Snippet: In the Morning

In the morning, I found a note nestled on the bedside table between last night’s water and a lamp whose moss-greenness, in the bright daylight, nauseated me. The effect of the note was worse still. ‘Gone to gym. See yourself out,’ it read, in scrawled letters, followed by a hastily drawn ‘x’ which joined in a loop at the bottom as though it were, I thought, a wise, descending fish keen to distance itself from its creator’s superior cold-bloodedness. I’d been a fool to think things would be different – he had proved himself incapable, after all, of emotion beyond perfunctory gestures, or, with Herculean effort, fairly convincing eleventh-hour pleas for forgiveness. He wouldn’t hear from me again.

I gathered up and climbed into the rest of my clothes, and found myself in a strange position. His apartment was beautiful, no doubt…

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500 word novel opening, untitled

If he had ever known why he’d climbed those stairs, that knowledge was as distant to him now as the crowd assembling below. Mere hours ago he was making good time on his commute, cycling in the rare, autumnal sunshine, and the world had been following its expected order. At thirty-two years of age, Peter Barkley had started making traction in his career as one of Lectriware’s best advertising executives, and had begun to feel, more generally, a comforting sense of progress – life was starting to come together, yet there he was: the jumper on the roof.

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(untitled #2)

And so she had come to me, the final passenger in her stop-start journey through the carriage. I, too, was to receive the gift she bestowed upon each traveller with her smile – its easy warmth intimating that her undivided attention and, occasionally, a sandwich and a cup of tea, were reserved for you alone. I watched her, unashamed in my openness, as she worked this special magic upon each of us drawn together by circumstance, and seemingly unaware of the value of the instant assurance she offered in that maternal smile, so far beyond the demands of her job description.

I turned my eyes to the view from the window, to test for truth. It shared in this world, the kind in which the existence of tea ladies who can turn on genuine, whole-hearted warmth with an almost mechanical precision, no more unnatural to them than fight or flight (or less so) was really possible, and focussed my eyes upon a point among the shifting trees as if it was there that I might see it: that small flaw, the imperfection unseen in this unflinchingly easy world, but upon whose very existence it depended. I did not believe…

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