Random Fiction with Drew #3

Welcome to another instalment of Random Fiction with Drew, in which I share rough, unfinished pieces of stories with you.

Archibald reached out and twisted the doorknob open,wincing slightly at the pain it brought to his hands, twisted as they were with arthritis. The door opened to reveal a set of stairs, gloomy and forsaken looking, utilitarian grey paint covering wooden steps, rough handrail sicking out of the wall. There were no aesthetic touches here, only functionality, stairs leading down into an equally bland basement. It was a big open room, unfinished ceiling and walls exposing wooden beams, enclosing the space like a rib cage, or a clutching hand.

Archie shuffled forward to one end of the room where an old film projector stood on a dusty metal stand. The lens was pointed towards a white sheet that was hanging from rusting nails, making a crude screen.  He fumbled with a roll of  ancient looking 16 millimeter film,trying to carefully thread it through the projector’s sprockets, lining it up as best he could. He took a rag and wiped carefully at the lens, and flicked  the power button on.

The projector sprang to life, filling the room with the unmistakable click clack sound of the film racing through the machine. Light struck the sheet, and resolved into the image of a beautiful young woman, a woman obviously from another era. Her short dark hair was cut into a flapper era bob, and she was dressed to match her hair,in a beaded dress and hat. She was lounging in a garden, the rose bushes behind her would have been beautiful, if not for the fact that they, like her, were captured in black and white. She looked out of the screen, as though trying to find someone.

“I know you are there, Archie, step forward so I can see you,” she said.

Archie shuffled out from behind the glare of the projector, smoothing his hair as he did so.

“Hello Mary,” he said, still shy after all of these years.

“Your looking even older than usual, Archie. How long has it been?” Her image flicked and danced as a splice ran through its twisted path.

“Seven years Mary. Seven years.”

“So what do I owe this honour? Why did you bring me out of retirement like this?”

“Because, Mary, I think I might have figured out a way to get you out of there, if you want. You could have a life again.”

“What makes you think I don’t enjoy this life, the life you trapped me in so long ago?”

“The choice is yours.”

Mary thought carefully for a moment, and opened her mouth to respond. Before she could do so the film ran out, and her image was replaced with a pure white square of light, making Archie wince against its brightness. The end of the film clattered against the projector as it spun in a futile circle.

Archie flicked off the power, stopping the spin.

So, what do you think? How did Archie trap Mary on the film? Will she want to get out after such a long time? Is she really happy there?

Random Fiction With Drew #2

Welcome back to Random Fiction With Drew, where I share a rough, raw segment of story that is kicking around in my brain.  Nothing complete, nothing polished, just a little snapshot.  Here we go.

Henry looked around the concert hall, feeling uneasy. Once upon a time a place like this would have been his second home, as comfortable and familiar as his own bed, but that was many years ago, before his problems began.

He scanned the crowd, hoping to see some people older than he was. Of the thousands of people waiting for the show to begin, Henry was probably the oldest, except for a few parents scattered throughout the hall, escorting their underage kids to the all ages concert.  The  lights dimmed, and an excited murmur went through the crowd. This was it, the beginning of the show.

The curtains opened and the stage lights shot bright white beams into the audience. The murmur became a roar as the guitarist hit the first crashing chord, the bass player and drummer added their rhythm. Henry could feel it thudding in his chest, could feel the adrenaline surge though his body, filling him energy. He drank in in, the sights the sounds, everything, like a junkie getting a fix after a too long dry spell. It took him back twenty years, to university, his misspent youth filled with nights like this.  The audience became Legion as they were connected by the music, throbbing and jumping as though one giant entity. Henry joined the dance, feeling the weight of the years slide off him as the music washed over him. The lights strobed, alternating darkness and light in a frenzied pulse.

From the back of the hall a lone figure moved forward, sidling up to a point just behind  Henry. There was flash of steel, strobe lights reflecting off the blade of a thin knife as it slashed through the air towards henry’s back.

He spun, caught the arm of his assailant at the last second, and twisted, feeling the satisfying crack of bone under his hands.

It would appear that his problems were back again.

This one actually starts of as a true story. My wife and I won tickets to a concert at the Sound Academy here in Toronto a few weeks ago. While I spent a lot of time seeing shows when I was younger, it is harder these days, what with children and responsibilities. We felt a little bit awkward at the show, as the crowd was generally a lot younger than us, but we had a good time. No one tried to stab us, at least.

So, any clues as to the problems Henry faces? Share ideas in the comments if you want!