Ashes to Ashes

"To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment"- Erich Fromm


The kitchen was strewn with momentarily deserted pans and decaying pottery. A swift inhale welcomed the scent of warm apple pie, calmly baking in the oven on the opposing side of the room. No reason to clean up the mess in its entirety; the dishes to be used today would be used again the next, and the next, and the, and. The record-player in the bedroom spun hypnotically, projecting the voice of Eric Bloom through empty space.

All our times have come
Here, but now there, gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper

The kitchen’s cool silence echoed back in response, fed by the phone’s telling of dark, distant truths. A staunch voice, foreign but familiar, traversed the maze of human emotion, slowly reciting a careful script. The pie crust caught fire. Streams of gray smoke leaked from the edges of the inscrutable oven, filling the room with toxins.[1]

Come on baby
(Don’t fear the reaper)
Baby take my hand

Pottery ruptured and pans vibrated as thermal thresholds were scaled by sharp bursts of inanimate energy. The grenade in the oven exploded, spraying sweet cinnamon juice onto impermeable walls. The phone disassociated with the ear. Sweat and grime, dirt and steel, air and waste engulfed the room from the top-down as smoke, thick and brainless as the love of God, descended upon the human shell. Blank eyes saw orange and red silhouettes Danse Macabra around the room, moving faster and faster as the tempo escalated. A Consummating Omnipresence. The brain understood like an infant at the opera.

La, la la, la la
La, la la, la la

Appliances melted and walls caved. The cinnamon evaporated. Dimensions contracted. Two seconds left, reality snapped back and a pain-drenched scream was ripped forth as the shell shattered, carnivorously bearing pure, unadulterated emotion with unholy honesty.

And the savage world laughed as, together, they returned to dust.

1 Butane, propane, ethyldichloroarsine, cyclosarin.
2 The Holy Qu’ran. Trans. M.H. Shakir. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc, 1982. Print. 40:67.


14 responses to “Ashes to Ashes

  1. Utterly gripping, I was dancing in that smoldering kitchen.

  2. Fantastic piece! It was cinematic.

    My entry is here:

  3. Great way for the world to end dude. Dont fear the reaper classic rock! 40,000 men women everyday
    We could be like they are
    Come on baby

  4. I love this. The only criticism is the use of “to be” verbs. Sometimes if I try to squeeze these out I get better descriptions. Fantastic example of show, don’t tell, though.

  5. Amazing work that is rich in detail and figurative language, engages senses and stirs emotions. Well done!

  6. I really loved this. I thought it was great how there was so much evidence of people and people clearly caused the fire yet they don’t really appear until the end with the scream. It makes the outcome seem very inevitable I think.

  7. I enjoyed this David.

    For me it was the sort of piece that needed reading a few times to keep finding different ideas, different images.

    I think the thing that struck me was the contrast between the hastily deserted kitchen at the beginning with its ‘deserted pans and decaying pottery’ and the innocence of the ‘scent of warm apple pie, calmly baking in the oven’ with the savagery at the end with ‘Appliances melted and walls caved. The cinnamon evaporated. Dimensions contracted.’

    Your words certainly conjured up a myriad of images in my head.

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