Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Flood pt. 5: Jersey

     Once the whisky had been drained and the sun had begun to climb back above the horizon, the Gunner stood up stretching his finger tips to the sky, as he moved all the muscles in his back contracted and as she watched him fascinated, she could not help but compare him to a great feline preparing itself to pounce upon some form of unsuspecting prey. He turned to look at them both,
“The road runner still about?” he asked, his question directed toward The king whose head snapped up quickly,
“Thinking of getting the old gang back together?” he asked
“Just answer the question” he spat
“Yeah he’s still around, own an old junk yard, so’s Mary Lou and I’m sure we could convince the Queen to cool her jets and join us” he said a smile playing on the corners of his mouth,
“What about Crazy Jane and Killer Joe?” he asked his eyelids heavy from their lack of sleep and his words lazy from the liquor,
“Yep all still around this shit hole somewhere” the King of sorrow answered,
“Then let’s go find um” the gunner said turning and beginning to walk away, “where’s the junk yard, I’m assuming Road runner will have some wheels and he’ll know where to find the others a little better than you will” he said offering his insults for the kind through they seemed not to bother him as he had drifted in a world of his own sadness, “hay” the gunner snapped
“What!” the king yelled breaking free of whatever sorrowful memory he had fallen into
“Where they hell are we going” the Gunner said slowly yet harshly
“That way” the king answered in disgust at being disturbed and pointed down the road, he stood and rubbed his eyes, “come on pretty lady” he muttered through his sleep fuelled haze and held out a hand for her,
“Might catch something King” The gunner hissed over his shoulder though they paid him no heed and simply followed silently behind him as he strode down the street as bold as shined brass.
     As they walked and the day grew brighter the king of Sorrow called out directions for the Gunner to follow and before long in the distance they could see the crocked outline of a building and with-in seconds of the outline came the hand painted, worn sign, ‘Road Runner Junk Yard’ though some of the letters had worn away the mind corrected their absence. All around the yard were piles of junk metal, old cars and parts, oil drums and sheets of corrugated tin; all of these factors added to the crocked outline of the building as they had seen it from a few miles away, now as they drew closer the only actual building was a small brick house with a side building used as an office and it was less of a crocked shape and more two squares one smaller than the other, rubbing shoulders with one another.
“Who’s the road runner?” she asked when they were finally stood at the high, chained gates of the yard,
“Back in the day, that is their day” the king began to explain as he pointed toward the Gunner “Road Runner Richie used to be the best racer on the streets, they would ride out of town and snare some un-suspecting guys. Then they would race back through town, winner got the other guys car. Thing was these poor guys didn’t know who the road runner was, he never lost a race unfortunately one night they challenged the wrong group of guys and the runner lost an eye for his trouble since then he hasn’t raced an inch” all through the story The gunner had stood with his hands lain upon the chain link fence,
“Idiot never did listen” he said more to himself than to anyone else and then he began to shake the fence, “Richie wake up its time to go racin’” he yelled through the links, “roooaaaddd Ruuunnneeerrr!” he yelled almost tauntingly
“WHAT! God dam it!” a man yelled back as he shuffled from the main square building, he was tall and lean dressed in only a dirty white vest and dark jeans which he fastened as he shuffled out into the early morning, his hair was red and curled tight to his head and freckled spattered his pale cheeks,
“Richie, you ugly son of a...” the Gunner yelled and she could tell just how much they had meant to each other back in ‘their’ day
“Gunner, what the..” he muttered as when he finally realised who was calling to him, as he looked up she could finally see the eye that he had been blinded in, it was clouded and cast an ugly purple colour and the lid drooped slightly more than his good eye. At first she thought that he might be angry at the Gunner for past wrong doings but then he broke into a huge smile and fumbled in his pocket producing a shiny silver key, once he had it in hand he move quickly over to the gate and then she noticed the second thing about him, he walked with a pronounced limp,
“He got that from his last race too” the king said leaning over to whisper in her ear                               
“I told you king you keep getting so close to her you’re gonna catch something” The gunner said over his shoulder, “Richie!” he pulled his friend into a hug when he finally he the gates open and for a moment time stood still,
“Ignore him” the king whispered in regards to his constant insults
“I’m getting use to it” she replied
“I can guess why you’re here” Richie said as he looked at the Gunner “dam you’re looking haggard” he added, “come in you can tell me all about it and the girl inside with tea” he said pulling his friend forward.
     When they were all finally sat with a hot cup in their hand though the gunner had wanted something stronger, some questions that had been left outstanding were finally asked
“So why are you here Gunner?” Richie asked
“Thought you knew” The gunner replied as he stared down into the liquid in his cut as though trying to pull out a reading of some sort,
“Humour me” Riche replied, it was clear that he had know the gunner for a long time
“she found me, somehow, and asked me to come save your sorry asses from some American Brother thinks he’s the shit and can do whatever he wants and so i though I’d best come down here” he said nonchalantly
“And who is she?” He asked, the gunner looked her a puzzled look upon his face
“Um, well, god knows, she’s from the thunder rooms, didn’t think it was important” he replied with a shrug. This made her feel sad something she had not yet felt in his presence; the fact that her job defined her to him was not something she wanted,
“Well since she managed to get your sorry arse back down here and back to us then I think balls to what she does for a living what’s your name sweetheart?” Richie asked with a soft smiled, for a moment she was thrown, she had nearly forgotten that she was there with them

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Anatomy of a Ghost

    I’m going to recount something, something important; I’m going to recount the event that led up to this day, that made me make the decision I made just seconds ago. I’m not a diary kind of person; I write but not my life, I have a friend who writes everyday she has a suitcase full of old memories. I admire her for having the balls to write it all down, the mundane things, the significant things thing’s she might wish to forget, it’s all forged in the pages of pretty little note books and that’s what made me write this, I wanted to remember this because this is something I can’t forget. So here it goes, from the beginning, it started just over four months ago…      
     The day I met Damien Rivers the sunlight shone through him, he glistened with a transparency I had never before seen, I felt I might be afraid, I felt I should have been scared not of him but for my health; my rationality kicked in and I felt I should have been terrified that there were some sort of tumour festering away, eating at my brain taking in all of the goodness and leaving only rotten, dead tissues and old memories but I was not. I felt I should have been running scared but I was not, I was fascinated in the thing that stood before me, the luminous human and in the intensity of the situation I felt myself begin to weep.  He had this destructive air, I could feel his soul burning with-in him and I wanted to get burnt.
     Damien wasn’t really anything he didn’t have an occupation, a qualification or an address; he simply was and nobody really knew anything about him and I was no different. The first time I laid eyes upon Damien Rivers the rain fell in thick heavy drops, I was running back to work after losing track during my break when I saw him, I had never noticed him before and I know I would have because on that day he stopped me dead in my tracks, he was stood under the shelter in a beer garden, a group of women and men surrounded him but he seemed to stand out beyond the others. He was immersed in conversation with a blond who didn’t look as though she should have been able to hold a 5 second conversation and though he was deeply involved he also seemed to be elsewhere.  I stood there and watched him, mesmerised as the rain soaked into my clothes and down to my bones. I shuddered free from his grip and realised that I was now 15 minutes late returning to work, I have to admit that once I had gotten inside and began to return books back to their shelves, I worked at the London Library, I quickly forgot about him, though I did have this constant niggling feeling that there was something in the back of my mind I couldn’t remember, an important memory struggling to surface in the darkness. I lost hold of the memory I couldn’t remember and I didn’t even consider him again until the next day. The sun shone brightly, it was April and England was suffering from sporadic showers, I had gone into the coffee shop and walked out right into him.  Of course then I didn’t know his name and he looked straight through me muttering something resembling a sorry before embracing a brunette woman in a deep hug and as I watched them I finally recalled the day before and the memory I had lost was suddenly found; my mind fell blank when I looked at him and then it was filled with nothing other than him all day long; he plagued me, I knew nothing about him but I wanted to know it all.


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Flood pt. 4

      “Where are we going” she asked half running, half skipping to keep up with his quickened pace,
“What?!” he snapped stopping dead in his tracks, she slammed into the back of him the thick build of his back almost sending her sprawling to the floor. He turned slowly, his eyelids hung low over his dark and glaring eyes, his mouth was clenched tightly, it twitched, she flinched but he only waited for her to answer,
“Oh, um, I just-well you said the ‘king’, um William would know where to find you” she stuttered and when she realised that the following silence meant that he was waiting for her to clarify herself she continued,
“Um, Well I was wondering where that was?” she added, he started at her for a moment
“We’re going to see the old man” he said turning and continuing to his earlier pace. She breathed a sigh of relief before setting off after him. The black clouds had cleared while they had been inside with the Queen, rain had fallen and the air hung thick with the scent of clarity, fat rain drops sat on leaves and hung precariously on the end of tree branches, the sun’s rays shone through them sending twinkling rainbows to her eyes, it made her smile the innocence of it all. Though when she looked out over the rest of the town at the pink violet hue that was cast over it by the setting sun she remembered just what was lingering in wait for them. They walked along the quiet main street of the town, the silence was eerie and off setting, she rubbed at her eyes, sighing deeply, sleep was fighting with her, he stopped dead again, something he had a habit of doing though this time she managed to avoid walking into him,
“Liquor store, off licence, does the town still have one?” he asked dryly
“Yes but you don’t have the currency Gunner” she replied and he eyed her distastefully
“Sweetheart I wasn’t planning on using any currency” he spat and waited for her to point him in the right direction,
“That way” she muttered afraid if what he was going to do next, she pointed toward a small ‘off-shoot’ alleyway. He made his way toward the entrance,
“You stay here” he said over his shoulder but just this once she did not do what he ordered so she trailed after him and when he realised he turned and shot her a deadly glance,
“If I stay out here alone chances are I’ll be dead before the door closed behind you; the news of your arrival will have spread like wildfire and my helping you will not have gone unnoticed nor will it go down well with the American Brother” She said answering his silent question and though his eyes did not soften he did not argue her presence,
“Fine, just stay quiet” he hissed as they walked into the shop.
     When he saw the great hulking figure of the Gunner walking toward him, though in consideration most men would have been ‘great and hulking’ in comparison to the short balding man, the shop keeper known only as Jacks looked terrified, he shrank back against the wall knocking bottles and sending the clinking of glass out into the room; when he realised he must look like a scared little mouse he did his best to right himself moving back to the counter and straightening his back, standing as tall as he could manage,
“I’ll take that 40 year old scotch” the gunner said calmly as he reached the counter
“We-we don’t serve your kind here” Jacks muttered, she was surprised at how much courage he still had though she thought it might be stupidity. She took a step backward as she watched the Gunners eyes narrow; he leaned across the counter,
“Either you pass me that bottle of 40 years old Scotch or I come over there and take it” he said keeping his tone low and dark
 “I-I think it’d be better if you came over and took it” Jacks replied his words shaking slightly; it was then for the first time that the Gunner truly realised just how great a hold the American brother had on the town
“If that’s what you think is best” the Gunner replied and in one swift, fluid movement he slammed Jacks face down into the counter top, she cringed and fought vomiting as the audible sound of his nose crunching and breaking filled the small shop. Blood exploded in a star burst across the counter to; it splattered the Gunners shirt as he jumped over the still falling Jacks and retrieved the bottle of Scotch. She had moved outside when Jacks face had connected with the wooden top, craving fresh air to clear her head and to fight the rolling nausea in her stomach; he strode past her as she took in deep gulps of air and once again she found herself struggling to keep up with him.
     From there they moved in silence and they were left in peace, no civilians came pestering them nor did the American Brothers ‘security’ come bumbling over with weapons in hand and this made her feel uneasy. She was sure that a group of men would be waiting for the when they rounded the corner but there was nothing, the night stood still; she chose not to voice her worry or express her concern as they walked the short distance from the off-licence to their destination, luckily Johnn99 did not live far from his favourite tipple. For the duration of the short journey everything remained calm and serene like nothing was out of place however as they rounded the corner on to the street where Johnny 99’s house stood she knew that something was off. The street lay quiet and sleepy but something hung in the air and as they moved toward the house the ‘thing’ that was wrong became more and more apparent; something was missing. She knew the Gunner had noticed it, the empty space, by the way his pace had quickened and his face held a slight worried urgency she had not seen him move in this way before and it made the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach double. He reached the steps first though he did not react and she couldn’t see the past him though when she finally reached the bottom of the steps leading to the porch she knew what it was that was wrong; Johnny 99 was missing. He could always be found rocking away in his chair atop his porch swigging his favourite Scotch however today he wasn’t to be seen and it was because he had retired to bed or gone to the bathroom, they would not find him parked in front of the television or taking a bath for where Johnny 99 was usually perched there sat a great big hole.
     The Gunner ran up the steps and lent over the hole, he did not need a torch to see what lay at the bottom of its depths  and as she joined him and peered over the edge she jolted back at the sight below, tears stinging her eyes, she looked to the gunner,
“I’m so sorry Gunner” she whispered wiping the hot tears from her face, at the bottom of the hole lay Johnny 99 his chair and his bottle of fine scotch had fallen along with him, his eyes started up at them though they did not hold fear or pain or terror; they were soft and calm, serene,
“Do you think, maybe, he finally just fell through the rotten boards?” she asked hopefully, naively,
“The old man was forced down” a voice came from the shadows of the far side of the porch, the Gunner moved quick, smooth, flawless as he grabbed the shaded man by the throat with one hand and dragging him into the light. The King of Sorrow smiled back at him despite the hand cutting off his air supply, he laughed and she could smell the scotch on his breath from where she stood, the empty bottle hung loosely from his left hand
“Whoa Gunner, it wasn’t me knocked the old man out he was already down there when I got here, about 5 minutes ago. Look at the boards Gunner, they’ve been cut someone gave him a helping” he coughed the words out and finally the Gunners hand fell from the Kings neck, he moved away retrieving to pick up the dropped yet still intact full bottle of scotch. He bent and collected Johnny’s fallen glass and then sat down on the top step, she took a seat to his left and the King joined them on his right, the gunner filled the glass and passed it over to her,
“I swear to Jesus Christ himself, if you wipe that glass I will knock you down in that hole with Johnny” he snapped, he snatched the Kings empty bottle from his hand smashing the top off against the railing, he filled the bottle with a quarter of Scotch and passed it back to the King and then he raised the bottle to the night sky,
“The old man” he toasted and they each in unison toasted,
“Johnny” she said
“Johnny 99” The King toasted and the air rang with the clink of glass as they drank to Johnny 99.