This is my writing blog, where I will be shamelessly posting my work. Poems, short stories, flash fiction, extracts from novels...they'll all be here. And if you don't like any of that, just play with the tiger.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Michael's Genius Moment

Here's the opening to a short story I wrote a couple of months ago; later sections of it need the attention of a brutal and merciless editor but I thought I'd post this bit anyway. Not that I haven't got anything new to show off, of course, dear me no...

What a time to notice it was windy up here. Clasping the futile railing with white-knuckled hands, Michael wondered why he cared about the gusty chill around his ears, the leaf-blowing sibilance on the concrete behind him. His breath sounding harsh and alien, as if it had nothing to do with his body, he inched forwards and bent his head. The ground cringed away from his sight. It felt higher than eight storeys.
The crowd was already forming. They looked up, goggle-eyed and open-mouthed, like a bunch of hungry goldfish waiting for food. Someone wore a red coat, red as guilt, and the sight seared Michael’s eyeballs. His stomach contracted, and for a second he thought he was going to vomit on his audience. He swallowed desperately, and forced his focus to spread. The crowd, like extras on a movie set, took turns to deliver hackneyed lines.
‘It’s not worth it!’ A man’s voice wafted up, vague and faraway like a half-remembered dream voice.
‘It’ll be okay, mate! Just hold fire, yeah?’ Jovial Cockney tones.
Michael felt abstractly annoyed. To the Cockney, this was just something to tell his slobbering, simian mates in the pub later on. Was this really what Michael’s destiny had intended him to be, a soon-forgotten anecdote with a splintering, splattering punch line? He shifted his grip. The crowd gasped, then settled back as they saw he wasn’t jumping yet.
A shrill, female voice burst out, on cue to ratchet up the tension. ‘Oh my god! Somebody help him! He’s going to…he’s going to…’ She cut herself off with a quivering wail.
Michael didn’t need to look at the woman to know that she had half turned away, tissue to mouth, but then turned back. She couldn’t look; she couldn’t not look. Michael understood.
As he perched, listening, he felt as if hours passed, though it could only have been minutes. Why was he waiting, anyway? Just get it over with. He wondered if he would scream, if it would be a manly, throaty ‘aaaarghhh’ or a high-pitched ‘eeeeee’. Michael willed his fingers to relax, and looked at the crowd again. He made profuse mental apologies to the woman standing front and centre, knowing with detached certainty that, on impact, her shoes would be indelibly stained by gobbets of his brains. He closed his eyes, and stepped out onto air.


Papoosue said...

you see, now I need to know what happens next! Brilliant Viki, really leaves you wondering.

Viki Lane said...

Watch this space ;->
(If I can wrestle the next bit into shape, that is.)

Telmis said...

Too close to home for me Viki. My Pal's daughter recently 'jumped'!

Nice writing though

Viki Lane said...

I'm so sorry to hear that, John. Writing can be an uncomfortable business when one person's fiction encroaches upon another's reality, and I hope I haven't caused upset or offence.

Telmis said...

Good Lord no! I really don't know why I mentioned it, sorry.

My pal is the seed of this 'Mad Magician' ... short story/novel/nothing ... that is going around in my head.

He is certaily a slightly loopy Magician though

Viki Lane said...

Ohhh I see, John. Phew! I like loopy...hope you get him out of your head and onto paper very soon.

Telmis said...

If you want a glimpse of the mad magician - see the top link in Dona Ferens (the mile high magician)

We started flying together in our early 20s ... he is a great friend even now .... my 'character' is base on him, Peter!


Viki Lane said...

*scuttles off to check out John's blog*

With thanks to Graeme