New Writing by E.R. Murray on Terrain.org

Terrain.org, a journal of built and natural environments, is one of my favourite journals that deals with how the environment impacts our lives and how we impact it in turn – its content is so varied but always fresh, exciting and of an exceptional standard. So I’m truly delighted to have a piece of flash fiction, Discrimen, recently included.

Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments logo

Set in West Cork, Discrimen is a tale of loss, love, and hope. It’s a short read, and free – so please share with people you think might enjoy it! 

Publishing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interview and letters, Terrain.org is a real treasure trove, so have a good look around – and do share any of your favourite pieces you discover in the comments below.

And if you’re looking to submit your own work, you can do so here:
https://www.terrain.org/submit/

Happy reading, happy writing! x

Short fiction – A Homelessness theme

Dublin

Dublin

Whenever I visit Dublin, I notice an ever-increasing number of homeless people on the streets. Things have certainly changed since I lived there, and not for the better.

I’m currently trying to put together a charity book, with the proceeds going to a charity for the homeless, but I seem to be hitting lots of dead ends. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a piece of short fiction that was shortlisted for a competition back in December. It’s only a small gesture and does little to help, but hopefully my bigger plan will come together soon.

This is dedicated to all the homeless people in Ireland and across the world…

Another Day

The young woman is tired and clammy as she reluctantly heads home, pushing against the revelers in Santa hats and slinky outfits. Under the Christmas lights on O’Connell, their gentle blinking, she can almost pretend that she too will celebrate until the small hours, in a silver party dress, unburdened by the illness she still denies, not ready to wear the label just yet.

The young man is cold and homeless, but insists on smiling. Slumped against the humped city bridge, he watches people hurry by, imagining them to be friendly while they pretend he’s invisible. He marvels how the padlocks that the council had removed are starting to return – as though love can only work if it is shackled.

When the woman hears singing, the unmistakable force of Handel’s Messiah wending its way through the air, she changes directions, resists the urge to hurry like she would have even one month ago, before symptoms or diagnosis. The music warms her, and she fantasizes about what it would be like to tell just one person of her sorrows.

When the man hears voices spiralling, his heart starts dreaming. Memories of a young boy’s Christmas when he still believed in the gifts of angels. He follows the melody until he reaches the edge of a crowd in Temple Bar. He forgot his mother’s face long ago, but he remembers how sweetly she hummed this, her favourite oratorio, and how she swayed in time to the tune.

They stand side by side, their eyes locked on the choir, as though looking away might shatter the beauty. As the woman stumbles, the man catches her arm, forgetting to be invisible. ‘Y’all right, love?’ he asks. ‘Yes.’ ‘Are you sick?’ ‘Yes.’ The words escapes and hovers between them. The man doesn’t ask any more, but holds her until she’s steady. Then slowly, without thinking, he leads her in a shuffling dance.

The man hasn’t gathered enough hostel money anyway, so he invites her for a drink. She says it’s her shout, it’s the least she can do, and wonders – how can a person do more? They go to a place neither of them knows. The music is too loud, and they only make it to the dance floor, where disco lights dapple them with silver. They stay an hour longer than they intend and say goodbye without touching.

On the Luas the next day, the woman touches the spot where the man caught her. The pain is different now. Tender, like the bravery growing inside her. Maybe she could tell just one more person? She wonders where the man will sleep tonight, whether she would offer him a bed if their paths crossed again. She walks home via Temple Bar, even though it’s out of her way.

And the man is still cold and homeless, but last night he danced with an angel dressed in silver lights that glittered with possibility, like the ripples on the Liffey on this, another day.

 

A quick story… Discrimen on 1000Words

thai decoration gardens

This is how happy I’ll be when I finish my book edits 🙂

I’m currently editing my book, so things are quiet on the blog front. I hope to get back to my Thailand adventures soon – especially with a Cambodian adventure booked for January – but as I’m sure you’ll understand, these edits have to take priority.

After having read through my editors comments, I should also copy Mel Sheratt and expose a few of my blunders via the blog – there are some corkers in there! What do you think? Would you like to hear some of the most embarrassing ones?

In the meantime, here’s a piece of flash fiction that I wrote, ‘Discrimen‘, kindly published by 1000Words. If you’re a reader, they have lots of really good, bite-sized fiction for you to read. If you’re a writer, why not consider submitting?

I hope you enjoy the story – thanks for reading if you get round to it – & I’ll be back with more blog posts soon.

Mobbed: A Short Story

Mobbed

His dad had always said that a home wasn’t a home without a few ducks. Now, Declan wished he’d never opened his mouth about that. Amazing how foolish a few whiskies at a wake could make you.Victor Sullivan hadn’t been an hour in the ground before his doting son had shared the anecdote with friends and well wishers. Within a week, there was an army of ducks in Declan’s care and yet another red face to contend with.

Saxony ducks

“Erm, here you go, lad,” murmurs Old Pat as he hands over a Khaki Campbell. A good layer. Over 300 a year. Better than the Saxony that Mrs O’Regan presented earlier; friendlier too, according to the booklet he’d been forced to buy. “As if the funeral costs weren’t enough,” his wife had grumbled.

“Thanks, Pat,” Declan calls from behind the wriggling neck, before carrying the duck to the back garden and introducing it to the mob.

Wings flapping, the duck runs clumsily over young lettuce shoots and hides in the prized herb bed. Declan hopes it’s feeding on a juicy slug, rather than his basil. Marcy would like that as much as she liked his old man.As the gate swings open, Declan crouches on his heels, sinking into the grass.

“Not another bloody useless duck,” tuts Marcy, eyes lifted to the heavens. “I swear, Declan, I won’t be back out here until they’re all gone.”

Following his wife’s gaze, Declan smiles. Maybe the old man was right.

(This story was shortlisted for the Anam Cara flash fiction competition on Writing.ie. The criteria: a 250 word flash fiction piece on the theme of “Garden of Eden’. Congratulations to the winner, Runjhum Biswas)