Wings of lace – short story

A writing exercise I like to do is to button mash on my computer and get a string of random letters. I just start writing whatever comes to me, using each letter as the start of a new sentence. Every piece ends up so random and fun, and I never know where it’s going to go, or how I’ll use the letters.
Here is the string of letters for the following story: uirthnioeurghveiourgnvhauirganrgcaveirbuuahilrghmcarinfbj.


Until yesterday, I always thought the only way I could possibly fly was if I crafted my own wings out of lace and feathers. I don’t know how I many combinations I had tried in the past, but it, so far, was the only thing that worked.

Really, it can be a combination of any lace like fabric and something light, like feathers or wool.

The thing is this – I love to fly. Having the ability to fly is possibly the best feeling in the world. Nothing and nobody could stop me flying.

I had my lace and feather wings in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, when my mum burst into the laundry.

“Oh, you didn’t put anything in there,” she paused as she pointed at the machine, “because I was about to put the whites in with the bleach.”

Everything started to fall down around me, realising my beautiful wings were being tossed gently around in bleach.

Unfortunately, not even frantic pressing of buttons and slamming open of the door could stop the bleach from pooling in the water at the bottom of the machine, my wings a dead bird ball.

Reaching in, I pulled out the lace, feathers falling down in wet limps.

“Great.”h

“Honey, I’m so sorry,” mum frowned at the feather slush. “Very sorry.”

Even though I knew it probably wouldn’t help with anything, tears started to cascade down my face. I couldn’t look at the chaos anymore, and I closed my eyes as I turned away.

Only flying could help fix my mood, and the only known contraption I had was ruined. Unless I could find something to replace it straight away, I knew I was going to be in a slump forever.

Right then, my mum put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You know, you don’t need to make wings, right?”

Grinning at me, mum took my hand and pulled me to my room. No-one can help me to calm down the way my mum does. Virtually nothing could calm me down except wings, so I wasn’t sure what could possibly work, given the mess.

“How about this?” mum asked, pulling a makeshift set of wings from the back of my wardrobe.

“Actually, they’re just a prototype and can’t fly.”

“Unless these are specifically made not to fly, then I’m certain these will work.”

I looked at the poorly constructed lace and the bits of wool haphazardly tied on. Reflecting on it, these wings hadn’t seen the light of day in several years, and I wasn’t sure they could handle the sky.

Grasping the loose ends, I sighed.

“Alright.”

Nothing could cheer me up, except for wings. Right now, I was accepting of the fact I’d have to give these makeshifts a try. Granted, these were the first attempts at making wings, and there was a slim chance of these working, but they were my best bet.

Cuddling under the lace, I felt the tough “soft” wool pressing against my bare shoulders. And I wasn’t scared. Various pairs of wings had made me worried about trying them. None had worked, but my lace and feathers were the only ones that felt right, and it worked. Even though they were ruined, and all I had left was this shamble of an attempt, I wasn’t scared.

I stood at the edge of the roof, looking down at the landing spots of my failed attempt, and then up at my target – the biggest cloud in the sky.

“Ready?” mum called from the ground.

Bracing myself, I took a few steps back, and readied myself. Usually, it was a run up, throwing myself out to the wind and hope for the best. Until my last wings, I had ended down on the ground, not feeling the greatest. And I felt comfortable, like the last pair, ready to propel my across the sky, not anticipating a fall.

Holding onto the little edges, I held out my arms, feeling the wingspans.

I started to run those few steps to the edge, closed my eyes, and leapt.

Leaping into the air, there was a moment where my stomach dropped, feeling like there was a chance of falling. Regardless, I pushed that small feeling aside and threw my arms open.

Getting into the air was never the problem, it was staying there, and for a minute, I was pretty sure I was actually falling. However, I opened my eyes and found myself dipping into a soar.

Mum started to cheer, and I beamed, looking up at the trees in front of me.

Could it be that these initial wings were just as good as my favourite?

As I flew higher and higher, the house grew smaller, mum became a dot in the green, and the clouds grew closer. Reaching into the clouds, I thought about how sad I had been not long ago, worried I’d never get into the air again, to feel the clouds, and scare the birds.

I felt so free, my wings feeling so comfortable against my skin. Never had I flown without the ends of feathers pricking me.

Falling was always scary, but the nose-dive to the backyard was always tough. Bringing my wings around my body, I let gravity throw me back.

Just as I started to gracefully descend, a bird flew into me, throwing off my concentration, and propelling me in an un-ladylike fashion toward the ground.

Untitled – Short Story

Written as a dream sequence. Let me know if there are any phrases that stand out to you, and generally what you think. I want to expand this into something a bit bigger, although I don’t have an overarching plan for it yet.


I was walking down a path in a forest, streams of light pooling between the foliage. Somewhere forward was a waterfall, the rushing water reverberating through the trees.

Birds perched high above me, singing, calling, and replying to each other. They flew between the trees, not making a noise as they landed on branches. And there was something roaming through the underbrush. Something small. There was a movement on my left, passing between a tree and a boulder. I looked over and saw a brush of red against the large rock.

The path ahead twisted out of sight, around trees and curving away to the right. I knew this path, it would return to the left and travel down to the waterfall, where the crystalline water broke against itself and poured around the rocks, splashing against the bank, and travelling further down, to places not seen before by humans.

The rock with the red stood, beckoning me to venture forth, promising something of interest.

So, with a glance over my shoulder at the deserted path, I stepped into the plants.

Walking up to the boulder was no easy feat. Something squelched under my shoe, but the foliage covered it up. I felt something jump onto my back and my breath hitched. I reached back to grab it, but my hand made contact with nothingness, despite the feeling of legs scuttling about. Both hands went forth, grabbing, swatting, groping, but there was nothing there.

The legs continued.

I walked forward, finally reaching the rock. Lifting my fingers up, I swiped at the red and came back with a warm, wet, copper hand. It stunk of metal and I walked around the rock, looking for some more blood. It slowly sank away from the boulder and dragged along the plants lining the earth. I followed it.

As I walked, the waterfall seemed to get further away. The loud crashing that I was expecting soon fell into a distant memory of sapphire.

The red became thicker and seemed to settle in my nose. And suddenly, it stopped. The trail ended with thick, goopey gore nestled under a tree. It smelt fresh, not decomposing yet, although some flies seemed to have found it before me.

The Death of the Author – short story

This is a very short piece. The inspiration came to me while I was driving today. It’s an idea that I plan on investigating in length later. Based on the idea that once a book/story is written, the intent of the author is irrelevant because it’s in the hands of the reader to interpret. I could write an essay about this, but I’ll spare you.

Anyway, just putting the idea out. This would likely be the first draft of the final part of a larger story. Let me know if you like the idea and if you would read a longer version of this.


Today had just been exhausting. This had to be the second maths test Laura had failed in the last three weeks. It was also the first time she’d had two maths test in three weeks.

Maths was the last straw – the last piece of evidence she needed. All Laura had to do was find a way to persuade her author to make things more desirable.

She closed her eyes, turned off any source of sound, and tried to zone out.


The author heard a noise behind them and turned around.

A sixteen year old girl stood in the middle of the lounge room, looking a bit confused.

“What the hell are you doing here?” the author asked, standing up.

The girl stopped and looked at the author. Her eyes narrowed.

“You’re the author.”

“And you’re Laura,” the author said. “But you’re not supposed to be here.”

“You have to change my story.”

“I don’t have to do anything.”

Laura looked around the apartment. It was a small one bedroom, mostly white surfaces, minimalist. The fanciest thing here was the authors laptop, the thing controlling her life.

“At least change my maths score,” Laura said.

The author sighed and crossed their arms. “I don’t think you understand. Sometimes I write things because it was part of the plan. Sometimes, the characters are just idiots and don’t study hard enough.”

“I studied.”

“Not hard enough, evidently.”

Laura picked up a pair of scissors sitting on a bench. “What happens to me?”

“I don’t know yet. You’re the master of your own fate.”

Scoffing, Laura opened the scissors. “No, you’re the master of my fate.”

“I think it’s time for you to leave.”

The author turned around to start writing again, but before they could finish their sent


When I opened my sapphire eyes, I was lying on the ground. I never go on the ground, because it’s dirty, so this was really weird. Anyway, I stood up and brushed the dust from my short blonde hair. My red dress with white spots was a bit crinkled, but I smoothed it down and walked to a mirror.

The Bar – short story

This is another piece I wrote at uni. I’m planning on rewriting and expanding this piece. MasterChef is back tomorrow night, and with it, a recap.


I parked my car and walked into the bar. My favourite bartender was there, a friendly smile on her face as I approached.

She had blonde hair, pulled up in a bun. She wore a contagious smile, the black work uniform, and blue nail polish. I looked at her name tag that sat prominently on her shirt.

Beth.

“Hi, what can I get you?”

I wanted to say ‘my usual’, but I knew she wouldn’t know.

“Vodka and coke, thanks,” I said with a wink.

Beth grabbed a glass and put some ice in it.

“Where are you from?” she asked.

I paused. “Just this small town, you wouldn’t know it.” I waved a hand around, shaking it off.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s in the middle of nowhere.”

She turned around as she nodded and grabbed the vodka from the shelf behind her. I watched her in the mirror as she bit her lip and grasped the bottle. Beth turned around and looked at the glass.

As she poured the vodka, she asked, “What brings you here?”

“Staying here for a while. I’m planning on moving here for my girlfriend.” I smiled again and she smiled before turning around to put the bottle back. She turned back.

“That’s nice.”

I nodded and watched as she poured the coke.

Beth put it on the counter, and told me how much my drink was. I handed over the money and bit my bottom lip.

“I’ve never really left Sydney,” she told me and I nodded.

“Yeah. Born and raised,” I said.

She seemed to take this as a question and nodded. “Yep. I’ll probably die here,” she said before her eyes widened. “Oh, sorry! That sounds so morbid.”

“No, it’s fine. I love morbid.”

I took my drink and sat at a table, watching the bar as she served a few more people and talked to the other patrons.

I watched for a few more minutes as a couple of men came up, flirted with her, and got their drink. I frowned as they did so, and her willingness to let them.

I downed my drink and came up to the bar as she poured a beer for the man next to me.

Beth frowned and sighed.

“Mike, I’m sorry to say this, but the keg has just run out.” She looked up at him and gave a small smile. “I’m gonna change it, and I’ll bring you the beer when I’m done.”

The man beside me nodded and she smiled before walking away from the bar.

I cleared my throat and leaned on the counter, my arms resting on the fluffy bar mats.

“I saw you flirting with her,” I said, nodding in the direction she had left.

Mike shrugged. “And?”

I looked him up and down. He had messy brown hair and narrowed brown eyes. His shirt was creased, as though he had worn it all day, and his jeans had dirt on them. I looked at his boots and scrunched my nose. They were unpolished and scuffed.

I made eye contact with him and he raised an eyebrow.

“Beth’s my girlfriend,” I told him.

He scoffed. “Yeah, sure.”

“I’m serious. I know nearly everything about her. Ask me anything.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes, taking a step away from the bar. “Seriously.”

“Alright,” he said, crossing his arms. “What are her parent’s names?”

I shook my head and sighed. “Easy. Tina and Markus.”

He turned around and returned to his table, shaking his head as he left.

I looked back at the bar, and admired my face in the mirror behind it. Beth still hadn’t returned and I was getting a little nervous. I hoped she was alright.

I smiled in relief as she returned, her face calm. Beth looked up at me and gave me a smile before grabbing a glass and pouring the beer.

“I’ll be with you in a sec,” she said.

I nodded and said, “No rush.”

The Day the Music Died – short story

This is a piece I wrote during my first year of uni. I remember receiving a mark of about 60% and feeling disappointed – I thought I had done such a good job, and my writing had improved drastically since the end of last year. Looking back, now with a degree under my belt and having completed honours, I can absolutely see how I received the mark I did.

In the future, I would like to go back and re-write most of my uni assignments to see the difference. I will start with this piece.


The day that the music was cancelled, I was working at the bar. The final message of the day was broadcasted at about seven that night. I had just finished pouring a beer and set it on the counter for a woman when I looked up and saw a face. This wouldn’t have alarmed me, had it not been on every screen in the bar. He was on the big screen, the KENO screens, and the racing screens. I stared at them with mild horror and fascination, and the woman in front of me stared up at the screen behind the bar. Everyone was silent as we watched the man talk, even though we had seen it several times prior.

The Government of your country, in association with the General Assembly of the United Nations, and with the co-operation of the United States of America, The European Union, The Republic of Russia, The Peoples Republic of China, The League of African Nations, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and the Federal Governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand announces that, as of midnight, Friday March 6, 2015, music in all forms and expressions is henceforth illegal, and persons caught engaging in any form of musical activity or expression will be deemed seditious and dealt with accordingly. We thank you for your co-operation in this matter.’

My first thought was, ‘How will this affect business? What’ll happen if the bar closes?’

~*~

We were forced to close the bar at ten that night. Government officials came in and told us we had to close. They said they had to make some changes.

The manager, Aaron, sent me home.

“Janet,” he said, running his fingers through his hair. “Go home. I’ll look after it.”

~*~

The next night, I came to work to find Aaron standing behind the bar with a small, forced smile planted on his face. He glanced around at the patrons and looked down at his hands.

I put my bag away and signed in. As I walked over to Aaron, I cast a smile at a regular who glanced over at me.

The smile still stuck on my face, I spoke to Aaron.

“What are the changes?” I asked.

We both knew I needn’t have asked. The pokies were silent, the music wasn’t playing, and the jukebox in the corner was missing. Most of the screens were missing, save the betting screens which were on mute. The patrons sat, talking in hushed tones. He looked over at the cash register and pointed at a button under the till.

“If anyone so much as whistles or hums, we have to press that button.” His eyes swept the bar, watching the patrons, and he rubbed his chin. “They have microphones rigged up as well. If someone reports it and that we didn’t take action, they check it out.”

I heard what was happening around the world – musicians injured or killed. I knew it was happening to Australians as well. One of my friends had messaged me shortly after the announcements and told me he had decided to,“Fuck it, Janet, I’m busking tomorrow.” I haven’t heard from him since.

~*~

When I got into the car after my shift, the only noise from the radio was static. I flicked through the stations I knew and found they were all playing the same tune.

I got home and found my laptop and iPod both unresponsive. I walked into the lounge room and turned on the TV. The news was on so I watched clips of what was happening around the world. Most of it revolved around the Silence and how it was affecting people around the world. As it turns out, Apple had gone out of business. iTunes was deleted, their computers were wiped, and they had nothing left. It was also revealed that they had access to every device in the world. Every device was wiped and made unresponsive.

~*~

It had been nearly three weeks since the silence around the world. At work, less and less people were coming in. The patrons spoke in hushed voices – no-one wanted to break the silence.

There were one group of men that came in, though, with high spirits and a lot of money in their wallets. They ordered three bourbon and cokes and sat in a corner table near the pool room, where the jukebox used to be. One round turned to three, and three to six. Their laughter radiated through the bar, spreading some noise and breaking the uncomfortable silence that settled at every table. The several other patrons had started to make some noise as well.

“Nah, man. You can’t sing for shit!” one of the three laughed.

Grinning, a second stood up and came to get another round. He looked over at his friends and gave me a hesitant smile.

I made the drinks and set them on the counter. He glanced over his shoulder again and his smile started to slide off a bit.

“Wh… what happens if, ya know, they sing?” he asked as I rung him up.

I glanced over at Aaron who was counting the money in one of the tills. I looked back at the man and shrugged.

“I dunno,” I said with a sigh, “but it won’t end well.”

The man nodded, a small, forced smile on his face. “Alright.”

He turned around and began walking back to his friends who were still arguing.

“You’re so bad,” the first one said, “that they banned music.”

“Bullshit!” the accused laughed. He cleared his throat and smirked. Then, he stood and began to sing. Badly. “Carry on my wayward son! There’ll be peace when you are done!”

His friend sitting opposite jumped up, his eyes wide and his mouth dropped. “I was kidding. Shut up!”

The bar fell silent and all eyes fell on them.  The man with the tray dropped it and ran towards his friends, yelling, “No! Stop!”

I looked over at the manager and he slammed his hand against the red button under the till.

“Lay your weary head to rest!”

I looked down at the beer I was pouring and found it overflowing.

“Don’t you cry no more! Bow bah dum dah-”

His friends tackled him to the ground as he sang the instrumental and pressed their hands to his mouth.

“SHUT UP!” they yelled in unison.

The man wiggled free and stood up. He laughed and threw his arms in the air. I heard the sound of boots running up the stairs.

“It doesn’t matter! It’s just words! What’s it gonna do? What’s gonna happen? Nothin’!”

Four police officers burst into the bar and walked over to them. At first, I didn’t know how they knew it was him, but then I looked around and realised everyone was staring at the man. His friend took a few steps away from him. He looked at the newcomers with alarm and took a few hurried steps backwards.

Two of the officers grabbed the man and dragged him towards the door.

“Hey! Lemme go!” he cried, wiggling in their arms.

The other two officers watched the bar as the patrons ducked their heads and looked down at their drinks. The officers left with the man and I glanced at the guys near the pool room. They stood in silence, staring at the exit. We could still hear his screams as he was escorted away.

~*~

The two men came in again about a month later. They bought two bourbons and cokes and sat at the same table. This time, there was no laughter and fun. Other than myself, they were the only ones in the bar.

One of them came back to the bar after they finished the first round and he asked for two glasses of coke – no ice, no bourbon. I wanted to ask about the friend but I didn’t know how to without sounding insensitive.

As I swiped his member card and opened the till, the man sighed.

“We haven’t seen him since…” he trailed off, speaking as though he had read my mind.

I looked up at him and frowned. “I’m sorry to hear that. He seemed like a nice guy.”

The man nodded and pocketed the change before walking back to the table and handing over the drink.

~*~

Since the silence began, we lost most of our regulars. They could have better, more private conversations at their own home with the same beers at a cheaper price.

However, we had gotten some new regulars. They were not like the old regulars. They used to come in, sit with their mates, have a few drinks, and have a good time.

The new regulars were sexually creepy men who leered at the female bartenders and sat facing the bar. They called me sweetie, gorgeous, beautiful, and the new regular punters told me they’d jackpot one day and take me out to dinner.

They made me feel sick.

~*~

It was three months since music was banned. Since then, I’ve only changed one keg. One of the new regulars requested a beer.

I started to pour it when the line cut off. I groaned and forced an apologetic frown at the man.

“Looks like it’s out. I’ll go change the keg and it should be right in about five minutes.”

He nodded and walked away. Being the only one on the shift, I had to go down and be quick.

Kegs weren’t changed often these days. But let me tell you something about it: you knew it had to be changed when you were pouring a beer and the line just cut off.

When it cuts out mid drink, you let the customer know and tell another employee.

Then, I have to go to the basement.

While that doesn’t seem all that bad, it is. Behind the bar, behind the fridge with ‘Ready To Drink’ bottles, theres a small corridor. There’s a flight of stairs on the left. As soon as you go down, the paint cuts off and you’re stuck in a concrete corridor. A few meters from the bottom of the stairs is the first corner. Ten meters from that is another. Then, you enter the basement. Most of it is just a large room with a washer, dryer, and a few things being stored.

In the far corner on the right is a cool room filled with wine and spirits. Next to that is the fridge where all the kegs are kept, the drinks that need to be refrigerated, and the keg line. I have to go in there and do my thing.

Before music died, I would hum to myself. I hate the cold, quiet, disconnected basement and going down. I always feel that someone is going to be standing there, waiting with a weapon. In the basement, no-one can hear you scream.

I was already feeling a bit sick. There was a man waiting upstairs for me and I was in a creepy room. The cool basement added to my discomfort. I walked into the fridge, found the keg that had to be changed, and started to talk to myself.

Before the man appeared on every screen around the world, I would hum a classic song to myself, such as “What’s New, Pussycat?” by Tom Jones, to myself as I changed the keg, trying to take my mind of the creepy space.

“Just breathe, Janet. Take a deep breath in.” I paused and followed my instructions. “And breathe out.”

I continued this as a bit of a chant as I changed the keg and raced out of the room. When I got back to the bar, the man was waiting for me. I forced a smiled, poured the beer and rung him up. He grinned at me (more like ‘bared his teeth’) and his eyes raked my torso.

God, I missed the music.