A Tribute: Sebastian Collier

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STORGY was saddened to learn the passing of Sebastian Collier, a writer, creator and artist that frequently sent us his short stories. In tribute, we are honoured to have his words immortalised on the website and below we are proud to share some of his work among our readership. We will also be dedicating our forthcoming flash fiction anthology to Sebastian and will have the latest flash fiction piece he wrote for us included in the anthology too.

Sebastian’s writing was a mixture of Kafka-esque surrealism and had the flair of a David Bowie record. Sebastian could generally be found behind a camera on film sets fulfilling continuity, production design or directing. He turned down the opportunity to go to film school, instead making himself experienced by hands on development. Writing scripts had been an enjoyable part of his film career and had given him some success at the indie wise Miami Film festival and the World Bach Festival in Florence.

Sebastian’s funeral is 9th March 9.45 am. Croydon Crematorium East Chapel.

Our thoughts are with his girlfriend, Virginie in Paris.

A Paris Vampire by Sebastian Collier

Chandelier poets sip crystal absinthe lounging within the walnut panelled walls of the cafe Jardines des Tuileries nestled within the 17th century mansions of Le Marais. Tinkling glasses, heavy feet of panting waiters mixed with the refined voices of bourgeois decadence amalgamated into a glossary of sound deciphered by the ear drums of a wolf. The muslin drapes bellowed softly from the soothing breeze sheltering the occupant from the harsh rays of sunshine that sought to trespass through the opened doors adjacent to the Juliet balcony.

He recounted to himself the visitation to the Turkish baths the previous afternoon where he had inspected the innocent bathers and had settled his eye upon a woman barely twenty. Her ripe skin flush with pale fading youth, her veins richly blue, translucent with beauty. He stared calmly at her legs splashing in the water, her arched back hugging each breath of her lungs. He would as was necessary with each feed ponder why he killed only that which he craved the most. She was the unmarried daughter of a local silk merchant, a bred debutant and a favourite of the aristocratic ballroom circuit. Such trifle details that merely amused.

Standing alone in the apartment he thought of her lush neck, corrupting and defiling the promise of a sacred life, imagining her body ravaged with festering maggots, her soul vomited with bloody gasps. This gave him no pleasure except to counter a debt with mortality.

His white snow powdered face haunted this corner of Paris, seen by spurious merchants, tailors, carriage hands and corset set maidens, each oblivious to the hidden game of chasing selected prey. As night ushered away the failing light he moved with ease through these characters of aggrandisement until alighting with a firm buckled shoe upon the stone steps of the Palais du Luxembourg. With gilt lined invitation he crossed the threshold to the first of the summer season gatherings announced as the fifth Viscount by a stoutly uniformed guardsman. Nodding a side glance of appreciation he flapped out his velvet tunic imitating the mating ritual of a duelling peacock.

For the next two hours he waited patiently seated in a crimson chair, occasionally seduced to dance with bell shaped butterflies. He saw her hovering behind a slightly drunk thick moustached Colonel who was fumbling to find his credentials. Her almost statuesque presence, wax like serenity stood patiently, seemingly oblivious to the embarrassed Colonel until she herself composed a steady descent of the stairs to the marble floor.

He stood, alert to the possibility that the string quartet would eventually play a waltz that demanded a liberal movement of women to each man. The cue came when the ballroom became quite crowded and a set organisation was needed to begin the formalities of courtship. Here the musicians played an old Russian favourite that split the women and the men and with each pass of the turn the men remained stationary while the women moved in a circle. Her gloved hand held out for a galant gentleman to take hold and lead forward. He found her more striking than he expected, sharp keen eyes softened by a crimson cheek moon face. He could feel her waist giving to his advances. The music stopped. They bowed.

Taking her leave to the balcony he followed. She seemed to move with the feet of a gazelle, floating away as if carried by a rapid current. His heart quickened as he gave chase, dashing through the tall doors onto the balcony. She was nowhere to be seen. A mischievous laughter rose from the garden below. He leant against the railings focussing on her rushing towards the manicured yew maze, it’s entrance and corridors lit with flaming torches erected on metallic posts. He jumped over the railings, falling the thirty feet to the ground immediately pacing forward as his feet touched the sodden earth. Her laughter ahead of him widened his eyes, arousing his senses to a rare keenness.

Entering the maze he found her discarded shoes. His prey now bare foot and care free was running giggling to the centre. He listened for the sound of any other guests or secret couplings that might have ventured into the maze. Upon hearing only the sound of her breathing, and the heartbeats contained in her chest he opened his shoulders spreading two wings outwards. Rising upwards above the maze he flew to the centre where she was waiting. He silently lowered until standing behind her, his nostrils filled with an exotic perfume that for a moment reeled his composure. She spun round.

For the briefest of moments he felt a pang of lost love, a distant memory that had haunted him for the last three hundred and seventy six years. Clutching his throat he collapsed to the floor, unable to scream as fluid spurted from his grey lips. His last eternal vision before his head was severed with a silver sword was the woman arching her back hugging each breath of her lungs, bearing blood soaked fangs.

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Memories We’ve Been Sharing

Paulson flopped a leg lazily over the side of the bed, his large big toe swirling around on the carpet. His female companion had drifted contentedly to sleep, the sex had been exciting, both of them trying too hard. Paulson could hear the sea washing foam against the sand, the heat of the sun against shaved bare legs. The yellow bikini clung to the curve of the hip, painted fingernails reached to smooth sediment of her calf. An ivy tatoo creeping along the back of the ankle. Propping herself up with an elbow, hair falling in front of her eye, she smiled at the nearly finished castle. Father and son bonding with bucket , spade and sand, building a majestic monument to fairy tales on the private hotel beach. A fitness couple, running their daily jog disturbed a layer of sand onto those brown filtered legs.

Paulson jolted. His brain feeling a severe spasm, pounding his heart. Wide Awake. Confused. Had he been through a sex change? The holiday in Rio, the vivid Sugarloaf mountain path with the tremendous view, the scent of Brazilian Passiflora, the sweet Açai on the terrace of St Anthony convent. Experienced as a woman, now remembered as a man. Paulson could not recall the trauma of surgery, the period of recuperation, in fact the idea of a sex change somewhat repulsed him. He had lived those moments in Rio and had done so as a woman.

He left the woman alone with her dreams, taking an elevator to ground level. Standing beneath the stone entrance portico, he lit a cigarette watching the raindrops splash against the wet tarmac. The sky water somewhat soothing in the amber lit dead of night, his lost thoughts eventually burning the tobacco to the filter stub. Raising the collar of his jacket he stepped out into the pouring deluge.

*

Morning came with the usual burden of depression, a hollow melancholia drenched with cynicism. Paulson could not remember the last time he had awoken happy, perhaps never. Showered and shaved he abandoned toast and coffee determined to catch an early train on the subway. Stepping from the curve at seventh avenue and ninth street Paulson noticed a small huddled crowd had gathered around a body hammered against the floor.

“ Gee….I mean, I ain’t never seen anything like this….the impact would have killed him…what kinda guy blows his brains out on the way down?”

A middle aged lady gasped, distraught at the horrific violence, her glasses attached to a neck cord fell from her nose, resting on her chest. Her carnation pink lips stiffened, while her neck strained to see the fallen man. Clutching a blue alligator skin purse gripped with white knuckle fury, her excitement pushing other spectators aside with ill mannered elbows till stooped dauntingly over the body. Lifting her tortoise shell framed spectacles she viewed the blood splattered area like a crime writer searching for threads of realism. Unmoved she firmly turned, walking away with a huff, disappointed that the man was not famous perhaps or probably recognised as a neighbour she judged poorly. With that she disappeared into the blur of commuting suits.

Paulson watched as the stretcher was lifted into the ambulance, a splintered hand draping down beneath the orange blanket. The doors slammed shut, the driver mopping a creased brow lifted his limbs into the high carriage, proceeding to pull away slowly like a dignified funeral hearse. He noticed the gun at that moment, lying against the curb. He supposed it had been forgotten in all the shocking aftermath. The crowd having rapidly dispersed left Paulson free to bend down scooping the pistol into his jacket while pretending to tie a shoelace.

He continued to his office passing the dozing security guard, rising to his view on the fifty second floor. Placing the gun on the table he reclined to admire his bounty. He felt the weight of the piece, pleased that the barrel still contained four bullets.

*

His shoes needed a polish but the shoeshine boy at the station had been missing with smallpox. The boy’s brother had fulfilled a special request to obtain a hand pistol. Standing on the ledge Dr Jacob Huntsman contemplated the revolving memory of suicide that played in his mind. He had remembered killing himself a thousand times. A wedge of madness was eating his brain pushing him beyond despair. He figured the memory was the last experience from one of his Alzheimer patients, which he had identified at the morgue. This suicide memory had planted itself in his mind. He thought invasive mutant bacteria attached itself to the human brain, replicating a memory, coding, splicing, to transform once again into an airborne virus. Stepping off the ledge he made sure the gun exploded as the pavement rushed closer. He would kill the disease in his brain, eliminate the possibility of his last act becoming a memory germ.

Paulson placed the loaded gun back on the table. He heard the cry of his mother and the ring of the dinner bell on the porch. The recognised stamping feet of his brothers entering the kitchen, screaming with delight at a cooked chicken lunch. The soft pad of his mother’s slippers creeping up the stairs till the brass door knob to his bedroom swivelled. His mother, tired with cramps placed a food tray over the body of hemorrhagic smallpox.

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