Reading Between the Lines

Posted in alternate synopsis, fiction, short story with tags , , , , , , , on July 14, 2011 by Stationery Explorer

I did this for a bit of fun really. It’s a dream the main character has, which also acts as a synopsis for the novel. The writing style is slightly different to that of the novel; I wanted something a bit more immediate, more light-hearted and, I guess, mainstream.

It’s dark.

In fact it’s pitch black. I’m in my foxhole and it’s cold. It’s so cold and so dark and I’ve been here so long now, I don’t call it a foxhole no more.

I’m in a rat hole.

In daylight, I still see no one. Well, okay, in the distance I see the enemy, but they don’t count. I know what’ll happen when they get their hands on me. I know exactly. They’ll turn me into what they want, not what I want.

Notice how I’m saying “when” not “if” any more?

Did I mention I’m hungry, too? You have no idea how hungry I am. I can’t imagine why I got left out here. How badly must I have fucked-up?

Wow. The sun’s coming up now. Yeah – it’s really nice. It means I’m here for another day with oh, so much to look at. So much to look forward to. I hold my gun a little tighter. I don’t know why – I’m down to my last bullet; it’s about as much use as a glass of water on an oil fire. They say the fact you need two fingers to deactivate the safety-catch makes it safer to use than a lot of others. What a laugh – when the chamber’s empty, they’re all as safe as each other.

It’s light now. I scan the horizon. Nothing. I’m stunned.

I really am stunned; an Audi Quattro has appeared from nowhere and it’s heading straight at me. Thumb and forefinger, either side of the slide, pull up the safety and we’re ready to go. This is it.

I’m showered with gravel as the Quattro slews to a halt. The passenger window goes down. “I can’t reach you from here. You’ll have to run for it.”

What is this? A trap? Index finger off the trigger guard, caress the curve of the last chance. “Show yourself.”

“Bloody nora. Get a move on, you big girls’ blouse.”
I recognise the voice. “Gene Hunt? What the…” The grip is greasy against my palm. “I’ve got one round left. You’ll have to cover me.”
“I’ll stick a broom up me arse and sweep up after you and all, shall I?” The window slides down further so I can just make out his silhouette. “Cop this and get a bloody move-on.”

I watch as an M16A3 comes flying out of the open window, arcs up and somehow manages to make it the whole fifty yards to where I’m sitting. I ditch the Glock and grab the rifle out of the air. I drop out the mag. No tricks, no jokes; it’s full. I slam it back in and make the weapon ready to fire.
“Are you coming or not?”
“All right, all right. I need to weigh up me options – I’m seriously out flanked.”
“Don’t make me come over there and get you.”

So this really is it. I’ve just got to run for it; I roll out of the rat hole.
“Hurry up, you soppy git.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see one. Then two, then three. Drop, aim; short bursts. One, two-three. One-two, three-four. Love that rhythm. Paradiddle, paradiddle.

I am Phil Collins.

“Can you feel ‘em zipping through the air tonight? Can you?”

Drum solo. Bla-blat bla-blat bla-blat bla-bla-bla blat blat…

“Have you stopped for a cup of tea or something? Hurry up.”

I’ve dropped at least five of the bastards when I see something else. Where did she come from? “Gene – there’s a girl.”
“So what? I can get you loads of girls. Hurry up.”
“She’s looks like she’s in trouble…”
“Ne’mind all that – just get a move on.”
“She needs help. I’m going to get her.”
“Hurry up.”
“She’s too far away. And she’s under guard.”
“Have I got to do everything myself?”

I remain in firing position. “Please. Just help me out here.”
“I’m already helping you out.”
“Oh, for f…”

But the car door opens and he steps out.
“Where’s your weapon?” I shout.
“I just give it to you, you soppy git.”
“So… I’ll cover you then?”
“Whatever, Cinders. Whatever.”

He starts to walk towards me. He looks like he’s having a stroll in the park on a summer’s afternoon. Only they’re firing at him. The shells are just hitting his jacket and they flatten on impact. He looks like he’s walking through a shower of coins. Chink, chink, chink…

I don’t know how they’re making that noise when they’re falling on grass.
“What’s that suit? Kevlar?”
“Nah, Burtons I think. Might be Top Man.”

I look up. Now he’s close enough for me to see his face. “Paul? Why the hell are you Gene Hunt?”
“He’s the only point of reference you have for me now.”
“What were you watching before you fell asleep?”
“Ashes to Ash… Ahh… but why…?”
“Ne’mind all that. Where’s this bird then?”
“Over there, by that big rock.” I point. I can still see the girl, I’m sure she’s struggling.
“Tasty. Well anyway, off you go. Just give her one on the back seat and we’ll drop her home on the way to the boozer.”
“You’re not coming with me?”
“Don’t need two of us, does it?”
“S’pose not. Shit – there’s more of them. They’re taking her in the opposite direction – they’re taking her to their camp. You’ll have to provide covering fire, mate.” I throw him back the M16.
“All right. I’ll stay ‘til the clip’s empty. Then you’re on your own – I’m going the other way.”
“Come on, mate. Wait for me to get her and bring her back here.”
“You’ll never make it. Too many external influences, see?”
“Let me try.”
“Don’t you mess this up for me, Lynxie.”

I look at the Quattro. I look at Archer and the thunderous sky above the place he came from.

I look at the girl. I don’t know which way to go.

I wake up.


You Might Like This If…

Posted in Info with tags , , , , on June 21, 2011 by Stationery Explorer
  • You like anything by Irvine Welsh
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  • You are not easily shocked
  • Your sense of humour is warped beyond recognition
  • You like your flawed characters very flawed
  • You have had a mid-life crisis and now wish to relish in the suffering of others
  • You hate your job and wish you could say something really bad to your boss
  • You would like to stop what you are doing and start again
  • You understand what it is to truly love someone
  • You have an ounce of passion in your soul
  • You have faith in humanity
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  • You like realism