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And Sometimes, We Forget

So ends the challenge. Iscariot gave the title.

And Sometimes, We Forget
by Stewart Wilson

The early hours see the city quiet once more. Not dead, there are still taxis ferrying club patrons home, police vans speeding to the locations of the latest fights, but once I get away from the station and the town centre, things quiet down. There's a grand total of three people plus me on the road, and only when that hits me do I realise where I am and what I'm doing. I must be insane.

Two and a half years ago I walked this same route. Over the river from the club, through the town centre, then down past the hospital. I stopped there, for breath and to save my aching legs. That's where I was mugged.

It's strange. Even in my own head there's a perverse need to dress up the event, to make me seem less of a coward. I want to give the two fuckers who gave me a beating knives, or say that there were more of them. I want to say that I reacted, fought back rather than clumsily defending myself. Let's be honest here, I want to stop myself looking so weak. In truth, there were two of them. Younger than me. The violence wasn't much compared to what it could have been, a black eye, a broken nose, and a lot of general aches. But the shock of it was the worst thing.

Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I was fortunate in that regard, but I should have known better to try walking the six miles home at night. I was stupid. Since then, I've not left the house without something I can use as a weapon, even in broad daylight. Out at night I always carry a torch. For two whole weeks after the event I was scared to go out alone at night. Knowing that I was going to walk through the same area brought that cold fear right back, gnawing at the corners of my mind.

I can't help but look around as I walk. There are still only three people walking, all going the same way as me, all a good distance away. Nobody coming in the other direction. I breathe hard and keep walking, one foot in front of the other. One hand in my pocket, grasping the handle of the small knife I carry there. It would probably be useless or worse in a fight, but it does help. The scene from that night comes back to me. No grins on the faces of the two, just a look of hollow necessity, an addict doing what it must to afford the next fix and getting enraged when that was not forthcoming. I quicken my pace.

My heart's racing as I get to the hospital. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, stepping once, then twice, then thrice and on past the place. I look around again, over one shoulder then the other. The only sound apart from my footsteps is a wino vomiting in a side street. I don't spare a glance.

Past the hospital I finally pause on top of the flyover, and look back. Sometimes, we do things which make us remember things that we ourselves have buried or changed, things where we try to remember ourselves as heroes rather than as just taking advantage. These memories of even the smallest, pettiest things can be painful in their own way, and having them dredged back up is often not a nice event. But sometimes, we can learn from them. Go over what happened and hope that we have learned from the events by the reliving. And sometimes, we forget. The people and places involved have less of an impact, helping us to discard the memory.

I turn and walk on.

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Comments

( 5 informants — We want information! )
everinward
Nov. 1st, 2003 10:43 pm (UTC)
You're giving me the bug. Bastard.
coaldustcanary
Nov. 4th, 2003 05:53 am (UTC)
It took me a while to think of what I wanted to say about this bit of story.

I like it. It's clean and sharp at the same time. It does its job, if that makes any sense at all. It's different, though. It almost doesn't feel like your writing...kinda foreign, but the good exotic flavor kind of foreign, like a dish you eat all the time with a few new spices thrown in...

*quits rambling*
(Anonymous)
Nov. 5th, 2003 01:22 am (UTC)
Neat
I like this a lot. I think ravenscanary has it right though - it feels different from your other pieces but in a good way :)

It's actually quite evocative and brought back quite a few memories of my own. Fitting I think.

Iscariot
eternalxwhisper
Nov. 11th, 2003 04:57 pm (UTC)
After being directed here by Everinward and possibly overcoming my fear of you being intimidating. Don’t ask my why I think this, only that I felt you would come across intimidating if I ever talked to you. Anyways. I read your story.

After re-reading it several times. It actually got me thinking. If that’s what indeed you intended to do, your story did its purpose. It created an unwanted image of things I’ve tried to suppress for so long. Thoughts and doubts that I’ve learnt so very hard to hide and cover up over the years. It gives me an eerie feeling. How can just one piece of written exertion have such a huge impact on ones past?
Your story does bring back unwanted feelings, maybe not in the same way as being mugged, but past events I would want to hide away deep within part of my soul that I would never share with anyone, countless thoughts resurfacing of "what if's" and "whys" It got me thinking a lot. Thank you. You are an amazing writer. Not that you need another compliment.

A quote which in some aspects I believe to be true:-

”Whenever something is too unpleasant, to shameful for us to entertain, we reject it. We erase it from our memories. That's the way the human mind works “

Well something along those lines. You catch my drift though. I hope :-S
triplee
Nov. 23rd, 2003 01:57 pm (UTC)
Ok, I think this is the last of your writing that I was behind on. Sorry it took so long

This almost didn't seem like your writing at first, as the main person was normal, just a poor shlub reliving a traumatic event. No futuristic cyberpunk setting, no mutations, no setting based on quantam physics. . . But, I liked it. I liked it alot.

Why? Because even on something mundane, you still tend to put in a lot of appropriate description, and moreso, lots of emotion. For such a short entry, I really got into the narrarator's mind, and was on the edge of my seat to find out if his bad luck would befall him again, or if it was just a journey of cleansing his mind.

Impressive.

~EEE~
( 5 informants — We want information! )

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