It be that time again. Once more I shall delve into the depths of my imagination, pulling some depressing and deformed literary baby kicking and screaming out of my mind and into the world. It’ll probably die a death rather quickly, fittering out before it’s even reached a paltry thousand words, but maybe, just maybe, it might live. I sometimes think that writers are terrible midwives; the amount of stories they kill is rather abhorrent. Every single one of us is a serial killer of the highest order. Oh, and the topic for this week, as Ploddish so imploringly asked, is sci-fi.
He pulled the hat down over his eyes, the touch of the grubby felt on the slick sides of his head making him long for some sort of clean. That, and the crumbs in his moustache. Eyes narrowed as he made his way down the street, ignoring those around him, pushing them out of the way when they refused to get out of his. A hundred eyes all went to him, slipping over the torn threads of his jacket to the brutalised chicken under his arm.
It had died hours ago, run over by some idiot on a motorbike probably. He was just surprised that no one else had made a grab for it; they weren’t around so much any more. Prize in tow, his free hand made a fist, ready to batter anyone who tried to steal from him. His height made it easy to find a way through the maze of flesh and cloth, but it was the navigation that was the difficult part. Adverts blazed above the crowd’s head, selling products that no one could afford, that probably weren’t in production any more, as far as they were concerned. They’d been up for so long that they had become part of the scenery.
Beggars crowded around him, assuming that the poultry was an indication of wealth rather than opportunism. He scattered them with a hand, spitting in one’s face just to make the point. Next were the children, all trying to pluck a bit of scrawny meat from his treasure. Threats were barked, and he finally found his turning. Sinking into the alley, he took a moment to catch his breath.
“Hey… I’ll give you my shoes for that turkey!” There was a woman, probably a mother, desperately pulling her footwear off as she kept her eyes locked on his chicken. He sighed, shaking his head.
“Look, it’s mine. Just fuck off and find your own food. And it’s a chicken, not a turkey. There aren’t any turkeys any more. At least not any real ones.” One hand went to his moustache, twirling it a little before he let out a heavy sigh. “You’re a mum right?” The woman nodded. “How many?” Three grimy fingers crept their way out of her sleeve. He sighed again.
“Ok, I’ll give you a leg, but if anyone, and I mean it, comes looking for some more after you told them, I will find you, and I’ll take your leg in trade. Ok?” She nodded frantically as he tore one of the measly limbs from the chicken and tossed it to her. “Now fuck off please.” He turned and continued down the alley, alone, finally.
The door to his home was broken in four places, none of which helped you get in. The key he used merely as a tool to shimmy the door open, slipping it between the cracks. Once inside, he flopped down on the bed, cuffing the dog as it came sniffing for his tired prize. He closed his eyes slowly, just letting his guard down for a moment. He was always so tired. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d just been able to relax properly. As the moment slipped by he stood, heading over to the kitchen, and the long process of preparing the meat.
A radio crackled in the background, running out of battery as it spewed irrelevant news. As he slumped the carcass on the chopping board he turned, grabbing the wretched device and angrily winding the winch. A satisfying whirr sounded, met by the resistance in his palm. The voices flared, growing in confidence as they were given a new lease of life by the battery. At least now he had something to listen to beside himself.