Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chapter the fifth: Disconcerting Occurrences

“Oy, mate, you look like Hell.”
Trent snapped to consciousness, the memories of his dream still fresh. He was surprised and more than a little disconcerted to find himself not in the hospital. Instead, he realized he was a in a pub, sitting in a corner whilst a few people loudly caroused around him. He looked down to find that he was wearing one of his usual outfits: A pair of black Chuck Taylors, denim jeans, a blue sweater, and a faux-leather jacket.
“Are you quite well?” asked the guy who had woken him, a young man that seemed to be British by the sound of his accent. This guy, maybe in his early twenties, looked rather friendly. He sported a would Trent would later characterize as a British music-star hairstyle that would fit in well with the sex pistols or the like. This guy was wearing a small amount of eyeliner, a sweater, and fade jeans. To his side lay a weathered trench coat.
“Uh… where am I?” Trent asked in a confused tone.
Instead of answering right away, the young man lit a cigarette, inhaled, and exhaled thoughtfully. Finally, he said, “You’re not another sodding ghost, are you?”
“I’ve seen a few in my time. Honest. Think what you will, but when I see a guy do what you did I gotta wonder. Names William by the way. Just plain old Will works too, ‘f ya prefere.”
“I… what did I do?”
“Well, you just appeared out of nowhere like. Smeging incredible, really. Kind of like you flowed into your seat from a blur of nothingness, like a film going from fast to slow motion, with a touch of reverse. Phantasmagoric, I must say in all honesty.”
“I shouldn’t be here.”
“What do you mean?” Wills eyes narrowed, and Trent could tell he was still nursing his theory that Trent was, in fact among the walking dead.
“I mean, I was in a hospital.”
“Mmm. Are you sure you’re not a ghost? A revenant? A zombie or corporeal undead of some sort? Besides your sudden appearance and crazy story, you are registering high on my spook’dar.” Will said this all with a half grin, as if he was either jesting or bemused by it all.
“What are talking about?” Trent didn’t like this. He wanted to get out. Anywhere but with this crazy foreigner.
“I got the gift, mate,” continued Will heedless of Trent’s discomfort. “Was born with a caul on my head, so I was. But I’m not complaining. My life’s been all the richer since I accepted the strange parts of the world. Anyways, I see things ‘man was not meant to see’, d’ya kennit.” As he said this last line, William took a waviery/horrific tone that was no doubt intended to invoke humorous associations with old horror b-movies.
Will took a drag, released it. Then his eyes widened with recognition.“Hoy, I recognize you; you’re the boy what got shot the other day! Talk of you was all over campus. I go to Oglethorpe, just like you. What do you study? Me, I’m trying myself in a self designed major, kinda a combination of paranormal psychology and law enforcement. A regular ghost buster, d’ya kennit.” Will winked.
“Uh, I’m in international studies…”
“Ah, wanna save the world or just see it? I’d bet you’re a little from the ol’ A and B, am I right? Stay away from the Balkans; bad spooks out there, trust you me. Oy, it musta hurt bein’ shot an’ all. Where’d you get shot?”
“I…” Trent touched his side, was surprised to feel nothing unusual, and lifted his shirt. Much to his shock, there was bare, unmarked flesh underneath.
Helpfully, and in a much gentler tone than previously used in this conversation, Will said, “I think you’re confused mate, yeah? Maybe the gunwound is on your other side?”
“I… I’m sure I was shot. I’m not still dreaming, am I?”
“Ah, now that’s a question for the philosophers. I met a mad man in Sumatra that tried to convince me he dreamed the world and he couldn’t wake up. Course, I think he came up with the theory to justify the fact he had killed three prostitutes. People justify their evil to ignore the fact that they’re monsters. All the worst monsters I saw were really just people that forgot how to be people.” Seeing that Trent wasn’t engaged in the conversation, Will tried another quick change of subject. “Now Sumatra, there’s a fairly nice country. If you do the habitat for humanity or Peace Corps thing after you graduate, I recommend Su--”
“I gotta go,” said Trent, abruptly standing up.
“Oy, one thing before you go!”
Trent reluctantly turned to face this puckish rouge that would most likely be a laugh under different circumstances.
With a painful flair for the dramatic, Will took a final puff of his fag and rubbed it in the ashtray. “Mate, I just can’t help but wonder… when’s the last time you blinked?”
“Because you certainly haven’t blinked the whole time I was chattering on. Oh well, off with you now. We’ll meet again, no doubt.”
Trent did his best to not break into an all-out run upon his terrified exit.
After Trent had left, Will muttered to himself grimly, “Well, if he is dead, won’t be long before things get interesting.” Then loudly, “Hoy, barkeep! What does a bloke ‘ave to do to get a refresher over here?”


This is great. The move from the pub in the past to the one in the present... really good. It leaves the audience just as disconcerted as Trent. I'm not quite sure what the Briton is saying, but it almost doesn't matter.


By Blogger Cantwell Carson, at 8:51 PM  

This is much better than previous chapters. Both characters' discomfort and confusion came through very clearly. I can't wait to see where this leads.

By Blogger Santos, at 4:04 PM  

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