Short Story: Doubting her doubt

treesBloodshot eyes, her pale face and dyed black hair reflect in the holy water which her nail-bitten pudgy fingers slowly sink into. For a moment, she questions all that remains of her sanity, before blessing herself – not once, not twice. Then she steps forward and enters the archaic stone chapel for the first time in twenty-three years.

As Julie steps meticulously across the border she drags down the hood of her sodden Led Zeppelin jacket, and instantly glances up, seeking hope, seeking a miracle…Once inside she hears the heavy echoes of her maroon punk boots reverberate as if shooting this sacred Silence.

Walking down the aisle, she smells a variety of odours: an aroma of decaying wood, burning candles and the slightest whiff of incense. Her eyes, not daring to look at any sacred statue or pious painting, search for a free seat in this empty church.

After some time, Julie kneels down at a row of seats which lay between stations, stations of the cross. She can no longer attempt to hide, for there is nobody to hide from; and yet her brown eyes stare down.

Every minute the scars are a little more inevitable; yet here she feels a sense…Of wonderful loneliness – as if silence is now a friend, someone who she feels may listen. And although all the muscles in her five foot four frame remain tense, she’s comfortable in the emptiness, where she is free, where her fuddled thoughts escape the cage of a loving family. A family which she feels are squeezing, just a little too tight, as if their tender hearts entrap her in an arena of trepidation.

As if on cue, Julie’s phone vibrates, impolitely interrupting the peace. The ringtone launches into: ‘‘I feel good now I knew that I …’’ She swipes the sound away while declaring the action a beauty of technology. She contemplates how better life could be if one could swipe away their fears and troubles – she then looks up, fabricates a smile and swipes across her forehead.

Once more, Julie is in what she deems as beautiful silence. She tries to assemble her jungle of thoughts as if tactically aiming to find clarity in her mind. But she knows that in these thoughts one will always be at the forefront. In this peace she believes she can recognise everyone’s gentle lies; stare for long and all that is true can be seen in those loving eyes, she tells herself.

Julie remembers all the sorrow in the room she had departed. A waiting room where positivity had been crushed, where hope laid in the corner battered, bruised and believed to be beaten. To her it felt as if a shovel lay waiting to carve his grave. John’s grandmother had handed her a set of rosary beads, asked her to pray. Normally, on a normal life, she might have laughed, and maybe say that she’s too old for fairytales but she took the beads and smiled. Nevertheless, she had not prayed, not broken her laws, but simply hid them in a pocket.

Yet an unplanned hour’s walk brought her to Saint Columba’s Church where she was baptised – Julia Kathleen Collins. Today’s entry, of her own free will, she tells herself is not to pray but to plead.

‘Am I yer fool, fodder for the darkness,’ escapes her lips, escapes her prison.

Silence: busy roads, busy lives and a whirlwind of a busy 21st century lay outside while all bar one so placid within these hallowed walls.

Silence: only the sound of Julie’s beating heart, or she questions, is it the rumbling of harrowing thoughts which persecute a sinking soul. ‘

‘Can a soul sink?’’ she screamed; a scream that seemed to echo for longer than eternity.

Julie removes her damp jacket as her mind muses over doubt, death and darkening regrets. Again she stares down at the floor as if blinded by the tranquillity of a winter sunshine that was beginning to timidly travel through parting clouds and the chapel’s stained windows.

A simple wish Julie makes as her mind contemplates her fears of a forever isolation in a forgotten future. All she can think of, concentrate on is John: how they first met, their first kiss – a drunken shift which nears its sixth anniversary…She curses her vanity for thinking is he, in a coma, thinking of her.

The last words Julie said to John are ‘Fuck you,’ their classic duo of words – her truth so often mute, her lies so often loud. She remembers their anger, their happiness, their problems, their fun and their lust.

Julie thinks of the end; and how it is that, as one approaches their end, nobody who loves you remembers your anger, your faults, your failings, all that they remember is your goodness and she thinks this may be life’s final gift.

In the pocket of the jacket which Julie discarded, a few minutes ago, lay the rosary beads that John’s grandmother gave her. Alongside the beads were a two unopened packets of paracetamol. Fortunately, Julie’s headache has eased.  

Yesterday, what happened yesterday? Where had he been, yesterday?  Julie asks herself. However, she knows  yesterday’s forgotten, unlike the torturous memoir that today is building.  She believes in any future, today will be remembered forever.

There is no splash when a tear slides tentatively down her cheek before falling upon the floor,  disappearing immediately. Forever. Forgotten for eternity.

Read my mind, she says internally. … ‘Or is it too late, too long a wait for me to bite your bait?’ she roars out, her voice carrying a vibe of delirium.

All is silent.

All is heard.

The church bells chimes. Julie’s glances up again, her mind questions her mental stability. She remembers her father’s words: ‘Sleep, sleep, rest you need, it is rest you need.’ And then, as if speaking to herself, she hears a murmur of words from….No….. From nowhere, or everywhere.

..Lonely I am ‘til yer sun dies down

and then a miracle is called,

Always a miracle that is called.

Julie buries her head in her hands and asks her mind for a second of peace, for him, for her, for their sanity. She needs… He needs a miracle.

She hears slow footsteps.

So slow,she fears it’s a friend.

Her pulse races,

a thunder in her thoughts,

the sound of steps are all round,

everywhere or nowhere…

So

slow

these

footsteps.

‘HOPE?’

She curses herself, her mind crowds with doubt

– until she looks up, to where I do be.

The End

Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

stardust

I was browsing through my favourite Irish Bookshop – Chapters in Dublin City – when I spotted a name, a novelist which I have heard so much about but had never read, that novelist was Neil Gaiman– recently I studied the works of the legend Terry Pratchett.
The novel which I spotted was the 1999 Stardust.

Stardust begins in ” The Sleepy English Countryside….” which is the location of a tiny, serene town named Wall.
The protagonist of the story is young Tristan Thorn who loses his heart and possibly a portion of his sanity, in his attempt to capture the love of Victoria Forester.

Here’s the thing though, Victoria isn’t that keen on Tristan –oh don’t we all know how that feels!

Like so many a person, Tristan is a dreamer and he tells his crush all the things he would do to capture her heart.

And somewhat lightlyTristan tells her that he would capture a falling star for her, and guess what, Victoria, being a little too pragmatic tells him that if he captures the falling star she will give him her hand in marriage.

So Tristan vows to retrieve the fallen star for his beloved.

There was no Tinder in the Victorian era…

So , the classic duo of romance and fantasy, some may frown but there is a good reason why love is such vital part of most fantasy novels…It’s always popular, love is on everyone mind.

Hence, I have no arguments with the simple subject of the novel . However, while Stardust is a beautiful fairytale, it didn’t surprise me. I found the book very predictable – I had no tingly feeling at any moment, no shock!

I did find the start enticing, you know the kind of story that has you reading in the loo! But this feeling did not last.

The early chapters were written beautifully and Gaiman’s vocabulary frequently had me reaching for my dictionary. And the end was amiable But the middle was just a little boring for me and there was no surprising twist, but all was a little predictable.

All in all, I would give the book 3 Stars!

Last words: The story is not unforgettable.

Follow me on Twitter @SirChrisDaRebel

 

 

 

 

 

When Summer says hello to Ireland

The thing about Ireland is Summer is a bit like Christmas…I’ll explain later.

One simple forecast of good weather – ” Tuesday will be a warm, bright, sunny day”  – and people take to streets in celebration,  the President of the country  is likely to mention ”the warmth” in the news and suddenly we take a like to a biteen of Irish trad music.

And,  of course, the presenter that predicted ”This good spell” is heralded as a hero!

The reason for all this is? Good weather is rare in Ireland, may only call to Ireland  once a year.

So when it comes and pays a visit it must be celebrated!

Work in offices ceases early,  our guards suddenly become kinder, neighbours become friendly and those  that control our cities are …Only for one day…. Seen as a part of nature.

And this fortunes time for the pigeon may come because when Irish  people get good weather we get in touch with nature – for example, we take to the nearest beer garden.

 

And everyone orders a Bulmers cider or in my case a Cidona!

And this is all because  we the people of Ireland know that  Summer sunshine  may only come to our Emerald [frequently soggy]   Isle once a year.

The Corrs even wrote a Song about Summer Sunshine in Ireland.

How good is your vocabulary?

WIN_20160705_19_14_29_Pro (2)I love writing.

But a particular question slipped in through the unlocked  back door of my mind.

And inquiry that intruder made was: how broad is my vocabulary?

My vocab  or simply the words jump to freedom via my tongue, maybe just a little light.

Obviously, I could use a variety of words that could somewhat give this piece …a higher literary standing – we all use the thesaurus sometimes.

But the thing is  some words just don’t fit into my vocab  cupboard.

But the grave question is more, how strong is my vocabulary?

In addition,  a novel which I recently finished had me, frequently, searching for a, battered and abused,  Dictionary – words such as goest, hue, cirrus, and coyly.

And this led me to  question whether  everybody’s is becoming  little weaker For as I receive my results I was  given an example of the common result by age and I was surprised that results for us – again us in our twenties – was quite low.

I did a vocabulary test online – my result was  average. I was  given an example of the common result by age and I was surprised that results for us – again us in our twenties – was quite low.

However, I was  given an example of the common result by age and I was surprised that results for people in their twenties  seemed to me to be  quite, not terribly, low.

This led two more question – politely rung the doorbell.

1. Is this era where reading and  writing skills are simply of less importance?

2. And maybe something is replacing our vocabulary skills  –  We so often express emotions through Smileys.

I don’t know but I believe that technology is having an effect. After all, I am a huge grammry.com fan….:)

 

Flash Fiction: The good don’t always hide

Her feet hurt as she teetered down another backstreet.
Tears from her eyes still sopping down her face.
Her mind wrapped in a ball of indignation as her feet stumbled and her knee grazed sober Ground.

There she Lay silent and imprisoned by gravity on the empty backstreet. Beeping horns of taxis echoed from another street but nothing was coming her way. Her eyes stared into the lights of the capital, a city where she was always captive in grief.
Red hands ripped through her loyal handbag, ‘‘Always you stand by me’’ she murmured as she searched for help. Her brain engaged but her phone found her.
The number to call she did not know; her life, her calls had all gone unanswered.

She rose up her head as she heard steps. Someone was approaching her.
‘‘Answer Answer please god answer,’’ she whispered
Step. Step. Step..
Till standing over her
A voice said ‘Hello…are you okay’’

When your mouth won’t shut….it may be a good thing.

I’ve noticed something about myself, if somebody I trust gives me the opportunity, any minute opportunity to unlock the stories imprisoned within me ….I tell too much. It’s key to note it’s not that I believe that I’ve revealed too much, but how I somehow reconstructed a chit chat.to a heavy story.

Last night, I knew I was probably telling too much but the thing is a release is always a little pleasing – yet I always feel somewhat guilty. The recent blues that escaped were old,  very old, from my childhood.

The story was about a Halloween horror [a car crash]. Of course, for me  to release  I must feel that somehow my friend wants or somehow has offered to hear these issues….Even though I find it hard to see why they would.

However uncomfortable,  I do believe in the saying: ”a problem shared is a problem halved!” So when I had a conversation about the crash I talked a little about things that I frequently internally thought about. You know them thoughts that keep one awake at two in the morning – an internal discussion that tends to drag me down, hence the reason I do be slow to share.And that is probably why frequently when asked ”Them questions” I shut doors” ” Lock Gates” or simply go mute.

The truth is when I feel personally high I want to fly, but when falling I like the idea of a carrying a parachute!  I  suppose spotting the lows is a vital skill, If down I usually hide my problems.

Finally, this piece isn’t personal, the fact is we all have words to speak or problems we need to share. To be naturally happy you have to release – as a psychologist might say releasing the demons!

After I had released, I felt Better, Calmer and happier 🙂  So I suppose the moral of this story is that we have to share problems – by that I mean not only  to speak out but to listen.

Possibly the key is to keep a balance….