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Author: Matthew Gibson

Cycling

I dreamed of the olive groves.

The weak limbed saplings, eyes scarcely open to the world, whizzing and blurring as I race down, down towards the parched earth.

I dreamed of the ragged shepherd, his ragged flock, his glance to the skies, his smile at the promise of rain. The old widow, humming mournful notes as she sat in what shade she could find.

The sea was high, the waves danced with life. The galley oars beat to steer clear of the shore.

Inland, the indomitable palace slept. Only the servants were out, smiles in the dawn. On the polished steps, a girl blushed as a young man snaked his hand around her waist and stole a kiss.

Then onto the rocks and into the stream, down through the plateau, bleeding green into the sun-bleached stone.

Down past the boulder where the river began, to the estuary, then out to sea, to the ocean, the island far behind. Sinking, sleeping, dreaming in the dark.

Dreaming while empires fell, rose and fell again, dreaming while the world spun a thousand times, a million. Caring little who had nailed whom to a cross and why, what lines were drawn in the sand and where.

Floating, sleeping, dreaming, until finally, finally, rising—up from the depths, up towards the light, up until the surface breaks.

Up, up, free of the watery cell, carried high on the wind, red through violet painted in my wake. Back over the island, now racing down.

Whizzing and blurring, the olive trees, wiser, content at lives well-lived. A farmer looks skywards, a smile at the promise of rain. A widow weeps alone in a churchyard.

The sea is full, cruise ships lull at anchor, ferries quiver in the deep.

Inland, the palace lies ruined as sightseers pick over its remains. On the shattered steps, a girl blushes as a young man snakes his hand around her waist to steal a kiss.

Then down again, down towards the thirsty earth. Onto the rocks, into the stream, on to the river. Down to the ocean to sleep.


Flash Fiction by Matthew Gibson
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