Sunday, 16 March 2014

Eugene Morris: January Writing Task by Cherry Doyle

Here is Cherry Doyle’s response to the January Writing Task, where we used a character profile as the basis for a story. It’s the opening of potentially a longer story or novella about Eugene.

A shaft of sunlight forced its way through the gap in the blinds, burning dust and bending through last night’s empty wine glasses. Blonde hair on marble shoulders shimmered like threads of fire under its persistent rays.
Eugene rolled awake in his characteristically silent way, slipping between the covers out of the side of the bed. Dapples on his dark skin caught the light as he tiptoed out of the room, leaving the sleeping blonde to breathe heavily into his satin pillows. He knew she wouldn’t wake – enough wine and a late night would see to that. It was early yet and he wanted to head out for a walk before his daily routine. He dressed quickly and exited, hoping the blonde would wake and leave before his return. Never mind if she didn’t; she could be easily despatched with an excuse and enough psychology to cushion the rebuttal.
Eugene wandered through dipping early seagulls and men in yellow jackets to his favourite spot at the dockyard; behind some rusting red sheds, by a grim patch of water unoccupied by boats. He stared into the grey water, swirling like galaxies in his dark eyes. Images of his mother, so far away now, flooded him. Her scolding Jamaican accent, the way she goaded him for his promiscuity, the ripe mangoes always over-spilling from the glass bowl on the kitchen table. He remembered squeezing their soft flesh as a boy, feeling it move under the leathery skin.
It reminded him of the violence he’d seen in this spot – behind these unused skeleton buildings where no business or shipbuilders dare set foot. Soft skulls exploding under guns barrels, dead weight in and out of car boots, blood running into the water like a river. All the while so helpless to stop. So against his nature - so cruel to stand by and watch a murder.
After 15 years working undercover, he could hide his emotions well, but his inability to interfere was frustrating – he felt like a small cog working towards…who knew?...and he couldn’t tell whether he had any effect. It was this which prompted his early morning walks at the dockyard.   
But he couldn’t back out now – he could be killed, or worse – his family could feel the effects of his career choice. He longed for his mother’s kitchen, and mangoes in the morning sun, fat on a blue gingham tablecloth. But he couldn’t. He hadn’t spoken to her for months. She understood, he knew. She was always supportive of him, because she was so happy that he had chosen a career instead of time behind bars. When he specialised as an undercover agent she was noticeably concerned, but she trusted him and he thanked her for it. But now he just wanted the sweet smell of spices, fruit and tea which was ingrained in the yellow painted wood kitchen.

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