© James Bloomfield
A small island stands amidst a lake of boiling, bubbling sulphur. Tapering down into a mere stalk, no more than four feet wide, it perches precariously, crumbling slowly. A rickety old shack sits alone; constructed of old sheet metal and rusted nails.
Mina sits slack jawed and breathing shallowly. Her naked skin oily in the poisonous heat. Great white-feathered wings sprout from her shoulder blades. They wrap around her, confined by the walls of the small room; their tips meeting in front of her. The nicotine stained plumage cocoons her in a private space in which the outside world can be forgotten. Lit by a solitary candle in the neck of an empty whiskey bottle, her face thrown into shadow.
Mina cradles a bottle in her arthritic hands. At first it was hard for her to attain the oblivion she sought; her near-immortal body shrugging off the effects of the liquor too quickly. However, in time, she has managed to vandalize and desecrate that great resilience through poisons, self mutilation and ruthless demoralization of the soul. Over centuries, her once indomitable will grew weaker and her body more frail. The vast reservoir of strength within her had been sapped, the electricity that crackled through her blood had been earthed.
Her sensuous lips twist in disdain as she recalls a more majestic age. A time when she was all-powerful and revered. The cruelest of all torments is that she still remembers what it was once like to soar through the skies of a world far above this one; a world of greater beings, superior beauty, larger destinies, more profound resonance. A world in which she had ruled as Queen. A time before the Fall.
Now her hands tremble as she performs a familiar ritual with a dull spoon and butane lighter. Soon she has three syringes laid upon the table side by side. Mina finishes the last of the liquor in a long, gulping draught. She buries the first needle in her white thigh, pumping the brown liquid into her femoral artery.
The first powerful waves of pleasure set upon her and she quickly reaches for the second needle, pushing it into the side of her throat. Her eyes roll back in her head and she lets out a long, guttural moan of ecstasy. Her hand is shaking violently with the third needle but she perseveres and stabs it with savage force into her chest. The needle succeeds in piercing the breast plate and the depressed plunger shoots a final hit directly to her heart.
Mina's hands curl into claws and her whole body is locked in spasm; every muscle clenching tightly, involuntarily. Her mind soars. Spittle foams at the corners of her lips as she loses balance and crashes from the chair to the floor.
The world recedes to a pinprick of light which is snuffed out. What replaces it is a dreamscape of impossible delights and unbridled happiness. This savage rush reveals the banality and mediocrity of the world for what it is but even the rush is a pale substitute for the life she had previously known.
And so Mina, Queen of Heaven fallen, crawls inside euphoria, seeks blessed oblivion, hopes against hope that maybe death, if there is such a thing for her, will come at last.
James Bloomfield has been writing flash-fiction ever since a copy of Stanley Donwood's “Tachistoscope” introduced him to the style. He lives on the outskirts of London , England and is lucky enough to be in love with both his job as policeman and his flame-haired fiance for whom he writes.