Triangular Lives

"It was a small place and in small places it is very easy for darkness to hide. People are so tightly cramped together that they fail to notice the bogey man beneath their nose. Too close to see the obvious." Emma dreams in smoke, Daniel dreams in stars, and Lucy dreams in sepia.The shared garden sits between them - empty, careless and unwanted for as long as each can remember - but it's when something terrible and scandalous lies in the garden that the truth starts to leak out. ~~~ P.S. This is under re-construction ~~~ P.P.S. What can I say to explain the darkness of this story other than that I am always amazed by the cruelty of the crushed. All my characters here are crushed and there's only one who isn't cruel. ~~~ (Thanks to River_Summers ☕️for the wonderful cover!)

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14. Daniel

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• The large window in the upstairs hallway is open. It hangs wide, trying to tempt in a breeze which is not really there, and are smears down the glass from where finger grease and dirty raindrops and cobwebs have kissed it. The Boy Called Daniel would like to be able to wipe them all clear but is currently distracted with something else.
• Daniel is crouching, shaking like a pressed spring and contorted by the confusing mixture of fear and anger that is rattling inside him like a broken component in his mechanisms.
• He is clenching his hands so that they curl around his wrists; his lower jaw is trembling and whimpering and he ducks his head down to hold it safely between his knees.
• He is utterly consumed by the image in his head of an Air Fix plane instruction manual where the marks on the wings are marked as colour 7 and then an Air Fix plane model where the marks on the wings have been filled in with colour 2 by mistake. He can’t bear it. It must be erased. But how?
• His right heel is jumping up and down – beating time to a melody written in sevens.
• One two three four five six seven. One two three four five six seven. One two three four five six seven…
• He wants it to help him but the truth is that the tapping is a way of calming himself not a way of forgetting. That’s all he wants, to forget the colours touching each other with hideous obscenity. Red and blue cannot, in any circumstance touch, especially not when they are breaking the aesthetic laws of the instruction manual.
• Jas comes up the stairs and sees him; she is tight with anxiety and secrets and regrets. She suddenly wants to just throw her arms around him, cling on and never let either of them hurt each other again. She knows she can’t, she knows that she cannot simply cuddle him like they are both lost children, she is the closest thing to an adult that Daniel has at that moment and she must behave like one.

 

 

CONVERSATION 10


Jas: Danny? I’m so-
Daniel: Go away Jasmine. 
Jas: I’m so sorry, I am so, so, so sorry – I’m useless. (she says it both because she knows that it is true and because she wants him to comfort her by correcting it.)
Daniel: (distractedly) you painted it wrong. (To himself more than anything) The blue and the red and the blue… can’t touch, can’t touch. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
(Jasmine starts to cry.)
Jas: Daniel! Oh Daniel – I’m so sorry. We’ll paint over it-
Daniel: (sharp and furious) NO. no no no no… you can’t. We can’t. The red doesn’t go away.
Jas: You’ll never be able to tell.
Daniel: BUT I’LL REMEMBER, JAS. I’LL NEVER STOP REMEMBERING AND EVERY TIME I’LL SEE THE RED UNDERNEATH – WRONG, WRONG, ALL WRONG.
Jas: Daniel, please.
Daniel: I HATE YOU JAS. (He really believes it; after all, he has invested so much in the project that it is devastating to know that he won’t now be able to look at it without hurting and panicking. He tries to convince himself to stop but he can’t, he can’t stop, just like he can’t stop beating time in sevens. He really believes it.)
Jas: (desperately) you don’t mean it Danny.
Daniel: I DO. I HATE YOU. I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO TALK TO YOU. EVERYTHING’S WRONG BECAUSE OF YOU.
Jas: I’ve said I’m sorry.
Daniel: (breathless) THAT DOESN’T MAKE THE RED GO AWAY.
(There is a long and uncomfortable silence. The shift in tone is perceptible.)
Daniel: (sadly, confusedly) Just go away, Jas.
 


***

 

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• There is a body on the patio.
• It’s the body of the Boy Called Daniel’s sister.
• Jas.
• She’s broken everywhe-


No. no. no. I can’t do this. I always keep everything tidied away. It has to be. I sort my thoughts into boxes, arrange scenes and conversations into scripts and postscripts; keep it all under control and safe and out of the way. No. no. And the blood is leaking out the edges of her mouth and the. No. it’s all falling apart. My thoughts are spilling out of their assigned places. Everything is messy; my pristinely ordered mind is slipping, collapsing, generally dissolving. Carnage. No. I can’t keep hold of anything; I can’t sort it into files and pigeon holes and it’s slipping. The blood is sliding. Everything’s fractured. She’s fractured.


I can’t.

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