Welcome To the Neighbourhood

Monday, May 30, 2005

Jocasta awakes

I woke up naked, shivering on a mass of sodden leaves, a giant yellow slug oozing over the ground right next to my face. I lay on my side, knees tucked up to my chest, hands folded over my heart. My nipples were stiff with cold, my skin covered in goosebumps. My limbs felt like hard plastic, like the dolls I played with as a child whose arms and legs would crack if you tried to force them to bend. I ached all over.

The slug oozed closer to my face. Disgust urged me to sit up, and I heaved my stiff old body up onto my knees. I immediately wished I had heaved more gently. The dizziness nearly made me fall back down, but I put a clumsy hand out just in time, nearly squishing the banana slug. Suddenly I had a vivid picture in my head of slug guts squishing out from under my palm. I vomited on the slug.

My head was pounding, but I forced myself to stand up. I saw beetles and wood bugs crawl among the leaves where I had slept. I combed my tangled hair with icy fingers, shaking loose ants and bits of plants. I wondered when I let down my hair.

I looked down at my body, streaked with dirt, plant stains and blood from dozens of shallow cuts. I wondered what happened to my clothes.

My brain felt as though it was moving at the pace of that slug.

Blackberry bushes ringed the glade. From the looks of some of the cuts, I guessed I must have blundered through sometime the night before.

I tried to remember how I came to be there, but my scattered memories were pearls from a broken necklace. I despaired of ever stringing them back together.

Sizzling scallops in a pan; Leo seared them before adding them to the seafood fettucine. An old family recipe, he said. He cooked me dinner, even did the dishes before pouring us each a second glass of red wine. We talked about feeling lonely, about missing family that's far away.

Leo's eyes, dark mirrors gleaming in the candlelight. I half-expected to catch my reflection in his gaze. For no reason I can say, he reminded me of my ex-husband just then, though Leo's shoulders are narrow and Richard's are broad, though Leo is short for a man and Richard so tall he had to double over to kiss me.

I didn't want to leave without washing the wine glasses. We'll do them later, he told me.

Outside, a balmy night, too warm for early spring. I looked up at the full moon. It seemed to dominate the sky. I thought then, as I always do, that the sky looks strange with so few stars. I pleaded with Leo to take me someplace where the sky wouldn't seem so empty.

We wandered through the shadowed city. Hungry eyes stared at us from nests of salvaged blankets in alleys and under awnings. One feral man staggered past Leo and me on the sidewalk, muttering curses. Leo put his arm around me. I felt safe.

Walking past Lost Lagoon. A skunk watched us from the edge of the pond as we entered the woods. Inside it was black. I stumbled over every root and rock, but Leo was surefooted. He held me steady and led me through the path.

Deep among the trees I was blind, but Leo's warm, thick fingers were a comforting pressure on my arm. He kissed me among the pines. It had been a long time for me, but my body listed towards his just as it did for Richard when we were young.

Suddenly I was alone. I called out for Leo but he didn't answer. I heard twigs snap underfoot, somewhere to my left. I tried to follow the sound, but I tripped over the uneven ground and my ears played tricks on me. I started to sob. A big black shadow appeared before me.

"Leo?" I whimpered. "Is that you?"

I heard a low growl and I ran.



Related stories:

10 Comments:

  • Jocasta has to be missing for some time. I haven't made it clear here whether she's been passed out longer than she knows - maybe more than one night - or even whether she is still in Stanley Park.

    If someone wants to pick it up from here, go ahead. Otherwise I'll try to figure out what exactly is going on.

    Questions to answer: does the growling she heard have anything to do with the bear-man in the book story? And what happened to Leo?

    By Blogger Briana, at 5/30/2005 06:58:00 PM  

  • whoa. that was cool.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 5/31/2005 07:14:00 AM  

  • *Shiver*

    This is getting good. Nicely done, Bree.

    By Blogger Lowly Scribe, at 5/31/2005 09:28:00 AM  

  • Nice work, Bree; you've given us so many possible story points, I'm salivating over here. :D Thanks for leaving time out of it -- this could easily be back story, but for all we know she might have been missing for 30 days.

    Great little nods to previous posts: blackberry bushes, black growling shadow...

    I especially like the description of an older lady remembering her body's reactions to courtship.

    LOVE the phrase "one feral man".

    By Blogger stodmyk, at 6/02/2005 07:58:00 AM  

  • I'd love it if you'd pick it up from here, Jason. I am hoping Jocasta's story will edge into the bizarre, the mythical, the surreal. I'd like to see where you would take it.

    By Blogger Briana, at 6/02/2005 08:59:00 AM  

  • Hype blog. And I admire your site and plan on
    returning to it! When I web surf it always helps me to
    find great blogs.
    Please proceed to my motorcycle accident lawyer san diego blog when you find the time.

    By Blogger job opportunitya, at 12/05/2005 02:09:00 PM  

  • Unbelievable blog. I can hardly wait to vist this
    site again.I'm consistently looking up blogs like
    this.
    I was in love with your blog site.

    By Blogger job opportunitya, at 12/07/2005 10:31:00 AM  

  • Creative blog.  I thought it was the best site out
    and we had to go back to it! Every chance I get on the
    net I search for blogs just like your site.
    In my spare time I will look for your motorcycle accident lawyer san diego blog.

    By Blogger job opportunitya, at 12/09/2005 11:34:00 PM  

  • Fine blog. I found your site suitable for another
    visit! And when I'm able to surf the web, I look for
    blogs as great as your work.
    Hey why don't you peep my motorcycle accident lawyer san diego blog site.

    By Blogger job opportunitya, at 12/12/2005 06:12:00 AM  

  • Hi,
    I read your blog. It was interesting. Blogging is fun.

    Regards,

    Rv Awnings

    By Blogger LSRDylcx, at 1/08/2006 08:32:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home