocean. Nothing more than a floating speck in the middle of nowhere, trying to remember his Stranded at Sea survival manual.

Still with his wits about him but in time, confusion would become an ally. Headaches would arrive, soon followed by motion sickness.

Licking his cracked lips he noted the first sign of dehydration, and a salt rash irritated his neck and shoulders where the life jacket rubbed against the skin, knowing boils would soon appear.

Hypothermia, he’d survived, so far. But his fingers were puffed-up like boiled pork sausages and it wouldn’t be long and his body would bloat from exposure.

He had to survive the day and contend with a sunburn that would cause his skin to crack and bleed, and try not to attract sharks.

Kicking his legs out beneath him he felt every singular hair follicle. It was as if they were being ripped out from his sensitized, briny soaked skin, unleashing shock waves over his entire being. With his heart pounding in his ears, head back, his screams echoed around him.

Then he floated. Unmoving. Just breathing.

The sea air was strong against his singed sinuses, but it was the smell of deception that burned more. Clenching his teeth, flexing his hands into fists to get the blood flowing, as memories of last night passed through his mind’s eye.

The first mate stirred that pot by turning the crew and it’d been a modern-day mutiny on his own ship. Tossed overboard like fish burly, by rookie wannabe pirates, suffering cabin fever found in a mob of manipulated dumbarses.

Soon to be dead dumbarses.

All night he’d deliberated on elaborate malicious plans. Intricate strategies perfected in retaliation of their treachery. Ensuring every single crew member would suffer in their own unique way. It’s what kept him alive.

He needed to prevent sunburn and cover his eyes to combat partial blindness, another expected side effect from reflective sunlight and needed to suspend his gruesome death by seawater. With measured movements, he found nothing in his pockets. There hadn’t been time to grab anything, only wearing shorts and his own personal lifejacket. For now, it was just waiting while planning his revenge and drift with the tide.

When a whirring mechanical noise echoed in the distance. Shielding his eyes from the rising sun, he spotted a fast moving object coming towards him.

Thank god—a helicopter.

Sighing with relief he smiled. He might be a captain—but he was a modern-day pirate and the EPIRB attached to his lifejacket obviously worked and knew he’d have his vengeance.

 

from the flash fiction collection MOVING MOMENTS

MMoments R&Rramblings FB 1b

#MovingMoments #HomeSweetNot #R&Rramblings #RuralRomanticRamblings

Sun Burning Melon

Awoken by a slap to the face, Sam winced at the fierce sunlight with his body buried up to his chin in dirt. ‘What the—’ Sam’s heart pounded, unable to move. Lungs, mouth, nose and eyes were filling with choking red dust.

‘Bout time you woke up,’ said Ren, squatting down in front of Sam.

 ‘Ren, let me out!’

‘Why? When it took me hours just to getch’ya in there.’

‘You’ve had your fun. Now, take your photos and drag me out of ‘ere.’ Spying Ren’s ute with a small fuel container close by, realising they were in Ren’s backyard. Which was anywhere to nowhere. ‘You’re hurting me.’ Sam struggled to get free, but the earth just gripped tighter.

‘Bulldust!’ Ren leaned in closer to the buried male. ‘You’re in no pain. I know you’re not.’

I can’t breathe.’ Sam heaved in the hot air, tasting the outback’s dust.

‘You’ve been peacefully nappin’ these past coupla hours in that hole.’

‘Why are you doing this? You swore to our mother on her death bed last week that you wouldn’t hurt me.’

‘That I did. An’ I honour me promises. Unlike you, bro.’ Ren messed up Sam’s hair. ‘Ya know, as a kid, you had that look of them cherubs, with ‘em puffy cheeks an’ blonde curls. Now, you look like a sunburnt melon. But this is me, keeping my end of the bargain.’ Raising himself upright, Ren reached for the fuel canister.

‘Get me out of here Ren,’ Sam pleaded, struggling to free himself.

Ren poured fuel onto the red dirt that evaporated into fumes from the burning sun. Coming full circle, he keenly surveyed the endless flat Australian desert. Satisfied they were alone, he pulled out a box of matches from his shirt pocket and a plastic spoon he tossed to land in front of Sam’s face. ‘You can dig yourself out if you want? But you’ll wanna be quick about it.’

Striking a match, Ren threw the small flame onto the fuel-soaked ground. Flames burst upwards surrounding Sam’s head with hundreds of trapped ants that scrambled towards him.

Ren, don’t do this!

‘It’s already done ‘n dusted.’ Ren watched the circle of flames burn towards the talking head trapped in the desert. ‘As promised, I’m not gonna hurt ya. But the wildlife might?’

The intense heat from crackling flames closed in, panicked ants crawled onto Sam’s neck and face, clambering into his nose, his ears and hair. Their bites stinging, making their way down his body. ‘Please Ren, I’m begging.’

Ren watched the ants move like a suffocating black blanket to swarm all over Sam. ‘‘I’ve kept my promise to our mum to not harm a hair on ya’ head. But I also promised Dad on his deathbed that when mum died—you’d die for bein’ the freeloader who was never his son.’

 

from the flash fiction collection, HOME SWEET—NOT.

Home Sweet Not - by Mel A Rowe

#HomeSweetNot #R&Rramblings #RuralRomanticRamblings

Functioning at a Dysfuncitonal Function - flash fiction by Mel A ROWE

Functioning at a Dysfunctional Function

‘Eating meat this year, Jen?’

‘Your sister’s name is Jenny,’ Mum said, wiping palms down her apron, following Dad’s swagger from the kitchen carrying the prize turkey.

Jenny’s fingertips traced the delicate outline of the crocheted threads in Grandma’s lacework spread across the food-laden table. A silent witness to another annual passing parade of corrupt cousins, divorced aunts, and derelict uncles.

 ‘I’ll answer to both, even bitch,’ Jenny said with a grin.

Dad’s exaggerated knife blade to steel swipes stopped. ‘No swearing, young lady.’

‘Talking about age, Jenny, I’m not seeing any grandchildren or husband seated beside you. Not like your brother with his family.’

Jenny side-glanced at her bully brother, the suppressed sister-in-law and their puppet perfect children. Yes, TV lands happy families existed – and they were PC, paper-cut-out, boring. ‘I’ll eat white meat, thanks. Looks great.’

‘You’re always avoiding my question.’

‘Didn’t I answer the food question?’

‘She did,’ said Dad, dishing out slabs of hacked turkey. ‘Still with Charlie?’

Mum’s head swivelled like an owl. ‘Is this the same Charlie you mentioned last year?’

Jenny nodded, forking her food, avoiding eye contact.

‘That’s a year,’ Mum’s said with eyelids narrowing. ‘Do you think Charlie will marry you?’

Another nod. A shrug. ‘We’d like to.’ Shovelling another mouthful.

‘Slow down – don’t you get fed upstate? Or you’re going for the plate clearing record, sis.’

‘Who’s Charlie,’ demanded Mum, ‘and when will we meet him?’

‘You won’t meet him.’ Jenny sipped her water because wine for women was disallowed at her mother’s table.

‘Why not?’

‘Because Charlie’s a female.’ Jenny stood up as cutlery dropped onto everyone else’s plates. She wiped her chin on the napkin, folded it up and grinned. ‘Thanks for dinner, might see ya next year.’ And left them all to digest.

The Transverse Reversal

I shift the stick into gear. Check to ensure no traffic. Commence delicate balancing act of my shoes hovering above the accelerator pedal. With a gradual clutch release, the vehicle is in motion—backwards.

An ear-splitting scream is emitted from the scrape of metal upon metal. Glass explodes. Two bodies jump, necks jerk. Seat belts tighten. The car vibrates and shudders.

Embedded in the boot compartment was a large pole squashing the back seat to half its size, now windowless.

Meanwhiles the wheels were still smoking, engine roaring, the car shuddering—backwards.

Two feet stomped on the brakes and the car stalled still, followed by a smoke-clearing silence.

CREEEEAK.

My skin prickles at the racket reminding of nails scratching across the glass, with the added bonus of an off-key bugle bleating as iron and metal bent behind us.

No, it was coming from above us.

Our eyes shoot to the roof’s interior.  Birds screech. Our bodies flinch. I cover my scalp, wincing at the noise of screaming twisting steel that topples and bounces with an earthquake shake.

It just missed the bonnet by a cat-whiskers breath, with the car now the centre of a triangle, between the road and the bent tee-pee styled pole.

Power lines whip freely like snakes across the asphalt as houses are shut-down and neighbours start to poke their heads outdoors.

Inside the compacted sedan, I turn to my driving instructor and said, “So, that’s reverse gear, huh?”

 

Do you remember your first driving lesson?

 

(250 words)

 

From MOVING MOMENTS collection,

get your copy direct from the author HERE

MMoments R&Rramblings FB 1b

#MovingMoments  #R&Rramblings #RuralRomanticRamblings

The Nature Show

My shoes sink slightly towards the gravelly edge of a red muddy beach. It’s where the bitumen road disappears under the floodplain giving life to this red-dust riddled land. The water mirrors the early morning’s azure blue sky, casting the illusion of an inland sea saturating the wilderness. Where, like a tattered crochet blanket, contrasting plates of green water lilies and beads of white, pink, and purple flowerheads open to greet the sun’s new day.

The scene was so serene at first glance.

But on closer inspection…

Chaotic.

Imagine a musical Broadway production going through its final preparations before the show begins. Showgirls, dashing between costume changes are the bright colourful Rainbow Lorikeets and Ring-necked Parrots darting across the water. Egrets stretch their legs like perfectly poised ballet dancers. And looking every bit the musical Conductor overseeing his orchestra in a rich navy plumage is the statuesque Jabiru wading on the water’s edge.  There is a low humming of instruments being fine-tuned by the assorted bugs and beetles, as the Choir warms individual choruses via differing fly-by flocks. Lastly, the hidden stage technicians lurk beneath the water, being the Crocodiles, Barramundi, and long-neck turtles that silently direct stage props and actors to their places.

 I  flick my fishing lure into the water where the road disappears into this tropical oasis that only occurs a few months of the year. Standing there, as the sun creeps higher as the only spectator, I can’t help but enjoy the show.

(250 words)

 

 

When Traffic is Made To Stop.

It’s peak hour and the highway is crawling bumper to bumper, and at the mercy of traffic lights they sit and wait as a group.

But individually…

There’s an old muscle car with different coloured panels, its heavy V8 engine rumbles, sporting new rims and tyres. The young man behind the wheel is putting on his tie while eating a piece of toast. The sounds of a marketing Pod-cast is heard over a singular speaker jammed on the dash with a white cord running to his phone. Both car and man are works in progress.

A sleek luxurious sedan contains a ramrod straight-back driver. Blonde hair in a twist. Wearing a crisp white blouse and a blue scarf knotted at her neck like an airline stewardess. Her manicured nails tap on the steering wheel as she sits expressionless behind dark sunglasses. If not for the fingertip-tap-dance, she looked like an inflatable autopilot from MIB.

In the back seat is a young boy wearing a private school uniform who flips me the bird. Then he checks to make sure the stone-faced autopilot didn’t see him. He’ll become a company director-driven around in limousines all day.

A bearded man sits in his four-wheeled drive ute with an in-house filing system represented by a chaotic mass of paperwork sprawled across the dash. He’s listening to talkback radio while cleaning his fingernails with a pocket knife.

A woman in the hatchback, dusts assorted small soft toys and solar panelled dancing flowers. She’s rearranging them in a particular order upon the crocheted blanket that covers the dashboard. All that’s missing is a few fairies, a miniature tea set, a white rabbit, some hats and they could have a party.

A mud coloured station wagon with a kayak rests on the roof rack. The driver’s head leans against the headrest. Yawning, between sips from his coffee cup, he rubs tired eyes. His damp hair tousled, chin unshaven on tanned skin. He sips, yawns, rubs his eyes. Repeats.

Two young females inside a Mini, share the overhead mirror space applying their makeup, brushing their hair, all while lip-synching to music. Their tiny car is rocking and becoming a mobile fume cloud from perfume, deodorants, and hairspray.

From his heightened perch above the crowd of waiting cars, the truck driver picks his nose and looks down into the Mini. Shaking his head as his eyes widen watching the two young women perform the well-practised hair and makeup routine.

His passenger is reading off the clipboard with boots rested on the dash, he glances out the window and nods to the bearded guy in the ute folding up the pocket knife.

The lights turn green and with a thunderous roar, exhaust plumes high into the morning sky. And like a washed-out leaky rainbow of separating colours, they disappear in search of the own pots of gold.

Gone.

To turn around.

And do it all again – tomorrow.

(500 words)

From MOVING MOMENTS

MMoments R&Rramblings FB 5a

#MovingMoments #R&Rramblings #RuralRomanticRamblings

A Floral Front

He sniffed. Wiped his nose on the cuff of his gloved hands that held the snips he’d been using to trim the stem on the thornless rose. “Please feel free to browse.” His red eyes wandered over the slim build of the bottle blonde screwing up her nose at his art. “Can’t find anything to suit?”

“I’m getting married and I want different.” She popped her littlest fingernail into her mouth and teethed on its edge like a termite tackling timber.

“Of course, you do.” They all do. He sniffed, wiping the beads of perspiration from his brow, and eyed the clock’s countdown.

“So, any tips?”

“Have you considered the match to your dress and theme?”

She tapped the tortured fingernail on her tiny chin. “What do you think?”

Nope, not touching that one. He licked his lips, sniffed, and grabbed his water bottle and drank it dry. “Ask your mother for advice.”

“She won’t. She doesn’t like him.”

“Ah huh.” Great, let’s play counsellor – not.  “What about a friend?”

She shook her head. “They work.”

Duh, don’t we all. “We’re open on the weekend where our best staff pander to people.”

“Oh, goody.” She clapped baring her white teeth in joy.

“Yay.” Not. But it was part of the job. “Listen, honey…” Yes, let’s play it up the expected way.“Why not get your girlfriends to come with you, find a few photos of what you like and meet with our Stylist, she’ll be able to dote all over you, doll-face. She’s just lovely.” He paid his mother a fortune to deal with customers he hated.

Again, he sniffed. Side-glanced the crawling clock, counting the minutes until his next snort of powdered magic.

“Are you alright?” She asked.

“Yeah, why?”

“You look stoned.”

“Excuse me?” His brows raised.

“The red eyes and constant sniffling. The clock-watching, chewing on your bottom lip, and drinking gallons of water. I know the signs. You…” Pointing her chipped fingernail at him. “Are an addict!”

He laughed. “Honey, I’m always like this in the last half hour before I can take my next powdered pill.”

“Pill? I knew it.”

“I suffer from allergies and my antihistamines dry me out.”

“You have hay-fever and work as a florist?”

“What can I say, I like floral arranging.” He just didn’t like the customers or the pollen. “Bet you think I’m gay too!”

(first published 11/08/2016)

Happy Valentine’s Day

From the HOME SWEET NOT collection. Available HERE.

HSN TW2

 

Silenced Surround Sounds

They didn’t smell the pungent regurgitated mashed food that battled against clouds of floral perfumes and spicy aftershaves.

They didn’t hear the loudspeaker promoting the latest motivational activity or the surrounding shouts accompanied by scraping chairs and falling cutlery.

All they saw was … Continue reading “Silenced Surround Sounds”

Cocoon of Corridors

escape from reality -prison- mind prison- mental health- darkness- monsters - R&R Ramblings post - MelAROWE.com

Dark’s fingers creep like ghosts that linger. They envelop the skin, infiltrate the bloodstream, to smother the last embers of the soul’s flame. Here, doors open but it’s impossible to peek inside or find the courage to visualize beyond their darkness.

Yet, it’s curiously comforting. This cocoon of corridors Continue reading “Cocoon of Corridors”

FROM HOME SWEET NOT COLLECTION - boundaries pushed by Mel A ROWE

Boundaries Pushed

 

‘Don’t. You. Dare.’

Shoulders squared off, he glanced left.

‘No.’

He sniffed the air as eyes flicked towards the opposite direction.

‘I know what you’re doing. So forget it.’

Eyeballs glazed over, chin raised,  his tongue did a slow slide across his bottom lip.

The waiting game had begun.

‘I said no, okay?’

His head cocked a slight nod, maybe.

‘Okay.’ Satisfied she turned away.

Mere milliseconds ticked by.

With breath held, his brow crinkled, and he pushed his nappy-padded posterior off the wall. Two unsteady steps forward and his pudgy palms pressed against the door – to freedom.

(100 words)

From HOME SWEET ~ NOT.

HSN TW2

#HomeSweetNot #RuralRomanticRamblings