Monthly Archive: November 2014

The Accident

There’s a woman shouting and she’s disturbing my dream and I want to wake up and tell her to be quiet but for some reason I can’t speak.

Fade to black.

A terrible wrenching and pain divides me to the core. It is the woman pulling me; I can feel her necklace dancing a tattoo on my closed eyelids. I want to tell her to Stop, it hurts. But I can’t speak, I can’t move myself. I feel myself suddenly free, and I slither onto what feels and smells like wet grass. It hurts, so much.

Fade to black.

I am by the sea. I can hear the waves crashing, I can see them, they are larger than me. This is the first time I have ever been by the ocean. Someone is holding my hand. I look up and it’s my mother. She looks down and when she smiles at me the overwhelming love shouted in my direction nearly makes me cry. Her eyes are red. She has been crying. The wrist of the hand holding mine is bandaged, but I don’t realise the significance. She looks out over the ocean and I follow her gaze and it strikes me that my father has died. I look at my feet, little boys’ feet and scabby knees poking out from under shorts. There is a shining shell that the sea has washed up by my right foot. It is beautiful. I pick it up and carefully place it in my mother’s hand. I hope it makes her feel better.

I feel something pumping on my chest, rhythmically, and then a warm suction at my mouth, forcing air into me. It occurs to me that possibly I am ill or hurt. I try to focus, to remember what I was doing and then it comes back to me – Rhonda, the horrible argument, the words like knives. What were we fighting about? These thoughts come and wash over me lazily, like waves lapping the beach on a warm day. I know there’s something that I should be doing here, somehow helping her, help me, but my mind is immersed in lukewarm water and I can’t force myself to do anything here but ponder idly.

“Breathe, damn you, breathe!” And my chest rises as she breathes for me. I want to tell her that it’s ok, that it doesn’t hurt anymore and that if she just stopped doing what she was doing that I could float away. Somewhere in the distance I can hear a siren and the more shouting voices.

I am standing next to a grave as an old man fills it with its previously purged contents. There is a dull sound as the sods of earth hit the coffin below. I picture my mother’s wrists, politely sewn up and turned just so at the viewing so that her mortal wounds could not be seen. I fancied I could sense them. I am not yet 23. Many of the mourners at the viewing I have not met before. There is a blonde girl there, a couple of years older than I. She spends some time at my mother’s side, before seeking me out.

“I’m very sorry about your mother,” she tells me. I have not seen her before, but as I regard her, I want her. I nod not trusting my voice. She takes my hand and leads me into a small room, closing the door behind her. She leans against the closed door and regards me with a small smile. It is not one of mirth it is frank appraisal. Then, she walks towards me. I meet her half way and pull her to me, fumbling with her undergarments, pulling them from her body. I pick her up and lean her against a desk, where I clumsily and angrily insert myself inside her. I hear her small gasps with each violent thrust and something more, an internal earthquake building. I thrust harder, and harder and she becomes for a moment in my mind separate from me and what we are doing and follow the heady rush of orgasm to completion and then she is back and is in my arms and I am inside her and I am crying, silent hot tears, and in that moment I love that girl and I hate my dead mother.

And then I am vaguely aware of something floating away. A sense of lost

And then there is nothing for time indeterminate.

A bright light, and more shouting, but it’s not the woman shouting, it’s a man, he lacks her delicate frantic touch, and there is a blinding light in first one eye and then the other and the muted sounds wash back to me, first the diluted watercolour sounds, then brilliant oils and then I am there, and it feels like being born again.

“Mr Carlisle?” The man’s face comes into view. And bright lights again, but this time they are fluorescent and I know where I am: in a hospital. I can hear the moaning and sighing and shouting and the internal clanking of the hospital engine. “Mr Carlisle!” he says again.

I manage to moan in reply. The effort is gargantuan, as if I had let loose a loud cry. As I make the pathetic sound, I realise that there is something very wrong. There’s something really important missing, but in my current haze I can’t quite figure out what it is.

“I…” My voice returns slightly, hoarse and scratched, “I’m hurt?” It’s both a question and a statement.

“You were in an accident, Mr Carlisle. You’re lucky to have survived. We thought we lost you a few times. You’ve been asleep for a while.” He peers calculatingly into my eyes.  “How do you feel?”

“Sore,” I suddenly begin to panic, “How long have I been out? What’s happened?”

The doctor is younger than he looks. Emergency room departments have taken their toll. He pauses for a moment, and a beautiful hazelnut haired woman walks through the door. Her face lights up and she cries out.

“Bor! I’ve been so worried!” She lands on the side of the bed and leans forward to kiss my forehead. I reach up to touch her and for the first time I become aware of the IV in my left forearm. The woman is familiar, strongly so, but I can’t place her name yet. Her fragrance invokes recognition just lingering out of reach.

“Hi,” I say gently. She is beautiful. “I’m back.”

Her beautiful, pale, tired face crumples, “I’m sorry, Bor. I’m so sorry…” She trails off unable to continue.

At first I am utterly confused, then it comes flooding back – I have lived this recently – the argument, my tears. Her inability to see what needed to be done to save our relationship. The angry hurt set of her chin. Her enraged shouting at me as I left our house. I should be angry; instead I feel strangely ambivalent. I think I care, but the feelings are struggling surface.  I want them to, I want to show this beautiful creature emotion and I can’t.

Instead, I fake it.

“It’s ok, Rhonda, sweetie,” I tentatively reach out and smooth her hair away from her face. “I’m ok. We’re ok.”

The following morning I am visited by two Police, each official in their uniform. The female has a light brown braid. It occurs to me that I have always thought female police officers slightly masculine. This one is anything but, and I find myself wondering how on earth she could detain felons, her wrists are so small and birdlike.

I have just recounted again my memory of that accident – that is to say very little – the fight, the storm out, her words chasing me after me. The stupid miscalculation. The police woman – Sandy – helpfully fills me in on some of the details that are ghostlike. It seems I am alive now because of the fast work of the woman, whose strong hands and scent I only vaguely remember.

The head nurse comes in and hurries everyone out, and I am alone for the first time, it seems in a long time. I lean back against the pillows, the plastic under the hospital issue crackling under the weight of my shoulders and head. This woman, this good Samaritan, this saviour who disappeared into the night has suddenly become more real to me than anything else and I promise myself that I will find her. This is a promise I know I will keep.

Excerpt from: Estrangement

She was familiar with the term ‘experimentation’. Life on the streets gave you opportunities for all kinds of ‘experimentation’. There was experimentation with hunger, and with cold and with giving yourself for a time to whoever could take the other two away. There was experimentation with loneliness and with sickness. There was the experimentation called ‘seeking help’ and the one called ‘being judged.’ Yeah, Kara was familiar with experimentation.

After a baker’s dozen or so years after her mother’s death, Kara had thrown herself headfirst into every kind of experiment that she could. And now, with 30 in the middle distance, she had developed a shell of toughness, of cheery vitriol and of stoicism. So, this night, as the snow softly fell, and the general milling masses that she considered family, albeit distant and irritating, the man in the flickering light of the stereotypical fire-in-a-drum tempted her.

She had once said she couldn’t be bought. She was not an item to be exchanged by anyone else but herself for money nor comfort. Yet this mysterious man, with his hood pulled forward against the cold, and his eyes catching the fire spoke of an intrigue she had not previously heard of.

At first she shrugged him off.

“Whatev,” and continued to watch the fire.

But he was insistent. He could teach her to fly, he said, they could fly together.

“Is that what you call it?” she’d asked him, and he’d laughed.

She’d misunderstood him, he said, he hadn’t sat next to her and shared his food and lit the fire to simply get her into bed. He had a secret he said. It would change her life for the better, he said.

He asked her with clear disappointment if she was chicken.

He had found her Achilles heel. Kara. Was. Not. Chicken.

Ever.

She sprang to her feet, in her dirty jeans and Jesus Saves t-shirt. Later he would ask her as he peeled it off if she really thought that Jesus saved. But for now, he skilfully separated her from her herd, leading her up and down alley ways and through fences, in back doors of restaurants and out the front of stores, eventually arriving at their destination. A dilapidated apartment block called Valhalla.

Up three flights via the fire escape and another two in the worn interior, to 5-02. The apartment door was opened upon a bang on it without question, and she was ushered in. The interior was, predicably, dark and dank. There was a single bare-bulb lamp in the room, and a chair and there was another person there, with a tattooist kit, and a chair.

This is it, the hooded man said, this is where you begin to learn. He pressed her against the wall, as if to kiss her deeply. Instead, he stripped her of her t-shirt.

“D’you really think he saves?”, he asked indicating the motif on the front of it.

“Only I save me,” she told him with conviction.

“Or me, tonight,” He manoeuvred her to the chair. It was an office chair, and old one; the stuffing was coming out.

Kara’s inner alarm bells began to ring.

“That’s enough now fellows, I have to be -”

She was slammed into the chair. The sudden violence snatched her breath from her. Arms pinned up and behind her, and the tattooist himself holding her legs with his own weight.

Her lean torso was too exposed. She struggled violently, but she could not escape.

Low and close to her ear, her original assailant spoke.

“First, we need to offer you some protection, Kara.” Then he spat in her face. “You’re his daughter. We should just send you in without it.”

Kara’s fire was reignited.

“Fuck you! Let me fucking go!” She struggled like the animal in a trap that she was. She attempted to bite anything in proximity.

A short punch to her face saw a nosebleed commence, stars appear in her vision and the fight flee from her. And then roughly, the artist got to work with the ink-needle on the tender skin under her small right breast. An infinity symbol, with solid circles in the middle of each loop. It was rough hewn, but complete. Small, about 3 inches across – but irreversible.

Then with blood trickling from her newly etched art, Kara was thrust without ceremony into one of the closed doors, in ratty underwear, with nothing more than a barely uttered blasphemous prayer, she was delivered.

A corpse lay on a stained bed, stealing light from somewhere. The woman exhaled shakily, her warm breath frosting in the cold of the room.

Kara woke up in the sheltered area beneath the underpass, warmly wrapped up and next to the dying fire. Her memory was hazy. She could not remember what happened after the corpse spoke, only a vague impression that a deal had been struck. Her face hurt where she had been struck, and there was a pain in her – she sat up clawing her shirt up, to reveal a tattoo, a fresh one, of the infinity symbol with solid circles in each loop.

 

Stake

She tasted it and abruptly sat up. It spilled from her mouth, down her chin, to drip onto the white linen sheets.

A shy smile, white teeth and clear eyes glinting in the half light. She was flushed and her breath was coming faster, the perfect globes of her naked breasts heaving slightly. It was impossibly salty and she was vaguely repulsed at herself, but she could not deny the irresistible allure of being this close to a complete stranger. There was something exciting and unpredictable about this man she’d just met. And something very attractive.

He shrugged, so much used to this very personal initiation. He prided himself on it, he had done it many times over the years and now this, beautiful, vibrant, nameless woman to be shown the art. Shown and then dispensed of.

He smiled to himself for what he had in store for her. She would be surprised, very much so, before he left her tonight. But she was beautiful there, in the candlelight, her eyes almost luminous and her body like molten gold. She pushed her hair from her eyes and looked at him. They were luminous and trusting.

It was nearly too much for him, he nearly finished it then and there. He had been playing with her for over half a night, watching as her confidence grew, her ability to please and be pleased also grew. He had plied her with alcohol, at the beginning, and compliments, but as her animal needs mounted, he’d not had to tempt her much at all. In fact, should it not have to end so soon, he would have enjoyed another liaison with her. She had been impossibly pure, and a quick learner.

When he’d initially punctured, she’d cried out loud, and struggled against him, then settled down, experiencing the strange, yet oddly pleasurable sensations, and the feeling of him upon her. She mourned when he finally withdrew. It had left her feeling weak, trembly, as if her heart was beating faster, but stronger than ever before. As if the very essence of her receded to almost nothing. In her minds eye she circled above the two of them, she could see her dead eyes, the marks of his kisses on her neck, at her collarbone. She had then reciprocated the favour, after a while, when her breath was caught, and she had excelled. And she had grown stronger.

She sighed, and lay down next to him, her head on her hands, her luxurious body stretched out beside him. The dawn was not far off, and he had to be off soon. One had obligations. And his were ones not to be shirked, for they would herald his end. And he was having too much fun for that right now. Way too much fun.

He moved slightly, stroked the smooth dip of her back, the sharp shoulder blades. She sighed, rolled over, lay on her back, arms at her sides, legs straight enjoying his gentle ministrations, and slowly drifted.

The clock struck four. He had to go. He caressed her cheek, her smooth jawline. This one, he was tempted to leave, so perfect was she. So trusting and good, and all that he was not. But she would not be like that in two hundred year. And she was ignorant. She did not know how the world worked, and had not believed him when he had told her he was dangerous, that a woman such as her had no business having congress with one like him.

He had enjoyed the burning of the small crucifix that she wore at her throat, careful to remove it well before the festivities had began. There was no point letting her know too soon what she had been, would be no more, and there was only death at the end of this night awaiting her.

A brief period of immortality, then the endless sleep.

He rose from her bed carefully, dressed himself, blew out all but one candle. He admired himself in the large gilt mirror on her dressing table. The centuries had not claimed his youth, but his eyes told different. The centuries had claimed his humanity, his empathy. He walked the world sowing casual reckless violence and cruelty, and his eyes told the story to all but the innocent.

He bent, and picked up the leather briefcase he had bought with him. It was a large one, one that could contain a laptop computer, but what this one held was primitive and much more dangerous. The smooth wooden stake was worn from years of use. The irony of the situation never failed to amuse him, here was the killer using the only thing that could cause his ultimate death.

He withdrew it, ran his fingers along it’s length, then kissing each of her eyelids, set the stake against her heart, pushing down with his entire weight. She screamed not, nor struggled, just accepted it, like so many before her. The stolen blood – his blood – welled from the wound, onto the white sheet. She sighed once, and that was it. Her life expired quietly, with no final word, thought, other than the candles flickering in her emptying gaze.

He packed up his belongings and left the room, the taste of her on his lips, and the warmth of her blood singing in his veins.