The writer Ann Caldwell delivered an excellent session last week about dealing with time in narratives. She gave us several exercises and prompts. I tried ‘ I thought I heard a noise’ and played a little with time!Are we ever in the present at all?
The Amber Collector: Early Days.
I thought I heard a noise. Pitiful in view of the circumstances. I’m not taken in. Why should I pretend I don’t know what’s going on? I’ve given up on deceit and guess what, I never ever forgive. So I’ll turn another page of my new book. And now another. It’s about Amber. I want to be a collector. I feel it’s my vocation. All these creatures preserved so incredibly, within amber’s honeyed prison. Like a miracle. Who needs God in the circumstances? I feel such a sense of peace. Look at all those legs. Those antennae. Even would you believe, the tiniest pair of eyes. All trapped in a lost time.
She’s screaming again. So Bloody noisy. And so indiscreet. Sounds like opera to me. Theatrical sex is her specialty of course.
“I’m half Italian on my mother’s side,” she confessed to me within two minutes of our first meeting. She cupped my hand. I remember the scent of tuberose. My stepmother wears it when she is on the prowl. It’s overripe like her nature.
My father’s away working. I can’t even pronounce where. And here I am. Home for the holidays. Relegated to the turret room like Rapunzel. I only brought a small bag. It’s got my new name embossed in gold. Dominica. How do you do Domenica? Very well thank you.
More screaming down below. When I stand on my tiptoes I can see very little in the garden, except empty chairs, dark purple towels and a bottle of champagne with two glasses.
Time to say hello then, don’t you think? I put on my home slippers. They’re not pink by the way.
“Lotty, Lotty!” I call down the stairs in my sweetest, most loving stepdaughter voice. “Would you like to share a pot of tea?” I take the stairs slowly, listening for the sound of my welcome. Surprisingly it takes some time.
Does my name sound welcoming in your mouth? You cough. ‘’I’ve someone here I’d like you to meet. An old friend. We’ll all share tea. ”
I spit on my hand before I reach the hall. It’s a new ritual of mine.
Lotty looks as tall and bosomy as ever and the kitchen reeks of tuberose. Oh, and someone in shorts and little else is pretending to use the kettle. How Sweet.
‘Hello,’ I say. ‘I think we’ve met before. ‘
The Woman in Black
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