Friday, 12 February 2016

Free Writing a novel - Part Three

A little bit late, here is the next instalment of the novel I am free-writing. I am up to nearly six thousand words now. It still has no real title, and I'm not sure where it is going, but the journey carries on  . . .

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

My father held me under one arm like a loaf of bread. He shook and he trembled as my father’s sister was lowered into the ground, in preparation for being belched back out in a thousand years as a tree or a flower or a patch of gravel. That was the last time I felt what I learned was the fleeting touch of my father’s love – that day they lowered my father’s sister into the ground.
            We went home together, he pushing me blindly forward in the black boxcart pram, and opening the door to his own private prison. There were days when I remained looking at the ceiling, from my cot or the floor, wondering if I would ever see another soul other than that of my tearful, broken father. His shadow grew darker each day, and his face wider and more stretched than it seemed was good for him. He reeked of death and guilt, and stale beer.
            We all have our stories, and his was told in monosyllabic words, stuttering towards a climax that would never come. I was fed perfunctorily, with bread and bacon, and whatever else he chose to send my way. He was as helpless as a child, and I was his childhood companion, dreaming in the days and breathing in the nights.
            Time passed like a thick fog, choking us both.
            But the world turns, regardless.
            There is no shouting, there is no knocking, there is no bleeding out of tears.
            Only silence.
            A life of silence. The closing of one door and the opening of another is all there ever was.
            All there ever is.
There are men, swarming, crawling over every inch. They smell of decay and fear and a vague scent of the way things are. They take my father from the room – four of them – shouldering his burden as he never could himself.
            I am alone.
            In this world.
            I stare blank into the empty fireplace.
            She lifts me, she lifts me – holding me gently, coo-cooing, and cradling me. She smells of lightness and hope.
            But there is no hope.
            I am just a number to her. Another case number on her desk.
            That is all.
            I know that.
            She holds me up, and my little legs dangle.
            The floor is so far away. I will drop. And I will smash. She holds me like she loves me, but I know I will break. Let me go. Let me go. I am screaming and I am crying and my little legs dangle.
            If I were that little boy again, I would bite her and I would laugh at her tears.
            Put me down. Lay me down. I want only my father, and he is gone. Who are you to pick me up like my father’s sister? Who are you to look at me like you know who I am?
            Who are you?

The school is in the big city. It is cold and empty. I am early. The lady holds my hand and squeezes it tight. She bends down low. Now then, you be a good little boy. Do as you’re told. I paint a smile on my face, and she ruffles my hair.
            And I am breaking inside.
            This place is so big and it has so many holes. The children run about without care of what that means, and they run around me like I am not even there. Help me. Someone. Help me.
            I am drowning and I am lost. I have been put here for my own good. To learn the ways of this life. To learn that in the counting of numbers and the counting of words, all will be well. But what of the children, and how they run? Does no-one see what they run from, why they are constantly moving? They know as soon as they stop running, they are dead. Chained to the system, a system that requires total bondage. Nothing less.
            Help me.
            Teach me how to run.

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