Bassline

The car inched forward as rush hour traffic crawled across the junction. A faint rhythm sailed over from the barbershop and Damien picked it up, tapping on the door while he surveyed the street.

“So what about Keisha, man? What’s going on?” asked Jerome.

Damien leaned back in the seat and put on a grin. “Nothing.”

“Nothing? What do you mean? I seen you.”

“It’s nothing, trust me.”

“Look at you. You’re a player, man!”

Damien watched an old lady pick through the veg outside the mini-market while he tried to find the words. But now Jerome was turning on the stereo. Bass shook the car and the line that Damien had been telling himself, reverberated around his head.

It was just a test. Tests can be wrong.

As seen in issue #156 of Adhoc Fiction.

The sky is ours

Their chanting beat against the morning stillness as Ahmed rolled the tyre along with a steady brush of his hand.

The youngsters grinned like it was a new game, but the others knew better. This was their duty.

Tarek looked back at the pillars of black smoke rising above the buildings. He was used to seeing the streets burn, but this was different. Today, they were the ones making the fires.

At a crossroads, Ahmed lay the tyre on the ground. The other children stood back while Tarek tipped the bottle of kerosene over it. When it was lit, another plume erupted, turning the air a dirty brown.

The children looked at each other, their stained faces fierce and proud while men and women cheered them on. Victory is ours, they cried. We’ve won back the sky.