Six quite short stories

by Simon Collings

I have just had six new short prose pieces published by Fortnightly Review. I have copied one of them below. I hope you’ll check out the others via the link above.

Chimera

If this were a dream, a typical interpretation might suggest it is some aspect of myself I wish to destroy. So I contemplate for some time the option of cutting his throat with a carving knife. Stabbing him through the ribs is another possibility I toy with. Both actions are available as plausible narratives, and their being available suffices, it seems, to diffuse the threat of his intimidating presence. Carrying out the actions becomes unnecessary, it is enough to simply imagine them, and the substance of the menace, in fact even the existence of my aggressor, becomes questionable, as though the progress of events has irrevocably altered the nature of their beginnings, and what appeared to be a tale about conflict and violence is now open to promiscuous possibilities. I lash out. The energy and ferocity of my punches are enough to render invisible an enemy with whom I never make contact. The darkness before me is an empty void, my fists meeting nothing but air, the face of the fiend not even glimpsed. Or I rehearse again in my mind a kick to the ribs, to the head, of my floored opponent, admiring the balletic grace of my invincibility as if I were a spectator. I replay these highlights at will, watching in slow motion the jolt of his head as my boot connects with his jaw.