Today is the 12th of May, the following is a scene of internal conflict, posted here for The Alliterative Allomorph's blogfest. Links to other scenes of internal conflict are on the Allomorph's blog.
This is from my new novel, TEA WITH DEATH, DESIRE AND RAGE, which is written in the form of a letter from a woman to her lover. I don't actually know if I'm going to use this scene in its entirety in the book, but it's the way it's written as of now.
I couldn't sleep that night. I lay awake in the dark, listening to the whispers of the house, the old ghosts, and thought about you. How strange you seemed to me, how exciting, how different from anything I had known. You were a riddle, a puzzle, and I wanted to fit the pieces together. Where were you sleeping? Where had you gone? More importantly, why did it matter so much to me? You were a stranger, a phantom that appeared against the sunlight and pulled my wheelchair out of a rut.
A phantom who claimed he brought an albatross from the sea.
Restless beneath the soft covers, I threw them off and stumbled out of bed. My hands groped for the light. A glow settled over the room, but it didn't chase the ghosts or the shadows or you away. I fancied I saw my mother's silhouette in the corner, watching me from the doorway as she had once used to do, making sure I was sleeping soundly. Only, of course, she would never do that again. I won't try to explain to you the grief that clutched me, thinking this, and the desperation I felt to find something, anything, to distract me from it.
Outside, somewhere, a wild dog barked. Elephants trampled somebody's coffee bushes. A tigress guarded her cubs. Wild boar snuffled at the earth, searching for treats. The forest was awake, and so was I, and maybe you were too.
I went to the bookshelf in the next room, searched the volumes until I found the one I needed. My father's book of birds. I flipped through the pages in the old creaking house, my heart thumping beneath my ribs. Like a clock going wrong.
I found the page I needed. The albatross. Seabird, omen, curse. My breath sucked in sharply. There it was, the great bird I had seen circling the silver-oaks outside, the white, the grey-black feathers, the enormous wingspan.
You had brought an albatross from the sea. Only we weren't near the sea, and there were no albatrosses in this half of the world, anyway.
Where had you come from? How? What secrets were you keeping?
And why, why did I care?