Trigger Warning (a Jade Camel out-take)

a jade camel figurine

‘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.

~~~~~

You’ll Never Walk Alone
available from Amazon in paperback and ebook and on Kindle Unlimited
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Only Suffer in Silence

Look at her
a face illuminated by street lamps, by passing cars
she watches, she waits
the expression on her face is one of… nothingness.

Look at her
dark circles under her eyes, a bruise on her cheek
hidden by her hair
the look in her eyes is one of… emptiness.

Look at her
what did he do? what do you do? while she’s
beaten and broken
one woman, one of many, living in… hopelessness.

Society sleepwalks, liberals shake their heads
say wise but empty words, while behind closed doors
this never ends.

A woman is killed every three hours in South Africa, according to police statistics – a rate five times the world average. Half are murdered by men with whom they had a close relationship.


Written in response to Sadjes What Do You See #56 photo prompt.
Image credit: Phmaxiestevez @ Pixabay
(The image shows a young woman looking out the glass pane of a partially open door, with an indecipherable expression).

The Beautiful Game?

The Beautiful Game picture by Dermot Carlin lunasonline
Photo by Dermot Carlin

She’s put out the snacks and brought his beer, chilled, in his special glass (one of them). More beers are in the fridge; she has a pie ready to warm for half-time – steak and kidney – his preferred.

Pre-match build up: pundits pontificate; re-runs, highlights, triumphs and near misses. There is success and then there is shame. Which will it be today? National Pride is at stake, for this is the World Cup.

As she sits, small and submissive on the far end of the couch, she plays a different commentary in her head. Missed penalties, own goals, bad decisions by the ref. The repercussions: cuts and bruises (hers); failure on the field reflected in domestic disappointment.

Predictions are favourable. The odds of a positive outcome are weighed in favour. She weighs up her own odds: win or draw 20 per cent, lose 50 per cent (the chances of a beating).

©2018 Chris Hall

Incidents of domestic violence rise significantly during the World Cup

Not your fault

 

You look down at her, slumped on the kitchen floor, the basket of other people’s ironing she’s just finished strewn across the polished quarry tiles.  Her head lolls awkwardly against the range where she’s fallen.  After you lost your rag and pushed her, but you pushed too hard this time.

©2018 Chris Hall