Extract from White

October 13th, 2002 • Posted in Extracts |

I went with Ellie and Brand. Ellie had a shotgun cradled in the crook of her arm, a bobble hat hiding her severely short hair, her face all hard. There was no room in her life for compliments, but right now she was the one person in the manor I’d choose to be with. She’d been all for trying to make it out alone on foot; I was so glad that she eventually decided to stay.

Brand muttered all the way. “Oh fuck, oh shit, what are we doing coming out here? Like those crazy girls in slasher movies, you know? Always chasing the bad guys instead of running from them? Asking to get their throats cut? Oh man…”

In many ways I agreed with him. According to Charley there was little left of Boris to recover, but she could have been wrong. We owed it to him to find out. However harsh the conditions, whatever the likelihood of his murderer – animal or human – still being out here, we could not leave Boris lying dead in the snow. Apply whatever levels of civilisation, foolish custom or superiority complex you like, it just wasn’t done.

Ellie led the way across the manor’s front garden and out onto the coastal road. The whole landscape was hidden beneath snow, like old sheet-covered furniture awaiting the homecoming of long-gone owners. I wondered who would ever make use of this land again – who would be left to bother when the snow did finally melt – but that train of thought led only to depression.

We crossed the flat area of the road, following Charley’s earlier footprints in the deep snow; even and distinct on the way out, chaotic on the return journey. As if she’d had something following her.

She had. We all saw what had been chasing her when we slid and clambered down toward the cliffs, veering behind the big rock that signified the beginning of the coastal path. The sight of Boris opened up and spread across the snow had pursued her all the way, and was probably still snapping at her heels now. The smell of his insides slowly cooling under an indifferent sky. The sound of his frozen blood crackling under foot.

Ellie hefted the gun, holding it waist-high, ready to fire in an instant. Her breath condensed in the air before her, coming slightly faster than moments before. She glanced at the torn-up Boris, then surveyed our surroundings, looking for whoever had done this. East and west along the coast, down toward the cliff edge, up to the lip of rock above us, east and west again; Ellie never looked back down at Boris.

I did. I couldn’t keep my eyes off what was left of him. It looked as though something big and powerful had held him up to the rock, scraped and twisted him there for a while, and then calmly taken him apart across the snow-covered path. Spray patterns of blood stood out brighter than their surroundings. Every speck was visible and there were many specks, thousands of them spread across a ten metre area. I tried to find a recognisable part of him, but all that was even vaguely identifiable as human was a hand, stuck to the rock in a mess of frosty blood, fingers curled in like the legs of a dead spider. The wrist was tattered, the bone splintered. It had been snapped, not cut.

Brand pointed out a shoe on its side in the snow. “Fuck, Charley was right. Just his shoes left. Miserable bastard always wore the same shoes.”

I’d already seen the shoe. It was still mostly full. Boris had not been a miserable bastard. He was introspective, thoughtful, sensitive, sincere, qualities which Brand would never recognise as anything other than sourness. Brand was as thick as shit and twice as unpleasant.

The silence seemed to press in around me. Silence, and cold, and a raw smell of meat, and the sea chanting from below. I was surrounded by everything.

“Let’s get back,” I said. Ellie glanced at me and nodded.

“But what about-” Brand started, but Ellie cut in without even looking at him.

“You want to make bloody snowballs, go ahead. There’s not much to take back. We’ll maybe come again later. Maybe.”

“What did this?” I said, feeling reality start to shimmy past the shock I’d been gripped by for the last couple of minutes. “Just what the hell?”

Ellie backed up to me and glanced at the rock, then both ways along the path. “I don’t want to find out just yet,” she said.

Later, alone in my room, I would think about exactly what Ellie had meant. I don’t want to find out just yet, she had said, implying that the perpetrator of Boris’s demise would be revealed to us soon. I’d hardly known Boris, quiet guy that he was, and his fate was just another line in the strange composition of death that had overcome the whole country during the last few weeks.

Charley and I were here in the employment of the Department of the Environment. Our brief was to keep a check on the radiation levels in the Atlantic Drift, since things had gone to shit in South America and the dirty reactors began to melt down in Brazil. It was a bad job with hardly any pay, but it gave us somewhere to live. The others had tagged along for differing reasons; friends and lovers of friends, all taking the opportunity to get away from things for a while and chill out in the wilds of Cornwall.

But then things went to shit here as well. On TV, minutes before it had ceased broadcasting for good, someone called it the ruin.

Then it had started to snow.

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3 comments on “Extract from White”

  1. Michael says:

    Damn, this reads great. I’ve just recently been introduced to your work “Berserk” is truly a bad ass book. I would like to see it as a movie, the action and thrill of it would make for something better than what Hollywood has made up with as of late. I look forward to ordering White from my local bookstore. Thank you

  2. Max King says:

    Excellent stuff, man. Great flow. Made me want to break into the library and look for your work. 2am is great for perusing groovy blogs and horror fiction but not so good for library visits.

  3. Tim Lebbon says:

    Thanks Max. Hope you can find & enjoy more of my work.

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