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So…I have finally done it. I have published my first novel; The Last Englishman and the Bubble – self published as an ebook – now available to download online.
This book began its journey as my first foray into ‘NaNoWriMo’ (National Novel Writing Month) in November 2011, where its first fifty thousand words came spilling out of my head. I had no idea then whether I could actually write a full length novel or what it would entail.
Since then this book has been through an editing process which included five or more full revisions/re-writes/additions etc. etc.
Over the last year excerpts of it have landed the slush-piles of myriads of agents, simply to face rejection or worse be completely ignored altogether. It has failed to win at least one major competition (and is still waiting on another one).
You might think that I maybe disheartened at this point and wonder why I have decided to publish it myself as an ‘Indie’ ebook. Well there are a number of reasons but let me say I am far from disheartened. My journey is just beginning (aren’t all journeys just beginning? Right now?). This book proved to me that I could actually write a novel. Since then I have written two more (one is unfinished – one chapter to go, the other is nearly edited!), and these books can now do the rounds of agents and publishers.
I don’t want to get into the ‘Traditional’ publishing versus ‘Indie’ publishing debate but let’s just say that the romantic part of me still wants to see a real hardback book with my name on the spine in a real bookshop. One day…
Anyway I am proud that I have come this far and, without wishing to sound vain, I think this book is actually quite good. So please download, have a read and let me know what you think. Leave a review if you like it…I hope you like it…
You can download my book to your ereader (Kindle, iPad etc.) from HERE. It will soon be available from the iBook store, Amazon and other retailers (I will keep you posted). It costs the princely sum of $2.99!
UPDATE: Now available on Amazon UK HERE and AMAZON US HERE…Happy Reading!
The Last Englishman and the Bubble
Is Kris the last man on Earth? He is an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. He types his story as he struggles to understand why he has been left alone. Why does he live in a shack on a lonely Norfolk beach? What happened to the love of his life Samantha? How does he survive alone in a desolate England populated by packs of wild dogs? What event caused everyone to disappear? And ultimately, will Kris die alone with no one to read his story?
So…here is an unfinished short story I have been working on. I have some ideas about where it is going, what it is about and what might happen, but I thought it might be fun to post it here and see what people think. If you have any ideas about what should happen in this story or how it should end then please post your comments…enjoy…
I can remember my mother. She had blonde hair and smelt of roses. At least I think that’s what they are called. ’Roses’; it is a word I associate with her. Some kind of flower anyway. I can picture the twitch she had in her fingers and how she would roll her shoulders and twist her neck to try and relax herself. She would shake her long hair into my face. It tickled me and made me giggle. And smile.
Today I went to see the flowers. It is the one place that has a breeze all round the space. I like to stand by the vents and let the mix of warm and cold air buzz over my skin. It gives me goosebumps and my hair floats all around, just like my mother’s. I pull myself up to the sky where the pipes spurt rain on all the curling trees and plants and let the droplets cover my hair and skin. It makes the air damp and the tiny droplets catch in my nostrils.
The flowers don’t seem as bright as they do in my memory. Or perhaps they just seem more vivid when I dream them, because they have a blue sky backdrop and not the more realistic stars and black behind them.
Later I asked Caleb about it in our meeting. He just said the flowers are the same colours that they have always been.
I instigated the daily meetings between us, about two months ago. Now I am not so sure about them. It hasn’t been very helpful. He only seems to know about facts not memories. His smooth artificial face smiles, floating and glowing in the centre of the white room where he resides. I like him but he seems rather unfeeling. It is beginning to make me feel lonely talking to him. I asked him what it meant to be lonely.
He said “Loneliness is the state of being alone in solitary isolation,”
I said, “Really, well…does that describe me?”
He said “Unfortunately yes, you are alone Sara,”
My name sounds like any other word he says. His words all have the same tone.
I remember when he first told me my name. Must have been the first or second day after I woke. That was the first spark that I could remember anything. Anything at all. I remembered my mother whispering it in a singing voice as I went to sleep.
“Sara, go to sleep, my beautiful Sara, go to sleep…”
Caleb said it would take me a while to adjust. That I should take it slowly. One day at a time. That was six months ago. The dates on the clocks tell me that. Not sure what he meant by ’a while…’
At first I felt like I was stupid. That I didn’t know anything. But then it occurred to me, I actually know quite a lot. I know how to speak and write and read. I know the names of things. And silly things, like how to eat and use the toilet. How to dress, though I don’t much bother with that. I haven’t learnt any of that since I woke up. It was already there, inside me.
And I can remember my mother. I remember my toys, and rag dolly Emma and the bright green grass in front of the porch with the sprinkler. Rain from a pipe like I have here in the flower room.
We lived on Rokehampton Drive. That’s what mother said I should say if I ever got lost in a shop or the park or somewhere. So I said it over and over to myself as I skipped down the sidewalk holding her hand,
“We live on Rokehampton Drive, we live on Rokehampton Drive,”
I asked Caleb about the skipping when I remembered that. Why I couldn’t walk or run or skip here? He just said ’sorry’ and that the gravity was broken or some such. Whatever that means. He tries to get me to exercise my legs on the stretch machine every day but I find it boring.
Everyone walks or runs or skips in the films he shows me. And they have the blue sky backdrops. Sometimes they even dance. And sometimes I ask Caleb to play the music loud and I try to dance, but my dancing is clumsy and I bang against the walls. I get bruises on my thighs.
In the films they talk and sing in excited ways and the children always have mothers and fathers. When I saw that I asked Caleb why I couldn’t remember my father. He said he didn’t know.
I remember words. Lots of words. Caleb gave me a book to look them up in. It’s called a ‘dictionary’. I looked up the word delicious today. It said about some things that taste nice. I wondered what that meant so went to ask Caleb. He asked me if I wanted to change my ‘dietary requirements’. Strange that I knew what that meant. Everything the dispenser gives me to eat is nutritious and designed to keep my body at the required state of health.
The funny thing is that none of it seems to be ‘delicious’. I often like the taste but I would never say it was ‘delicious’. So I asked Caleb if the dispenser could give me something ‘delicious’. So he said how about ‘ice cream’? Mmmm…I remember mother giving me ice cream and how much I loved it. That must be what ‘delicious’ is.
So I got the dispenser to give me ice cream. It was vanilla with chocolate sprinkles. It was very cold and made my teeth hurt but the taste was actually ‘delicious’.
It made me wonder more about the words I know. The ones that buzz around in my head. There doesn’t always seem to be a logical connection between the sound they make when I say them out loud and the meaning they have. Either the meaning I think I remember they have or the meaning the dictionary says they have.
I like to watch the shooting stars in the sky. Caleb says they aren’t actually ‘stars’ as such, but I like to think of them as that. Those are the words my mind had for them when I first saw them streaking past the windows above me. And below me. They are everywhere around us, rushing past.
I did ask Caleb if I could go outside and touch them but he said that nothing can live outside, not without a special suit anyway. As soon as I began to ask him I knew the answer he would give. I knew that I couldn’t go outside. I just hadn’t remembered it yet. I don’t know why that is.
So I asked him what was wrong with my memory. I have asked him this before. He sighs and says “All in good time Sara, all in good time,” like he often does.
So again I ask him “what does that mean?”
“It means that you will remember when you are ready, you will understand when you are ready,”
“How will I know if I am ready?” I say,
“I will know…or you will know…who knows?” he says.
Then I am stumped and don’t know what to make of his riddles. He can be so frustrating at times. So I just changed the subject;
“Where is Rokehampton Drive?” I ask,
“Ah,” he says, “Well that is a place that is very far from here. About as far away as you can imagine,”
“So we can’t go there?”
“No, Sara, we can’t go there,”
“Have you ever been there?”
“No, Sara, I haven’t,”
“So you can’t remember it?”
“No, Sara, I can’t,”
I gave up then. Couldn’t think of what to ask next. As ever his answers frustrate. I looked up frustrate in my dictionary. ‘Frustration’ and ‘loneliness’.
- ‘a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.’ – that’s what it said about frustration. Kind of summed it up I think. Summed up one of the feelings I have…
I thought I would be brave and share a short extract of my novel, provisionally titled ‘The Last Englishman’, or ‘The Last Englishman and the Bubble’…I know, I know, titles are so hard! I wrote it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) back in November and have been editing it ever since. It’s plot is immaterial at this point, I just felt like sharing. I have no idea if it’s any good, but then does anyone ever know when they create something? As always any and all comments are welcome…hope you like…
Libraries. I always loved libraries, libraries and museums, obviously. I loved that Sammie loved them too, though her approach was very different to mine. Again, obviously. The first time we went to a library together it was her idea. Saturday morning and she announced that we were going to the library. I say ‘announced’ but what actually happened was that she screamed at the top of her voice from the shower that we had to go that very morning. In fact we had to go that instant.
She wore thick black tights and black pumps, like a ballerina in negative. On top she wore one of my jumpers. A big thick navy cable sweater. For her it was like a dress; a provocative short dress. She wore long beads over the top, like a flapper from the twenties, and a beret, with her curly hair stuffed inside. She understood so well, that dressing was display, display of personality. She understood it both consciously and unconsciously.
In the car I asked her what she liked to read. We had only been ‘seeing’ each other a week or two and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t discussed books, although she had made a point of perusing my book shelves that first night when she came to my house. Later she had told me that you could judge someone by the books they had, or didn’t have. In the same way you can judge someone by their choice of shoes.
“Shoes are so often the windows to the soul,” she had said. Males who are sloppy in their shoe selection would be judged as sloppy people. Females who chose the wrong heel gave the wrong impression to men they wanted to attract. It became a game with us; imagining the lives of strangers by their shoes.
“That man at the bar is obviously a spy,” she said, one night in the pub, “counter intelligence, M.I.5.; he has chosen to dress down to fit in with the ambience of the place, but his trainers are so expensive, so ‘de rigueur’ that he has over compensated!” I loved her games.
She told me that she didn’t have a “favourite book or genre” and I left it at that as we drove into the library car park. Once into the library I was just moving by habit and heading for the history section, which is conveniently located next to the magazines. I like to choose a book or two and then grab a comfy chair and flick through a magazine I couldn’t be bothered to buy.
She grabbed my arm as I was heading off.
“Wait,” she said, “we don’t have a plan,”
“A plan?” I said, confused.
“We need a plan,” she said smiling. She took my hand and dragged me to the front desk.
“Hello young man,” she said to the guy behind the counter. He was probably older than us but she called him young man anyway, probably because he looked a bit ‘hippy’. He had long hair and a Metallica tee shirt on. Trying to be younger than he was, and Sammie knew it. She read people so well, it was like second nature.
“Hello,” he replied, sounding bored and not looking up.
“Do you have a list, or map, or catalogue showing where all the different kinds of books are please?” she was smiling and leaning her head to one side like a child. Acting dumb as if she had never been in the library before.
The man looked up and smirked at her feigned ignorance, but I could see he was taken in by her smile. It was obvious he fancied her and would succumb to her charm.
“Our catalogue is online,” he said, “if you have a library card, you can use your number to access the catalogue on any of the free terminals.”
“Would you please be a dear and show me?” she asked, brushing her fingers over his hand on the counter. Needless to say he did. Came round the counter and logged into the computer for her.
“How many sections are there?” she asked.
“142,” he said, pointing at the screen, “including fiction and non-fiction, periodicals, large volumes and non-lending,”
“How fascinating!” she said, turning and winking at me like a bank robber, then sending the man away with platitudes of gratitude.
“Ok, choose a number between 1 and 142,”
I chose 73, because that was the number of my house. She chose 22; the number of her house. Then we had to find the first book shelf in that section. And from there we had to get the seventh book along from the left in the middle shelf. She said that seven was a lucky number as it was, at that point, how many times we had slept together.
I got a book on how to do crochet and macrame. Patterns for making ridiculous colourful ponchos, fashionable in the nineteen seventies.
We met back at the magazines and she showed me her book; a biography of Winston Churchill. Of course the sensible part of me protested and argued that we should swap books. But she laughed at that and explained that we couldn’t return to the library until we had actually read our books. She said it would expand our minds.
It was the only book I have ever read about crochet and it bored me to tears. We sat in bed together reading our books and telling each other about them. She was like the ‘auto-didact’ from Sartre’s novel ‘Nausea’. She figured if you read widely rather than restrict yourself, you would understand more. It became our regular library game, and she was right. I learnt all sorts of things I would never have known about. Including Jean Paul Sartre.
Sammie was always making fun games out of the most ordinary of situations. Even on that day after the library. We sat and had dull watery coffee at an ‘antiques fair’ in a church hall. We were walking past and she just announced that we had to buy something for each other there. We only had the coffee because she liked the old lady who served it. Well more accurately she liked the old lady’s hat, and tried to buy it from her.
I wondered out loud to her whether calling it an ‘antiques fair’ was a misnomer; against the trades descriptions act or something. Most of the junk there was worthless and over priced and not exactly ‘antique’; just stuff people didn’t want anymore and donated to the church. She, of course, would have none of it.
“Everything is just future antiques,” she said, “everything! Your mobile phone is already an antique!”
“Well yes…yes but it still works!” I said.
“What I mean is that all of these things for sale here were once loved by someone, maybe took pride of place in their home, and maybe we should rediscover the pleasure they can give. As a historian you should be able to see that surely?”
Again she was right; she had a way of opening my eyes and making me see the world through a different lens. We bought tat and tried on third hand musty clothes and laughed, holding hands as we perused the stalls. I still have the silver pocket watch I bought that day. I keep it in my pocket, though it has never worked. I don’t know why I keep it. I guess sentiment is all I have now.
Now everything is antique, just like Sammie described it. Everything on the planet, including me. And maybe I am the last to cherish all those things we made and did. All the lives and all the loves over the centuries comes down to me. Remembering it. Maybe that’s why I put my hand in my pocket and run my fingertips over the smooth silver of my watch; feel its weight in my hand. The weight of all the centuries. Maybe that’s why I am typing this…
© 2012 Simon Poore
This new story just came to me. I heard someone say something about a man on a ledge on the TV and it got me thinking. Could I come up with a new twist for that old chestnut? I couldn’t resist and ended up writing yet again in another new genre! Maybe I need to write a blog piece about the myth of genre and how our creativity can perhaps be constrained by them. Not sure I want to be constrained by genre! Perhaps I will try romance next? Any suggestions? Anyway I hope you enjoy this excerpt of the story and as ever all comments gratefully received (to download a free copy of this ebook click below). What do you think?
Man on Ledge…
Forty six floors. Why did I choose forty six floors? I have no idea. Just got off the lift and found the nearest empty open room. It was easier than I thought. Maybe I was hoping it wouldn’t be easy? Four doors down the corridor and there was a door open, ajar, beckoning me to run into the abyss. The window was easy to open too. I wondered about the security. Don’t they ever have jumpers in this hotel? It was easy to lock the door behind me.
Now I am standing here, on the ledge. I feel strangely calm. It might rain; a few tiny spots in the breeze on my face. I am so very scared. Scared but calm. The wound is sore; weeping. I don’t want to weep.
I never imagined the end would feel like this, not for me. I don’t know what I imagined really. Dying an old man in my sleep I guess. That’s what we all think isn’t it? I’m too young for this. Please not me. Why me? God, why me?
I know inside this is the right thing to do. The only thing to do, no choice. I can feel that feeling coursing through my veins. Pumping. I would have used a gun if I had one. Mary would never let us have a gun in the house.
“It’s in the constitution!” I used to tell her. “I don’t care about the constitution,” she would say, “we’re not having one of those things in my house, not with kids around!” She always made me smile when she was angry; she had a way with it. A way that said ‘I love you honey but right now you’re being a jerk’. I wish I could tell her I loved her now. But if she knew why, really knew why, she would know that this is the right thing to do. Surely she would know. God I wish I could tell her. But I don’t really understand it myself. How could I possibly explain? I start to cry. I told myself I wouldn’t cry.
I look down at my feet for the first time. The breeze is beginning to tug at my trouser legs. I am shuffling from side to side, shifting my weight from foot to foot on the stone ledge. It isn’t quite wide enough and my toes stick over the edge. Beyond them the abyss. A wave of nausea fills me, makes me sway. I never did much like heights. I look down beyond my feet, again for the first time. The people are small, insignificant; just like me. Most walking about; going about their business. They don’t know. God I wish I didn’t know. A couple of people have spotted me; stopped in their tracks, looking up, pointing and gossiping. Another stops to stare up. I can see the first man taking out his cell phone. I had better do this soon. Before the cops and the TV crews and the shrinks and the ghouls get here. I don’t want to be a freak show.
Little Jimmy went to a shrink once. When he was five. I remember thinking how stupid it all was. He was just a kid. They said he didn’t pay attention in school. I said “He’s just a kid! Did you pay attention when you were five?” I was so angry. I took Jimmy to the baseball field afterwards, told him I was sorry I was angry while we ate ice cream in the sunshine. He didn’t say much; just hugged me. “Love my dad,” he said, and that was all. That was enough. He never went to a shrink again; me and Mary made damn sure of that. God I love that kid.
More people on the street now, looking up. The wind is stronger. If I don’t do it soon then maybe the wind will blow me off. The thought makes me laugh, though more tears come now at the thought of little Jimmy and Lou. Oh God, Lou, thinking of him hurts so much. Only a month old, not enough to know what he will be like. Just a baby. I haven’t even seen him smile yet. I hope I am wrong about all of this. I am not wrong. The feelings inside me tell me I am not wrong. I have no choice. If I could explain it to Mary she would understand. Please God she would understand. But I can’t even explain it to myself.
I would tell her how they jumped me in the alley. Two of them. In the dark alley. I couldn’t resist; tried to fight them but they were strong. Oh so strong. They took everything. They gave too, they gave me this pain. Such pain. Now they are going to take my life too. It’s their fault Mary, please understand, their fault not mine.
I look up at the drifting clouds…..
To download and read the rest of this story FREE – click here: Man on Ledge
© 2011 Simon Poore
Here is my latest published work: ‘Return of the Girl called Christmas’, now available for download – click here. It is the sequel to the previous short story: ‘The Girl called Christmas’ – click here.
Both of these stories stem from a conversation I had on Twitter where @themanicheans challenged me to write an erotic story, which is not my normal genre.
So I wrote the first story not expecting anything to come from it, but was very surprised at how popular it turned out to be! Some of the old cliches are true; sex sells. Some have even requested more, so who was I to turn people down?
I would not consider myself a writer who necessarily worries about my ‘audience’, if people like what I write then it’s a bonus to me. But in this case I have taken the advice of many of my female readers who wanted the next story to be more ‘graphic’. I guess the first story didn’t have enough sex in it for some! What do you think?
Not being one to disappoint, this new story is definitely far more graphic and contains much more ‘adult’ content. So if that’s not your thing then you know not to dabble in this story! If it is then please download and give it a try. As always comments and thoughts are welcome!
Return of the Girl Called Christmas
Tilly discovers her boyfriend Harry sleeping with someone else. Her life feels destroyed. How will a deeply erotic encounter with a mysterious hotel maid help her to rediscover her life? What will Harry get for Christmas when he meets her too? An erotic short story with a twist. The anticipated sequel to ‘The Girl called Christmas’. Adult themes.
Get your copy here
© 2011 Simon Poore
So another week and another wonderful guest post. I feel blessed that people are being so generous and contributing to my humble blog. I also feel a bit challenged and guilty that I haven’t contributed myself for a while! But when quality is offered who am I to refuse?
Today’s post is a thoughtful piece of short fiction from another of my great twitter compadres, Krystal Wade. You can contact her on twitter – @krystalwade or read more of her writing at her blog – www.krystalwade.blogspot.com or on Facebook Krystal Wade
Thanks to Krystal. As always all comments are highly welcomed…
Mark and Lilly
A chill crept its way into my sleeping bag, drawing my eyes open. I’d fallen asleep next to the fire and it had long since died down, leaving only a few cracking embers. Night fought against the first dim-gray lights of dawn, reminding me so much of my favorite time spent on this mountainside with Mark.
But now I found myself alone, sitting in the very spot he’d proposed.
My love was killed long ago. He lost his life in a senseless war, fought for reasons no one could possibly understand. I’m not even sure those who started it understood.
I breathed in the fresh mountain air, allowing the smells of pine and freshly fallen oak leaves to fill my weary soul.
Our children grew up without a father. I refused to remarry, refused to replace him in my heart. How could I? I promised to love him forever, in life and death. I couldn’t open my heart any wider than I already had for him. There wasn’t room for another love.
This place reminded me of who we were together. Who we dreamed of becoming together. When I sat on the rocky earth covered in slick dew, I felt connected to him, at peace, whole.
Being old made the trips to our spot more difficult. The children—if I could call them that anymore—tried to convince me not to come. Begged me even. Being eighty-three shouldn’t stop me from being me. Shouldn’t stop me from doing what I desire in my core. But the thin air must have played tricks on my mind. In all the years I’d hiked to Turk Gap, I’d never heard him speak to me before—and never had I wanted to speak to him so badly.
My organs gave out on me often, landing me in the hospital with my children and their children around me, exchanging worried glances, hugs, tears. But they didn’t know how much I welcomed my passing, how much I needed it. Those damned doctors brought me back every time, stealing me away from my hope for Heaven, for my hope to see Mark again.
“Lilly you old fool. Stand and face me.”
I closed my eyes, picturing the face that went along with the voice I kept hearing. Fair skin accentuated his high cheekbones and striking-blue eyes. His short brown hair is what I loved the most and how it complimented the rest of him. His jaw was chiseled. Mark’s lips were perfectly pink and never pouty. In our fifteen years together I never caught his gaze on any woman but me. Never saw him cradle a hand the way he did mine. We had love. We had hope. We had the world in our grasp, but then he was gone, and I had everything he left behind.
“I’m sorry, Lilly.” A warm, strong hand clamped my right shoulder. The touch, just like Mark’s, sent an ache to my heart, matching the pain I felt on the day of his funeral.
Giving into my aging desires, I looked up to face whoever it was disturbing my solitude. “Mark . . . ?”
But how could this be? He appeared the same as the last time we were here. The man before me couldn’t be my Mark, couldn’t be my love, could he? I pat his hand, feeling for the ring, for some sign this was anyone but him.
He smiled, genuine, loving, wide. “I know you don’t understand, Lilly, but take my hand and we can be together again.”
I glanced at my cane lying on the ground next to me. “You may have to help me up. I am nothing but an aged old woman now, Mark. Look at you . . . .”
Trembling, I broke down and cried. I was going crazy—losing my marbles as the grandchildren would say. My stomach stirred, agony ripped up my chest and escaped my mouth. “God, why? Why did you steal him from me? Why are you playing games with this old woman’s heart? Just end me. Let me be with him again. Let me be free.”
The hallucination gripped me under the arms and chuckled. “My dearest, Lilly, I’m here to bring you home. Please, take my hand.”
How could I say no? I couldn’t. Grasping Mark’s hand with my knobby fingers, I stood and walked with him through the forest. My breathing calmed. My aches and pains of age diminished. The world around us grew bright. Trees blended in with the light. Leaves and rocks no longer crunched under our feet. Night was replaced with nothing but soft white and Mark.
The way we were meant to be.
The way we would be for the rest of eternity.
© 2011 Krystal Wade
© 2011 Krystal Wade
Another amazing GUEST POST today from Amberr Meadows. How pleasing to present a piece of original new fiction from Amberr. Gives me goosebumps! Check out Amberr on Twitter: @Amberrisme or visit her marvellous and charming travel blog: http://www.amberrisme.com/ Thank you so much for sharing Amberr!
By: Amberr Meadows
Marla realized her error as soon as she saw the stream. She’d been wandering aimlessly through the forest, searching for butterflies and squirrels, and had forgotten about The Big Boys. The Big Boys were the mean kids from the neighborhood on the other side of the woods, and it seemed as if their pleasure rested solely in tormenting the smaller kids from Marla’s neighborhood.
Her mother had told her not to play in the woods alone, saying only, “Bad things happen to little girls in the woods by themselves.”
But Marla knew there was nothing worse than The Big Boys.
She’d seen her friend Randall come home with a busted lip and black eye after crossing paths with one of The Big Boys in the woods, and weeks before, Shelly had gotten her arm broken by one of them. Marla hadn’t been there when Shelly was roughed up by one of The Big Boys, but she’d heard of it afterwards.
The whole neighborhood had.
Shelly’s mother had run out of the house, screaming mad, when Shelly came home with the broken arm. The cops were called, but even Marla knew nothing would be done about the incident, and she was right.
The cops came by, pretended to be interested, and went on their way, but not before Marla heard one of them say, “Always something with the white trash in this neighborhood.” Marla didn’t understand what that meant, but she knew it wasn’t nice.
Shelly hadn’t been out to play since then, and Marla missed her badly. She’d been hoping to catch a few butterflies and bring them to Shelly to cheer her up about her busted arm, but as soon as she’d seen the horrible boy, she’d forgotten all about it.
He now eyed her menacingly, scowling darkly.
“Hey, little girl, little white trash girl!” taunted the boy, “Ready to get messed up, just like your little friend?”
Marla couldn’t speak. Her tongue was a dead thing in her cottony mouth. This was The Big Boy who had hurt Shelly, so there was no doubt he’d hurt her, too. She felt warmth running down her leg. Humiliated, she realized she had wet her pants. She knew she should run back to the safety of the forest, but she couldn’t move. The boy watched her, clutching something white in his hand.
It took Marla a minute to realize what it was. A plastic PVC pipe, about three meters long, with a wickedly sharpened point. Was he going to hurt her with it? She thought so, because she knew how bad those boys were from the other neighborhood. She had a sudden terrible vision of being pierced through by the makeshift spear, and she knew it would be worse than a busted arm. It would really hurt her–maybe even kill her. She didn’t want to die in the woods. She had to do something.
“I-I’m not scared of you!” she screamed, hoping to catch him off-guard.
His mean laughter filled the forest, but he made no move towards the water. Maybe he couldn’t swim? She realized the implications of this and realized that she’d be okay. He couldn’t hurt her—but wait, what was he doing?
The boy drew the spear back. Marla suddenly thought of a book she’d read without mama’s permission. It was called Lord of the Flies. In the book, the civilized boys had evolved into savages, in the absence of authority. That’s what The Big Boys all were—modern savages–and she feared ending up like Piggy.
“Don’t you throw that at me!” she called, “You’ll be sorry!”
He released the spear, and it went sailing. Marla threw her hands up. She hoped his aim was amiss, hoped he was off- the- mark, but he wasn’t. In a frozen moment, the spear seemed to be suspended overhead. She could even see the blue lettering on the pipe. The sharpened end was finely honed and deadly and pointed at her. The sun was in her eyes, but her hands were up as if to catch a football. This was the end. She was going to die in the middle of the woods, and become just another missing girl statistic.
The PVC pipe came down. She braced herself, waiting for the cutting impact, but nothing came. The weight of the PVC pipe felt funny in her hands. Startled, she realized what this meant. She had caught the pipe! It couldn’t hurt her. She didn’t know how she had caught the pipe. It was a miracle! The moment of tension dissipated, and she broke into sobs of relief. She then remembered The Big Boy.
“You can’t hurt me now, you bastard. I caught it!” she choked.
He looked at her in surprise. He hadn’t expected a little girl to catch the pipe and foil his plan. This she knew. She also knew he would be looking for her forever after, in the school hallways, in her neighborhood, and certainly in the woods. The struggle had just begun, but for today, she was safe.
Marla turned away from the stream. Screams of rage followed her, but she didn’t look back. Not until she was safely home, did she turn around. The sharpened PVC pipe was still in her hand. She decided to keep it.
The next time The Big Boys went looking for her, she’d be ready.
© 2011 Amberr Meadows