Urban Tales

Urban Tales

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Beats and Breaks Part 1

The bass pumps from the sound system, filling the balcony with the full-bodied rhythm of hip-hop. No-one’s really listening. And yet when the chorus comes in everyone mouths the lyrics. He sits at the table, his fingertips drumming on the splintered edge. He smiles when everyone else does. He laughs when he’s meant to. Sometimes … READ MORE

Beats and Breaks Part 2

There’s a rhythm that runs beneath the clamour of life as strong and constant as a heartbeat. It strings all the noise together into coherence. But sometimes life’s tempo grows unsustainable; it gets faster and faster, racing out of control until the music becomes noise, and the beauty pure chaos. When you lose track of … READ MORE

Beats and Breaks Part 3

The keys tap beneath my fingers with a constant rhythm. Data appears in the spreadsheet. I don’t have to think while I’m doing it, I just let my fingers walk across the keyboard and enter the figures. Downstairs I can hear the roar of machinery clanging through the factory, metal beating on metal. The joints … READ MORE

Faces in the Pit

There’s a layer of white noise underneath the music blaring from the speakers and the roar of the crowd. The spotlight feels warm on my skin. A buzzing gradually fills the room as the air comes to life with charged particles. I can see those same familiar faces in the front row. They look up … READ MORE


The river flows steadily, its rich brown current sweeping away the cigarette butts and empty beer cans. He stands on the ledge beneath the bridge. The wall before him is a dark grey canvas dappled with moss and faded tags. He lifts a paint-stained hand, rattles the can, and brings it to the wall. A … READ MORE


She peers at him closely, her plump eyelids narrowing until her gaze is forced through two pale slits. ‘How do you feel?’ she asks, her voice carefully laid out before him, controlled and well-rehearsed. ‘Fine nurse,’ he replies, flashing a smile. ‘Any nausea?’ He shakes his head. ‘Do you feel anxious or depressed?’ ‘Not at … READ MORE

The Man Who Sold the World

The house looked old and dilapidated from the outside. Tiles had slid off the roof, pigeons were nesting in the rafters, and the paint had peeled away from the walls, leaving a dreary patchwork of greys on the splintered wood. But never was that tired old line truer; that true beauty is found within. The … READ MORE

Through the Wall

Last night I could hear them through the wall again. Our walls are very thin. You can hear everything, even when you don’t want to. The voices were angry and started yelling all those words that mum made me promise never to say.
Laney started crying. She’s my baby sister. She’s only one year old … READ MORE


With sweat seeping down his back and grease soaked into his clothes, he leans over the bench, hard at work. Before him lies a sheet of metal. There are three circles drawn upon it in white chalk. He picks up the angle grinder and slowly, with great care and precision, cuts out three perfect circles … READ MORE


The train rattles down the line, stopping at each station just as it always had. There’s a steady rhythm to all the creaks and rumbles of the carriage, creating layer upon layer of percussion. It reminds her of music. She sits alone by the window, tapping her foot to the beat of the train and … READ MORE

“In order to write about life first you must live it.”

~ Ernest Hemingway


© Ekaterina Tretiakova and Writing on Tangents, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ekaterina Tretiakova and Writing on Tangents with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.