Here is a little warning before you are plunged into the story below:
- These flash fictions are developed during our They Come From Within workshops and their many permutations.
- They are a hive mind effort, developed and written by a number of individuals in tandem – not all of our writers are mind readers so sometimes the stories come out a little Frankenstein but are no worse for being a little disjointed.
- We will be uploading these stories one at a time, once a week during November-December 2017 – to fill in the gap that our hiatus has inadvertently created in your life. After December updates will be more or less in synch with our workshops.
Now to the story –
I wanted to vomit, I’ll admit it. I’d never hit someone before and I didn’t react well, seeing the blood. His wife was still crouched behind the kitchen table, the remnants of the broken plate at her feet. Their neighbours stood, heads poked into the doorway, nosy, grimly satisfied to have caught them in the act: a pair of Violents.
I’d been on many house calls, but the De-escalation Methods had always been sufficient. You’d identify the violently charged currents and apply the Mental Balm, diffusing the waves of animosity into Reconciliation. But there had been no time – he had obviously slipped into an Ancient State, and the plates were raining down on her – a controlled punch had been required.
But it did work, didn’t it? All the vids say that these situations follow a pattern, a downward spiral. He should fight back, continue until one of us is dead, surely? But he just sat there, looking at the mess he’d made.
The supervisor wouldn’t take well to this news. Four witnesses, including the neighbours. I hadn’t listened too closely during basic training; what was the penalty for first violence? Was I now classified as a violent? I felt a cold hand grasp my stomach. My bruised knuckles had punched a hole through the base tenet of our society.
‘No, no,’ I told myself, ‘You’ve got a license, you’re allowed.’ It made my skin crawl, though, so messy. I could see why people used to do it before the Ban. The waves and scented candles, compared to the power, the feeling of the baton connecting with someone’s skull, they were nothing.
The man was sitting, legs splayed, panting. His eyes were directed downwards, at the floor, but a smile was creeping over his face. He flicked his eyes up to meet mine, ‘Feels good, doesn’t it? You new-agers, you deny any rush, you shroud it with official terms and anaesthetised justifications…’ he struggled to his feet, ‘but you’re no different to me. You have a rage for me,’ he looked down at his cowering wife, ‘just as I have a rage for her.’ He spat.
I hit him again.
Written by many, typed by Eris Young
25/11/2017 at Woodland Creatures, Leith
Hell Panel from “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch