The Bequest. Scene 4

Author: G. Jefferies

 

image

 
Adrian “Ade” Johnston was a bright kid that mixed with the wrong ones after his parents took their eye off the ball. Easy to do moving from toddler through to adolescence. Those days are cute. Maybes not at the time but looking back Pamela and Carl figured those were the times before “get out of my bubble” and “what do you know” appeared. The omnipresent realisation that every new teen cracks open. Older folk were always old and don’t know the minds of teenagers. How could they? They’re old.

Ade knew this to be true though. After all his generation were obviously the first to actually be sixteen…ever. Thirty seemed past it, unreachable, never going to happen. But folk older than that were just wrong. They were the ones running the world and screwing it up. They should all be put in homes until they get too old to have a say. Might be folk would just get along fine then. Only grandparents knew stuff. Well they had when he was a kid. Tales of the war, real stuff from history that even the Internet knew about. Gramps had been in it. Really in your face, up to the eyeballs, proper in it. He had medals too and that way of avoiding details which, to an empathic minded child, says hey, you really were weren’t you. As opposed to the hyperbolic crap most of his current mates said. Teens for you though. They all did it and they all knew they did it and that was just fine.

What was not fine, in his parents view, was how they had managed to watch good grades slump in the key years leading to examinations that counted. Ade knew why though. Love was money. It bought him stuff as a surrogate. Bespoke room that, in fairness, was the envy of his mates but when he needed help a new video game or bag of sweets didn’t cut the mustard. Then again they were in the age bracket that should be in homes to safeguard the planet. When you looked at it like that then what could you expect? The age of got to have the latest gadget, car, just so house was running. Any fool looking at 24/7 news could figure it out. Spend more get less; earn more do less. Wasn’t rocket science. Not to him and his mates at any rate. Politicians sucked, world leaders sucked and idiots that voted were sheep indoctrinated like religious folk. Dare to say something was wrong and boom. Off they went in the rhetoric of what the heck would Ade know at his age. They did though. Ade and his pals. They knew plenty. After all they were the first kids ever to be teenagers.

It started going off the rails when gramps passed away. Nothing sinister or untoward. He was just old. That didn’t make it hurt less because of all the people in his family who ever gave him any time to talk about stuff gramps was the only that chewed the fat. Ade thought that was a war thing. When you saw that up front it was bound to change you. A mate blown to pieces in front of you. One you had the crack with over breakfast, gone in seconds. There one minute, gone the next. Get your head round that people. The smell of fresh rain on mud, the chill of the air blowing a gale in wet clothes, boots full of water rotting your feet, the actual smell of flesh lacerated with bullets and screams of soldiers lying in the dirt waiting for medics that were just to damn busy. If movies came with smell-o-vision punters would be chucking up all over the place.

Ade saw it all in gramps eyes and the way a rustic index finger tapped the side of his nose when a question got too close. Gramps remembered the carefree days before and then the bloodshed after. They were there. Ade felt it sitting in the living room when he visited. Living room. That always threw him too. So quiet, a bit like he imaged a morgue with just a clock ticking the time away until the moment to drop the coffin came. He often wondered if you could ever really come back after an experience like that. Yes, Ade sure missed gramps a whole heap of ways.

That was when Rowena the Goth found him. One afternoon after lunch at school when he was leaning on the railings at the furthest edge of the playing fields. Having some time out away from everything, lessons, mates, people. Space to just say cheers gramps and thank you for being the real parent; the one that cared.

“Go on then” came a soft voice behind him.

Ade took no notice. He was there to be alone. Besides girls didn’t speak to him outside class very often. The owner he couldn’t place anyway.

“Are you gonna jump the fence or not?”

“What?” Ade hoped that had some proper fuck off irritation in it.

“I’ve seen you here everyday for the last two weeks at least. Figured you were working up to blowing this joint.” She was still behind him.

“Yeah, well I might just do that. Life’s a bitch then you die.”

“Thanks”

Gramps cut him up there. Young un, t’aint her fault. It rolled round his head for a few before he replied. “I didn’t mean bitches as in girls. It’s just stuffs fucked up a bit.”

He turned round and things changed. Rowena the Goth as he’d never seen her before. Well, he had, just not paid any attention to her in school uniform. Her reputation was after hours. The black gear with silver bangles and purple highlights. Not forgetting the nose stud. Here she was kinda normal, uniform in the uniform and, well, fucking gorgeous.

“I know that one Adrian.” She smiled.

Fuck, she knows my name. A freaking girl knows my name. Gramps tailed away. “What do you know about it?” Imbecile, why did I say that?

“This and that. Being the weirdo that everyone laughs at for a start.”

“Do they?” He was looking into her eyes. He liked the way they stared back. More than that though, they reminded him of the light in Gramps. The one that said I know more than I let on young ‘un.

She laughed and he was hooked. “Yes they do.”

It may have been the glisten of tears in his eye that moved things on. Nobody cared before and Rowena the Goth was hope.

“I lost my grandad not long ago. Best friend I ever had.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.” Except she moved closer. He saw her arms move in the way his mums once had when he was upset.

“No, don’t apologise. I’m glad you did. It’s just hard with parents that don’t give a toss.” There, he’d never told anyone that before. It felt good.

Next he knew she was hugging him. Rowena the Goth, weirdo extraordinaire was embracing him, Ade, by the railings at the furthest point from school you could get without going truant. He clutched her back. Get your head round this people. Me and a girl…a real live girl.

“If you ever need to talk Adrian” she left it unfinished. Not that a sentiment like that needs terminating. It is what it is. An offer of friendship, maybe more. The school bell ended lunch. They separated and walked back holding hands until they neared the main buildings where they separated. Not cool to be seen with a girl during school. That’s a tease job waiting to happen. Sixth form acceptable, but year too early. Fuck the world he thought that’s crap too, like the lock up ages. He reached back, took her wrist and slid his fingers back into place. Rowena smiled and schoolwork went out the window.

 

Β© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

72 Comments

  1. Finally had a quiet moment to read and appreciate this. Absolutely love the interaction between Ade and Rowena – it felt that the characters truly came to life in that moment. Oh, and needless to say I also adore the graphic at the top of the page. *grin*

    Liked by 1 person

    • My own granddad survived The Somme. He never spoke about it but you could see it sometimes in his eyes. It made me think on this sort of thing quite a lot as a child. That in turn lead to many more ponderances on war and how individuals in it might think. I agree with you though actually getting your head around here one moment and gone the next is mind boggling… It crops up more than once in my writing too…thanks so much for you comment. I really appreciate that !

      Like

  2. How did I miss this??! I blame the AtoZChallenge, I’m not able to pay much attention to the posts in my reader due to time constraints. My bad! :/
    This is brilliant! Teenage emotions perfectly captured! Ade reminded me of someone I knew years ago. Your writing is a not only a reader’s delight but also an imagery treat! πŸ™‚
    I hope you are busy editing your fourth draft. Way to go, Gary!! πŸ˜€

    Like

  3. The way you depict the thoughts and conclusions that teenagers come up with is great! I felt like I was actually in Adrian’s head.
    I especially like how you compared the living room to a morgue (that’s so off topic, not related to character at all, but oh well).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have teenagers and was one once upon a time lol.

      Off topic did you think so? That was a flash back to how I viewed my gramps living room in later years. No tech, tv off and just the clock ticking in the corner between conversations. The end days waiting for the clearing at the end of the path to coin Stephen King. At the time, never having being in a morgue, it was how I imagined metaphorically what it would be like…silence waiting for coffins to be moved on. In Ade’s mind that’s what the living room was. A morgue except his gramps was still there waiting for his coffin appointment. I shall, however, review this on the edit now πŸ˜‡

      Like

        • Ohhh, I see hat you mean now…don’t worry I’m easily confused…no need to apologise 😊

          All good…in fact it would be even if you’d actually thought something was out of place and said why yoy think so. That becomes a good bad review which is often better than a bad good review which tells one very little.

          Thank you for setting me straight though and I can cross that off my dredit list 😱

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Gary,
    I don’t know why I didn’t see this. It should be in my Email since I am a subscriber. Well, with 10,000 Emails, what can I say? A few get lost every now and again. =)
    I wanted to let you know I am linking to you in tomorrow’s post. I am using a quote of yours to introduce my article.
    Janice

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Gary! This is soooooooo awesome….I love it! The writing is so brilliantly you, and the connection between grandfather and protagonist and protagonist and goth-girl is sooooooo pertectly crafted…it rings so true…Ade is wonderfully captured and you sure deliver…I love, love, love this….you’re doing it, Gary…you are a professional writer ready to take the literary world by storm…congrats πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey, you can be my marketing cheerleader over there if you keep this up!! I’m not sure the word professional writer holds true though…I’m not that good…although this piece is in genre and belongs with the others out of The Bequest category. Have to admit I rather like this one though. It never started with the intention to have the goth girl involved. That was out of my control and just came out. Unexpected it was too.

      The idea with these Bequest exercpts is simply to introduce five characters briefly in chapter two but then separate them into their own chapters as things progress. This project is likely going to get my time after the final edit is done on the out of genre book I’m worried about.

      Really glad you liked it πŸ˜‡

      Liked by 1 person

      • As to your first point….why, thank you! πŸ™‚ As to your last point….if you are going to paraphrase, my friend, you need to stay true to the message…”Really glad you adored it” is a truer reflection of my statement. haha Just teasing…I understand how self-deprecation and humility must have their way πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are most welcome to point one…but paraphrase…umm you liked the post so technically is that a paraphrase or an escape caveat for me 😁 Obviously I use the negatives to try and force out better writing which then falls foul of the negativity which then Spurs on improvement which then….and so on. Result is…never finish anything πŸ€•

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ha ha….my point is, although I clicked “like” after reading your post–my comment stated that I loved (not liked) it… I wanted to be sure to convey how impressed I was with your post…but, your comment has taught me something new about your process…if I understand, in order to make sure that you do not rest on your laurels, you are hard on yourself, in order to motivate yourself to strive to improve?

            Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s