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Graffiti - Flash Fiction by Emmaleene Leahy

There’s a new security guard on tonight. I might get in. I slam my fist against the glass.

“Little pig, little pig, let me in.”

He scratches at his short beard and takes a few steps towards me, then turns and stares at the phone on his desk. He scratches his head and writes something down in the logbook. They mustn’t have told him about me. He’s not going to let me in. I know.

Shiny new buildings stand in a line like moored ships, their reflections ripple along the river at their feet. They are ghost citizens waiting for death.

I pull up my hood and move away from the circle of light that emanates from the glass-fronted atrium of the building. I go to the side. I shake the metal can in my hand and its rattle excites me, entices me. It’s part of the attraction for me, the anticipation. I do this again and again every night with the same relish as the first time. My message will be freed from its metal tower. It is my urban burden to warn them.

The security guard is watching me. I know because a chain of motion sensor lights flicker on and illuminate his motions. The monkey sees me. He’s watching me. He’s afraid of me. He is the only soul in the huge building. Not enough power to even confront me, let alone attempt to stop me. I release the hiss of colour. The first whisper of my forewarning escapes. I sequester my own fluorescent flicker. Enveloped in night’s navy obscurity, the shapes of my symbols are vague. I can hear the zoom of the camera to my left as it focuses in on me and the sweep of my letters.

I must take my chances while the cogs that run these machines sleep. Dizzy from moving precarious numbers from one computer to the next, they construct these cages of success around themselves. They frantically clamour over each other to catch metaphorical snowflakes that melt in the warm skin of their outstretched palms. Each disappearance prompts a more emphatic search for the next. They will keep going like that every day until there’s nothing to catch but ash. Numbers will fade to lines and squiggles and then dots.

I am an agent of prophecy and I predict ruins. Office shells will stand empty and barren for a long time before its collapse. Emaciated dogs will wander its innards sniffing. There will be nobody to hunt them out.

I know in the morning they’ll power-wash my work away before most of them rush to their work flustered by their appetite for something else. Before the din of traffic rises, I will complete my message. Why, you might ask, if they’ll wash it away before the workers get here?

Because I know that one morning the cleaners won’t come. My words will stand solid when the snowflake-catching suits are all gone. I’ve seen them.

Life is finite, live it.

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