“I can’t believe you forgot about the party Jack!”
“I’m sorry Alice, my mom just called me, she’s sick again.”
“I know that Jack, I’m sorry, but you still need to at least tell me.”
“I know Alice, I know, I’ve just, had a lot on my mind lately.”
Jack sits at the small table, the arguing is over. Alice speaks calmly through the line now.
Jack and Alice hold a close friendship, one that would be closer if Alice wasn’t a married woman.
“So How have you been Alice?”
“Fine, and you?”
“I’ve been great, how are you and Tom doing?”
“Tom’s been drinking more lately.”
“Has he hit you?”
Alice paused for a moment, taking a breath.
“No, he hasn’t but he’s been shouting more. He’s been gone more lately, I think he may be doing something.”
“Don’t think like that Alice. Tom isn’t that bad of a guy.”
“I know Jack, he’s just angry sometimes.”
Alice takes her chance and changes the subject.
“So how’s the book going Jack?”
“Uh, I’m still stuck.”
“How long has it been?”
“About two weeks since I stopped at the eight chapter.”
“That’s too bad. Just keep it up Jack.”
“I will Alice.”
Jack hangs up the phone, still struggling on whether or not to say those three words at the end of the call. He looks up at the clock, it’s almost ten thirty now, he should go to bed, should try to write, but he wants to take a walk.
He hates walks though. But he grabs his jacket, pulls it on and heads out the door.
The city smells like always, a little bit of muck, a little bit of dew, all mixed in with cheap perfume. Jack laughs and stops to make a note for the novel.
Jack takes a quick break after half an hour and gets himself something to eat. It’s about eleven forty five now, he’s holding a cheeseburger in his hand as he enters the park. Then he sees her.
A woman, not young, oh no, she had lost the delicacy of youth long ago. However, she still held herself with a savvy grace. She was an elder, one that should not be walking around the city at this hour. She’s black, in one hand she carries a white slip of paper, in the other she holds a small cane to steady herself.
Jack walks over to her, trying to find out why she’s out so late.
“Excuse me miss-”
The woman raises a hand and Jack falls silent. She looks up at him, with eyes that reveal the holding of memories many would never want. Her eyes move up, but not so much along Jack, more as if they were burning through his chest and into his beating heart.
Jack takes a quick step back then steadies himself. It’s just an old woman.
“I been expectin’ you boy. You been doin’ well for yourself these past weeks,” The old woman whispers, smiling a warm grin, and raises her head to let out a loud piercing laugh.
“Do I know you?”
“You may my boy, you may. But that doesn’t matter boy, because I know you.”
“You must be a fan, have you read my books?” Jack asks warmly.
“No, I take no time in readin’ the writins of the livin’.”
“Oh, well did you come to any of my parties?”
“I come out only when the time is right my boy.”
The woman speaks in a light, crisp Jamaican accent. She smiles again and raises her hands to her head, letting down her cloak, her eyes flash a bright, misty blue. Gray hair falls lightly across her eyes.
“Come with me my boy.”
With that, the woman turns and heads away, deeper into the park. Jack would have turned away, but he feels something, something deep, pulling him toward this woman. He follows her.
The woman stops suddenly, and as Jack approaches, he notices the large array of vines and plants growing at his feet. A large statue stands beside the garden, its stone face is carved with a look of silent reassignment, its hands raised up towards the heavens.
“Is this your garden miss?”
“It is the garden of many people my boy, many lives have vanished in here, come. Take care not to tread on the vines.”
The woman bends over, scooping up a small fruit and takes a bite.
“The freshest fruit grow with the lightest care, with the love of a good person, wouldn’t you say my boy?”
“Yeah I guess so.”
“I see. Now you go around me, callin’ yourself a writer, what make you think you one?”
“Well I have had many books published.”
“No I mean, why do you feel you have earned the title, if you do at all.”
“I never thought of it that way. I guess it’s just a gift.”
The old woman laughs again, piercing the silence, clouds begin to form above them.
“You know, as well as I do boy, that there is no such thing as a gift. Come over here.”
Jack nods and steps across the garden to where the old woman stands. The old woman suddenly grabs him by the chin and pulls him down, level with her.
“You wastin’ your life me boy, go on writtin’, but you are miserable. I can see it.”
“What are you-”
“Quiet me boy.”
The woman takes a handful of dust and soil from the ground and rubs it across Jack’s forehead. Jack leaps back, stunned.
“Hey what’s going on!?”
“Trust me my boy. Just come back here.”
Once again, Jack feels himself drawn to the woman. From above, rain drops begin to fall. The woman looks up, her large earrings shaking.
“We haven’t got much time. Midnight is the right hour, the time for the good. After is the darkness.”
“Look if you want some money you can have it lady.”
“I need no money boy, I came here to help you, I help those who need it.”
The woman looks up at him and draws out the white paper she carried before.
“Write the name.”
“You know who my boy.”
Jack snatches the paper from her hands and scribbles onto the it, then hands it back.
The woman smiles and pulls out a lighter, flicking it on, and puts the paper under the flame. In a few seconds the paper is blazing with the golden light. She raises it high above her head.
“You must go now my boy. Go to where you belong!”
Jack nods and turns away, his eyes wide, his head swimming.
“One more thing boy.”
Jack turns once again back to her. The last of the paper is being burned away.
“You know I love you boy. But there is someone else who you love. And she loves you back. Tread well on where you walk, and when this is all over, you will never see me again.”
Jack nods and rushes away, stumbling as he goes. The woman’s laugh follows him as he exits the park. A few minutes later he reaches the house. Police cars surround the area. The front door is open, yellow tape covers the living room.
“Alice!?” Jack shouts.
Alice appears in the doorway, rushing past the cops and into his arms. Tears stain her face. She puts her head against his shoulder and begins to sob.
“Alice what’s wrong? What happened?”
“It’s Tom! He’s had a stroke! The doctors don’t know why it happened, but he’s dead Jack, he’s dead!”
“Don’t worry Alice, it’s okay.”
Jack stands in the doorway, holding his crying love. He glances up, looking toward the small bus stop across the road. The woman sits at the stop‘s bench, nodding her head and smiling at Jack. The bus drives up and pulls to a stop, blocking Jack’s view of the woman.
The woman’s laugh pierces the air, clear and light.
The bus pulls away, and she is gone.
| Jack leaps back, stunned|
Don't like that line. Maybe a step back but not a leap. Or maybe leaned back, but not leaped.
Other than that, I thought it was fairly well written. The text was very original. I think it would have been better if you descirbed the park that they were in a bit more. Because you say they are ina city then a park, so maybe describe the atmosphere, and maybe like how long he walked and what not. You begin telling some times, like 'it’s almost ten thirty now' etc, and i think you should carry the time line throughout the piece. Just a thought. A bit of work, and I tihnk it would be a bit better.
|| Posted on 2006-10-07 00:00:00 | by Caotic_Disaster | [ Reply to This ] || Don't think I've read your work before now.|
I almost quit after the first few paragraphs it felt a bit like a wet lettuce but I stuck with it. Central section is scary and interesting but I think the Jamaican feel isn't fully in place with your woman. The end is a bit too easy and pat, I like happy endings but this one, in modern parlace, sucks a bit. Worth more work I would suggest. Thanks for the pleasure.
Warm regards Donald.
|| Posted on 2006-10-07 00:00:00 | by siradrian | [ Reply to This ] || Once again, very impressed. Keep it up my friend.||| Posted on 2006-10-06 00:00:00 | by Jolie | [ Reply to This ] |