If only he had knocked first – by Estrella Azul

IMG_8910-2What is it about ruins that draws photographers in, and continues to fascinate them?

He attributed it to the role ruins play as his “brooding unconscious.” He believed ruins to embody a kind of guilt over civilization’s unchecked progress. He never believed these images to be sensationalistic and nothing more.

There doesn’t seem to be any lack of photographers today willing to tackle the subject, he knew that.
His photos provided a valuable glimpse of the other world that exists on the flip side of mega malls and suburban sprawl. He lived by the old code – “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints” – and had a deep appreciation for the places he investigated.

For him, the best way of engaging with the past was by observing it through the prism of the present.

His present, he thought in hindsight, wouldn’t have ended as abruptly – if only he had knocked first.

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25 Responses to “If only he had knocked first – by Estrella Azul”

  1. love it! Yeah, knocking would have been a good idea, lol – great story!

  2. His photos provided a valuable glimpse of the other world that exists on the flip side of mega malls and suburban sprawl. He lived by the old code – “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”

    I love this! Estrella, this is a great story ~alive, sad, mysterious and hopeful! Amazing work!

    • It makes me happy you liked the story, Mark. Not sure how hopeful it is given my character’s death in the end, but I guess it is rather hopeful for that building his last shot is of :)

      • Hopeful in the beautiful picture left behind but also in the cautionary yet delicate words you use. In your last line you say that he had a thought in hindsight after his death…… which comes as a gentle warning to others but also a glimpse into the idea that death is not necessarily the end. :)

        • When you put it that way, yes, it is hopeful in this aspect of things. I have written a flash fiction piece before where someone looked back on their death, I seem to like the idea that death is not necessarily the end.

  3. Oh, great twist Estrella, love it!

    • As you could tell, this started out as a slice of life, but then I just couldn’t hold back from adding that last line with the twist. I’m so happy it added something interesting to the story!
      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Deanna.

  4. Interesting commentary on time and consciousness. Of course, now I want to know what happened when he went through the door!

    • Thanks, Shelli. I’ve been fascinated by urbex photos of ruins lately, and just had to use this picture I took over the summer in a flash fiction. It definitely inspired my writing, especially that ending line.

  5. Ohh nice. Yeah, knocking first might have been a good idea.

    • Aside from being the polite thing to do… seems to me that it always is a good idea to knock first before walking into an abandoned building now, isn’t it? ;)
      Thank you for reading and leaving me a comment, Sonia!

  6. That ruin wasn’t so unoccupied after all, eh? Yes, it’s always a good idea to knock first.

    • I personally didn’t find out until being half finished with the flash that the building wasn’t as abandoned as it seemed at first glance. But it doesn’t hurt to be polite, since appearances have a way of misleading one, don’t they?

  7. Where’s my cookie? Just kidding. Exploring all the stories of #fridayflash and it is fun reading all the different styles.

    I like your story, but don’t really understand the last two sentences, “For him, the best way of engaging with the past was by observing it through the prism of the present. His present, he thought in hindsight, wouldn’t have ended as abruptly – if only he had knocked first.”

    I actually thought his present ending abruptly meant he killed himself?

    • *brings over tray of freshly baked cookies*

      Thank you for reading my flash, and for the comment. Glad you asked, it’s always a good idea to do so when left puzzled :)
      The story started out being a slice of life, but then the twist at the end turns it into cross genre as it isn’t just slice of life, nor horror. The last two lines were intended to show that appearances are just what they’re called, and walking into an abandoned building letting one’s guard down and alone, however long one’s been at it, can be dangerous. He didn’t kill himself, but someone or something lurking past that door has certainly ended his life.

  8. Nicely written. It leaves me wondering what he encountered inside.

  9. Poor fellow was eaten by a mummy? You could say it ruined him.

  10. Hi Estrella,

    I also love ruins! There are photos on line of decaying Detroit, Michican. Some of the grant old places now in shambles, yet they are still beautiful in a different way. I organized a photo show and one of the exhibitors had two of his graffiti pictures. colorful. ruins. I like to stay in decaying old villas when we travel. We had a hilarious time in one in Austria and another near the border of Andorra in Spain. I love the remnants left behind by those who came before us

    Great idea for a flash story! G.

    • Giulietta, how lovely to see you here! Thanks for dropping by – it makes me so glad to see you share my love for ruins and that you liked my flash fiction piece.

      I can imagine how interesting it must be to stay in a decaying villa when traveling, and wish I could travel more to see more places like these. I took this photo at one of the abandoned wings of the White Fortress in Alba Iulia when I traveled there over the summer. It is currently undergoing restoration, but portions like this are still visible as one strolls through the place. I loved seeing (and capturing on camera!) the old and new aspects side by side while visiting!

  11. Zing! Nice one! I used to belong to an urban explorer’s group, and this fits right in with some of their war stories!

    • Thank you so much, Katherine. This means a lot coming from someone who used to belong to an urban explorer’s group! Glad my piece is authentic in the feel to urban exploration and such war stories :)

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