Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: flash fiction


When you die, the room you’re in necessarily becomes a library. There are more shelves than you remember, and packed two layers thick on these shelves are all the books you promised to read but never got around to, each one you bought but forgot. There is wall where there used to be doors. Curtains fall over the windows. You sit down to read the books, one by one, until your thumbprint is on every page and you have lived all the lives you wanted. There will be a door where there were walls, and you are allowed to leave.

A Little Worse

So this is how it works?

I don’t know.

Is it supposed to feel like this?

I can’t feel anything.

You can’t feel anything?

Well, I can feel all my usual self. I mean, I cannot feel anything different.

How does your usual self feel?

How does your usual self feel?

It feels like a night, rolled up into an incandescent ball.

Is that normal?

It is for me. I don’t know how selves are supposed to feel.

Did something happen to us?

I don’t know.

Wasn’t that mine before?

The night?


I don’t think so.

Are you lying?

Antigravity Strawberries

It is morning, and young men and women are walking the strawberry fields, hanging wicker baskets upside down on wooden latticework. The leaves tickle their dirty, bare feet, and strawberries are tugging the leaves upwards, surrounded by the morning dew hovering still, a snapshot of rain. This year it’s rained a lot, so the pull is stronger than usual, and the customary berry tithe has already fallen upwards, like tossed coins that never come back down. They will disintegrate where the stratosphere turns into mesosphere. Their siblings will be caught in the baskets, placed carefully on counters like small cages.

What I Needed

I found what I needed once, in an old dream like a discarded dress in the back of my wardrobe. I picked it up. It was monolithic, covered with five different kinds of black, and it seemed to have its own climate. When I touched it, it was hot to the touch, and my hand felt alright, like it didn’t need to exist anymore, and while it was inside it, it ceased. And when I pulled my nonexistent hand back out of it, a part of me woke up, and that is the part that is talking to you now.

This Song Is Old

There is an old song that has been sung since the dawn of time, since the first throat. Someone always sings it, it’s why the sun sets at different times in different places. A chorus of voices sing the same patterns at the same time. Sometimes you get the urge to hum a melody you’ve never heard before: this is it. This old song is in the movement of Jupiter. This old song has started to skip beats, experimentally or fatiguefully, like a gramophone record scratch. This song is old. You don’t notice the scratches because you stop existing, momentarily.

Sandcastle Man

Sandcastle man sits on a cold beach like something medieval. His hands vanish into the grey sand and it must be cold for him, stark naked. His skin has assumed the same colour as the sand itself. The water is beating at his legs, nibbling at his toes, and soon surrounding him. By unfocusing his eyes he can look at his arms as if they’re trees rising from the water instead of columns pushed down into it. He stays unfocused, and eventually he falls apart, and in but two tide cycles the sand is perfectly smooth where he once sat.

Midnight Conversation

You wake up in the middle of the night approximately 20 seconds before the phone starts to buzz; you have enough time to blink the sleep out of your eyes. It’s buzzing. You pick it up before your sleeping partner comes to life from it.

“Hello?” you whisper. The floor is cold against your bare feet.

“Hello,” says an undistorted voice, and then it says your name. You had expected distortion, but you’re not recording the call, you’re not quite sure what you’re expecting.

“What do you want?”

“I just want you to remember that I know who you are.”


Previously: /2014/02/23/stoplight-conversation/

Stoplight Conversation

You meet a child who knows what you’re thinking. The walk-light has just gone red.

“Have we met before?” you say. “Are you lost?”

“Yes, and no. To both questions. You’re confused now, a bit alarmed. You’re trying to think about anything but That Thing, but you’re circling the topic so narrowly that I can see the shape of it in your mind.”

You look away.

“That’s a naughty word.”

“I want you to–”

“–stop doing that.” The child sighs. “Yes, I know. You needn’t think such mean things about me, you know. It’s not like I can help it.”


I have been spending a lot of time on my own lately; I want to be accused of your murder. I can see that you are about to crack and in my greed I want to be the prime suspect. I have been watching television, but only reruns. I have been reading books. When the officers in blue knock on my door I will express shock that is not quite right, and I will have no alibi. They will point to your lousy suicide note and say they have never seen a worse forgery. Yes, this is what I want.

bit by bit by bit

Her first epiphany was in the bathroom, when she caught her naked reflection in the mirror: There is someone else inside of me.

Her second one came shortly afterwards; she forgot which one of the marmalades in the fridge was hers. She used to know: I am in this body, so is someone else. There might be more.

The third came when she stuttered out the first name that came to mind (after a two-second pause) when she introduced herself at the interview. Amanda: I am inside of someone else’s me.

Bit by bit by bit, she realized herself away.

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