A Novel by Filmgirl39

Author: Filmgirl39
Created: March 17, 2017 at 03:49 pm
Upload Type: Novel, G (All)  
Category: Mystery & Crime | Mystery & Crime | Mystery & Crime
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The Similars

This sample is a selection of a story that I am currently writing entitled, “The Similiars.” “The Similars”

Chapter One: No Such Thing

Rapt by the rippling calm of evening’s tide, Lorna was far less likely to dwell on her recent set of failures as she might have been. She dreamed of becoming an attorney and finally got the courage to take the Bar Exam cold, only to flop as badly as the first client in the banana peel question. She dreamed of becoming a writer and spent the countless years since seven scribbling everything that she thought anyone else might like to read. Then, her friend Frieda came over to her house as a teenager, asked to peer into her journal and promptly announced after reading nothing that she thought was original enough, that no writer ever saw his or her work on the big screen. This (in Frieda’s mind, of course) was because all actors were cursed with anorexia, injuries from jealousy, or personality disorders. As hard as Lorna tried not to tear up through her hardened winces from such rejections, she tasted minute, salty droplets caressing her cheeks in the same tempo as the white wave caps barraging the shoreline. She knew deep in her heart that at least one of her goals was attainable. She ran inside to grab her keys and drove off in her metallic purple Fiat toward Solemnity Island for the summer. Lorna remembered this vacation spot distinctly as a child. It was desirable amongst trendsetters of all sorts. She was certain that her serendipitous confidence with strangers combined with the characteristic picturesque scenery would create an ideal backdrop for films of any of her writings. But first, there would be hours of treacherous driving on wide, open roads that could easily lull her into a fatally distracted slumber before reaching this destination. The break of morning over Solemnity Island visualized identical to the sherbet that your mother forced on you as a kid because it was more wholesome and still just as tasty – with bright orange sun-dappled hills and pink puffy streaks through flawlessly blue skies. Lorna’s eyes were heavy with fatigue as both of her hands gripped the steering wheel rigidly trying not to lose concentrated focus. She pushed her right eye toward her left hand to see the time. 8:45pm. Only a few more hours to go would surely bring her to the bungalows just before lunch where the meet and mingles were usually held. Myriad colors of canvas billowed upward and crunched downward in the wind like a wayward sail as Lorna strode over to a randomly-selected group of strangers. Her eyes scanned around carefully before she extended her hand to the least threatening of them. “Lorna—” she gulps and looks around nervously. “You?” “Fuck you, bitch!” Lorna jumped from the vibrations of hostility. “I remember you! You’re an asshole!” Lorna never liked to admit to tearing up easily. And she liked even less that she could feel an albeit smaller and lighter tear than the flood tides at the shore and in the car ride enroute. The sting was definitely unexpected. “ I’m not quite sure I –” Lorna was one of those people that believed that no more than six people separated every other person and that even if she wasn’t as successful as some of he acquaintances, she was well on her way to – “Look, never mind, I can always go talk to someone –” The other woman’s words spit out like jellyfish rays mounting horsefly fangs. “S-T-U-P-I-D – RUDE BITCH! You will never make it as long as you are a stupid rude bitch!” “Look, Lady, I don’t even know you and you know even less about me. I suggest that you make your way out of this mix and mingle before I mangle you!” Lorna always carried around a fully-loaded and charged tape recorder and from the recessed annals and the bottomless pit of her color-coordinated cardigan and bucket bag, she could hear the churning and whizzing of wheels from the record button being accidentally disengaged. She was menacing a mangle of this maniac (and she didn’t want that on tape in case it would be misinterpreted later since she never usually liked to let on that she carried other’s damning words around with her everywhere that she went, either). So she had to concoct some graceful nudge off tactic without digging it out to full reveal. She swooshed at her purse unobtrusively until she was certain that she heard no more whirling noise all together. Then on the last spat of the least – eloquent consonants of the year, she made a break for it away from the woman, well around the block and corner down the sidewalk and to the next weird twist of the day. Back to the pace of traipsing with breezy confidence, she bumped into a “similar” but did not know it yet. She actually bumped into her vintage straw summer handbag and when her face burned like a harsh scrubbing from a scouring pad, she looked up cockeyed and swore that she saw someone identical to a person that she had seen less than an hour before. This time, her words spat out like rapid-fire and with the same venom of the less-than-virtuous visitor to Solemnity. “Look, Lady! You just called me a BITCH – a stupid rude bitch at that, and I really don’t –” Sensing that this barrage of bickering banter was just the beginning, she looked up as sweetly as she could muster and tripping over the ‘t” in Lorna’s defiant “don’t” countered, “Take it easy Darlin’, I said no such thing.”

Chapter 2: “Similars” and “Invisibles”

Lorna became even more defiant. “I just saw you around the corner and you called me – “ She pressed her hands to her hips, stood in a triangular stance and stared solidly. Tears of sugar cascaded to crystalline crackling droplets on her heart that melted her external expression to syrup. “Sugar, like I said, I know that I called you no such thing. Though I’m sure if you make your way around this mansion, you’ll run into a ‘similar’ or two.” The sweet Southern Belle looked up, down, and aghast. This was the largest building she had ever seen in her entire life. Lorna was still unamused and wanted to appear brave and unbudging. But she was, nonetheless, intrigued. “What on Earth is a ‘similar’?” “Someone that you think you’ve seen before that is really someone else.” “Oh.” “Do you know a lot of ‘similars’?” On the one hand, Lorna knew that she blared of sarcasm. On the other, she hoped that her voice lilted no trace of it. “I’ve met a few, are you a ‘similar’?” “Not that I know of.” “Oh, hey. What’s your name anyway?” “Chandra.” “Nice to meet you, Chandra.” “I really do think your ‘similar’ called me a --” “I know, I know … a bitch.” “Don’t forget stupid and rude.” “How could I?” Chandra muttered feeling nowhere near as sweet as syrup now. “Anyway you say that it wasn’t you. Oh well, I will probably be in a better mood in a few days.” Lorna thought about extending her hand as a peace offering, and then thought twice, saying, “Maybe, I’ll see you again?” With head hung low, she trudged away silently and did not look back. Straight and further down the sidewalk, she noticed two men (she guessed maintenance men who could be “similars” themselves), hosing down the concrete. Lorna thought nothing of it at first until a wash of dread overcame her. She knew for one extremely epiphanious fraction of a second that something had most definitely gone terribly, terribly wrong. She just didn’ know when. Cassandra didn’t know just why she was headed towards Solemnity Island; she did know that no one ever took to her wherever she was before. She drove like a steady, focused machine listening only to the clicking of wheels over grooves. In aura and in presence, she was the perfect candidate as the guest poised to soak up the Island’s austerity. Meditating for long enough had taught this seasoned R.N. a lesson about doubling backwards into blissfully calming peace and healing. Healing was the hope of her business, but dying was much more often the result of a soul’s reticence to find a peace. On most days, she rode with the actual living or the actual dying – her silence the cheerleader for endurance on the journey; but on this as-yet- untraveled road to Solemnity, she sat only with a ghost – an “invisible.” An “invisible” was the essence of a person that was loved and remembered long after he or she was gone. More often than not, this “invisible” made Cassandra want to be invisible herself until she swallowed the pain from their choking tears and hers. There were no radio waves blaring inside her car as distractions whatsoever, and she was pretty sure that the windows were closed until the shiver of a chill soaked through her and the wind’s whistle pierced her catatonic eardrums. “Cracked seal,” her logical mind reasoned. But the sparked part of her that always hoped for fun rather than crisis had thought, “per chance a ghost?” The decibel of the whistle screeched to a tea kettle’s pitch as her momentary lapse of common sense had her speeding a bit faster than before. Still there was no ghost in earshot. The silence was far from deafening and the road was longer still. Minutes lapsed into at least a half an hour later, and a small wafting voice declared, “Try to live.” Then, “I tried to live.” But nothing about this companion made her smile. Martin and Rebecca Daniels were young thirty-somethings already on Solemnity and looking for the most romantic getaway of their young married lives. At first, they had planned to stay for only a weekend. Then fun forgot to remind them that it wasn’t Friday anymore. One weekend turned into one month that was more-than-meaningful until the last day when Martin abruptly announced to Becca that before they had met and married, he went to a guru with his or a heterosexual buddy. The guru claimed that every man was gay and every woman was a lesbian and that there were two reasons for this: one, to get it out of their systems before marriage and two, to avoid all contact with undesirable males and females all together. Martin finally confessed post-vow and newly-hogtied that he believed whole-heartedly in this theory and that he had pretended to be gay so well with so many women before Becca that a few genuinely gay men bought his game. They tried to carry on an extended affair with him, and he was now uber-paranoid when mysterious rashes and bumps appeared even if they were nothing. Becca freaked. Their merry month melted into an eerie extended separation in which much more information would be revealed. Though, none of it would bode well against her proud and prudish reputation. Cassandra’s “invisible” sighed the same suspended sighs loud enough to be heard through the piercing screeches, “Tried to live. I tried to live.”

Chapter 3: Schism or Rekindle?

Cassandra couldn’t make heads or tails out what the heck her “invisible” meant by the ominous words, but the Solemnity – stranded newlyweds were about offer some unfortunately – purged insight as they went through their catharsis towards final schism or rekindling. They finished their daily romp of activities, which today included: parasailing, a morning hot springs cave spelunk, and still-day moon gazing before finally collapsing torso first and fatigued onto their made beds. Martin was the last to recover from this inordinately hot day, which still had them both, donning still heated, but cooled sunburns and corresponding exhaustion. Martin was splayed out diagonally on the bed with head dangling off the side where the footboard should be and with his legs to the pillows when Becca bolted up toward the dresser’s complimentary silver ice bucket, and wet bar to grab some chilled wine. She became tipsy, and intended to gather more information about this fresh discovery of her husband’s “fake gay” days. Becca downed by gulping rather than sipping. She got a little more than tipsy before chiding him. “So Buster, let me get this straight. You actually pretended to be gay to repel other women before you met me?” Martin knew his new wife fairly well by now. But her tone was far-less-jocular and light than the manner to which he was accustomed, and he could safely say that he felt almost threatened by the ideal of telling her that her tone made him want to end the conversation. So he stammered through his response instead. “Uh, well, yeah.” Becca got three inches from his flushed, cooling face before sweeping out her horror. “You’re kidding me!” Her deliberately exaggerated exasperation sounded more like an imp of a Muppet rather than a grown adult. This diffused his reflexive impulse to lunge his body back to the headboard and attack not-at-all-randomly with the nearest blunt object – something that luckily for her, was not always readily available in the rooms of most chain hotel rooms. And besides, no one should be attacking a Muppet a anyway – even if its voice was emanating a supposedly mature 30-year old woman’s mouth. This was, of course, without summoning the cleaning crew. But, then there would be witnesses. Neither one of them needed that unless by the end of the night they both checked ‘final schism’ from their room service menus and tore them into shredded bits rather than to leave them outside with their breakfast choices clearly selected. Martin sat frozen in place before breaking the very awkward silence. He stood up from what very well could be his pinned and cornered diminutive stature and answered boldly, yet calmly. The first words were a bit louder than the rest until his heart rate slowed his lips to a mutter. “Yeah-eah.” Becca stared transfixed by his unsurpassed confidence. “Most women would be flattered.” “You expect me to be flattered that men were deceived into carrying on an affair with my husband?” Martin was speechless and Becca was repulsed. “Well—that’s not the worst of it.” “That’s NOT THE WORST of it?” Becca’s head was pounding her back into the more sober reality: her stomach was churning with a sickened feeling, her voice was raised to a louder and more stable tone, and her heart was scarred enough to fight back. “What IS the worst of it?” she blared bitingly. They both assumed they were alone in the room until the lights flickered on and off and the air and heat combo vent engaged automatically. Becca went over to see if the switch was set to auto. When she found it off, she looked at her hubby suspiciously. Before marriage, they discussed their mutual belief in ghosts, though she supposed that momentarily blinking lights in a large building was pretty typical. She also knew that this happened frequently and most of the time, simultaneous to the air and heat coming on by itself. So perhaps there was no ghost just yet. Becca was about ready to hear the worst of Martin’s confession when a breeze broke the caustic fog between them. Martin jumped, swearing that he heard a young boy’s voice saying, “Tried to live, then I tried to live.” “What did you say?” Martin barked. Becca nodded her head back and forth in a “no” gesture signifying that she had said nothing. Martin said, “I heard voices.” He pressed his index finger to his mouth to shush her and her agreement to listen rekindled a minute amount of receptivity between them. The quiet soothed more so than the weariness of the hazy fog prior. After a few minutes, she also agreed that she heard the same young voice saying, “Tried to live. I tried to live.” Becca responded by saying, “I DO think I hear something.” Martin paused before starting in again, “I think those are the voices of the gay guys’ client that died.” “Huh?” She eyed him in shock, then quickly jolted herself out of the halcyon moment of sweetness between them saying, “ Oh, I forgot this IS the worst of it. I’m listening.” This time Becca’s words “I’m listening” were just as flat as she was blasé as her interior. Martin continued, “Well, the gay guys that thought I was gay when I pretended carried on affairs with all sorts of guys - some of whom knew that they were gay and some of whom did not. I stopped even pretending when I realized that some of the guys were making all of the other guys sick. They dropping like flies. The prejudiced part of me assumed that it was from diseases. This freaked me out and I went stone-cold straight again until I met you.” Martin caressed her on the chin, trying to soften Becca’s very unenthused (bordering on bitter) reaction. “And the rest is history.” Martin whispered sweetly, “I don’t want to hear anymore.” Becca was grief-stricken and barely able to face Martin. Rather than reveal the weakness that stemmed vulnerability, she turned her face away as she let the mist of closure squint her eyes to feigned sleep. She forced them open long enough to shift her gaze to the corner to tear off two room service menus. On the blank side of each she wrote: FINAL SCHISM with a gigantic square and REKINDLE underneath with another gigantic square. Becca slid Martin a menu while lifting her head to reveal that her gentle mist that was morphing into a lip-quivering pile of running snot that was clogging up her nose to the point of sniffles. Becca checked FINAL SCHISM; Martin checked the box REKINDLE. Unwilling to immediately elaborate in words for the moment and knowing the neither could quite decide, they both fell asleep slumped in the rotating swivel chairs with all of the lights on. The light filtering through his eyelashes seemed to darken sometime during the night for Martin. He wondered if one of the ghosts’ voices rejuvenated the darkened room or if the light went off automatically because they were time-programmed to nightfall. Darker shadows looming over his still-closed eyes made rest easier even though he had never in his life been able to actually sleep in a completely upright position. But he was certainly grateful to be protected from the sight of the breakfast room service menu in smithereens on the floor that would taunt him by morning.

Chapter 4: The Ashen White of Gone

Light finally cracked through the dark, for Cassandra and Martin. As the grey light of dawn burnt off into morning, wisps of white speckled sand blew upwards from the ocean’s shore and at her car window. They looked much like the shreds of the room service menu that Martin was simultaneously waking. Her eyes were heavy from nights of dead-locked and focused driving with no sleep so she was not surprised that even through the clarificent sunlight, she was conjuring up an apparition of the “invisible” that haunted Martin and Rebecca in their hotel room the night before. And here he sat with tubes, needles and hoses running all through him and rendering him completely incapable. Times like these make Cassandra want to lurch right through the red lights to end the “invisible’s” misery. And much to the chagrin of numbers of other road travelers on roads to destinations where Cassandra sought peace, she had done exactly that. And there was a screech that only came when the last vestiges of her rational mind stopped her from killing both the “invisible” and herself as well. “For it was only the “invisible” that had no choice but to perish,” she always thought with every deliberate accident she had caused. But for her? After much-needed respite, there would always be another “invisible” who would make better choices and who would survive and beat the odds. And it was these “invisibles” that would remain for the sole purpose of cleansing her soul from the turmoil of terminating a life taken by treacherous lies. But the “invisible” that saw seated before her on this fateful morning arrival to Solemnity would be as lost to oblivion of apathy as Martin and Becca’s relationship in the next few negative and dismissive nods of the head. Over several hours of night, her ears had managed to block out all noises all together, so she did not hear the ghost speaking to her as she was sure that she had a few times before along the drive. But she was certainly seeing things. And the outline and silhouette of this persistent “invisible” was still very much there even after she thought that she had shaken the blurriness off. Martin bolted up to a vertical position and was very unwillingly shaken out of the depth of a continuously and intensely-snoring coma. His grumpiness was obvious immediately upon seeing the strips of the room service menu lying in a neglected shredded pile on the carpet. He stared not in grief, but rather, in mounting indignant ire. He was deliberately speechless in an effort to “save face”. But he was overtaken by pride. So he pointed and stared. “So this is it?” Very pointed. Becca knew all-too-soon and all-too-well and all-too-often that she was incapable of making or meeting her gaze to the ease of his attempt at intimidation. Becca’s face appeared pink with the flush that comes from the heat of utter humiliation. “You’re the one that’s impure.” “Curse the wind and damn the ghost.” Martin felt for certain that before the rattling of this aura’s obvious heaven-bound yet earthly toil that there would be no need for her to know of his unfortunate minor mistakes since his blood ran clean and a dry red yielding the quick heal of a wound from health. Martin stopped cavorting with gay men all together when he realized how many maybe gay and maybe straight converts were made sick by the callous recklessness that came from totally dead-end introductions. Martin wanted to fight for Becca and his long-held “little boy” fantasy that divorce would never happen for him. But his haunched warrior spirit was dampening to a limp nothingness within and certainly, the weakness of his next words would have his until-just-now-beloved fleeing from his perceived dual personality instead of his speckled past. Whatever trailed Becca off to whatever direction that she would ultimately go without him at this most buckled moment since being on bended knee to betroth her for life or longer, Martin saw no way to win. Her eyes, normally balanced pools of ocean blue, now were dilated the black of pain. She swiped at her nose and turned her head quickly again to be labeled a waif. She grabbed the room door’s protruding brass handle and fled rapidly into the ashen white of gone. Martin bent his head downward helplessly to shed tears of diminished strength and to collect strips of wood pulp that he thought would reignite their flame, only REIGNITE. Then he discovered that just like Becca herself, the wood pulp had pureed itself into a brown soiled stain that looked as nasty as the scars on his heart. Martin hadn’t noticed Becca relocating the shreds to the trash and he was too delirious to know whether his confusion had caused him to pound the stain into place by pacing.

Chapter 5: Deep Gets Deeper

Cassandra thudded her swollen hands on the steering wheel three times – once to put a period on the lies of others and twice to hammer the point home so that her vacation peace would be placid rather than plagued by the repeated misdeeds of miserly money mongers with microphones, voice editing software and all the other tricks of the technical trade. The trinkets of these tricksters were always shackled in secret corners for safekeeping and sound swindling. She was frankly distanced from her visions of no-talent dreamers now-long-dead from their disastrous decisions to desert real and stable jobs in favor of glamorous gigs that would get them (and get them all) in the end. Cassandra glanced up from her mind’s latest haze of disgust at yet one more “invisible” vanished – This time, having been pummeled by a “crazy Christian” or to that first, gutted their victim claiming that God felt that poetry was puffery of the prideful who preferred to lounge in the labors of the hard-working middle class and that this was punishable by the plucking out of a rib and being stabbed repeatedly by a supposedly canonized saint from the cleanest whistles of churches who were really sanitarian satan worshippers very much on the side and super-silenced by paralyzed fear. The paralysis came from the multiple needle stabbings during the rituals in which, voices of a very loud and a very clear nature instructed the perpetrator or her that this money-monger (shaved head definitely included) was really a missing serial killer no longer in disguise who had thus far evaded capture and all suspicion by donning his or her supermodel friend’s (stolen or borrowed) digs and feigning apparent mortal exterior beauty by covering his or her skin carving with lavishly long locks and laying low. And for this, total tons take down that would signify forever that this serial-killer-on-the-sly (if left intact) had really intended to take over the soul and the salary of the much more virtuous. He or she had no intention of suffering the possible entrapping feelings of ingénue status and working up his or her own rungs of the rise to stardom or the fall to failure from discovered falsity. The only way to truly atone for this was by forcibly following of the footsteps of the very punctured and pious master – cloaked by the shroud of total sellout – instead of successful saint. Due to the pagan nature of the sanitarium, it would first be critical to crucify their crap (and then themselves) into a hollow voodoo doll who would hold on to his or her imposter life as a super-prodigy as long as it took to be unraveled from the series of very thin threads wrapped around very thick needles that were really the pillars of salt that would eventually pry loose the person into the white ashes of gone like so many violated “invisibles” before them. These routines satisfied all justices – Christian, pagan, and moral – for all persons – pretend or not – plowed downward into the sea as “ashes to ashes” and “dust to dust” for the Christians; all Pagans were marred by an unraveling of their reality from stable to sacreligious when the token voodoo doll that was really the real person died. Morally, no person would prosper when his or her talents were put to the test and found to be feigning a real celebrity. Anyone that believed that any dead celebrities were actually alive would be immediately locked up pending an investigation into his or her lapse in, or loss of, all sanity all together. And since all formerly alive celebrities killed themselves in the media before making their way to fake morticians who killed them off from the kinetic stresses of constant craving for attention or to avoid being killed in reality, all people that look you up leave out the fact that you might be right about one or two of them hiding solely for the purpose of shrinking your ego from especially smart to extra-cautious in 24 – 48 very expensive billable hours. Said hours are known the sane as a brainwashing session, and to the insane as a gig-rewarding-guru session. Cassandra stared initially very blankly into her windshield and until the knocking of one of the handy man “similars” shook out of her stupor long enough to be recognized. Shamed by the horror of being caught delirious and entranced, she wagged a quick and negative shake-off nod that was her personal ritual into the land of no noticeable departure from normalcy. Cassandra pointed very gingerly at this acquaintance gesturing for him to wait patiently while she parked her car closer to the back of the building that he was responsible for. She followed him in the direction from which he came and followed him to wherever he had to go while they introduced themselves and talked. The handyman meandered off, jarred significantly enough by the slamming of Cassandra’s car door to decide to wait. It was really just motions maniacal cry for patience before something or someone (on this case, Cassandra herself) is missed. Cassandra kept pace with his gait well enough to catch up to an equal, side by side stride without having to extend arm or even hand for balancing or slowing in her pursuit. They both walked very briefly without speaking. Cassandra gasped suddenly; she thought Hector might be his name, (but was not really sure). He was looking down in shame himself with one index pressed to his mouth to discourage any further or louder outbursts. They might get what was directly below him subject to much more intense scrutiny by many more people than his sane mind would ever want under any circumstances. The other was pointed down for her eyes only. At a later date, shock prevented Cassandra from being able to say anything more than that she saw a dark, odorlessness, and oozing liquid that was as deep as from the top of the Earth’s crust to the top of the man-made road. This was as deep as deep gets for the most of us (except maybe from the bottom of the ocean floor and up). Cassandra would also swear that the material was mere liquid and categorically not solid at all. Worse, it’s odorless made it impossible to be identified in its genuine form. Cassandra hung her head low then thought about pressing her face to the ooze to try to identify it as something as simple as tar that had yet to dry and be done with what would unveil itself as a much deeper mess entirely. But a very unexpected and unwelcome yank from Hector taught her instantly that he was far less interested in her discovering the real truth than she was. She thought that his abrupt pulling might have given her whiplash, though she hadn’t heard a snap. Then, while still trying to wedge herself safely between the appearance of what the liquid might be in reality versus the fantasy of exploring its depth (albeit farther than what Hector might have liked) that would result in discovering a benign, spongy material a bit more solid than originally assumed that would transport her into an other-worldly bliss, Hector’s collar-pulling had the cotton tips of her shirt caressing her ears and stimulating a blistering series of shrieks. As if some sort of telepathy existed between them that was as-yet-unspoken, Hector persisted in diverting his constant gaze away from the ooze. He plugging her ears simultaneously with his thumbs to make her forget that sound waves might be vibrating below that would reveal unwelcome answers to still unburied questions. In no way did Cassandra like the fact that the entrance of Hector’s thumbs into her ears was so forceful. She flopped, becoming a shifting and flailng buoy on feet when she started to feel as though he might plug up more than just her ears next. She never volunteered for loss of all control, and perception of all her senses even it was temporary. Suddenly, she remembered that had a reticence towards water – she didn’t like the feeling of drowning in any plane of existence even if she was not. She patted around her head with her hands until she could take his thumbs out of her ears easily. She felt aware again, and wasn’t dulled, sluggish and susceptible to deception. Hyper-alert and quite cognizant of the sights, smells and sounds around her, she first heard shrieks and moans that filtered through her ears like the sting of the florescent lights of a 3rd grade classroom on a person’s irises and pupils. She saw the traced outlines of each of her cars bumping into each “invisible” and careening downward into the black darkness of the ooze. At the same time, Hector covered their now-helpless souls up with the dirt and gravel from above. Each outline of each car was recognizable not just by its shape and color of the lines itself as ten or more invisible plummeted unexpectedly into the darkness that would translate to them as a blindness from the true magnitude from their mortal bodies suffering. But Cassandra’s suffering was far from over. It radiated a jolt like static through her heart at least once a day for each “invisible” that was forsaken. Sometimes that jolt was a viperous wave and sometimes it was a toxic stab that would immobilize her own body with a stroke as punishment for each “invisible” that she had helped Hector eliminate out of a warped sense of compassion. Relentless and unnecessary in her ears was the scraping of Hector’s spade over the loose stones and gravel that would prevent the bodies’ conscious cries for escape from being heard. Also continuous was her vision was Hector, who barely stopping to breath and always in sinister motion to seal the dead from the love and justice of living forever. Cassandra turned away from Hector and the haunting loop of his vision abruptly. She had no plans of looking back from the swift power walk back to her car. With her first entire day of Solemnity wasted and no plans on how to make her next series of days pass by as peacefully as she hoped, she was not as happy as the fatigue in her bones might have had her. Day faded off effortlessly to the grey of dusk. All that remained to the illuminate the darkness of night was the bright glare of the moon. She walked as briskly as her bulky body could manage through the cool and crisp air in which she made visible shadows that guided her path back to the sound proof warmth of her sturdy vehicle. Her hand fumbled for the stability of her unlocked door. Simultaneous to the noise of the clicking door handle, there was a crunch that elapsed the same tempo as the click. Her wariness at another shadow’s presence following very closely behind her own made her jump. She thought she was bumping into was Hector with something that she had not abandoned but could not really live without. She looked up from the pressing of her nose to the assumed stranger’s chest. The figure was towering over her with the pen light on her dangling keys engaged.

Chapter 6: Drama’s Delay

“You might need these,” boomed a familiar voice. Cassandra thought that it was Hector, but when she scrapped her pressed noise of his baggy sweatshirt and bumped his chin she realized that the man only sounded like Hector, and that he wasn’t really Hector. He was so similar, though, that she jumped backwards one inch and let out an audible gasp. Pressing her fingers ever-so-lightly on his arms she pushed back on him and spoke, “Who are you?” “Jorge, the name is Jorge.” He cracked a grin that morphed into a gigantic smile as he circled the pen light first over the crown of the hair on her head, and then in large swooping motions across the night sky. As the penlight hovered over, Cassandra couldn’t help but wonder if light beams were really those of a burgeoning star’s film opening. She looked up, down, around, and then backwards despite herself to see where the beams of light were really coming from. And when Cassandra turned her head, Jorge shed her flashlight’s light and moved it around to create the beams that she would chase with her eyes until they appeared to stop entirely. Straight in front of her Cassandra could see the shadow looking as though he or she was bobbing up and down in a patch of leaves on a gentle slope that in the daylight it looked more like the side of an entire hillside that supported a billboard. Cassandra turned back toward Jorge to signal to him that she would be back and then inched closer step by step to the bobbing outline. Examining further, Cassandra realized that the figure was another woman. As she progressed forward, she noticed medium to long straight hair and a slender bone structure. Cassandra approached cautiously, preferring to shout out and wait for a voluntary response rather than to hold out her hand in greeting. “Hey!” Cassandra ventured. Looking directly in front of her, she noticed a gentle wave and continued, “What’s your name?” The shadowy silhouette of a woman was, in fact, Lorna. After her conversation with Chandra about “similars”, she decided to spend the next several days combing through the hidden gem spots of Solemnity and contemplated how she was going to accomplish her goal of being a filmmaker in wake of the unforeseen hostility being directed at her at the first mix and mingle. For the life of her, Lorna didn’t remember anyone that she made that angry – and not in all of the years of seeking the inspiration that comes from beauty and the motivation that comes from refreshment. Obviously this intentionally-barbed, nameless stranger had absolutely no idea about Lorna’s long history of presence on the Island. And it seemed that she was not likely to care. Rather than to be martyred by the intruder’s lack of empathetic awareness, she decided to lay low and explore Solemnity’s newness that would come from the natural evolution of years. Her willingness to abandon her seemingly harsh reality in favor of surrendering to the much-needed solitude would definitely aid her in her quest for an untraceable portion of the Island. And just where she, Jorge, and Cassandra were situated on this deep navy blue and nocturnal night seemed to be the place. “Lorna.” Her named sputtered from behind a swaying gaggle of tumbleweeds as she first poked her head out and forward and then catapulted her body straight making her legs dangle over the hillside before the stretched out to skulk down the incline and over the yellow curb leaving her feet feeling safely planted on the concrete. She was closer to Cassandra’s car was parked, and where she and Jorge had originally met. “Nice to meet you, Lorna. What are you doing?” “Hiding.” “Hiding from what?” Cassandra inquired. “Salty strangers.” “Salty strangers? I’m not quite sure that I understand.” She continued, a bit more tersely this time. “A brash and bitter bitch.” Lorna scraped her up with her tooth just after she was bold enough to use the word bitch and wondered if the crassness would make this woman boil over like the other. “Oh, salty as in bitter, I get it now.” Lorna nodded affirmatively. “Someone giving you trouble?” Lorna hung her head, not really wanting to respond but not really knowing how to dodge the issue either. “Sort of.” Lorna muttered. Cassandra pointed behind them where Lorna camouflaged by the reeds let her eyes follow, if only out of reflex. “Were those beams of light from your dazzling debut or something?” Cassandra grinned slyly and Lorna scrunched a puzzled shrug. “I’ve wanted to make a movie for years.” “I’m sure you can.” Cassandra’s eyes started to feel heavy and though she didn’t know how long she was planted in this parking lot. With perky ears to listen, she knew that she hadn’t planned for it to be as long as this. She also knew she hadn’t stranded herself on Solemnity to languish the lamentations of others; but if she slept, she would be sorry for when time for prized peace had slipped away through the sieve that represents the delay of drama. It was at times like these that Cassandra wanted to put a period on things with a pat on Lorna’s shoulder for encouragement and press on. In motherly fashion, she did just that. Lorna blushed awkwardly, feeling more comfortable with this stranger than the hostile one that was Chandra’s dopey doppelganger; and yet she felt like the threads of eternity were too long for either one of them to be helpful to each other. Realizing that she didn’t know this nicer woman’s name she thought that that might be a good starting point to sever the binds between them. “I didn’t catch your name.” “Cassandra.” “Cool, cool.” “Hey good luck with that movie.” Lorna chuckled. “I’ve been trying for years, and it’s never happened.” Cassandra offered another motherly pat for good luck, turning away toward the silence of slumber that her car always provided. Cassandra was sure that Lorna couldn’t be able to offer any suggestions on how to best take advantage of the island’s meditative possibility, so she didn’t bother to She would only be delayed from dreamland by one more short question and answer. “Have you been to Solemnity before?” Lorna wondered. “Nope.” Cassandra’s response was precise. “You?” “I was a regular as a kid, this is my first year back in forever.” “Still the same as you remember?” “Things have changed – and not for the better.” “I wouldn’t know.” Cassandra turned away to walk to her car. She assumed that Jorge or Hector (or one of them pretending to be the other or one person pretending to be both of them) got tired of waiting and trailed off into blueness. She didn’t that she saw neither of them anywhere nearby, actually. With the sky still navy blue and the crackling light of dawn in sight, Jorge stood silently behind Lorna with his legs spread out the same distance as the pitch of an A-frame house. He ventured carefully past the reticence that wandered through his thoughts before he spoke aloud. Shreds of bark that looked the same as gerbil shavings crunched beneath his feet as he pivoted at the same speed of the pacing of the fears in his thoughts. “Movie maker?” Now seated comfortably seated with her legs flailing over the sides of the gentle slope, which were bending the swaying reeds into flattened blades of grass, Lorna thought that she must have jumped at least two inches. She shivered and turned. Jorge had wanted to begin the movie discussion much more personally on the one hand – perhaps not at all casually, “WANNA, MAKE A MOVIE?” as though he might be involved as well – and on the other hand, he had been somewhat of a lone wolf and the idea of adding anyone into his activities still seemed very uncomfortable. Instead of simply not responding, Lorna said, “Tried for years – never really worked out.” Inching nervously closer, Jorge offered, “It could.” Lorna wanted to think of his tone as merely sweet and not flirtatious. Deep down, she didn’t mind a little sexual tension if she was sure of the person’s mutual interests. But she always tried to steer completely clear of unclear situations that might invite future trouble. “I doubt it,” she mused, very discouraged. “You’re gonna give up that easy?” “I don’t give up ever. You have any good ideas of how to make things happen?” “I do.” Lorna raised her eyebrows with suspicion. “Come to the park tomorrow tonight.” Lorna thumped off the narrow balance beam sized wall, over the planted reeds and moved slowly and carefully backwards and toward him to shake his hand. With a firm grip and a tenuous grimace, she replied, “Deal.”

Chapter 7: No Rest In Sight

Morning found Cassandra not as refreshed as she would have liked but still careening down all the roads on the Island searching for the best place to purge the memory of the latest “invisible”. She finally settled on a piece of a mountain that looked like the floor in a tri-level house. She drove cautiously through the trees of the forest that blocked the narrow path upwards to the shelf-like seat just before you hit a part of the same mountain that looked as if it would take hours to climb with no rest in sight. She parked, engaged the emergency brake for safety sake, and prayed that her living quarters wouldn’t roll backwards and become irretrievable as she pushed herself up with hands palms downward for support to a seated position on this convenient nature’s ledge. From this height, she could see the awe-inspiring vastness of the Island. She tried as hard as she could to focus the next several hours on gratitude rather than regret and she realized as harden as she had become that not much could’ve been done about any of the “invisible’s” loss of life. Their souls chose the stimulated chaos of fun rather than the road of responsible restraint. She mourned inwardly and without tears – and this exhausted her. Her mourning transformed into a blurry trance with the last thing that she remembered hearing being the chirping of seagulls soaring through the air. She felt them pushing themselves upwards and keeping themselves suspended like a magnet all the way from below. Then the last pitch of the gulls chirp vibrated through her fragile Third eye and knocked her deep into REM sleep. She awoke several hours later with a still-heavy heart that was no less heavy or resolved from the rest (which was really no rest at all). She was thankful that her almost vertical vehicle was only a few strides below remained stationary. Her eyes took in the blurring that comes in the late afternoon, her tongue tasted the spitting of rain and her ears took in only silence – assuring that all of the “invisibles” were indeed passed over. Only she remained. Her heavy heart almost made her stomach feel full, so she felt no need to drive further into civilization to eat. This was best, because any hustle and bustle would trigger a memory of one of her cherished “invisibles” and leave her stomach hurting with the reality that she could save none of them unless they were willing to save themselves first; and she couldn’t save herself until the wretchedness that plagued their sad and mutilated hearts tapered to white nothingness rather than to suspend itself in a blaring red that signaled their anger at their fates and so easily inspired hers. Lorna, meanwhile, did not awaken at all until the spitting rain became a drizzle and her lightly sleeping self that had been deep asleep during the night realized that she forgot to position herself in a more deliberate place. She felt herself becoming soaked. She had no idea why she had stayed asleep so long and no had no conscious recollection from the day before about how she had passed out while camping. The light of the sky being as gray as it was deceived her into being later than in actuality, and worrying that she might miss her chance to make movie magic made her bolt boldly upwards. She was now fully awake and ready to run into Jorge to fetch him for the party. She waited what it felt must have been an hour, but Jorge still had not shown up. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen the inside of a cabin or hotel room or the rest of her clothes, either. But she figured that if he actually did show up, she would be wearing the same thing she was wearing now. More time elapsed. Still no sign of Jorge. She figured that it would do no good to stagnate at this point and decided to start exploring the downtown area and the rustic perimeter of the island where most of the tourists went. Perhaps she would catch up with Jorge in the visitor area or find a party of her own. She sprinted, albeit clumsily, over the browning green grassy reeds and through the swampy holes under a whole rushes all the way to the edge of Solemnity’s nature. There, by miracle, was a frequently traveled and usually freshly-paved road. Yellow light from the various industrial shopping districts and club buildings flooded with gracious gentleness over Lorna’s concrete path like an angel’s halo of protection from harm or a shield from the meddling of suspicious and unwelcome stranger. Music blared from the spaces that Lorna assumed were clubs. It seemed to be vibrating to the beat of the revolving strobe light within. Lorna remembered Solemnity as a safe haven long ago. Though with the liberalism of the changing times, she had spotted several people that she wouldn’t quite have trusted on her own accord. She also was never accustomed to participating in the rave scene or hanging out in the pubs as a kid because the frequency with which she visited Solemnity made it more of a second home than a vacation spot. She preferred to bask in the island’s halcyon solitude. She wasn’t sure if she should try to enter into any and all of the bars to scan the crowds searching for Jorge. After several minutes of peering from the outside to the inside of all of the establishments that she could peek into, her eyes and body became fatigued. She scrunched her face as she let out a lengthy yawn. Her facial muscles relaxed, she noticed the inside of a club that looked like it had friendly, rather than predatory, faces in it and she thought that it might be okay to enter. She stood on her tiptoes and held her breath for several seconds before letting out an aspiration that was a combination of a squeak and a huff and a puff. She sounded like a swimmer under water or a diver contemplating the multitudinous feat between him and the bottom of the pool before going in. She stepped gingerly forward – lightly and carefully at less than an inch at a time – unsure whether she should sit or stand. The place wasn’t at all very crowded since it was just past dinnertime. She stood scanning her surroundings almost catatonically, assessing if there was anyone that she really wanted to talk to. She wondered why in the world people came to these places found them to be entertaining party spots at all. She was already dizzy from the flashing and dancing lights, and she figured that pretty soon, her head would be pounding from the loud music once a more substantial crowd gathered. From inside, it looked much less like the lights matched the music’s tempo as it had appeared outside; and this, she thought, made it far less fun to consider dancing to eventually keep pace with the tempo herself. She headed for the bar, but didn’t really want to order a drink. Just as she was getting up to leave, she felt a yank at the back of her collar. She though a thread or a piece of the cloth had gotten caught on a protruding nail in the chair or something. She wriggled around, certain that the slender thread would snap at any moment. But when that didn’t work, she turned directly behind herself to notice a man first grabbing her clothes and then her waist, trying to make impossible for her to free herself from him. She felt both a very sinister vibe and that his immediate proximity crossed the line way past flirting. She felt pangs of alarm. Her heart sunk into her chest. His hands more than halfway around her lower torso at this point and his tongue aiming for her ear, he whispered creepily, “Dance with me.” Lorna bent her neck around to see if anyone else in the club had noticed this. Sadly for her, it appeared that anyone that could have witnessed this encounter with any type of accuracy whatsoever was halfway across the room or more and completely obliviously in the diagonal corner. His hands clinched tighter around her waist. He was not going to let her go unless she found a way to bring her inner-feelings very clearly outward. And she knew that this was what she must do. This perversely-acting stranger might try more than just putting his tongue in her ear. She closed her eyes and visualized something as terrible as strangulation – and she knew that she did not want it be hers. She knew that her physical strength had to ensure that it would not be hers. She turned her head back sideways facing him and then thrusted her torso forward trying to push his torso far enough away from her that she could get enough elbow room to very firmly needle him -- more than once if necessary. Her strategy didn’t work the first two times. He just gave her the puzzled look of a wounded animal and drew her closer and closer still. Finally on the third try his fingers let go of her elbow by unconscious reflex. Her reaction time was just a bit faster than his. And fast enough, in fact, to turn sideways the other way away from him and run. He tried to extend out his hand to grab at her, but he tipped and teetered off of the balance on his feet and tripped backwards on the high legs of the barstool behind him. Before falling almost completely sideways and onto the floor like a domino on a chain that has finally broken, returned to standing and, a fraction of a second later, remembered to mount the stool and take a seat. Lorna had gotten far enough away from him by her scramble that she was several inches away and safely out of reach of his deadlock grip. Her eyes scanned the darkened room almost blindly for a moment before locating his face again and being easily able to focus on it. She shouted loudly like a cornered, barking dog, “Stay away from me!” He threw up his hands in front of him like he was about to play patty cake with an even younger object of one of his deviant fantasies. He donned the expression of sarcasm that signaled a mock, yet merciful surrender. She was sickened by his expression and she read it accurately – that of a persistently-clinging monster humiliating his prey into guilt-ridden apology and a return. “Be strong,” she thought to herself. “Don’t react,” she cautioned herself inwardly. Serendipitously, a crowd gathered only inches from what she had hoped would be the end to the scene forever. It was like the vulturous mob of a mosh pit and the destructive force of a tornado seeking to pinpoint its target and demolish immediately. Though silent about her wishes, she had hoped that their target was he and that her churning nerves from empathetic disturbance would be soon be soothed permanently. The looming and encircling unfortunately did not completely repel the stubbornness of his body that sat still in the same hunched and ready to hover over position – but they did manage to tear down some sort of defense somewhere inside him because the sinister nonchalance that had plagued any potential softness of his heart was quickly replaced with the grey aura of anomie, a squirm and an obvious sourness. He knew that there were no other sexual targets in the oncoming and unceasing crowd. Lorna’s “stranger” encounter in the club had felt like minutes but had really lapsed into what were a few hours. The night was still young for the strange and insistent dancer and for the mean tourist who called her a “FUCKING RUDE BITCH”, but not for Lorna. With the only empathy that she thought she might get from his expression and no more further attempts to advance toward her, she thought better of staying there til’ dawn and made a break for it. She ran with the heels of her flats clunking with decided confidence, thinking that she should never go to a Solemnity pub again and she pushed pass only one seemingly nice and concerned female stranger as she exited windily back out to the pavement. The glass double doors to enter swooshed and swung like windshield wipers. Once outside she closed her eyes, and stopped her body to slow her heart rate, and saw an image of circles drawn around one another that looked like a representation of the sound of the doors, as one would visualize them. She opened her eyes, acknowledged her fatigue in reality and tried diligently not to allow herself to dwell in the esoteric and unspoken world of her inward sensory perceptions-- of the vibes, sights, and sounds around her – for she knew that no one that she saw tangibly through her open eyes could possibly understand the shut-eyed, invisible plane. No one could provide the comfort that she needed when this level of life overpowered her. At the same time as Lorna’s exit from the so-called party at the club, the weird newcomer to Solemnity who had called her a “FUCKING RUDE BITCH” was now indoors shuffling through old videotapes of home movies of her and her husband before things went badly between them. The slam of the first video tape corresponded directly with the glass door’s noise as Lorna exited the club. Several minutes gone from the club by now, Lorna found the rude stranger now slumped on a fluffily, light-colored sofa poring over negative memories of her former relationship as she poured several beers. The more beers that she drank, she began muttering to herself normally at first and then somewhat violently as she pointed sloppily at the television screen as she cursed all the people (male and female alike) that she thought had driven a wedge between her and her former hubby. She was way too obliterated to react in any rational manner to the images of people (all former friends of the couple) on the screen. And these days with her husband long gone and safely free of the unanticipated and unwelcome rages that really divided them, she was way too obliterated admit to any culpability for their split at all. She wiggled around trying to sink herself comfortably into a slouching position, then finding that it was much harder to get real rest that way than it was to actually lie down, she fell deliberately sideways to a vertical recline and accidentally muted the audio on all of the videos that she was watching. Lulled by the silence and wary of the beams of flashing light that hit her eyes like poised laser stings, she closed her eyes and she was finally mostly off to true REM dreamland. These dreams would last several hours. Initially, she was so tired initially that this much needed deep sleep was not catalyst what-so-ever for remembering anything significant. It would be several hours into this totally unconscious slumber before any of these would occur. All this time Lorna had been standing outside the club, the rude stranger was watching videos. SHE was wondering why she hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Jorge, outside the club when she was done. She was both offered and asked for cigarettes several times by passersby, but waved them off rather than going into a lengthy explanation about her teetering on negative relationship with the idea of cigarettes anywhere near her altogether. Her legs started to feel heavy as though they might collapse underneath her the longer that she stood there, though she really had no idea where she had been planning to end up tonight without bumping into Jorge. The handy man always had brilliant hiding place ideas for vacationers or squatters on a low to no budget scale. A few minutes passed by Lorna satisfying herself by people-watching as various shapes and sizes of human forms traversed down the sidewalk – some deliberately destined, some aimless, some jagged, and some straight. She was just finding this solitary activity to be a bit on the boring side when all of a sudden she heard the sound of vigorous puking coming from somewhere to the side and to the left of her in the corner behind the building and out of view of most of the others. She suspected that this went on fairly frequently during and after club hours, but never really thought that she wanted to see much of this first hand. The puking noises went on for several minutes longer than expected. Eventually, Lorna thought she might also puke. She gulped down the rising acid from her throat and tried to plug her nose by holding her breath to block the smell instead. This worked for a moment before she thought that she might turn blue if she held her breath any longer. When she finally did decide to be the longest at holding breath (for this evening, at least) the ground around her smelled almost corpulent. She thought for certain that a heaping liquidly pile of puke was definitely the cause. Though she would find out in not too short of an order that that was only part of the answer – and the less frightening part of the answer at that. Right after Lorna had exited the club, Chandra (the women that Lorna thought was the dead ringer for the dirty-mouthed stranger), entered through the back. She had been on Solemnity for quite some time now and had found that she had run out of money and the she needed a job right away. Just today she had spotted the ad for hire in Solemnity’s only free events magazine, had been offered a few trial hours of hosting and bartending, and decided to go for it. Lorna had no idea that Chandra had entered; though if she had, she might have considered her to be a good lead about how to stop sleeping in the out of doors and in the most out of the way island spots. But alas, on Chandra’s first night of work their paths would not cross. In the rude stranger’s dream, her husband (or a man that she was sure looked exactly like him) is roving around the streets looking intensely at large crowds and small gatherings of people in his mind, trying to distract himself from the sadness of not being able to go home to her – though there is no sense whatsoever that she feels this in the dream or that she is even aware in the reality of life that he cannot go home. He is just looking for now. He has no particular thoughts to do anything pre-meditatively evil intentions– until he sees someone that looks like his wife (though he was sure that his wife was safe in bed at home from sickos like these and from any obligation to be intimate with him). She, like her doppelganger Chandra, had always taken whatever job she could on Solemnity. They were few and far between. Most of the jobs were not hard to get because no visitor to the Island would want them because of their short stay and no regular Islander would want them because of the potential danger that they involved. In elapsing years, she had been an exotic dancer, a bartender and a wrangler (that is, someone similar to a bouncer hired to distract difficult and disorderly patrons from the alcohol and wrangle them toward the front entrance) where the bouncer would bounce them out – either forever or for a period of time proportionate to the trouble they had caused. Over the years she had been raped and stalked several times – which she explained as part of the reason for her heavy alcohol use and the struggles with her intimate life. But not getting much from his wife in the way of sexual intimacy barred him frequently from his own home into the out of doors where his hungry mind could not help but fixate on women that looked the same as her who might be stronger and more capable of giving him what he needed. On this night in his wife’s dream, he had seen the “similar” to her, first entering through the front door and pulling away from a tall, dark man who was trying to get her attention. This attention bordered harassment. The woman looked younger than his wife, which instantly made him want to look younger himself. He cloaked himself as decoy to resolve the situation in case the dark stranger was truly giving her any unmanageable problems. At least at first glance, she was able to hold her own – though the sight of this younger version of his wife made him feel like a young knight himself. So from the darkness of his car, he riffled through a pile of somewhat dirty and somewhat clean clothes to change his shirt that people had always thought had made him look younger, he combed his hair back with the last of the can of hairspray and doused on some Cool Water aftershave. He figured that the young woman was fine inside – out of view of the man who was bothering her. Though he stepped out of his car, appraised his image in the side mirror seeing that, at least to him, he looked 20 years his junior, and sprinted toward the club to enter. Once inside, he noticed that he looked as though she was seated in front of the room’s side bar nursing a drink and not speaking to anyone around her.

Last Modified: March 19, 2017 at 11:19 pm
© Filmgirl39 - all rights reserved

Author Notes

First part of an admin ntended novella

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