The Burden (It’s a working title, alright? I’ll probably change it) is the next novella I’m working on. It will, essentially, follow a man called Robert Amuigh a few days prior to his brother’s funeral and the days, turning into weeks, afterwards. It is written in a style which is, perhaps, somewhat simpler than the Caitiff and might, therefore, be easier to read.
It is not, however, any less driven by a specific idea or ideology and, I know, it will turn out very well and, I also know, the driving argument behind the narrative will rub some readers the wrong way! This is just a little taster, really, and is the first half of the first draft of the prologue – just to give you an idea of how early on in the *cough cough* creative process *cough cough* this piece is.
A young Arab is taking pictures of a slim white girl, her hair hidden beneath a tight-fitting woollen cap and her throat obscured by a scarf, composed of interesting threads of varying colours – when laid out flat it could have easily been a rainbow but coiled and wrapped as it was, it bore a closer resemblance to an abstractionist’s feature, one taking prime position in their latest exhibit. He watches her pose with two fingers extended, half-cocking her leg like she had no doubt seen in some Japanese cartoon or other and snaps a few pictures off, the flash evident even in the white light of the early morning.
It reflects across the ripples of the ice which has staked its claim upon the cobblestones and rejoices in the sight of the museum behind her; behind that, the art gallery appears to skulk, with its indented pillars of cream-stone racing up the length of the building. The slave is half-perched on the wall running alongside the stairs – it is cold and wet and he can feel it seeping through his trousers. He has one leg raised, angled so that the foot lies flush against the smooth stone whilst his other holds him against the wall. All his weight is pushing down upon that one limb and, occasionally, it quivers under the weight. He watches them a little longer, sees the woman turn to face the museum and bend forward slightly, turning her head over shoulder to stare directly into the lens – another flash of light, a series of them split and blend with the ragged edges of the morning.
The slave looks away; across the expanse of cobblestone and ice there is a coach – a long, squat creature which emits a deep growl of refusal, a sound that the slave understands, and exhales the same coiling smoke from its exhaust as he can see vanishing from his own lips. The driver is slouched in his seat, his head surmounting against the headrest so that he stares directly upwards. His fingers tap out a nervous tune on the steering wheel, and the slave tries to imagine the sound by the sight.
‘Winter has murdered the trees, and what right do I have to mourn them? They stretched to the skies in their desperate search for sunlight and warmth, and they have frozen, when their survival lay in the dirt.’ He hears the words as those of another man and tightens his lips, lest they escape from him, accompanied by the undulation of his freedom – his burden.
Thanks for reading, as always!
Check out some other stuff I’ve written whilst you’re here!