‘It’s about your Six Sentence Story serial, Ms Hall’, says Gina, plonking a steaming mug of coffee in front of me; she takes a little detour around the perimeter of the cramped kitchen, peers into the sitting room, then closes the door and sits down next to me, ‘I think you should let your readers know exactly what the Jade Camel can do: show them that scene in our book with Gary and me, you know the one,’ she glances meaningfully at the kitchen wall, ‘make them understand the danger it poses.’
‘You really want to go through that again? – all those readers picturing that scene at once… and what about Gary, wouldn’t it be better to use the later scene when you show the camel to Cynthia?’
‘That’s not nearly so powerful,’ Gina huffs.
‘It wouldn’t involve Gary though; he said he didn’t want to relive it all again,’ I feel my face flushing with a mixture of annoyance and guilt, ‘does he even know we’re having this conversation?’
‘But don’t you get it, Ms Hall?’ says Gina, ignoring my question, ‘if enough people read the scene and feel empathy for Gary, which I’m sure they will, Gary will finally stop blaming himself; I forgive him every time, but I hasn’t got the same impact as having readers involved in the scene… please Ms Hall?’
‘All right, Gina, just so long as you’re sure.’
This has been my second offering this week for Denise’s Six Sentence Story Challenge where this week’s prompt word was detour. It also serves to show that certain characters of mine are more than happy to offer their opinions outside the confines of their book.
You can find this week’s #SixSentenceStories here.
Excerpt from You’ll Never Walk Alone – [trigger warning: domestic violence, sexual assault]
All was quiet in the flat when Gina and Gary headed upstairs having explained the events of the past few hours as best they could to a sceptical Connor and an incredulous Cynthia, who sat stroking Asmar while he regarded them both with bright golden eyes.
Lucy’s door was closed and no light was showing under the door. “She must be exhausted,” said Gina. “And what about you, Gary Marshall?” She took his hands and examined the bruised knuckles. “That was quite a fight.” She let go of his hands and walked into the kitchen to switch the kettle on. Gary followed her. She turned to him. “Do you want some toast or something?”
Gary grasped her around the waist, pulling her towards him. “I want you,” he said kissing her hard on the mouth and pressing her up against the wall. Gina struggled, but Gary didn’t stop. He pinned her wrists above her head her with his left hand while his right hand pulled up her skirt and clawed at her tights. Gina wrenched her face away. “Stop it Gary, you’re hurting me.”
“Come on G, you didn’t say no last night.” He nudged her face back towards his and covered her mouth with his, kissing her roughly and pulling at her underwear. Gina heaved herself forward, knocking Gary off balance. Arms now free, Gina pulled his hand away and fled into the living room.
Gary pursued her, grabbing her by the shoulder before she reached the bedroom. They fell to the floor. Gary pulled her around to face him and rolled on top of her, pinning her to the carpet. “What’s wrong? Don’t you want me now?” He grasped her by the wrists again and started to undo his jeans.
“Stop it! Stop it, Gary. Not like this!” Gina fought against him, trying to lever him up with her hips, but he was too strong. Gary wrenched her blouse open and tore at her bra; buttons popped across the carpet. “No, Gary!”
Lucy’s door flew open. She stood there, her golden hair like a halo around her head, staring at them in horror. “What are you doing?” Her voice rose to a scream. “Gary!” Startled, Gary let go of Gina’s wrists. She shoved him away and wriggled from underneath him. Gary sat up and turned his back on her. As he did so the little jade camel rolled out of his pocket and across the carpet.
No one spoke. Gina pulled her torn blouse together and looked up at Lucy, who crouched down beside her putting her arms around her. Gary had his head in his hands; he started to shake. His shoulders convulsed as he let out a loud sob.
Gary’s shoulders continued to shudder. Gina nodded at Lucy who tiptoed away to her room. She crawled across the carpet and put her arms around him. Gary turned to her, wiping his hand across his eyes. “I’m sorry babe; I don’t know what came over me. You know I’d never…”
“Shush,” she said holding him against her. “It’s all right.” Her eyes fell on the jade camel. It wasn’t winking at her this time.