Friday 20 April 2012

Friday Flash - Collision

Darla stepped into the street, pulling the door closed behind her. The impact shook free flakes of red paint that drifted to the ground like bloody dandruff. She hugged her thin coat closer to her, but the evening chill sent freezing fingers exploring beneath the cheap fabric. Within moments, the damp air turned her groomed blonde bob into a pale cloud of fluff.

Darla glared at the puddles amid piles of dirty snow and thought of the long night ahead. All of the covered pitches on Seventh Street would be gone by now, snapped up by those girls who got there early enough to ply their trade below awnings or porches. No, Darla would spend the evening trying to look enticing while freezing on a street corner.

Not that anyone will be buying tonight, she thought.

She set off in the direction of Seventh Street, hoping that some of the Artisan Quarter's inhabitants might be seeking muses, if only for a night. They were always fun to be around.

Footsteps rang out in the street - sharp heels on concrete. Darla peered through the haze of steady drizzle, expecting to see another streetwalker heading her way. Perhaps she might see one of the elegant ladies of Carlington Square, slumming it in Barshton with a rough dockworker, their illicit 'bit on the side'. The other girls told her tales of these legendary predators, out at play while their husbands worked late, but Darla had never seen one. As far as she knew, no one had - they just knew the stories.

The street was empty in both directions, yet still the stillettoes approached, growing louder with every step. Darla paused, teeth digging into her plump red lip. The footsteps came towards her from Fifth Street.

And I need to go that way.

Darla considered stepping backwards into the doorway of the pawn shop, and waiting until the footsteps passed. Out in the darkness, a clock chimed the hour, the deep toll of the bell carrying all the way from the Cathedral District. Darla swore under her breath. She didn't have time to wait.

The heels were right beside her. Darla turned aside, expecting them to pass her, and continue down the street. Something collided with her, pushing her aside. She stumbled forwards, falling toward the doorway. She put out her hands to break her fall, and grabbed the rotting doorframe of the shop.

A sharp snort broke the silence, and the footsteps resumed their quick march into the darkness. Darla clung to the doorframe until only their echo remained.

"That was one of them," said a voice at her feet.

Darla looked down to see the head of a homeless man poke out from beneath a damp pile of newspapers in the doorway. He looked at her with bleary eyes.

"One of what?" asked Darla.

"The Ladies."

Darla stared down the street. Only steady rain and boarded up shops stretched away from her.

* * *

Mrs Nash took two steps backwards and put her arms out to keep her balance. She looked around to see what blocked her path, expecting to see an elderly blind woman, bent double from her years of toil. Perhaps she'd collided with one of the Barshton street sellers, screened from view by a veil of rain. She saw neither, only a homeless man asleep in a doorway.

She snorted. You'd never find a homeless man in Carlington Square, but then you couldn't expect much better from the sort of riff raff you'd encounter in Barshton. Only in Barshton would you find an entire street that sold nothing but women.

Speaking of riff raff, Mrs Nash set off down the street. According to Mrs Phillips, there was a particular bar on the next block, and it would no doubt be filled with any number of local ruffians. Mrs Phillips described a particular young man who enjoyed a taste of the finer things in life.

Mrs Nash allowed herself a smirk as she adjusted her pearl necklace and set off at a brisk walk, eager to make the acquaintance with the lowlifes of Barshton.


Anonymous said...

Great exploration of the different sides to the world. As always.
Adam B @revhappiness

Tony Noland said...

There's something ghostly here, an inability to perceive each other that goes far beyond social blindness.

Loved the way you put us right in the action.

Steve Green said...

A spectral glance at the difference between the "Haves" and the "Have-nots"

Their worlds may collide, but still they cannot see...

John Wiswell said...

More setting than story, a somewhat dreary stroll. Naturally there's something ghostly to any town in the right mood. Liked her compulsions.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Unknown said...

The opening with the bloody dandruff rocked. I like how neither of them really saw the other.

Helen A. Howell said...

A rich lady out for a bit of fun - as opposed to those just trying to survive. Nice writing!

Anonymous said...

Liked the line about bloody dandruff. They are both blind to each other. Except the homeless man who could see both. Maybe there is something in that.

KjM said...

There's an undercurrent in this that hints at more than the words, the characters, themselves tell us.

Great atmosphere throughout. Nice work.

tom gillespie said...

Great opener "The impact shook free flakes of red paint that drifted to the ground like bloody dandruff." There's some wonderful descriptive writing in this piece Icy, and I love the juxtaposition of story do that so well..superb!

Anonymous said...

I, too, really liked the opening, Icy. The darkness, the drizzle, the evening chill - all help create a really appropriate "dreary" feel, as John mentions above.

Nice job.

Anonymous said...

Just reading the first paragraph gave me goosebumps on my neck - I love love love the sentence - The impact shook free flakes of red paint that drifted to the ground like bloody dandruff. Brilliant work again Icy

Icy Sedgwick said...

Glad everyone liked this story. It was an odd idea, I guess, and I just wanted to see where it would go.

Anonymous said...

Loved the feel of this, Icy. I agree with Kevin, there seems to be more to this than meets the eye. Almost an an unearthly feel to it. And the bloody dandruff line is perfect.

Stephen said...

Hi there Icy -- nice atmosphere you built up here, great feel of place, and loved the parallel lives and that sound of ghostly shoes -- not what you'd expect from being following down the road. St.

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