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Old 02-24-2011, 10:23 PM   #1
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Out Of Control 17

Neglecting my homework...ah, procrastination...

Oh yes, what paper? THAT paper. Beginning to be explained. Ideas?

Sorry, Ali. Even more sorry, Cath. I think I'll state, as I haven't recently, that this is total fiction and thankfully did not happen. I'll make it happier soon, I promise. (Totally just realized that this story is rather dark...)

I was listening to Low, and that helped the writing along a bit.

There'll be an '86 chapter if, eh, I can think of what to put in it...

***


1978 (continued)

Eve closed her eyes, the rain outside becoming a dull faint comforting roar in the background. She’d gone through Ruth’s room, halfheartedly picking things up even though her sister probably wasn’t going back, and stopped when she looked down at one of the sweaters she picked up off the floor. The fabric was thick and grainy against her hands, but that wasn’t what was odd about it. The back had a large dark stain across it that smelled like woodsmoke but sharper. It brought back faint confused images, hazy and muddled and probably Ruth’s.

She left the windowsill, the rain drumming furiously on like bullets, her breath dissipating from the glass, and went back to Ruth’s room that was still ankle-deep in junk. She made to put down the sweater, not wanting to know, but her foot what seemed to be a dirty footprint on the floorboard—no, it was a scrap of paper. The sweater fell back to being held by her elbow as she bent to pick whatever this was up. The footprint was vaguely dusty and left a black stain on the paper. Ash.

The dull, underwater sky outside breathed blue and green through the window. Eve tried to see in the faint light, the sharp smoky smell piercing her senses as she lifted the paper to her face, puzzled. She scanned it, read it, her heart sinking and then stuttering in frozen surprise.

Oh, she thought, her memories rewinding and restarted, this one she hadn’t seen coming back strongly with the wavering numb peripheral sense that meant it was indirect, had happened to Ruth.

She sat with a thud onto the windowill again, reading the little scrap over and over again. She wondered what it meant; she hadn’t been there, though she’d known that Ruth was running, running from something fast, and the feeling had been strange as something changed for Ruth significantly. Eve had assumed, until now, that that meant Isaac. It had been that day in the rain…

Ruth picked up her umbrella from the floor of her room, sticking out her tongue at her sister when Eve told her quite sensibly that she’d need it and she wondered how Ruth had found it in all the mess.

Back then when everything had been pervaded with a comparative happiness like loose static; Ruth’s problems were a fist squeezing Eve’s heart, soon after, and wouldn’t let go…

“I’m going out,” she told Eve, and yelled jokingly down the stairwell as if their parents were there, “I’m going out, mom, da!”

“You probably knew that,” she told Eve, coming back in the room. Eve sighed, wishing she was coming with her sister, but she had to stay and make sure at least one of them was home in case their parents called. She had a sudden pang of loss, remembering when she had gone out and done things like Ruth. Where had that Eve gone?

“Don’t be sad, Eve, I’ll bottle some of the city air or something.” Eve made a face. “No, I think I can go without smelling the city. Where exactly are you going?”

“Oh, north…” Ruth waved her hand even more vaguely than she had given her destination. “You can find me if y’need to.”


Ruth had come back without the umbrella, shaking slightly, with a hard, bright look in her wide eyes that faded into something else Eve couldn’t really understand. It was around then that Ruth had been very hard to read. Isaac, Eve had assumed it was. No, not entirely; in part, she’d been entirely wrong. The fire scent was still sharp, shocking through her head like cold water.

She opened the window and let the thinning rain clear her head. The raindrops drumming ended up reminding her of Larry, who was out playing with the band somewhere or other in another part of Dublin. She smiled inadvertently, remembering how he’d almost been late to the soundcheck, and thus didn’t notice until Ali was practically under her nose that Ali was outside. Huh. Eve tilted her head, curious.

“Hello, Ali,” she said. “Are you looking for Lar?”

“Well, it’d be nice to see someone in the band, but no. D’you know where Ruth is?”

“Hang on a moment,” Eve said, and ducked back inside, running down to the porch and opening the door. She motioned for Ali to come inside. “What, you think I’d let you get rained on?” Ali smiled weakly and winced at the puddle her dripping hair made on the floor.

“You were asking after Ruth?” Eve asked, not sure she’d heard correctly. She wasn’t really sure why Ali would—

Ah, no…

It hadn’t been the rain; Ali had been crying. Her eyes were faintly red.

“Are you having troubles with him, then?” Ali nodded, whispering what had occurred a few days before, and that he hadn’t come back.

“And y’thought that…ah, no. Ali. That’s not where Ruth is. I have no idea where your singer ran off to, but Ruth’s in America. He couldn’t have run off with her.

“Besides, Eve continued, “she seemed more taken with Larry.” Eve smiled an ironic half-smile that gradually grew sad. They both stood where they were, lost for a moment in their own recent hells. Or, in Eve’s case, Ruth’s.

“Well, I’d best be going, then,” Ali said, starting to duck outside. “Don’t want to ruin the floor…well…more than I probably have already,” she winced, and then sighed. “Now I’ll have to start all over again looking for places to find him.”

Eve grabbed Ali’s arm to stop her trajectory. “Wait. Ali.” The seriousness of her expression halted the other girl effectively. Ali stood half-in, half-out the doorstep as Eve thrust the scrap of paper in her hand. It would take Ali a while to puzzle out the significance of the words printed on it, and the torn headline, and that significance would be a fire in her mind for a while yet.

“If you see the man she was with—” Eve said intently, quietly, life or death, “—Aodan, and Lar is there, or Bono, make them stay away from him.” She nodded down at Ali’s hand, presumably meaning the paper clutched within, and didn’t speak further, but in Eve’s mind echoed:

He did that. He did that. He…

She couldn’t say it because she wasn’t sure, but she had a faint terrible feeling Isaac had been involved in it. Ruth had hardly spoken that day, returning from Belfast, anyhow.

*

Consciousness came back disjointedly. What Cath really focused on—and it seemed stupid; she almost laughed—was that her elbow hurt. The hurt of everything else followed. Her mouth was dry and cracked, and stung—she lifted a leaden arm up to press numb fingers against her bottom lip and discovered that it stung more; somehow it had gotten cut, and bled a little still.

She remembered the sharp crack of something hitting her face, and the brief myriad stars in her vision, and frowned.

The faint spot of blood on her hand, bright as a butterfly or a fire that ate away at her. She saw different blood, from hours ago, in her mind, and a powerful nausea gripped the back of her head and slammed her still where she lay, along with the shock. Eventually she pushed herself up on her elbows, her arms burning from the effort, and pushed herself up enough to half-crouch and sort of walk at the same time, and made her way away. It ended in a mad dash for the bathroom, the only room with a lock, when she remembered she must not be alone. Her heart raced and skipped, and she breathed out in relief, gripping the edges of the sink and then making the mistake of looking up. The breath squeezed out of her. Her bloody lip marked the beginnings of a faint aching bruise, and her hair stuck up at odd angles. She sunk briefly into the look in her eyes and then resurfaced and tore her gaze away.

Methodically she turned on the bathwater and climbed in as best she could, her clothes still on, any stain swirling freely away. She ducked her head into the water and violently scrubbed the blood away from the side of her face, and stood up, pulling the plug, shivering in her wet clothes. The best that could be said was that her feet felt fine; the bottoms felt the square perfect individual tiles.

She could walk more easily now, and shut the bathroom door quietly behind her, dripping water onto the floor. Her head still felt tight as it had at the bar. She edged back into the living room and tried to block out from her perception cleaning the mess up. Her hand brushed against something soft she assumed must be carpet or fabric—she looked down, seeing Isaac half-on half-off the couch and the floor, and jumped away, finding her way upstairs and into her room, lying on the bed and letting the rain drum away the ache in her bones. Cold, she went to the bathroom and came back upstairs with a glass of hot water, drank it, and closed her eyes, pulling the covers up above her shoulders. She was not going to go downstairs to get food, not with Isaac there.

“Cath?” she heard a while later. She blinked and looked up, seeing her brother Oisín in the doorway. He looked confusedly at her lip. “What happened? Was that in the bar?”

She gave a noncommittal answer.

“Were you drinking, Cath?” he laughed, looking amused and slightly envious. Funny, he didn't know she didn't drink, and she didn't correct him. He’d been at school or something equally mundane and entirely preferable to her right now than anything that had happened today.

“Ah, d’you have a hangover?” he thought he realized, softening his voice to a whisper, his expression something along the lines of oops.

Cath stared with a pang after ‘Sheen as he left, his silly punk haircut, his shuffling feet. He came up and brought her dinner, and she wished for a brief moment she could explain everything—she knew he was equally wary of Isaac—but the most he could do would be to make a scene, and for some reason their father kept Isaac around while he recovered. He probably still wouldn’t be able to leave.

‘Sheen who had no idea, ‘Sheen who had blushed when a girl waved to him the other day, who couldn’t solve this any more than he could make their mother be alive again. She sighed and turned over, closing her eyes and pretending to be asleep. He left again.

Her short dreams were filled with rain and an open road she walked down. Perhaps, the thought filtered in hazily—perhaps she could leave, when she could move again and felt alive, and Oisín would learn to live with their drunken father and Cath’s absence. She could leave…but for now, she was too tired. Her body demanded she stay, rooted her bones heavily against the bed, bringing sleep and silencing her arguments.

Oddly, she heard song. Had Oisín been humming something? Some desperate half-heard words in music, rising above anguished guitar. She took this as a dream and forgot until much later, when she heard the song played again. For now it echoed into her ears and down the street she saw, dreaming, as she walked down the dream landscape to a better place.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:43 PM   #2
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Oh, the mysterious paper!
*hugs Cath*
Oisin... I love that character . Don't even ask why...
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:31 AM   #3
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The mysterious paper is soon to become un-mysterious, either in chapter 19 or 20; I haven't decided whether it will in '86 or not, but both chapters tie into each other a bunch.

I love Oisín...he's so adorable. Unfortunately he's named after a guy in my art class who is only capable of talking about sports, but ah well
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:57 AM   #4
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Hahaha! Cool you at least know someone named that. I';ve only heard the name in stories. (Not just yours. )
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:22 PM   #5
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Weird! I've only heard it in mine But yeah, that's how I know how to pronounce it. My art teacher always pronounced it wrong D:
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