Monday, 15 February 2016

Free-writing a Novel - Part Four



Due to the nature of the this free-writing lark, I am realising there is going to be some editing required. My hearing just isn't that good. For instance, early on in Part One, the narrator declares he is born in 1947, yet it becomes clear in this place he is in London during the Blitz. I'm going with it for now, keeping on keeping on. As of todays date, I know have almost seven thousand words from the mouth of this narrator. I don't even know his name yet. He mentioned something about Levinson Tonk - but I have no idea who that is. It might be him. It might not. I guess we'll find out at some point.

Anyway, here is Part Four.

Part One can be found here        
Part Two here  
Part Three here


  I intend to ask my father when I get home to teach me how to run like the other children.
            But I forget my father is not there, and I wonder if he ever learned to run or was he born with the chains about him he dragged through his whole life.
            When the school finishes, I am told am now to live with my mother’s sister in the big city where the school is. I did not know my mother had a sister. I wonder if she runs or carries her chains about her.
            The house I am taken to is like a million other houses in a million other streets. A door opens. She stands there. My mother’s sister. My mother. Look at you, she says. So big. So grown up. She wants me to love her. But her chains are so tight, I can only see her mouth move. Take me inside. Out of this cold.
            Help me.
            Love me.
            My bedroom has a bed in it. There is the smell of pain and loss and deep, deep yearning.
            My mother’s sister. My mother. How I miss you.
            I drown in the yearning, and I sleep a godless dream of softness and spikes.
            He’s so tired, I hear someone say. But it is a faraway voice that doesn’t understand that my tiredness is my heart slowing and my brain grinding and the chains around me cracking.
            My mother’s sister. My mother. How I miss you.

When the bombers came, the air became thick with fear and crying and loss. I came home from school one day, and my house was not there. The million houses that all look the same were half a street less. Just one side of the street. But that was enough. I saw the crowds of tears and people, and I turned from the rubble and felt the first chain around my throat. I wandered the broken city and I carried my chain with me wherever I went.
            I took to stealing into the empty houses when the sirens sounded, seeking food and love. I found a toy once, in the bedroom of a boy I once knew. It was a train made out of wood. And I would sit on the floor of his bedroom as the sky fell apart outside and I would run the small wooden train along the floor with a choo and a choo and a choo, screaming to drown the brokenness in my heart.
            Love does not exist in broken hearts. That is why they are broken. But a vacuum must be filled, and if there is not love, there can only be not love that fills the void.
            One broken morning, I woke up from a ruin of a house where I had bedded for the night, and besought myself to look in upon my old school. As I turned the corner into the street, the sirens exploded. And then so did the school – shattering into a million pieces, sending chains and people running across the skyline of this broken place.
            A little shoe landed at my feet. Inside the little shoe, was a little foot – torn off at the stump. I picked up the little shoe with the torn off stump, and I held it to the light of the flames engulfing the city. And I wondered now how this little boy would run, or was he destined for a life in chains.
            Someone grabbed my hand. Without words I was dragged along the street with a throng of wailing humanity into the underground.
            If ever there was a descent into Hell, this was it.
            There was wailing and screaming and snatches of tearful song amidst a backdrop of dull thuds above, as the city was ripped apart above us.
            I say us but there was never any us. There was only me. All these people, young and old, hard-crying babies and melancholy old men, they are me. How could it be otherwise? What is that in your hand? Nothing. I tucked the torn stump of the child’s foot into my shirt.
            Bang. Bang. Thud. Bang.
            Screams and tears. Screams and tears.
            And then . . .
            BANG.
            Blood and bodies, cries and bits. I lay flat on the floor. Bodies crushing me. Their blood dripping onto the side of my face, seeping into my clothes. Silence. Death. Coughing and screams. My eyes would not open, the dust, the dust. Help me. Help me. Coughing and silence and screaming and death.
            I am crushed. The weight upon my body is the weight of death, of lives that once lived just moments before and who now are empty of who they are. But I am safe. I am freed. I live for them to die. It was their destiny. The moment they were born they were to end their days covering me with their twisted, burning flesh. From babies to toddlers to children and people, it was always going to end this way for them.
I live. They die.
So it is.

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