The story of a few people trying to survive a world that in so many ways doesn't make sense... I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen with it so we'll have to see :)
My name is Lizzie. I am lonely. I live on my own.
That’s what I always say when they insist I go speed-dating. My friends that is. Always telling me that I need someone in my life. Someone to tell me to stop focusing on my work so much. To get back to the real world. I write; that’s my job. People pay me to make things up and write them down. I could say that it’s the job that I’ve always dreamed of but that would be a lie. I can’t really remember what I wanted to do growing up. Probably something stupid like be a spy. Or an elephant. You know what kids are like. Smarter than adults usually.
Gradually, my friends left me. I can’t blame them. They knew more interesting people. People who didn’t spend their days locked up in a small dusty apartment with their fingers rushing over a keyboard. People who didn’t get so emotionally involved in fiction that they break down in tears when they kill off a character. People who don’t lose their mind when one of their characters does the same. I call it ‘method writing’. That didn’t go down well with them. Ah well.
People said that my work was getting progressively worse. To begin with, I was fine with it. I just took it as a couple of bad reviews. Nothing more. I suppose that was the wrong reaction. I didn’t put in any more effort; didn’t change things. I just kept on working below par. Fewer and fewer copies sold. I used to be so popular. Book shops were overflowing when I went in to agree to sign my work – now people were running away from me. Surprise surprise.
I don’t really need to mention my worse stuff. Horrific it was. Wasn’t even worth burning for heat. Not even by me. And to top things off, everything else was going from bad to worse. I lost my flat. Had to sell my very limited supply of clothes and furniture. My family was crumbling – the divorce of the matriarch and patriarchal figure does that. Especially the second time round.
I suppose it was the rotten fruit that eventually did it.
Did you know that a tomato is a fruit my dear reader? My only reader. I used to say that the tomato was a test – you were intelligent if you knew it was a fruit but wise if you knew not to include it in a fruit salad.
Luckily, I didn’t get a fruit salad thrown at me. Just the tomatoes. People thought it was funny since my entire body (especially my face) was covered in the dregs of the tomato and its juices but my hair looked the same. Just a bit messier. Still that bloody red colour. Ha. Ha.
Don’t think that that was due to my dying imagination! It was probably due to my drunken behaviour. Loud screaming. Violence on the streets. Frequent sickness. They say drowning your sorrows is a bad idea. Well whoever said that clearly never suffered from sorrow! Does that even make sense? I don’t really know any more.
I am writing this for future prosperity. Sort of. The idea is that this novel, my final novel, will tell my story. So I suppose it’s an autobiography. But you will think it is fiction. So I’m not fussed how you see it. I want everybody to know what happened. And since I’ve been writing fiction since I could write, that’s how this will look. That alright with you? So. Back to the important message: This state is corrupt. There is danger everywhere. Especially right below your feet.
Did you just look down? I did. I don’t even trust the ground any more.
But you aren’t really interested are you? You’re just reading this to see what a mad woman has to say. You’re expecting me to go off on a rant about how I’ve been persecuted. You’ve got that bit. Happy now? Because the rest of this book is important. It is a warning. Be careful.
Don’t believe me? I can’t say that I blame you. If you had told me about this a couple of months ago, I know I would have had you arrested for insanity. But before you reach for your phones, just hear me out.
Think about it. There is a party every night. Thousands of people out on the streets. Banners and bunting everywhere, decorating the nasty buildings. The loud music emanating from those speakers that you can’t quite see clearly since you’ve already been drinking for a while. And then at midnight – the confetti. It just falls. You still find bits of it in your hair days later. And it covers the floor. Yet the following morning, it’s all gone. But where could it go? Nobody could clean that quickly could they?
The short answer is no.
That’s why there’s the curfew. 2 am and you have to go home. It prevents binge drinking – that’s what we’re told. Yes that’s the reason. Stay out late and watch the floor fall away. Well stay out late and fall away with it. Just see what they’re trying to hide from you. That thing. Its claws in the darkness. It still haunts me to this very day.
I take it there are still sceptics out there. You believers. Ignorance. Let me tell you another story then.
Next time it rains, look up. If it’s raining now, just look up. Don’t worry about the rain drowning your eyes; you’ll survive. Look beyond it. There aren’t any clouds anymore. So where have they gone? That’s just the first question.
Next look around. Look at the other people. There should be a man out there. He’s wearing a black suit. Black jacket, white shirt, long black tie, shiny shoes. He looks completely out of place doesn’t he? Keep looking. He is dry. Dry as a bone. But why?
If you don’t know the answer to that then you are stupider than I thought. It’s his umbrella. Obviously.
If you have been staring at him this whole time, he will have noticed you and will be walking towards you. It’s not an umbrella any more is it? I’m sorry but I think I may have just killed some of you. They don’t like people looking at them. They are the secret assassins. They deter individualism. The state controls you. You know that at least. And now I have told you how. Be grateful.
You’ve made me lose my train of thought. Thank you reader.
So here I am. The end to my part of this story.
I’m stood in the centre of a railway track, waiting.
You can just see me now can’t you? Stood in between a couple of rotten old sleepers, all lined up like soldiers. Brave men there to be walked all over and to have the dead and the dying on top of them. I can still see the top of the grassy verge I had to jump down from. Only dislocated my shoulder. Not that it matters. The grass looks peaceful up there. Nobody trampling that! Only me.
You know, there’s a wall down here. Rust coloured bricks falling to pieces before my very eyes yet still managing to resemble some state of normality. They knocked all the buildings down around here. Just left the train tracks. I suppose it was to stop accidents. Make the police’s job a lot easier – you only came out here for one reason and that’s not for a picnic.
One of the last things that struck me, if you’ll pardon the pun, was the noise. Despite the fact that the birdsong was barely audible, it was the most beautiful thing that I ever heard. It’s that type of thing that changes a person. Makes them realise that they’ve made the right decision. Beauty is all well and good but there’s a time and a place. I followed the flight of the creatures with my vision until they were no more. I suppose a little smile crept onto my face and I don’t even regret it.
Then everything became all a bit of a blur.
A couple more birds flew past. Flashing lights in front of me. Loud noises getting louder. A man stood atop the verge. The smell of burning, human perspiration and peppermint. Feathers getting caught up in my hair. The man opening up his umbrella. An even louder noise making my eardrums shake in fear. The man smiles and that’s it.
Then the birds aren’t singing any more.
Some stories transcend life and death.
This one’s going to haunt you.
The four-thirty to Paddington was on time.