Monday, January 30, 2006

Lectern Writing Group: Home for our Meteors- Part 2 chapter 3

Chapter 3
Stephen pulls on his jeans, and looks over at Catherine sleeping, he knows she can’t have got more then a few hours kip over the last couple of nights combined, he wants to wake her and talk about what she has planned for them. He knows she and Daniel have talked about it. That must have been what they’d been talking about last night, as he slept. He feels a small pang of jealousy at the thought of their closeness, it’s an unusual feeling but not unique for him, every time it hits him it’s been caused by the same thing, Letting go of that green eyed sensation like rat lets go of it’s own turd, he looked around the caravan, it had all the features of his old home, but this wasn’t home, it never could be. Daniel and Catherine would play make believe for a while and try to play happy families, but Stephen knew what home smelt like, and he knew what it tasted like. Most of all he knew what it felt like and it wasn’t this. He finished getting dressed and sat on the edge of the bed.

He looked across the room towards what was pretending to be his father’s bed, like Joseph’s this bed was unmade, and there were springs bursting out the sides. A couple of blankets were folded and set on top of a single pillow, which was placed in the middle of the bed, a plastic Asda shopping bag with some sheets sat on to the left of the pile, ripped and torn, Stephen didn’t want to think about what those sheets might have seen. The kitchenette was almost identical to the one from his home, a silver plated gas stove, four hot points and a grill, next to them a small chopping and serving area, this one maybe a little smaller then the one he’d grown used to. Underneath, cutlery draws and a cupboard for plates, bowls, and coffee mugs. Along the top fastened to the ceiling three cupboards for food, food that he and his friends didn’t have any of yet, but the cupboards were there for when they needed. He figured that once Daniel had driven the car over they could fill at least one cupboard with the booze sitting in the car trunk. Opposite the kitchenette was the box room bathroom, a toilet, a sink and a shower, all within three feet of each other. One day he knew he’d find himself brushing his teeth with Stephen taking a dump to one side and Catherine showering on the other, both of them screaming too hot or too cold.

He took a cig from his pocket, and lit it, still wanting to talk to Catherine, he decided he best leave before he gave into temptation, she’d only be annoyed by his needs, and that would just make him more concerned about the closeness between his lover and his friend. He slid his trainers on and headed outside, the cold air pinched his skin as he blew hot smoke into it. He looked across to the driveway, and saw the car still parked, now with Daniel sitting behind the wheel. Stephen thought, there’s no way I want to deal with him right now, and decided to walk up to the farm and take a better look around. He felt like having a drink, but figured the skunk in his pocket would be enough to make a couple of spliffs that he could walk around with as he enjoyed the countryside.

Although he’d been raised on a caravan site, which was a good ten minutes drive from any housing, and only moments away from a forest and a reservoir Stephen had never really cared for green scenes, and the scent of mother nature. He couldn’t remember if he’d ever been on a farm before, and as he walked up to the main buildings he couldn’t pretend he was all that impressed with what he could see. Five run down buildings, all bar one covered in filth, filth in general all over the place, and then all around him the same muddy fields he’d seen a thousand times before, only in different places. Catherine seemed to find the whole thing exciting, at least a little bit, Stephen not at all, he wasn’t a city girl like she was, and he wasn’t a suburban boy like Daniel. He was far from being a country kid; rather he was from nowhere really. From a caravan site obviously, that’s certainly what he would have said if asked, a caravan site child. Raised by holidaymakers, schooled in the science of life by tourists and the occasional DSS claimer. He heard the cry of something having its neck cut quickly, he sat down on a mossy stone, and started to roll.

The cry was accompanied by more, one after another Stephen listened to each one, and became startled at their similarities, and at the regular rhythm they were forced out, each one short sharp and hitting the high notes. Over and over again, single squeals in a parade so perfectly timed Stephen could have tapped his feet to the beat. He took a few long drags and flicked the ash down to the possible dance floor. Reasoning that cries like these, could only be being made by a pig, sheep or cow. As Mark hadn’t mentioned poultry. Stephen wished he’d listened closely as the young farmer had explained what work he’d like them to start the following morning, the assumption that it was packing work could be a false one as he didn’t see anywhere this could take place, truth be told Stephen couldn’t work out where anything was taking place. There was no sign of the men and women who had left the caravans this morning, the only sound of labour was the slaughter which seemed to be going on all around him, as if it were being played from stadium speakers that had been discreetly placed all around Mark and Mandy’s property.

By the time he’d finished his spliff most of him wanted to head for the car and get something to drink instead he headed to the front door of the farmhouse. Whilst he was out and about he could at least find out more, of what was to be expected of him and his friends. He rattled twice on the brass lion doorknocker, and waited for a few seconds before giving the door a gentle push, letting it come ajar.

“Hello, Mark? Erm Mandy, Hello, anyone here?” He spoke as clearly as he could, but he knew his tongue was becoming thick and heavy so could be muffling any noise he might make. Listening closely between the animal death beat, and heard a quiet sobbing, he stepped inside figuring that if someone was in trouble he could save the day, maybe Mark would give him an early to the job bonus. The hallway was a mish mash of decorative styles, ranging from Edwardian oak beams, and Art Deco vases and mirrors that came from a funfair. Wellington boots, wooden clogs, and casual trainers all caked in thick mud littered the red tiled floor, Stephen had never felt more like an intruder, not since he finger fucked a thirteen year old girl the summer before last. He called out for a welcome once more, and this time was given a loud belch by way of a reply, he turned left into what was supposed to be a living room, but was now more of shelter for shit you’d find in the alleys off Lower Parliament street, broken beer bottles and empty bottles of chicken wings mingled freely with hundreds and thousands of yellow paperbacks. The four walls had been painted four different colours, black, white, sky blue, and blood red. Each wall was covered in pages from late eighties issues of top shelf magazines. Pink nipples, and blond weaves peered down at him as he stepped over a bag of battered fish that lay open but uneaten near the doorway.

“Hello, Mandy?” he realised that all the light in the room was being supplied by a fluorescent light that dangled on it’s hinges in front of the window sill, and it had been placed directly so it’s main focus became the opposite end of the room where a battered and scarlet leather sofa sat, with about a dozen blankets piled on top of Mandy who was reading a book on a lap, drinking from the same coffee cup and smoking from a green pipe. Mandy appeared to be responding to what she was reading, with moans and sighs, to turn the page she jerked her left knee up, sometimes it turned just one page, but more often then not it turned four or five.

“Hi Mandy, I just heard some moaning, I thought, well sorry I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” He spoke slowly not sure if she was listening or not.

“And now you’re satisfied I’m okay, now what do you need to do.” She did not lift her head up, but her eyes appeared to be closing, so he figured she’d quit reading until he left her in peace.

“I was wondering where Mark was, I need to speak to him.”

“Mark’s out working,” she lifted her head, and looked at him, she gave him the once over, “You’re very beautiful, stoned, drunk, high on god knows what, but very beautiful. Not as beautiful as my babies would have been, but beautiful anyway.” She drank from her cup, finishing whatever was in it off, and then tossing the "I love" mug onto the floor.

“Thank you,” Richard saw that he was now casting a shadow over her, and stepped to one side so he could see her in the light, when he did she tucked her head back down and turned the page of her book once more. He stepped back and her head raised.

“You already knew you were beautiful, I bet you’ve always known, lucky boy,” She smiled, and with that smile she seemed to lose fifteen years. He thought that she could be my age; she could be just like me. “Does your mother know you’re here darling?”

He blinked a couple of times, the skunk was hitting home, he could feel his body getting as heavy as his tongue and his eyes were watering. “Probably not.” He finally replied.

“What’s that love? Speak up some will you, you voice is awfully slurry, have you been drinking,” she smiled and reached back down to the floor to fetch her cup. “No booze hits this baby, until the clock turns half past nine, oh would you look at this it’s nearly mid day, I guess we can have ourselves a little drink.”

“No, my mother doesn’t know I’m here. Could I have something to drink please, my throat is dry. My mums dead.” As he was speaking she poured herself a drink from a bottle Stephen didn’t see appear, once she’d filled it to the brim, she offered to him.

“I know your mums dead silly boy, I can saw it the first time I saw you, you’re like a skeleton, nobody has ever fed you right.” He took a few steps closer and then staggered to the floor by her feet, she shook the bottle in his direction and he took it.

“What is this?”

“Homemade wine,”

“How did you know my mother had died?”

“Like I said you haven’t been fed, it’s pretty clear. Don’t worry dear, lots of people don’t have mothers these days, it’s all the rage. I heard a lady in the supermarket telling her friend that the next child she had was going to be a motherless son of a fuck, and the friend replied like that guy in the magazines. So you see Stephen you’re not alone.” She gazed down at him, and he averted his eyes, the more he looked at her the more he wanted her to hold him. The more he wanted to take off her pants and slide himself inside the vagina he could make wet with the slightest of smiles.

He took a drink, and winced, “This is fucking bad,” he took another swig, “You made this? Fuck why?”

“Drink it slow sunshine, it’ll taste a little worse but that won’t make you heave all over my floor,” she took a sip for herself, and ran her eyes across the room “Wouldn’t want to make worse then it is.”

“No, that’d be a tragedy.”

“Hush now, don’t call things a lie.” A firmness appeared in her voice, a brusque hectoring tone that was clearly an affectation for the moment however genuine, “Nothing here is a tragedy, tragedies are what happens, not what remains. Losing my babies that was a tragedy. You losing your mother. That was a fucking tragedy. You being sick on top of my mess, that’s just a pain in the bloody arse.”

They sat in silence for a few moments, Stephen wasn’t sure if Mandy could remember what she’d just said, or even if she still knew he was in the room. Her head slowly tucked itself back down, and she closed her eyes. Her hand lowered the mug to her side and her grip released, spilling the contents across her sofa and herself. Her other arm dropped suddenly onto the blankets and the smoking pip feel loose. Within seconds of defining tragedy Mandy was asleep, and Stephen watched her. No tears in his eyes anymore, no nothing, he could feel pity making a run for the door, it was followed by tenderness compassion and anger. Others were soon behind, until all he was left with was the taste of homemade wine in his mouth, a blank look on his face and the desire to undress the sleeping woman in front of him.

For the first time he looked at her without wondering what she was about, he saw her auburn her unwashed but brushed straight, with a centre parting, so now she was sitting head down two waves of it fell either side of her nose and mouth, covering her cheeks and only if he looked real close could he see her closed eyes. Her face was without wrinkles or prunish skin; it was battered with fresh air and late nights, but full of color and softness. Her hair blonde over her white, red, and brown shaded skin, her eyes black with mascara the only make up she wore. Her lips were slim and slightly curled at the end, he liked that in Catherine and he liked it even more now in Mandy. Perhaps with age and the right troubles Catherine’s would excite him as much, he expected so. At present his girlfriends lips were, along with her feet the only part of her that lacked sorrow, this had always turned him on, but now he saw that if Catherine’s lips caught up with the misery of the rest of her face, the package would be complete.

His eyes fell from her face, and onto her body, she was wearing a battered pink jumper, stained and with multiple holes, which could be peered through easily so you could see her pale pink skin. He saw for the first time she was not wearing a bra, and this disappointed him some, he hoped it was not something she normally went without as he hoped to impress her with his ability to remove it. The shape of her body was hard to discern, Stephen could tell she was slender but there was plenty of flesh on her, again this was like Catherine. His mind began to spin at the similarities between his teenage girlfriend and the strange wife of his new employer, you’d never mistake them for one another with a passing glance, but on closer inspection they could be mother and daughter, easily. Not only that, but he was drawn to them both in the same way, he’d listen and become intoxicated by Catherine’s after fuck diatribes, any of her diatribes, any of her sadly whispered stories, the way she retold dreams left him in he thrall. The way she explained ideas or future plans, well it just made him hard and dizzy in equal measure. Now within a few minutes of Mandy’s company, listening to her voice and what it said, he was feeling the same things, the same desperate urge to fight through his stoned and drunken haze, so he could wake her and offer her his body. He imagined he could fuck her to heaven or wherever, but more importantly he thought of the fun she could have if he just lay naked on this filthy floor and let her do whatever she wanted with him. She was a woman who needed to seize control of something, maybe he could be that something.

He saw that her left leg was poking out from behind the blankets, just the knee and below. She was wearing brown pyjama bottoms, and pink thermal socks, Stephen reached out and placed his hand around her ankle, gently at first, slowly tightening his grip. Then with his free arm he pushed the blankets away and reached for the other leg, he took an identical hold of it, and began to pull Mandy down. Her ass had nearly reached the floor by the time she woke up, and when she did, she merely blinked and smiled.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she asks more amused then anything else.

“I wanted to…” he tries to look at her, like he’s looked at everyone else, as if they’re the only ones in the room, he wants to make her feel special, so she’ll do as he asks.

“Let go of me,” she’s calm, quiet and almost smiling, she looks him in the eye and says “Let go of me, and kiss me.”

He releases his grip, and offers his grin, showing off his dimples, but she does not seem impressed, “Kiss you where?”

She grabs his head suddenly holding with both hands, fingers wrapped around his hair. She pulls him to her, and they kiss, or rather she kisses him, because know matter how charming he has been in the past, no matter how many boys and girls have offered themselves to him. No matter what he’s done before, right now, his body is tight. His shoulders are clenched and his legs are stiff, he doesn’t know what to do now, and all of a sudden he’s terrified of this woman. As she moves her lips around his, as she slides her tongue into his mouth, and then bites a little on his bottom lip. He is frozen. She is acting pre-recorded, carrying out aggressive acts read in magazines, she takes his hand and shoves in towards her groin. He leaves it there until she begins to slide down her pyjama bottoms. He places his palm over her, his fingers brushing along the hairs that begin to fold in on themselves, until his hand reaches skin, and he feels for the slit.

Whilst his hand learns to move free of concern the rest of him is growing tighter, unable to focus on anything other then the blurry face pressed against his. Stephen finds himself being pushed back and her body rising above him. Mandy releases the kiss, and guides him slowly to the floor. Three fingertips just inside her finding their way, she takes the wrist that’s joined to the hand that’s owns those fingers, she holds the wrist with as much strength as she can and with a quick thrust of the pelvis takes the fingers in with a force that bends the remaining finger and thumb back when they hit the sides. Until they creep their way inside her. He cries out a little, she lets out a yelp of pain. Then they don’t move. Muscles shaking uncomfortably, his from her weight, her with the slight pain of someone whose still healing scars are being assaulted.

Mandy’s eyes remain focused on Stephen’s, his zigzag back and forth from her face to her cunt, where his hand appears to have been severed. Blood start to trickle out, tiny drops sliding along the veins on his arm, one falls of the side and glides to the floor, two more join and make their way quickly to his elbow joint. He watches them in fear; bile in his throat is gagged down. She moves her torso towards him, his spare arm taking all the weight. She leans in and kisses him, softly, first on the cheeks, then on the lips and then pulls herself backwards. Takes grip of his hand and pulls him out of her, his hand painted in the stripes of her blood and better things. Once separated she pushes herself back onto the sofa, legs spread apart blood in her pubic hair. She looked down, and the smile disappears slowly.

Stephen watches for a second, then turns to his side and throws up on the floor. Thick white chunks at first, then just brown liquid that slowly sinks into the dusty carpet. The only sound that can be heard is the upstairs boiler being kicked into motion by an automatic timer. Mandy reaches for one of her blankets, it’s purple with black trimming, and as she takes it to her crotch and holds it there, the purple goes dark as it soaks up some blood. She wipes herself clean then looks over at Stephen whose body is twitching, and his face contorting as he stares down at the contents of his stomach dissolve.

Mandy feels nothing but compassion for the boy, she wants to hold him close but knows that would be too much for him. She finishes wiping and fold the blanket neatly, and places by her feet before she pulls up her pyjama bottoms. A few specks of blood have stained the insides but nothing noticeable to someone passing by. She sits back down on the sofa and picks up her book, which had fallen on the floor. As she begins to read she listens as Stephen climb to his feet, and slowly walk out the living room. His steps over the Wellington boots and trainers are deafening, the front door opens and then slams shut, and as it rattles from the force she feels herself become warm, filled with delight and desire for more life. To have more life, to give more life. To simply be part of life once more she thinks would be everything.

2 Comments:

Blogger sb said...

You open up in the wrong tense, I think. He pulls instead of pulled. You continue with this until Daniel and Catherine would have and then you switch back to standard third person past: "He finished getting dressed" not "He finishes getting dressed".

Be careful of this. I usually won't diagnose another person's language because everyone's unique but you said in the last post that you were wanting to work on your language. I like what you do with language. You have nice varied sentences. I'm not always sure they're what you mean but it's really a first draft - so the purpose is to get the story out as best you can and so on. There are always gems in your writing as well as a solid thunker. Again, I wouldn't show the world a first draft because I'd be too embarressed. Mine doesn't look like that. Mine is much rougher mostly.

I think you wanted to show a sense of domestic bliss between the three characters but I find the line about taking d ump and Catherine showering slightly disturbing. Again, this is me attempting to interpret the character's through my own lens, of my own understanding and experience.

The greatest criticism I have to offer, and I know I think I've said it before. This goes for everyone, including me. Significant emphasis on story.

Exposition is good for learning to care about characters or if understanding the character's motivations but action runs a story. Action. Action. Action.

If a narrative is a. narration and action and b. dialogue. I suspect one would want to be able to move through freely with no loss of tone.

Please explain the story, Wally. What is going on, beyond these character's interactions?

Another loss of tense "He releases his grip - "

I think you may be using a change of tense as a technique but it breaks me out of the story. I'm not a very literary guy though.

Oh major disgust. The blood vomit Mandy scene.

You're have some gruesome action and then jumping into Mandy's viewpoint? You write: Mandy feels nothing but compassion for the boy, she wants to hold him close but knows that would be too much for him." Is there a way to show this? Remember, show not tell.

when writing your dialogue: "Let go of me," she's calm, quite and almost smiling, she looks him in the eye and says, "let go of me, and kiss me."

Again this is of course a rough draft but there's too much going on there.

"Let go of me," she said. "Let go of me and kiss me."

I think that's more effective. Don't do the reader's work for them...

4:52 PM  
Blogger Sam Spid said...

Wait... which one of you is meant to be posting the vampire story again? Wally - the Mandy character reads like a total vampire. Is that intentional? I like it though it's a bit scary... the vampiric mother character.

It gets a bit confusing in the first part because I wasn't sure if you were talking about Stephen or Daniel or switching between the two - but I think that might have been just rushed writing on your part that can be fixed in a second draft.

I feel like I want to hold off on any more feedback until you've done the whole thing, just because it's more of the same.

I do agree with the point about not doing the reader's work for them and that it's generally better to show than to tell - especially when you're as good as dialogue as you are.

6:56 AM  

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