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Monday, February 22, 2010

My First Fiction. This One is Pretty Dirty.

     I kinda had to write it that way. It's offensive.
     Twice I have posted schoolwork here on the ol' blog. The comparison of Dunbar's Mask with President Carter's World was for English 102. I was actually impressed with both poems. It seems at some point, I have lost some of my hatred of poetry.The Homosexuality Post, I originally wrote for English 101. It is by far the most viewed post on my blog. There is no close second. This will be my third posted assignment. I believe it is  the first fiction I have written. Both my previous papers were A's but this last one has the highest numeric grade I have ever gotten, which is amazing. In the days following Aunt Judy's death, I was immobilized, unable to accomplish much, so this was written in the space a couple hours under an enormous feeling of pressure, without my usual visit to an English tutor to proofread my grammar, which is a little bad, since I am a high school dropout. The rush also forced me to finish before I could smooth some of the rough edges of the plot. I printed this thing less than 15 minutes before it was due. It takes 7 minutes to drive to this class.
     Robert Browning has a poem called Porphria's Lover about a man that strangles his lover with her hair so (I speculate) that her love, for him which he is insecure about, will be frozen into eternity. Yep. Pretty sick stuff . The murder of his woman is a theme Browning uses in more than one poem,..hmmm. I wonder If he resented the fact that his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("How do I love thee..."), was more highly regarded.
     My last writing assignment was to tell this story from Porphyria's perspective, which posed some interesting problems for me. 
  1. Browning has his victims cheeks blush after death. How do I do that?
  2. Much of the poem takes place after the murder. How does Porphryia witness it?
  3. What kind of backstory is needed to account for the shocking sequence of events?
     Porphyria's lover can be read here, It's not very long. I am mildly amazed that this is literature, but then I look at the Bible and there is some pretty disturbing stuff in there, too. My paper is a little more graphic then the Bible. I would never write any feminine first person story (remember, I don't think I've ever written a "story" ) unprompted, so this stretched me and possibly the writing sux.  Browning's poem is hellaciously shocking. 

     My own story is probably more shocking, and  a LOT sicker. Not everyone should read it. I am slightly dismayed it sprang from my head.

     Didja get that?  In my story the motive for Porphyria's murder is her promiscuity, a dysfunction resulting from being sexually abused by her father. The story also contains sex and violence. Together...  in an unusually nasty way (at least I think it's unusual. We don't do any of this stuff over here...). So consider yourself warned. Fairly.

Chris Rauch
ENG 202
12 August 2009

As Long as I Can Remember

I. Up the Hill
I run full tilt up the path in the rain, my boots throwing up handfuls of water. Each step displaces sheets of glass and flings them upward where they unweave into tiny diamonds, glittering in the light of the moon. They seem to float, keeping pace with me as my lungs suck fire from the frigid evening air. Slowly, they drift to the rear as I overtake the jewels my hurried progress has cast before me. I curse the weather, the transportation, and the opium. I curse my brokenness, and my inability to forget the man I was with before I married his best friend. I curse my inability to stay away from him. I‘ve acted like a stupid slut all my life, I think. 
“And what does that make you?” the voice in my head asks….

II. Aside

 I’ve had a little voice inside me for as long as I can remember. The voice doesn’t like me much. I can’t remember the voice ever liking me, but I noticed after getting married the voice sounded just like my husband, Jim. 
And my husband Bill.
As a matter of fact, The Voice sounds like whichever husband I’m on at the time. Whichever husband I’m married to, I mean. I’ve been married to 5, but I’ve been on considerably more than that (Hopefully, I’ve never been on yours, but it wouldn’t surprise me). I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.
Of all my husbands Ted  was different. The Voice never sounded like Ted. For seven years of heaven, The Voice did not sound like the man I was married too. For seven years, The Voice sounded like my father, not my husband, not the man I was trying to love. I really liked that, and I knew I wanted to keep this one.
I leave husbands. It’s what I do. I leave mine, I leave yours. I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I go away. I go home to my father’s, and I never come back. I came back to Ted, though… Again, and again. What can I say? He was just different. Finally, Ted left me. Brokenhearted. Older. Wiser. Out of patience, tears, time, and money, the one husband I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from became the One That Got Away.
Now, two husbands later, I lope around the bend, and see Ted’s cottage bathed in swirling luminescence. I am amazed at the clarity of my night vision. Tonight, I resolve to tell him that I have married again. Some strange alchemy occurs as the wisps of opium float over the sea of adrenaline that surges through my veins, spiking at the thought he will be able to resist me, this time…that I am simply too broken to make this happen, that he will send me away.

III. Around the Bend
My heart beats an impossibly sluggish  metronome that sets the slow-motion pace of my pumping arms and legs. Even the law of gravity kneels to this magic, and I see suspended droplets (rain? splash?) in exquisite detail. Each is a tiny little world, a mirrored sphere reflecting the night sky, where  the Moon is alternately shrouded and revealed by wind whipped clouds with burgeoning  rapidity, punctuated by flashes of lightning. My thoughts gather speed  to match the wind I hear in the treetops, The husbandvoice is silent as we both observe the unlit windows. The Chimney mouth is mute, empty of smoke. Noiselessly, I push open the door, and see him, the love of my life, sitting in the cold anguished dark of a single candle. My eyes take in the room - the dying embers of the fire, the extinguished lamp. I am hours late. 
Has he been brooding all this time?

IV. In the Cottage
I move to the hearth. As I pass by Ted, my fingertips brush the meerschaum on the table at his side and note its lack of heat. He probably has not smoked since the fire went out.  I grab a few pieces of kindling and begin rebuilding the fire. As I work, I hear the occasional, sizzle as stray drips fall from my hands onto the coals. I know I cause his silence and dejection. Tonight, I am the source of his pain, not the pipe at his side. Tonight is my last chance, I think as I rebuild the fire, and warmth and light trickle into the room. Tonight is my last chance, and I will throw it away, like I always have. The Fathervoice mumbles a few choice comments.
My task completed, I stand and strip off my sodden outer garments, conscious of the heat radiating from the fireplace, my cheeks…and my sex. It’s unnerving, this lack of speech. I am terrified it is over.  I sit next to him. My voice breaks in synchronicity with my with my heart as I say his name and he doesn’t answer. Galvanized, I murmur love and endearment, as I unlace, rearrange, adjust. I half rise, swinging around to face him. Some trick of the flickering light keeps his eyes in shadow, denying me their message. My tears begin. I smile and I draw his arms around me, his face down to the juncture of my neck and shoulder. I murmur love and apologies through my tears, pleading, repeating old, worn promises . I grow desperate, hungering for a response, waiting, and wanting so badly.

V. Love and Death
It seems hours before he begans to move around me. I feel the arm I placed around my waist come to life, hardening and tightening,  pulling my skirt up on my thighs as the fingers of his other hand tangle in my hair, pulling me back as I sink to my knees in front of him.  He eases forward, expressionless.  He joins me on the floor in front of his chair,  pulling my head back cruelly, and burying his lips against my throat as his free hand continue the work of opening my bodice,  burrowing past layers, roaming over nipples harder than gravel.
My breath catches, quickens. He begins  sliding warm, callused fingers along one inner thigh to my center, pulling whimpers and sobs from within me.
“You don’t love me.” I felt his lips move against my throat.
“Oh, baby, I do!” I moan, soaring through the skies as I kneel on the floor, the pain in my scalp intensifying with my desire. He twists my hair into a cable, his fingers dance upward between my labia with virtuosity, playing a sonata on my clitoris. I surge upward toward my crest, and feel the cable of my hair pulled around my throat working between his lips and my skin as orgasms flood my senses…once, twice, and a third time. With each strangling jerk of my hair twining around my neck, I come again, dimly aware I can no longer get air, that my love withholds breath and life as I struggle weakly, his fingers slowing, and his flat cold eyes boring into mine.  
“You don’t love me.” Now he sounds like Daddy! 
As the world grows dark, and I slip from it, I feel Ted’s fingers twitch one last time, And I think he even touches me like Daddy!  and with this the veil is torn from memory, the images flooding back into my awareness.  I hear Daddy murmur love and apologies through my tears and pleading,  as he repeats old, worn promises.
I hear my heart stop beating, and I see nothing.

VI. Epilogue

I observe from by the window, as Ted’s screaming shatters the night, drowning out the last remnants of the storm. I look down at myself and nothing is there.
I know what I have become. 
I feel tired despair, and the weight of life wasted as I find myself once again in the room listening to the labored breathing of my lover. I cry out. There is no sound. I cry louder, nothing. I watch in horror as Ted draws his knife and lay s the edge against his throat. I shout with everything I have, and he seems to react. I pour myself out, I tell him I love him, I forgive him, I understand. With each utterance, his eyes seem to open wider, the windows of his soul torn open as he searches for the source of haunting.  Finally I can see the man I know  and realize the madness has left him, though he believes himself still in its grip. The blade glitters one last time as he slices himself from ear to ear, and the blood fountains out in powerful spurts. Dropping the knife, Ted bends over, bathing my corpse in blood, loosening the hair from my neck. He lifts me in his arms, and takes his seat, his lips smearing blood and tears on my cheeks, a strange sigh coming from the sliced trachea.
Ted arranges my corpse in his lap, his heart slowing, his blood no longer pumping with the original force, but welling down his chest in a rhythmic ebb and flow. He places my head on his shoulder, and I watch the flow of blood trickle away to nothing as the light in his eyes goes out.
I sit (stand? float?) with our corpses. I see that I left my wedding ring on. Oops.
Ted never comes. His soul has gone elsewhere. People come. They close our eyes, They clean up our mess. Time passes. I find I cannot leave. No matter how many walls I walk through, I’m still in this room, waiting for Ted.  I’ve been here for as long as I can remember.



  1. OK, so I totally left a comment on here and I checked back just in case you replied and my post isn't here. Bad Blogspot!

    So, this is very Sixth Sense, to me with the whole ghost thing at the end. Personally, I liked the story, a lot, even though it was sad.
    Your posts about school stuff make me excited to get back into school, Chris. But I'm nowhere near as smart or creative as you are, so I won't be posting any of my school stuff on my blog. LOL

    Miss you!

  2. Bah! you are way smart and creative, with a knack for the turning of a phrase:) I think school will give you an opportunity to amaze yourself. Hurry! You could have shit on you transcript from EUROPE. I am glad you liked the story. See you soon!


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