Flash Fiction is not a format I’ve tried before, but on holiday in Spain last week, I was inspired to have a go. Here’s the result…
Cold, damp and windy; strange weather for a holiday in the sun. At the Alcazabar – the hill Fort overlooking the pretty town of Antequera – the wind blew cold through the shivering cypresses. We climbed the bell tower, and then left just in time to avoid hearing the giant metal cone ring the hour. But we couldn’t stop the cold wind ringing through our heads.
Back at the entrance, ancient Moorish guitar music played through plastic outdoor speakers on an endless loop. Coffee was called for, and came, rich and complex, at a cafe at the bottom of the hill, accompanied by indulgent, flavoursome cakes. Outside, the plaza was alive with an eruption of excited school children frolicking beneath the magnolia trees. We retreated to our hotel for a siesta. Visit Spain, live Spain.
Later, we woke to an orange glow. Outside our window the sandstone church, with its ancient brick tower, the plaza that it overlooks, the shops and the balconied apartments, all had been transported to Mars; we were vacationing on the red planet. And then it rained. It was still raining when we went out to eat. The streets ran red with dissolved red dust, and I couldn’t help but think of the streets of Ukraine running red with the blood of innocents, slain to feed the greed, the ambition, the twisted hubris of a crazed dictator, the red rain in this medieval city mirroring the medieval bloodshed; the war being waged by Russian oligarchs.
We sheltered from the red rain, first in a bar, and then in a restaurant, where we ate among religious iconography, and drunk the blood of Christ till our heads spun. We retreated to our hotel room. Our clothes, shoes, bags; everything was spattered – contaminated – with the red dust. Would the sun ever shine again?
Note: I’m going to come clean and admit that unfortunately I didn’t think to take a photo from the hotel window when I saw the sky had turned red. The one I’ve used is from the Alcazabar, earlier in the day – I coloured the sky orange in Photoshop.
Text & image © graham wright 2022