Ninety-five percent of my anxieties are unfounded

Ninety-five percent of my anxieties are unfounded. She tells me at our weekly breakfast. To focus on the genuine five percent. The following week I do so, spending ninety-five percent of my time on it. When we meet again, I know ninety-five percent of my anxieties are founded. Focus on the new five percent, she says. And so it goes on, worrying about worrying, and how to tell her I no longer enjoy our breakfasts.

***

This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet

Anxiety Returns in the Form of Birdsong

It returns at dawn, hours after you wake. Sunlight through the attic window, signalling an end to your hibernation.
 
An owl is first, from the woods behind your house. A pulsating reminder of the owls you have outlived and the many more to follow. You align your breathing with its pattern, slow and predictable. Hold your breath for longer than comfortable, letting nature guide your meditation.
 
Birdsong follows and fills the space. Pouring in through the open attic window. Infinite chirps and overlapping voices, all demanding your attention. Thousands of mini breaths per second, a clarity failing to settle.
 
A woodpecker is next, hammering its message on every tree you can remember.
 
The buzz of a phone call from the bedside table, most probably work. During this absence you learn of the birdsong. How they copy adults in the same way as humans. How they mimic accents and adapt pitch over time.
 
You wish to join their song, but your voice box is wrong, missing vital parts.
 
Try as you might, you sound too human.
 
***
 
The birdsong pauses. A brief and tantalising silence, bringing the present into focus. You question yourself and listen hard for the constants. The distant rumble, overlapping memories, stars collapsing overhead. You wonder if it’s a myth. If you could close your eyes and slip through time. Return to a younger version of you who dreams of your future self.
 
***
 
Downstairs is the sound or routine. A knocking on the bedroom door, the kids wanting to say hello, wanting to say goodbye for the day. During this absence you learn of the humans and their song. How they learn from the birds, adapting their behaviour to function within chaos.
 
You stretch your wings under the sheets, flightless and extinct. missing vital parts.
 
And then it returns, the birdsong. Accompanied by a dog barking next door. A car alarm from somewhere on the estate, and the sound of commuters returning to work.

Obscured Under a Low Sun

The sun is low, obscuring figures on the pedestrian crossing.

You look up from your phone as they come into focus, slam the brakes hard.

Bam.

You open your eyes at the wheel. A sensation of waking up.

Is this a dream?

Your phone bleeps, answering your question. You approach the same crossing. Everything replays. You slam the brakes hard.

Bam.

Towards the crossing once more, into the low sun.

To wake is to escape this loop, but in the safety of the dream car, no one gets hurt, and everyone gets to keep their limbs.

***

This 100 word story first appeared on the The Drabble

In The Shadow of the Sound Tower

“The sound tower is silent, abandoned in the dunes, windswept and dated. Conditions are calm, nullifying its function. On still days like these, the tower finds itself a relic.”

My story, “In The Shadow of the Sound Tower” can be found over at The Cabinet Of Heed.

In The Shadow of the Sound Tower – Paul Thompson 

A list of things I cannot hear

A list of things I cannot hear. All because of the tinnitus, the high frequency noise that whistles in my ears. I am oblivious to crickets in the wildflower. The hiss of our central heating. Dripping taps in other rooms. The hum of anything electrical. Chinese whispers passed on by children. Interference on the radio. The early signs of a storm. And late at night, consumed by these lists, I can barely hear myself think.

***

This 75-word story first appeared on Paragraph Planet

Off the Rails

“The next lady has so many questions. She reads them from a notepad, in perfect handwriting that could be a font.

Describe me in a single word, she says.”

I have something new on Spelk today. It’s called ‘Off the Rails’

https://spelkfiction.com/2019/03/20/off-the-rails/

 

Monsters in the Closet

We spend our days playing in the closet.

In our imagination it is a spaceship, a doorway to other worlds, a portal that can travel through time. In the darkness we act out our fantasies, constructing the characters of our narrative. We play with the treasures that surround us – costumes in boxes, paperwork on shelves, trinkets that remind us of our parents.

We play all day in the closet, waiting for the door to be unlocked once more.