Ida

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IdaIda has broad shoulders. One is three meters long, the other, stretches sixty-two miles.

Some say she resembles a giant, a craggy black nightmare. A child’s drawing of a monster; a prehistoric dinosaur, sleeping under a snow crown of ice.

She lives in fog and spray, nine miles out at sea. She feels the white horses, tickling her toes. The moon sends tides through her bones. Its rhythm is endless, glints though her rivers, swells in deep groans.

For thousands of years, men prayed to her as a Goddess. Women sang her devotions, threw wild thyme at her feet. Their boats only circled. No hands dared touch her, except on a full moon. There have always been women, desperate to conceive. And other women, those who came in the dark. These women she welcomed to her razor-sharp spine.

Women threw themselves at her, and she let them bleed.

Today, on the map, Ida is ‘Bird Island’. A tourist attraction. A 1,217-meter-tall outcrop, her shoulders cloaked in gulls.

Bees nest in her ear canals. At night she sends forth booms to clear the bats out of her head.

Men strike in signposts. Bird Island – No Dumping – CCTV.  No one sees Ida as a Goddess, anymore.

There are migrations, Seasons, as there always have been. But no-one throws down wild thyme. No-one burns offerings, leaves sheep skulls, or bodies born breathless, purple-white, oysters in the caul.

Ida waits, still.

Still as a rock.

If she doesn’t move, no-one will know she is breaking down.

Her depths filling with sand.

Boats dock in her bellybutton. Mountaineers scale her hips, hammer iron pins in her ribs. Men carve steps inside her pores, fence in each crevasse. Children picnic on her pubic-bone, play hide and seek in her forest black bush. Teens smoke weed and assault each other in her eyelashes, drunk on altitude and horizon. They can see for miles. Forever, they whisper, and drink beer, and smash bottles in her eyes. Look at the stars from up here, Baby, they whisper, the sunset, the dawn. I love you, I do.

It was a single shudder, at first.

The quaking.

Involuntary.

Ida could not help it; the split in her crust, the rupture in her elastic strain.

The crunch was deliberate.

The twist, the grind.

The sink hole clarity, daylight, inside her skull.

Acid rose up through her rubble.

Molten lava poured from her mouth. Steam bubbled from her nostrils, ears, throat.  In one single belch, a paraglider steamed alive, pink as a shrimp.

Only his Go-Pro survived.

You can see the video on YouTube. ‘BEST WEIRD & TERRIFYING NATURAL DISASTER DEATHS – TOP 30!’.

Check out number 6.

Ida laughs, when she thinks of his plastic wings. His pink skin, bubbling, his screams. His wet smack to Earth.

She’s quaking with laughter. She’s laughing your country into flames, your city into smoke. She’s laughing your house into rubble, your body, into hot red slime.


Photo used under CC.

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About Author

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Elisabeth Ingram Wallace lives in Glasgow, and is a Scottish Book Trust ‘New Writers Award’ winner. In 2017 she won ‘Writing the Future’, the world’s largest science-fiction short story prize. Her writing can be found in the Bath Flash Fiction Prize anthologies, Flash Frontier, and b(OINK). elisabethingramwallace.com

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