The Silent Imagination. Fiction by Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd



The whole world is enclosed in a goldfish bowl on top of a flesh coloured pedestal. There are no voices outside but strangely no silence either. Somewhere within the bowl which is the world there is a bright green field; too bright a green, reminiscent of a field of tulips once seen in a dream. The field is enclosed by walls; the walls never meet. Within the walls are voices. They are known to some as “The Silent Imagination”.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01
LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01


The maker of pedestals meets the maker of goldfish bowls.


Two people enter holding saucepans from which flames emerge evoking a Neanderthal rain dance. The rain puts the people out but leaves the flames intact.

The First Person says: “The Earth in the form of a broom that has ceased sweeping is sick. A doctor is sent for. He arrives with a well sunk in his temple; at the bottom of the well is an eye – when the eye cries we can have water for our crops, when it closes we place our hands on our foreheads and groan. The old lady in the distance climbs down a serpent ladder while the gypsy princess climbs up – they meet almost in the middle like crows on a cliff top”.

The Second Person says “The sailor is a top hat and we must all climb to the top. The top is a hole in a mushroom cloud from which we can see shopping bags with wings come home from the seamen shops. A child clock on the mantelpiece chimes as the trees in neighbouring gardens consume each other and the strands of hairs that have escaped from the confines of old heads become smoke snakes in a land of hedgehog cars”.

The First Person says “If you listen carefully you can hear silence. Sometimes even before it creeps up on the unwary like the coldness of death. To be heard, cooling people can don clown costumes and climb half eaten trees – once at an artificial summit they hold onto motion sick sailing ships and imbibe the salt from crying clouds. Meanwhile the frog who turned into another frog instead of a prince was reading a newspaper where all the news had been extracted (it is purportedly then spread on toast instead of the chromatic warmth of vacuous marmalade). A hiccup that had got lost is heard at last in the silk stocking distance”.

The Second Person says ”Cut your hair and you cut your future. A farmer without a hat met the business man without a head, they each asked the other how they could possibly cross the fast moving river. The last named was flowing like a column of penitents trudging across a desert of an ancient aquatic religion. The priests shave their heads and the heads shave their priests. All time is cyclic and even dragons have to change their socks when they develop holes”.

The First Person becomes a white rabbit and rabbits do not speak they growl.

The Second Person becomes a door that is always locked; such is life!

THE THIRD ACT IS THE FUTURE (By definition the future hasn’t happened yet).

A meaning less space.

A meaningful space: mortality transfigured by the distant prospect of immortality.

THERE IS NO END (Which means there is no beginning!).

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, digital art, photographer, writer and arts curator. In the past he has been involved in performance art, conceptual art, installations, environments and peripheral activities such as garden design. He has evolved a highly original approach to picture making and writing, based in part on his lifelong interest in all the sciences, music and the natural world. He has exhibited widely and has paintings in private and public collections throughout the UK.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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