Most Fridays I will be posting a book review, hopefully, but I wanted to add something else. Reviews are wonderful but some Fridays just need a little something extra, especially those weeks that I don’t have a review to offer. In comes Free Write Friday.
The concept – Free Write Fridays will contain a short passage, poem, excerpt, letter to a senator, or anything else that has gone from my brain to the page during the week that is not a part of my main writing project. I often find myself jotting down a random free write when I’m frustrated with my main project and then it ends up moldering in a folder. Instead, I think I’ll share them with you. Could be fun!
These pieces will appear in their original form which is often unedited and are my intellectual property alone
Today’s post is a piece that I made considerable progress on two years ago before putting it on a shelf. It is something I may pick back up down the road but right now I doubt it. At the time I was angry at the world, angry at life, angry about everything, and this is what spawned from that.
“Take my hand!” Clemeste shouted, reaching frantically out the window for her friend Lindrea. Lin was hanging onto the window sill by the tips of her fingers, her feet dangling nearly twenty stories above the bustling city below. The sounds of pedestrian conversations and the hum of car engines traveled through the air to meet her, an invitation to join them below.
“I can’t reach it!”
Clemeste reached as far as she could and grabbed her friend’s arm, desperately trying to haul her back in through the window. She could hear the scraping of Lin’s boots against the building as she tried to find a foothold. Her arms had become slick with sweat and fear. Clemeste could feel Lin’s arm slipping away.
“No!” she shouted as her grip gave way. Time seemed to stand still in those moments. Lin’s hair was tossled around her face. Though her hands were no longer holding the ledge, they reached out as if somehow, against all logic, her fingers would again find their grip. Clemeste watched her friend’s mouth move but whatever those final words were they were carried away by the breeze. Her final words, lost in the night.
She was falling. Clemeste could do nothing but watch.
Minutes passed and she could hear sirens wailing in the distance. There wasn’t anything they could do, they could take their time. There was nothing they could do for the broken remains below. No need to make so much racket, she thought. A crowd was gathering around what was once Lindrea. A red stain was billowing out around her like a macabre flower blooming from beneath her body. She watched a woman turn and retch on the sidewalk after having caught a glimpse of the mangled corpse. Clem knew she should be sad, maybe be sobbing on the floor but all she felt was numb. She hadn’t been able to save her friend but she felt nothing
A man turned and looked up the building, pointing to where Clemeste was still leaning out of the window. She watched him shout and gesture upward toward the window. More people started to look at where she was still obviously leaning out over the scene.
Time to make a choice. Stay and go through endless rounds with the police questioning her in a tiny, claustrophobic room. Having to explain why she was there. How Lin ended up on the pavement. Or flight.
She turned from the window and bolted out of the room. Passed the upturned furniture, over the shattered coffee table and out the door. Taking the service elevator down she went out the back of the building and into the night.
A few blocks from the apartment building she darted down a brightly lit stairwell and hopped onto the first train car she came to. It didn’t matter where it was going. She could just get off in a few stops and change trains if she needed to. Settling into a seat near the doors, she couldn’t stop herself from thinking about what had just happened.
Clem had known that Lin’s husband had been abusing her. That is how they had become friendly. Clem had been having a coffee in a small, crowded cafe. Lin had come in and there had been no empty tables so Clem had offered her the seat across from her. After some idle chit chat, Clem could see how nervous this woman was. Constantly looking out the window, keeping her head down and her hair hiding one side of her face.
It was only after Clem had seen the bruising the hair was hiding had she understood why the woman was so nervous.
Despite the government’s attempts to either eradicate or hide all crime committed in the city, rape and domestic abuse was still common. Sitting in any public room in the city, if you kept your eyes open, it was easy to see the signs. Bruises could be hidden by makeup and clothes but a broken soul couldn’t stay hidden. Especially if you had lived through the hell yourself.
So, she had taken to keeping an eye on Lin. If it had been reported to the police they wouldn’t have done anything about it besides, at most, tell the abuser to keep the marks where the public couldn’t see. The jails were too full for them to take the effort to prosecute. There wouldn’t have been anywhere to put them, anyway. The abuse continued and the government continued to ignore it. For a modern, civilized city that advertised itself as being crime free it was anything but. All that had happened by putting so many people in jail was the crime had gone underground. But it was still all around.
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all have a lovely weekend.