March 3, 2011

the story…

Filed under: Thesis — Tags: , — *aly* @ 8:48 pm

In all its rewritten glory:

The Walk

The night was as dark as a night could possibly get, the clock having yet to strike the quarter hour to midnight and frighten along the muffled and bonneted celestial wanderer whose trailing mantle blocked out the light which might otherwise have penetrated London’s perpetual gloom. Though winter’s bony grasp had long been shaken loose by the breath of spring flitting down the city’s twisted byways, a figure striding alone down a narrow lane shrugged her shoulders and clenched the collar of her cloak more tightly around her throat. Her quick steps broke the stillness of the night and she darted a look over her shoulder as she walked, being given to flights of fancy she felt she was watched. Her grip tightened on the bottle she held and she quickened her pace despite the protestations of the leviathans of fashion encircling her waist giving no quarter to her breathing.

Ignoring the rigid complaints of her garb and with a toss of her head, she uncorked her burden and paused momentarily to take a long draught from the vessel. The potable must have had tolerable strength as the light in her eye immediately burned brighter and her step quickened on the cobblestones.

Her pause did not go unobserved for by this time the street she trod was far enough from her home to curve past an empty warehouse adorned with a glassy eyed siren torn from her barnacled home on the prow of a ship and instead lashed to brick and mortar. As she drew closer, she could see the glimmer of far off lands reflected in the glassy eye as it followed her progress. “Do wait, my sister,” cried the mermaid, “keep time with me upon my dusty shore. Listen to my sorrowful tale of winds that tickle my hair and taunt me with salty breezes that I shall taste no more! Fold thy sorrows together with mine and plunge with me into the watery depths of memory.”

“Dear me,” she thought, “’Lotte is waxing quite poetic this evening.”

“Oh! It’s you, dear sister. The winds have howled me to distraction. Tarry for a moment, I have a deep secret to reveal!”

“’Lotte, you know quite well that you have never had a secret and never shall have a secret. And the last time I got close enough to hear your whispered tale, you attempted to tear my hair, you wicked thing.”

“But that was an accident, I only meant to caress your lovely locks. This time I do have a secret! That fresh fellow, the West wind tickled my neck and whispered to me of sunken Spanish galleons with such treasure, all sunk to the bottom of the watery depths of my old home! Just imagine!” Her glassy eyes gleamed with a cold green light. “Do just come a little closer and I will whisper it to you.”

“I know perfectly well that the West wind is a braggart and a cad, his caresses may be real, but his whispering was empty of treasures and full of sweet nothings!”

“How dare you insult my love! Come closer so I may catch you in my grasp! I shall pull your hair twice this time!”

Unheeding of the siren’s cry, the figure shook her head, turned away and hurried on.

“Wait! Don’t leave, at least share a few drops of that bottle with your poor dear Charlotte. Do come back! You are right, I know he’s a cad but I love him sooooooooo!”

As the wooden woman’s cries faded away into the murky darkness the figure in black strode forward with increasing impatience.

As she hurried across a broad lane, she heard muffled tittering, “La! For shame, what a state!”
“Never in all my life!”
“Oh lor, Fanny, just look at her dress! Why look, Amy, she wears her hair as you do!”
“Take that back!”

The lone figure glanced to her left and right in an effort to find the origin of the shrill voices. Seeing no one on the street or pavement, she shrugged her shoulders and proceeded onward.

“La! And such a slight figure.”
“No elegance in her bearing.”
“I should never dare to show so much neck with that figure.”
“Did you mean that about my hair?”

And with this second tirade of abuse, the figure halted and squinted up and down the street to look for the source. To her surprise, the voices floated down from the murky recesses of the churchyard. Unconvinced that her senses were reporting truly, she edged closer to the noise.

“Lor, and out alone at this time of night!”
“Shhhhh, Flora, she approaches!”
“Well miss, you daren’t shush me—I am your elder sister you know!”
“How can we forget, la, with all the cracks in your complexion!”
“Why you… take that back!”
“But she’s right!”
“If you were right next to me, I should pinch you quite hard!”
“Dora, be a dear and tear her gown a little.”

And with the last outburst, there was no mistake in what direction the comments had come—four sisters adorned the front of the great cathedral, each bearing a fourth of the weight of the massive marble pediment.

“I beg your pardon, but I believe you were addressing me.”
“You two have done it now.” quoth the youngest.

“Be silent as stone, pretend you didn’t hear her!”

“But I have heard you.”

“Lor, Dora, you talk to her.”
“But you’re the oldest!”

“You were all quite rude a moment ago.”

“Lor, you must have better hearing than everyone else who passes.”
“’Tis true, no one else pays us any mind. All day we watch the ladies and their handsome gentleman pass beneath and never a one stops to admire us.”
“And the handsome vicar, never so much as glances at us!”
“He may never glance at YOU, but yesterday I heard him sigh as he admired the arch of my little foot.”

“Lor, Amy, telling such a fib is quite unladylike.”
“Anyhow, he was ever so much nearer to me, la!”
“He always rests in MY shadow.”
“Only because it is so very broad!”

And with that, the four commenced bickering among themselves like so much flustered poultry until the eldest paused, “Lor, we shall never know which of us is most fair, unless some stranger were to judge!”

“Oh yes, you must decide!”
“Which of us is most delightful to gaze upon?”
“If you pick me, I shall give you such wisdom.”
“I shall grant you a happy home.”
“I will give you the love of whomever you desire.”
“Yes, but I, I shall give you…”

“Wait a moment!” the stranger interjected. “You may think my hair and dress amiss in contrast to your classical ways, but you really musn’t take such liberty. First, there are four of you; secondly, I see no golden apple; thirdly, I am quite certain this scenario plays out as a tragedy of Odyssean proportions; and finally, I simply must be on my way!”

And with that, the figure quickly passed out of the churchyard despite the protestation of innocence from any kind of plagiarism whatsoever. “What a strange quartet of young ladies,” she reflected and took another nip from her bottle.

As she quickly made her way down another lane, she passed close to a streetlamp fighting a solitary battle against the darkness with its fading cone of light. A shadow darker than the rest skirted the light and then melted into the darkness outside the lamp’s flickering circle and made her glance quickly to the side. “’Tis nothing but a fancy that only less of this or perhaps MORE can cure,” she thought. And with that, comforted herself with another pull from her bottle.

“Give us a drop, love.” A low throaty voice called from the shadows. She hesitated, then moved toward the edge of the streetlamp’s halo.

“I might only share with whom I might see.”

Out of the shadow appeared two shiny intelligent eyes, one of which appeared to wink in a rakish fashion. “Ah yes dearie, but most will never see ME. I fade from the light and sink into the dark where weaker eyes fear to tread. There is no shadow’d nook or cranny where I might not hide. Don’t you think the organ of my dulcet tones warrants an oiling?”

“Well, you do seem to talk a lot.”

“Oh, I do like to keep comp’ny entertained. There are one or two partic’ly rousing tunes from my youth of which I am special fond.” After a moment’s pause, as if to consider the merits of each, the eyes blinked again, “Of course perhaps they are not quite suited to the ears of a young—ahem—lady. If such you be.”

“Such I am indeed. But I have yet to discover what kind of man, gentle or not, you may be!”

“Ah my love, bold as you please, you see, I am NO kind of man at all.”

And with that, into the light sprung the lithe figure of a fox. With an especially cunning wink of his eye and a flourish of his tail, he turned and trotted back into the murky shadows from whence he came.

“How extraordinary.” She washed the exclamation down with another pull from her bottle then once more hurried off into the gloom.

The dark figure’s rapid steps ascended a slight hill and approached that great Angel crowning City-road, divested of her daily throngs, “Almost there at last!” The stranger’s eyes gleamed with a preternatural light and she shivered with pleasure.

Rounding the last corner, she took stock of the contents of her bottle, pleased to note three-fourths of the contents remained, “Safe and sound from watery, stony, or furry lips!” She approached her destination, a particular darkened warehouse leaning out over a backstreet shared with similar looming empty hulks. With a nod returned by a wide menacing figure leaning against the doorsill, she passed into the cavernous entrance and up some crooked stairs. As she progressed deeper into the dim passage, the floor pulsed and the air grew thicker. With a quick shove, she parted two swinging doors and found herself confronted by flashing lights, a thundering baseline, and a gyrating crowd. She dropped her cloak into a damp corner and revealed her long legs clad only in fishnets, her four inch platform knee-high boots adorned with rubber spikes fore and aft, her shiny black latex hot pants, glowing neon green PVC corset, and wave after wave of synthetic blue and white hair threaded with shiny plastic toys. With a wide grin and her head tilted back, she joined the gyrating crowd, mouthing the lyrics that washed over her, “This is my church, this is where I heal my hurt. For tonight God is a DJ.”

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