Monday March 27th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the shiver.

Sun came out for a little bit this afternoon. That was nice.

I shall remember that fondly in the rainy days to come...


We both saw her shiver. She muttered something about the cold and pulled her jacket tighter around her shoulders. I turned away to hide my smile and let her pretend that the temperature was the cause, not fear.

I got it, though. The way the darkness was gathering around us, almost like a suffocating embrace. The way the deepest shadows seemed to have more weight and more... substance. I got it.

I didn't feel it myself, but I could see why she did.

"How much farther?" she asked a minute or two later.

"Not very," I said, keeping my tone casual. "You doing okay?"

"Yeah. My feet are just getting a little sore, that's all."

Sure they were. Nothing to do with not wanting to complete the journey. Only her poor footsies causing her concern.

"Want a piggyback ride?" I offered with a grin I didn't bother to conceal.

"Go to hell, Harry."

Oh, darling. That's exactly where we're going...


Greg said...

You make it sounds like the apocalypse is coming... I'm sure the sun will be out and baking you soon enough, leaving you looking back on the rainy days with fond memories too.
Harry seems interesting, and I can't help but wonder if he's not part of Henri's organisation somehow. The tiny details are what bring this to life (and I've said a few times that you're good at these kinds of details); the shiver of the title and the sore feet. And my suspicion that Harry is being complete literal there are the end....

The shiver
London, UK: 2003/03/17, 22:04. A doctor leans over a corpse with a shattered face, peeling back flaps of flesh like undoing a banana. He speaks in a soft monotone describing his findings; above the examination table there's a microphone, a stark black line against the clinical brilliance of the fluorescent lights. For a moment there's a smell of tobacco smoke in the room but then it is gone as though it were imagination.
The tape recorder clicks off. The assistant, a young woman with hair the colour of cherrywood, frowns and taps a ballpoint pen against her clipboard. "Dr. Oftenschloss," she says. "A tragedy."
"One of them," says the doctor.
"He and his wife are both Drs. Oftenschloss. Well, I guess only one of them is now."

Singapore, 2003/03/18, 02:15.
"Who kills a child?" The woman speaking is hawk-faced and angry; her face is blotched with red and her hands tremble as she speaks. She seizes the back of a padded chair, one of many in her boss's office to control them.
"Who assassinates a child," says her boss. There's a horrible calm to his tone, as though none of this matters to him. "That's not a crime, it's a message."
"A... message?!" The woman shivers, utterly involuntarily. "That's an even bigger crime!"
"There are people who won't believe a message unless it's written in blood," says her boss. She can't meet his eyes. "Find out the name and provenance of the child. Please."
She turns abruptly, unwilling to trust herself with speaking again in case the wrong words come out. Not for the first time she finds herself wondering just who she is working for. As she leaves the office and the door clicks shut behind her she is almost -- but not quite -- sure that she hears a woman whisper, "Afterthoughts."

Singapore, 2003/03/18, 08:52. The boardroom ought to be empty now, but there are still two people sitting at the table; same side, three seats between them. Both are waiting for the other to leave.
"There are two Doctors Oftenschloss," says one. This is first time anyone has spoken in eight hours.
"There were," corrects the other.
"Which one...?"

Southstream, 2003/03/18, 56:f8. Tobacco smoke drifts pleasantly through the air, hazing it blue, and the clocks on the wall update erratically, reflecting temporal uncertainty. The grandfather clock that tells the time here and now has four embedded dials and uses numbers, letters and Wingdings. Two of its six hands move backwards. A man with holes where his eyes ought to be sits down heavily in a leather armchair.
"That was hard," he says. "Heavy distortion in the Flux, this was planned. By people who shouldn't know about this yet."
"They're clever," says Dr. Oftenschloss. He is folding his face back together with long, bloody fingers. His voice is slurred because his mouth is shredded still. "We took a chance, and maybe it's not paying off."

Marc said...

Greg - well, now that the sun seems to have finally arrived, I still do not miss the rain :P

Thanks, once more, for the kind words on mine.

Ah, lookit here! My hoped for continuation already! Thank you :)

Gah, still captivating. Still wanting more. Brilliant stuff.