Tag Archives: new

Ancient room, ancient people (another excerpt from my 1st draft)

A butler with a stiff, flat face and long, black coat,
Who half shuffles and half floats,
Is waiting for the car as it stops at a grand front door,
And escorts Victor across a grand marble floor,
To the threshold of a room so grand,
It insists you stand,
To attention.

Despite it’s size,
The room is poorly lit.
17th Century dust hides,
In the shadows,
Of wood panelled corners,
And a solitary greek statue is a hermit,
Dreaming of battles and oceans,
A perfect specimen in milky stone,
Built for an empire,
Now standing alone.
The long-since-dead,
Sprawl in faded colours,
In ever-evolving poses,
Across the walls,
Witnesses to the slow decay around them,
Their expressions transparent,
Clearly appalled.

In the centre of this yester-world decoration,
Is an island,
Of three armchairs,
And a floor lamp,
That’s a glowing perforation,
In the gloom.
A frail couple are sitting,
Directing expectant stares,
Towards Victor.
Their slouched posture,
Is at odds with their formal dress,
But they say nothing,
Leaving Victor to guess,
That he should join them,
In the remaining seat.

 

Out cold (another excerpt from my 1st draft)

And then the others have to step back,
To avoid a collision,
As X topples forward,
Dissecting two stools with military precision.
Face down,
Smack.
His story only partly told,
And the mystery man already out cold,
His left cheek,
Stuck to the sticky beer floor,
Sticky beer coating his now sticky beer jaw.
“Oof,” says The Whiz Kid,
With an understated exhalation.
He looks round at the others,
Expecting further exclamation,
Yet all just stare without sound,
At the figure before them,
Crumpled,
Unconscious,
And stuck to the ground.

Retracing steps (another 1st draft excerpt)

The wind is steady as she blows,
Pushing the sand to race,
Wave after wave,
Across the coast;
Nothing is stationary in this place.

The Whiz Kid and X,
Stand on the spot where they met,
In an attempt to retrace forgotten steps.
They take a tour of the village,
On the way to the station,
Although ‘tour’ may be an exaggeration,
For the walk that takes in twenty houses,
The pub,
The local store,
And the café that closes at four,
Except in the summer when it’s a place for tourists to stop,
At which point it also turns in to a souvenir shop.
Every building has been constructed,
Of the same heavy stone,
That’s the colour of the storms that beat it,
And reflects the ozone,
Smell of the sea that splatters it.

They pass by houses,
Staying close to the walls,
And breathe in that ancient coastal odour,
Conjuring images of shipwrecks and squalls,
Of fisherman ploughing furrows through mighty waves,
And pirates hiding bounty in craggy caves.

They walk slowly.
X walks reluctantly.
There are no memories being stirred,
Nothing is inferred,
In anything he sees.
The Whiz Kid steers them left,
Round the final house on the road,
To the location,
Of the two crumbling platforms,
That constitute the station,
And though there’s still not a flicker,
Of recollection,
No connection,
To any experience from the past,
X looks up,
Stops,
And knows that this isn’t the path,
He wants to follow.
Not today,
Not tomorrow.

With barely a pause,
He turns,
And claws,
His way back down the street,
His legs biting in to the tarmac,
Carrying his feet,
Whether they were coming or not.
He couldn’t tell you why,
But it’s taking everything he’s got,
Not to break in to a run,
His heart thumping in his throat,
And his skin a sweaty shell,
A pale, clammy coat.
But he’s not going back.
Not a chance,
Not a chance in hell.

A short excerpt from a new story…

It’s a pub in the classic sense.
Small and cramped,
Musty and dusty,
The air dense,
With stale ale,
And stale breath.

Every table and every chair,
Could tell enough tales,
To fill enough lifetimes,
Of every punter, with every stare,
In to the bottoms of their pint glasses.

And time passes.

Time passes and some things remain.
The men sat at the bar,
Have been there for a while,
And I don’t just mean today.
But disturbing the shadows of the present,
And memories of the past,
The Whiz Kid and X enter,
Bringing with them a blast,
Of crisp saltiness from the outside,
And of the awkward tension of their walk,
Which passed without word.
But, in truth, no one needs to have heard,
A conversation between the two,
To see it’s explicit,
That they’re now complicit,
In whichever path the other is about to choose.