Monday, November 27, 2006

Rest In Peace

An explanation is required, so there can be no one that doesn't know the whats, wheres and whys of this decision. Or the what's, where's and why's. Either or.

It's been two years now. Just over, I think, by a couple of weeks. In that time, there have been almost 270 posts on this blog. Not all of those were stories; when I first started this blog, I didn't know what to post and it took me a long time to get around to posting stories only. But I took that decision and since then have posted fairly regularly.

I like writing, but things change. They have to, to keep life fresh and invigorating.

I've made the decision not to post any more fiction to this blog. Ever. I'm actually taking a sabbatical from writing. How long I can't say - I don't know myself.

It's why the last story finished so bizarrely; it's why I have been quiet on the blog front for some time.

So. I'm done.

I'd like to thank those of you who have linked to me over the two years this blog has been up. Your links will remain. Thanks to those who commented and for being a source of inspiration. I will continue to visit as many of you as I can and enjoy the words that you put up for people like me to read.

purplesimon out...

Photos From The Attic - The End

Part One of this story can be found here.

Those last days seemed to take for ever to be done with, discarded like a cotton ball on a teenage girl's floor. Three long days that stretched out like a thousand-yard stare; they were almost unbearable. I tried to sleep for as much of it as I could, but the times I was awake I could nothing but think. Think about him, the one I'd got around to dubbing 'The Silent One'.

He who had no voice, or if he did he maintained absolute control over its use. I'd not heard much more than the odd grunt, guttural, as if he could make no noise with his vocal chords. Like Jennie Evans from school after she'd returned, having spent seven weeks in hospital: four for the burns to her throat caused by drinking bleach from a lemonade bottle in some old man's shed on the allotments, another three learning how to make sounds with what was left of her tongue. I recalled a newspaper article from a few years back: Jennie was dead, took her own life. Reckoned on the old man touching her. Four girls and two boys came forward. For once I'd read something of truth in the local paper. I don't know what stunned me more.

Maybe that's how The Silent One came to be without voice? Was he another victim? It was doubtful, but I still shuddered at the thought, at what my mind could do left to its own devices. As I stared at those cracks in the ceiling I began to make patterns, to find threads amongst the chaos spreading from the epicentre. And I could find them, just as I can find patterns in what's been happening to me.

Wherever I want to go, he's there. It's like he's watching me, or controlling me. It was enough to send shivers down my spine. The photo, still intact but looking much worse for the journey I'd taken it on, was on the nightstand by my hospital bed and I had taken to looking at is, talking to it, asking Gramps for help. But they all stared back at me, their mouths no longer able to tell the story, the tale of the photos from the attic.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Photos From The Attic - Part Seven

Part One of this story can be found here.

I've often heard the phrase 'felt like I was hit by a truck' but let me tell you, when referring to anything other than actually being hit by a truck, try using something else to describe how you felt. I had to learn the hard way that only being hit by a truck actually feels like it.

I learned there are some things you forget from when you're a kid. My mistake was forgetting my Green Cross Code: look left, look right, look left again. Listen and cross when it is clear. You see, the part that they left out of my lesson way back when was this: when you're close enough to smell the thing you've been searching for the past few weeks, don't just rush out into the road without looking both ways.

Foley had been within an arm's length. I mean, I was about to touch him, he was looking at me as I called his name and then, bam, nothing, blackness. The pain came later.

There's no telling what came immediately after I was hit. Doctors say I was lucky the vehicle wasn't travelling too fast, that there was an ambulance at the scene, countless medical staff available to tend to me on account of the senior citizens' home. I don't feel lucky. I feel cheated.

All the time I lie here, a drip in my arm, catheter in place, plaster covering a good proportion of my body, wires for this, for that and who knows what else, I feel cheated. All of this keeping me alive, all of this mending what was broken. The miracles of modern science. All this and no one can tell me what happened in that jungle, what my Gramps saw. There's no one left to ask now.

The police, they came. Two officers. We went through the routine. They knew I wasn't going to do a runner; even if I did, they suspected I wouldn't get far. That remark drew a chuckle from the younger policeman that even my glare couldn't suppress. If I'd been in his shoes I would've done the same, which is what made me despise him more. I could do nothing about it. Once they'd ascertained I had nothing to do with Foley's death, they weren't all the interested. Except my mute driver. Did I know where he was? What did he look like? Licence plate details? I gave them what I could. I might have neglected to mention any other person, but I was still in shock to find out that Foley had dropped dead there and then on the lawn out front, his heart stopping as the fire truck mowed me down.

My last chance gone in a clutch of the chest, in an agonising cry. My last chance disappearing into bulging eyes and reddened face. It was all I could think about as I stared at the flaking paint on the ceiling of the ward, as I studied the web of cracks spreading from each corner. I had no visitors, no flowers or cards, I only had a photograph, the same one I'd retrieved all those weeks ago from the attic. Only now it had my blood on it. Only now it showed ghosts.

I even hated myself for a moment, believing that I'd caused his death, that I only had myself to blame for his heart attack. All ifs and buts. Truth was, so the police said, he was practically ready to go, he'd had a scare only the night before. He was a dead man shuffling, they said. I wanted to smile at their jokes, but they didn't know what was at stake and I didn't want them fishing about, trying to pick clues from the debris of "just another road traffic accident". I didn't want them getting in my way.

I was lucky that I'd been comatose for most of my time in hospital. My casts were due off in a matter of days. I'd be out again within a week - they needed the beds for those with decent medical insurance. I could recuperate at home, they said. Physiotherapy once a week. I'd be as right as rain, as good as new.

In the days that followed the police visit, I began to plan things again. I knew that he would be about somewhere, that we were in some way inexplicably linked. He might not have a voice, but he could still be made to give me answers I sought.

This story is continued here.