The Dark and the Light

The Dark and The Light

 

It is wrong. Like me.

Everything about me is wrong, and I hear them say it. I have heard it often enough. I amble through it, warm inside, warm outside, full of acceptance and impatience.

I am impatient because life is long, and slow. Like my love. I need them both to end.

I am thinking about this in my flat. My flat is always warm. And so am I. I am not sure what being cold feels like. I have too many layers, one on top of the other, dirt and grit in-between, guilt and shame. They layer up, they gang up on me, they bind me up and keep me warm at night. I am always warm.

Like now. Watching him.

My face is warm and so is my groin. I lift one arm slowly. I watch it travel through the clogged up, fogged up air, and I can feel how tightly the air surrounds my skin, lingering there, filled with secrets. My hand moves slowly. It is a juddering, shuddering thing, a dark starfish turning, curling through the dust.

I touch my face. My palm is rough against my whiskered jowls. It is a landscape of lumps and bumps, craggy and weathered and warm and pulsing. And I can smell it. If I stand here still enough, if I breathe in slowly enough, inhaling the life I exist in. I can smell my skin and I can smell the stink of age and ruin.

Whiskey on my breath, coating my tongue. Nicotine stains upon my fingers. I can smell the scent of who I am, of what I am. I suck it up. Breathe it in. Remember. Rotten on the outside as well as the in. Decayed from within.

Was I ever anything else? Anything more, or less than this?

I am too old now, too far gone, too hunched and sorry and broken and lustful to remember. There must have been another me once. A younger, trimmer, taller me. With brighter eyes and sounder mind. I can’t be sure though. I can’t be sure when the rot set in, when the infection took hold. I do know that I never once tried to fight it. Life was too long then, too slow. And it still is now.

Watching him. On guard. Waiting. Always waiting. Stood behind, looking down. Cocooned by the flat, by the dark, warm cave it has become. Lonely, but somehow we are joined here, linked. I sniff it. The darkness does not hide my secrets well. For I can smell them in the sweet cloying air as it cloaks my face. My flat smells too, of everything I am, of everything I bury here, of longing and loathing, and love.

Orange curry and gone off milk, cobwebs hanging with dust and dried flies, stains on the carpet, mould on the walls, fingerprints in the books and on the dirty magazines under the mattress.

In here it is dark, and he is the only light. He never sees this because he thinks he is ruined and destroyed, and maybe he is wrong, maybe he is right. He never thinks about anything too much these days. Only the home he escapes from, and the fear of being found. Only the music he keeps in his ears, in his brain, blocking everything else out, refusing it entry. Only the dark oblivion we enjoy together. Try this. And this.

I am the dark and he is the light.

His pale face turned up to mine, eyes closed and mind gone. I want to reach out and touch him but I cannot. If I lay my dirtied hand against his pale skin I might leave a stain upon it. I might destroy the light. And then we will all be worse off.

I stand behind and look down.

Breathing him in. Absorbing the light. My hand remains against my face. Warm and throbbing, rough and worn. I hold myself there. And my guts are inside me, behind the wall of fat and whiskey and sloth. Behind the solidified alcohol and curry and waste. My guts are back there, knotted and aching and crying. I can feel them there. I want to ease them out and relieve the pain and pressure. I want to stretch them out and let them breathe. They are a weight holding me down. Holding my feet to the sticky carpet.

Everything I deserve is in this place. Dirt and dust and shadows. I don’t belong anywhere else. One day I think, I won’t leave here. The doors and the windows will seal me in. The air will thicken until I suffocate. I will die here and I hope it is soon.

But what of him? What of the light?

How much time have we got? How much longer can I keep holding myself back? I examine the contours of his face lovingly, as I drag my rough palm over my own soggy, saggy features. Where his is sharp, defined, clean edges, mine is lost, sunken, shabby and derelict. My chins pile up. My cheeks hang loose. My eyes vanish under folds of flesh.

His skin is clear and soft and new. The only blemish is the deep cut to his top lip and a slight swelling there. My hand is reaching out to it now, reaching for the bump on his lip, but I pull back just in time. I always do that. I long to reach out and soothe what the monster has inflicted. I don’t say a word when he does it though. I hang back and look on.

Silence pounds my brain.

Blood throbs between my legs.

The monster jeers and laughs at this, but this is not all there is. It’s not just that… It’s not just blood and longing and desire. This is different. The boy has a light. And now the pounding is in my heart as well. The aching and the longing is in all of me.

My hand is where it should not be. It has landed in his hair again. My heavy fat fingers falling through the tousled blonde strands while my heart beats faster. I pull my hand away when the door suddenly opens. I walk quickly away, shoving my hands into my pockets, blinking away a salty tear.

In walks the monster. In walks King Of The Castle. In walks Mr High and Mighty. Mr The Big I Am. He walks in and the air grows colder and the boy shifts and stirs and moans softly on the sofa, but he does not wake.

The monster smiles at me because he can always smell my guilt.

‘Behaving yourself?’

‘Course I am. What do you want?’

No answer, because he does not have to answer your questions. Not the King Of The Castle. Not the King of the Shitting World. He goes to inspect the boy, who he thinks he owns, who he tries to turn into a robot, a yes-man, a minion. The beautiful boy full of light.

‘Is he out of it?’

‘Looks that way.’

‘Little prick.’

I sigh and shuffle towards the kitchen, where there are dead flies on the windowsill.

‘Do you want tea? Whiskey?’

‘Tea. Not staying long.’

‘Are you taking him home?’

‘Might do. Why? Will you miss him?’

Of course he laughs at his little joke, because he has always found my pain amusing. I deserve it though. He knows this as well as I do. We exist like this, somehow. The monsters. Both of us. Vile. Inhuman. We don’t deserve love or light.

Only I feel the guilt. That is the only real difference. The thing is, we both want the same thing. We both want love given to us, we both want what we do not deserve, what is not rightfully ours. We go about it in different ways. And the boy on the sofa knows all of this and none of this. He knows everything and yet nothing.

I make tea and in the lounge the monster sits next to the sleeping boy, dulling his light. Can it work the other way around, I wonder? Can the light fight back? Can it ward off the darkness and win? Theirs is a fight to the death. A fight neither can afford to lose. I make the tea and try not to think about the future. Time passes too slowly for the likes of me. I have been dying slowly for years. I am trampled fruit underneath the autumn tree, I am crushed and squashed and pulped and rotting. It takes too long. I should be dust by now, but it all takes too long.

Another unseen salty tear stings my eye while I make the tea and think about the boy. I think about him and how rotten we are to surround him like this, to want to own him and love him, to want his light to reflect back on us. I think about the very first time I saw it. I think how my breath hitched in my throat, and how my old eyes widened and my mouth fell open and how my blackened old heart ran up to my mouth, pounding, though it had no right to, though it was not allowed.

I have no right to love of any kind.

And there is a clock ticking somewhere in this place. There is inevitability and pain waiting for all of us in this dark, warm cave.

Something will happen. Something is coming. This, this is all wrong…I swirl the bloated teabags around the mugs, one at a time, my movements clumsy and stiff, sploshing brown liquid over the sides. I listen to the voices in the lounge. King of The Castle is waking the light up, easing him out from his dreams. I wonder how he feels when he wakes up like that. Realising. Remembering. Does he get a jolt of cold fear right in the centre of his chest? Do the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end? Does he feel the most powerful urge a human body can experience; the urge to run? Or does he just feel flat, empty and resigned? Does he just remember and then give in? I don’t know anymore. There used to be more fire in his eyes, I remember that. I enjoyed that. But now I don’t know.

I pick up the mugs and carry them in. They don’t look at me or speak to me, and yet I know what we are. We are a triangle of misery and hatred and love and the whole thing turns like a never-ending circle, but it can’t do that forever, because one of us will be blunted. One of us has to go.

 

This is a short story written from the point of view of one of the minor characters in my novel The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – you can find out more about these characters and this story by following this link – the novel is available in ebook and paperback 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boy-Thorn-His-Side-ebook/dp/B00W8DLGKA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1431972783&sr=1-1&keywords=the+boy+with+the+thorn+in+his+side

 

In Blood – short story

In Blood

We met in blood.

His and mine.

Sweet, dark tangy blood. Do you know how it tastes? Thick, dark blood. The essence of life. I do. And I like it. I like the rich, metallic tang, and I like the full, intense aroma, and I like the sight of blood in its many forms and shades.

In blood, it ended the same way that it started, and now they call us toxic. They call us sick. But I will wait for him.  We are connected now. His blood runs with mine.

The night of the party, that was our night. Our first night. But I had been watching him for a long time before that.  Let mel tell you what I saw. I saw a brute, a bear, a man, a thug. He was top heavy with arm muscles and his movements were precise and fast. He was a man who had never doubted himself, never questioned anything. He did not know hesitation or procrastination. He knew who he was, and the best thing about him was that he did not give a shit about anything. Not one single thing, not one single person.

Everyone knew who he was. The big lad, the top one, the bully boy from the bad family. Bad reputation. From the estate. Not to be messed with. Steer clear. If you had the brains you were born with, you would steer clear. But silly girls never listened. Silly girls saw his looks and his power and believed they could change him. But not me; I never wanted to change him.

I didn’t worry about brains, although I had plenty of them. Instead I concerned myself with instinct; where my guts led me. Besides, trouble was fun. Good girls were dull. Life was short, and Heaven was a lie.

He didn’t notice me back then. I was in the background. I think that is how he sees most people. Blurred noise while he cuts through it all. You always see him coming. You always stand back, hold your breath, look on. I remember doing that, when I was just in the background, looking in. I was a self-satisfied,  slinky, skin slashing, know it all. I still am.

I watched him, watched and learned. I was intrigued. I thought maybe, we had things in common. You see the thing about him I liked, was the thing about him they all hated, or feared. He was mean. He didn’t give a shit about anyone. He would hurt you, use you, laugh at you. It was just him and his brother Travis to take on the world; the twosome, one long and lanky and messy haired, and him, solid and immoveable. The younger brothers were not on his radar, not any of them. Not the little sticky fingered brats, and not Joe. If Joe was anything to him, it was a punch-bag.

I didn’t care about Joe. Not much. Or Lou, my so called best friend. I try not to care about people, for numerous reasons. It’s boring, for one thing. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but people are mostly terribly boring. Plus if you do care about them, it tends to get sticky and complicated. So, we had that in common at least. Me and Leon. See, I knew it would work. I knew it was right. If I had said such a thing to Lou or Joe, or to anyone, they would have laughed and jeered, and then looked at me as if I was crazy. Yes, I am a little bit crazy, I want to tell them, so fucking what? Who isn’t anyway? Everyone is fucked up, and that is the truth, my friends. That is the truth. With some people it’s obvious. It’s written all over their face or their body. Some people hide it better, but usually they are the ones who are more fucked up than anyone. At least the freaks and the geeks and the oddities let it loose, let it out, embrace it and rejoice it. Be different.

Don’t be afraid of pain.

That night, we caught each other’s eye for the first time, and it was all how I knew it would be. I get a feeling, a sense about these things. I was tiny and dark in my little dress and shoes, and he was the monster I invited to my party. The kitchen was full of people, packed tight. But Leon was the only one I could see. The rest were blurry-faced. I moved closer to him, and then moved away. I caught his eye, and then refused to look back at him. I watched from the edges as he drank beer with his brothers and Lou. I felt flashes of hot, surprising rage, when she looked like she was in the centre of them. All three brothers looking at her and laughing as she got pissed up.

I made my move when she ran outside to be sick and Travis followed her. Joe turned away from his brother, and Leon was alone.  He took a chair and sat down, and before he could lift his beer to his lips, I was on his lap.

‘It’s quieter upstairs,’ I told him, and then I was gone. I heard his curious tread coming up the stairs behind me.  I opened my bedroom door,  and in he came. Just like that. We didn’t talk a lot at first. He sipped his beer and looked around at my room. Then he went to the window to check out the garden.

‘Your bedroom is about the size of our house,’ he muttered, and I laughed. I was lying on my bed and playing with my razor.

‘Don’t you get bored,’ I said to him. ‘With everything, and everyone?’

He came closer, his eyes narrowing in on my razor blade. ‘What are you, suicidal?’

‘No, not at all. I’m just bored. And I’m interested in pain. How about you? Tell me something interesting about you.’

He was quiet for a moment, just watching me. He looked hungry then, like a dog sizing up a good, juicy bone.  I waited for him, eyebrows raised.

He said; ‘I’ve got a wrap of coke in my back pocket, if you’re interested.’

I grinned and held up my razor. ‘Well aren’t we just made for each other?’

And we sat together at my desk, and I passed him my blade to chop up the coke, and my bare leg was pressed against his denim clad one, and the pulses in my body were on fire, throbbing and swelling. And then she knocked on the door. That little bitch.

Let me tell you a few things about Lou Carling.

She used to be fat, but now she’s not. She’s on a mission to destroy herself, and I am along for the ride. These kinds of things are interesting. After all, isn’t that the gist of being human? Isn’t that the curse? Once we are old enough to understand that everything must die, we start to destroy ourselves any way we can. Drugs. Drink. Sex. Work. Hate. Love. You name it. It cuts us up, from the inside out. Lou Carling is one of these people, cutting herself up on the inside where nobody can see it. On the outside she is tough and sarcastic and slow to smile. For some reason, she cannot see that her best friend Joe is totally and utterly in love with her. It makes me quite sick. It’s almost like incest. I’m not kidding. They were bathed together as kids, ran around naked in the garden, you name it. But now that their bodies have grown and been honed and hemmed and tightened and lengthened, things are getting all screwed up. Believe me, spend ten minutes in a room with those two and you will want to scream at the top of your lungs; for God’s sake just fuck each other and get it over with!

But anyway. I digress. Lou Carling, short and sweet and bitter and more fucked than any of us. I hang around with her because I want to see how fast she unravels. I want to see what lies underneath.

She knocked on the door with Joe because she was worried about me. How sweet. What happened next was not surprising to anyone at that party. Leon went out there, called her a few choice names, and then beat his brother up. Meanwhile she stormed past them to see if I was okay, and yes, how surprising, I was okay! I was chopping up lines of coke, and she could join in if she wanted to, but no.  No, of course, not Lou Carling. Not perfect little Lou. Smoking the odd spliff with Joe and drinking cider in the park is fine, but you know, anything else is evil! We had words and she went on her merry way to see to her precious non-boyfriend.

When Leon came back in, he had blood on his knuckles and blood on his face.

‘Little bastard,’ he said, under his breath.

God, I wanted him then. I wanted him so much. I couldn’t even speak. But that didn’t matter, because it was all there in the way he looked at me, and the way I looked at him. He was breathing hard and fast, and part of me wished I had gone out there to watch. Pow! Pow! Take that Joe, you little runt, you loser, you nothing!

I don’t mean it. Not really. I kind of like Joe. I kind of like everyone.

But things get so boring

We got back to business. I watched his face as he cut up the powder. I examined the contours of his features, and the curve of his chest, as he breathed fast, in and out. The muscles flexed on his bare arms. He was so very alive. And so was I. So was everything and everyone. It got so much I wanted to eat it. I wanted to grab the whole world and all the fizzing exploding swelling life within it, and shove it right into open mouth, chew it up and swallow it down. Weird, when you feel like that.

We took our medicine and then went to lie on my bed. We kicked off our shoes and stared at the patterns on the ceiling. After a while, he rolled over and looked at me. It felt like he looked into me. He cupped my face with his hand, held it like it was china…

‘What are you waiting for?’ I asked him, and he shrugged.

‘Nothing.’

That was the first time. But it was not the last. His blood mingled with mine, and then again on the night he rushed in and saved me. I was out of it. Mostly, I was absent. But I do remember his arms scooping me up from the bloody mush of my bed. It felt like I was being ripped from my mother’s spongy womb. I remember the feel of his arms, like branches of a tree, holding me close and holding me up. I don’t remember him ripping his t-shirt, which that night was once again doused in the blood of his brother Joe. I don’t remember him using the cloth to tie up my wounds, but apparently his quick thinking saved my life. He tied me once again to this world.

The thug, the animal, the sub-human scumbag. He came to me that night. He could have gone anywhere. He could have vanished from all of our lives, and Lou and Joe and his mother, and the rest of them, would all have been relieved. Good riddance to bad rubbish. But he came to me. He came to me. With the vilest crime a crimson stain upon his hands and all over his clothes, he came to me.

And our blood met again, and when all of this is over, he will be back.

And I will be waiting.

If you are interested in these characters and would like to find out more, you can download the YA novel they are related to here ; (available in paperback and ebook)12227067_1068628339823097_548647694753202354_n

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mess-Me-Chantelle-Atkins-ebook/dp/B00CSVQ8EQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

The Boy With The Headphones (short story)

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The Boy With The Headphones

For the first few days, I didn’t even know his name. The boy with the headphones. He wore them all the time. Over his ears, or in class, around his neck. I can still remember the very first time I saw him, because I am certain that my heart stopped. Or if it didn’t, then time did. Everything slowed down. I think there was suddenly music in my head too, the way there always was in his. It was like we were in a film, not ordinary, muddy real life. It was just me and him. The rest of the school corridor blurred out, sounded out. He slowed down, and so did I.

The boy with the headphones. Eyes down, moving fast. Moving through the crowd as if he did not even see them. His hair was long, and I saw this first. Perhaps it was the first thing that drew my eye. Because all of the other boys back then looked like boy band material. Curtains and short back and sides. Not the boy with the headphones, who marched through them like they were nothing to him. His hair was a dirty shade of blonde and my heart skipped a thousand beats. His hair was touching his shoulders, curled and tousled around his ears. It flopped over his face, shielding one eye, until he flicked it back, and that was when our eyes met across the corridor.

That was the first time. When I did not know his name. When he was just the boy with the headphones. The new boy. Ear to the ground, I listened for gossip, soaking it up when it came my way, tucking my hair behind my ear to listen in. I was quiet back then, but popular. Of course, all the kids like me were popular. We had it easy, and I never really understood this until I met the boy with the headphones.

‘From the estate,’ they said. ‘New in town.’

‘In trouble already,’ they said, as the days passed by. ‘Fighting in the boys toilets!’

The rumour mill went into overdrive that week. The new boy was a troublemaker. He came from the estate, just like the boy he fought in the toilet. His mother was a single parent, and looked like a model. He had long hair and angry blue eyes and he always had his headphones on.

By the end of the week I knew his name, and the boy with the headphones had made friends with the boys from the toilet. Eyebrows raised and people smirked. I was an outsider then, thirsty for more information. All I could see when I closed my eyes at night was his face, and his dark blue eyes staring back at me accusingly. He always looked angry, like he was about to punch someone. I could stare at him all day, when he wasn’t looking. Those beautiful blue eyes with the thick black lashes. His face was hard angles and defiance. His lower lip was fuller than his top. I thought he looked like he belonged in a film, not here in my life, not in this place where everybody looked the same.

I didn’t want to know about him, or think about him, but I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop looking at him. I kept him in the corner of my eye during class. I could feel him behind me sometimes. I could feel his eyes burning into my back. I wanted to turn around and smile at him, say hello, I’m Lucy. But I didn’t, because I couldn’t. I couldn’t open my mouth when he was near me.

Looking back, those first few weeks were the easiest. Although at the time they felt like utter torture. Every night I pulled out my diary, lay on my bed in my house that overlooked the sea, and wrote about him. He brushed past me after Maths. His elbow bumped me as he walked past my desk. I was hot cheeked and mortified about a hundred times a day. I tried to avoid him, because that seemed safer. How could I be around a boy like that? A boy who made my heart skip and my mouth dry? Our eyes met in Science today. So embarrassing. I looked up, so did he. I looked down, then up and it happened again. But he has no idea who I am.

            The boy with the headphones was lost in music and life on the gritty side of town. He didn’t have time to make friends with people like me. We were from different walks of life. All I could do was watch him from afar and hear the things that were said.

‘Arrested at school! Broke someone’s nose!’

‘His mum goes out with that guy from the garage?’

‘Him and those other boys are always in trouble.’

‘Yeah, dirty skanks.’

He wasn’t a dirty skank to me. He was a mystery that I wanted to unravel. But looking back, I needn’t have worried. In truth, we were always going to cross paths, again and again, until something happened. We were always going to dance this way and that, coming together and then breaking apart.

The first few times we spoke, it was stuttering and shy. He gave me the first tiny glimpse that maybe, just maybe, he had been watching me too, waiting for me to speak to him. He called my name one day as I passed his house on the way to meet Zoe. Oh Zoe. So much of it was down to her!

My best friend Zoe. The prettiest girl in school. She came from the other estate near school. Long blonde hair that looked dyed but wasn’t. Her lips pouted when she spoke. Her hips jutted to one side and then the other. Her backside swung when she walked tall in her white slingbacks with the cork wedges. The men who whistled didn’t care that she was thirteen, or fourteen years old. All they could see was who she would become. She was like something from a movie. And she was madly in love with Michael, and Michael was best friends with the boy with the headphones.

We chatted briefly that day in front of his house. He wore his shirt around his waist and his small hard body glared back at me as I blinked in the sunshine. His was a dirtied tan, and his hands were oily. His ribs were bruised from his latest scuffle. He was cleaning cars to make things up to his mother’s boyfriend.

That was the first time I had hope. Me and the boy with the headphones. Maybe one day I would get to hear the music too.

What came next was our awkward, teenage dance. One step forward, then two steps back. I will never forget the day he took me on a proper date. My dad grilled him on the doorstep. It was mortifying. I could have killed him. But after that he took my hand, and we walked in silence.

That was the thing about us. Our comfortable silence. He didn’t always want to speak, and neither did I. But one night at a party, I hugged him and told him I would marry him one day, and I meant it. I can still hear the music from that night. He was alive when the music played. He was the music. Nirvana on the makeshift dance floor. Four teenage boys going crazy. Flinging their hair about, headbanging and yelling the words that meant so much to them. After that, I watched his face when the music played, and saw the way his lips moved with the words. He always knew all of the words.

Those were good times, but good times never last. Summer turns to winter, and everything changes. I tried to be his girlfriend, but it never seemed to happen. I couldn’t get close. I couldn’t break through. His mum had a new boyfriend and he hated this one more than ever. That was all I really knew, and it wasn’t enough. The rumours followed us back to school, and I saw the way that everyone looked at him, even the teachers. Especially the teachers. With pity and concern and suspicion.

That term he changed so much. The boy with the headphones became a ghost. A fading figure we barely saw. I looked out for him every day. I would grab the window seat and train my eyes on the school gates. But he rarely came, and when he did, he was just as absent. His eyes guarded, his head even lower, but still with the headphones, still with the music that none of us could hear.

Our story seemed to be over before it had even begun, until the day I saw him walking on the beach. I was sat there revising, my text books spread out on the sand. I saw him walking, and I called out to him and then wished I hadn’t. For a moment he just stared back at me, his hands in his pockets, and for the longest time I thought he was going to ignore me and walk on. He was wearing a suit, which looked so odd on him with his messy tangled hair.

In the end he came and sat with me. He didn’t have his headphones that day, which made him seem sadder than ever. I leant into him, and wondered if that was too much, too soon. But he let me stay. And we watched the sea, and talked about where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see.

Our story faltered, but it winded on in a ragged, haphazard fashion. I went to the beach the next week, and he did too. And the next week, and the next. We didn’t talk much, because he didn’t have much to say. Sometimes he let me listen to the music with him. Sometimes his headphones were broken and his neck was covered in bruises.

Side by side on the beach, or lying on his bed in his room, I watched his face and listened to him breathe. He talked to me about music and songs. He was into everything. He listened to it all. He wrote the lyrics down if they meant something to him. We wrote love letters and I still have them all now. We used to write lyrics and circle them, circle the bits that meant the most.

Ten Storey Love Song…I built this thing for you…

When the boy with headphones went away, the music died down. It all went quiet and none of us could listen to it in the same way again. I remember I went out that day and got his name tattooed on my hip, so that he would always be with me, always be part of me, whether he knew about it or not. Whenever I heard a certain song, out of the blue, on the radio, or in a pub, or a shop, I would stop and so would my heart, just for a moment, like that day in the corridor, like the first time our eyes met. I would have to fight hard to take a breath and carry on, with the music fading out behind me. Every song, every guitar riff, every drum beat brought him back to me with a crash. There was no escaping it, because the music was everywhere. It followed us about like a haunting. Although he was gone, he was with us every single time we heard a song. It was a punch in the gut, a knife to the heart, but it was also beautiful and wonderful. Every time we heard the right song, one of his, the boy with the headphones was with us again.

This short story is written from the point of view of Lucy, one of the characters in my novel The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – if you are interested to find out more about Lucy and the boy with the headphones, you can download the novel here;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boy-Thorn-His-Side-ebook/dp/B00W8DLGKA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1431972783&sr=1-1&keywords=the+boy+with+the+thorn+in+his+side

He Is A Storm

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He Is A Storm

There is a storm in his head.

It is black and violent and consuming and becomes him.

It has been there for so long, ebbing and flowing, dimming and glowing. It burns from the inside of his brain, begging release. His heart is on fire. Pain explodes in his guts and suddenly he is not human anymore.

Because a fine line snaps.

Because it pulls taut, tighter than normal, tighter than anyone can stand, vibrating like guitar strings. And on this day, and in this moment, it snaps. The line snaps and it sets him free.

He is no longer tethered, or loosely, marginally restrained. He is no longer held back, warned off, given the look, or contained. There is nothing between them now. Nothing except the black storm inside his head and the ping of the line as it snaps inside of him, and sets him free, sets him reeling forwards.

He moves soundlessly in his head, yet somehow he knows his open mouth is bellowing years of pent up rage. He feels his bulk multiplying in size and force. He is like a building rising up before exploding and falling down. And he does fall down.

Set free, he gives himself totally to violence. It’s blind and raging and delicious and addictive. He falls down upon the smaller body, and they clash, bones jarring, muscles screaming, eyes popping. Game on. And sounds rise into the air around them and above them, as they entwine and entangle, as they smash and crash and dance into the wall.

His own soul bellowing while it dies.

The cries of shock and pain. They make primal sounds, the two of them, dancing. And the girl is in the background but she is insignificant to the fight. A fly in the air buzzing. A bug on his neck scratching. He swats her away like she is nothing.

And the more he punishes the body he has seized, the more free he becomes. An ugly wound stuffed tight now breaks open, and the foul gush runs free, rumbling and turning within the fire that burns. And the more he hates and the more he punishes, the better he feels, the best ever, and he wants to cling onto that feeling for longer. And so the rage screams from his lips, and the fists go in and out, in and out, until the blood smothers them, thick and warm like crimson gloves.

It spatters his face like paint. Droplets in his hair and eyes and mouth. He is eating him alive. Blood brothers. The bug is on his back again, fighting and clawing, her screams mixed with the bellow in his own brain, until he throws her aside and lands on top of her.

And now the storms starts to subside, starts to ease off, like a deep breath taken and held, and everything stops, and he sees his bloody fists and he feels the ache of his knuckles and he sees the terror in her face, and he sees the body lying still against the wall.

But he asked for it. He went too far. Wrong moment. Wrong time. Wrong person. Wrong place. Wrong life. He couldn’t stop. Because he didn’t want to stop. But now he has stopped. The storm betrays him and skies start to clear.

She stares back at him and suddenly there is someone else, coming towards them, shocked and crying out. And this breaks whatever is left of the spell, and the hold the storm had on him is gone, over, broken.

The line tries to find its way back, tries to reattach, but it can’t find its way. He gives up. He gives himself up to everything. He runs from their terror and from the blood on the wall and from the figure on the floor. Like a beast, like a creature, like a monster, he charges bull-like, monstrous, inhuman, thick and hard and powering through everything as he explodes from the inside, and he runs from them all.

Blood in his mouth.

Sweet and tangy.

He spits and retches and heaves and runs. He opens the car door and somehow he is driving. Tyres screech against tarmac. Panic thunders in his chest. He can’t breathe, or see, or think. He is not human, he knows only this. He turned his back on it and embraced insanity. He drives, not knowing where he is driving to.

He drives to her.

Something desperate and clawing, something raw and open and bleeding and weeping and begging and shaking. Something hammering at his blackened mind. Words and visions and blood soaked dreams. His mother washing his mouth out with soap. Picking up the frying pan and battering his step-dad over the head with it. Wanting to do so much more. Needing to.

The door is open. Unlocked. No cars. No one home? It is like the house is waiting for him, door open, enticing, inviting him in. He runs in, blood soaked and calling her name, twisting his hands inside his t-shirt, trying to wipe off his crime.

His mind is chattering. Cold now. Afraid.

Oh what have I done, what have I done, what have I done, what have I done…

            Powers up the stairs. His body is rigid, rock hard with adrenaline tightened muscles. He could run through walls. Sail through windows. Calling her name. Calling for her.

What have I done, what have I done? Oh what have you done? What have you done?

            He finds her lying there like a pale, limp starfish.

Arms and legs all stuck out to the side of her tiny body dressed in black. He finds her open eyes staring, but not seeing. He finds her sheets soaked in blood. He finds her wrists sliced open, undone, like him. Her line snapped too.

Oh what have you done? What have you done?

            He pulls off his t-shirt and wraps it around her wrists, winding the bloody material around and around, binding her hands together.

What have you done?

            He gathers her small body into his big, naked arms, and her head rolls back and he hears her gasp, feels the breath leave her mouth and smother his face, and he holds her and runs.

In the hospital he sits, covered in so much blood, yet none of it is his. They think it has all come from her, the girl he brought in, the life he saved. He sits there, on a hard plastic chair while they stitch her up, fix her, attach her line and shake their fingers.

You saved her life.

            She’ll be okay. What’s your name?

            Where are you going? Where are you going?

            Don’t you want to see her now? You can see her now.

            But he can’t see her now. He can’t see anyone. Least of all himself. He is a storm.

This short story is written from the POV of Leon, a character in my novel The Mess Of Me. If you would like to find out more about his story, you can download the novel here;http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mess-Me-Chantelle-Atkins-ebook/dp/B00CSVQ8EQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438892427&sr=1-3