The Melancholy Monologue of Mr Jones

A tale of how the mumbling thoughts of an old man who has recently passed have a strange affect upon a young girl and how this slowly changes her outlook on the world she lives in.

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2. The Beginning

The top page in the crate read like this:

My dear,

I suppose that you were both taken aback and bemused when you realised that this is what you acquire in the event of my death. But please, take the time to read these because to you I leave what was most precious to me; my life. You see here in these pages is every moment in which I have ever lived since I was 6, so cherish it, please. I implore you to at least read half of these in your lifetime, because I believe you are the only person that I know that deserves and that I trust with these pages. But my dearest don’t let yourself be affected by these pages and don’t let them engulf you.

Just promise me one thing, remember, even if it’s just one thing on these many pages, tell no-one, just remember. I just want someone to understand what I had to bear for all those years. It was no use giving these tales to Ellen, she doesn’t have the concentration and empathy to understand any of this, I would have to tell her that there was money glued to one of these and that she would have to go each page in order to find it.

Even dead my grandfather was slating my aunt, perhaps because there is no longer anything she can do to hurt him.

And of course I could not place this burden upon your mother, as all of her time is focussed on looking after you. So use this pleasure and time that you have to read through the pages of my life and please remember. Tell no-one and just notice how life goes on. How people walk past you without even a second glance and how if they knew what you knew it would change their view of everything. Notice how quickly families move on when a loved one leaves, just watch.

I hope that I have not distressed you in any way, and do not feel obliged in any way to complete all of what I request of you but please, at the every least pass this page. I hope that this will help you to blossom into a wonderful woman and change your philosophy of life for the better.

My dear,

Forever in you debt,

Edward Jones.

“Dinners ready!” How incredible our house is, that with a mere whisper my mother could summon me from the farthest corners of the house. She would be my main trouble though, how could I hide what I had found from her, without her growing curious? “So, have you found anything of interest yet” She inquired, the minute I reached the foot of the stairs. Hesitantly I replied “Ughh, no… I think they’re just folk stories that he has picked up in his lifetime but I haven’t got round to reading them yet” “Oh, Well I suppose it’s still worth the read”  I spent the whole of dinner in silence believing that if I spoke even just a word I would give away my secret. Ultimately of course this just roused my mother’s suspicion further, leading her to say with a look of distrust “I’ve got my eyes on you” This was a slightly unnerving thing for my mother to say, it caused me to panic a little, so much so that I let out a nervous chuckle to break the silence before I climbed back up the stairs. My nerves settled and were replaced with excitement however when I remembered what was waiting for me when I reached my bedroom.  To my bewilderment however I was not alone when I reached my bedroom. “What’s all this?” It was my cousin Damien, Aunt Ellen’s son, clearly coming to finish what his mother had started. He was a lot older than me and almost a foot taller which he thinks means that he has full power over me. However, he is a coward at heart, he is fine as long as he’s the only one pulling the punches but, if you fight back he’ll run for the hills right back into his mother’s arms. “It is none of your business, Damien” I replied trying to stand as tall and assertively as I possibly could. “Hmmm” He began laughing to himself and I got the sense that he wasn’t going to leave nicely, but I stood guard in front of my crate and we exchanged a long cold stare until he gave up and left back out of the window he came in through. “I’ll come back for it, don’t you worry” And with a demonic smile he jumped into my back garden and clambered over the fence and into his. This was another incredible thing about our house, out of all of the places in this neighbourhood we chose to live right next door to the people we want to see the least.

After that small episode I had almost forgotten about grandfather’s stories. I shut the window, the blinds and closed the doors, and continued reading.

My dear,

I have put my tales in chronological order; you will find my most earliest memories on the very bottom of the pile and my final memories on the top. For the whole thing to make sense I suggest you read slightly unconventionally; from bottom to top. Thank you, my dearest.

Edward

After shuffling the entire pile around I finally reached the bottom page. It read:

My earliest memory was from when I was only seven years old. It was the day in which I would have to learn to survive completely independently.

It had been a very troubling night, my mum and dad fought till nearly sunrise; I remember clutching my quilt with a pillow over my ears praying for it to stop.

These were my great grandparents, I do not know much of them, just their names; Patrick and Maude. They lived with Edward in Ireland.

Eventually when the fight was over silence filled the house and I was able to get to sleep. I awoke some, three hours later after bumping into what I thought was the corner of my bedside table. Though upon opening my eyes I noticed that it was in fact a large stone, then when I threw my quilt I noticed the cold bite of winter. I was on the local church doorstep. At first it didn’t fully click, I looked round expecting to find my mother and father, but I was alone. I wasn’t part of my mother’s plan you see, in her vision of perfection she didn’t picture children. She pictured life in a huge house in the countryside. It turns out that that argument was about me. My father was reluctant to leave me but after a good telling off by my mother he soon changed his tune.

Knowing that if I didn’t move I would be taken in by the nuns I quickly got up, took my quilt and started walking. Seen as I was asleep when I was abandoned I had to walk barefoot. In hindsight it’s quite peculiar that nobody noticed a seven year old boy, in his pyjamas, barefoot and walking alone. Walking alone really gives you a sense of how invisible you are to other people. However thanks to my youthful optimism I didn’t give up and just wallow and wait for someone to help me. I walked, and I didn’t stop.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see a light flashing, in the corner of my room. It was my alarm, I had read all the way through Sunday and it was Monday morning. I could hear the whistle of the kettle not long after. I had to get dressed, quick. I had fifteen minutes left before I needed to go to school.

I walked blissfully unaware of where or how long I had been walking for. It gave me time to think and when you’re that deep into your own thought track you lose sense of your surroundings and body clock switches off completely. It’s a wonder that I didn’t get myself killed with the amount of roads I crossed without even taking a glimpse at what was ahead of me. I was finally stopped in my tracks when…

“Come on honey, you’ll be late if you don’t get going” My mother was right. I had just made it past the late bell in time for the register.  My friend, Eve, has the same gift as my mother when it comes to my behaviour. I sat down next to her, plonked my bag under the table and turned to her, on my left, to see her, with squinted eyes, trying to decipher whatever secret I was keeping from her. I wanted to tell her, and I very nearly did, but then I remembered his specific request and to get her off my back I made up a secret about how I had some secret admirer of some thing of that nature. I spent the whole day in a bubble; I was aware of my surroundings to some extent but I was very disorientated. I could only describe that it was like my ears had switched from listening to my surroundings to listening to my mind, and my conscience, so normality was like background noise on a dodgy radio. The only time I would say that I was completely aware was when I bumped into Damien in the corridor. “Oh, look who it is” he said with a menacing smirk on his face. Damien was the antagonist of everything in school. If was there was news of a fight; you wouldn’t even need to mention names because you would now that it had something to do with Damien. He’s one of those people whose face alone is enough to infuriate anyone. Somehow however through some strange process that I couldn’t possibly fathom he seems to have obtained friends and they just seem to follow him and egg him on; he has his own fanbase. “This girl is trying to keep something from me” he exclaimed to his audience as they laughed in unison until directed to stop. I knew I had to reply I couldn’t give him the pleasure of knowing that he might intimidate me. “Correction, I am succeeding in hiding something from you and I will continue to succeed until I decide that you deserve the information that I have obtained”   

I attempted to rush through school today, if running to each class made time go by faster then it would have worked, but, no. It felt like an eternity. The atmosphere was like in movies where to indicate that time was going slow or that someone wanted to leave as soon as possible they would make the ticking of the clock significantly louder than all other sounds. That’s what every class was like, it was incredibly surreal and it felt as if time was slowly melting away almost on purpose so that I could not go home.  I was determined, it never escaped my mind. If this was a false story that he had written for me to publish then I would like to be the first to read it but, the possibility that all that lies on the papers in that crate are entirely true is quite worrisome to me. So I must read on. As soon as I got home I scuttled upstairs to my bedroom; like a hermit coming back in after picking up the milk.

… I saw her. You could never miss her. She had thick platinum blonde hair and electric green eyes. She was very tall, my mother, it was almost intimidating. How could anyone be so perfectly beautiful and yet so heartless? She looked straight at me and almost through me. We were on a busy high street so our eyes didn’t meet for very long but, that’s when it clicked a child of seven years would now have to fend almost entirely for himself. I never saw my mother again, however my father had apparently being checking up on me all of my life, just too afraid to approach me personally.

I found myself a home on a farm. The farthest shed on the six acre complex, it was almost entirely unused and made the perfect temporary home. There was a bed of hay laid out in the far corner and enough cloth to form a blanket. By the time I was done with it, it was fit for royalty. I lived a fairly stable life, for an orphan. Every afternoon I would steal bread and milk from the farmer’s wife whilst she was cooking for her husband, I would sometimes even play with the animals, if I thought I was out of view.

I was caught after about a year. The farmer had lost a sheep and went looking through the whole six acres for it. It was very tense because it took him a long while to spot me, but, when he did, he was furious. He ran across the farm to his wife who was quite bemused by the whole thing. When she saw me I think she must have took pity on me because she grabbed her husbands arm and gave one loving glance and he sighed then took a deep breath and offered me his care and permanent lodgings on their farm. He asked of me only one favour. That I find him his missing sheep.

I searched high and low. My little feet broke right through the soles of my shoes leaving only my soggy socks between me and the cold, wet ground. It was excruciating, all I had in terms of a description was the number on his tag – 2460. I checked the entire farm and nearly every country road within a mile of it. I thought I would never find him until I saw this weird shaped shadow as I reached the turn on the eastern country road.

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