A serialised novel
Something a little different this time. I wanted to add another dimension to the writing this time so I thought I’d share some of the music that has, in some form, inspired the story so far, or, at least, has resonances with it. My suggestion is that you listen to the music either while reading or after reading this week’s episode. I hope it will add a little to the experience!
...“You can’t let him out there!” Harry’s little round face is starting to flush and his little round eyes are getting kinda wild and staring at O’Donnel…”You can’t know what’ll happen if he gets out there O’Donnel!… I hope you’re ready to take the consequences O’Donnel. ‘Cause I’ll be coming for you and holding you personally responsible. Got it?”… What did I do? What did I ever do to these guys? It’s freaking me out… “I wake up right, and here I am. Just me. No idea how I get here or why but that’s o.k. I’m starting to figure out stuff right..and then…and then you two show up and suddenly I’m some dangerous killer or something right?”… “I’ll take you with me Shem. You will leave with me. Mr. Parks will stay here.”… I see O’Donnel reach inside his jacket pocket for something. His other hand searches the door frame and there is a click. The door swings open… I don’t believe it! I’m out! I’m actually out… I catch a flash of O’Donnel pulling something from his coat. It’s grey and barrel-like. Harry is backing toward the wall, talking fast… I reach the landing when I hear it. A sharp thud… This is someone going down who wasn’t getting up again, right? And suddenly I don’t want to be so close to the room when they leave… Then the footsteps are coming down behind me. Fast.
My eyes smart against the raw sunlight as I reach the door out onto the street and I kind of stumble out to the kerb. Smooth exit right? The door behind me swings shut quickly but I know someone’s on their way down and, like I say, I’m not sure I want to know who it is. An impulse tells me I should move or shout or scream or something.
It’s weird Huh? I should panic, right? I don’t know anything about where I am or what I’m doing out here. I have nowhere to go. And here’s the really freaky thing – I don’t remember anything that I can see; while the person coming down the stairs could well be about to permanently spoil this weird little existence I find myself in, I just want to stand there and look at stuff.
I mean, I can name everything right? That’s a building, that’s a streetlight, kerb, small dog, shop window, Felicity on the corner… well, you get the picture. Everything! It’s just…I don’t know how I come to know it. It’s really hard to describe. But like, I know what it all is but I’ve never seen it all before – not actually there, in front of me, real. Not with my own eyes. So I’m part ‘wow’ – it’s all really here – and part ‘so?’
It’s all exactly as I’d expect it to be, but that, if you’re keeping up with all this, just makes it weirder. Because it is all exactly right. But I know I’ve never ever done this before. Just stood out on a street. Not this street, not any street. Not here, not anywhere. So like, while one part of my brain is ticking everything off all calm like, naming it all – this is this and that is that – another part of me is just screaming with sensations and shit.
Like, the breeze on the back of my hand. I know that’s what that feeling is. Mr. Logical tells me so – “There is a breeze.” But I can feel each of the small hairs picking it all up. Practically see them bending, one by one in different directions. I can feel it… no…I can trace it. All the way up from the back of my hand, my arm, my neck, into my head and there it all kinda bursts out into my head in all kinds of colours and sensations. So I’m just gonna stand here and feel it all. Shit, yeah, that’s just my hand!
There’s like the sun and my ears and all the sounds going around me, near and far, loud and soft all coming to me clear and bright like…like the sun – warm, man, really warm on my face – and the light it shines on my face, I’m connected to it. The solid ground beneath my feet, so hard, I mean really solid but with all those little bits of grit and shit under there. Boy, I couldn’t tell you – but it’s almost too much you know?
I’m stood there taking all this in one big rush but it’s like the more I take in the more it grows. I’ve opened the door to something and now it’s all pushing in, all of it, every fucking thing you can think of that a person can experience with their body is coming right up to me and making it’s way to my head which is starting to get a bit full now and I’m feeling like this is too much and somewhere inside a little voice is telling me to get away from the door now, right now, but I can’t quite remember why…
“Shem?” I feel a hand pressing on my arm, all the little fibres contorted into the shape of delicate fingers; my skin and muscles taking the slight pressure and sending it up to my head. The perfume is strong and is all around me in the air, mixing with the other scents of the street but overcoming them all. Their body is blocking out the sun and I can feel a slight cooling on my clothes in their shadow. Shit, I think I can even hear a heartbeat coming from the body in front of me. What is happening to me? Who is this?
Like a schmuck I realise I’d closed my eyes which explains the lack of vision. Opening them my vision is filled with dark strands of hair, an oval face, twin brown eyes and red lips. The lips are talking and my ears are full of the sound, taking in every inflection, every rise and fall of tone but that doesn’t matter. Felicity. Felicity. Just a name on my notebook right? But I’m not just hearing Felicity really clearly. I’m sensing her. You know? Like it was with the street, now she’s in front of me it’s her. Everything about her. Every tiny little bit. I just stare and open my mouth.
Bringing herself alongside me Felicity pulls me from just below my left elbow and my feet, after stopping me from falling headlong into the street, get the message and start to move in time with hers. It sounds kinda crazy but as I walk everything starts to calm down. To move away a little bit. Like someone’s said a big ‘shhh!’ and everything is quietening down. ‘That’s it, shhh, don’t frighten the poor schmuck with all your colours and sounds and sensations and shit. Give the guy some room there.’
By the time we’re across the street and going up the kerb on the other side I’d say my head is nearly back to where it was when I was back in the room. Except…You know…except like when you wake up from a dream. You know? A really vivid and real dream. Ha, yeah, like don’t ask me how I know this, but I do. Like when you wake up, you can feel either disappointed or relieved first of all that the dream wasn’t true after all. But then there’s that feeling, that stays with you the whole day, that won’t go until you’ve been asleep again. That feeling that it – the dream – just is still there somehow. It’s not completely gone, right? You can’t shake it. It comes back to you , or just hangs over you like a, like a what? Like a shadow. Yeah, that’s it. That’s what it’s like. So I’m walking with Felicity and all is back to normal, except, except for that shadow. That shadow of all those things I felt back there.
Felicity is talking.
“…questions of course, so we’ll take a little walk, get you moving and then right around the corner there we should find my car if no-one’s stolen it, ha, or given me a ticket that is…”
She’s nervous. Like, it doesn’t take a genius to know that people who talk fast might be nervous right? I mean, they may not be too, right? But I can feel her. In the shadow. You know what I mean? It’s not all overpowering, right? But I can feel her pulse thumping through her hand and my sleeve, see the fine downy hairs on the back of her hand upright and alert, hear the little wobble in her voice that she’s doing a great job of concealing and smell the slightest trace of perspiration sliding in amongst the perfume. Felicity is worried about something. About being here with me.
I’m thinking of what I can say to calm her down, right, like it’s not cool having someone next to you like that – she’s starting to make me nervous too as she rambles on. We’re walking along the street now, past the streetlight where I saw her waiting from out of the window. When I was in the room with…
“Hey, Felicity. Just stop a minute would you? Uh, Mr. O’Donnel. What about him huh? Is he coming out or what?” I stop and feel her tug at my arm like she would carry on. I’m turning and trying to see if O’Donnel is behind us. I got so carried away with all that breeze and sunshine shit I don’t even know who made it out of the room or who is was coming down after me. What a schmuck. My guts give a little turn at the thought it might have been Harry after all.
“Um, Shem, come along now, not to worry. We really shouldn’t be out here together too long. Mr. O’Donnel will be along I’m sure. He’s, uh, he’s probably got something to attend to in there. This way, come along…” She still has hold of my elbow and pulls at me again.
“Is he coming out? I can’t see him?”
“He’ll be coming along, I’m sure Shem. Don’t worry, Mr. O’Donnel can take care of himself. You’ve got to come with me. Come along. That’s it.” She pats my arm like we’re old friends. “We’ll go and find my car and see if Mr.O’Donnel is ready when we come round the block, OK? He told me to take you back with me, so it’s all going to be alright.”
You know when sometimes you’re just lying down and letting someone hassle you right? You know you should stand up to them and have all the arguments ready but somehow you just figure it’s easier to let them, you know? Just let them get on with it, keep the peace and choose your moment right? That’s what I told myself as I let Felicity spring me along the street and around the corner.
We’d only taken a few steps but that shadow was talking again. Something had changed. The sidewalk was out of the sun but that wasn’t it. This street was subtly different to the other. I look up and see the street sign – Terminal Street – nope, don’t know it. But the sounds are… slower. There’s a heaviness in the air. I try to slow my pace but Felicity is marching me on, right, babbling away.
“…not far now Shem, it’s just around the corner I think, yes, Terminal Street, that’s it, it was just off here somewhere I think…or was it behind the station, oh, goodness me I can be so dozy sometimes…”
We pass a cafe window. The tables and chairs are piled up outside and the ‘closed’ sign is hung at an angle in the door. I suddenly realise that I’m hungry and really, really thirsty. The windows are dark, too dark. Then it figures. No reflection. Nothing, nada, not a thing. What kind of a cafe is this? We move on.
Anyways, I’m stealing glances at Felicity now. She’s pretty glamorous right? Not in an obvious way. Sure she’s got the hair that flicks and dances and the slick outfit which shows she’s got a good figure. But her face is, like, not beautiful. No. Not beautiful. Not in that way. None of it fits together too well, if you get what I mean? Her nose is angular and sharp in profile and her forehead just a little too long and high – all stuff like that. But I’m thinking now, like wow! She walks into a room and that’s not what you’re gonna get right? You’re gonna get the whole effect – bam! Ha, and like some schmuck that’s what I’m getting right here. I feel kinda stupid for not looking at her properly before. Like hey, there’s been a lot going on right? But sheesh. You’d have thought I’d have noticed.
So I’m starting to think it’s pretty cool to let a woman like that drag me along a street and how, yeah, I did the right thing to not make a fuss you know, when we turn another corner.
“Ah, there we are. Thank god. I mean, ha, I knew we’d find the place, but it’s all here, that’s all…anyway I mean, oh never mind,” She giggles nervously. “Here we go Shem. Time to leave.”
“What the fu…?”
“Is something wrong?”
“What’s that?” I ask, pointing like an idiot.
“What do you mean, Shem? What’s the matter?”
“What – is – that – thing?” I say, talking to her like she’s acting dumb – which she plainly is, right? I mean, you’re walking down a street, right, (OK, OK, with a beautiful glamorous woman which may not be usual), but you’re talking about driving and leaving and all that shit and then she makes towards this…thing, right? “It’s…what is that?”
She’s frowning at me but smiling at the same time so that I notice that her mouth is a little too big for her oval face. “What do you mean Shem? This is my car…I mean…you’ve seen this before haven’t you?”
I take a step back from her now and can’t help but laugh. “Sister, I ain’t seen nothing like that before in my life!”
Dear reader – do you have a suggestion for the next chapter? A suggestion for who just left the room? Will anyone come to the character’s aid? Perhaps a plot idea? Or maybe you just want to tell me to stop! Whatever, drop me a comment! You may find it used in the next chapter!
‘Til next time,