View Full Version : Paper heart: Prologue to a novel

22-03-2006, 11:42
Prologue: A Memory, New England, 15 years ago...

The blue Buick pulled into the dirt turnoff, its metal grille, like the teeth of some long dead monster, glinted in the sun. It was cold, but it was sunny, one of those quintessential New England spring days. Blue skies which, to the casual observer, looked like those you'd see in California during the summer, but hid a chill wind and temperatures cold enough to give a grown man the goose bumps.

As the Buick rolled into neutral, it stopped with a sudden shudder and a small screech as the engine spluttered before dying. The door popped open. Out stepped, what many men would have considered, one of the most beautiful women ever to have existed. Her short brown hair, although hidden by a baseball cap, in no short way detracted from her exquisite beauty. In her hand she held a small card with a heart embossed in red.

"Come on Mike, hurry up" she said through the window to the small man struggling with his seat belt. She looked ahead, examining the foreground of her vision for any small sign of her childhood. She was suddenly hit by the force of hubris; this place hadn't changed at all. 12 years and this place was still as she remembered it as a child, full of danger and wonder. Rusted metal cars lay next to burnt out oil drums and discarded tyres. What the hell had she been thinking, playing in this **** hole all those years ago? Still, some of her happiest memories were here. But the rusting junk pile to the left wasn't what she was interested in, the true prize lay ahead.

"Mike, will you come on?" she said, turning her head back to the car.
"Just a minute, I don't see why you wanted to come here anyway" came the voice from the car. Mike, her boyfriend of 3 months, her best friend, the centre of her universe. Wasn't it amazing how close you could get to someone in such a short space of time?

There was another popping noise as the passenger door opened. Out stepped her boyfriend, Mike. It would take an imagination like King or Clancy to consider Mike in any way attractive, but he was possessed of a razor-sharp wit and was genuinely one of the kindest and sweetest people she had ever met. Mike knew she was insanely out of his league, but he didn't care about her looks. He was genuinely head over heels about her, even if he had fabricated that ridiculous story to cover his own feelings for her. The world lay ahead of them, it was their proverbial oyster.

"So why did you want to come here Claire?" he said, walking up to her and taking her hand in his. "This place looks like Hiroshima"

She turned and smiled, squeezing his hand.

"This place is special to me, so many happy things happened here."
"This place? Seriously?"
"Seriously hunny, why else would we be here? Come on, there's something I want to show you."

Squeezing his hand, and holding the paper card in the other, they ran down the path, jumping and skipping over rusty bedsprings, discarded engine blocks and yet more rubber tyres. Claire laughed as she skipped, her face showing a happiness not yet shattered by life's twisted sense of humour. Mike grimaced as he got dragged along, jumping over car batteries and cookers just to keep pace. Claire's grip tightened on his hand, and he knew at that moment, he had never been more in love with her.

They skipped and ran for almost half a mile before they reached it. Mike came juddering to a halt. In the middle of this junkyard, this artifice to human excess was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen. A small pond refracted the light onto a dozen broken mirrors, each showing every colour of the rainbow. How could something so beautiful exist in such a place? It was oil spilt into the water; he knew that, but it in no way detracted from its stunningness. The whole place was bisected by 3 large rocks, each over 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

"Isnt it great?" Said Claire from his side, turning slowly to him.

"You used to play here?" he said
"Back when I was about 7, we loved it as kids. We used to swim in the pond, play catch-chase and hide and seek by those rocks, and this place was also somewhere to be alone..." She said, quietening her tone
"Alone? You came to look at the colours on the pond?" he asked
"It was more than that, this place was like my hideaway, the only place that was really mine. Whenever bad stuff happened, like my granddad dying, then I could come here and feel a bit better" she replied
"Kind of like you feel responsible to everyone else to be strong in front of them, but you need somewhere to be alone to feel the way you needed to feel" he said
"Mike, that's it exactly" She said, squeezing his hand tighter.
"I remember I felt the same way when I was 15, when my best friend committed suicide. I had nowhere to be on my own, which was when I tried to-" His voice was cut off
"Mike, you don't need to. I know about the scars on your wrists, you don't need to explain them to me." She said, removing her hand from his and gently brushing a hand against his face. "Come on, let's sit down"

They sat; she looked into his eyes and thought he's the one. This moment, this perfect moment in this perfect place. He's the one I'm going to spend my life with.

"So what's with that card?" he asked
"Oh this thing?" She said, fiddling with it in her hands, "This was from my first boyfriend, Steven. We were both 8, he brought me out here, and he told me he loved me, before he gave me this and some flowers." she smiled whimsically, looking out across the pond.

"he once tried to swim to the bottom of the pond to impress me, he said there was a tunnel that led to nowhere, he couldn't swim to the end of it without running out of air. He always swore he'd get to the end of that tunnel" She said
"And what happened to Steven?" he asked
"We grew up and grew apart. He stopped coming round and I guess that's the 8-year olds version of saying 'let's just be friends'." she replies
"Babe, that sucks." he said
"I know, but in a way I'm kind of glad. When he stopped coming over, he stopped coming here too. It's always been my special place, and I didn't want to share it until I met someone I loved." She said, gazing into his eyes.
"Hunny, there's something I need to tell you" he said, looking away
"What is it?" she asked
"Remember that whole thing with Lizzie, how I got you to give me all that advice and crap on how to ask her out?" he asked
"Yeah, what about it?" she asked
"Well hunny, the truth is I never really liked Lizzie, I was just so convinced that you were out of my league that I tried to put my feelings onto another person, so maybe I could forget about you." he replied
"Why would you do that?" she asked
"Do you know what it's like waking up every day, wishing you were dead? Praying to God for the balls to kill yourself because you can't face another day of loneliness and hating yourself? Knowing that even if it means separation from everyone, at least the suffering will stop?" he asked to himself.
"Do you still feel like that?" she asked him
"You make me feel like I can fly hunny, and I love you for that. You saved me babe, and you know what, I'm going to find the end of the tunnel for you and see what's at the end" he replied
"Mike, you don't have to-" she said, suddenly becoming agitated
"I do, Because I love you" he said, standing up and removing his T-shirt.
"Mike, please don't" She said, the pleading audible in her voice
"No hunny, Steve promised you something and he couldn't deliver it, I'm going to show you I'd move heaven and earth for you" he said, now removing his trousers.
"Mike, please don't-" she pleaded

but it was too late, Mike was running full blast towards the pond. He waded in up to his knees, then to his chest before diving under the surface.

****, the thought, as she stripped off her top and jeans. She was not wearing a bathing suit, but waded into the pond in her trainers and underwear. She trod water for a minute, ducking under the surface to see if he had reappeared, but the oil in the water burnt her eyes, and she dared not look for too long into that oily blackness.

A minute passed, she began to get worried. She thought about
(those dead boys)
all the things she meant to say to him about this place. How it had changed her life, how all the key events of her lifetime could be attributed to this place, perhaps something was looking
(those dead boys)
out for her in all this.

90 seconds passed and she began to panic. She dove down into the water, kicking her legs in the air and diving down. She groped around in the oily water for what felt like an eternity. Mike, Mike, for ****s sake, where are you, she thought, groping round her like a blind minesweeper. 20 seconds later, she broke. she needed air, she kicked to the surface when something tightened its grip around her wrist. She screamed, letting water into her lungs as the hand tightened its grip. it has to be Mike, he's not found the end and come back up for air, she thought as her head broke the surface.

She looked down and could not see into the water. She grabbed hold of the hand and pulled, and for a man of Mike's weight, it moved easily. She dragged herself onto the bank, and only when her eyes were open did she see the thing around her wrist was Mike's hand, minus the rest of him. She opened her mouth to scream and coughed up a mixture of water and oil as the blood from Mike's hand dripped into the water, causing crimson to bounce into her eyes from the mirrors.

As she stood there in shock, she began to scream. All the while, the hand, severed cartilage and all, never loosened its grip.


12 hours later, police dive teams combed the pond for the body of Mike. There was no sign of the man, nor any sign of any tunnel in the side of the pond. Whatever killed those boys all those years ago, thought Claire, has killed again. the thought turned her blood cold.

23-03-2006, 02:51
Very very nice. I like the feel of it.

I'd love to see more of it.

29-03-2006, 12:01
i can only say tut,tut hlokk. I'll pm you why