Monthly Archives: June 2011

Girl Talk

Girl Talk: A short story based on characters from a longer writing project, taking place after the events of said project (a novel). A little grisly and disparaging in parts, not for kiddies. Any and all criticisms, critiques, and pointers are welcome, as I consider this an initial draft and more an exercise than anything else. As well as a chance to revisit some familiar faces.


“Hot as hell out here,” Already, she had her dark brown hair scraped back, the bikini just a little more than she was used to wearing back home. The thick smog that had obscured the city for so long was not present here, and instead the sky was suspended above, clear, cloudless … the sun burned and there was no breeze. It was the only illogical place for him to have hidden, being that he spent so little of his time outside. “You said you knew where he went, Sylvia?” The blonde nodded in the corner of the room, bare feet gently padding against the marble floor as she dried off, wrapped in nothing more than a towel. The time for leisure was over, of course; impressing the men of every nationality that gathered at the edge of the pool was unimportant, compared to what came next.

“I guess. Eddie might have mentioned something that the pretty young thing he was spending all that time with left behind. Either way, their shit was gone once he got to the apartment.” She wrung the chlorinated water out of her hair, scowling at the inherent dryness of her locks. The idea of Eddie mentioning anything at all was strange to the two of them, but it didn’t matter. Without his brute force and status, they would have never been able to gain entry.

“It’s a surprise she took off with him, y’know,” Jannah breathed smoke from her lips as she considered it. “I told you what happened to Isaac right?” Sylvia nodded her confirmation as she approached the balcony.

“Ate his gun, right?” The dark haired female grinned at the question, not even bothering to answer it. Sylvia already knew everything she needed to know, of course; she knew what Bryson had done, and why they had come all the way out here in search of a man they were supposed to have forgotten about. That was, after all, what he wanted; prior to Christmas, things had not just become troubling, they had become a damn mess, and it only really made sense for him to spend the six months that followed holed up in a run-down hotel room, stuck in architecture and interior design that had taken root four decades ago. He was probably doing tequila shots off the chest of his fling right now, but … no. He had not been quite so brazen when she had known him.

“Damn well did. The cute little copperhead he was dating watched and everything. Then, next thing you know she’s flying out here with a guy almost twenty years older than her,” Another breath of smoke as she looked out across the ocean; in spite of all the reasons they were out here, she would be sorry to leave once their business was done. Perhaps a little longer. Eddie had enough authority to deal with whatever needed to be dealt with, and she hadn’t exactly booked their return in advance anyway. She tended not to think about those kinds of things. Acting on impulse was so much more fun than that. “Well … she didn’t look much older than sixteen, anyways.” Sylvia grinned at the comment, everything a malicious girl should be. She was, of course, the type to make underhanded, jealous snipes at girls she deemed prettier or luckier than her. That didn’t really matter when she was the one holding the gun, though.

“Speaking of which … are we going to do this or what?” She had slipped off the towel before she was even inside, bare back to the outside as she searched for suitable clothing. Truth be told, she was not used to the heat. Her pale skin shimmered with sweat while Jannah’s olive tone seemed so much more suited to her surroundings; since arriving, she had not been able to find something that she was comfortable wearing, and had instead resorted, like Jannah, to wearing only the bare minimum. When she had weapons to carry, however, this was not really an option. She had seen the white halter neck dresses the local women wore, but none of the patterns had managed to catch her eye, and already her shoulders were red and sore from the sheer amount of sunlight they had caught. Jannah finished off her cigarette and tossed it off the balcony, letting down her dark brown hair as she did so.

“Damn it, not yet, Sylvia. Way too obvious. We’ll enjoy ourselves at a bar or something ’til it gets dark,” She started, pulling on a barely-there chemise and fastening a belt around her hips. “Nobody cares much after that. Most people are out at dinner or in the streets. Where we need to be going … well, we should be able to get through pretty quickly.” She swung a heavy purse over her shoulder; anyone who tried to steal it would most likely bag themselves a prize, but Jannah was not about to let that happen. Touch her, she could care less. Touch her possessions, however, and it was another matter entirely. A matter of seducing, setting up the honey trap and letting them know it was too late only after the last moment had already passed.

Jannah let the door swing shut behind herself as she padded out of the room. Smooth, cold floors, naturally designed to keep the interior of these buildings as tolerable as possible, as opposed to the insufferable heat that permeated every locale within miles; it was really a relief to tread them, just as diving into the private pool before dawn was … just as the first drag of a newly lit cigarette, or the prospect of finally finding the one she was after. Sylvia caught up to her the moment she had managed to pull on her clothes; some kind of a white halter-neck cotton dress that did not quite obscure the fact that she wore nothing underneath. Fine for the patrons, but not so fine considering the faint outline of a jet black holster could be seen on her upper right thigh … perhaps it would be too much to hope that many would be too drunk to consider it anything other than a provocative garment.

Things were almost cruelly different here Jannah considered. Partly due to the disrepute of the bars she and Sylvia frequented at home, and partly due to the fact that most remotely attractive girls had found less efficient ways to make money than she had, Jannah had come to accept her concerted beauty as something that would be second to none the world over. She disliked the golden honey torsos of most of the girls that passed by her, body jewelry and cheap, filigree tattoos, bikinis printed with neon stripes and flowers and large shades obscuring their eyes. She grew jealous of the fact that they were gaining more attention than she was, from the loud, raucous British males in their polo shirts and flip-flops, laughing with beer cans held high, here on a package holiday with no need to drive back to the hotel; it was within walking distance.

Una … una … cer-cer–” Sylvia dissolved into incoherent giggles beside her, as the bartender merely looked on, unimpressed. He was of an average height, with average looks; nothing too remarkable, and nobody who would leave a particularly vivid impression in her mind. Nonetheless, Sylvia’s girlish giggles suggested that she had been looking to gain his attention, and she most certainly had done, if only through her abysmal use of his native language.

Cerveza, Sylvia.” She muttered, not taking her eyes away from the dance floor, where the same bikini-clad girls twirled around in an alcohol-fueled mating ritual, swinging their hips and crouching suggestively, heads pressing against the crotches of total strangers. All control lost, legs wrapped around men and women alike … at least when she engaged in such things, she was the one in total control.

Una cerveza, por favor.” Her friend finally managed to mutter, before laughter took hold again, and she pressed her cheek to the wooden surface of the bar. The sun would not go down for a long time, yet. It was only seven-thirty, yet already, the bar had collapsed into a vicious orgy of troublemakers and flirts, otherwise respectable girls whoring themselves out to the latest shaggy-haired, clean-shaven idiot. Jannah swilled the bright cocktail in her hand, not bothering to take a sip, momentarily distracted as one of the same clean-shaven idiots made to take her hand, but–

“No.” Her mouth formed a perfect circle, that might have seemed suggestive, had she not just abandoned her drink and grasped Sylvia’s wrist tightly. It did not seem conceivable that the same cute little copperhead they had been discussing maybe half an hour ago was here, now, and yet she would have recognized the cropped, auburn style anywhere. No longer dressed in ill-fitting clothes, she wore a white cropped shirt that displayed her washboard stomach in its entirety, and an outdated, tie-dyed teal skirt that fell to maybe just below her knees … a transformation indeed, but this was not the thing that Jannah’s eyes were momentarily drawn to. She carried a beer in each hand … which had to mean …

She followed the girl through the writhing crowd, skirting the dance floor and narrowly avoiding the kind of horny male who could only construe something more than a mission from how tightly she was holding onto Sylvia’s arm, all the while staring intently at another, younger female. Whether or not the girl she was following was aware of their presence was unclear, but one thing she did know was that it wouldn’t matter once she set those beers down on their coasters and the male she was returning to saw exactly who she had in tow.

Jannah hung back for a moment, watching as the girl slid into the lap of a forty-something male, dark hair, unusually colored eyes … and … yes, he most certainly had gained a little weight since she had last seen him. That much was clear even through his gray wife-beater. They kissed, touched, entwined their hands, and she winced at the gestures; far too sugary for her tastes. He had been rough with her, even threatening on once occasion, and yet here he was, being gentle with a girl who looked young enough to be his daughter.

She thumbed the barrel of the gun inside her purse. Ordinarily, she would not have hesitated to pull the trigger from this distance, but this time … she licked her lips, caught up in a memory, only awakening when Sylvia nudged her shoulder, causing her to look up.

“Jannah,” He was grinning. Not the kind of grin a boyfriend used to greet a lover, however; it had more in common with a cold, arrogant smirk than a gesture of friendship. “You really were missing me … flying all the way out here. They let you out of prison for screwing the judge or something?” While many girls, she realized, would have been incensed by the suggestion, Jannah stared into his eyes, unflinching. When it came down to it, it was all about having friends in the right places, nothing more, nothing less; little did he know that she had never so much as seen the inside of a prison cell.

“You know me too well, Bryson,” She smirked, regaining her composure at once. She pressed herself to him, showing no regard for the copper-headed girl watching them, refusing to break eye contact. “So you should also know that you need to do what I say.” Still, her thumb stroked at the barrel of the gun. He raised an eyebrow as he looked down at her; when she wasn’t wearing heels that gave her an extra four or five inches of height, the difference between them was nothing if not surprising. His face instantly broke into a cold grin, the kind that would suggest that he had the upper hand … why was he doing that? It was not fair of him to do so.

“You’re fully clothed in a place where half the girls aren’t. What happened? You’ve lost your touch.” She did not even have to think about her next move, grabbing his wrist firmly, and forcing it into the depths of her purse. The smirk was wiped from his face; even as he stumbled backwards, Jannah caught a glimpse of Sylvia hitching up a part of her dress in the corner of her eye, unsure of whether or not Bryson had actually seen the gesture.

“We’re going for a walk,” She stated, suddenly feeling much, much taller than he was, in spite of herself. “You can take your teenage dream, or you can leave her here. Doesn’t matter. You and I both know there’s no need for her to get caught up in this again.”

“Even after you were so quick to involve her the last time?” Jannah paused for a moment; Sylvia’s eyes were upon her. There were some things she had never felt much of a need to inform her partner of, and this was one of them. Sure, Sylvia knew that the girl’s then-boyfriend, Isaac, had ‘eaten his gun’ as she had so eloquently put it. This was all she needed to know, however.

The music thumped in her ears as she followed him down a set of wooden stairs, growing closer and closer to the DJ’s booth the whole time. She didn’t care for it. Alcohol had little to no part in all of this, and instead, adrenaline rushed through her, fear and excitement all at once. She had done what she had set out to do, at last, but could she go through with it? Ruthlessness was one thing, but did nothing to undermine the fact that this man was better than her at some things, in some instances. No more disturbed, naturally,but he was able to kill efficiently, even if most of these murders had been, mostly, accidental. She had been the one to force his hand. This said nothing for the very first kill he had left in his wake, though …

By now, the sun was gone, and of course, both of them had been too absorbed in their own affairs to know it. Sylvia got the distinct impression that she was able to enjoy the humid, balmy evening much more than Jannah was, almost tempted to jump down barefoot into the sand, blissfully void of topless women and sun-seekers now that night had fallen. She guessed that it was maybe ten, now, far too active for them to do any real business of course, but substantial enough. They would not be making death threats out in the open, as such; plenty of people were more focused on getting to dinner, or drinking themselves into the ground, but it was still not a safe time or place to do it. Early, he was aware that Jannah had brought a gun. This was all they really needed.

“I thought you might’ve given up,” He stood with his back to them, facing out towards the tide. It wasn’t the same, vivid blue as it was during the day, lapping, navy, at the shore. The sand was cool, now. Not impossible to walk on at all. Not impossible to die on, either. “Let me be for a while. I thought you got a kick out of playing with your victims, Jannah.” He did not quite place his hands at the back of his head, as though he had been ordered to do so by an officer. He froze where he was, however, knowing that to take a step forward would mean to fall, and he did not want to do that, not quite yet.

“I think we’ve done enough playing.” Jannah muttered, hitching her purse a little higher onto her shoulder and readjusting the smock she was wearing. It was warm enough to get away without wearing it at all … she had come to accept that this would be the case for the entirety of the time she and Sylvia spent here. Without another word, she slipped a hand gently into her purse and withdrew another cigarette, as well as her lighter, placing the thin, white stick in her mouth and lighting it. At last, at the familiar smell of smoke, he turned, unable to see the hand she was hiding behind her back, but already guessing at what she was holding.

“Wouldn’t it be a waste for you to shoot me, all the way out here? Nobody to pay you for your hits, after all.” He had a point … but whoever said that she was going to shoot him in the first place? She was far too well prepared for that.

“Doesn’t matter,” Sylvia interjected quickly, all threat lost on her. Drunk, she was not her usual self; she became girlish and demure, hand twitching at the hem of her dress not to display her weapon, but instead to lift it up, over her head. “Eddie’s sorting the hit out back home.” She muttered, but fell silent when Jannah dismissively waved her hand. There was no doubt as to who controlled the operation, though Sylvia’s part had undoubtedly been played well. Jannah watched carefully as Brsyon’s lip curled; a familiar name, supposedly interwoven with a familiar situation. Tanned, he looked different in the moonlight than she remembered, heavier, not so much muscular as ever inch of his body suggesting that he had gotten lazy. Spending all his time in a hotel suite did that, she supposed. Drinking, screwing, god only knew what else … she tossed her hair back uncomfortably, regaining her composure.

“Then we couldn’t have done this shit inside?” His eyes flashed, suggestive. She knew what he was remembering; in particular, the very last night. She did not shudder, but considered that he might. She had, after all, abused him more severely than his paltry life would ever have caused him to adjust to, and yet not quite so severely as her previous lovers.

“We couldn’t,” She did not know why she was bringing the gun up to meet the right side of his chest – she was being merciful with that. The music up and down the coast was still thumping in her ears, as though it had gotten louder in the short space of time it had taken them to come here. Lights up and down the sand. They were in a secluded place that nobody needed to stumble across … well, maybe a drunkard. Easily dealt with. “I mean, the beach is so lovely at night, wouldn’t you agree?” A step closer, flicking her cigarette butt to the ground and not bothering to stamp it out. It would slowly burn out upon the concrete anyway.

“And if the cops – policía – hear a gunshot?” She had thought it through. His eyes betrayed him, because he was already well aware of this fact – she had thought it through, and ultimately, didn’t care. She had slept with the judge back home, there was nothing stopping her from doing the same here … supposing that they even caught her. Within the next twenty-four hours she and Sylvia could be on a flight long gone, back in a country they were used to even if they did not so much belong there as exist.

“Anything. A car backfire to a gang war, or something in between. I’ll do myself a favor and let out three or four more after you’re dealt with make it seem realistic. Get the hell out while we can.” She glanced over at Sylvia, who seemed entranced by the situation that was unfolding before her eyes.

“Bryson!” Jannah wasn’t sure, even in retrospect, what caused her to pull the trigger. She considered that it was almost definitely the shock of hearing that voice, when she had thought that they had not been followed. She considered that it had been a knee-jerk reaction; the last time, she had, in a moment of weakness rejected the opportunity to shoot him at point-blank range, and so now had taken the opportunity to prove to his copper-headed girlfriend that she really did have the guts – and the gun – to do it. What she did not consider was that if she could not have him, no other girl would; in spite of it all, she had at least found someone she could control and abuse in him, and he would always come back for more.

She often found it pathetic how anyone involved in a shooting of any kind would describe the exact moment of the sound of the first gunshot as happening in slow motion. She was not quite sure why it felt this way, halfway to a drug-induced craze where strobe lights caused the effect, but instead they were in the clear air, and he had stumbled, at first. She had seen the look in his eyes, some kind of plea, but also questioning. A certain kind of shock – he had never expected her to do it. Her dark hair whipped around her in a haze as she turned this way and that, looking for an exit, glancing across at Sylvia who was dumbstruck, mouth open wide, about to dash over to the ledge before she grabbed her arm, circling and running directly towards the well-lit road.

The girl had seen everything. Even as they slowed, Jannah could have sworn that she was following on … perhaps this was what had caused her to run to the middle of the road, rather than stopping dead next to the street vendors and jewelry stalls. Like Thelma and Louise … she thought to herself, the pain of the impact numbed by both adrenaline and fear.



Filed under Excerpts & Short Stories

Inspiration … or Thinly Veiled Dreaming?

It’s truly remarkable to consider that even a year on, a place can have such a profound effect on me. This entry, by the way, is in part my own egotistical attempt at faux travel writing, and in part me gushing about a locale I never thought I would adore as much as I really did. I’m glad that I did, though. It’s so easy to think of Spain and immediately, then, think of a thousand British twenty-somethings flooding to the country on planes, having booked their package holidays in advance of a week or more of booze, sex, heavy drug usage, clubbing, and anything else associated with it. It’s also easy enough to look at the media-inspired examples we’re given here in the UK, Benidorm being the most prevalent example. Sure, I may be getting confused with Ibiza. Either way, there’s no denying the stigma involved.

With this in mind, what I wasn’t counting on was experiencing something truly breathtaking. At eighteen, I’ve not really had many of these moments in my life, the only other one I can think of being on safari in Kenya … my first true experience travelling, and quite a long haul for my age (fourteen at the time).  Another thing I wasn’t counting on was, quite simply, being inspired. I’m not sure whether experiencing Benalmadena itself was quite what got me started on the tangent, or whether it’s this in conjunction with looking back upon photographs and connecting a memory with a feeling; either way, it’s somewhere I doubt I will ever be able to leave well enough alone.

There is a problem, however. That initial, breathtaking view will never be matched by simply looking at photographs, and I have the distinct feeling that I will never be able to write something so efficiently outside of the country as inside of it. Describing the stifling heat and the humming cicada beetles is one thing, but experiencing it and channeling it into writing is quite another. I can recall driving higher and higher up into the mountains, but that is it, it is still a recollection. So, since returning, I can’t even begin to count the hours I’ve whiled away cooking up an elaborate dream of sitting out on the balcony, the glare of the sun on my laptop screen obscured by an umbrella or some other form of shade, simply writing. Blissfully cut off from the rest of the world, penning everything and anything that comes to mind during two to three secluded weeks, maybe taking it half a day at a time before travelling further outside of my comfort zone; time was spent inside the apartment and beside the pool in equal measure, although there was something inherently more comforting about sitting inside, looking out over the balcony and the accompanying view than I’ve ever felt in my own house.

I think this feeling, too, created a pivotal moment in my life – the realization that I can’t stay where I am. I’m not going to lie, I’ve dreamed of doing such a thing for years, but standing outside the Buddhist temple, an incongruent, low hum of Eastern music filling the air and looking out across the sea, white stucco houses with terracotta roofs and winding dust roads … this made it seem as though such a fantasy could, one day, become a reality. I’m still convinced that it can. While I’m sure that I am wrong, I remain convinced that it is not only people with high disposable income, or immensely successful writers that can indulge themselves with travel. I have no desire to lay about in the sun all day and drink until I collapse all night. I’m open to adventure, not excess or even, dare I say it, hedonism.

This is not to say that commercialism and exaggerated nightlife has no place in my plans for the future; here, the prospect of walking along the sea front on a Saturday night is positively terrifying. Call it a deeply romantic image of the place I covet, but the only sense I got from being a part of Benalmadena’s port was one that could be likened to community, or else a real sense of something special happening. No doubt this would wear off within a matter of weeks, but this is something I don’t care for – ultimately, I felt safer in a foreign country than I do here, at ‘home’.

Now, this is all starting to sound like senseless gushing. I’m aware of the realities; that, while on my first outing I was part of a fairly large group, some of whom had already visited multiple times, on my own I am not likely to stand a chance. A thirst for adventure and travel can only carry me so far, I know. Certain sensibilities must be in place. This doesn’t at all curb the lingering adoration I have for what I experienced, of course.

I don’t feel a desire to observe a country’s social shortcomings when I know I’m safe, of course. I was very safe; I’m not going to go so far as to say that I’m ignorant of the fact that bad thing happen, as they do anywhere you look in the world, but my point remains that I simply never came into contact with it. Yet, in a perverse way, this is what so much of my writing revolves around … I’m a fan of horror at heart. Suspense novels, crime and thriller … transgressive literature.  So to break out of that box and consider that there is more to write about than the dark recesses of the human mind, or a murder in cold blood, is not only a relief, but a revelation to me in itself. A breath of fresh air, if you will.

Above all, however, visiting Benalmadena taught me a little something about love. Not the teenage ideals, that love must be with a person. I often wonder why, in fact, I fail to bother with dating, with actually trying to find someone who means something to me in a romantic sense; the truth is, I feel I’m able to love a place, and indeed, the practice of writing just as much as I should be able to love a person. I’d do anything to get back there … I’d do anything to record the raw thoughts and feelings of being there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing & Literature

The Beginning

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I have set up a blog only to abandon it mere weeks, even days, later. This is down to a number of reasons; procrastination, forgetfulness, becoming over-encumbered with life, procrastination, lack of things to say, abandoning projects, loss of Internet access and procrastination.

In case I didn’t already make that clear, I’m a serial procrastinator.

I wait and wait on things until I’m so far past the deadline it ceases to become clear as to whether there was a deadline to begin with. Or whether I actually knew that I was involved in a certain project.

Have I made a silent pact with myself not to let this attempt go to waste? No. I’ve found that, far too often, I start writing blogs for the sake of other people, rather than using them to channel my own thoughts and opinions. However, as with most projects, this has come about at a time where I’ve found my mind brimming with thoughts and ideas, and these will no doubt dissipate as time goes on. I lose sight of most of these thoughts and ideas, and I become afraid to share my opinions in case they offend anybody.

Therefore, let it be known that relatively little of what I say is said through malice of any kind. It’s usually more ‘you caught me in a bad mood during which time I happened to open up my browser and post on my blog’ or ‘this riles me up so much I just had to post about it’.

Either way, this is, first and foremost, a blog about writing; a concept that is overdone, yes, but a subject matter that I’m passionate about and feel the need to share in some way, shape or form.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing & Literature