A little excerpt from a project I am working on. This was originally started as an exercise on A363 Advanced creative writing. (Open University).
The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows. A body lies across the doorstep of the church, a line of crumb-carrying ants marches across the fedora covering its face. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease. A figure glides past the church wall, before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.
The army of ants are sent scattering as the body suddenly moves. The young woman bats the fedora away from her face, startled by its presence. The baby’s cry grows louder, piercing through the early morning sunrise that creeps slowly through the quiet village streets. Scrambling to her feet, she leans against the wooden door. She looks around the square, her eyes tired, unfocused she struggles to keep them open. She can hear rushed footsteps heading towards the door. She doesn’t have time to move as the wooden door is swung open and she is roughly pulled in through the small gap.
‘It’s ok Cassie, it’s ok. Jackson advised me of your coming. Please, please there is no need to be scared.’
Cassie pushes herself as far into the cold concrete wall as she can go. Her heart thumping wildly as her eyes try to make sense of the darkness. A single red candle flickers in the far right corner of the church. The babies cry becomes increasingly desperate as it screams for food. The piercing sound penetrating the sacred concrete, echoing around the cold, empty church. Cassie pulls her sleeves over her hands and pressing them hard against her ears.
‘It is not real Cassie, the screams you hear. They are not real.’
She stopped rocking for a moment and opened her eyes to look closely at the father. His eyes looked dark, brown, thought Cassie. From the small amount of candle light Cassie saw the fathers eyes as jaded, surrounded by soft wrinkled skin. There was a softness in his face, a comforting beat to his voice.
‘You hear it though father? I hear it nightly, crying, screaming, sobbing and then silence.’
‘Yes Cassie, I too hear it.’
‘Please father, if I could find the baby, I could love it, feed it, cherish it.’
The father placed his soft warm hands against Cassie’s face and slowly lifted her chin. He looked into her eyes. He noted the dilation her eyes. It was clear by the colour of skin, a mottled white and purple that she had been in contact with the drug for a long time. He gently rubbed his fingers beneath her eyes, wiping away the tears that had fell.
‘There is no baby Cassie. It is a rues used by the others to trick you into leaving your home at night. There is no baby.