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Thread: Chronicles of Des Smith, Volume 1: The Damned

  1. #1
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    Default Chronicles of Des Smith, Volume 1: The Damned

    1 – Prom Night
    Once upon a time, I had a good life. It wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t exactly the most popular kid in school, and maybe I wasn’t happy with a few choices I had made, but it was a good life. I had friends, I had family. I even had love. Even if it wasn’t returned, it was still good to have. It was still something to hold onto, at least. Maybe that kind of love isn’t exactly the best kind of love to have, but it was something. I even believed I made a difference in her life. To many – no, not many, but a few lives, at least. I had a plan, and it was a good plan; get through the hell of high school, go to college, get a good job and then finally escape Dalton. Maybe having one or two good times along the way. It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was at least something.

    Hmm. Funny how some things never turn out the way you expect them to. Fucking hysterical when you have those plans ripped away from you and you have absolutely no idea of what to do next.

    My name is Des Smith. I am 19 years old. And this is the story of how everything changed. Or at least, how none of my plans counted for shit. The funny thing is, it didn’t really begin with waking up on another planet, or even when I was falling and knew that I wasn’t going to be hunky-dory when I landed.

    It began with the post.

    It had been a few weeks since the last exam. I got up that morning (well, actually, it was more likely to have been the afternoon, now that I think about it), had a shower, got changed and went downstairs to have my usual healthy breakfast of a Pot Noodle when I suddenly noticed on the table that, rather unusually, I had mail. It wasn’t exactly a first, but it was rare. After all, most items of mail are usually bills and junk mail, and since my parents were the bill payers and I still lived with them, they usually got both. But this was different.

    This was actually something I was afraid to open.

    Even now…I think we both know what this was, and yet, I can’t bring myself to give its name. Even knowing what was on the paper, or maybe even because I know what was on the paper, I can’t bring myself to talk about it. But like I said, this was something that really changed my plans in life, so I might as well get on with telling you every detail about it.

    I picked it up. Opened it. The first page was a letter from the school. A standard letter, given to every pupil of my year. Underneath?

    The results.

    My A level results, specifically. I didn’t know what to expect from it. None. Well, either that or every idea. And I mean every one: I had failed every course, I had passed every one, failed some, passed others, passed the wrong ones, failed the ones I needed the most. Every hope and fear went through my head as I was sitting down, holding that letter. Two years of studying really great subjects, two years in studying subjects that could help me to go places.

    Eventually, after who knows how long I spent sitting in that chair, I turned the page.
    2 U’s and an E.

    Reading that…fuck. That was it. That was the thing that changed how I perceived everything forever. Can you believe that? The amount of shit that I went through, all the pain, and the torture, and the amazingly impossible stuff…and all it took was a sheet of paper. Strange how it’s always the little things that fuck up your life the most.

    Because the funny thing was that I suddenly realised that I wasn’t expecting this. I thought I was. I thought I was being paranoid. But deep down…I wasn’t expecting to fail all of my subjects. Fuck. Even today, it’s difficult to think about. I can still remember the things going through my head. How the fuck was I going to explain this to Mum and Dad? How?

    Eventually, I did the only thing I could do: took the results up to my room and hid them, went back downstairs, made myself a pot noodle, and headed off to my job centre appointment.

    I went on the dole the day after I had finished my final A level exam. University was coming, and I needed a part time job to save up for all the shit I had to pay for.
    Well, that was the original plan, anyway. After seeing those results, though? Well, the only thing I could do was carry on as normal.

    After two different bus journeys to get to town (Dalton is so small and so far out the way that it’s ridiculously difficult to get anywhere interesting), I arrived at the job centre with five minutes to spare. I sat down with the other job seekers and waited for my usual appointment.

    Naturally, I had to wait twenty minutes.

    Eventually, I was called to see…fuck, I can’t remember her name, now. I’m not sure I even knew it back then. I just know that she was a skinny young woman, with hair tied up far too tightly, extremely pale skin and really, really round glasses that actually bordered on the kind that Harry Potter would wear. She was a bit stuck up, too. “How many jobs have you applied for this week?” she asked.

    “Six,” I replied. “I’ve sent out cover letters to a few offices in the area.”

    “And do you have any responses?”

    “None yet, the application date’s not due for another-”

    “What about the last lot of cover letters you sent?”

    Suddenly, I got just a little more uncomfortable in my seat. “I haven’t had any responses yet-”

    “I see from your job seeker record that you’ve only been applying for admin jobs.” God, I hated how she always interrupted me like that! “Why? Your signed agreement clearly stated you would also search for jobs in retail or customer service.”

    “Well I haven’t had much luck in finding vacancies for those.” Ok, I’ll be honest with you, this wasn’t exactly true, but I didn’t want to be the only 18 year old in town who was earning money by flipping burgers, or worse, making people angry by ringing them up in the middle of the day and trying to sell them something they don’t want, before suddenly you’re being thrown a multitude of expletives reminding you just how much of a scumbag you were and how you deserved to die.

    My one day of work experience that I had a few weeks beforehand (before losing the job because they apparently had enough employees anyway) didn’t improve things one bit, and I certainly wasn’t going to be put through another day of such humiliating work (which I'd rather avoid discussing, but let's just say I had to stand around a lot in public, wearing something that was far from being the latest in fashion) anytime soon.

    (Well, that’s what I thought.)

    The fact was the only reason I put those other two down was that they were the only job sectors I was qualified for, and after receiving that letter earlier in the day, it didn’t look likely that that was going to change any time soon.

    “Mr Smith”, the Cow Behind The Desk replied, “we both know that’s not true. You’re either not bothering to apply for those vacancies or you’re just not looking hard enough. There are a few vacancies here that I want you to apply for,” she suddenly handed me a thick wad of paper, “and I want you to apply for every single one by the end of the week. If you don’t apply for every single one or fail to bring evidence that you’ve applied for them, I’m afraid I’m going to have to put your allowance on a 6 week suspension.”

    I quickly looked through all the sheets. “There don’t seem to be any admin vacancies among these.”

    “There aren’t,” she replied, “not many admin vacancies around I’m afraid.”

    My heart was sinking. This was a fucking nightmare. Or a joke. All a matter of how you look at it. I certainly wasn’t laughing at the time, though. “Look, it’s not as if I’m one of those wankers who-“

    “Please refrain from using that language in here.” She handed me the signing-on form.

    “Sorry.” I wasn’t sorry, of course, as I filled out the usual signature and date. I was actually more pissed off than anything else. “It’s not like I’m one of those…people who actively try to abuse the system to avoid work at every opportunity. I have been looking for work, but I need the admin vacancies. They’re the only ones I can do. Anything else, I’ll be qualified for on paper, but I’d be sacked within the day. I can’t do customer service - I have no people skills whatsoever. Until I find admin work, I need the allowance.”

    “You live with your parents, Mr Smith, I’m sure you’ll scrape by. NEXT!”

    The condescending bitch. I wanted to say a million things to her then, to tell her to fuck off, to tell her to fuck her condescending nature, that just because she had a desk and had a job didn’t give her the fucking right to look down on me like that. Instead, I got up, walked out, and sulked like the overgrown boy that I was. Because the worst of it was, although I didn’t want to admit it to myself at the time, was that she was right. It wasn’t like I needed the money, it wasn’t like I was living on my own, or even raising a family on my own and needed the money to pay my rent desperately or else I’ll be thrown out of my bedsit. But I wasn’t entirely happy with the idea of living in Dalton for the rest of my life, leaching off my parents. And after I saw those failed grades…I really didn’t see any other future. Quite simply, I was fucked.

    I was so angry then. I know that sounds emo, but I was torn between bursting into tears or screaming out loud for a long, long time. The only thing that held me back was the idea of prom night. The last hurrah. Normally, I wouldn’t feel up to it, but Susan was going to be there. Ah, Miss Susan Grey. My best mate. Perhaps one of my only mates back then. And, if I’m really being honest, more. To me, anyway. Seeing her again for the first time in months would make it all worthwhile, even if she was going there as her boyfriend’s “plus one”. The fact was, I needed to see her.

    Feeling a little bit better at just the thought of seeing her, I took the return journey home to get ready for the prom.

    ***

    I think practically everyone in my year was excited for that night. Prom is, admittedly, a “very American thing”, to quote my mum, (on a fairly regular basis she would say that, ever since she first heard of it), but it was a nice thing to have. For one thing, it got all us college leavers excited for something that was actually happening in Dalton, for once: normally, for us to do anything exciting, it had to involve a bus, a train, or any other form of transport to get us as far out of town as possible, so it certainly made a nice change.

    The “plus one” was also a big bonus. Not to me, so much. I still didn’t have a date, but at least I had the option to have a date. It just would’ve seemed wrong, otherwise.

    And if there was one thing that I was very happy about, it was the fact that we all had to look smart. Because if there was one thing that I was good at, it was looking smart, and that’s exactly what I was, looking into a mirror at five o’clock in the afternoon.

    Well, no, that’s actually bollocks. What I looked like was exactly what I was. What I’m worried I still am, in some aspects. An overgrown kid. A boy who never grew up, but just got bigger. I had considerably more weight back then than I have now. I wasn’t fat, so much – or at least, I didn’t like to think of myself as fat – but I was definitely chubby, at the very least. Round all over, like a giant jelly baby. Except not quite as orange (the orange ones were always my favourite). My light brown hair was…tidy, but rather dorky. Think of the Beatles. Specifically, early Beatles. That’s what it was.

    You can just imagine how much I got picked on at school, can’t ya?
    Still, looking back, it wasn’t too bad, especially with the amount of shit I’ve had to deal with the last couple of months. Back then, I had my mum, I had my dad, and of course, I had-

    “Oi! Bitch!”

    My best friend, Suze.

    Running to the window, I called out to her, “For the last time, Suze, I am not your-”
    Then I saw her, and I don’t have the words to describe how fucking dumb I must’ve looked then, my mouth hanging open in mid-sentence.

    She was standing there, outside my house in a long cream dress. Her shoulders were bare, showing as much of her white, pale skin above her chest as she could without showing the slightest bit of cleavage. She was never “one of those girls who would offer a good view for nothing”, as she told me once. Her long dark hair had been done up in a simple yet elegant fashion, leaving her amazingly blue eyes room to get noticed by , ooh, just about everyone who was going to the prom.

    She was right, you know. I was, in that moment, her bitch.

    I still wish, now more than ever, that I had a problem with that.
    I must have looked a bit of a proper twat, because that was when she asked me, just a little awkwardly, “What?”

    Nothing, it’s just…you look beautiful is what they always say in the movies, and I’ll be honest: that was exactly the kind of cheesy shit that I was thinking at that moment, but I wasn’t gonna fucking tell her that, was I? What I actually said was, “Nothing, just surprised you didn’t go with grey!”

    “Well that would be a cliché, wouldn’t it?” she replied. “You honestly think I would do something that god awful cheesy for the prom?”

    I defended my awesome suggestion with, “Hey, you’re the one who keeps saying, ‘Not everything’s black and white!’”, in a near perfect imitation of her.

    After wincing rather noticeably, she then asked, “Is that whiny voice supposed to be me? Please tell me that’s not how you see me!” I did say near perfect.

    Moving on from her obvious awe of my impressive gift for impressionism, I asked her, “Why are you here, Suze?”

    “What?” She asked innocently, which was about as convincing as my impersonation of her. “Can’t a girl come visit her lifelong best friend out of the blue?”

    “On prom night?”

    “Especially on prom night.”

    By this point, I had just about had enough of the innocent girl act. “Why are you really here, Suze?”

    Reluctantly, she let the innocent smile drop and it was replaced by a look that said she really needed a favour. “Brian’s not going. He and some of the other boys in college are having their own thing, it’s something of a pub crawl, I think.”

    “I thought there was only the one pub in Dalton.”

    “It’s in London.”

    “Oh, right.”

    “Anyway,” she continued, “I thought I might as well have some fun anyway. What do you say, mate? Alright if I be your plus one?” she asked me, mostly with those big, blue eyes of hers.

    A sloppy seconds invite. That’s what you could boil it down to. Still, I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome I thought it was at the time, though. Of course, I couldn’t let her know that, so I asked, “Now what makes you think I don’t already have a date?”

    With a big fat smile on her tiny, skinny face, she replied, “One, this wouldn’t be a date, so there wouldn’t be a change there, and two, this is you I’m talking to.”

    A little peeved at my best friend’s assumption, (even if it was correct,) I said, “Hold on, you can’t just come round here and just assume that I’ll always be single and dateless, especially on something like a prom night! That’s just pathetic!”

    “Well, do you have a date?”

    “No, but-”

    “Well then, you’ve proved my point! Come on, mate! I was really looking forward to tonight! I even bought this gorgeous dress - the fact that I’m even wearing a gorgeous dress should tell you something about how much I’ve been looking forward to this! Come on, Des! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?”

    Looking at her then, in that fantastic dress of hers, I knew I couldn’t say no. Mind you, she could’ve been going to the prom in a hoodie, jogging pants, and a massive hangover and I still wouldn’t have said no. She had that effect on many men, really.
    Eventually, I said, “Oh, alright! Why not? I’m all ready up here. Do you want me to get my mum to drop us off?”

    “Nah,” she said. “It’s only fifteen minutes walk away, and I’ve got the low heels for it. Besides, you and me haven’t talked in months! It would give us time to catch up before we see more friends there! What do you say? Sound like a plan?”

    “It certainly does, Miss Grey,” I replied. “I’ll be down in a moment, just need to get my shoes on and tell the folks that I don’t need a car, and we’ll be off.”

    “Ok! See you in a sec, Mr Smith!”

    “Yeah, see you in a sec, and don’t forget: you owe me!” I called to her before closing the window and allowing a massive grin to spread across my face as soon as I knew she couldn’t see it.

    Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this isn’t someone hanging out with a friend, this is someone who wants to be with someone he can’t have in any possible way. Well let me tell you something: that would come pretty close to the truth. You know it, I know it, and I think even back then, my old self would’ve known that deep down, too. But I knew that, for the next few months at least, I was gonna be pretty fucking miserable, and I knew that I could even have a happy time out with someone I cared about, or go to the prom on my own and be even more miserable. Pretty simple decision, right?

    It’s funny how decisions like that can make a man damned.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  2. #2
    Servant of Gan alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto's Avatar

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    YAY I mean, I've already read this, but still. Glad to see you are sharing it! Are you still up for notes on this, after it's been posted? Still can't wait for more!

  3. #3
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    Absolutely. This is very much a work in progress. In fact, one idea that i thought could be a major plot point I recently thought to be unworkable. Anyway, will post more later in the week.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  4. #4
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    reading now, and you know what? actually enjoying! will post when I'm through, but I am reading slowly. Disregard the post right below this one, I'll make notes there, and edit everything into a whole in the end

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    I have read, and I want more.

    It actually reads like literature, which is something beginner authors rarely achieve, - as opposed to a creative writing exercise. It flows, it is interesting, and I never had to stumble on something and tell myself: wow, it's my friend so-and-so who's written this, isn't it awesome? No, I just read it as I would read a book by an established author. I especially appreciate it that there's been no visible attempt so far at immediately presenting the public another Sound and Fury, Catcher in the Rye or, God forbid, Ulysses: it seems to be just a story, honestly told, with characters, development and, hopefully, a plot. I don't think a writer can aspire to anything higher than this, and wish you all possible good luck (goodmind and bearhugs included).

    I don't know if there's going to be anything interesting, plot-wise, but I already love the writing (except the dialog in the last part, where the girl's remarks read like poorly staged monologues). I don't think we can expect this "hole in the page" Sai King is famous for, but this other kind of writing - a dialog with an intelligent person, where wit and wisdom mix in changing proportions - is something bears love a lot. Below I've listed three examples (I am too tired now to analyze them, but they kinda speak for themselves):

    And I mean every one: I had failed every course, I had passed every one, failed some, passed others, passed the wrong ones, failed the ones I needed the most.

    really, really round glasses


    Instead, I got up, walked out, and sulked like the overgrown boy that I was.

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    Ok, well thanks a ton for the feedback, bears. Yeah, dialogue between two characters is something i need to work on more, i think, but i'm very grateful for any criticism you can provide, especially this early on. I'm glad you're liking the internal dialogue, at least. It probably won't surprise you to know that Withnail & I was a key influence in the writing style, not only for the first person narrative that's given by Marwood, but also how clear it was to me that the writer/director had gone through a very similar type of situation, and that there's nothing wrong with putting a lot of yourself into your work. If bears is quoting my stuff, well that's definitely a very clear sign that, writing style at least, I'm heading in a very nice direction.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  7. #7
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    2 – The Fall

    Ok, I’ll be honest with you here, I know this was a pretty major turning point in my life and all that, but with the exception of a little while before and during The Fall itself, there’s not much I can remember of that night.

    Me and Suze arrived outside the high school gates about fifteen minutes later. During the walk there, we talked about a lot of stuff, all of which the mundane, usual stuff that mates talk about. Honestly, I’m pretty sure it was her talking and me listening, mostly. I can’t remember much of what we talked about, just how things were, how was college, had I had any luck finding work, the usual bullshit.

    At some point along the way, we had picked up some essential things to have at a prom. This mostly consisted of booze, several types of booze, including a couple of bottles of vodka, one bottle of rum, and some kind of Polish or Russian thick black stuff that made me nauseous just by the smell of it. Most of the booze, we got from an off-license, but I cannot remember where the hell we got that black stuff from. Oh, and we also got some cheese and cake. Because, seriously, after some heavy drinking, you need at least some cheese and cake to soak it up.

    As we neared the school, I remember seeing the long line of eager students lining up for something that, by Dalton’s standards, was pretty fucking exciting. However, a few of them were nervous, which Suze saw first. “Shit.”

    “What?”

    “Look who’s at the front gate.” And there they were: Mr Stone and Mr Humphries, the only two Scottish teachers in the school, the only two teachers that everybody hated, and therefore the only two teachers with grudges against each other. (One was from Glasgow and the other from Edinburgh. Can’t remember which one was from where, though.) They only really tolerated each other when it became necessary to punish the students, or at least have a reasonable excuse to punish them – guarding the gates to check anyone for alcohol and cigarettes seemed as good an excuse as any.

    “We should’ve thought about this plan a little more,” I whispered. “Especially considering we’re still sober.”

    “I thought the main gate would be unguarded,” Susan replied (and yes, “unguarded” was the word she used – not “unchecked” or “free to enter” – “unguarded”. Just to give you an idea of how bad these bastards really were.) “Maybe a signing in form, but other than that, we’d mostly be ok. I didn’t think they’d get the Caledonian mafia on the front gates.”

    “Ok, don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”

    And that was when we found ourselves at the front of the queue. And I had no idea what I was going to say.

    ***

    Now, to this day, I still don’t remember who saved our arses – me or Suze – but what I do know is that somehow, a few minutes later, we were dancing like a couple of prats while most of the floor was still empty. And yes, at this point, we were still sober.

    From what little I can remember, it was a pretty good night. (Well, with the exception of the obvious, which I’m gonna get to in a little while.) Me and Suze drank, we talked, sometimes to other people, but mostly to each other, we drank, we had fun, we danced, and then we drank some more. Eventually, we drank so much and got so exhausted that we just sat down…and then we had one of those... “moments”.

    You know the “moments” I’m referring to. When you’re two young friends of the opposite sex, you’re really close and you have a lot to drink, there are times when it’s just…awkward. How awkward? Well, somewhere during the conversation, the worst question that could ever be asked was asked. Boys and girls, you know the one. Those six little words that no one really wants to hear. That’s right: “Can I ask you a question?”

    Now, here’s what went through my head and I’m guessing is the same for a lot of guys, too. When confronted with such a question, what generally goes through my head is, in a microsecond: What? Why would she ask me a question to answer another question? It’s clearly not gonna be “Have you read Twilight?” or “What do you think of the current government?” or “If a zombie and a vampire got into a fight, who would win?” This is permission to ask a pretty serious question she’s asking, one that could, depending on the answer, affect the entire relationship, and not in a good way, definitely not in a good way, so just say no. No, no, nonononono, NO-

    “Sure mate. Why not?”

    You fucking moron.

    Of course, I was worried about a hundred questions that she would ask in the next micro-second, a thousand even, but while she didn’t ask the most terrifying, shit scary question I was worried(/hoping) she would ask, she asked one that was almost as bad: “Why haven’t you talked to me?”

    I was going to say that I’d “just been busy”, but of course, we all knew that was a lie, and a terrible one at that. So I said, “I just thought you’d be too busy.” Nice save, genius.

    “Mate, you’ve called me plenty of times when I would’ve been way busier. Remember my granny’s funeral?”

    Don’t ask.

    “Anyway, I’ve been calling you, and you’ve just been weird lately.” Specifically, she was referring to me always ending a call rather short at a certain point and the fact that she was always the one calling. After a certain point, anyway. Even she gave up, I think. It was one more reason why I was surprised to see her earlier that day. Compared to the previous ten years of when we used to call each other every day, I had to admit, it was a fairly big change for us. She wanted, no, deserved an answer as to why such a change even happened in the first place. So when she asked me, “Mate, seriously, what’s wrong?”, I decided to tell her.

    “Suze, I failed my exams.”

    “What?”

    “I just got my results back today. Mostly U’s and one E.”

    “But…if you found out this morning, why didn’t-“

    “I saw it on a piece of paper this morning, I had known for a lot longer, though. Known that I’ve massively fucked it all up, known since I fucking started those courses that I was just gonna fuck it all up. I made a massive, massive mistake with all 3. And now, after seeing it on that one sheet of paper, I have no illusions left. I’m going to be stuck in Dalton for the rest of my fucking life while everyone escapes and moves on. Even you.”

    “Des, if you were really that worried, then let me tell you something: you’re the best guy I know. One of the smartest. You don’t need qualifications on a piece of paper to help you sort out your life, I mean, you can do whatever you-“

    “See Suze, this is exactly why I didn’t tell you. You see me, for some reason that I can’t even begin to imagine, that I’m this smart, brilliant guy. I’ve just told you I fucked up my life by being a lazy arsed shite, and you still think that I can turn my life around? You keep putting me on this pedestal, and I’m sorry to tell ya, but sooner or later, I’m going to come crashing down from it, and it’s going to take something monumentally stupid of me to do that when you finally accept that I’m not this amazing person, hell, I’m not even up to the standards of the average guy. So tell me, Suze: what the fuck can I do to magically turn my life around?”

    If I had actually said any of that, who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have done what I did. Maybe my dear, dear Susan would’ve found a way to keep me going, through a single, magic sentence. Or maybe I still would’ve done it, and the imagined conversation would’ve allowed for some ironic yet cool bit of foreshadowing? Who knows? Ultimately, it’s what I wanted to say, what I had decided to say, but when it comes down to it, what you decide to do means fuck all - it’s what you actually do or don’t do that matters. So, when Suze asked me, “Mate, seriously, what’s wrong?”, I actually told her: “I’ve just been having problems with my phone, lately. Don’t worry, mate, you’re still the number one person on my contact list.”

    “I thought I was the only person on your contact list.”

    “Exactly! Why the fuck would I be avoiding ya? I mean, seriously: who the fuck else would I chat shit about why Dalton sucks or the latest tv show I’ve been watching?”

    Suze thought about it for a moment, then said, “Ok, I know you’ve got a point. I am the most awesome person you know.”

    “Too fucking right! Now let’s dance some more!” And we were going to do exactly that, but then someone turned up that I really, really hoped wouldn’t.

    “Is this a private conversation, or can the boyfriend join in?”, said Brian.

    “OHMYGOOOOOOOOOOOD!” shouted Suze, (seriously, she said it all in one word,) before hugging him tightly. “I thought you were down in London?!”

    “Well, I decided to leave early. I know how much this meant to you, after all.” Then they proceeded to kiss or snog each other. I didn’t really get a good look. I’m guessing the latter, it was half a minute or so before Brian got room to breathe and said to me, “Hi Des! How’ve you been?”

    “Good thanks,” I lied. It’s common courtesy to lie when asked such a question. “Just hanging out with Suze.”

    “You been keeping her warm for me, I trust?”

    “No. No, no, no, no, no keeping her warm or anything…just hugging and dancing. Nothing more.”

    5 hours the awkward silence lasted, before you ask. Or possibly 5 seconds. I don’t know, I was fairly pissed then already.

    “ANYWAY, I’ll leave you two alone while I get myself another drink and fill it with more alcohol.”

    “Yeah, well me and Brian are gonna dance for a bit before taking off, if that’s alright.”

    If that’s alright? I thought. Considering you brought me here in the first place as your plus one before practically abandoning me here, no, it’s not fucking alright! “Yeah, that’s fine,” I replied. Sometimes, I can be such a coward, as you will learn.

    I went off, got a plastic cup of coke, half filled it with vodka, drank it, all the while sneaking the occasional quick glance at Suze and Brian. They danced to two songs, first a sweet, slow one where they didn’t so much dance as had arms around each other and snogging (probably not the whole time, but it had to be said, whenever I snuck those glances in, they were snogging a lot), and with the second one, a much faster, awesome and beautiful song, possibly one of the greatest songs known to man (I should know, I had specifically requested it at least half an hour earlier): Disco 2000 by Pulp. How did they dance to such a classic of such power and awesomeness? By still having their arms around each and snogging the whole time. Not the whole time, thankfully. They actually left long before the song was finished. During the first chorus, in fact. With no real goodbye – Suze just turned to me, smiled, waved and left. At which point I decided it was time for me to do what I’d been waiting to do all night: dance like a prat to one of the greatest. Songs. Ever. I wasn’t quite drunk enough to not care that I was dancing by myself, but I carried on drinking anyway while screaming, “’LET’S ALL MEET UP IN THE YEAR 2000! WON’T IT BE STRANGE WHEN WE’RE ALL FULLY GROOOOOOOOOOOOOOWN?’”

    That was the last thing I can remember before my final minutes of life.

    ***

    I don’t know how I ended up there, standing on the top of the high school roof and swaying in the breeze. That’s right, swaying. That’s one thing I can remember. There wasn’t that much of a wind – if I’m honest, I can’t really be sure there even was a fucking breeze. All I do know is that I was up there, so drunk I didn’t know how I could’ve been standing. But I remember why I was there. What I was staring down at. It wasn’t the ground. It was the results.

    Fuck, how did I balls this up so fucking badly? I should’ve been escaping from this town, I should’ve been having a great future. And now…now that’s done for because of a fucking sheet of paper? It wasn’t fair!

    And everyone else was moving on. Going onto bigger and better things - University, big jobs, everyone was…everyone…

    Ah, fuck it, I think we both know that by “everyone”, it’s really Suze we’re talking about. Everyone else, moving on and leaving me behind…I could handle that. I wouldn’t have been thrilled by it, but I could handle it, if I was on my own and no one to care about. Because back then, there wasn’t anyone. Not even my parents, as much as I loved them. I think they gave up on me a while back. They knew I hadn’t been doing too great in A levels. Maybe they had high hopes once – actually, I’m sure they did – but by that point…they knew where my life was heading. And they knew there was little they could do about it. Little that could actually help me, anyway. At the end of the day, there was no way I could disappoint them because there were no more expectations.

    But Suze was different. For some unknown reason, she still had faith in me. Too much faith. Frankly, I couldn’t handle it - that belief, that faith, the huge expectations she had given me for being a much better man than I actually was. Somehow, through all the drinking and the dancing back in the hall, that one thought of how Susan would feel about me when she found out just how much of a fucking useless shit I really was…fuck, I couldn’t handle it. I tried to block it out by drinking some more, but of course, it just made it worse. It made the black thought grow more and more, blocking out anything else. And from the black thought, a very black and very stupid Idea formed in my mind.

    Next thing I knew, there I was. On the roof. With a bottle of vodka in one hand and the results in the other. Those fucking results, showing me to be the utter failure that I was. If I had worked harder, if I had half the belief in me that Susan seemed to have…well, too little, too late. No grades, no uni, no job. No escape, no hope, no future. What could I do now?

    That’s when it occurred to me: the Idea. The simple thought. The easy way out. No – the only way out. Could I do that? Really? Was that it?

    I suddenly realised that, already, my feet were moving, closer and closer to the edge of the roof. I couldn’t stop myself. I swayed, I felt queasy, but I did not feel like stopping.

    Finally, after forever, I reached the ledge. Slowly, I stepped onto it, one foot at a time. I looked down.

    It wasn’t that much of a tall building really. Just two floors. But could it be enough to kill someone? Perhaps. If I could do it just right, then perhaps

    Suddenly, I turned away and threw up. I think I vomited my breakfast, lunch, dinner and all those snacks in between all in one go. Certainly, it was gonna leave its stench on this roof. I briefly wondered how long it was likely to be there. Probably not too long, depending on when they’d find the body, really. Would it be soon? I couldn’t even tell what side of the building I was on, I was so pissed. Could’ve been the back where no one enters, or it could’ve been the front where everyone would leave, and everyone would see it. My broken body. A number of so many prom nights ruined forever.

    The funny thing was, of all the possible things, that’s what made me reconsider. I was selfish and full of self-pity, but the thought of ruining a lot of people’s special nights with my useless dead body…well, even I wasn’t that much of a total arsehole.

    I thought back over the night. Over me and Suze, me looking dapper and Suze looking beautiful, me and her dancing, getting drunk, arms around each other, Disco 2000 even, and I thought to myself, You know what? It hadn’t been that bad, really. Especially Disco 2000. I started to sing, “’Oh Deborah, do you recall?...Your house was very small...With woodchip on the wall…And when I came round to call…’

    I turned around then to the words “'You didn’t notice me at alllllllllllllllll…'” And that’s when I stretched out my arms and shouted to the heavens, “'And I said, ‘LET’S-‘

    I never got to finish it. Before I knew what was happening, my feet were in the air, along with the rest of my body. First I saw the sky getting further away, and then my body turned to see the ground, rushing closer and closer. I think my last thought was either along the lines of Figures or For fuck’s sake! before I hit it. I’m still not sure. All I remember was the moment afterwards.

    Even with three quarters of a bottle of vodka in your system dulling practically every one of your senses, hitting the ground from quite the height...I’m not sure I have the words to express what the pain was actually like, in that moment. I’m sure, in our lives, we’ve all fallen onto the ground at some point. We all know what that’s like, of the feeling of pain as we land on our hands and scrape them. “Hurts like a bitch” seems to just about cover it. Only for most people, they’re usually standing on the ground beforehand in the first place. From even a couple of floors up, the pain of hitting the ground was a million times worse. I felt a lot of bones break, my jaw smash, my arms, my chest – everything was sheer fucking agony.

    As the world around me got darker and I started to slip away, my last thoughts, before everything got really fucked up, were, Maybe this wasn’t such a good Idea after all…


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  8. #8
    Servant of Gan alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto is a jewel in the rough alkanto's Avatar

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    I feel like I've read this portion before (slightly un-edited). Have I seen this, or do I have a strange sense of deja vu?

  9. #9
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    About half of it, actually. Finally worked out what to write before the roof this weekend. Soon as I was done, just had to post it after giving it a quick read through. It's why it's a little untidy, I'm afraid.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  10. #10
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    DD, did you fucking have to stop at this moment? When will I see the rest???!!!!!

    The only thing I am not totally happy about is the dialog (still). Everything I said in my previous post here remains: I love this piece.

    It abounds in little jems, like those two teachers, and "unguarded", and how long the stench of vomit would last on the roof - and the big gems, like the whole passage about the awkward question. "The thought of ruining a lot of people’s special nights with my useless dead body" - made me jump because it reminded me of a poem I wrote once; but even without this association it would be really really good.

    I want more, and I want it NOW.

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    Yeah, I'm still with you on the dialog. Why I re-watched the whole of Life on Mars over the weekend, so I could study the characters and see how the dialogue played out and- lol, jk, I just re-watched it because it's Life on Mars, and it's as glorious as ever!

    Very pleased bears is happy with the rest, though. I'm still glad I decided to go with the 1st person perspective on this - I just don't think this story would be half as good to read - certainly not half as fun to write - without the running commentary from the "hero" of the story. The next chapter's a bit a bastard though. I will try to have something typed up by the end of the month, but I do need to think carefully about what the world's gonna be (I've had only a loose idea in my head so far) and more importantly, the other characters. I'll type what I can, anyway.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  12. #12
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    waiting! WAITING!!!


    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. #13
    Zane, The Operative fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito has a brilliant future fernandito's Avatar

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    Reading this in a few minutes.

    James, hurry the hell up with the rest of this story. We're going to start George R.R Martin'ng you soon.

    That is all.
    Death comes for all us all... but you first!

    Quote Originally Posted by Girlystevedave View Post
    I'm just nodding my head the whole time thinking "ok, stop now, please."

  14. #14
    Can Toi DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge is a glorious beacon of light DoctorDodge's Avatar

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    You're gonna start George R.R Martin'ng me? Fuck, I need to work on creating some more characters.

    Characters that you care about.

    Characters that you really, really care about.

    Characters that you wouldn't want anything terrible to happen to.

    Just sayin'.


    I help where I can.
    I will not fight!


    You are a walking talking Doctor Who encyclopedia to me.
    - Melike

  15. #15
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    shit, I saw it was on the "thread with new posts" list and thought you finally wrote something
    "Disappointed!" (A Fish Called Wanda)

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. #16
    Going Slap Happy Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick's Avatar

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    I'm out so gave this a quick skim and noticed this:

    "Next thing I knew, there I was. On the roof. With a bottle of vodka in one hand and the results in the other. Those fucking results, showing me to be the utter failure that I was."

    This should all be one sentence. Your style seems to be cumulative heavy which means you should train yourself to wrangle some longer sentences. To streamline it, I would edit it to read like this.

    "Next thing I knew I was on the roof, with a bottle of vodka in one hand and in the other those fucking results that prove what an utter failure I am."

    Or, if you want to draw focus to the sorrow pf the results you can change this to a middle branching sentence by shifting the vodka to the end.

    "Therr I was, on the roof, holding those fucking failure proving results in one hand, a bottle of vodka in the other."

    It's amazing what a shifting the clauses around can do to change the tone of a sentence.
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  17. #17
    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    I am not sure. I hear the voice of the narrator in this sentence, parcellated as it is.

    Ask not what bears can do for you, but what you can do for bears. (razz)
    When one is in agreement with bears one is always correct. (mae)

    bears are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. #18
    Going Slap Happy Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick is a splendid one to behold Mattrick's Avatar

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    It's all a matter of personal style. I kind of see each sentence either as it's own story or it's own image, so I either turn six sentences into one long flowing one or chop one up into separate images if it's more descriptive than expository. Everything from sentence length/structure, when paragraphs should start to end, punctuation...in terms of correctness I don't believe there is any correct way, it's all entirely arbitrary. Some people are extremely stingent with their grammar and don't parce words. I think The Sun Also Rises and Catcher In The Rye are almost equally great novels, yet Hemingway employs brevity and Sallinger employs a meandering narrative and both are equally great. I do think it's important for a writer to choose what sort of style they mean to employ to get the best out of their content, whether that's before pen touches page or halfway through the second draft (like me lol), it is practically essential to have a consistent style, unless you want to use contrasting styles as a style.


    James, is your intent for the novel to broken into chapters or no chapter breaks with little separations to denote time/space/location changes? Gotta eat then I'm going to read through this.

    Every time I've copy/pasted mine from word it's messed up but I figured out a work around. Hopefully James, Jean and some others can give my first few chapters a gander once I've got it all edited up. I'll be converting it to .mobi for e-readers once it's all edited so I'll let a few special people like y'all to read it.
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