15 July 2010

"Vicarious" #Fridayflash



Photo credit: xandert from morguefile.com

“Part vampire, part warrior,
Carnivore and voyeur
Stare at the transmittal.
Sing to the death rattle.”

Vicarious – Tool







A woman fell on the cracked sidewalk and chanced a glance behind her. The two shaded figures were gaining. With a sharp cry, she clawed to her feet again and fled. An ATM machine stood silent, waiting for customer to insert card. Her silhouette grazed over the glass lens of the camera. She turned a corner into the alleyway. The two figures gave close pursuit. Out of sight, her scream was cut short.

A man stood outside his house gazing up at the sky at the darkened hulks roaring overhead. His wife stood at the door halted by his harsh words. Great bellies seemed to drift overhead before the bay doors opened. He registered as a slight orange and red blip on the monitor screen before the blast.

A girl lay on her stomach over her bed, grinning into her webcam. Accented murmurs filtered from the screen. She smiled coyly before unbuttoning her blouse. The elderly woman next door was slowly mottling as her Pekinese caught and jerked strips of flesh. On the counter, her overly simplified cell phone rang. The gas stove never lit. The web camera image dissolved into a fit of static when the duplex exploded.

A business woman stepped onto the elevator downtown and selected a lower floor. She popped open her clutch to extract her lipstick, her eyes climbing towards the ceiling where the camera blinked, comforting her. She swallowed the lipstick and bit into her lip as the cable snapped and the car plunged ten stories into the garage. The doors bulged but wouldn't open.

______

Up in the sky, an old building stood defiant against the winds, swirling through broken glass to catch old scraps of paper and rustle tattered drapes. Curling wallpaper flaked to the moldy carpet. One room remained unaffected by time. A great bank of curved monitors, stacked artfully to form one solid wall of hundreds of changing images, and an eye to the world. Yellowed New World Order posters clung to the walls. Graphs of human violence in various locations of the globe highlighted with circled lettering.

Still seated, though it’d been long ago that his legs had last been strong, a man slumped in an overstuffed office chair. Every so often he moaned softly, gaping his toothless mouth. His grey tongue snaked out to flick dust off his lips.

Hordes of cockroaches and rats scurried along and over abandoned desks, skittering over the CRT monitors, three of which had ceased function. The figure jerked in his seat, shaking his fingers gently over the arms of his chair. Wires danced from his fingertips, and his eyes shifted under his sealed eyelids.

On the top left monitor, gunfire, sending a body to the ground.

His mouth pulled upwards in the semblance of a smile.

27 comments:

Laura Eno said...

Quite creepy...takes the word 'vicarious' to a whole new level!

Sulci Collective said...

I loved this Carrie, you should really have no reservations about your own work by now.

The dislocation of the people (figurines), each enduring their own private hell before the bomb drops to put them out of their misery. And yet they are only putting on a show for the perverted old military guy in the bunker. I like the way everything is recorded by technology already in place - ATM cameras, computers etc.

marc nash

Linda said...

Very Big Brother (a la the spying) and dystopian story. you got the chill down perfectly. Great writing this week -- hard to pick out just one sentence. Peace...

The Frog Queen said...

Amazed as always....It has been a great pleasure to watch your work evolved. Thanks for having us along for the ride.

Cheers!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Deep, dark, frenetic. Holy moley at its finest. The pace, the descriptions were blade-sharp and the story itself twisted and horrifying.
Carrie, you done done it again.

antisocialbutterflie said...

Creepy fabulous. You always know how to build the suspense.

Pamila Payne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamila Payne said...

That was scary, Carrie. Each scene built on the last, piling dread on top of suspense. Horror, yes, indeed. I also liked that you used the ordinary cameras we've accepted all around us. That can't be good...

Eric J. Krause said...

Wow. Just wow.

(Meaning, of course, I enjoyed this one a TON.)

Bukowski's Basement said...

Just when I stopped worrying about 'The Bomb' ... I had to go and read this chilling piece of flash. Creepy and still... fabulous.

Gracie said...

Outrageously good and scary as hell. There probably is some guy in a room just like that somewhere.

My neurotic just amped up a notch. Killer, perfect story.

Jen Brubacher said...

I read this a few times. The descriptions are complicated but I somehow love it anyway, since it puts each person into such different and yet equally dangerous positions.

Other comments about the bombs dropping confused me. This isn't about that, is it? It's about all kinds of death. Or I need to read it again.

Fascinating story. Very thought provoking and unsettling.

Sam said...

With the continuing rise of the use of cctv in the UK, I find this story incredibly creepy. There probably is a man in a room somewhere here watching banks of monitors; and he probably works for our government.

Anneke said...

Awesome! And I just love your style.

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

I love how each event builds on the other until throughout. An enthralling and captivating read.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Fantastic work, Carrie. The little snippets of uncomfortable last moments, and then BOOM.


http://mazzz-in-leeds.com/2010/07/necrofiche/

Christian Bell said...

A nice buildup in this, creating a distinct sense of creepiness. An excellent concept, with excellent execution by you.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Your descriptions, as ever, were astounding, and I think I've never really 'felt' what apocalypse would be like until now. Very creepy.

Deanna said...

A heart-stopping chill Carrie. Superb!

Laurita said...

Excellent piece of writing. Heart stopping pace, expertly built.

kaitnolan.com said...

I totally had to read this twice before I realized what was going on. That's flipping brilliant. :D

Miss Alister said...

This is hot, Carrie. The concept, the writing, the tension building, the freaky resolution, all of it super-hot!

John Wiswell said...

That's the sound of the world burning...

Jason Coggins said...

Voyeurism as techno-apocalype-porn. That's a genre to be tapped if there ever was one. I loved it, very inhuman and cool.

jdanetyler said...

Great job with the round of vignettes tied of at the ending with the dessicated old man in the central ... uh ... office-thingy. Great creepy effect. I loved how choppy and dissociative it all is until the end. Well done!

Michelle said...

gasp - creepy!!!!

Donald Conrad said...

All those camera angles are out there, which brings this one home to roost and thank yuh. Those little black domes will be looked at a little differently by me.