Tell A Tale in 500 Words

System glitch By Anna Toombs

The waves of his silvery hair are held motionless, like a turbulent ocean in freeze-frame.

Tap, tap. Tap, tap.

He lords over the vast expanse of deep mahogany stretching out around him; he can’t reach all the corners, all the sides, yet he’s in total control, the little landmarks placed exactly where he wants them, neat and obedient.

He stops typing for a moment, his thick, fleshy fingers enveloping a solid, crystal glass which he lifts towards his face. He finds his mouth, hidden amongst the folds of blotchy skin, and deposits the powerful liquid, a rasping cough escaping his moist lips as it threads poison down his throat.

He lets out a satisfied sigh and the chubby digits return to the keyboard.

Tap, tap. Tap, tap.

She lies behind it, stretched out on black, luxury velvet, exquisite and redundant. He reaches absently towards her and she turns slightly, the light reflecting from her curves and the colours that decorate her.

He retrieves his hand and she remains motionless, always poised and ready, yearning for movement, expression, occupation. A sense of self-worth beyond her looks.

The screen in front of him goes suddenly blank and he begins to hammer furiously at the keys. He lets out a frustrated roar and an angry palm slaps the table. The surface shudders, the liquid quivers in the glass; there’s an imperceptible shift in the landscape.

The giant, solid door beyond his glossy kingdom opens and a puny, pasty young man sidles in, stuttering the news of a system glitch; no computers for the time being.

Time. It hovers expectantly in the air, an infinite, delicate, omnipotent web.

He eyes her with renewed interest, then takes her gently in his hands, suddenly thoughtful, pausing a moment to admire her beauty. She waits, patiently.

Finally, she rescues him as he sets her free.

She dances and swirls across the page, skating in rich, dark patterns as he leads the two of them together in rhythmical harmony. One follows the other with mutual consent, fluid and endless, and whilst technology slumbers, the heat of the current flows within; an organic, fundamental energy bursting from their souls.

The pair slow, stagger and then stop. He lays her down in her velvet coffin as one puffy hand rubs the sore, weak bones of the other. A crackling sound is immediately followed by the flicker of the screen before him as it returns to life and commandeers his focus.

Tap, tap. Tap, tap.

He stops a moment. Frowning, he reaches forward and puts the pieces in place, returning the structured symmetry to his world. A hand moves automatically to the glass beside him, pre-programmed.

Before he consumes the liquid, his eyes are drawn to the page of wild, dark tangles of hope and potential, and a smile plays on his lips. He abandons the glass and instead, gently slides her towards him, lifting her up to dance once again.


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