Author Topic: That Strange Girl  (Read 2075 times)

Offline outoforder

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #15 on: Aug 13, 2015, 08:44:24 PM »
I'm going with That Strange Girl.  :)

Got my first rejection.  :-\

Offline Old Brock

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #16 on: Aug 13, 2015, 09:02:56 PM »
All the best writers get rejected loads of times before they get accepted.

Plastic

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #17 on: Aug 13, 2015, 09:11:49 PM »
Well done for sending it. Keep going.

Offline Kish

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That Strange Girl
« Reply #18 on: Dec 06, 2015, 10:01:31 PM »
Honestly no. I found the first few paragraphs scatty. I didn't know what the character thought of anything other than contradicting itself.

It's not factual. Taxis do not have plates on the roof. What use would that be? It would only be visible from a helicopter.

I saw a mention of dog shit thrown in there for no apparent reason.

I shall stop now.

I must add I am not a crime writer fan and the books I read are clean cut and precise.

Offline Old Brock

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #19 on: Dec 06, 2015, 10:42:14 PM »
I would. I think it might need a little bit of tweaking. There's the odd word/phrase that seems to me not to quite work, like 'impending on my third eye' - impinging maybe? Which draft is this?

Offline Grey

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #20 on: Dec 06, 2015, 10:52:00 PM »
The exquisite attention to details of what would be ordinary things at the forefront with the horror of the crime lurking behind them-that gives me the shivers!
I do like that a lot

Offline outoforder

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #21 on: Dec 06, 2015, 10:55:40 PM »
Thanks Kish and Old Brock.

It's a new draft, I"m changing things quite a bit. The original probably is more clear cut, but then, she is dealing with madness...

I think I'll have to overcome my block and ask someone to read it for me...I wonder are there legitimate readers out there at reasonable prices?
« Last Edit: Dec 06, 2015, 11:02:19 PM by shortOrder o »

Offline outoforder

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #22 on: Dec 06, 2015, 10:57:49 PM »
Thanks Grey.
« Last Edit: Dec 06, 2015, 11:02:57 PM by shortOrder o »

Offline MzB

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #23 on: Dec 07, 2015, 09:20:30 AM »
Thanks Kish and Old Brock.

It's a new draft, I"m changing things quite a bit. The original probably is more clear cut, but then, she is dealing with madness...

I think I'll have to overcome my block and ask someone to read it for me...I wonder are there legitimate readers out there at reasonable prices?

I don't know the answer to this, but there must be online writers' groups where there is a commitment to read each others' work? Maybe check out Mslexia which will probably have listings? And are there any local writing groups that you would attend, oOo?

Offline outoforder

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #24 on: Dec 07, 2015, 08:12:29 PM »
Yes, I've been looking online, there are some. I'd definitely be more comfortable online than in a local group and that way I can stop annoying ye  ;D

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #25 on: Dec 08, 2015, 08:48:55 PM »
I read back over that - I made a mess of it.  :-[

Offline outoforder

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Re: The Fall
« Reply #26 on: Dec 26, 2015, 08:09:52 PM »
Wet pebbles glistened in circles the size of pigeon eggs on the smooth stone ledge on which we had so often sat as youths. Hollowed eggs. Children had not passed me on my way here. Where were the children who had placed the pebbles in such patterns? I had been innocent once. This emptiness – the hollowness within me today: was it true? I had spent so much time tormented by fragmented memories and terrifying thoughts: running. I always thought one day I’d be caught, the police would call at my door, to take me to my homeland, here. The nearest women’s prison was in the next county. The other prisoners would feed on my madness. I wasn’t even sure what I had or hadn’t done.
If the police didn’t catch me, the others would. The others would never let me rest.
 I’d never have children now.
The canal was shallow. I would have remembered it having greater depth. Green with algae and clogged in places with weeds, I would have thought too. The council or locals must have cleaned it out, for now it ran clear. Some of the pebbles were drying in half moons already in the sun. My smooth black suitcase that should have been lumpy, the manner in which I had packed it, lay on its side in the grass, upturned wheels covered in soil.
Glimpses of the flats shot through breaks in the border of heavy leaf-laden beech and ash trees that ran where the canal turned west toward its source. Breaches of concrete and winking glints of blue, pink and yellow gaudy decorative panels, that must have been designed to set the housing apart, reminded me of why I was here, and why I stalled and lingered at the periphery. Death, in so many forms, had taken me away, madness, that ache of madness within me, dull and excruciating all at once. I had believed I would never return under my own duress.
Sometime in the ten years I had been removed from this place, I did some light research on the canal. I couldn't decide why now. There were feelings around it, but I couldn't quite thumb them out of the tumble of questions that seemed to form a knotted blankness somewhere within me.
Local word and authority on it had always been limited to The Canal with no distinguishing name, for I suppose there was no need, having its source as a spring in the green hills to the west beyond the city. It did begin in those green hills - we had often strayed there as youths. My research turned up merely a cursory mention of the canal, given the name Curraghbeag Canal, alongside the information, hitherto unknown to me, that many Cork city centre streets were built over old canals, but in their day would have been fed by the channels of the River Lee about which the city was built.
This place was the north side of the city. I had climbed this far up steep streets, hundred stepped pavements. Of course, I could have taken the bus, though traditionally there had been problems with this route, trouble, rocks at windows, but even if it terminated early I would be close enough. Or I could have taken a taxi, there were so many queued along the city centre streets, ordinary cars of all models with taxi plates on top. This stood out as odd, the ordinary cars, though it was once all I had known, and I knew instantly it was a mistake to return.
I turned, studied the pebbles. So real. The spectre of the flats loomed behind me. So ethereal. Perfect stones laid by untouched fingers.

I lugged the suitcase onto its wheels and turned toward the flats. A pigeon cooed somewhere behind me. A blackbird sang too, from the trees. I hadn't noticed those sounds until now. I considered stopping before the always open painted-green metal gate.
I stepped beyond the gate, long grasses and nettles wrapping themselves about its frame as though grasping and clutching desperately at the world it gated. Don’t put us out they would scream, if I could hear them.
My heart pitched towards my toes. The place was dull. Remarkably so. Compared to the cityscape from where I had come, in which towers scratched at the sky, the buildings were low, the flats rising to four levels. Had I had an expectation? Hope that something had changed, been erased? What the place stored within its rooms, minds, shared walkways to the flat doors, night streets and tiny concrete yards was familiar to me, known to me, shared with me, though.
Nonetheless, the intruder I felt. An unwelcome visitor.
Dog shit smeared the pavement at my feet. Nothing had changed there, no laws that were headed in any case.
Traffic was much heavier than I remembered at the junction, with added traffic lights, where the new church stood. Built in the seventies to a contemporary architecture that didn't work at appeal as well as had been intended, a patchwork of white structure and dark glass was the ostentatious 'City Light' church. The better to do, mostly from the houses a few streets down went to the old church of more traditional architecture and name, 'St Mary's'. Mostly, those in the flats only attended church functions of necessity such as required dodgy loans: Communions, funerals and christenings; in City Light. My parents were the light-spirit bearers for the flats, attending mass every Sunday in the City Light, their devotion true and above trends. We had prayed as a family for our heathen neighbours every evening after dinner and given graceful thanks.
I walked north at the junction and passed into the territory of the flats. For the first time in ten years I found myself glued to that awful spot, probing with my wary eyes the rough patch of concrete with a small square hydrant cover. Ants scurried from and about edges and cracks that led to a dark hole and soil beneath. The balcony four floors up imposing on my third eye, cast an irregular shadow and there was something on its painted ochre concrete front, an ornament or potted plant perhaps. Blood did not stain the ground. His blood was washed in the sleet of that winter. Blood that ran in my dreams, coagulating into a nasty crimson mince meat, his brains, mashed, to be served as a side dish alongside my terrible thoughts – made me vomit every time.
Home to my crime, the only question being, what actually happened?

Offline outoforder

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Re: That Strange Girl
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2016, 09:10:01 PM »
 This little ditty the Americans seemed to like. I wrote it for them  ;D Stylistically, that is.

 

‘Mum, you put this gun in my hand.’

When anybody looked at Aoife, she averted her eyes. Over time, she crafted a bubble and stepped inside. A simple construction, composed of anti-words. She’d watch from this bubble, its film working as a one-way mirror. She could see out, nobody could see in.

Anti-words: ‘Are you okay, Aoife?’

‘You must be fucking mad.’

‘Let’s talk, Aoife.’

‘Silence is golden.’

 

 

Mum read to Aoife. She’d lay the book down on the pillow beside Aoife, her eyes would rise and she’d add her own words. Aoife giggled, hardly a tooth in her mouth. Aoife shivered, clutched at the duvet, pulled it close. Mum touched her lips to Aoife’s cheek, her blond soft hair falling over her face, and blew her a kiss before she switched off the light and shut the door.

She fidgeted when other children talked to her. Her whole face would turn red. Her words seemed to provoke confusion. Their stories confused her. One day she was reading in the garden, ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’, by Enid Blyton. A girl with long black hair stopped by the gate. The girl cocked her head, reading the title. Aoife glanced back at the open page.

‘I’m Mary,’ said the girl loudly, ‘What’s the story about?’

Aoife looked up at Mary. She was half-smiling.

‘A magic tree,’ said Aoife.

‘Is that all?’

‘It’s....it’s... a story...about...about a trio of children who find a magnificent enchanted tree and it has all sorts of magical people living in houses on it. And the best thing,’ she enthused, her mother’s words propelling her forward now, ‘is the wonderful crazy lands it leads to at the top. The lands are constantly changing and you only have a bit of time on each or you get stuck.’

‘Can I see?’

‘I suppose.’

Mary smiled broadly, her eyes brightened and she skipped inside the gate and sat on the lawn beside Aoife.

Months passed and they read into books, weaving off into their own versions of what the places might be like, a meeting of minds in words of worlds.

In Aoife’s bedroom, they wrote their first story together. Laughing, Aoife added a line, ‘her best friend, M’s toys left the house at night and she never even knew, until one night...’ Scowling, Mary added a line, ‘but what A didn’t know was that her toys were meeting with M’s toys every full moon.’

 

Mum met David. He wasn't new, but this time around it seemed to work better for the two of them. David took them to a new home, a new place, a few miles outside Cork City. He liked to be closer to the country. He liked to hunt with his mates. Besides, it was close to the radio station were mum worked.

Aoife, twelve years old approached the school gates. Pitches for sports were situated by the school building, closed in by seven foot spiked railings. Her heart was skipping beats, kicking back in each time with a heavy thud. The school gate was much lower than the pitches’ railings. A board inside the gate said ‘Welcome to Seanrath Community School’ and beneath the words was a crest, with a winding path climbing to the sun. Aoife tried to take comfort from the image; how bad could the school be?

‘You’ll be fine,’ said Mum, squeezing her hand. She leaned in to kiss her.

‘Don’t Mum,’ said Aoife lowly, drawing her cheek away, and glancing around to see if this exchange had been noted.

Two months in, the final bell of the day, Aoife was running to the locker area for her coat. Nausea rolled in her gut. Diane wouldn’t be far behind. A group from her class had reached the lockers before her. One of the girls half-smiled and lowered her eyes. Others turned to each other to talk. The girl turned to her locker, a hint of heat in her cheeks. It seemed the whole school looked the other way. The half-smile made her think of Mary, a world away now. How heavy her heart felt.

Words ran through Aoife’s thoughts. Aoife wondered what she’d done. There was something wrong at the heart of her. She couldn’t imagine any other motivation for the children’s behaviour towards her. Silence replaced her anti-words, but her anti-words stayed in her bubble with her and hit her hard.

‘You are no good.’

‘You deserve it all.’

‘You must be bad.’

‘You were evil in a past life.’

 

‘You’re scaring me,’ she’d answer back, tears wetting her eye-lashes.

 

 She walked towards the classroom where the creative writing group met, her mum’s words urging her towards the door. The stories the other teenagers wrote didn’t match the stories in her head though, so she turned away.

Mum asked her what was wrong every day. Mum’s brown eyes were sad. ‘Talk to me, Aoife, please.’ Mum dragged her to the GP when she was fourteen.

‘Something must be done,’ mum cried.

‘Aoife, can you hear me?’ asked the doctor. She checked Aoife’s ears and hearing and seemed uncertain. ‘Has she ever had an evaluation? She could be on the autistic spectrum.’

Mum researched autism, mum googled, googled, googled.

Aoife turned seventeen and left school. She no longer wore clothes to hide the burns and bruises on her skin, Diane was gone. A deeper pain set in: she couldn’t bear to look in her mum’s eyes.

‘Stupid. Ugly. Malevolent. Witch. Bitch. Burn.’

‘Cut yourself.’

‘You’re such a coward.’

‘Fucked up, twisted, self-preserving.’

‘Undeserving.’

‘End it.’

She stopped answering back. Her heart hammered in rapid pulses in her head.

The words were reproducing. They squeezed into her space, wrapping themselves around each other, like an ever expanding ball of elastics.

Aoife spent weeks walking the roads. She walked without an aim and took no predefined route.

‘End it.’

‘END IT.’

 

‘If you won’t end it, end them.’

‘END THEM.’

‘There’s a shotgun in the shed.’

 

Aoife went to the shed and stood staring at David’s shotgun. He had brought her here. He had separated her from Mary. He had turned Mum’s words into demons. She took the weapon in her hand, weighed it, it felt right that it should be his gun.

‘Send ‘em high.’

‘Rocket them into the spinning lands.

Enchanted lands

No escape.’

 

Mum came in behind her. There was that sadness.

Mum took the gun from Aoife’s hands, placed it on the shelf and put her arms around Aoife. ‘Please,’ she weeped. ‘Please, I love you.’

‘Fucked up, twisted, self-preserving.’

‘Undeserving.’

‘End it.’

That night, before she lay down to sleep, Aoife wanted to cry. She went to her wardrobe and stood on a chair to get to the top compartment. She threw aside school books, blankets and long sleeved clothing. There it was: The Magic Faraway Tree. She touched the cover delicately, turned over a page.

‘THIS IS THE END.’

 

She loaded the shotgun, watching as it filled with bitter words. She had decided on the local radio station. It would make the highest impact, reach the widest audience. The first bullet would be the hardest.

‘Mum, you put this gun in my hand.’

 

And the radio said, ‘Dear Mum, this is my story....’

The first bullet pierced the bubble.

And the radio presenter said, ‘Mary, get in contact.’

This bullet shattered it.

 

‘A problem shared is a problem halved, but sometimes it’s hard to find the words,’ says mum.

 

‘Thank you, mum...for the understatement.’