Saturday, 7 June 2008

Blog Story - Posts 6 and 7


Jed’s laughter in the tent as he pulled another royal flush against the pair of sevens in my hand, his whisky-breath harsh as he insisted on helping me take my t-shirt off. His eyes narrow and cunning as he stared at my breasts swelling beneath a tight sports bra.

Theresa just looked uncomfortable, her body still swollen from the birth of her son. Who drags their wife on a camping trip a week after she’s given birth? Jed, that’s who. I’d come to help my sister out, maybe protect her and little Ben from Jed’s drunken rages.

Maybe if I’d been stronger he wouldn’t have pawed at me. I wish I hadn’t pushed him so hard. Drunk, he’d knocked over the heater and the old tent had gone up in a blaze of glory. Hellfire in the frozen north.

I wish he’d died. I wish he hadn’t got drunk. I wish he’d let Theresa stay at home.

More than anything, I wish I’d never pushed him.

I stopped running and stood bent at the waist with my hands on my knees. The pain from my ankle tore into my stamina, but if I rested now I’d never get back up.

By leatherdykeuk on blogspot


But the exhaustion held me, dimming the glow of the ground and sketching cobwebs across my hands, before my face. I felt as if I’d been running for days, for weeks. I thought of that first escape, how the trees had seemed to dance before us, the clunk of the torch batteries, and the scent of ashes as we flew.

At first, the empty hunting shack had seemed like salvation. Even as the snow went on falling, a static that would go on and on, that would eventually seem to creep inside us too, as maddening and relentless as the baby’s thinning cries.

I rocked heavily on my heels, reliving that morning in the cabin when Theresa had reached for me, sitting up abruptly in her sleeping bag to catch hold of my ankle as I crept across the boards.

With a startling clarity, I could still feel the knowing press of her fingernails. I remembered the tug of her gaze, and how despite everything, we were suddenly kids again. Children with secrets. Briefly, her grip had tightened.

She understood as well as I did that Jed wasn’t the only one to blame.

Your turn . . .


Leatherdykeuk said...

It is well established that children will look for their parents in prospective mates. In public, Jed had been the life and soul of a gentleman – the sort of person who would cross a street to give a beggar a dollar and buy a can of meat for a hungry kitten. In private he resembled our father at his worst.

His binge drinking – easily dismissed when at college but less so four years after graduation – had steadily increased. A year ago Theresa had promised to leave him. Six months ago she had changed her mind when she realised she was pregnant despite the bruises. Ben was born three weeks early, but he was healthy enough, if a little thin. Jed, holding his son in his arms, had vowed to stop drinking and clean himself up. He really believed it and with a rush of faith as wide as a canyon, Theresa had too.

I took my bearings. In my haste I had run too far down the mountain. Our campsite – what was left of it – should be up and to my left. The road we’d come in on lay that way as well, and the car a mile along it.

Michael Thricksos said...
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Sam said...

Nothing is ever just one persons fault, but Jed wasn’t my sister, Theresa was.

I had to go back for her.

I turned and reluctantly began to retrace my steps.

This hadn’t begun in the tent, its roots went much deeper than that. We’d met Jed four years ago. He was tall and years spent outdoors had left him thin and muscular. His taut skin and sharp features could make him look mean. Sometimes when he smiled this meanness disappeared and his warmth and sense of fun shone through. Sometimes when he smiled his face tightened and all you could see was pain and cruelty in his eyes.

I could hear Jed’s raised voice as I approached the cabin. As I got closer his voice gained intensity and I could hear Theresa’s desperate entreaties between his outbursts. I couldn’t yet hear what they were saying but it was clear they were arguing again.

Suddenly the voices stopped and were replaced by altogether more violent sounds, a sharp crack followed by Theresa’s scream.

There was a moment of quiet.

I began to run through the snow, I had almost got to the cabin when another sound stopped me in my tracks.

Bonnie said...
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Bonnie said...

It is a discomforting fact that other people can read your thoughts. But Theresa had always known what I had been thinking.

The very first time that I had met Jed was at a pub called The Phoenix several years before. As he walked in I had noticed the hard curve of his thigh muscles as they cut through the jeans that he was wearing. His rough, durable body resembled the motorbike that he had just dismounted outside, and I felt my heart trickle into my intestines when he walked over.

Ever since that jolt, I had become fascinated by the dark, distant, almost vacant, look in his eyes, which I knew harboured a shipwreck of secrets, and which I knew that I was destined to uncover. I hated to admit that truth to anyone, let alone to him, but that night in the cabin when I had seen him huddled in the corner with the empty whisky bottle between his feet, I just knew that I had to tell him. I couldn’t help myself.

What made it worse was that his secrets were darker than anything that I could have imagined, anything that I could have dreamed. I don't think that anything could break the bond that we built that night.

hedgehog said...
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hedgehog said...

Reposting - just trying to make it make a bit more sense!

I wasn’t fooling anybody – she must have noticed the way I looked at him sometimes. The way I’d always outstay my welcome.

The way I wanted, desperately, to feel just a fraction of the things she felt. The disgusting, drunken passion of course - but also the accusations and recriminations and, maybe, even the fear.

Because wasn’t it better to row and fight and love and hate somebody than to feel nothing at all?

Nothing real.

Yet when he finally touched me that evening I had recoiled – repulsed by my own desire and what it might undo inside me.

Again, I began to run. Away from them, away from the cabin.

Then, all of a sudden, I was flying. For a moment no part of me touched the ground – an empty, weightless feeling cut short by thudding pain as my body connected with the earth once more and I plummeted down the steep wooded bank.

I’m not sure how long I was unconscious. It felt like less than an instant - but the blood had caked slightly by the time I lifted my face from the tarmac.

Megan said...

This blog story is now closing, but will be re-opening for more of your incredible posts in the morning.

Massive thanks, once again, for all the generous, brilliant contributions. Return tomorrow to find out what will happen next (when hopefully I'll know too . . . ;-))