The Caitiff – Paragraph Extract #15

Two days left now; only two, until the semi-legitimate narrative, in place of the experimental fiction I wrote as a student, is released unto the world. Perhaps, in honest terms, I think of this as my ‘debut’, certainly my debut novel, but it will be forever ingrained in my memory as the ‘novel I wrote whilst on the dole‘ – it is the novel of a social parasite.


I was lucky. Not only was the rooftop empty, but the sun had yet to crest the skyline. The red streams of its influence were visible, of course, arcing against the grey sky like new blood on a day’s old corpse – it aped the thrilling idea that, once again, Lazarus rises. I pulled the rucksack from my shoulder and dropped to one knee on the dusty, dirty rooftop. I drank from my water bottle, glad to see the liquid had cleared in my bag, that the gas caught within had settled itself, segregated from the liquid – it still tasted of meat.

Together, my backpack and I slumped against the wall beside the door. I left the water by my foot and reached for my notebook. It was old and ink-stained and the faux-leather cover, once brown, had grown predominantly grey through disuse. It looked like it had aged a hundred years in the five since I had bought it. I intended, for long moments, to relive the nonsense that my younger self had scribbled down in the dead nights – in those moon-haunted mornings when I awoke to vomit and piss and pretend that everything I did was for a purpose, when I thought that alcoholism equated to literary ability. I remembered vaguely hoping, when I was much younger, that some spark of genius might shine through on those pages; that some great epiphany found itself stained onto the thin paper. I never reread it, never came back to it as I had meant to, merely filled it up with more nonsense and an increasingly eccentric hand as I wrote less and less using a pen, and my fingers found themselves unable to hold it with the same degree of skill they once possessed. I aged, my decay visible in my handwriting if not upon my face.

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