Friday 17 April 2015

'Semi-Detached' by Mark Newman

We are the spirits who muffle the cries of those who are semi-detached.
We do our best to preserve your dignity. We live inside your walls, in spaces long forgotten.
A running tap will not drown out your angry words; the raised volume on the TV will not fool anyone. They cannot mask the crockery smash, the skin slap, the glass shatter.
We seek out the places where neighbours hold glasses to walls; we cluster there to scupper those spies. But they should not despise us, for we do the same for them.
We gather together so your screams don’t penetrate through wallpaper, plasterboard, bricks and mortar. We extinguish those expletives; the ones you so rarely dare to use. We are the insulation against your private moments reaching the ears of your neighbours. And yes, we are there for those private moments too. We stifle those cries the most; your neighbours have no wish to hear them.
At night, when you sleep, we come out from the walls and gather at your fevered brow. We gently vibrate against your skin; soothing, calming, pushing the bad thoughts away.
Oh, you think you are alone in your sorrows but we have seen them all before. You are no different to us from the man, the woman, the boy, the girl who lived here years ago. If we are honest, we have a hard time recognising the change from generation to generation.
We have seen their joys too, as we see yours. Do not forget when things go wrong that there are also moments of joy. These we do not cover, these we let run free. We are only there to hide your misery, to quash the bitter words you say in the heat of an affray.
We want no thanks for it; it is just what we do.
We are the spirits who muffle the cries of those who are semi-detached.

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


  1. Simply beautiful.

  2. Wonderful. Love the 'generation to generation' part and how 'they gather at your fevered brow'. I need those spirits. It's even worse of you're in a flat. I know too much. .... Great flash!

    1. Thank you so much Sal for the lovely comments :-)


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