The Dress

10 September, 2011 at 14:01 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

She kept tugging on her sleeve, hours after they had passed the shop-window.

“Please Mummy, please Mummy.”

Ella could feel the exasperation rising. Debbie had learned the word please only recently and seemed to think it was the magic word that unlocked everydoor. This wasn’t helped by Phil asking her everytime a ‘please’ was wanted – ‘What’s the magic word?’ Ella had grown more frustrated with that phrase as Debbie had grown more convinced of it’s literal truth.

“Please Mummy, please Mummy.”

Part of her wanted to turn around and shout at the pleading face. She wanted to shout ‘No! No Debbie, you can’t have it. It’s a dumb dress that you’re going to grow out of in months and it’s far too expensive what what it is. You can’t have it because I don’t want you to have it. You’re a horrible, whining little girl who doesn’t deserve a pretty sparkly dress. Now shut the fuck up and let Mummy pretend she doesn’t have a horrible whining child to satisfy all the fucking time.’
Part of her wanted to slap the child across the face. As she held Debbie’s hand waiting to cross the road she imagined accidentally-on-purpose tripping, sending the tiny girl sprawling across the path of the oncoming traffic. She imagined the tears she’d have to force to her eyes by digging her nails into her thighs and the sobbing way she would say ‘My baby’. She dragged Debbie hard across the road and looked, guiltily, into the eyes of a policewoman coming the other way.

***

“Isn’t it a bit expensive?” asked Phil, later on that evening.

Debbie spun around and around in front of him, delighted with her new dress.

Ella pasted a smile across her face.
“Anything for my little girl,” she said.

“I love you Mummy,” said Debbie, her joy evident in her eyes.

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The Hole

9 September, 2011 at 14:47 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

Sam was angry. Sam was very angry. She was so angry that she had taken off the pretty party dress that Mummy and Uncle John had brought for her birthday and she had run up the garden in her vest and knickers. It would make Mummy shout, she knew, but Sam was so angry that she didn’t care.

Daddy wasn’t coming to her birthday party. Daddy had phoned to say that he had to stay on the rig for another few months. This hadn’t made Sam angry, this had made Sam upset and she had gone to the living room to have a little cry in front of the balloons that Uncle John had blown up. Mummy hadn’t known where she had gone, or else she hadn’t realised how loud her voice was, or how well Sam could hear, or, or, or she hadn’t cared.
Mummy had said to Uncle John that she had known that Daddy wasn’t coming and that Mummy and Daddy had decided not to tell Sam beforehand but to wait to phone her up on the day to say that Daddy had to stay on the rig. Sam was angry because they had lied and Sam was angry because she had been looking forward to seeing Daddy and now she felt stupid for doing so.

Sam was angry and she was running up to the fence at the top of the garden and she was climbing over it and running across the field in just her vest and knickers. She hoped that that would upset Mummy a lot, and, just as she hoped that she tripped. She fell over her own feet and tumbled, down and down and down, much further down than the ground because, it turns out that what she fell over was the edge of a hole. She fell right into the hole and tumbled and scraped herself going all the way down, it was a very long hole.

As she picked herself up she heard sounds, pleasant, gentle music, like her older sister Kelly playing the harp, but much nicer. She saw lights down the tunnel that it seemed she had fallen into and walked towards them. The tunnel widened out and she could see hundreds of people in beautiful clothes dancing and dancing to the beautiful music. To one side were tables upon which were set piles and piles of fruits and foods in a multitude of colours.
It occurred to Sam that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast and that she wasn’t going to go to her party so she edged close to the table.

A bearded man, a little shorter than she was, was filling his plate. He turned to her, “You s’posed to be here?” he asked.

“Um…not really,” admitted Sam.

“Ahh,” he said, nodding wisely and tearing into a chicken drumstick with his teeth. With his mouth full he continued, “If you eat any of this, you won’t be let leave.”

Sam’s eyes widened in surprise.

The man continued, “You’ll have t’stay here and dance with us’ns and you’ll never see your Mummy and Daddy again.”

“Good.” said Sam, who was still angry, and immediately swallowed a grape from the table.

Much, much later the ambulance crew were explaining that it might help Uncle John if he went on a first aid course.

“All that was needed was the Heimlich,” said the ambulance driver. “You’re lucky we got here when we did.”

Uncle John nodded in agreement, looking at his sister holding his tiny niece very protectively.

The driver continued, “You shouldn’t really serve such small grapes at a kids party, they’re so small they really are a choking hazard.”

Uncle John nodded again, “Yeah, I don’t really remember putting them out.”

“Kids eh.” said the other paramedic walking back from Sam and her mother. “Who’d have ’em, they find the darnedest things.”

“Yeah,” said Uncle John, dazed.

“Anyway, she’s safe and sound,” continued the paramedic, stroking his beard. “We’ll be getting off in case there are other little kids to save.”

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Vilcanota River

7 September, 2011 at 22:38 (Flash) (, , , , , , , , , )

I look out from the hillside. My stone gaze falls on the grasses, the condor flying above and the Vilcanota rushing below.

My eyes have gazed from this rock even as it has eroded and I have slid, slowly, gradually, closer to the valley floor. They painted me, thos people who ran across the mountain-tops. They who sought to tie me to the roof of their world. They shored my mountains, propped up the landslides and tried to turn back time in that way people have. Still the condors spread their wings and fly above me. They did not succeed, those mountain-runners and I have not seen them for years upon years now.

The ground of the Urubamba Valley calls me on, the grasses grow up around me and my rock face erodes. The passers-by still see me, and my heart calls to theirs as they pass. It is only a few who feel it, most simply stop, stare and pass on by empty of all that gives such short lives meaning.

I call to those who can hear, I call to those who stop, who turn at the passing of the snake and who seem to hear the puma, nestled in the craggy top of my stones. They feel my heart beat with theirs and wonder what it is, they see the passage of the condor and a part of them runs the mountain tops again. A part of them leaps into the air, high above the Vilcanota whilst I, in my silence of the thousand years, observe and continue to erode with the rest of the sliding mountain.

(Three Word Wednesday: Erode, Heart, Observe)

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Tomorrow

4 September, 2011 at 10:20 (Short) (, , , , , , , , , , )

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.

She reflected as she saw the blade of the knife, that it was odd she was still so much of a snob when…

…the thought died as his knife plunged into her heart.

“I have it!” he crowed. “The power of tomorrow is mine!”

He began to laugh when something shifted at the edge of his vision, the knife blade seemed to shatter…no not to shatter, for each shard seemed still to be attached, it moved out as if it had become the edges of reality’s kaleidescope and each particle of the scene before him, each segment of her blood and skin and hair was reflected back at him with the urgency of the blade.

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.

She reflected as she saw the blade of the knife, that it was odd she was still so much of a snob when…

…the thought died as his knife plunged into her heart.

“…Wait…the power of tomorrow?…Wait” he stuttered uncertainly into laughter when something shifted at the edge of his vision, the knife blade seemed to kaleidescrope out and yet he thought he had seen each particle of the scene before him, each segment of her blood and skin and hair reflected back at him before, somehow, as if the blade’s movement was familiar.

“Blessed day.” he intoned. “Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She found the words terrifying, she wished that they were more sonorous, more grim, perhaps just less tritely rhyming.

He moved towards her.
“Wait…” He said, again?

She rolled her eyes at his brief reprieve, she found it odd that she was still so much of a snob as to care about the quality of ritual that killed her when…

…the thought died as his knife tore across her throat.

“Don’t mock me bitch.” he said, then saw the blood, “No, I didn’t…I…The power of tomorrow is mine?”

The world mocked his uncertainty just as she had done and the blade shifted from his grasp, kaleidescoping over each segment of her dripping blood, torn skin and hair until it’s blade turned in opposition across his throat and joined their blood forever…never…forever…

“Blessed day. Sacred night. Come forth what may, I charge this rite.”

She laughed as the trite words came from nowhere, into her mind. Perhaps she could use them for a short story, then again, perhaps not. Even so, Tomorrow blew the words into a writer’s ears, perhaps they would form something after all.

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Hell

2 September, 2011 at 23:52 (Flash) (, , , , )

She sat on a tree stump, on top of the rise at the edge of the wolds, surrounded by corn. She gazed over the flatness of the fens that stretched out into the blue of the distance. Above her the wide sky pressed down.

Soon she would have to get up off the stump. Soon she would have to turn around and walk back the way they had come. Behind her sprawled, pressing down upon the golden stalks of corn, lay the bloodied form of the man she had killed.

Whilst the sky pressed down on her and she looked into the distance for some hope of salvation she could ignore his blood feeding the dry earth. There was no forgetting him though, and no getting past the number of people who had seen them come out here.

She blinked as she gazed out over the fens and into the distance, soon she would have to turn around and go back the way she had come.

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In The Woods

24 January, 2007 at 22:06 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Faith had never really liked the woods. When Jim had finally taken her hands that day and spoken deep into her eyes, the way she had always wanted him to and he’d said that of course they would go to the woods and she hadn’t minded because they were walking together and he had taken her hands and, when it got cold, as it was wont to do in the woods he’d given her his coat to wear.
Faith was walking on air. Every so often Jim would allow his thick fingers to brush against her and he’d squeeze her hand. The first obstacle was one of sound. Cutting across the path was an eerie whining and Faith was frightened. It sounded nothing so much like she imagined ghosts would sound and she paused in the path, Jim continued.

“Oh come on Faith, it’s just a fox.”

Faith considered this, she’d never heard a fox sound like that, she’d heard them barking a few times when she walked in the fields of an evening but this wailing, moaning, whine of an almost human nature sounded nothing like that.

“You trust me don’t you?” asked Jim and, when she nodded, a little hesitantly, looking into the pools of his bright blue eyes for confirmation, he swept her into his arms and carried her beyond the eerie noise.
He didn’t put her down though she could tell she was getting heavy for his arms.

“Careful,” she said. “You’ll drop me!”
“No I won’t.” he snapped, irritated.

She became silent after that and comforted herself by snuggling into the warmth emanating beneath his shirt. The woods were dark, but the path was solid and Jim’s breathing became gradually more laboured as he struggled with her until she finally said,
“Look, why don’t you put me down?”
Jim looked around.
“Yeah I suppose here would do.” he said.
He swung Faith down and looked at her, those piercing blue eyes gazed into hers and for a moment she thought he would kiss her. Then he stepped away from her and looked up at the trees. Something looked down from the trees and Jim stepped off the path.
It swoooped down from the trees.
It was black and had no feathers though it flew silently towards Faith. It was black and rotting, it was gelatinous and dripped as it flew and where it dripped arouse smoke for what it touched could not bear it.
Faith heard Jim, a little ways off the path, make a movement as if he was reaching out to it, she saw the not-wing, dripping and foetid and black reach towards him and heard his shriek of fear and the sounds of his shoes runnning, squelching through the damp undergrowth and she could not move.
It came closer, it had no eyes, nor mouth, nor any sort of feature but something akin to a head pushed from it’s main mass, now hanging, flapping slowly above the forest floor.

Faith heard Jim shouting in the distance but the words meant nothing to her as the creature enveloped her in it”s gelatinous, warm embrace. She had time for one last breath full of the hot scent of meat left out too long covered over in sweetest horse manure before her mouth was sealed by the gooey taste of that smell. She could feel it, black and covering her. Rotting and foetid and pulling her deep within itself. She felt herself surrounded and the sensation of movement, of falling far within that black sweet-sickening place. Around her she could feel the heat rising and added to the foetor was the stench of smoke, of fields burning in the autumn. And then, It was gone, she could not have said how she knew for she was covered and dripping and the blackness surrounded her. But she looked up to discover that it covered her like a second skin, gelatinous and oozing over her and it covered the part of the wood that she was in as well. She looked up and saw that It had left her in a round and smoking hole, the sides of which were sloppy with the remains of itself.

The sky above was as black as It had ever been and did not fill her with hope. As she began to cry from the sheer hopelessness of it all she felt a stinging, burning sensation run down her cheeks, the black slime began to react with the tears. Began to burn into her face like acid. She raised her hands and scrubbed furiously at herself rubbing off the slime where she could and wiping her hands down her dress. Finally the stinging stopped and she could feel the sore wounds covering her cheeks.

She pushed at the earth surrounding her, her hands slipped and slid over the loose soil beneath but finally she could feel them gripping at the rock within. Hand over hand she pulled herself through the mud and slime. Hand over hand she dragged her body up from the hole in the woodland floor. Hand over hand until she felt the grasses scratch against her ruined face and pulled herself, panting, from the hole.

She lay there, at the edge of the hole, looking up at the night sky for some time. Her dress was spoiled by slime, her face by the burn marks that followed her tears down her cheeks. She sat up and looked around the wood somewhat helplessly, lost in the dark, unable to even see the path that she had taken to get in.
Nevertheless she set off into the dark, because there just wasn’t any other way to go.

Eventually, she came to a sort of glade, peering into the dark she made out the figure of a…man? He sat on his horse and gravely watched her as she approached. She couldn’t quite make out his shape as he looked down at her, his eyes seemed to glow somehow from within. She couldn’t quite make out if they were brown…or yellow…or red…He turned his muzzle…his face…he seemed to shift in the low light and then he slid from his horse and she saw that it was simply a large grey rock that he had been sitting on.

“You’re lost.” he stated.
“No I’m not. I’m just walking, thats all.”
He looked at her.
She looked back, defiant despite her covering of black poison.
“I’ll show you the way back.”
He held out his hand.
She raised her chin, and, to her surprise, took his hand.
“Its this way.”

And her curious guide, his shape tall, but not too tall, led her through the woods right to the outskirts. She tried to make him out in the dimness, his hair was long, she thought, and his eyes, they seemed to retain their glow. When they reached the edge of the woods he pointed her way back.
“Over there.”
She nodded to him. “Thanks.”
He nodded back and his eyes seemed to smile, she thought. Then she headed off over the grass her eyes firmly on the way ahead.

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Drinking Games

16 January, 2007 at 16:19 (Uncategorized) (, , )

The point is, when you got out drinking with an old mate you expect to learn things. When you haven’t seen them in a while you expect to catch up, find out who they’re seeing, what they’ve done since they last saw you. When they get a bit tipsy then you get to find out what they wish they’d done. Later, when you’ve both really gone for it and are vomiting behind the bus shelter you get to find out what you both wish you hadn’t done and what you really would rather you weren’t telling each other.
Sometimes you find out things that they never told you about when you last went out drinking together, or things they were keeping quiet about when you were really friends and went drinking every Friday night.
The point is, some things you don’t ever expect to find out.

When I went for the biannual catch up with Marty I didn’t expect him to confess to murder, but he did.

It was somewhere around the third whiskey, good quality malt none of your blended malarkey that are supposed to taste of peat (like that’s a good thing?!). I was feeling warm and mellow and I supposed Marty was about the same. It was the sort of warmth at which you get around to reminicing over the good old times, though that was what we had been doing for the last hour. That was the other thing that surprised me. We’d eaten, a curry at the place next door, and we’d had some beers with that but just Indian ones, nothing strong. We’d chatted over the meal about what we’d done, how much we’d earnt, which girls we’d been with. (Maria for me, Latin-American girl who’d moved over here for Uni and stayed to work for some fashion magazine in London. I’d been with her almost since Marty and I had last caught up and was intending to pop the question next week, she was expecting it, she’d even hinted at the ring I’d bought whilst we were waiting for a cab outside the jewellers). We’d kept it light. Even when we were in the pub it was mostly what we’d done since we’d seen each other last. Then for the hour before the whiskeys we’d moved back in time.

Marty and I had started out working for the same company in Sales. That company had unexpectedly (for me at least) gone bust and left us jobless. Within a week Marty had found us Sales Management positions in a much more solid company in another part of the country and we’d moved in together as housemates. Since then I’d stayed with the company and he’d moved jobs several times, what he was now pulling in was amazing but I prefered my pension plan to his (nothing official, all in different savings accounts and such whereas mine came with a company guarantee).

It was that third whiskey that changed things. Oh it started innocuously enough.
“You ever did anything stupid back then?”
I looked at him, when we had been living together stupid covered most Friday nights, and Saturdays, and Sundays assuming we hadn’t been too hungover…or even if we had I guess.
“I mean really stupid,” he clarified.
“I guess,” I said, the warm haze of the whiskey not quite covering the intensity of his question.
“What’d you do?”
“I hit Poula.”I admitted, the haze vanishing slightly. “That’s why she broke up with me.”
“Well, shit man.” he stared at me. “You really loved her. Why’d you do it?”
I shrugged, I’d never managed to work that one out. “I was drunk, I don’t know.”
I still remembered the feeling, of turning around and having her scream at me that I was a drunken, worthless son of a whore, of finally snapping but instead of screaming back, which is what I’d been sure I was going to do. Instead I felt my fist fly out and I’d been too drunk to call it back. The pleasant haze of the whiskey was completely replaced by the nauseaus feeling in the pit of my stomache remembering the black eye, just as I’d sobered up at the time. Sobered up and walked from the house because, when you’ve just hit a woman, well, what the hell can you do?
“Come on man,” I said, not wanting to remember Poula, “What did you do?”

“Remember Aidan?”
He’d been a thickset rugby playing lout who was more than happy to join our drinking sessions every Friday, I wasn’t likely to forget him. I remembered his wife Aimee as well, tall, blonde and utterly helpless looking.
“Yeah…” I said slowly. “Aimee’s still in Broadmoor.”
He nodded.
“I killed him.” he said.
“No you didn’t man, Aimee did.”
He shook his head. “No. I did that.”

“But the knife was in her hand…”
“I put it there.” he said.
“I thought you loved her?” I asked, remembering.
“You loved Poula,” he countered and I remained silent. There was afterall, nothing more to say.

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Dreams

14 January, 2007 at 12:44 (Uncategorized) (, , )

“You know you have to come back.” said the dark angel, her black wings unfurled.
“You have to come back soon, before the birth.”
The sand-stone walled station darkened crazily as thunder clapped behind us and I saw a child, dark black hair whipping in the wind running along the track back the way I’d come.

It was about that point that I woke up.

I was drenched in sweat and rolled gently away from Claire so as not to wake her. I failed utterly of course, she was sat up and rubbing her eyes as I came back from the bathroom.

“Another dream?” she asked.
I nodded. “How about you?”
She shook her head, “Do you want to check the computer?”
“Do you mind?”
“Of course not. You wanna tell me what it was about?”

I bent under the desk to reach the power switch and flicked it before answering. She had an idea of the general focus of the dream but the details had been more worrying than before. On the other hand, if I didn’t tell her the details now, before I’d had a chance to see if the others had dreamt the same, then there’d always be some doubt in her mind. Also, what if, upon reading what Stuart or Tony or one of the others had dreamt my mind started playing tricks, inventing things that hadn’t been in my own dream to fit in with theirs? Claire was my safeguard.

I held her as the computer hummed itself up to scratch.
“It started at the railway station, Grimsby I mean, not Lancaster.”
She nodded and wrapped her arms over mine.
“There was a girl there, she had black hair and I couldn’t really see her face, she looked kind of like Sadako, in the flashbacks I mean, not crawling out of the TV. But with her hair over her face.”
Claire shivered, that movie had really scared her.
“Anyway, she said I had to come home.” (I knew this part would annoy Claire, she had argued before, and quite rightly that I had been born in Grimsby, I had lived most of my life in Nunsthorpe, or Laceby, or around Grimsby proper. I had only spent three years, doing a BA in Lancaster and yet, when I said ‘home’, it was Lancaster I meant.)
“She said that I was needed, I had to walk the crossroads again. That doesn’t actually mean anything to me, but I understood it in the dream. So I got on the train and it kind of went the right way to Lancaster but I didn’t need to change, it took me through Cleethorpes and that suddenly became Manchester and I could see Stuart was on the train before me. He’d left his boyfriend behind and he was crying but I couldn’t get to him.”

I paused and thought about that, Stuart had been having the dreams too. I wondered if he’d had one tonight. The computer was on now, I logged in and kept talking, stroking Claire’s hand to try and reassure her.
“The girl met me at Lancaster station and I could see behind her that all my friends were gathered and pointing at this huge black bird that was pecking at the Ashton, you know, that old memorial up on the hill?”
She nodded.
“There was Stuart and he was waving some sort of banner, I don’t know what. There was Sam, he still lives there you know?”
She nodded again, she was keeping very silent now.
“Anyway they were all there and then the girl laughed, it was really horrible, I don’t know how exactly, but it was and then she vanished and we were all looking up at the Quaker House. There was this angel up there dressed in some sort of Victorian get up, all black and corsety but with pink ribbons. And the angel said; ‘You know you have to come back…'”

I looked at Claire guiltily at this point. I didn’t want to continue, it wasn’t fair.

She looked at me.
“She said more than that,” she said.
I nodded.
“She said,” she swallowed a little and I could see tears glittering in her eyes. “She said ‘You have to come back before the birth.'”
I nodded.
“I think I’m catching the dreams from you…the gynaecologist says pregnancy can do weird things to a woman.”
I held her. There was nothing else I could do.

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Cycle

9 January, 2007 at 22:00 (Uncategorized) (, )

It was a pretty nice party, all things considered. I still hadn’t really worked out who I was intending to spend midnight with, as far as I could tell I had two options, Paul or Thomas. Well, there might have been three but I really didn’t fancy Peter who, as the night progressed, had been making increasingly drunken suggestions about precisely what he wanted to do to me come the chimes of Big Ben. I don’t care if it is a New Years Eve party I’m not some slapper he can have across the sofa, or, as he was not far off suggestion, in the alley behind the house. Seeing Paul drinking absinthe and doing the suave thing was definately making him come-off better in my mental appraisal but Thomas is such a nice guy that I wasn’t quite writing him off yet.

Then I went outside. Inside the rooms were warm and there was an atmosphere of gentle drunkeness. Outside the winds were up and roaring crazily. The night felt wild, I looked up the street and saw Anna standing on the pavement tapping at her mobile, oblivious to the lewd winds pulling at her flimsy dress.
“Anna!” I shouted, and she looked up. “Come inside! Aren’t you cold?”
She looked around her, as if noticing the winds for the first time. Then she returned to tapping on her mobile before turning and running to me, laughing.
“Isn’t the wind mad!”
“Aren’t you cold?” I asked.
“No, it’s too alive out here to be cold.” she replied.”I was texting to Sammy, he isn’t coming”

I wasn’t surprised. Sammy has issues with this time of year and I had suspected earlier in the day, from my position on his couch, that he wouldn’t be in the mood to be social this evening.
“What did you text?” I asked.
“I texted him to come of course! Are you going back in?” she asked.
I shook my head, “Not just yet.”
“It’s the wind, isn’t it,” she said. “It’s so amazing to be out in it.”
I shook my head. “I think its kind of frightening actually.”
She turned to look at me. “Do you? It is very wild.”
She looked so serious with her round, brown eyes and I wondered how I must look to her. Skinny, pale and stand-offish in my long blue dress. Anna’s purple was an off the shoulder cut that promised everything her reputation did. I suspected, under the gaze of those brown eyes, that my own reputation was reflected in my dress as much as hers was in the dress she wore. Long, blue and completely covering, capable of detachedly considering whether I should kiss Paul or Thomas when the bells rang. It was at this point in my train of thoughts that Anna reached up and around and held me to her.

“Don’t worry Ellie. The wind is my business. It won’t touch you tonight.”

We stayed like that for a long time. Until Thomas opened the door behind us and started shouting everyone to come and look at the lesbians. I was definately going to be kissing Paul come midnight.

Inside I discovered I had a text from Sammy. ‘Don’t go out tonight. There are wild things in the wind.’ I texted back telling him not to drink so much.

It was a pretty nice party all things considered. It felt like things were beginning. I knew that I would be with Paul, come midnight, we had been flirting shamelessly for most of the evening. Peter seemed to have gone off with one of the other girls at the party, to her best friends horror and Thomas seemed to be stepping back a little. It was a New Years Eve party, there isn’t any harm in some gentle flirtation and a bit of kissing. The New Year would begin soon, there was a sense of anticipation throughout the party. I felt sure if I was kissing Paul at midnight then the rest of the year could really begin with real romantic flair.

Then I went outside. Inside the rooms were warm and promised romance for the night to come. Outside the winds were whipping down the street pushing tin cans and twigs in front of them and in the middle of it all stood Anna laughing at the moon. She looked wild and her purple dress was spinning crazily about her. I stepped out onto the pavement and she turned to look at me.

“Outside again Ellie? It’s safer in, you know.”
“Thats what Sammy said.” I replied, shivering. “How much have you had to drink?”
She laughed at me. “Sammy should know, he’s the one responsible for the winds.”
I just looked at her and she pulled me to her once again. This time she kissed me, on the mouth. It was passionate and so promising. Then she pulled away, “Stay inside, k Ellie?”
I wanted to tell her no because there were tears in her eyes as she looked at me but I nodded instead and I meant to go back inside, I really did but I got as far as the door when Thomas burst out from inside waving his mobile and shouting at me ‘Where’s Anna?” and behind him there was Paul looking concernedly straight at me.

“It’s nearly midnight.” he told me.
I wanted to go inside and fall into his arms.
“Thomas just got this text from Sammy.” he said. “He thinks Sammy’s trying to hurt Anna or something.”
“But Sammy isn’t here.” I said. “He’s at home.”
By then Paul was looking behind me.
“What’s she doing?” he asked and I turned around and looked into the wind.

It was a pretty nice party, all things considered, if you were inside in the warm, drunken romantic atmosphere, listening to Big Ben start on the radio. Peter was probably having a good time in the alley by then. The New Year about to begin in the wind above his drunken gropings. If I could have just been inside, kissing Paul, then the party could have continued being nice.

I was outside though, when the New Year began. I was outside in that pause between old year and new and I could feel the wind begin to change. I could see Anna, laying in the road, her purple dress flapping up around her, watching as she raised her glass to the New Year, watching as the wind changed around her. I saw Thomas kneel at her head, I saw Paul kneel at her side and I felt myself kneel opposite him.

“You should be inside, Ellie.” she said. “Don’t let Sammy feel your strength on the wind.”
I hid my strength far inside myself when she said it. I hid my strength so that all the wind could feel was a shivering little girl who wanted to be inside in her nice, romantic party. I hid my strength and knelt there watching as Anna gave herself to the wind. For the New Year came on as Sammy tied his noose and Sammy cried aloud and the winds knelt before him and brought him Anna’s blood and Anna’s bone and Sammy felt reborn as we knelt there in the road.

It was a nice party, all things considered. Thomas ended up kissing Sammy in the middle of the road that night, who knew that they were gay? I went for a walk after the wind had died down, with Paul and we nearly walked over Peter having sexy with Claire by the side of the house! It was weird though, at the last stroke of midnight when Paul was telling me how much he was in love with me I felt like I could see a girl in a purple dress standing behind him, laughing.

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21 December, 2006 at 22:44 (Uncategorized) (, , )

The Cardinal ran down the hallway panting in desperation. The light was turning golden already, it was possible he would be too late even now. In front of him he saw the women weeping and he knew. He was too late. He could feel the leaves in the breeze, the scent of honeysuckle came to him on the wind and he kept running. He forced his stride to lengthen and pushed himself to his limits, the aches in his muscles he ignored, forcing himself to keep running.

At the end of the hallway he stopped. He could see the grasses. He could see the fires. It was too late. The harvest had come in and the people thronged around the bonfires singing the forbidden songs, behind him he heard the sounds of glass breaking and knew it was the stained glass. The women who had wept before him, he heard their screams now and knew that they had come into the church. It was too late. Too late for him and too late for the church. The sun was up and the bonfires lit and people breathed the scent of the old gods into their lungs.

Pulling his collar up he prayed that no one would stop him, they did not, they turned to stare at the old man breathing through his shirt wearing the symbols they had rejected. It was when he came to the pit they had dug that they began to shout at him, to shout that he must be careful, that he could slip and fall. The Cardinal looked into the pit. It smelt of burning flesh and the partially smoking flesh of sacrificial carcasses lay piled up and burning to these gods that the people had embraced. He turned to face the throngs now coming upon him, looking at their white robes, at their garlanded heads and forms bedecked with the plants that had turned them.

“You may fall sir!” called one of their so-called priests.
“I will not.” the Cardinal replied.
“You would not want to burn, they are the offering, they must be kept burning or they will not be accepted.”
“No, nor if they were defiled would they be.”
The white-robed man looked puzzled, and then horrified as the Cardinal stepped backwards denying the plants and praying that somewhere his God still saw him.

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