Saturday, 13 April 2013
Well, despite having some big discussions with some friends in real life concerning the non-existence of left and right in aboriginal tribes; the harmonics of circular breathing when playing the saxophone and Turkish having two past tenses for events seen by oneself and events that were not, I ended up writing the next section of St Avril.
In my original story there was a single protagonist. However, one of the main issues that story always had was the boredom in the beginning despite the threat. For reasons that will become patently obvious, the threat could never be too close, and so a sense of urgency was lost. The mystery was not enough to carry the early scenes on its own either. Also, I once ran the story as a form of role playing game with some friends, who theoretically gave me more characters to play with. In the spirit of using my writing time to play with things a little more I decided to expand the character list for this piece and came up with this. It follows on from this post.
I have no idea if I have managed to maintain that post's strength of voice.
Analysis courtesy of 750words.com.
Rating: PG (sexual content) - well, probably yes.
Feeling mostly upset and concerned mostly about success - interesting.
Mindset: Extrovert - Negative - Uncertain - Thinking (but only just in each case, apart from thinking)
Time: The Past; Primary Sense: Touch (no option for smell then); Us and Them: Them
41 minutes (39 actually typing) at 39 words per minute
I didn't have very long, the noises from the end of the compartment increased and I knew that I was being faced with a choice: fight or flight. I didn't think very long on that, twenty-one times twelve is two hundred and fifty-two, and ran to the far end of the compartment. A mesh door stopped me going too far, however, and so I turned for the second option with a sinking feeling that there wasn't much a naked person could do at the best of times to defend themselves, let alone in a situation that was unfamiliar and with clear problems of memory.
The terror from beyond turned out to be a small party of equally naked people. I was remarkably unsurprised by this, almost as though it was the most normal thing in the world. In the air I could smell the stale stench of my own sweat and theirs mingling and it was obvious that several things were happening at once.
The lead member of the small band, and from the smell of her the only one with any kind of odour control, was smaller than the others: brown hair in a carefully controlled style, glistening skin and a toned frame that was clearly used to physical action, though it was unlikely that she had ever given birth. Chocolate skin contrasted with the paleness of the male stood closest to her with the fair hair and furrowed brow. There was an air of boss-subordinate about them, as though the male was working for the smaller female and happy with the arrangement. His eyes were sweeping in a professional manner that I found I recognised and respected, in the sense that I was immediately aware that he would be one to watch and to listen to if he announced danger. For some unknown reason I identified the man as being from the Americas and his boss as being ethnically from the Continent but probably culturally from the same area of the Americas as her employee.
Behind them were two more males. One was ethnically Ugandan, more black than brown skinned, who simply rippled with brawn. Not in a sculpted body sense but in a much more dangerous functional manner, he was a man who would possess great stamina and intelligence, I could see it in his eyes, and he had a calculating manner. If he was an employee then he was an ambitious one who did not show deference without it being earned. Culturally, through the way he held himself, he was from a developed background and was possibly European. Next to him stood the final member of the odd collection, a slight looking man with more golden brown skin, a slight fuzz on most of it but with body hair in all the places one would expect body hair. In contrast to the brawnier men near him, his body hair had not been sculpted nor shaved at any point and his physique spoke of one who was fit enough to walk for a long distance, probably for ever, but without the obvious signs of training. If he were an office worker then he was a stressed one for there was no sign of fat or poor physique, just not a lot else, wiry would be a better way of putting it.
Their leader was physically fit, shaved apart from her vagina, which was unruly and untouched. Despite the obvious prowess of her employee it was she who spotted me first and froze. The others quickly followed suit. Although I did notice the sudden gaze of the last of their number, the wiry one with the different coloured skin, and decided that he was of Chinese descent but probably very European. When his gaze fell upon me there was something else, another feeling that felt very much like a data exchange. It was not a clear feeling but nor was it threatening.
"Who are you?" barked the small woman at their head in English, which it appeared I understood very well, I got the impression that other languages would soon follow and was surprised to suddenly see captions running across the bottom of my vision in multiple languages to translate her words into over twenty different ways.
"I..." I stopped, my voice was croaky from under-use and I had the disturbing notion that I would be unable to answer her question effectively. Survival instinct took over where honesty feared to tread, "Alice. And you would be?"
Narrowed eyes and a deep frown at my name, as if I wasn't being believed, but there was nothing else that the woman could do. "Do you know where we are?"
Ah, I thought, we are in the same position after all. "I was wondering that of you," I responded curtly, "Perhaps you could-"
"Um. I think we should head that way." I was struck first of all by his carefully modulated wording and tone, all very careful to project just the right mixture of certainty and confusion to get people to listen. It brought to mind some trainer showing me the techniques in an airless room thick with the boredom of a dozen people. Nevertheless, it had the desired effect on me too. "It isn't safe to stay here."
The brawns turned to look around them and the boss looked back at the speaker, as if forgetting me for a moment, and seemed to nod to herself. "We have to move and we have to move now. If 'Pob' says we move, we move."
The way she pronounced it made it clear she did not believe that the Chinese man was really called "Pob" and so I simply nodded. There was no choice but to trust them, as a group and individually, and no reason to doubt the Chinese man's suggestion that we needed to be on the move because we were unsafe. "I shall join you," making statements rather than asking questions was more effective in such situations as it had the twin effect of actually making you less of an unknown quantity, thus reducing threat, and making it harder to refuse decisions, thus allowing greater agency. Another advantage of that dimly perceived seminar, no doubt. "There is a locked door going the other way," I added.
"Hank?" asked the leader.
The fair American stepped forward, of course he was called Hank, and moved purposely ahead of the group with deceptive speed and agility. If the gathering cold was affecting him he didn't show it and, without any apparent effort on his part, he smashed the door open and continued on his way. Augmented, the word flashed through my conscious, he was clearly using augmentations of a military grade to be able to pull that stunt off and would be using stored body energy to be doing it. He would be needing complex carbohydrates before long if he was doing it often, though it explained the understated look of his musculature.
Interestingly, the leader, she thought of herself as Vanessa but that wasn't her real name, had chosen to ask Hank to do her bidding and not the other man, whom she also considered an employee. He had assigned himself the name of 'Blade' for no other reason that he had decided it sounded sufficiently clever and danger filled when faced with his own lack of knowledge of his name. Despite his own feeling that there was a contract to be fulfilled with Vanessa he was already searching for a way to turn the situation to his own advantage and was very much a free agent. Hie enjoyment of the situation was plain to see as well, which was more than a little off-putting and so I tried to focus on the one they called 'Pob'.
'Pob' just smiled at me when he saw me looking, a kind of knowing smile, and then looked away with a barely perceptible nod. Instinctively I found myself walking close to him.
"So," he hissed as I got closer, "How do you know what they call themselves before they mention their names, Alice?"
My eyes widened before I had chance to stop them. "I don't know what you-"
"It's okay, I knew too. I knew you were going to pick Alice. Look at the information on the walls, it's in three languages. So, I ask again, how do you know so much about these people when they haven't said anything to you yet?"
Dissembling and denial were no longer options, he smelled little and so was clearly unstressed despite the threat he clearly felt, and so I shrugged. "Same way as you?"
"Probably." And then he winked. It wasn't a suggestive wink either, though I did notice that Blade's eyes kept flicking in my direction in a way that offered a neat contrast, but more a conspiratorial one.