Smoke of Dreams

Smoke of Dreams by

I light a cigarette: click, flash, flare. Hiss. Glow. Pull in the smoke.


Unhabitual, now. A remnant. A ritual. An offering. Appeasement. Sacrifice is not the right word. Or maybe it is.


Plant of promise from the New World. Scorched earth. Forest fire. After the burn-off, the regrowth. Fresh foliage flares, Phoenix-like, from ashes.


Smoke coils blue; up, up, out of the open window.




Smoke coils brown/grey; up, up, out through the opening in the temple roof. Dusky beams, red clay tiles. A square of sky. Dreams, caught, entwined around ancient rafters.


Visitors stand quiet, heads bowed. Click of beads. The air all incense and expectation, wafted on the rustle of paper prayers. 


No photography allowed in here. The mind’s eye is all.


Click! The shutter snaps shut. Memory stored.




I exhale. Twin smokestreams – a parody Chinese dragon. Missy Luna, black familiar, looks up, green saucer eyes questioning. Wrinkles her nose. Turns tail, sashays away. Slipstreaming disapproval.




The temple is the mirror to our souls, reflecting the moment, that shines then shatters. Then lives on in shards: glimpses caught in a shop window; the flash of colour in a crowd; flame hair flying in a strong breeze.


Fragments of wild calligraphy; pages torn loose, scattered on the wind.




We leave the temple and slip into a café styled like a ’50s American diner. All red and yellow Formica, slick waitresses and gleaming chrome. Incongruous and not amidst teeming traffic, chaotic, clamouring street-stalls, massage parlours and skyscrapers, tangled electricity cables spiderwebbing the gaps between the high-rises like mycelium.


We drink lapsang souchong, talking and laughing like it’s not the last time. I light a cigarette.




Click, flash, flare. Hiss, glow. Pull in the smoke. Exhale. It escapes through the open window, and is gone.





Terry Holland grew up in England before studying theatre and languages in London and Berlin and settling in Utrecht, the Netherlands. His creative writing has been published by Almond Press (Scotland), the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology (UK), Stukah! magazine (Netherlands), Full House Literary (online, UK) and is scheduled for publication by Pure Slush (Australia).



Smoke of Dreams was first published by the brilliant Full House Literary in Tarot Issue 1


Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash



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