this is the second chapter to my story but because it’s so long, it’s part 1
please tell me what you think, if you would like to read the preface or first chapter, just select ‘stories’ to read it c: thank you
I can feel the warmth, the light hovering on my skin, the tingly sensation constantly lingering at my touch.
The heat simmers to a faint glow looming in from the windows, it shimmers against the shadows which creep along the walls. I avoid the light, cautiously aware of my footsteps pressing down on the creaky floorboards, and a tall vague shadow right at our heel. I lead Harry away from the ambiguous figure, as the shadow gets smaller and smaller, until it vanishes with all light escaping.
A surge of anxiety consumes me heavily, as I turn over his tiny hands inspecting the cleanliness of his palms. He looks up at me hopefully resisting the urge to blink, as if this moment right now is infinite, with no inclination to move on, yet that’s only our hope not reality. I rub his hands warmly
” good, Not a speck of dirt, warm your hands up by the fire, oh and the slice of bread on the counter is for you, don’t get any crumbs on your cheeks alright?” He nods with a gleeful chuckle and runs off
I can feel the shadow lurking in the corner of the room, her shrilly voice calling, I carry on walking flinching every second the sound of my steps ring freely in the air. As the shadow outstretches their hand invitingly I swiftly close the door behind me, their vaguely visible fingers trapped in the hinges. I pace around the room constantly eyeing every detail. The tiles are scraped with a thin layer of dry liquid which loosely holds them in place. A hot steamy ambience enraptures me as I clutch onto the wobbly rusted sink, my scraggy hands shiver at the chilly touch, and my eyes look almost bloodshot in the dusty finger print stricken mirror. The dim lighting reflects oddly on the crimson streaks of my hair, I look down disgusted, I rub my eyes hoping to see a different scenery yet all I see is the the plug floating on a shallow sea of soapy water. Exasperated, I let go and force myself to stop stalling, the view of my red shirt hanging on the door brings me back to every little memory of it that all started two years ago. Two years go by fast, without a second thought, without even the time to remorse for your actions for nothing in life is limitless is what I’ve grown to learn.
The first bell.
Shrill as her voice, empty and shallow as the soapy water sinking into the pipes, and as endearing as an inviting smile with the intention to cut you off on all belief.
Twice she knocks on the door, I know it’s her from the way she leaves a long pause between each thud without saying a single word.
I undo the braces pressing against my top, and quickly remove my shirt and replace it with the red one. It flickers with the same flag, the same regulation, yet this time it hints at timid individualism, for it is my colour, red is me, it’s how they know who I am for I’m the only one to be identified this evidently, which can only worry the kind of person who intends to remain hidden, further.
The second bell.
As deep and raspy cut as the presidents voice, inflicted with sorrow and the remorse of every elderly figure and as enchanting as a glorified rose slowly deteriorating into a crumbled crisp of what once was life.
Another knock, this time heavier as well as an impatient sigh.
I open the door. She leans against the wall expectantly, i give her a small smile which eases her a little, her clutched hands relaxing and her stern cheek bones softening into her regular somewhat tight jaw line.
“Not long now, you look ready but maybe a snack before you go?” She asks warily with a speculative look in her eye, I slowly shake my head in response.
“I’m not hungry, I’ll just have a glass of water, in case I choke on my tears” I whisper the last part to myself and the way she flicks her brown curls away suggests her ears weren’t entirely open. I follow her through the narrow hallway, breathing down the sore desire of consumption from developing.
“Looks like you’ve got the jitters” she mutters gesturing to my thimble hanging on its chain as it twitches nervously.
“I guess so” I lie confidently, her curious eyes flickering into assumptions which are ready to pour from her pursed lips.
The third bell.
As soft and angelic as Harry’s voice, simply composed within silent tones which can easily be shattered much like a mirror if gazed upon for too long as the very beauty we perceive will eventually decompose, and as charming as a youthful face with a violently beating heart wishing to overwhelm everything in its path to avoid withering away.
Beyond that point there is silence between us as Sylvia ushers to Harry to gather his adventure books into a tidy pile. In the light, it is complete scenery, the way her hair falls into a layered tail of chestnut brown, and the way he skips around her with his golden eyes constantly rejoicing at the sense of feeling protected. I see it in the way she fantasises, a child with the adult who is their rightful guardian their parent in a perfect world, yet it is broken every time his lips open to call for his aunt, and who comes but her, not the mother she wishes him to see her for as there is no replacement only a substitute whom is Silvia. People can say how its because Harry continues to cling on to our mothers memory or others may say he’s grown into my habit of calling her aunt instead of seeing her as our mothers replacement but no, its purely because we don’t live in a perfect world because there are too many distinct views of simple perfections.
“Harry” my finger trails down my cheek and he quickly mirrors the action in confusion; wiping away a streak of melted butter from below his left eye. Its quick that feeling i get, uncontrollable, The gulp in my throat I desperately try to suppress. I cough repeatedly in my attempt to consume the enthralling hunger which captivates my every breath. My body tenses, and I shut my eyes tightly concentrating on the seconds, the seconds until I can leave, perhaps to never return, that is how the mind works, always attempting to outwit itself, as if to escape the very thoughts it conjures up itself. Distraction. I breathe.
Two pairs of eyes stare in my focus, not at me but around me, it’s an involuntary response, they can’t help it, I understand. My glass of water sits on the feeble counter patiently waiting for me to accept it, my hands shake as I sip the surface and I stop the glass from trembling by placing my other hand on my fingers and forcing pressure to form stillness. I put the glass down after I realise they’re not going to continue to pursue in their participation of life, I rub my right eye once more with the side of my fist and take those fatal steps out into open distorted art.
Their steps are followed by the mild rush of the wind, they are distinct from one another. His are quick and playful, her’s are short and sequenced. Harry runs to my side looking at me expectantly though I have not much to say,
“Harry come here, hold my hand now” Silvia waves at him and gives a friendly smile yet he does not come.
“Aunt Silvia, can’t I just hold willows hand?” He looks up at me again smiling as innocently as he always does, the silence is her acceptance, I outstretch my hand and with a wave of his arms flinging in the air much like a bird he grasps onto my wrists and slowly grips my fingers.
We live at the far end of town, right by the fields, there are few who walk with us, perhaps the others are anxious to be on time or maybe they’ve convinced themselves the bell is but a spur of their imagination. If that were possible, pigs would fly.
The fourth bell.
As rough and as frail as olde ben’s voice, woven from rapid notes which beat against the constant sounds of an ocean current thrashing against a shoreline and as inspiring as most diligent of workers who carry on with every attentive focus until their mind capacity slowly dries out with every ounce of life being entirely lost to theft.
The bells correlate with age groups, the first bell is for 12 year olds all the way up to 16 year olds with the fifth bell. It’s as if in a constant sound a calling becomes so personal that it is in fact for you, and all others who come are but bystanders in our everyday trails.
But life will always get in the way of people seeing that, because human beings tend to see one thing, the generic view with only the very few seeing more, and only the untouched voicing what they see, all others are hushed by the invisible glares of those judging them. It’s like art in one sense, like how we have green leaves, a blue sky, and a yellow sun but in my eyes that does not exist, we have yellow fields, grey skies, a red shadow of a sun, in that way life might be distorted, by what I know, and thus what I see.
The prospect of life being somewhat contorted art tends to appear unfathomable to those who suspect it, maybe life is more than the steps I take to my calling, more than his frail hold on me, always more than my feeble grip on home.
To witness every detail in one thought is almost the same as what Michelangelo said about man painting with his brains and not with his hands. Is that how god made life for us? Simply by imagining true Beauty into creation which then slowly deteriorated within time.
If that’s true, how can hope be possible without a feeling of fear?
How does life live without the element of death?
How are we truly free, if we are subdued to the tiniest of things?
Questions that are unanswered because those who are wise have self doubt, and those who are confident lack judgement in their answers. Always indefinite.
My eyes glide over the scenery, I can just make out the opening of the pavilion, it’s shielded away by the willow trees which hover protectively in front of it. I can hear the mayor’s thunderous voice calling us all to our posts. My hands tremble and I’m not sure why, but Harry’s grip on me tightens and he looks up at me, his youthful eyes speculative. I shake my head slightly, and he turns his eyes way after giving me a quick sad smile, the kind of smile that makes you feel guilty for shutting someone out, but how can I openly refer to all my fears to a sibling who can barely see the shadow behind every glow? I can’t
A crowd of people trap us around the pavilion, and we’re instantly in the middle of all walking as one.
Harry’s grip on my fingers loosen, as Silvia ushers him to follow her
“Come, Harry, we must go now” her voice cracks nervously, I can see it then, she has fear consuming her every thought but why?
“But, I want to stay with willow” he says softly with an anxious tone, even children are affected by a cold ambience, they can feel it, the fear in someone’s voice, the terrified look in an adults eyes, they see it all. Why has she feared him?
I let go of his hand and breathe.
“Willow needs to go alone Harry” she says this slowly and sternly but the reaction is quick and painful, he turns away from Silvia and clings onto my hand again, pulling me away past the crowd but I resist and stop him in his tracks
” no Harry, ok listen to me” I kneel down and brush his curls away from his eyes,
“Remember what I said about mama and papa not being here but still with us?” He nods slowly
“That’s like now, I have to go with the others but I’m still with you,” I gesture to a line of young adults walking up the pavilion their grim faces don’t exactly reassure him. Why are they so grim, what is it that sorrows them? Why don’t I know?
“I’ll be up there, listening, you’ll see me from down here, And then it’ll all be over I’ll come back down and we’ll go home ok?”
“Do you promise?” He asks this cautiously, I can see the element of doubt in his eyes not yet totally withdrawn,
They say promise is a big word, not to be taken lightly, yet I nod my head anyway and give him a smile, a smile I really shouldn’t have given because it’s a gift of false hope but then there’s no worse feeling than a lack of trust. Is there?
The Fifth bell.
As dull and eerie as the mayor’s voice, each sound composed with the soft tones of the airy ambience gliding through the grey skies waiting for the earth to show its sadness, and as gloomy as a barren field neglected of nurture and keep until the very nature withers without even growth.