2006-09-05 RiddleRose: BWAHAHAHAHAHAH 2006-09-05 Kaimee: Hahahahaha. Yeah. I couldn't resist :P And I will finish it when I get a moment, things are insane in my house so I can't really get much time undisturbed :/ 2007-01-27 RiddleRose: SQUEE!!! <3 2007-01-28 Kaimee: I gather that means you're pleased? :P 2007-01-30 RiddleRose: YES INDEEDY!!!!!
[Kaimee]: 5.Short stories.The Unfinisheds
They will be titled by whatever their file name is :P
Copyright to me, as per ususal.
Far away and far above there are roots and rocks and giant freakin trees, all lined up on a ridge and delineated in this amazing intricate detail against a brighter sky. It looks like that little peter and the wolf show that used to be on in silhouette, when I was much littler. When the worst thing in the world was whether I had enough lunch money to buy the cupcake and the icecream, way, way before I'd ever even heard of drugs, or rape, or running.
Far away and on the ridge there's a figure making it's way along the side of the road, and my breath catches in my throat and I think I'm going to throw up, and I stay so still and feel like I've been kicked in the gut. He can't see me, there's no way he can see one tiny white face among the rocks and debris. There's no way that my hair is going to turn up against the brighter autumn leaves.
Far away and about a million years ago I stretched out in bed and lyingly smiled to my boyfriend on his pillow, and I sloped around in fluffy slippers and I went to work and bought milk on the way home and ate chinese food and then waited until he got in the shower before I phoned the other and begged him not to fucking call tomorrow and promised I'd have it for him, I would, soon, just please...
And then the next morning my throat would ache to scream and my cheeks would feel stiff and unnatural but I'd lyingly smile to my darling as he slowly woke and reached for me, and I'd cry silently in the shower and drown myself in work and mechanically buy milk, and smile at the grocer, and I'd go home and beg for my life.
My father didn't show up until a few years ago. I'd never known who he was, never had much of a complex about him, I'd had a step father I'd grown up adoring and a mother who outshined the world. And then a man shows up and holds out the phone, and in the quietest voice my world fell apart as over an echoing line my mother told me to do what he said. And he showed me a video and a knife and a child who he said was my sister, or a woman really, probably
His Sister's Game
The dark, sloe eyed glance had caught him, she knew, as he made his mind up to leave.
She watched him hesitate, passing his keys from one hand to the other, anger still present in the set of his shoulders and the muscles along his jaw.
She watched him and realised, once again, that she didn’t care overly much as to whether he stayed or went. This time there was a child involved, sure, but there were probably millions of children involved all over the world. What was one more?
The glance she had shot him had merely been habit. It was in her nature to at least try and keep him, as it had been in her nature to snare him.
He threw the keys and his jacket onto the side table and stalked away into his drawing room, his fury still shouting itself from his stance.
Dora lazily scratched her bare knee and drew heavily on her smoke, the nicotine punching as it hit, heavenly, she thought ironically. If only. His keys slipped heavily to the floor next to the child’s scattered blocks, and she imagined the hurried exit he'd try and make, and smiled at the thought of him scrabbling with the lock.
“Fury too,” she called, softly mocking and knowing he’d hear. “Well, wrath really, but fury is what it comes down to. Come back and let me feel your wrath!” Her hollow laughter was greeted only with the sound of books moving in the shelves, and she frowned. Frustrating man. He should already have come back to her, begging her to stay, whispering that he knew she’d change, she just needed love… Hope blinded them all.
She propped her feet up on his kitchen table with a thunk, knowing the sound was usually enough to get him coming in, telling her to put them down again, have some manners. Nothing.
She did it again and simply heard pages turning. “Fucking talk to me!” she yelled, less laughter in her voice and more frustration. What was the point of falling in love if she couldn't make them hate her by the end of it? She'd had aeons to try every other sport, but eventually the careful steps of this game had snared her mind and all the lesser intrigues had died.
She threw her life, over and over to Love, the greatest intrigue of all.
Who better to prove and re-prove time upon time again that the sins of man were still very strong in the world, and who more deserving to suffer for it than her?
Setting up each relationship and letting herself fall so strongly in love each time - lust, greed, she reminded herself - was crucial to the downfall, and to her own personal war. She knew they watched. She hoped they hurt every time their little sister threw herself on the barbs of sin, and man.
His “No” when it came was muffled and vague, not the screaming fury she’d still expected from him. Her feet came to the floor with barely a whisper, making a joke of her heavy placement earlier, and she appeared at the doorway looking in at him. She was met with a great sprawl of books on the floor, and a proud but distracted man sitting on the carpet with his nose buried in one.
She recognised it, and something inside her squirmed to see it again, oh and again and again and again. It was one of the few possessions in the flat that had come with her, one of the few that had stayed with her through many flats, and houses, and hovels.
She watched his squared, strong fingers absently smooth down the ancient binding where it was coming loose, as many had before him, and she saw when his eyes snagged on that line, the line that had held a hundred eyes fast, before his.
“Poseidon gave her a pearl necklace and the ability to never drown,” she intoned stonily, watching as his eyes tracked the words, the dark lashes just brushing his cheeks. “Zeus made her idle, mischievous, and foolish - as you have noticed and so often remark upon. Hera gave her a fuckload of curiosity; and that bastard Hermes, along with giving her cunning, boldness and charm, then gave Pandora a box. Which you’ve seemed to enjoy so far.” She finished with a smirk, armored in that drawled indifference.
He spoke slowly when he finally replied, a habit from a job that taught caution, and how to deal with hysterics. “Pandora is from ancient Greece. Pandora is biblical or something. You can’t be Pandora.” She wasn’t hysterical though. His words could not change the meaning of what she spoke. She was tired from the ages she had lived, and the countless times this conversation had repeated itself.
They had made her immortal, to forever suffer the sins she released. To suffer the painful moments as each man battled with the inevitable, as it dawned on them that she was serious.
“No you’re right, of course not, silly me believing it all these years, I’ll just pop over to the bridge and drown myself now if I’m not immortal after all then.” Her voice was steeped in bitterness and he finally, after so many months, found some of the passion he’d reckoned on when he first met her.
He watched her pick up one of the small carved stone ornaments on his desk, a wedding present. A little sandstone hound she had whimsically called Hermes, a tiny delicate dog she would dance over their son’s silk skin, a dog she had a thousand stories about. They hadn’t always been nice stories, he remembered, as he watched her touch a finger to it’s nose. Hermes, her brother he realised, if she were telling the truth.
He watched her and saw suddenly the fine planes of her face as ageless. The harsh light overhead cast her eyes into shadow and for a moment he imagined her as an ancient being, imagined the hollow voice of a TV reproduction ghoul.
He noticed, as she replaced the carving with purposeful moves, the pent up energy and frustration that he’d only glimpsed in pieces after the day he met her, standing on a bridge in the rain and screaming into nothingness.
“A visit from my bastard of a brother” she’d said, and later in bed, “I don’t see him often. He lives far away, only comes to these parts when he has a message to deliver, he stops by to gloat at me then.”
She stood now with one hip hitched against the desk, hands playing nervously over the pens and scattered paraphernalia lying there, hands that stole again and again to the dog’s nose.
He saw some of the force that had attracted him, that had been shelved as she played happy wife and mother. A force that showed her graceful movements as mockeries of elegance, as carefully blunted power in each limb.
That force was now turned on him, with implacable and intolerable truth written stark on her face. She was telling the truth.
He climbed slowly to his feet and stood with arms dangling uselessly at his sides, the archaic tome weighing heavily from one hand.
“How many?” He asked, flatly, tiredly. She looked at him, and they were caught in each other’s stare for a long moment.
He never had time to sigh angrily at the truth, or to walk out and leave her. She was old at this game, and was gone and out the door, the book taken from his hands, before he knew she had moved. The child felt a press on his cheek and stirred restlessly for a moment, and then she was gone.
She hoped her brother watched from somewhere, and she hoped he saw the tears slipping down his littlest sister’s cheeks as once again she spun up the horrors she had released into the world. She hoped he watched his little sister’s game.
"I call myself the RiddleRose, but that's neither here nor there really, because I don't actually get to have a name."
A single eyeball seemed to materialise in the air, swivelling to track the faint outline of the child, who was having difficulty maintaining form. No matter, she'd have eons to practise.
"Go on girl, tell me your name, and then I'll tell you why it isn't."
"My...my name?" The child mist thinned out a little more, in confusion.
"That thing you used to call yourself, your parents chose it, people yelled it I suppose, you know, that word that followed you everywhere.. oh I don't know! It's a name, who doesn't know what a name is?"
The child form found weight suddenly, and fell to the ground with what should have made a thud. The feet, in a tangle on the ground where it had fallen, seemed to have a more solid appearence. It was anger, the old ghost knew. "I know my name you spirit, my name is Paz." The words fell hollowly, echoing, the oldest ghost trick.
"Ha! But now, you know, I get to tell you the fun bit, the introduction bit, the bit I've always loved the most! It's marvellous really, the others used to compete to do this bit, and then we'd have to draw straws, and I'd have to cheat, and -"
"Ghost!" The interruption silenced the excited ghoul for a moment, and a flowered tea cup lifted itself to somewhere in the air below the single eye. A distinctive hmph could be heard, and a slurping, and then the RiddleRose continued it's story. "You have no name, you child ghost,' satisfaction tinted the air with a sickly sweet taste, rather like the old ghost's ice tea. The child Paz coughed the scent away, and the RiddleRose continued. 'You don't exist. You are neither here nor there. No personality, no identity, no body-"
"I have an identity! I exist! I'm here, I exist, how can I not exist?" the young ghost cried, stumbling over a clump of grass in her effort to stand, frightening up what looked like a...yes, it was a ghost toad. "Oi, I was sleeping 'ere!" The ghost toad shot a measuring look at the child outline and then a baleful glare - as only a ghost toad can do well - at the eyeball. It ignored him.
"Ah, but if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?"
"But that's, that's not-!"
"Hold on, hold on, look, stop it!' The child ghost finally interrupted and the back of the eyeball formed a bloody string of flesh. It began to drip into the tea. "Just two drips now.. there. Now, if I really existed would I want to drink my own eye juice?"
The ghost Toad took a look and seemed impressed "That's something mate, you've got quite an act there, why that's something to rival even the 'eadless 'orseman that is."
"Thankyou very much Toad"
"But that's... that's stupid, and incredibly disgusting."
"Neither here nor there you little ghost foetus you! The point is that you don't exist, you have no name, but since it doesn't really effect anyone but us if you do exist or not, since they can't see you mind, I suppose you're allowed to have a name afterall. But don't go calling yourself it." With that, the eyeball lowered itself into the teacup and the lot fell with a plop out of the air and into an oily cloud of mist floating about a foot above the tussocks. It then began to travel, looking bizarrely like a tiny boat. "But wait!' The young ghost form tried grabbing it and merely felt slightly sick to her mistily formed stomach as the oily cloud crept through her wrists, 'You can't go yet, you have to explain!"
"No 'ope there I reckon, you'll not get a bit of sense out of that one, ridiculous blighter if ever there was one I reckon."
The RiddleRose turned at that and retorted "I did explain, you have no name because you aren't anything, but if you really and truely want you can have one anyway, no one really minds. I mean, the Ghost Queen has had about nine names this morning, I think, or is it ten? She may just have been making a joke with that last thing, no one would really want to call themselves the Hairy Goat, I mean -"
"Shut up you stupid spirit! The Ghost Queen? Who is she? Can she tell me who I am, why I'm here, can she fix this?"
"Ha! Fix, that's a good one.." threw in the Toad.
"Oh no dear, she isn't a queen really, we don't have a form of government. She just rather used to like doing this thing where she'd go into visible form you see-"
"Visible form?" The eyeball heaved a sigh and little blood clotted tendrils pulled it up to see above the rim of the cup, about on level with the toad. "Really, you must stop interrupting child, you're giving me an eyeache! Now, where was I?"
"The Ghost Queen."
"Ahh yes, her. Well she used to absolutely adore this trick where she'd materialise as a head - just a head - and flop around on the floor while a voice would cry 'My crown, my crown, the usurper has stolen my crown! Where is it?" until she flopped right down onto the crown and the spikey bits would stab into her eyeballs and she would then cry "My kingdom is blind!" and-"
"She can't help me, can she?" The patheticness of that question made the RiddleRose pause for a bit and her eye rested on the child with what some would term concern but, lacking in facial expression, might just as well have been glee. "No child. She can't. You're dead, you don't exist."
"If I don't exist then how do you know I'm dead?"
"Well, I wasn't going to say anything but you see the thing is you're rather fat for a ghost dear, we ghosts ususally come into this world as mere whisps of nothing much, and here you are with a ghostly outline of a body. The ghostly outline itself suggests that you are a ghost, hence the death part, and this obscene weight issue... We-e-ell. That could only suggest one thing."
There was a pause. The child Paz looked at the eyeball with expectency, and the eyeball sent out tiny veins to paddle it about in the tea. The Toad ate a fly and watched on.
The eye coughed, and whispered "You have to say 'one thing?' dear."
"Ooh err, not pulling that ol' tale out again are you, right lot of bollocks that is" The Toad was definitely gleeful.
"Yes, one thing. Death by chocolate."
"I was joking, but really, it would be truely amazing wouldn't it to-"
"Ghost! How did I die? Tell me!" The RiddleRose sunk back in it's teacup and stared at the sky, watching the whisps of ghosts passing by faster than the clouds. A sigh bubbled up through the tea.
"You never died child, you are here by mistake."
"Mistake? How could this be mistake? Tell me ghost!"
"You're asleep little child, and when you wake you will have a name, and no memory of this, and once again I will cease to exist."
The eye stared up into the sky, and the clouds were reflected in it's iris as time that is forever spiraled into a second.
And a child woke up with feet oddly heavy, and buried her nose in the soft folds of blanket to escape a sleepy sweet smell.
And a memory of a voice seemed to go with the smell, but dashed just out of reach as the child's mind sunk again into slumber.
And somewhere that isn’t anywhere and doesn’t in fact exist at all, except if you think it does – and if you yourself exist in the first place mind you - an odd little boat sailed over the tussocks, occasionally slopping tea from it’s sides.
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Piece © Kate-Aimee Conrick. All rights reserved!
2006-09-05 RiddleRose: BWAHAHAHAHAHAH
2006-09-05 Kaimee: Hahahahaha. Yeah. I couldn't resist :P And I will finish it when I get a moment, things are insane in my house so I can't really get much time undisturbed :/
2007-01-27 RiddleRose: SQUEE!!! <3
2007-01-28 Kaimee: I gather that means you're pleased? :P
2007-01-30 RiddleRose: YES INDEEDY!!!!!