Dublin Flash Fiction from the cream of new Irish literary talent.
The I Am Dublin flash fiction competition, run by the Dublin Writers Centre in association with the Five Lamps Arts Festival encouraged entrants to channel their inner Anna Livia Plurabelle and to seek inspiration in the charm of our fair city – cracks and all.
Here, we present another winning entry, as selected by judges Dermot Bolger and Doireann Ní Ghríofa. We’re talking about short, sharp writing that captures something of Dublin’s unique essence – while allowing tiny moments to speak for themselves.
Liffey. If He. Dares.
By Louise G Cole
I make him tremble. The thought of me: I have causality. He is drawn to me. Torn. More than a tremor. A convulsive shudder and shake. Rock and roll. Slips and slides. Wants to hide. Looks up into the emptiness above, and then down, into my soul, the inviting deepness of me.
Vulnerability bows those broad shoulders, venerable boulders. Hairy, leery atop the worn elbows of a charity shop find three winters ago. Now, he quakes. Shivers. Shows respect for the force that I am.
He doesn’t know I have herons upstream, grey and spike beaked, and herrings grey and quick finned down, streaming into the ocean. Screaming there on the Halfpenny Bridge, gulls and pigeons swoop hopefully low. He has no crumbs left, just a belly full of Costabucks caffeine threatening to reappear with the vodka naggin he quaffed in the gents, quickly and in secret for expediency of effect.
And affected, he thinks not to change his mind. He might exchange it for someone else’s, some bright Trinity student with the world at his feet, disaffected youth with attitude. Only a vestigial self is his now. Hardly anything remains as I slosh another wave of desperation over him. A splash, a dash, a lash of brackish water, my best. His test: to take a deep breath and step into the unknown.
Beyond is the constant hum of the Luas trammeling the city, black cabs crashing bus lanes, beggars asking for change in ten tongues, shoppers tossing litter in the gutters, nutters tripping sean nós for the tourists, blaggers posing for selfies with the selfish passing by. Passersby. They pass him by.
Pulsing blue lights make this place take on the dark night, play the Dark Knight to his Marvel hero, marvellous heroics at my feet, Siren. Glad tidings, riptides, tidy, tied. Can you hear me calling him? All he has to do is step forward, tip forward. Jump, fly, soar, score.
He can sleep in my bed forever and a day. Slide into the black mud, red blood flowing. Sink to my depths, I will welcome him here, caress the stress from that brow. Now. I will swallow his shallow salt lake of grief, his tears, his fears.
Who cares? I do. I will take him to my heart, beating, fleeting, waiting. All he has to do is step my way. Just do it.