Young Geoffrey (ed_rex) wrote,
Young Geoffrey

Morning Pages - 8.0

I give up. No matter my best intentions, without the external discipline of a job, rising with the sun no longer seems a realistic goal. And - waking this morning a little after 11:00, having twice slept through the alarm - I asked myself: does it matter? Haven't you read that the human body's natural rhythm is closer to 25 hours than to 24?

And so we'll try that - let Young Geoffrey sleep when he may.

Meanwhile, if you care to read on, this morning's entry seems to be

The Amulet

Chapter One

It was dark. That was the first thing she knew for sure. The second, that she was cold. The third, that she was very uncomfortable; her right arm lay bent awkwardly beneath her and felt like it had been badly scraped against the -

The fourth and fifth realizations came pretty much at the same instant. She was lying on cold earth, gritty and damp; and she was naked.

She blinked into the blackness and was relieved to find that, yes, her eyes were starting to adjust to the night; there were ... shapes ... around her - objects that seemed at once to be darker than the night and yet also brighter - as if they both reflected and consumed what very little light there was.

So. She was outside at night. Lying naked in the dirt. And her right arm was starting to go numb.

She suddenly pushed herself into a sitting position, flapping her suddenly-tingling arm about like a broken wing until she was sure she could feel her thumb and all four fingers move when she gave the command.

Her arm and hand now more painful than tingly, but obviously without any permanent damage, the girl sat for a moment in the dark and the cold. She touched her knees and thighs; she wiggled her toes and flexed her calves and buttocks; she tensed her stomach and - suddenly shivering - she clutched her arms around herself and vigorously rubbed her upper arms with her hands.

Where am I? How did I get ... here? Where are my clothes?

For the first time since that morning in Miss Matthews' class, years ago in grade 4, when she'd had to stand in front of the class and recite a poem she had been forced to memorize - some stupid thing about a squirrel running up and down a tree - she realized she was starting to panic.

She was naked; she was cold; she didn't know where she was, except that she was outside; it was night; her arm was sore; she didn't know where she was ...

She found she was starting to gasp and she took a deep breath, then held it. "What would The Doctor do?" she whispered in the dark. And found she was grinning when she let free the air in her lungs. Though she was glad there was no one around to hear her - she hadn't watched that silly show since she was a kid, more than two years ago - the obvious answer to the question allowed her to at least feel like she had some control over the situation.

The Doctor would figure out where he was, then try to think how he'd got here. And the answers to the first two questions would answer the third: What do I do now?

Well. Where was she, then?

She slowly moved her head back and forth, trying to see through the black, yes, but also listening. Overhead came a soft, whispering hiss, the sound of a breeze kissing the leaves far above. On her right came a sudden splash, followed by silence. No, not silence: the leaves still fluttered, and she realized now that, on her right, where the splash had been, there was gurgling sound, like a very small stream rushing through a rocky bed.

She kept swiveling her head and presently, on her left, she saw a light, bobbing red and unsteady at an unknown distance.

She stared towards the glow a while, until she heard voices coming from the same direction as the bobbing, wearing and slowly-approaching light. Presently, she could hear their footsteps, echoing a little, and the sound of their voices became clear words.

The voices - one was deep and raspy, like Phil's friend Frank, who was always smoking; the other was higher-pitched and nasal, almost whiny - were men's voices and they both sounded drunk. And the light was close enough now she could they were staggering a little as they walked.

The deep voice said, "An' if that wasn't enough, old man Ratchett, he was so drunk he fell face-first in the fire!"

"Don't be tellin' me stories, Daniel me boy. I saw Ratchett just yesterday and he didn't have a mark on 'im."

"And don't you tell me what's a story. I was me - and Collin - what had to pull him out. Lucky for him we was fast, let me tell you! We both lunged and grabbed a-hold of his long golden locks, what he's so bloody proud of, and yanked! Probably a good thing we were pullin' in slightly different directions, else we'd probably broken 'is neck, we was both pullin' so hard!"

Though she didn't think the anecdote particularly funny, the men roared with laughter, so much that the torch one of them was carrying - for they were using a torch to light their way - swayed so wildly, the flame chasing after it like a confused comet's tail, that she was sure they were going to drop it.

Would a dropped torch stay lit? she wondered. And answered herself: Maybe, but if they don't drop it it surely will - and they'll damn sure be able to see you!

The men were close enough now she could see they were both big men, tall and thick and very strong-looking; both with long, thick beards, long hair and wearing what looked like sacs, what she had always imagined potato bags looked like: coarse and shapeless, as if they had just cut holes for head and arms - their arms were bare to the shoulder - and slipped them over themselves.

The girl suddenly realized the men were close enough now they could see her had they been paying attention. And that if she didn't move, they would see her, whether they were paying attention or not.

Quietly as she could, she pushed herself off her knees. Her hand covered something small and cold and smooth, with sharp edges and many flat sides; like a crystal, or a diamond. Her hand closed on it instinctively then, stooping, she edged away from the road. The wavering red light coming on was close enough now she could see there were trees only a few feet away, trees and safety - or so she hoped.

In any case, she knew she did not want to be seen, not naked, not by those men, no matter how much they were laughing (and they were still laughing, though she had stopped paying attention to their words and didn't know what they were laughing at).

Slowly, hands outstretched, she made her way towards the line of black trees until she touched bark. It was a big tree and she circled it enough so that she could turn around and watch the road with little chance of being seen in return.

"Did you hear something?" The men stopped suddenly, peering generally in the girl's direction.

"What? A noise? At night? You think?" That was the nasal voice, which broke into another laugh.

"Thought it might be a deer, somethin' snapped a twig."

"It'd be worth your life to shoot a deer here."

"And you know I don't have my bow with me! I just thought I heard something."

"What? You was maybe expectin' a naked virgin princess to leap out of the trees and into your manly arms? C'mon! We've got work in the morning. You can dream of your princess for - what? - a good three or four hours before the missus kicks you into the mornin'!"

"Aw cram it, or you'll eat this torch!"

And the torch started to bob along again, until only the men's raucous laughter was all that was left to prove to the girl she hadn't imagined the whole thing.

For the first time in minutes (that had seemed at least an hour!), the girl let herself breathe deeply again. Her heart thudded against her ribs like it was trying to escape her body completely. She took deep, regular breaths until her heart slowed.

"I'm not going to panic. I'm not going to panic. I'm not going to panic!"

Naked, in an unknown dark, along an unknown road where drunken men rambled along with torches - torches! - like it was an everyday thing, to panic, she told herself, would be the very worst thing she could do.
Tags: fiction, morning pages, story fragment

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