Suspense 2019, Short Stories - Silas Rallings



Devils in the Detail

By Silas Rallings


Climbing the first part was easy, small indentations where the sandstone had washed from the granite composite rock made good footholds, but from where I stood now standing on a cliff ledge I could see there was no way up and there was no way down either, as foolishly on the last bit of my accent, to clamber to the ledge, I had gripped in my mouth small pieces of grass and clawed dead roots to pull myself forward but I knew now I could not do this in my descent as they would not hold my weight. The face of the cliff before me was clean except for a serrated edge that wedged out into the empty space that lead to the below. The sun shone a pleasant heat with a cool draft of air brisking my skin.


The forest and beyond was green and pastured and far away I could see the villages spotting the landscape as would stains on a quilted bedspread. The spears of churches sticking through as if nails, and the roads with parallel hedgerows, ran away from them like streams of blood. The blood streams flowing into each other, even through the forest, until all was connected.


I felt surrounded by it and afraid for the roads meant they would be coming with their dogs and horses for the law decreed that if a man was killed then so too would be the killer and a fight for a pig, which would be stolen from its enclosure, where a man had startled me and went for his sword, meant I had tore at him, bringing him down with my claws and slashing his throat with my teeth. I am, even as a wild animal, under the law to be then killed. This was the beginning and the rocks that loomed down at the base of the cliff the end.

In another time and place you are to see a girl standing in the court room. Beside her stands her boyfriend he has a broken arm and ribs and his face is bruised. The people that assaulted him were never arrested for unnecessary force while conducting a civil arrest. This is a conflicting story explain the police despite the material evidence. She has been arrested as she has been accused of handling a contraband weapon, being an accessory to its firing in a residential area and creating a threat to the peace. Her boyfriend says he has never touched the weapon. The police construct a case surrounding the issue trying to convince you of impartial and objective material evidence and witness statements but the court procedure is used as an interrogation in paramilitary association.


The police's story for the arrest and imprisonment is later to be based on the fact that there is discharge on the boyfriends clothing even though neither's fingerprints were ever found on the gun and it was found by police in neither's possession as the people who assaulted the boyfriend apparently emptied the bag that the gun was placed in and the discharge could have come from the ground where he was lay being kicked nearly to death.


The girl says she found the weapon in a bin and it never was fired, this is used as evidence despite some of this story being ignored as a lie and the girl was described as to drunk to testify at the time of arrest. Despite this conflicting array of stories and prerogatives the girl is to be strung through prison and as the public believes she is dangerous they will smash her windows while she is on parole and threaten her forcing her to leave her house and become homeless. She is to be never convicted as eventually the court decides she has suffered enough.


As you sit watching the pair you become aware that your story, the one you have concocted yourself, is also without total knowledge for all is story and story is myth and myth is a meaningful arrangement of semiotics. So what is it you desire to be meant from your story? Is it that the world is non-functional and hypocritical or that all people are not free from sin even those in authority or is it that we cannot take responsibility for truth and live only defending our own sense of reality and so we cannot judge only do our best to live our different lives peacefully and prison should not be seen as anything but rehabilitation.


Yet back to where I stand contemplating my fate, high up on the cliff. I see the people moving closer to the forest from the farmland. Some are following the dogs like a toy dragged behind a child moving through the fields. Others along the road calling out from their horses. The people have not seen me yet as my grey tardy fur is camouflaged as where I am caught against the granite cliffs. I am petrified like the rocks themselves. My heart thumps as if a lambeg drum and my skin becomes clammy. I have to escape. I scrabble at the cliff but it is no use.


Then one of the men from the road sees me and points to the cliff. He calls to the men in the field and they rush to the road where the horses are spurred and they also move toward me with great speed. In a last attempt at freedom I lunge at the serrated edge and dig my claws into the crevices. I scramble up the cliff, sweat and blood splattering its knife like edge. The men have left the road and the horses now and are moving through the forest toward the cliff.


Some take out their cross bolts and are ready to aim. I struggle on and before they are in reach of a shot I am rewarded for at last I reach the top. I bound into the undergrowth that is littered with a stony outcrop my paws are cut but I move with great pace far and away to a dutiful freedom where I will never return to the world of man.


Based in UK, Silas Rallings has an interest in philosophy, art, language and living things. He has been published in three anthologies “Where my River Flows”, “Find” and “Solidarity”. You can view a few of his abstract art pieces.



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