…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

Short Story #3: Camp Point Blanc (Part III)

When he didn’t answer, Mel whispered, “He… He kicked the guy in the head and he went limp again. Then Anton grabbed the guns and knives and ran back to where I was hiding.” She held up another gun in her hand, this one black and smaller than the first one that Anton still clutched in his hands pointed down.

“Shit Anton! Alright… Look, I’ve been here for a while now. Together, we’ve been here far too long and we’ve got to keep going. We’ll make for the road south of here, on the edge of the woods. It shouldn’t be too far now, but we’ve got to go now.

“What about the others?” Mel was visibly shaking in fright now, her eyes wide with fear.

“Look we don’t know what’s happened to them, but they know the plan. We’ve got to go!” Anton had caught onto the immediate importance of getting as far away as possible from the camp. He walked out the door and down the corridor that lead to both the front door where Annie had broken in and the rooms at the south end of the house. They all followed him as he stationed himself at the edge of another window and peeked around the edge of the metal blinds that had been pulled down.

“I can’t see anyone else out there. None of us and none of them. There’s some steps leading up to the house outside… I think it must be to a door in the next room or something. Annie go check. That’ll be our way out and we’ll make a run for it.”

Annie swiftly and silently moved from the window into the next room and found the small door. “It’s in here,” she whispered back just loud enough to be heard from the next room.

“Ok I’ll stay at the window, when I say go open the door slowly. Mel, you go in there with Annie. Once you’ve opened it Annie, stay completely still, and I’ll watch outside to see if there’s any movement there. If not, I’ll come join you and we’ll bolt. Got it?”

“Got it. Thank god we’re finally getting out of here.”

Annie tensed herself as Mel joined her, making sure to stay out of the direct view of the door. Then Anton’s low voice came from the other room, “Go.” Annie slowly opened the door, praying that it didn’t creek. For an abandoned house, it was strangely well looked after with the new additions to all doors and windows as well as all doors being well oiled at the hinges. It opened without so much as a groan and Annie thanked who ever it was looking after them from above.

All was silent and on edge as Annie and Mel waited dead still for Anton to give them the all clear and join them. All they could hope for was that one-degree of safety before they made their mad dash for survival. There was no way they would survive the rest of the night in the tiny house, despite it only being a matter of hours until daylight. After what seemed like the longest wait in the world, Anton moved silently beside them and they moved out the door and down the stairs to the woods again. Anton silently motioned to the south of the house, and they set out on a hurried trot.

A sudden shout behind them, made the trio stop dead in their tracks and turn rearward, towards the noise. Behind them in the woods, on the hill behind the house, a black figure could be seen. As they spotted him, another figure came into view from behind some other trees on the hill. When Annie spotted the last figures that appeared, the blood drained from her face. It was Caley.

By this stage, Anton had also spotted it and had covered Mel’s mouth to stop her screaming and giving away their position. He was slowly moving sideways to the cover of a large tree and with wide eyes, beckoned Annie to do the same. Annie followed as she continued to watch the scene on the hill where she had previously ran from to the safety of the house.

The rest played out in slow motion as she watched Caley run down the slope towards the house, slip, and lose her footing. She slid a couple of metres down the slope, hitting rocks and leaving a trail in the leaves that covered the ground, until finally she found a purchase for her feet and stopped herself. A black figure appeared from behind the trees to the left of Caley who was still unaware, and lunged towards her. Mel began to scream behind Anton’s hand just as the figure caught Caley and in a swift motion of his black gloved hand, her head lolled to the side and she slid to the ground.

The other figures on the hill turned towards where the three of them were hiding and Mel began to panic again, her eyes wide with fear over the top Anton’s hand. Adrenaline was all that controlled all three of them as Anton yelled “run!” and let go of Mel. His stolen gun was in one hand and his knife in the other. Annie ran to Mel’s side and pulled on her arm to get her moving. The black figures were moving rapidly down the slope behind them with ease in pursuit.

Dragging Mel’s arm behind her, Annie realised that Mel still limply clasped the gun in her hand. She made a grab for it shouting to Mel, “I’m a better shot than you, get your knife and run!” Something twitched inside Mel at that moment as she released the gun and clasped the knife more firmly in the other hand, picking up speed and overtaking Annie. The race was on again, except unlike some running race in primary school, the winner of this race got to live.

Annie’s thudding feet picked up the pace as she made a made dash back into the thick of the woods heading south. She could only just see Anton and Mel running in front and to the sides of her, but after only a few minutes of full out sprinting, she could also hear the sounds of pursuit hot on their tails. Mel must of heard it as well because a scream escaped her mouth again and she ran that tiny bit faster.

All the while, leaves and braches were snapping past, trees and bushes became hazy again as they flashed past. Annie was watching not only in front of herself, making sure not to trip for risk of being killed, but also in her peripherals for any sign of attack. It didn’t matter though, she could hear who ever was behind her, gaining distance. She turned just in time to see a black figure mere meters behind Mel to her left and she fired the gun in her hand. A loud crack sounded as the gun went off and the figure fell to the ground. He was still rolling around on the ground as he disappeared behind them, so he must have been wounded. She kept running.

Anton was in front of them when his gun sounded, the shot reverberating around the woods thanks to the thick canopy above them. He kept moving forwards, so Annie and Mel followed suit, not knowing what danger he had fired at. They discovered it when Mel went down. Out of nowhere a black figure tackled her to the ground, her screaming the only sign of the struggle.

Annie stopped and fired two shots at the man. The first one missing and the second one finally immobilising him as his body went limp on top of Mel. Annie waited for a second, preying for Mel to move, to show a sign of life, but there was nothing and she was no more. “Mel! Get up Mel! Please!” Annie’s voice sounded strained as she began to move slowly away from the scene.

Abruptly the shadows were broken as a figure rushed over the limp bodies at Annie, arm raised with a glinting knife. Without thinking, her finger pulled on the metal trigger again, and the gun fired at the assassin. He staggered as it hit his shoulder, but still he kept running at her. For the first time that night Annie screamed. She didn’t know if it was a scream of terror or anger, but it ripped through her throat and poured energy into her hands as she squeezed the trigger repeatedly.

Each bullet landed squarely in the man’s chest and finally he fell to the ground in front of her feet. His hand thudded on top of her shoe and she quickly backed away. When he didn’t move again for another second, she quickly dashed forward to steal the gun holstered on his hip. Throwing down her now empty gun next to his riddled body, she sprinted back away from the scene of the two men she had killed and her dead friend.

Anton was nowhere to be seen in front of her. 

[to be continued…. one day]

August 26, 2009 Posted by | my writings, short stories | Leave a comment

Short Story #3: Camp Point Blanc (Part II)

Both figures stiffened, their eyes searching the room for the whisper. They looked at each other and one of them replied hesitantly, “Yes. Who’s there?”

She resheathed her small blade and walked out into the room slowly from her hiding spot on the other side of the doorframe, her hands poised carefully in the air in front of her. “It’s me, Annie.”

“Shit Annie, you scared the hell out of us!” Anton lowered his arms and in a flash of light Annie caught sight of a gun in his hands.

“Oh yeah, because this whole night hasn’t already done that for us?” came the sarcastic reply from Annie as she moved towards them both for tense embraces. “Have you seen any of the others? Did anyone follow you two?”

Mel shook her head. She was shaking and Annie could feel it as they hugged. Mel’s voice was tiny as she whispered, “We haven’t seen anyone since Caley saw that guy and we all ran for it. Everyone split up then. Caley, Jamie and Emma ran in different directions to us and we haven’t seen them since. Then we heard…” Her voice trailed off as a small tear fell down her pale cheek and her chin began to quiver.

“… We heard a scream not long after we were separated,” Anton finished for her. “We didn’t know if it was you or Emma. But I guess seeing as you’re here…” Silence filled the room again as the facts started to sink in. It was a harsh reality. Emma was the first one from their group that had been caught since Mr Simmons, the teacher for their group, had never returned from going to the toilet late yesterday afternoon. The six students who barely knew each other before the week’s beginning had bonded fast as survival became the most important thing.

They had returned to the base camp after Mr Simmons had disappeared, but were stopped short of entering it when the screams had started. From the tree house vantage point on the outskirts of camp, Jamie had climbed to the top and seen blood trails in the central courtyard of the campsite. Where they had once sung songs around a camp fire, there had been some sort of struggle, and that was what he had relayed to the others in the group. It was at that point they had decided they would stay under cover near by as long as possible to see if anyone they knew appeared and could tell them what was going on.

When the screams and shouts became more frequent and a black figure was seen running through the bushes to the left of their hiding spot, they had begun to panic. The slash of silver light reflecting off a gun for a split second sent them over the edge into fully adrenaline pumped mode. They had decided that they would all head back into the thick of the woods and away from the trouble that was obviously occurring at the campsite. Hopefully, to relatively more safety than where they had been.

At first they had been cautious and ran in a line from one tree to the next trying to remain under cover. When they had been running for what seemed like hours and the dark of night had fully set in, they stopped and regrouped. Sharing out the small amount of snacks that each search party had been given in the afternoon, they had argued about where they were on the map. It was only after they had a consensus, that they had then started planning what they were going to do.

Anton had been the only one with a decent idea o what to do and took charge. “The boys in my dorm were trying to freak each other out last night and one of Nathan told a story about a small house not far from here in the middle of the woods. He said there was an aboriginal boy who had lived there since his family were attacked by some wolves in the woods. I say we go there and stay there for as long as possible unless followed and then we try finding the road on the outskirts of the woods over that way. If we can make it to the road, we should be able to find someone to help us.”

“I just want to get out of this hell.” Emma had replied. “Let’s stick to that plan. We’ll continue the way we’re going now until we get to the house. If someone starts to follow us, then don’t stop. Keep going.”

“What if we get split up?” Mel had already become panicky.

“If we get split up then meet at the house. If you get there don’t wait too long for anyone else to rock up. You’ve got to keep moving in case someone is following us. You’ll just be trapped in there. Always keep moving.” That was Annie’s idea.

Remembering that brought her back to the present again and she realised that Anton had been talking to her while she was stuck in her memories of just a few hours earlier. “Sorry what did you say Anton? I missed that.”

“Are you alright Annie?”

“Yeah I’m fine, let’s just figure out how to get out of this mess and get home. You said you didn’t know where the others are. Did you have anyone following you guys? And how on earth did you get a gun?”

“After we lost the others we came across one guy in black – one of them. He was passed out cold on the ground and we stopped only long enough to check it wasn’t a trap. When we were sure there was no one else around I went over to him to see if I could get any idea of what was going on and who the fuck they are.”

“Did you find anything?”

“Nothing. He was dressed all in black – he even had a black ski mask on. He had two guns and a cache of knives – one on each sleeve and ankle. These guys are supposed to be silent and I don’t think they came with any intentions of taking prisoners. From everything we’ve heard and seen tonight, I’d say they’re only killing.” His voice was hardening as he said it. They may have only been 18 years old, but they weren’t fools. They had to face the truth if they wanted to survive, and they all knew it. A small choked sob escaped from Mel as more tears fell down her cheek before Anton continued urgently, his lip curling in disgust, “When I went to remove his mask the guy started to wake up and mumble something, but I didn’t wait long enough to listen to it.”

“Anton what did you do?”

 [to be continued]

August 26, 2009 Posted by | my writings, short stories | Leave a comment

Short Story #3: Camp Point Blanc (Part I)

The woods were crashing past. Tree trunks became a blur, branches whipped past and leaves lashed at her clothes. She was running. Running for her life.

Patches of light and dark were flashing past and playing tricks on her eyes as she tried desperately to see where she was going and not trip over or run into anything. One second of hesitation or mistake could be fatal. One slip on the scattered stones amongst the dewy undergrowth as she ran down the slope and she was a goner.

One snap of the neck and she had a split second glimpse behind her, but she couldn’t see anyone or anything following her. She tried straining to hear any signs of pursuit, but the blood was pounding in her ears from the adrenaline rush that had started when her mad dash through the dark woods had. What good were her senses when adrenaline cancelled them all out at her time of greatest need? She focused back in on running as fast as she could, until finally her sight granted her a seed of hope and relief – the house was up ahead.

Through the dim light she could see the small house sitting in the tiny clearing. To anyone else it would have seemed like a pathetic and run down house, with the only signs of being inhabited recently being the newish looking windows and security doors, which were visible only to the scrutinising eye. To her, it was a beacon of hope, a refuge, her safe haven for a short space of time. She thanked God it wasn’t a fable and only the setting for a ghost story.

She leapt the last log and ducked under a low hanging branch as she made it into the small space before the house. The last few seconds before reaching the house were ones spent looking out her peripherals to make sure there was no immediate danger behind her, and then finally reaching the door she grabbed a rock at her feet smashing in the tiny frosted window beside the door and where she hoped the lock would be situated on the other side.

Sticking her arm through the hole with disregard for the broken fragments of glass, mere seconds stretched out for what seemed like minutes, as fear took over and she grasped hopelessly for a latch on the other side of the door. Finally hearing the click as she flicked the latch, she withdrew her arm hastily. Her foot slammed into the door sending it flying open and she jumped through gratefully, plastering the door shut behind her and sinking to the floor.

Safety.

She knew that it couldn’t last. She had but a few minutes to wait and regroup herself. She didn’t know where the others had gone or whether they were safe. The agreement was if they separated, they would meet here, but they weren’t to wait too long or they would be trapped inside the house. What was meant to be a fun vacation had turned into a disaster.

Their camp was supposed to last one week. One week of leadership qualities, games, making connections with other youth leaders from across the country, and most of all, it was supposed to be a week of fun. After Elsa had gone missing yesterday, things had rapidly turned into a nightmare that was going to be hard to forget.

Elsa went missing around lunchtime and a search had been set up quickly to find her. A girl walking around on her own away from a lone camp set up in 10 kilometres of woods, was never a good thing. A girl like Elsa, who was one of the more timid of the group was a terrifying thing. Groups of five or six students with a teacher or adult each had been set up as search parties to look for her. By the time darkness fell, screams and shouts were being heard from around the campsite and surrounding woods. Never more than one scream or shout sounding the same. Each one was a different person, and just as bone chilling.

The adrenalin had begun to kick in after night had fallen and the sounds began to stop. Anyone left had adopted silence or whispering to the rest of their group.  When the moon was fully overhead and glowing between the treetops, the action had truly started.

A sudden rapid tapping at the window in the next room started her heart beating rapidly again as she broke away from her thoughts and back flashes. The scraping of metal on metal sounded as she picked herself silently up off the floor and edged to the near by doorway to peek into the room. Her hand reached down to her ankle slowly drawing out a tiny sliver of cold hard silver. The sharp edge gleaming as it was drawn out of the small ankle sheath and she readied herself in a crouched stance, mentally preparing herself for attack.

The dropped blinds over the window were moving now and it was clear that someone had already opened the window beyond. A shape formed as a foot hopped through the window frame and became visible below the bulging sheet blinds. A second foot appeared hastily after the first, followed by the low desperate whisper of, “Quick!” Another set of feet chased the first pair, as the window was rashly slid shut again, a small click signifying it was locked in.

The two figures moved clear of the blinds, checking out their surroundings, all the while tense and weary. Relief flushed through her whole body as she recognised them and relaxed.

“Mel? Anton?”

[to be continued]

August 26, 2009 Posted by | my writings, short stories | Leave a comment

Short Story #1: City Business

This semester I’ve taken a Creative Writing course at university which is a second year unit. I may be over my head, but who knows? We have to write multiple pieces for the course, but one of them has to be a short story that we submit to our tutorial class to be critiqued by our peers. I don’t have to do mine for another 7 weeks, but I had an idea today that I wanted to get out before I forgot it. Would love some comments on it, even if it’s to say that it’s a piece of shit. Still haven’t done a final edit though. Enjoy!…


The average person has a heart beat of 60 to 80 beats per minute, a volume of around 280 litres of blood pumped by the heart per hour, and on average they replace 27 billion cells in their body per day.

The average person grows up in a family, wants to be rich and successful when they are older, and dreams of all the things that are wonderful and possible in their future.

I was a kid just like that once upon a time. I dreamt of becoming the head of my fathers company, which contracted out almost every building firm in the city. I wanted to build onto his already vast empire, and become one of those rich and powerful men that you saw walking down the boulevard in their black suits with an assistant scurrying along behind them taking notes – the kind of man that looked and breathed power and importance.

I grew up and took over that business.

My mother had died giving birth to me, so I had only ever known my fathers voice and wisdom. I had started as a little tacker sitting on his knee as he told me the value of each block I used to build a toy castle out of duplo. Throughout my childhood, it seemed as though I was in training – a marathon of lessons and rules. It wasn’t an unhappy childhood without the usual fun and sillyness that every kid desires, but one where I learnt a lesson from every action, consequence and thought that I had. The burning passion inside me for business was stoked from the cradle, so that by the age of 14 it had gone from being a glistening ember to a roaring fire that could engulf a house.

When I was only 18 and fresh out of high school, I was at my fathers side running the company with a staff of fifty under my control. By 20, I was controlling almost every aspect of business and taking it in new directions. I had learnt everything I could from my father by the age of 22. I had sucked him dry of knowledge and command, and I was ready to take over. My mind was overcome with the lustful hunger for power, and I forced him into retirement against his own desires. I was the ruler of my own empire.

I became the rich successful man that I so longed to be as a child – I was the one that got paid $1000 a minute and owned an empire worth billions. I had the world at my feet, the city in the palm of my hand, any woman I wanted on my arm and anything became possible for me. I lived a life fit for the movies and better than any king or queen. I had it all.

November 16, on the year that I had turned 27, there was a freak car accident.

At 11.22 pm, a car slid uncontrollably through a red light due to black ice on the roads. It hit 2 other cars passing through the intersection, and another car swerved to avoid the collision that was occurring. Normally, you would expect the significant damage to lie with the pile up of cars situated in the centre of the intersection. Not this time. The car that had swerved, drove off the road and skidded into the side of a house on the corner – a quiet and modest house where a little old man lived alone and uncared for.

As the innocent car skidded into the side of the front room, the bonnet smashed through the window and into the small bedroom posted with old photographs of lost loved ones and small boy playing in a yard. Old memories were torn up in a matter of seconds with that one car, as it killed the small grey haired man in his bed as he slumbered silently. His life was extinguished in a less than a moment.

That moment was the one that brought my whole life crashing down. The death of the one man that had changed and helped me build my life was the only thing that had ever broken through the walls of business and power that I had built around myself. I had hid behind those walls for so long so people only saw my power and not my insecurities.

How do you describe the transformation that the death of one man can make so drastically? The death of my father, my mentor, the only person that truly nurtured my passion and that I rejected as a result of my lust for superiority and greed for power. That, is one thing I could not tell you. I could tell you anything about business and the ethics of it, but when it comes to philosophy, I’m still at a loss as to where my place is in the world.

Now that small house is an abandoned and run down site. The doors hang on hinges and the windows are all broken. The front room still bears a gaping hole reminding all of the history and tragedy that took place there. By day it is empty, by night it is full. The city’s beggars and homeless, that can’t find refuge in one of the few shelters, drag their weary feet there. The cold breeze blows through the cracks and the only sounds that can be heard are the gentle creaking boards and slow snores of poor men. They are considered the scum and the bottom of society. Spat upon, they are rejected by all who pass them.

After all, to the rich businessman with the scurrying secretary, how can the homeless man sitting outside begging for money or food really be a man? How can he possibly be like everyone else, when he wears rags, is covered in dirt and hasn’t a single thing in his possession?  To that man in the suit, every man has to make his own living and be proud. Only through hard work can one be rewarded. That businessman doesn’t need to look any further than the filth that he sees sitting in the gutters, to know that he is a pitiful excuse for a man. Once upon a time, I would have thought that as well.

Sitting here in the filthy gutter, I can reflect on that.

After that one moment on June 16, everything lost meaning in my world. I didn’t want what I had thought was important and I retreated to a life of watching the world pass by. Once upon a time, I had lived the life and seen what the world had to offer.

As people pass me now avoiding eye contact, and mother’s rush their children away from the filthy ragged man that I am, I wonder what their own stories are. Looking at me, you would never guess that I could out smart any one of them when it came to business and the stock market, or that somewhere in the world there is a slowly growing bank account worth more than a child could dream of in my name. No one would guess that I could probably outwit them when it came to knowledge of the literary greats or that I knew how to put together an entire oven. Living on the streets, I have read manuals on electrical goods, discarded books, and newspapers from every day and every subject. I’m definitely nothing short of very well informed when it comes to those matters.

I am probably one of the smartest men in this city and I used to be the most powerful. Now I sit peacefully and fulfilled in the back alleys, archways and curbs of the city, pondering the very existence of those who scorn me and consider me an animal or vermin not worthy of being in their society.

However, I once walked amongst them, revered and loved. I have an average heart beat of 67 beats per minute, a volume of around 280 litres of blood pumped by the heart per hour, and like them, I replace around 27 billion cells in my body per day. I’m just your average man.

I just chose a different life.

August 5, 2009 Posted by | life, my writings, observation, people, short stories, The Streets!, university | 2 Comments