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View Full Version : Pink Sky in the Morning, Des's Warning (Short Story)



MrTickle
January 13th, 2017, 01:20 PM
Hi everyone! This story is open to interpretation. You could say this is about a man's guilt eroding his subconscious. Thank you for reading :-)


The pink sky outside was like that of a movie set: artificial and only there to set a mood. But it was barely enhancing the dimly lit bar where five people sat along a dusty wooden counter. One was a cop in uniform named Des, the other was a woman in a dark green dress with rips the size of mice along the bottom and the final three were tall mid-thirties men in fishing gear. The men in fishing gear were conversing in hushed tones. Des listened to the men as he pretended to examine the label on his beer, and gathered that they worked in the city for a stock broker. But they did not mention its name. They discussed a current situation involving their old ‘past-it’ boss who was not letting them leave early on a Friday so they could head to “The Grey Forest.” Des couldn’t determine where this place was, but the men seemed to lower their tone when they said the name.

“The city isn’t for us. I can’t even sleep with all that noise. All those diggers and cranes. Why do you need to build so many apartment blocks?”

One of the men replied, “They are building bricks to hide something Calum, the city isn’t a safe place. Even for a gutter rat.”

The cop could raise a glass to what they said about the city. He was tired of the city as well.

The endless apartment blocks with nothing but alleyways in between. And the smog. And the droning of industrial noise. It was an industrial symphony covering noises citizens weren’t supposed to hear. There weren’t any stores or hotels anymore. This was a city of bricks where the only person you could see who wasn’t from your apartment block was if someone accidently found their way out onto the metal staircase of an opposing fire exit.
Des decided he would go home that night and tell his wife and son he’s done as a cop. Too many of his friends had disappeared over the past few months in that ‘maze of bricks’ he liked to call it.

As Des slid his beer and chair away from him, both the beer and chair shuddered, then smashed to the ground. All the drinks standing on the counter and shelves fell too. Nobody spoke. They all froze like frightened hamsters.

From Des’s left, where the window was previously shining a dull pink light was a black cloud of smoke moving across the sky. They all rushed outside.
The pavement was wet like it had been raining. No cars or pedestrians made their way down the street. All the shops’ shutters were down which was strange considering this was only 5 in the afternoon. But Des didn’t think anything else of it. There were more immediate matters to attend to.
They all headed behind the pub where the long smoke cloud was coming from and a long thin crater had formed in the ground where a small wood used to be behind the pub. They edged towards the crater.

Inside were three bodies all wrapped in white mesh.

Inside the mesh, the bodies wriggled and tore the mesh away from their bodies.

A man dressed in black, a girl in a green dress and an old man in a three piece suit were revealed.

Des frowned and felt heat rise from his heart to his head, his legs tingled and his right hand was clenched. He sprinted down to the man dressed in all black and threw his hardest punch, groaning as he clapped the man’s cheek with his fist. But the man did not cry out in pain or even register Des had hit him. He just sat upright and his cheek puffed back into shape like it was made of foam. Des yanked out his handcuffs and again, the man didn’t react, resist, or make a sound.

The cop took a look at the other four.

The old man was being led off by the three brokers, they were all laughing with manic grins and vacant eyes and were skipping their way to the boot of
their car where they pushed and pulled the old man into the boot.

And the tramp woman was hugging a girl in the crater next to Des, crying and promising she would never let her out of her sight again.


*

The cop drove the man in black across the desert in his unmarked car towards a prison that stood on its own, like a rusted abandoned factory. The prison could only be seen when the temperature dropped and when there was no longer a shimmer from the heat.

Des handed over the man to the guards. They thanked him, but didn’t ask how he found him or who he was.

When Des got home he told his wife and son Charlie that he wouldn’t have to go to the city many more times, “The case is almost closed.”

His wife hugged him and told him about the dream she had of him floating on top of the smog which hung the city. He said, “Don’t worry, I won’t be going there for much longer.”

His wife began to cry, “The city is full of so many dark mysteries, I’m scared if you solve one you may disappear into it.”

Des chuckled and shook his head as he held her head close to him, “Don’t worry, I will go and tell the mother and father I’ve found the killer and then I’m done, I’ll be back here with you and Charlie by noon.”

*

The next day Des was back in an apartment block.

He told the mother and father the news - this was a family who never let their child out the house and, but one day two years ago their child ran out of the front door because it was left unopened by the mother who was carrying in shopping. The son ran down the hallway and didn’t come back. Des always said to them, “It’s good to let children explore you know.” But his words always seemed to be coming from someone else because he could sympathise, as his
Charlie was growing up in a bad neighbourhood and he never liked to let him out too much either.

The family also told him when he first met them that they suffered from visions of their son in the opposite apartment block, running out to the metal staircase fire exit and back in again. Des asked if their vision still persisted now the case was solved.

“Yes. Every day.”

He told them he will look into it.

Ten minutes later he broke into the opposite apartment block by kicking in a boarded up window on the ground floor.

He found a maze of hallways, and the walls were painted with images of fake doorways and ladders. He caught a glimpse of a boy running in his peripheral vision. Des jogged after him. The boy was about 5’6 inches tall, and wore grey overalls. He occasionally stopped in a corner of a room and picked up a nut out of a pile of muesli food and ate it, then ran on until he stopped to look out of a window. It was like following a mouse going through its routine.


*


Somewhere across the desert the man in black walked methodically like a dune bug across the sand. He stood in the window of Des’s bungalow and stared blankly at Charlie who was playing with his toy ambulance in the kitchen, rolling it across the worktop.


*

Des woke up on the floor of one of the apartments corridors. It was impossible to know which one because they all looked the same: yellow bricked and red carpeted. He looked at his watch and saw it was 8:08 am.

He rushed back to his car in the car park. Even though he was late, at least he could tell Ellen and Charlie he wouldn’t be going back here. As he opened his car door he noticed the sky was pink again, but this time it was a darker pink – more of a realistic look than the one he saw in the bar.

When he arrived home, the house was dark and empty, his voice echoing up the stairs as he called their names. But he soon heard his wife crying from outside in the garden. He went out there and saw her standing over a large granite rock with engravings on it.

He said, “What’s happened, Ellen.”

“I was sad. I wanted to see Charlie, I-I miss him. I can’t believe it’s been two years.”

“W-What do you mean, Ellen.”

She still didn’t turn to face him and his words just seemed to dissolve as they left his mouth.

“We should have moved to the city and not here. Small towns aren’t safe anymore.”

She looked up to the sky ignoring his question. “I heard about a similar case to Charlie’s. A couple of weeks ago a boy was found buried in cement in the same forest ... God’s its awful.”

Des shook his head at the ground trying to make sense if this was a dream or she was playing these words off some demented radio play from a voice recorder. “Ellen, look at me.”

She remained with her back to Des, “I wish you caught that man ... You - you know, you should have looked harder. I’m sure you know that.”

Des frowned and shook his head “Caught who? Who did what to Charlie?”

She turned, carrying a stern look on her face. No tears in her eyes.

“How can you not remember? The man, the one in black.”

Absolem
January 25th, 2017, 07:05 PM
I might not have been reading all too closely but I don't know what going on with the mysterious strangers or the cop for that matter. Your work was a little confusing but that's probably just me, but was entertaining enough for me to read it all. I would genuinely like to read more.

Moonbeast32
January 30th, 2017, 08:33 PM
An excellent set up, good job on creating the scenes. I felt like I could easily picture the scenes in mind, which is what you ought to be aiming for. However, as the story progressed, I felt that the details were coming in a little too quickly before I could take it in. It can be helpful to add a variety of settings, but try not to jump from setting to setting so quickly. As an example of this, I would say that you spent just the right amount of time on the bar setting.

Hope that helps

MrTickle
January 31st, 2017, 03:36 PM
An excellent set up, good job on creating the scenes. I felt like I could easily picture the scenes in mind, which is what you ought to be aiming for. However, as the story progressed, I felt that the details were coming in a little too quickly before I could take it in. It can be helpful to add a variety of settings, but try not to jump from setting to setting so quickly. As an example of this, I would say that you spent just the right amount of time on the bar setting.

Hope that helps

Thanks Mooneast32 I agree. But I was trying to make it a flash fiction which may have been too much to pack in to such a small word count. Thank you for the feedback and the read I really appreciate it!

MrTickle
January 31st, 2017, 03:38 PM
I might not have been reading all too closely but I don't know what going on with the mysterious strangers or the cop for that matter. Your work was a little confusing but that's probably just me, but was entertaining enough for me to read it all. I would genuinely like to read more.

Thank you for the read and feedback Absolem. This is an abstract and surreal piece but does make sense. Thanks again!