Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entry #180

Flight
by Shona Snowden


"Ye've called my foster mum, right?

“Is that thing on?

"We started doon the Tannahill Arms. The lassie'd had a few; she was swaying on her feet. Weemy says, there’s a party in Kerrett Street, and she wants to go.

“We went through McMinnick Park, they trees by the estate. The groond's covered wi' ciggies and syringes, and ye can hear the lorries on the bypass. But if ye look up through the branches, ye can see the sky, and sometimes it seems bigger than at the estate, ken what I mean?

“Weemy says, let's sit doon. But the lassie says, no’ on that manky groond. Pod knocks her over and she's greetin’ and Pod takes off her knickers and...do I have tae say?

"…Pod’s first, and then Weemy, and then Yin, and she's covered wi’ dirt and blood. They look at me, but I dinnae move. That's when Pod…do I have tae....

"…after Pod’s finished, she's no’ breathing. Weemy, Pod and Yin run away, laughing.

"I look up through the branches and it’s all dark, apart from a wee bittie orange light from the streetlights. I tell her I'm sorry. Out loud, like a daftie, even though she cannae hear me.

“That's when this big, dark bird flies across the sky, above the branches. The traffic's quiet for a wee minute and I can hear its wings, flap, flap, flap. When I look down, she's gone.

"Is my foster mum coming? Ye did call her, didn't ye?"

44 comments:

Bernita said...

I find this the most horrifying entry of all.
VERY well done!

Laurel said...

Holy crap, Shona. Top five. No doubt.

I don't know what it is about the recounting of this tale through the mouth of the witness that makes it all the more compelling, but I suspect it's the voice.

I absolutely hear the speech. The statements go up at the end, like a question. The dialect is perfect. It's not to be believed, what happened, and the teller is stunned.

This is...flawless. I often see what I'm reading but I don't recall ever hearing it so vividly outside of Zora Neale Hurston and, well, that's HURSTON.

Absolute top marks for a gripping scene well told. Phenomenal.

kashers said...

Love the Celt matter of fact delivery. It's amazing how the everyday can be so horrifying when expressed with a tone of normality.

I hope our American cousins stick with it, because it deserves to be read.

Well done.

Laurel said...

kashers, did you read my comment? I'm the "American cousin", and country cousin at that...bona fide redneck. This piece doesn't "deserve" to be read so much as it demands it.

The pond ain't that big.

Kurt Hendricks said...

Love this...just love it.

Anonymous said...

The narrative voice is what makes this believable. Very well done. --JR

Mahesh Sindbandge said...

Very nice attempt :-) The bird was introduced very unexpectedly :-)

kashers said...

Glad to hear it, Laurel. Should have guessed your pedigree with that smile of yours. Howdi y'all.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow! Five claws straight up, ol' girl.

(Hm. Does that sound as bad as I think it does even though it means something good?)

Love the dialect. Well done.

angel said...

Very powerful read.

Sarah Laurenson said...

The only part I don't know is she's greetin'.

Preeti said...

Oh dear...
there is a lump of ice in the place where my heart is supposed to be.
I am horrified. And frozen.

And i simply loved loved the fact that there is so less description of the environs but yet i can see everything. and i also simply loved the fact that in just a dialogue you've said everything and shown everything. all the characters even. and i can see them clearly, and i didnt need to know how they looked.

Oh God...

I loved this. The plot, the idea, the language... Oh my God...

Incredibly beautiful, Shona.

Lee Hughes said...

That was bloody fantastic. Harrowing with its matter of factness, worked a treat!

Aniket said...

That Shona girl always does well. :)
But this is great!

This sure is winning the readers choice award by miles. The dialect reminded how stunning Janey's entry was last year that one last time around. This matches upto it neck to neck.

Darn good yeh!

Bernita said...

Sarah,
"greetin' - weeping, crying.

Tessa said...

Whoa! Powerful, gut-wrenching, superbly paced. This has to be a winner - very, very well done!

Chris Eldin said...

Wow, Shona. This blows me away. I am there, at the seen you created. Like others have said, I can HEAR this piece so vividly. Your voice is utterly perfect. The dialect, the details... so hard to paint a story with mostly dialogue, but you nailed it. Simply nailed it.

Michael Solender said...

very, very cool. well done great voice.

catvibe said...

I love the Scottish dialect. Dare I say I could even hear the tone of this young man's voice as he spoke, as if he was speaking to me. Gruesome and chilling. Excellent, flawlessly executed.

lena said...

That sure will make my top 5. It is excellent writing, plot, idea, VOICE!!!
Very well done!

laughingwolf said...

a fine write that be, lass!

JaneyV said...

Wow Shona - like everyone else I am blown away by how moving and horrifying this piece is. Writing it in the dialect give it such gravitas and the young voice adds to the sense of shock.

Powerful, powerful stuff girl. You did good.

pjd said...

Truly outstanding, from the way you've chosen to tell it (accused witness who's a bit clueless) to the voice to the MC's statements (do I have to say it?) to the wanting his foster mum to be called. This is just so complex and properly done. Definitely short list, possibly my #1.

Craig said...

The voice in this one is exceptional.

Meghan said...

Wow. A VERY powerful piece. It's terrible, but for some reason the last line where he asks about his foster mom again is especially haunting. Well done.

Kartik said...

Disturbing. Haunting. Exceptional

Stephanie Green said...

It's amazing just how much you conveyed about the MC in this piece. I feel like I understand his background and age, maturity level, intellect... So very disturbing and powerful.

sylvia said...

Horrifying. I read it twice, looking for perhaps a shaft of light, some hope. And there was none. And I felt as if it were me that watched and now there was nothing to witness.

Wonderful, Shona. Frightening and terrible and thought-provoking and horrible.

Aerin said...

Okay, this piece is really making me think, and Shona, you know I love you love love love you so please take everything I say as my internal dialogue and not necessarily criticism of the piece. Please? And if you do take offense, um, don't tell McKoala, okay? She scares me.


my caveat

Something I Would Keep

The Scottish colloquial.

Something I Might Tweak

I can't pinpoint the age of the boys - If the narrator is a teen, his almost child-like voice makes me think he's mentally challenged. The girl being slightly drunk makes me think "older teen," almost. And, statistically, it would be a foster child who's more likely to act out, sexually and violently. So it confused me just a little, but partly that could be my own background work with social services and teenagers and mentally challenged kids. Definitely one to ponder.

By far and away, though, of course, the technically best entry I've read.

truevoid said...

winner for sure!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I understand the story. Is it sexual abuse? Not able to relate to the age of the characters. Are they children? Can the author or anyone else explain this.

- John

Harper said...

Aye, but the bird distracts the boy and when he looks back, she's gone...so she wasn't killed? Which is why the cops caught them and zeroed in on this one lad for a confession—the least culpable of the band. This is stunning writing and it's unfortunate that within this forum, the story couldn't develop more, but you still succeeded in giving us in 250 words or less, the distilled, chilled core; the essence of evil. You don't need my praise, but you have it anyway.

raine said...

Stunning story. Likee!
And for some reason, when I got to the end I had the horrible urge to laugh...
Not because it was FUNNY at all, but because it was so well done!

Tara said...

Simply amazing. I can't add to any of the above, except to say, Wow!

maybe genius said...

Wrenching and raw, in the very best sense of the words. Fantastic dialogue.

Terri said...

Outstanding!
At the start I actually balked when I saw the accent because normally it just makes a piece difficult to read. Yet somehow you managed to make it flow - and easily. My poor little brain never faltered.
I have no new words to add to what the others have said.
Wrenching, brutal, brilliant and vivid.

Harish said...

The sheer nonchalance in the voice of the MC was what made it bone-chilling for me. Took me a while to get the story, through the accent, but the effort was worth it!

One of my tops!

JaneyV said...

Congratulations Shona! Well done you!! xxx

Karen said...

I'm sorry I didn't get here before the voting closed. This would have been my Number One for certain!

Shona Snowden said...

All your comments have been so wonderful, I really appreciate the feedback. Beyond the voting (but thank you for that!) I'm so happy that the story made an impact on so many people.

Shona Snowden said...

Sorry, forgot to say - you can find a couple of other stories via my web site at www.shonasnowden.com

Kurt Hendricks said...

Congrats Shona!

I seriously thought yours was the top story. I chose it as #1 in my reader's picks.

Chris Eldin said...

Congrats Shona!!! You already know I'm a fan.
;-)
Such strong writing, and a well-deserved win!

Dottie (My Blog 2.0) said...

Great use of dialogue and loved the accent!!

Congrats on the R/C!!

Dottie :)