Hahahahaha! The bloodometer has reached its target of 30. Thank you, thank you Mark for donating. Now we’ve got to see how far we can beat it.
Now, what we all like about Team Kilburn is that there’s always something going on, which bring a smile on those days when that cloak of normality is having to be pulled a little bit more firmly round the shoulders.
So as well as the bloodometer triumph, we are now able to announce and publish, the TKOE Three Bags Full short story competition winners. Today we will publish the 2nd Prize winner and tomorrow the 1st prize winner.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered. We had great fun whittling it down to 10 and thank you to Kath and Ginny, who’s a published author (actually, so is Kath) for judging the winner. Remember, the trick was to get ‘the knock on effect’ into the story. So, without further ado, here is the 2nd prize winner:
THE SKYWALKER by Christine Genovese
Below me in the town square the crowd is milling around. I notice how their attention gradually slips away from the attractions of the many stalls set up for the village fair. They’re squinting up at the tight wire stretching from this third floor window in the town hall to the church tower across the square. It’s a distance of about 30 metres – as the bird flies – and nearly 12 metres above ground level. We rigged it up early this morning and with this cloudless, blue sky and not a breath of wind, well, I shall be in my element.
I perform freehand. A pole would detract from my walk through the void. A safety net or – even worse – a safety harness would ruin the reality, the intensity, the buzz of my act. It’s like reading a thriller. Where’s the satisfaction if you read the last chapter first?
People are often surprised by my looks. Apparently they expect a short, dense mass of muscle, so I like to emphasise my tall, lithe body by wearing tight trousers and a white, billowing, silk shirt unbuttoned to reveal my tanned torso. I’m letting my hair grow and it’s now past shoulder length.
I tie my hair back and do my meditation. I turn my mind inward and focus firmly on the straight line through empty space. That’s the point of departure. What happens during the walk is pure poetry.
It is time. A drum roll gives the signal, suspending all movement and noise. Upturned faces and eager eyes watch as I climb onto the platform outside the window. I bow and blow a kiss to the spectators. Then I put my feet on the wire. The familiar sensation sends a tingling pleasure up my spine. I feel perfect. I never experience such perfection with my feet on the ground. It is the freedom of birds… of the skywalker.
Some say it’s adrenalin, but that’s an inadequate explanation for what happens when the wire vanishes from my awareness and I’m walking on air. I’ve metamorphosed into a spirit, and I could, if I chose, walk straight up to heaven and converse with the angels. It’s an out-of-body sensation, and while it lasts I’m floating in eternity.
I create a different event for the spectators. Firstly I give them the thrill of watching someone realise their wildest and most intimate dream… that of flying. There’s something erotic about the dream of flying. It represents the moment of ecstasy when you’re lifted out of yourself and you enter a cloud of bliss. It’s the softest and gentlest of dreams.
But the spectators are watching someone else achieving it. And they’re jealous. They know humans can’t fly through the void, and they anticipate the tragic end of this modern-day Icarus. The more they admire the skill of the act, the more vividly they imagine the horror of failure. They grit their teeth and grip their heads in their hands. An infinitesimal error could plunge the proud bird artist to his death at their feet. An agonising tension plays with their emotions.
The music that accompanies my skywalk is a repetitive staccato piece played with slow, cosmic resonance on an electronic organ. Words are superfluous, but there’s a subliminal suggestion in the tentative notes: “This… could… be… the… fa-tal… slip…” The spectators instinctively understand the implied knock on effect. They imagine my body, hideously distorted on impact with the rough cobblestones, while they back away in terror from the spattered blood and the shattered skull oozing mangled grey matter that once held a dream.
When I come out of my mystic communion with the spirits of the void, I give the public their moment of horror. I vacillate and allow an impression of disequilibrium to creep into my act. Then I do a knee drop and rise up slowly before continuing my progress. The surge of relief that floats up from the spectators carries me like a wave along the remaining part of the wire, which my feet barely touch.
Reluctantly my feet let go of the wire. I step onto the platform mounted next to the arched window of the church tower. I turn and look down at the crowd. A warm surge of love for every one of them flows through me. I blow kisses in all directions. Then I enter the tower and sink down on the stone floor, my eyes closed.
I re-live the sensations. I superimpose them on my dream of crossing the Niagara Falls… the ultimate experience. I give homage to The Great Blondin. One day I shall match his genius and realise my most cherished ambition.
I once worked at a circus for one memorable season. Raoul, philosopher and lion-tamer, taught me some useful life lessons.
“Your risk of dying depends on a number of factors,” he said. “A clever statistician can tell you exactly what your chances are of dying within a month. Say, one in two thousand. This means that you line up among two thousand youngsters like yourself, and one of you will die within the month. Which one? Well, that’s where the statistics are useless. It might be you. To find out you could try throwing a dice 500 times. If you get five sixes in a row, then you’ve either diced a lucky escape for yourself, or you’ve hit the ill-fated combination that condemns you to death. Whichever way you look at it, the result is the same: Sooner or later you’ll die. Why not be optimistic and believe that in your case it’ll be later?”
My five sixes in a row will be my ticket to skywalk with the roar of the Niagara Falls reaching up to me from below. I shall continue through the air along my extended, unending wire until I finally get there… where I can converse with angels.
Fab, isn’t it??
P.S on a scale of one to ten, how bad is it to have reversed your husband’s car into your car outside your own house? And is a scrape along matching wheel arches better or worse that the dented door caused by your husband reversing his car into your car, also outside your own house. Please help us settle this dispute. . .