"Sol Occidens" by Jane Roberts
You may look at the rising of the sun in the Orient, at the pairs of hands propelling the ball of light up high into the Wedgewood blue, amidst those little ivory and elephant grey cameos of clouds. And behind those clouds, you might spy – just – the haphazard web of the miniscule threads that guide them across the sky.
You may scrutinize winged creatures. Not just birds, but bats and dragons and harpies – all flap and flutter whatever the time of day. Their mechanics – even the nuts and bolts – rust and squeak; their music box mouths become grotesquely out-of-tune shrill.
You may look at all of this, hear all of this, and you may not question any of it in the sanctuary of daylight.
Yet do not look closely at the refulgent orb setting, the Sol Occidens; the Technicolor movie palette of vibrant watercolours and acrylics that will fade over time – orange and purple paint bubbling, blistering with the changing heat, eventually peeling with the wear of traffic.
Is that a hint of magical snow, or is it a powdery arsenic sky-flake falling gently upon your fingertip?
No; enjoy it, revel in it, but do not question what it is you see. Look too closely at the afterglow and your eyes will burn your beliefs into eternal darkness.
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words). So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.