Friday, February 15, 2008

Interstate Love Song

This Week’s Theme: Tell the story of a physical scar a characater has.

For those of you wishing to know the story to date (including the long promised ending to the first two installments) see above post.

Leavin on a southern train
Only yesterday you lied,
Promises of what I seemed to be
Only watched the time go by,
All of these things you said to me.

‘Interstate Love Song’
Stone Temple Pilots

Adam sat uncomfortably in the passenger seat. He found stretching each leg slowly and then shifting his weight in the tattered seat alleviated the worst of his physical discomfort. He tried not to look directly out the mottled windscreen. The road now stretched out in an unnerving foreverness in front of them. This was the first time he had seen what was really beyond the Gated City.

Looking out the window, what lay to either side of the damaged road was vast and inhospitable. He still felt confused and confronted by it all – not just the desolation but the destruction. The gentle tangerine blush on the horizon had turned the inky darkness dirty, and he’d seen it all for the first time a few hours earlier. Brigit had explained it all to him simply, as the dawn passed and heat of the early morning warmed up the cab of the four wheel drive.

Mother had lured all those living in the country to the city with propaganda. The entire rural population had arrived in the metropolises over the space of a few years, willing to assist in the construction effort to secure borders of the newly formed Economic Federal of Australia. The efforts were in return for an implant – the chip that promised to stop the aging process. After the Cleansing there was no need for what was left out in the country. Less than ten percent of the entire population was left, yet Mother had called out the Airforce and they had bombed the countryside into nothingness.

He had never been in a car until now, much less driven one, which left him stuck as passenger for the entire trip. Brigit kept the music going continuously on the stereo so there was nothing to do but look out the window. He glanced over at her, clenching the wheel between her long fingers. The blood on the makeshift bandage around her upper arm was drying and turning the same colour as the parched ground outside. The wound troubled him. Not just the fact that she had taken the hit for him, but the scar that he had found on the inside of her arm as he had bandaged it.

When the sun was high in the sky Brigit finally slowed as they approached a tiny town. She turned off the main highway and into a side street, pulling up alongside a children’s part.

“Breakfast stop,” she stated, pulling on the handbrake with her good arm.

The dry Rice Bubbles did little to quell the aching in his stomach but he dared not ask if there was more. This was no land of milk and honey. He had left that far behind him.

“How’s you’re arm?” he asked, looking down at the fading graffiti on the picnic table.
“It’ll be fine. I’ve got some antibiotics in the back and some herbs as well. Just another scar really – it just hasn’t pretended to heal yet.”

Adam picked at the flaking green paint, trying to decide if he should ask her about the scar.
“What’s on your mind Adam?” Brigit asked, as she took the small billy off the butane cooker. “There can’t be anything kept between us now. It’s just the two of us out here. I need to know that I can trust you.”
“Because I’m brooding you can assume I’m suspicious. Shit you’ve got a hide
Brigit,” he stormed, the morning’s anxiety erupting into anger. “I was thinking about the scar on the inside of your arm.”
“Would it have made any difference if you had have known before hand?”

He stood and walked away, wondering if it really would have made a difference if he had known the myth of Eve was flawed. As he walked, further and further from where Brigit stood staring after him, the lyrics of a song from the car trip came back to him.

Too much walkin', shoes worn thin
too much trippin' and my soul's worn thin
time to catch a ride
it leaves today, her name is what it means
to much walkin', shoe's worn thin

Somewhere in this, the myth of Eve and the reality of Brigit collided. It was bigger than a name, bigger than legend. Only the here and now mattered. If Brigit had gone to the Gated City with the others from the country and if she had once had an implant, that was her personal story, it was none of his business. Brigit was not the Eve - no woman could be. He turned and walked back.

“You saw the scar on my arm when you patched me up last night, didn’t you?” she said quietly, as he sat back down opposite her.
“It’s your business.”
“It’s yours too now.”
“How did you get it?” he finally asked, when she failed to disclose anything else.

“I rebelled like all teenagers did. Fed up with being holed up in the hills, I left and went to Brisbane – in the days before it became the Gated City. I couldn’t believe that it was all really that bad – even if my own mother had died because of it. I was rash and immature. So I showed up with a false ID that I had procured on the trip there, signed in for an implant and a Government job.”

“It never really worked on me though. My cycles somehow continued and my dreams remained vividly prophetic. The only thing was the numbing of my thoughts and action during the day. I felt my uniqueness ebb away and I started to conform, stopped questioning, but I only knew it happening at a deeper intuitive level.”

“I woke up one night at bathroom mirror with a bloodied razorblade in one hand and the chip implant in my other. I had cut it out in my sleep. For two weeks I kept up the charade of going to work as I hacked into areas of the information system I wasn’t meant to go. Then I left.”

Overhead a cockatoo squawked shrilling and flew overhead. Brigit took a long drink of the cooled tea and stared at Adam who was again picking the paint off the table.

“A myth creates itself, takes on a life of its own Adam. I make the best of what life has thrown up. Myths keep my heart from breaking in the middle of the night too."

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UL said...

you kept me guessing..this is a very nicely done..."a myth creates itself" ...that's so true.

gautami tripathy said...

I enjoyed reading all the parts at one go! Thanks!

Annie said...

loving the layers of depth you are creating for each character.

Square1 said...

I think my comment landed on another post? Freakin' blogger. Anyway. Of course I loved it, and of course I want more. As usual.

Paul said...

You can't leave us hanging Jodi - promise me that we'll get to see the end of the story, and soon!

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anthonynorth said...

You create an excellent atmosphere with this. And a marvellous story, too.