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by Ashman 

Posted: 27 September 2004
Word Count: 661
Summary: Hey guys, after a bit of browsing and reading other stories I think I get how this works, and decided to contribute a story I wrote on a topic of "dust and flame" a few months ago.

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There they go. Departing the kindling flames of finite, spiralling up the staircase of fortune and misfortune as they exit; exit our spiteful world forever. Their spirit wavers in the air as specks of dust and drab ash, that partially conceal the sun with its smokescreen of moments and memories contained in their past, their life, their all.

These dehydrated and dusty airs might be misleading in appearance to you, yet to myself they emerge; arresting themselves to me with the tempers and sensations they possess. Such bereavements pain me like a shrill and piercing thrust through my heart would. Souls are carved in segregation. The ashes of their existence now flirt with the spider web of question and answer to determine a course of destiny.

Will it be a bottomless pit of ever-scolding fire?
Will it be hell?

After being a cremator of human corpses for little more than a year, the whole diversity and complexity of these, almost concrete, emotions and feelings that provoke themselves into motion in front of my very eyes astounds me. Everyone tells me itís not real; these hallucinations of every inch of deceased lives from their birth, their first steps, and even to their death, in all its gruesomeness. They are fake. No. They jump out, leap out, shine out of the dust and flame that forms a cloudy smog of doom over this little sub-city crematory; an incinerator of human fate.

They jump out at me.

These visions comprise of occurrences that I would never contemplate, some of the vilest, most treacherous and deformed deeds have been seen with these eyes; now scarred with the flawed marks of mankind. I cannot sleep, I cannot dream this night, nor any night I wish for that matter. Nightmares infiltrate any manner of slumber, lifting me from my bed so cosy and propelling me into a world of insecurity and secrecy. These people are now dust and flame. Dust and flame still unable to break out and crack through this terrible barrier of suffering I have subjected them to.

Insanity has an unyielding grasp over my mind and soul. Everywhere I go, every facet of my life that confronts me with its problematic ways, causes my emotions to hurl up another offering of confusion and disorientation. Such sensations burrow their way deeper and deeper into my existence with every visualisation that I behold.

I canít hold anything back anymore. These twisted spiritual remains that I drew out of such corpses; people, that were fit for an afterlife have crept back to me, the provoker, in seek of retribution. They are pulling me under, feasting on my equally foul character.

Little Sue and Little Johnny gaze at me when I lie in my bed, ogling me with their sweet eyes and innocently shaped faces. They are the definition of future. How could I? How could I, or anyone, be so malicious, so deformed as to reduce such beautiful creations to a burning blaze of discrimination. Instantly transforming them into a sea of flame; dust and flame. Its like taking a prized piece of art work, worth vast magnitudes in both money and reputation, stripping it from its frame, its owner, and sealing its fate in a fire, that will incarcerated it for eternity. Never to be seen again.

Delicacy removed.

My conscience cannot withstand any more self-torture. I thought I was a good man, a man with morals, a man with dignity, a man who could stand up and voice out if something wasnít right. An open man. I am nothing of the sort.

Iím a weak man, and I donít just suspect such a notion.

This blade of justice tells the story; spilling my fiery blood over the ashes left dwelling on the floor in this crematory will be a welcome change, a fitting end.

Now Iíll be the one doing the haunting. Now Iíll be the one existing as dust and flame.

Dust and flame.

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Comments by other Members

Ashman at 19:23 on 03 October 2004  Report this post
Nobody wanting to roast a Newbie?


Anj at 20:10 on 03 October 2004  Report this post

So many pieces are posted it's easy to overlook some, so don't take it personally. To get yourself known, it's a good idea to critique other people's too, which leads to them perhaps being curious enough to go to yours ...

I loved the idea behind this. Completely original. I loved the sense of extreme isolation and loneliness you evoked.

You obviously love manipulating language, and you use it well; but sometimes the language was so manipulated that, for me, it obscured the meaning. I also found it hard to know quite what was going on until the fourth paragraph. Then it was an "aha! I see" moment; but leaving it so late is maybe asking a bit much of the reader; so for me I'd suggest sneaking that bit in much earlier, so we can understand the rest of what we're reading.

Loved the twist of "now I'll be the one doing the haunting".

I'd love to see this again, revised so it's a little easier to follow. I think it's a cracking idea.

Take care

PS Are you really 15? Wow!

Ashman at 22:16 on 03 October 2004  Report this post
Thank you muchly Andrea, and sorry for coming off as a little impatient. I will start to comment on a few more pieces that I read, as I have been withdrawing from commenting for the most part prior to this.

People have always told me that I write mysteriously, and obviously you have picked this up too. Many thanks for admitting you didn't really catch on until later in it, I think in many of my other pieces this is different, as this particular piece was written about a certain, fixed topic, "dust and flame".

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and yes, I am 15.


Oh, and I have realised that in order to submit more pieces I have to pay a fee. I think I understand what I need to do to become a full member but is it possible for somebody in the know to clarify for me whether joining up is worth it for me?



Ugh, I'm awful at memorising names, Anj.


Kal at 19:17 on 04 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Ashley.

I thought the language was elegant and poignant. The conflict that your MC is feeling felt true and dangerous.

Although i may not be the best person to crit, like Andrea said the language took something away from the story. On the other hand i wish i had the same command of English that you obviously do.

On the whole an enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to your next contribution.

As far as paying the membership is concerned. It may be a little expensive for you but it's worth it in the end. I strongly recommend it.

Plus you get to provide people with entertainment thats always an ego bolster.


Ashman at 22:15 on 04 October 2004  Report this post
Thanks Kal, I'm definitely giving it some thought, as I have a large stash of short stories I've written in the past which I would quite like some more reaction to. I'm also writing new things all the time, so I'm certain it'd probably be worth the money as it'd help me develop my skills more.

Another thing that's kept me keen to write and write is the fact that my school has lost half of my English coursework; a real setback, but I'm more determined than ever to put it right and get the grades I deserve.

Anyway, thanks for the comments and kind guiding hands, you guys.

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