Monday, 28 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: The Bully?

The Bully? an excerpt of an (as yet) unwritten story by Abigail Ann

Walking round the playground holding a dinner-lady's hand or standing as near to her as possible was part of my lunchtime routine at primary school. Looking back on it I'm never sure whether it was because I was scared of him, because I was afraid of admitting I wasn't (and thereby feeling left out) or because I was trying to support my best friend who definatly was. Whatever the reason, simply his presence was enough to send shivers down my spine by the end of it all. It was as if everytime I wanted to just be with the other girls I would turn around and there he would be, lurching his was towards me. And then, as he approached, the sudden dash to subtly get away would end our fun and games.

I do remember trying one day (or possibly on more than one ocassion) to talk to him, to persuade him to go away. But then the smell had got to me, overpowering my sensory glands and somehow getting worse as he leaned into me for an attempt on a hug. Then I'd turned and retreated to the side of my protector, knowing that was the only way to avoid his stench.

Maybe if I'd reacted less he wouldn't have been such a problem. The leer that fills my mind when I think if him tells me that it was our screams that he was searching for. What must his life have been like to resort to such actions as stalking two 10 year olds just for a brief reaction? More to the point, what lack of care must there have been to allow him to walk into school with such a reek?

To be honest, that was the problem- ours and his. Everytime I picture him my smell receptors jump into action- and its that which really stands out in my memories. It was as if he had been smoking cigarettes ontop of a garbage heap and had somehow managed to add the smell of burnt toast to the mix. Add half a bucket of marmite, a ton of raw sewage and rotting meat and you'd come somewhere close to the overall effect. It was no wonder we'd alwaus wanted to keep our distance of him.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: "Him"

Him (an excerpt of an, as yet, unwritten story by Abigail Ann)

I hate him! He just gets in the way of everything! 8pm today when I came home; and he had the nerve to tell me I was too late. What right has he to tell me what to do? He's not my father!
It's all his fault anyway! If he wasn't here I wouldn't have to spend all day down the park with that little nuisance. If anyone should be blamed for that 'c' word she uttered then it should be him! Before he came I'd never have felt the need to us it, let alone write it in the playground's shelter. Anyway, I was just trying to follow the doctor's orders- he said I needed to have more chocolate and what better place to do that then with friends. I just couldn't eat with him watching!

I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!
She'd have let me off if it wasn't for him!
Watching TV, looking out of the window.


Went cycling today. There's nothing like freewheeling down onto a dual carriageway to get the adrenaline going.
They spent the day out with their little angel. Went to the zoo or something. Couldn't care less where I was!
But it was all my fault that we'd ended up in the cemetary half a mile away. Said he'd told me to stay on the estate. Well, he says a lot of things- how can I be expected to take them all in?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: After the event

What follows is a short passage of fiction which I wrote at a writing workshop. As always, I'd love to know what you thnk- what do you like, hw could it be improved, would you like me to write more etc.

After the event

Time slows when you're alone. The mind wanders. The body itches. A tickle on my back- a spider crawling along my spine. I want to look, to flick it away but the muscles stay taught, unresponding. "Incy wincy spider wet up the water-spout" runs around my mind. Now the creature looms in front of me, the curse of my imagination. I close my eyes and it explodes into seemingly millions of smaller images sketched across my eye-balls.

A flicker of light drifts across the canvas of my eye-lids. I open them, just in time to see the nurse scurying past. "Hello", I call, but she doesn't seem to hear. Or maybe she chooses not to.

Here few choose to speak to me. The voices lying just beyond the dividers might as well be on another planet, alien as they are. I strain to make sense of them, to recognise the words that I've overheard in the 'boulangerie' or the local 'inter-marche', to put sounds to the words that I've snatched sight of down at the 'planche de l'eau'.

Outside lies a little piece of my home. My friends are the only ones who understand me- not just the words of my heart, but those that come from my mouth as well. Sure, there's my family, but my daughter seems more of them than me and my parents seem happy to float in their own world. When we moved from 'angleterre' I never thought it would be like this. I never thought I could long so much for the smell of 'Fish and Chips' drifting through our enclave of the French countriside.

Saturday nights mean home to me. Eating good fat chunky chips set next to a slab of battered cod. Popping down the pub for a quick beer. Its easy to forget where you are over a good game of bingo. And everyone understands me, not like here!

The doctor wanders by and I try another tentative "hello". Was that really a glare? Are doctors allowed to look at their patients like that?

He approaches. "Bonjour" he says, before his words dissapate into unintelligable babble. I feel myself beginning to panic as my mind scrambles to get a hold on what its hearing. I watch his mouth move as if it might give me clues to the word's meaning. And then, all of a sudden, the noise ceases.

I stare at the still lips, willing my brain to stop its annoying mumbling. My mind feels as if its about to explode.

But, somehow, it doesn't. And, somehow, I finally manage to realise that he is looking at me. One eyebrow is raised as he stares straight at me. Never before have I known more what the phrase "it felt like he was undressing me" meant. My brow beginning to boil, I struggle to regain some sense of what is happening. So what if he's undressing me, surely he's seen it a million times before. But I know that's not what he's doing- he's simply looking inside my soul!

Looking inside my soul? As if that's any better! Who is he to guesss what I'm thinking, he's not a pyschiatrist, how could he possibly understand?! Or maybe he is! It now occurs to me that I've never really been introduced to this man! Sure they rambled something in the lingo franca, but the bit they spoke in English (so that I might understand) was fragmented and simplistic at best.

The doctor sighs and repeats his question once again- for I now realise it was a question that he was asking all the time. I try to engage my brain in order to fathom his meaningless words, to no avail. Slowly and patiently I tell him "I..... do..... not..... understand...... French". His eyes roll, as if they might come out of his head. My patience finally exhausted I too sigh and lie down to sleep, hoping that by blocking out this world I might return to that of my own.


England is my home, if you believe the old saying 'home is where the heart is'. However, my house has been in France for the last three years. That was a few months after my parents got it into their heads to renevate an old farm out here.

It's not to bad though, the old ex-pat community kept us sane as we made our way through the building work. My daughter safely off at school, friends accompanied us as we scoured the shops for the objects that would make this place ours. By the time Dad had got the walls laid it had become clear that we would have to look back home for the household necessities.

The one plus side was the fish. Every time things got too much, and they regularly did, Dad would make his way out back with his line. I never could stand watching the wriggling worms that he attached to his line, preferring to wait until tthe produce was gutted before looking at his catch. Then it would be down to the fish and chip shop to get Tim to batter it up for dinner- the perfect garden to mouth existence.  Of course when they holiday-makers arrived we'd have to share our catch with th visitors- altough there was the other cottage to look to before then.

It took quite a while to build our little hamlet- removing the unnecessary barns and stacking up the walls. Every little feature had to be carefully converted before the furniture arrived from across the channel. And there was the blasted septic tank- that luxery that would haunt us for years to come.