Avis Rara Part I

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Avis Rara Part I

Post by Graham on Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:48 pm

Scroll down to the second draft in the post after this one

This has had a brief inital edit but it needs more. I will, I will do it before Monday.

The day that changed both our lives started like any other day. I went to work, I solved problems, I had a couple of pints with the boys at lunch time, I set off home through the park. I don’t know how you spent the day up till then.

It was four o’clock on a Friday afternoon as I passed the early drinkers in the forecourt of the Prince Blucher. The park had a bad reputation, one murder and three rapes over the last five years but that didn’t worry me. I would give as good as I got. Three years of martial arts classes at the sports centre had boosted my confidence. I’d tried everything they had to offer. To be honest it was all a bit soft, too many rules and wishy washy fair play. If anyone offered me harm I would gouge their eyes out. If they got close enough I would bite their nose off. These thoughts were with me as I saw the elderly man ahead of me peering into the bushes, light blue leisure slacks and a pastel yellow polo shirt, not a threat. As I scrunched along the gravel he looked around briefly then gestured into the bushes. I was almost level with him when I heard dry scuffling from within the foliage. I stopped, and he put his finger to his lips and pointed round an obscuring branch. When I leaned in I felt his hand on my shoulder. Bit forward, mate, I thought but wasn’t unduly alarmed.

Turning to look pointedly at the offending arm I was caught off guard by the arm round my neck yanking me backwards into a choke hold. He had turned his hip under me depriving me of purchase on the ground, something cold and hard digging into my lower back. My eyes started bulging and I fought for breath as he dragged me further into the bushes. It wasn’t panic that seized me but indignation, indignation at the stupidity, his stupidity, here, in broad daylight. Twenty seconds I had before I would pass out. I couldn’t reach his face, but I brought my left heel up, dug it hard into his shin and stamped as hard as I could all the way down the bone to his ankle. He grunted and stumbled, loosening his grip. I half turned and got my footing back, one hand on his shoulder the other on his hip, the hard thing pressing into my palm. I closed my fingers round a metal grip. He was squeezing again but no longer had the grip to render me unconscious. I was going to drop him over my hip, but he drove a knee into my crotch and winded me. At the same time my hand came away holding something. I didn’t even know it was a knife as I struck him with it. Even when the bright blood spurted from his neck I didn’t realise it was over. He was grinning, his eyes opening wide and seeking mine as he came forward to grab me again. I lashed out twice more before he fell, red blossoming on his shirt and leaking into the ground. Blood pounded in my ears as if the universe was yelling in triumph.

‘Drop the weapon.’ A hard voice shouted, ‘Down, now.’

What? Too many voices.

‘Armed police. Drop the knife or we fire’. I turned and saw half a dozen black helmeted figures, kneeling ten yards away. Relief and dread seeped through my body and I let the knife fall.
*
They had started apologising almost immediately.

‘I’m sorry Miss Sinclair, we couldn’t tell but we have footage of the attack now.’

They had wrapped me in a blanket and given me tea. I had assured them I was OK to give a statement. The crew-cutted detective finished writing and picked a transparent bag off the table.

‘And you are certain you had never seen him before?’

I nodded.

‘Does the name Leslie Alcid mean anything to you?’

‘No,’ I said, ’was that his name?’

He didn’t answer but his eyes probed my face my face with the power of a searchlight.

‘Can you think of any reason why he would have this in his pocket?’ and he held up the bag showing within it an envelope.

I read the address written in a large clear hand:

Deirdre Avis Sinclair
32 Warbridge Gardens
Teddington
TW11 0AF

My name, my address, the middle name I hadn’t used since my teens.


Last edited by Graham on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:26 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Avis Rara Part I

Post by Graham on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:24 am

Second draft, minor changes. Each time I read it, new phrasing suggests itself.

Words 759

The day that changed both our lives started like any other day. I went to work, I solved problems, I had a couple of pints with the boys at lunch time, I set off home through the park. I don’t know how you spent the day up till then.

It was four o’clock on a Friday afternoon as I passed the early drinkers in the forecourt of the Prince Blücher. The park had a bad reputation, one murder and three rapes over the last five years but that didn’t worry me. I would give as good as I got. Three years of martial arts classes at the sports centre and even the knuckle scrapers stopped taking the piss. I’d tried everything on offer. To be honest it was all a bit soft, too many rules and wishy washy fair play. Try to rape me and I will gouge your eyes out. Get close enough and I’ll bite your nose off. These thoughts were with me as I saw the elderly man ahead of me peering into the bushes, light blue leisure slacks and a pastel yellow polo shirt, not a threat. As I scrunched along the gravel he looked around briefly then gestured into the bushes. I was almost level with him when I heard dry scuffling from within the foliage. I stopped, and he put his finger to his lips and pointed round an obscuring branch. When I leaned in I felt his hand on my shoulder. Bit forward, mate, I thought, stupid me.

Turning to look pointedly at the offending arm I was caught off guard by the arm round my neck yanking me backwards into a choke hold. He had turned his hip under me depriving me of purchase on the ground, something cold and hard digging into my lower back. My eyes started bulging and I fought for breath as he dragged me further into the bushes. It wasn’t panic that seized me but indignation, indignation at the stupidity, his stupidity, here, in broad daylight. The twenty seconds I had before I would pass out was more than enough.  I couldn’t reach his face, but I brought my left heel up, dug it into his shin and stamped as hard as I could all the way down the bone to his ankle. Something shredded and I hoped it was skin. He grunted and stumbled, loosening his grip. I half turned and got my footing back, one hand on his shoulder the other on his hip, the hard thing pressing into my palm. I closed my fingers round a metal grip. He was squeezing again but no longer had the hold to render me unconscious. I was going to drop him over my hip, but he drove a knee into my crotch and winded me. At the same time my hand came away holding something. I didn’t even know it was a knife as I struck him with it. Even when the bright blood spurted from his neck I didn’t realise it was over. He was smiling, his eyes opening wide and seeking mine as he came forward to grab me again. I lashed out twice more before he fell, red blossoming on his shirt and leaking into the ground. Blood pounded in my ears as if the universe was yelling in triumph.

     ‘Drop the weapon.’ A hard voice shouted, ‘Down, now.’ What? Too many voices.

     ‘Armed police. Drop the knife or we fire’. I turned and saw half a dozen black helmeted figures, kneeling ten yards away. Relief and dread seeped through my body and I let the knife fall.

*

They had started apologising almost immediately.

     ‘I’m sorry Miss Sinclair, we couldn’t tell but we have footage of the attack now.’

They had wrapped me in a blanket and given me tea. I had assured them I was OK to give a statement. The crew-cutted detective finished writing and picked a transparent bag off the table.

     ‘And you are certain you had never seen him before?’

I nodded.

     ‘Does the name Leslie Alcid mean anything to you?’

     ‘No,’ I said, ’was that his name?’

He didn’t answer, just probed my face with the intensity of a searchlight.

     ‘Can you think of any reason why he would have this in his pocket?’ and he held up the bag showing within it an envelope.

I read the address written in a large clear hand:

Deirdre Avis Sinclair
32 Warbridge Gardens
Teddington
TW11 0AF

My name, my address, the middle name I hadn’t used since my teens.

Graham
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Re: Avis Rara Part I

Post by Graham on Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:59 am

A couple of small changes. The try to rape me line is now 'Try to rape me and I will gouge your eyes out, bite your knob off and hand it back to you with a side of raw testicles.'

Later 'bright blood spurted'  becomes 'crimson blood arced'

I was also contemplating opening with a scene in the dojo where Miss Sinclair gets carried away and sends one of the knuckle-scrapers to hospital.

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Re: Avis Rara Part I

Post by Graham on Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:42 pm

Two more small changes just as I was about to print it for the class: 'These thoughts calmed me' becomes 'I dismissed these thoughts' and 'Relief and dread seeped through my body and ...' becomes 'Relief and confusion fought within me but ... .' I also don't like 'intensity of a searchlight' but haven't found the right replacement yet.

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