Friday, January 25, 2008

Fiction Friday: Adam and Eve II

This Week’s Theme: Describe your character's first brush with danger
I was honestly in two minds as to whether or not I should continue on with last week's story, mainly because I'd made a promise to myself to write 52 unique short stories across the year - and this one seemed to be taking a life of its own beyond the boundaries of a short story (thank you all who breathed life into it as an extended piece with your encouragement!) Undecided I left it up to chance to see what the prompt for this week was ... so here we pick up directly from last week.

The air lock of the cell hissed as the door shut. The guards shoved her quickly against the wall beside the door and clamped handcuffs onto her, pulling her arms upwards and outwards, forcing her to bend down. All the time she kept her eyes tightly shut, the fluorescent lighting of the corridor burning her eyes, after the indefinite time inside the darkness of the cell.

She took a gulping breathe of air and tried desperately to centre and ground herself, invoking an old relaxation exercise. In her minds eye she saw three gently glowing orbs, but before she could discipline her mind to draw the orbs together into a line and then down into the one golden glowing orb, she was roughly and awkwardly pulled away from the wall and pushed viciously down the hall.

Her legs, felt like jelly and she fell heavily on her face, as they failed to respond and carry her forwards with the momentum of the push. Blood gushed from a cut in the top of her lip or perhaps it was her nose. She was unsure, too disorientated with her own body to work out what hurt, what was numb and what felt OK enough to work for her..

“Get up!” commanded a voice from behind her.

Before she could attempt to get herself back onto her knees, she was dragged back onto her feet. A small scream escaped her lips as the shoulder joints and the scar tissue on the right, threatened to release as all her weight hung on the triangulation of her bound arms. Her feet touched the ground and the pressure released.


Placing one tentative foot out she felt the feeling return to her legs. Squinting out her eyes, they began to slowly adjust, until she realised there was nothing to see. Just a long endless corridor of piercing white, punctuated by a door every few metres, that blended in so well it only became apparent as you came to the extact point of it in the wall.

At the end of the corridor she was told to stop, a code was punched into the security pad and she was thrust into a room and told to sit.

“Wait,” the taller of the two guards ordered her, “and don’t move. Whatever you do, do not move.”

She remained seated for what seemed time eternal until she realised that the feeling had gone in her hands. Left with only her thoughts, and a terror that rose in a jaggered chunk up her throat, she surrendered all of the fiery rebellion that had fuelled her for years. This time she had left everyone down.

When she left The Caves she understood the dangers that awaited her within the Gated City. Over the years she had devised a meditation technique in which she would predict, envisage and then overcome all the dangers and obstacles for each assignment before she left the safety of where she was staying - that way she was never caught unaware. She had learnt the hard way, with her first scrap with danger what would happen if you were not prepared.

She was leaving Brisbane in the days before it had become the Gated City and was heading south for the Coast. Despite her urgency to leave, knowing it was a matter of time before someone from the Government knew she had been there and came searching for her on the open road, she had pulled over for a hitch hiker. She was a young girl, not much younger than herself, with untidy auburn hair and a sunburnt face. Ten kilometres down the road the hitchhiker had pulled a knife on her. In the ensuing struggled the four wheel drive had veered sharply off the road, through the guard rails and down into a culvert before ploughing into the embankment on the other side. Her first instinct at the sight of the knife had been to fight back. It had surprised her as everything until that point in time in her life, had been passive aggressive, she had never had FIGHT. But what had surprised her more was the lack of remorse she felt walking away from the body of the young girl in the long grass, her head twisted at an unnatural angle. A huge blood spattered hole in the windscreen on the passenger side gave away the fact that someone else had been in the car.

Brigit’s shoulder ached. Broken in the accident it had been set late by a healer with only a little knowledge of bones and never healed properly. Years of yoga, of stretching and building up the muscle had never compensated for the break in judgement and bones that day.The similarities between the hitchhiker and Adam struck her like a blow to the stomach. He was another break with her better judgement, after all these years of being so damn careful. After experiencing unbridled freedom from Mother for most of her adult life - here she was caged by enemy. Something she could never make peace with.

She had made peace with the fact that circumstances may call for her to detonate the explosives before she herself could leave the building. It had taken a month or more to come to a space within herself where she could unequivocally say she was ready to die,if she was call to sacrifice her own life. In all the exploration of the possible problems with this assignment she had never seen Adam, or anything like Adam. So firm was her belief in the Sisterhood and their city cousins in the Underground that she didn’t factor in betrayal. Not simply his betrayal of her, but her betrayal of those pinning their hopes on the success of this assignment, betrayal by the weakness of her own flesh.

Disregarding the orders given to her by the guards, she got up off the chair worked her body back through the loop made by her bound arms, until her arms were again in front of her, and her shoulders in a more comfortable position. Doing this engaged her mind and kept her from falling victim to the apathy and desire to just give in that was threatening to overwhelm her. Instead she tapped into the rawness of the anger that was building within her.

She placed her hands on the table and studied the handcuffs. She had never seen a pair of handcuffs, let alone worn a pair. She pushed them back down her arms towards her wrist until they hung like a sloppy masochist’s jewellery. Sliding her wrists out she held them in her hands and wondered what sort of guards cuffed someone’s forearms?

Before she could ponder further, the door slid open and Adam walked in alone.

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gautami tripathy said...

This is too good! I wanted to shout, "phew!"

You are very good at shoert story writing.

Although I got here from Michele today, you know I would have visited to read this.

Annie said...

can't wait for the next installment - was sitting on the edge of my seat - bleary eyed - knowing I aught to go to bed - but NO!!! I HAD to read your contribution first. hugs

Square1 said...

And another cliffhanger! You tease! I look forward to reading more as soon as you come up with it. Nicely done as usual.

Anonymous said...

Cool! I love the cliffhanger too... this week has a great flow to it. Great work, Jodi! I am proud of you for following your heart in developing your writing skills. You go girl (woman)!!!

Love, Rach

jadey said...

This is very well written and I look forward to reading more.

pjd said...

You have a smooth way of working flashback into the current scene to give it depth and character. Future revision will trim this down and tighten it, but I agree with everyone else--compelling characters, exciting situation, interesting strange world... excellent story in the making.

keith hillman said...

You will do more won't you! Please? Great stuff.

Chris said...

Your writing has that magic that all good books have. I enjoyed you description of the hall, it was very vivid. I also thought the character's first brush with danger told us a lot about her without you having to explain in too many details. However, during this paragraph I had to wonder where in time is this set. The paragraph reads as modern time to me, but the rest has a very futuristic feel. Perhaps this is intentional -- it's just what came to mind in the moment. Can't wait till the next one.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Thanks to everyone and sorry (in a way) about the cliff hanger. I was struggling to get this written and was on a strict time allowance so I wasn't able to finish it the way I had intended.

Jadey, Keither and Chris: I make a promise to finish it during the week and let you all know - so you can come back and read how it ends. It's got a killer twist.

Rach & Annie - that's for the encouragement that you wonderful women offer. Especially the sometimes long rambling sessions of narrative diatribe and I share my ideas with you guys. It always solidifies ideas in my mind and creates wonderful new tangents as well.

pjd: I'm starting to 'get' my style of writing - and its the interweaving of the past and present. I always wanted when I was younger to create the 'correct style' and was so bloody rigid that it stiffled my creativity and threw up all manner of nasty blocks. Thanks for commenting on that - because it helped to really firm up in my own head that this is the emerging of what will be 'my style'

Jodi Cleghorn said...

I think I need a holiday from the keyboard (or the incessant chatter of a three year old who continues to interupt me!) I just noticed all the terrible typos in the above comment ... sorry to those whose names I misspelt (Keith) - 'thanks' to Annie and Rach and I'm going to leave it at that!!