Saturday, June 21

Steph was bored, completely and utterly bored. everyone had gone to bed and she couldn't sleep to save herself, so rather than lying awake in bed, her eyes relentlessly flickering over the shadows, she was silently roaming the house. but everything is louder at night, or at least seems to be, Steph wasn't sure how quiet she was really being as every floor board seemed to cry out, light switches producing a clicking echo that bounced around the house. she sat at the kitchen table, a deck of cards beckoning, and started to play solitaire. after a while she played freecell and then went onto pyramid and tri-peaks, her eyes becoming fuzzing but her mind still ticking over madly. also on the kitchen table was Sophie's wallet, a very tempting and dangerous endeavor. She began to notice herself eying it off as the cards flipped over and piled on top of one another. There wasn't any intent to look or count or take the money it most likely enclosed, only the curiosity of the other treasures and residents that made it bulge, so plump and proud. used metcards, ticket stubs, reward cards, library cards, old receipts, random items of jewelery, lists, reminders, phone numbers, old photo ID's, Steph's mind ticked over the possible inhabitants, each much more intriguing than they would be at a less nocturnal hour. Giving in, she put away the playing cards and reached over for the wallet, it's smooth leather nature cool to the touch. she toyed with the prestud fastener, eventually opening it like a book filled with little stories of Sophie. she slowly took out each of the cards, lining them up neatly on the table cloth, each likely a prized discovery. they were all the usual suspects as contents go, but there was one thing that caught her attention. tucked in the corner of the note section was a quite old receipt, folded several times. most of the printing was faded, Steph thought she could make out the word "chocolate", the date stamp 25/9/06 and the safeway logo, but what was really prominent was the picture drawn on the opposite side in black pen. even though it was smudged by the folding and weight of the wallet, it was still well preserved. it was of a girl looking out a window, probably of a train or bus or tram, it was a very good drawing for such a small piece of paper and purely black pen. Steph was in awe of this amazing little treasure, it was like holding a winning lottery ticket. down the bottom corner was a sentence that made little shivers tickle her backbone, confusing and changing the context of the picture; "don't fail to live", all in lower case, written over multiple times. she could sense an eerie familiarity and was almost certain see had seen it, or something very much like it, before. it could have just been fictional, but it seemed to have a real quality to it, as if draw by observation. examining the faded print again, the date nagged at her, her 18th birthday, a small mystery in itself. she stifled a laugh as she tried to remember what she actually did for her 18th, it could of course be purely coincidence that Sophie bought chocolate the same day. looking over the drawing again she noticed one of those pin-wheel toys clutched in the girl's hand, bringing a sudden confrontation of identity. it was Sophie. Steph was beginning to wonder if Sophie had drawn it at all as she reflected on the tram ride back from the city with Sophie and a couple of other friends after her birthday celebrations. She heard a light switch click in another room, bringing her out of dazed awe of the puzzle resting in her hands. Quickly she folded the receipt and stuffed it back into it's resting place. Her heart sank as she looked at the rest of the cards neatly spread out over the table, she was sure there was an order, and Sophie was one who would notice. Footsteps could be heard, traveling in the direction of the bathroom, followed by the closing of a door. Graced with precious, extra minutes, she assigned the cards into a semi-logical order and slotted them into what she hoped were the right spots. Closing the wallet she could feel her pulse racing, an uneasy readiness to bolt if discovered. The wallet was returned to it's original position and Steph slowly got up, quietly as possible. pushing the chair in she heard the bathroom door open again, accompanied by footsteps. she paused, unsure whether they would come into the kitchen area or just return to their room. Steph was even slightly confused as to why she was so edgy, was this guilt? did she really cross some line of privacy that her body was unconsciously aware of?
"Heys, you still up?"
Steph spun around violently, then froze light a wild animal in headlights. It was Mark, Steph sighed with the arrival of safety. he didn't care about much, which could easily been seen by what he slept in, or didn't sleep in, sporting only a pair of loosely waist-banded, green boxer shorts.
"Ah... yeah, just heading to bed now." Steph said, adding in a fake yawn for effect.
"Sm'okay, have a good one" Mark replied, hitching up the back of his boxers, not a very appealing sight. Steph returned to her room and got into bed, cursing her curiosity as her mind wandered around in circles on her sleep deprived decisions. Mark however, stayed in the kitchen for a while, flipping through the cards in Sophie's wallet, hoping to find an old ID photo to put up on facebook to get her back for the one she put up of him. If she could go through his wallet, why couldn't he go through hers?

edited in agreement with commentations (i'm aware that 'commentations' isn't a word, just has a more official feel than 'comments'), not sure if i like this ending either, but at least it's an ending this time.


Blogger Sandy said...

i didnt get it. who was the mysterious girl. was she steph herself. sory but i need answers

11:32 pm, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Frances bo bancess said...

hey sandy, thanks for stopping by!
yeah i kinda agree... it doesn't really make much sense. it was meant to be steph in the drawing, but i didn't really explain that, or what happened on the tram or why is says "failure" and if it says failure why steph was smiling... maybe alterations/continuations are needed.

8:47 am, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Sandy said...

hmm. so will it have a better finish?

12:29 pm, June 23, 2008  
Blogger observer said...

I agree about the ending. The whole thing had a feeling of fetishisation (sp?) of objects - the way the belongings of someone you're in love with take on a mysterious, hidden meaning. Then the end kind of slipped away into the ether. Brilliant start though, keep working on it and post its evolution maybe?

4:35 pm, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Sandy said...

better, but still i think the mystery is not unfolded.

i enjoyed your previous post of that slapping.

3:56 pm, June 28, 2008  
Blogger Frances bo bancess said...

agreed observer, empty ending. hopefully revised into something more... solid?

sandy: haha, but i don't like giving everything away. it's funny, though i understand that the full mystery isn't unearthed, i like the freedom it gives the reader to take away something different from what i wrote, even if it's the cause of their frustration.
or maybe i just don't know myself.

5:46 pm, July 01, 2008  

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