Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Visitor

There was a sharp knock at the door. Julie jumped. She placed her cup carefully on the coaster - sat in the middle of the coffee table, in amongst the magazines and torn envelopes - and strode towards the door.

Usually, she would check the spy hole, but a second knock caused her to forget her security procedures. London was not the place the media made it out to be. It was safe, she thought. It was safe.

Luckily, the chain was still on from the night before. This gave Julie time to react as the first blow from an unseen assailant's shoulder crashed against the door. The shock had caused Julie to stumble back, catching the back of her legs on the coffee table. She fell, hard. Her cup sloshed coffee over the papers on the table. It would stain, but that would be the least of her problems.

The door didn't last long, wood splinters cascaded across the polished floor of the apartment.

It was safe, London, that was Julie's mantra as a shadow fell across the room. She had no time to scream before a hand pressed across her mouth.

When she woke two hours later, Ray had his arm curled around her midriff. She moved away from him, rubbing at her wrists where the ropes had cut a little too deep. She liked this fantasy. Playing it out again and again never bored her and Ray was always up for the brutal decadence of the scenario. He had never once said no to her requests.

She looked back at him sprawled on the bed, the covers just keeping him decent. She smiled, remembering the first time she had picked him up in the bar down town. He had always been pliant. For her. Julie wondered if he had always been this way or if the show was for her alone. She mused on the point as she moved to make tea.

The kitchen was its usual mess of dirty cups, plates overflowing with tea bags, mouldy food. The sink had long disappeared beneath the grime of city living. Julie never threw anything away. Julie never cleaned. She found a cup, flicked on the kettle and wiped away the green scum around the cup's lip with a tissue. Some remained, but she took no notice. As long as nothing was floating, Julie would drink from anything. Ray didn't seem to mind. Julie certainly didn't.

She heard him stir in his sleep, peeped her head around the door frame to see if he wanted a coffee. But he was still fast asleep, a faint wheeze audible as his breath left his body, just before his lungs sucked up another gulp of air. For once, she let him sleep.

7 comments:

purplesimon said...

This is just something to keep this blog alive! I've been working hard and it's not been possible to write a decent story.

So, this weekend I started something that I have yet to finish. It's a longer story that has a fighting chance of publication and is something I want to use for my forthcoming short story course at City University, London.

In order to keep this blog 'live', I spent twenty minutes putting this little piece together. It's not my best, but I hope it's enough to keep you all happy until I manage to wrestle my creativity out of the hands of the advertising agency and put it to use on this blog.

Thank you for your patience.

purplesimon out...

ginab said...

Hello Si,

Man-o-man I like the opening sentence. Tense, immediately; you create immediate tension in your reader. The actions too that follow serve to build upon tension, texturizing actions to drive the narrative forward.

I think the interior thoughts, the closeness of the narrator -It would stain- and the ease of moving in and out of Julie's head.

I will admit I'm not convinced rape is a sexual fantasy, not in a piece of this short length. Readers would need to know the characters much better, much more indepth to believe and even to sympathize with a woman who wants her beau to break her door down, to implant thoughts of this being the least of her problems, and believing London was safe, and wood splinters 'cascading'. I mean, doors are expensive to replace (for one). But leading up to the admission, which I'm not convinced by, I am thoroughly convinced by the tensions that would lead to an attack, an attempted attach, an escape (into a journey?) from an attacker...

thanks for this. by all means,
-ginab
(How's saatchi? ;-)).

-ginab

Raynwomaan said...

Excellent, Simon, that you've posted something new! Thanks!

It's quite good, and appeals to me at this particular point, because I've been toying with the idea of exploring some things, and this is right on topic for me. :)

Sounds like you're really busy. Take care, and try not to overdo.

Chris said...

I love it. I like the way you suggest that there might be something a little "off" about Julie, and perhaps something sinister lurking below the surface too.

Another excellent story, my friend.

purplesimon said...

Thanks for the comments. I agree mostly with Gina, but I am pleased that it has a resonance outside of the blog with Raynwomaan and Chris.

To me, it just didn't flow, like it was disjointed or something. And, as Gina points out, it's not easy to believe. Still, it was a five-minute story, a brain dump.

purplesimon out...

Tanya said...

Indeed... it has kept the interest going. This has mucho potential, Sime. Definitely want to read whatever else follows. Great to see you being able to pull some of your genius out of the crack of advertising to entertain the rest of us mere mortals!

With tongue

T

lryicsgrl said...

Strangely, (if it is ok I start my thoughts with "strangely") I related to the fact that Julie worried, briefly about the fact that the coffee would stain. I think, G-d forbid, a hundred billion times, if I should ever be attacked in my home, I think the thought of the mess, would cross my mind. I think you used this cleverly, however, to indicate, before it is clear, that this was a set-up and not a real crime.
This is difficult subject matter, I don't know why anyone find this type of scenario "exciting"? But, that is not the point, is it?