statichead

To scribble. Dictionery definition: to write hastily and carelessly or in a hurried and badly constructed style. In our defence, we like the word 'scribblings' and would respectfully suggest, that none of the submissions below fall into any of the aforementioned catagories. The odd mistake or typo notwithstanding :)

Below are some examples of work written by members of the group

White Noise by Shirley Golden

 

First published in April 2016 by Retreat West as winner of their Monthly Themed Flash Competition.

 

We hiked to the ocean because Hanna didn’t want to die in the city.  She hungered to hear the sigh of the sea and taste the salt-stained breeze.  The buildings were tombs of rotting flesh.  We scavenged supplies from dead supermarkets where refrigerators hummed with out-of-date meat.  Hanna said we risked infection if we stayed.  Kim followed Hanna without question, and I was too tired to argue.  Owen said he couldn’t leave, as if an umbilical cord tied him.  But when we loaded our rucksacks and headed west, he trailed after us.

I took the radio, substituting food supplies for batteries.  But I kept that to myself.  The static airwaves grated on them.

‘Give it a rest, can’t you, Ben?’  Mostly, it was Owen who made me stop.  Hanna said everyone was dead; the virus had taken everything. 

‘There might be others like us,’ I said.  We’d witnessed the death of a city.  Why did they assume that included the world, as if an egotistical need required them to be the last?

At the coastline, the brackish odour was better than the stench of rancid streets.  Kim fell into the sea as if it was the first day of a holiday; even Owen kicked off his shoes.

‘The cove looks a good place for shelter.’  Hanna untied her laces but never removed her boots.

I learnt to light a fire by spinning a stick, using dried weed as tinder and driftwood as fuel.  Mostly, the wood smoked and spat, but at least I created sparks.  No one minded that it gave little heat.  We tried to condense saltwater, but the drops we extracted were never enough. 

When they slept, I combed the airwaves, straining to hear beyond the static hiss. 

In the early hours, Kim would pace the camp.  She talked of shapes in the distance.

If Owen heard her, he’d say, ‘Go back to sleep.  Save your energy for netting fish.’  He knew her from before, said she was a dreamer, said habits like that were hard to break.

Late one night, Kim crawled across the sand and leaned against me.  ‘Did you hear it?’ 

Owen had warned us: she’s been drinking seawater.

‘A voice,’ she said.  ‘You heard it, didn’t you?  You know they’re watching, don’t you?’

‘I’ve sensed something,’ I said.  But I was losing the frequency.

‘Keep searching,’ she said.  Her eyes were glazed.  ‘They’re watching; they’re waiting.  Our seclusion is no fluke; they fear we’re carriers.’  Her phobias shivered through my body, towards my heart.  ‘They’ll help, once they see ... Owen’s wrong, people aren’t that callous.’

So, I twisted the dial and kept turning, even after the moonlight faded to a grey muddy puddle.  Kim slipped into sleep and morning stained the horizon with those hollow pockets of light.  Shadows, like deformed arms opened across the bay; giant’s arms that could smother black holes in a dense embrace, where nothing, not even light, escapes

The Rescue

Jean McIntosh

The buzz of the pager jolted me out of bed.  It was five in the morning.  My one thought was it’s got to be bad.  How long had they been in the water?  Maybe hours.  If so, not much chance of a good outcome.  I hauled on my rescue gear and grabbed a chocolate bar.  The Ferry Road station is about five minutes away if you break the speed limit.  So I did.  Just as well, ‘cos Dan was already in Atlantic 75 and revving the 2-stroke outboard.  I’d only just passed the assessments and my insides were churning.

‘It’s a youngster, Pete,’ said Dan.  ‘So a baptism of fire for your first one.’  How could he grin at me like that?  My heart was a drum beat, knocking into my ribs.  Am I really ready for this?  What if we’re not in time?  I pushed the thoughts away.  First time at the wheel proper.  Got to focus.  Must keep calm.  We clipped on our harness and I took the helm.  Up went the nose as I carved our way through the swell.  Good old Atlantic 75 roared along, bucking and bouncing.  Dan stood behind me - busy speaking into his intercom. 

We found the young lad in seven minutes flat.  He was in a bad way but the look of relief on his face.  Made me feel proud.  Dan hauled him aboard and did the blanket wrap while I turned the boat back to the station.  We got the lad back quick enough and paramedics were on hand.  ‘Good job Pete,’ said Dan slapping me on the back.  He grimaced.  ‘What is it with young men and the demon drink? 

 

This is a fictionalised account of a real rescue from the RNLI base in Portsmouth.