Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I intended this piece for the monthly Flash Frontier blog, where the theme for October was 'flight'.  However, I was only a month too late - somehow my brain had got itself into the notion that you could enter something due for the 1st of October in the middle of that month....

So, rather than lose the piece, which I enjoyed writing, I'm including it here.  There's an earlier flash fiction piece on this blog too, here


I used to pronounce Icarus as Icarusk, the last syllable sounding like that twice-baked bread we gave babies to keep them content, the sticky, gooey mess spreading across the baby’s face. 

I don’t know if Icarus’ mum ever gave him the mythological equivalent of rusks. Those rusks have been lost in the myths of time – as has Icarus’ mum.

She told her inventive husband, Daedalus, and her antic son, Icarus, to ‘take off those silly wax and feathers monstrosities and come in and have your dinner.’  They ignored her. She watched her headstrong son, after initially following in his father’s line of flight, flap up towards the sun, melt his wings and drop into the sea.  


She stood at the top of the cliff, arms crossed, lips tight, head shaking.  Muttered, ‘Typical bloody teenager.’

Went back inside the house, ate her evening meal (put the leftovers in the cool store for the next day) took up her knitting, made woolly vests and sox for Iapyx’s baby.  Just look at him, sucking his mythological rusk. 

Iapyx is a good stay-at-home boy.  Okay, he didn’t get a sea named after him, but a live boy and a live grandchild are better than a flying fool of a son.

Her flying husband, however, seems to have got stuck on the other side of the Icarian Sea.

When she told him to stop mucking about with the wax and feathers she didn’t mean he should never come home again. 

I was going to include a picture chosen from one of the many famous depictions of Icarus falling but there are more than I can count (in a hurry, anyway); the subject has been painted by dozens of artists, including many contemporary ones.  Plainly it's a subject that speaks strongly to artists....

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