ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Blogfest of Death

Thank you Tessa from Tessa's Blurb for hosting this blogfest of death. It has been a challenge for me to come up with a suitable story. All right for those who write about vampires, demons and death all the time!

Okay, you can't expect anything too cheery for this blogfest. The idea for my story comes from a haunting event which happened on a beach near where I was spending the day with a friend when I was a teenager. My take on events is purely fictional.



Real Gone Surfer Girl

He struggles to slide open the locks of the ancient tin trunk. They won't budge. They have seized with age.

Impatient, he grabs a hammer. Two bangs, and he watches the locks swing from side to side like the pendulum of a grandfather clock.

He lifts the lid.
He takes a deep breath. A heavy smell permeates the attic.
He leans back on his heels and tries to recall the scent.

Bitter gall?


He reaches gnarled hands into the trunk.
His fingers fumble along one side, then the other.
He feels a rustle of old documents before…
…he finds the precious object.



The photo is sepia-old with edges torn and grungy, crinkled with age.
He holds it in hands that tremble.
He can see a slim figure wearing a beach shift over her swimming costume, casual '60's style. One hand on her hip, the other clutching a blue frisbee.
Her hair is sun-bleached white, glinting, trembling on her shoulders. Her eyes laugh into his.
Her smile breaks out of the photo’s dingy frame and breaks his heart all over again.

He has to resist the urge to kiss the degrading paper.
He holds it close and peers at her with eyes burning, empty.
He whispers to the photo.


Rosita.
Rosita.
Rosita.


Can she hear him – somewhere?




***

When he stepped out of his house and saw the cloudless blue sky, his spirits soared. ‘You're my blond-headed stompie wompie real gone surfer girl, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yip!’ he sang on top of his voice, throwing towels into his Kombie.


The beach was not far from his Sydney home. He had taken up his usual posse on the hard sand not far from the waves, ready to relax in his banana lounge. He erected the garish beach umbrella he always brought with him, then lay back to enjoy his Sergeanne Golon novel (Angélique in Love.) He had his beat-up box Brownie camera close by, as always.

Towards midday he had slapped on some zinc cream and sipped his creaming soda, feeling content just listening to the breakers and watching the families play their beach games. 

She runs by his lounger, kicking sand onto his book. He looks up, annoyed, and yells Hey! She is chasing her frisbee. Someone must have thrown it too far. One of the show-off teenagers she’s hanging with. He hates the sight of them, one especially - the bully - pushing, shoving, yelling. A menace.

She steps prettily into the frothy waves to retrieve her frisbee.

He watches the boys watching her.


He too is fascinated by her beauty. How is it that a girl can grow into such an alluring woman? Her white hair falls in a soft curtain, skimming the playful waves, burnished with the sun. She picks up the frisbee, turns around, sees him watching her, camera poised. She shrugs, poses jauntily, hand on hip, then runs off. She skirts around him this time.


Running like a young fawn, she heads back to join the group. The game resumes. She forgets about him no doubt.

He puts aside his book and watches, an uneasiness creeping over him.

That’s why he notices when it happens.


The bully tries to touch her. She skitters away. No more frisbee with those gauche youngsters.
He watches her walking away, putting distance between herself and the beach crowd.
He watches her bend slightly and disappear under the old jetty.
She wants to be alone.
Don’t go there! he wants to scream out loud. Come back, come back.


He watches until she is out of sight.
He wavers. Undecided.
He begins to move, then stops, feet buried in hot sand.
He watches the spot where she disappeared, willing her to show herself again.
He sees the group of boys follow her. He sees their furtive glances. He sees red.
Then he sees no more.
They have disappeared, so quickly.

Fool. Fool.
Hurry. Hurry.


He kicks through the burning sand in panicked pursuit.
He can see the boys but not her.
The bully is not with them. The other boys stand sentry-like under the jetty.
His heart shudders.


Full of knowing, he lurches towards the boys. He grabs a pimply youngster by the throat.

Where is she? he snarls.
Who, man?
Don’t be smart, kid, or I’ll deck you one. Now where did she go? Where did your mate go? Are they under there? He points a shaking finger towards the inner darkness.
The boys panic, push him aside, run back to the crowd.


He hears a muffled scream. Out of the darkness. Her.
He bends towards the sound, anguish oozing from every pore.
Her screams get louder. Coming from way under the jetty, where the dunes begin. A place of rotting timbers, trickling water, soggy sand.
He hears a sickening thump. The screams stop.
He dives into the woody cavern.
Thump! Something hits him hard.
He tastes fear, blood and blackness.



***

He rouses himself from his shuddering nightmare and feels inside the trunk again. This time his hand finds a yellowed news clipping.

‘BRUTAL TEEN MURDER’, the headline screams. ‘Rosita de Rosario, aged 15, violently murdered at Maroubra Beach, Sydney, on Sunday. Naked body found buried under old jetty. Teen witnesses alert police, lead detectives to the body. Estranged father charged with murder.’

For a few minutes more he stares at the photo taken on what was to be a special visitation day with his Rosita.
He places it in his pocket, next to his heart.


***

He walks up and down the beach, his heart cold, unfeeling, oblivious to the glories of the summer day.

 
He forces himself to walk to the jetty.
It is unchanged.
Unlike him.
Prison does that to you.
Thank God for DNA tests, even if it took so long.
Or he’d still be rotting away.
But those punks got what they deserved in the end.


***

He is staring at a young, beautiful girl. About 15. Like Rosita.


She is running into the surf, her bright red bikini a beautiful contrast to the dancing, iridiscent blue waves.

Her white hair streams behind her like a bridal veil.

Maybe she’ll live to wear one, he thinks, full of bitterness.

His fingers itch, spasming around his brand-new Canon digital camera.

She spins around, sees him watching her.

"Hey you old pervert," she yells, ‘no pictures.’


THE END





The murder has never been solved...

Now go here to read some more deathly stories.


27 comments:

  1. oooh creepy. Nicely written and the twist was great. Awesome entry to the blogfest!

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  2. Very creepy with such a twist at the end! I loved it. :)

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  3. Thank you Juanita and Aubrie. Looks like 'creepy' is the word of the day...:)

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  4. So sad, and yeah, a little creepy, but I'm not sure it's intentional. I'm just glad those other guys got what they deserved. Then again, maybe it is creepy....well done; this is gonna stay with me a bit...

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  5. Yes, words crafter, it's stayed with me a long time now. I'm hoping the right people get brought to justice one day...(

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  6. Very well written, but a little to close to home. A young girl I knew was killed 4 days after she turned 18 and found in a field outside her home town. I just hope those responsible are the ones that are in jail now.

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  7. Yes, there's just life it is a bit too close to home and so many never get locked away..:)

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  8. I'm not sure that enjoy is quite the right word but I was certainly captivated by the story! (Was willing the guy to get there in time...)

    Loved the twist

    C x

    PS. Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog :-)

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  9. Wow sad and satisfying all at once! I love the way it's all whisful memories at first, and slowly you clear it up, let us see what happens...

    I don't think it's creepy. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, and doing it for my Blogfest, too!

    Tessa.xx

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  10. Good, one that doesn't think creepy is the go. Thank you for commenting Tessa..:)

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  11. Beautifully written! I love the imagery. I had hopes, too, that the guy would get there in time, but given the subject of the blogfest... well, the outcome was inevitable. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    I meant to thank you also for shooting a blog award my way. I will get to it soon. My one bitty blog post will explain where I'm disappeared to at the moment.

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  12. I like the way this builds in sadness and regret without losing sight of what's happening.

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  13. A fascinating story. I like how its told in layers.

    Well done.

    ......dhole

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  14. Stu: Thank you..:)

    Donna: Thank you..:)

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  15. Very well written. And to turn memory of an event and into fiction is very creative. :D

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  16. hmmm... really powerful stuff. I wanted him to get there in time!!!

    I also liked the 'pervert' comment ... really showed how the world had changed while he was in prison... well done!

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  17. Suzie, thank you..:)

    Clutterbug: Thanks for noticing the time change..:)

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  18. Great story!!! Thought it is very very sad.

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  19. Wow! Excellent. You did a great job pacing and building the scene. =D

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  20. Stephanie and RaShelle, thank you for your comments and for following. Welcome to my blog..:)

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  21. Real life is so much stranger and often crueler than fiction, isn't it? Thank you for sharing.

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  22. Thank you Lovy and thank you for following..:)

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  23. Wow, that was so creepy. Poor Rosita girl. Her spritely cuteness reminds me of my teen girl. You have me crying! :(

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  24. Well, I think that haunting would be a better word than my creepy. I had to read it twice to digest it. It's so so sad, it hurts.

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  25. Yeah, Elizabeth, I prefer haunting to creepy, but on first read it's easy to say creepy. Thanks for reading and for your comments..:)

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  26. Ok, I'm back again. I couldn't stop thinking of it and read it again. It makes perfect sense.

    I understand on first read it's confusing, but like a movie, you catch things the second or third go around.

    You've left wonderful context clues, so anyone with half a brain should understand what you're story is about.

    It still haunts me now and makes me so sad for the dad. Great job--you have me hooked!

    (I want to know about the behind the scenes!)

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  27. Elizabeth, thank you so much for being so into my story. In these blogfests, when we are trying to read so many stories at once, it is difficult to concentrate and really read a story. Mine is meant to be read a few times as the first time you are zooming through trying to see what happens (I hope) but it needs a few reads to pick up the clues, as you discovered.

    I am so glad I have communicated through this story (at least to one person!) It is gratifying that someone really got it.

    It is based on an unsolved crime that took place when I was nearby. It was actually 3 children who were taken, not 1, so it is much worse than my story. I will never forget, of course..:) And I hope it is solved one day, even after all these years...

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