Raw Literature posts as an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it.
Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99-word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome a university student to Raw Literature this week. He’s working on his master’s degree in creative writing and explains how he came to write the following short fiction and why.
The Best Days of Their Lives? by YoungLee Giles
Charlie was sat on the floor with his arms wrapped tightly around his knees. He took a long, slow, inhale but continued to shake like someone who’d just been pulled out of a frozen lake…
On the table was a drooping bunch of roses in a clear vase. The flowers once offered hope, but now took it away. A single drop of sadness clung to a wilted petal before eventually plopping into the water below.
Were they in denial?
The room smelt musty, like a charity shop on a hot, summers day.
Sat next to Double-O-Benton was a guy named Paul who looked fidgety and agitated, as if his skin were too tight. Next to Paul was Neil.
What the fuck?
Lee watched as Neil put a hand underneath his armpit before giving it a good rub. He then put it underneath his nose and sniffed intently like a sommelier studying the bouquet of a fine wine. After satisfying his nasal urge, Neil placed his hand underneath his mouth, snorted hard and spat. With an impressive amount of spit on his palm, he returned to his armpit and scrubbed with furious intent.
It’s 5am and I’m trapped in no man’s land. It’s spikey, uninviting and painful. My very essence has been torn to shreds like a Siamese twin sliced apart from its soulmate. Comfort has left me for someone who cares. I’d like to cut off my arms, morph into the statue of Aphrodite and never embrace another soul.
An African nurse with a soothing voice asks if I would like her to pray for me. The concerned frown upon her round face reminds me of a Parisian clown. She gently places a hand upon my shoulder then kneels beside me and recites the lord’s prayer. My mind struggles to accept her words. They sound distorted, like they’re coming from the mouth of Charlie Brown’s teacher.
My world churns eternal regret. I inhale every rancid odour in the room like a bloodhound trailing deer. My tears are sincere but too late. I’m about to be exposed for what I am. A vulnerable, scared, little boy who knows nothing.
My bones creak like an old man playing his last game of backgammon. I don’t know if I can do this. I look up, on the wall and spot the serenity prayer,
‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to accept the difference’.
I zig zagged through the pitch-black silence of Barcelona’s narrow streets. This part of the city was the opposite of inviting and a galaxy away from the tourist friendly areas nearby. My nose dripped a bitter lemon mucus that threatened to disintegrate my septum and my heart beat furiously.
I’d tripped over a stinking rubbish bag, my brand-new Nike Air-Max trainers now covered in shit. A huge rat came scuttling out of the shadows and into the unknown. Continue reading “Dark Streets”