Saturday, 31 October 2015

Tiny grass

Inspiration; a picture sent by my friend Tracey Lloyd, who loves nature. This summer my family met up with her family and we went to Cambridge together, where I took the second pic.


He brushes away the last grains of sand from the grass, the vast greenness of the neatly brushed lawn never fails to make him feel good, useful. Nonetheless it is what lies underneath, what nobody knows, that makes him love his job. Grass is not just a collection of small leaves, it is so much more.

He started this job when the recession kicked in and the demand for craftsmen in the building industry decreased. He was used to working on physical demanding jobs, often running up and down construction ladders, working high up, never close to the ground, all day long listening to music playing loudly from the radio and joking around with the guys.

The first time in his new job, when he was handed over a brush for working on the lawn he laughed out loud, but shut up rapidly, silenced by the stern looks of his superior, it was not a joke. Cutting the grass with his tiny garden shears and brushing off the dirt is considered serious business, a job that demands a high level of accuracy.

Inwardly cursing the recession and unemployment he set to work, missing his comrades, their jokes and the loud music, the last part replaced by music from his earphones. Only once he whistled at an attractive female tourist, which was rewarded with a reprimand that he was now working at a college and not a public area, such behavior could not be tolerated.

One day, a few months ago he forgot his earphones, cursing silently when he found out. He was in for a very boring day. Like the days before he kneeled down on the grass and started the cutting and the brushing, hearing nothing but the sound of his shears and his soft brushing and the murmur and comments of the tourist in the background. But after a few hours he started to hear something else, like little voices humming, although it was very soft and hardly audible. The sound intrigued him, it was a bit like music, but not like any music he had heard before.

Next day, when he put back up his earphones, something stopped him from turning on his own music. He unplugged himself, listening to the soft sounds of which he was now sure were generated by the grass. It was like the voices were calling him, trying to tell him something. This went on for some days until he got more and more used to the voices and he could distinguish words in the soft music generated by the grass. They were inviting him to come and have a look underneath. Using an excuse he dug a manhole next to the grass, knowing he could not hurt the grass. He just lifted a tile next to the lawn, to be as close as possible.

That night he stayed at the college and went down, invited by the little voices, digging a little bit aside until he was under the roots. The grass was cheering and talking to him, very excited this time! It suddenly struck him. He was looking a big brain, all the roots connected like synapses of nerves, idea’s, thoughts, pulses going through, back and forth underneath the whole college, the whole town!
‘Yes dear! This is where we collect thoughts, input from above. This is where we combine and dream up new concepts, this is indeed our brain. From here we whisper our dreams into the world, for those who are able to hear. Thank you for brushing away the dirt from our receptors, thank you for keeping our head clean.’

Looking at the new sign he put up in the lawn, he brushes away the last grains of dirt from the lawn, listening to the soft voices, humming wonderful ideas to him. He records them all and listens back to them on his headphones, digesting it all, waiting to tell them to the world when the time is ripe.  

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The promised land

Inspiration: A picture send to me by my sister Rachel. And another picture that has been all over the news recently. This is Rachels picture.


‘Aysiah, we have to go, now!’ my mother urges me on. I am still clutching on to grandma’s teapot. ‘Oh, for Christ’s sake, just take it with you!’

It is strange to hear my mother swearing, but she is right, we need to be on our way. While holding on to the chipped teapot, which is missing an ear, I see my grandmother standing in front of the soldiers, holding on to the teapot like she was holding on to everything she believed in. I see the teapot slipping out of her hands, falling to the ground while she follows it down, her gown reddening after the gunshot. The day the teapot lost its ear, I lost my grandmother and my believe in a just world.

My grandmother was a fierce woman, never afraid to speak her mind, which she also did on the day the soldiers came to our home. My mother tried to hush her up, but grandma wouldn’t listen. One of the young soldiers got nervous and fired the shot. The soldiers left, but now they are gaining strength and the story of my grandmothers death is becoming an icon of resistance. Which means we are all in danger.

‘Aysiah!’ We take as much as we can carry, but not too much. We have to travel light, leaving our car behind. We cannot be noticed, we have to leave like thieves in the night, although we have done nothing wrong. My father grabs my hand, almost dragging me along as we leave our village. At first we walk, silently. Reaching the open field our nerves get the better of us and we start to run to the opposite of the field, where we can take cover in the bushes. Mother is carrying my little brother, he is five and a bit too heavy for her. My father lets go of my hand, taking over my little brother. I slip and fall and while I struggle back to my feet I hear a gunshot. It is not close, we are not seen yet, but we are startled and run as fast as we can till we drop down in the bushes.

Then I see it, the teapot, lying all alone in the field. I can’t leave it there, I just can’t. It would be like leaving grandma behind, denying everything she believed in. I run back, keeping low and almost diving on the teapot. I hear footsteps behind me, my father. He looks furious and hisses something at me, signaling me to stay down. Then I hear the second gunshot, very close this time. My father falls down on me, I feel something wet dripping on my neck, I can’t move. I can’t move for a very long time.

We are standing on the seashore now. I cannot remember how we got here. My mother is arguing with some man. It seems my parents bought us a passage to safety. The man is telling my mother the prices went up, just a matter of good business due to increased demand.
‘There are only three of us now, we paid for four, it should be enough,’ my mother argues. The man is still shaking his head, impatiently. I look down in embarrassment and see I am still holding on to the teapot. Its lid has fallen off, revealing its contents. I take out the roll of banknotes my grandma has hidden there and hand it over to the man. He counts the notes and nods, we may embark.

I am sitting close to the edge on the crowded boat, trying not to stare at the other people. My little brother crawls on my lap.
‘Is this the boat to the promised land?’ he whispers.
‘It is, yes it is, we’ll be safe.’
‘Aysiah, I am afraid, I can’t swim. What if we never reach the promised land?’

‘We will, my little brother, we will,’ I assure him and hand him the old empty chipped teapot, missing its ear.  

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Destination

Inspiration: Two pictures by my friend Sue Harris. She sent the tree to me yesterday, the old couple a few months earlier.



‘Are you ready? We’ve got to get going,’ the woman said, while checking her purse.
The man took up the small backpack and replied; ‘Relax, we’ve all the time in the world, no one is waiting for us.’

The woman was not sure about it, ever since the signs started to appear, she has been anxious. It started with little feathers on her pillow. Maybe the downy filling was getting out. The linens were getting old, just like she was. A few days later, a robin appeared in the garden. That was not really unusual, but this particular robin had been staring at her, like it invited her to come out. It had been a rainy day and she had decided to ignore the little bird. The next day, there were two of them and finally, after a week, when seven robins were staring at her from the garden, she decided that was enough. 

To be totally honest, the birds started to frighten her. She asked her husband to shoo them away. He friendly laughed about her fear, telling her she had too much imagination. But when she found her courage and walked into the garden, all the robins, except one, landed on top of her. One on her head, two on each shoulder and the last one somehow managed to grab hold of her hand. When it did, she was overwhelmed with a feeling of destiny and had totally forgotten her fear. She felt a calling in her head.

‘It’s time to go,’ she said to her husband, watching her from the doorstep. ‘Will you come with me?’ The old man hesitated, what did she mean?
‘I’ve this image in my head, we’ve got to go there. I've to go there, but I’d rather go there with you, do you trust me? Do you still love me?’
‘Of course I do. I promised you, I’ll never leave you, I’m here for you, always.’
He had no idea what he just agreed too, as was rather usual in their relationship. The minute he said it, the robins flew away.

A few days later the couple was walking in the park. It was a lovely day, warm and sunny. All of a sudden the robins were circling around their heads, one landing on the woman’s straw hat.
‘This is another sign,’ the woman said.
‘You mean, we have to follow them?’, the man said with a little sigh, stating the obvious. He lived with her long enough to understand her intentions.
His wife smiled at him, her eyes shining bright. ‘Yes, of course.’

That was the day they found the tree, standing in a neglected part of the park. An ancient hollow tree, with a rather large hole, reaching to the ground. The little robins disappeared in the gap. The man bent over to have a peek, but he couldn’t see anything inside. He raised his eyebrows, looking at his wife.
‘Not yet,’ she replied.

And now, all of a sudden, the old woman had decided it was time. They packed only a few essentials, all of sentimental value. Holding hands, the couple walked into the park, crossing the bridge marking the entrance. No robins were guiding them this time, they didn’t need them, they knew the way. In front of the tree the man hesitated, ‘How?’
His wife, still holding his hand, touched the tree. A strange feeling overwhelmed the man, who looked a bit frightened at his partner.
‘Do you trust me?’ she asked again.
‘I do, always have, always will.’ He closed his eyes and let her lead on. Suddenly he felt very small, they entered the tree.

‘Open your eyes!’
In front of him stood his wife, not the old woman, but the younger version, shining bright. She was smiling at him, with the enchanting smile she had when he first met her.
‘I brought you home,’ his wife said. ‘Forever.’ 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Bloed van mijn bloed

An audioplay written for Daan van Doremalen for his graduate project 'Verboden Vruchten'. I wrote two plays for him, which he used as input for his theater performance, see his presentation on Youtube. 'Bloed van mijn bloed' is the second one, written in Dutch.


HET PUBLIEK ONTVANGT BIJ BINNENKOMST EEN HOOFDTELEFOON. IN DE ZAAL IS EEN OPSTELLING GEMAAKT MET LOSSE STOELEN, DIE OGENSCHIJNLIJK KRISKRAS DOOR ELKAAR STAAN. DE OPSTELLING IS ZO GEMAAKT DAT SOMMIGE MENSEN ELKAAR RECHT AANKIJKEN EN SOMMIGEN NIET, JE KAN ALTIJD WEL EEN OF MEERDERE MENSEN BEKIJKEN. JE KRIJGT EEN STOEL AANGEWEZEN. VERDER IS DE RUIMTE LEEG, GEEN DECOR OF PROPS.

(JE KAN JE VOORSTELLEN DAT JE IN DEZE OPSTELLING VERSCHILLENDE VERHALEN KAN HOREN, SOMMIGEN IN DUO EN ANDEREN IN TRIO OF MEER, ER IS EEN SFEER NEERZET WAARIN IEDEREEN ZIJN EIGEN GEHEIM HEEFT. WEL BELANGRIJK IN DE TIMING IS DAT IEDEREEN TEGELIJK BIJ HET EINDE VAN HET VERHAAL KOMT.)
STEM #1:        Welkom. Zit je goed? Zit je ontspannen? De komende minuten is dit jouw stoel, jouw plaats, jouw rol, jouw beleving. Zie je de anderen? Zij kijken naar je, jij kijkt naar hen, je wilt ze niet echt zien. Jij bent jij, zij zijn zij. Jij bent wat je hoort, je bent wat je beleeft, je blijft zitten waar je zit.

GELUID VAN AUTOBANDEN OVER GRIND, MUZIEK HOORBAAR OP DE ACHTERGROND. FADE OUT
STEM #2:        Daar zit je dan. Raar he, om hier zo te zitten. Ik zie je zitten. Ik ben zo blij je hier te zien. Het is veel te lang geleden, de tijd gaat zo snel, vind je ook niet? Ik heb je echt gemist. Jij mij ook? Je hebt me toch wel gemist?
SCENE [2]
FLARDEN VAN MUZIEK, SFEER MUZIEKDOOSJE, BEETJE ETHERISCH

STEM #2:        Ooit was het zo vanzelfsprekend! Ik zag je elke dag. We voelden elkaar aan zonder woorden, ik wist wat jij dacht, wat je voelde en jij wist dat van mij. We waren samen, we hoorden bij elkaar.
EINDE MUZIEK
Het was natuurlijk onvermijdelijk dat we uit elkaar zouden groeien, dat wisten we allebei, zo gaan die dingen.
Ik zie je zitten op de stoel, ik zoek je ogen, kijk me aan! Je wilt me toch wel aankijken? Ik weet dat je me uit de weg bent gegaan, lange tijd. Maar je bent toch niet voor niets gekomen, je komt toch voor mij? Jij belde mij.
Ik kijk naar je. Je bent ouder geworden, ik zie de sporen van je leven op je gezicht, je dierbare gezicht, zo vertrouwd en toch zo vreemd na al die tijd. Je bent nog steeds zo mooi, in mijn ogen ben je altijd mooi geweest, wat anderen ook mogen zeggen.
Ben je blij me weer te zien?
MUZIEK
STEM #2:        Weet je nog hoe wij samen, hand in hand... Met jou naast me voelde ik me altijd sterker. We konden alles aan. Weet je nog, hoe we samen alles voor de eerste keer beleefden.
Het was altijd jij, ik keek zo naar je op, het was onvermijdelijk... dat wij samen...
Het was onvermijdelijk, dat er een ander kwam. Ik was zo kwaad op je, voelde me zo in de steek gelaten...
Jij begreep het niet, je zei dat ik gewoon jaloers was, het was zoveel meer.
De verwijten die je me maakte, dat ik je verstikte, dat ik je geen eigen leven gunde, wat deden ze me pijn. Ik moest je wel laten gaan, anders zou ik je voor goed verliezen.
EINDE MUZIEK
STEM #2:        Nu zit je hier, vlak bij me, ik kan je bijna aanraken, ik strek mijn hand naar je uit... nee ik trek hem terug, ik wil je niet weer afschrikken. Hoe graag zou ik je strelen, heel even maar. Hou je nog van mij?

Raak me aan, oh raak me aan, heel even maar... dat ik voel dat je er weer bent, echt weer bij me bent.
Vannacht lag ik in bed. Ik voelde een lijf dat naast het mijne lag, tegen me aan gevleid, ik was niet langer alleen. Oh, ik ben zo eenzaam geweest zonder jou. Ik draaide me om en keek je aan, ik zag het verlangen in je ogen, eindelijk verlangde je ook echt naar mij.
Je aarzelde, je zei dat je ruimte nodig had, natuurlijk... Ik ook, ja echt, ik ook. Ik zal je ruimte geven! Ik gaf je ruimte.
En daarom kuste je me, eindelijk kuste je me, verlangend naar mij zoals ik ook altijd naar jou verlangd heb. Je was er helemaal voor mij, ik wist dat je zou komen...
Je was er niet, niet echt... ik kijk je aan, kijk je naar mij? Ik durf je niet te zeggen wat ik droomde, ben bang voor je oordeel, nu nog steeds. Zal je mij veroordelen? Nu nog steeds?
Je weet nu wat het is, wat het is om verlaten te worden, om  alleen te zijn. Ik zie het verdriet op je gezicht getekend. Je dromen in duigen, je toekomst onzeker, de pijn van het gemis. Ik kan je troosten, ik kan je alles geven.
FLARDEN MUZIEK, VER WEG
Nadat ik je liet merken wat ik werkelijk voor je voelde heb je me verlaten. Ik had je niet zo mogen benaderen, niet op die manier. Je noemde me gestoord, je zei dat het ziekelijk was, dat het niet kon. Alsof ik dat zelf niet wist. Alsof ik niet wist dat het onmogelijk was, verkeerd in ieders ogen. Ik hoopte dat je het ook fijn zou vinden... dat was niet zo, zei je...
Kort daarna had je die ander, was het een vlucht? Wilde je niet zijn zoals ik, niet voelen wat ik voelde, jezelf veroordelend? Je schamend voor je gevoel? Je zei dat ik gewoon jaloers was, je deed me zoveel pijn... Je vluchtte, ik weet zeker dat het een vlucht was, gedoemd te mislukken... Je voelde het toch ook?
EINDE MUZIEK
Jaren heb ik dat oordeel gevoeld, dat van jou, maar ook het mijne. Ik schaamde me zo. Echt ik heb het wel geprobeerd, het te vergeten, het niet te voelen... het lukt me niet, het gevoel is er nog steeds... Nu ik je hier zie zitten, zo dierbaar, zo mooi, zo begeerlijk. Ik voel dat ik nog steeds naar je verlang, ik voel mijn schaamte ook.
Jaren heb ik je niet gezien, je niet gesproken, je was er niet voor mij.

Ik wilde tegen je zeggen dat het me speet, dat ik het niet zo bedoeld had, als je dan maar terug zou komen. Maar je wilde me niet spreken, niet horen wat ik zeggen zou.
Voor mij is er nooit écht een ander geweest, ik hield alleen van jou.
Ik was zo blij toen je me belde. Ik ben blij dat je gekomen bent. We hadden nooit zo lang gescheiden mogen zijn. Voel je het, je voelt het nu toch ook?
Ik verlang nog steeds zo erg naar je, je bent me zo vertrouwd. Je was er altijd voor mij, vanaf de dag dat ik geboren werd. Jij bent het bloed van mijn bloed, de lust van mijn leven. Jij ben me zo eigen, jij, het kind van mijn moeder, bloed van mijn bloed.
STILTE



SCENE [3]

ZACHTE MUZIEK
STEM #2:        Kijk me aan, zie je me? Zie je me echt, zoals ik ben? Ik wil je strelen, ik wil je kussen... wil jij dat ook? Je hoeft niet meer te vluchten... Ik zal je niet veroordelen, mezelf niet meer veroordelen.
Je belde mij, je bent gekomen. Wil jij mij nu ook?
Ik wil je aanraken, ik wil je vasthouden...
         EINDE MUZIEK
Of zal ik je omhelzen, gewoon omhelzen? Je zeggen dat ik met je meeleef. Dat ik er voor je ben, zoals familie er altijd voor je hoort te zijn.
Zoals jij er altijd voor mij was tot toen... en verder over alles zwijgen?
MUZIEK + MUZIEK FADE OUT + STILTE
STEM #1:        Zit je nog goed? Blijf je zitten, wil je zwijgen? Wil je opstaan en het zeggen? Zeg maar wat je zeggen wil. Zet je hoofdtelefoon af en doe het maar, of niet...
Je kunt daarna de zaal verlaten. Vergeet niet je hoofdtelefoon in te leveren.


EINDE

Aan den lijve

An audioplay written for Daan van Doremalen for his graduate project 'Verboden Vruchten'. I wrote two plays for him, which he used as input for his theater performance, see his presentation on Youtube. 'Aan den lijve' is the first one, written in Dutch.


HET PUBLIEK ONTVANGT BIJ BINNENKOMST EEN HOOFDTELEFOON. IN DE ZAAL IS EEN OPSTELLING GEMAAKT MET LOSSE STOELEN, DIE OGENSCHIJNLIJK KRISKRAS DOOR ELKAAR STAAN. DE OPSTELLING IS ZO GEMAAKT DAT SOMMIGE MENSEN ELKAAR RECHT AANKIJKEN EN SOMMIGEN NIET, JE KAN ALTIJD WEL EEN OF MEERDERE MENSEN BEKIJKEN. JE KRIJGT EEN STOEL AANGEWEZEN. VERDER IS DE RUIMTE LEEG, GEEN DECOR OF PROPS.
(JE KAN JE VOORSTELLEN DAT JE IN DEZE OPSTELLING VERSCHILLENDE VERHALEN KAN HOREN, SOMMIGEN IN DUO EN ANDEREN IN TRIO OF MEER, ER IS EEN SFEER NEERZET WAARIN IEDEREEN ZIJN EIGEN GEHEIM HEEFT. WEL BELANGRIJK IN DE TIMING IS DAT IEDEREEN TEGELIJK BIJ HET EINDE VAN HET VERHAAL KOMT.)

ACT [1]         SCENE [1]

STEM #1:        Welkom. Zit je goed? Zit je ontspannen? De komende minuten is dit jouw stoel, jouw plaats, jouw rol, jouw beleving. Zie je de anderen? Zij kijken naar je, jij kijkt naar hen, je wilt ze niet echt zien. Jij bent jij, zij zijn zij. Jij bent wat je hoort, je bent wat je beleeft, je blijft zitten waar je zit.

GELUID VAN AUTOBANDEN OVER GRIND, MUZIEK HOORBAAR OP DE ACHTERGROND. FADE OUT
STEM #2:        Ik zie jullie wel kijken. Ik zie jullie denken, waarom ben jíj hier? Jullie snappen het niet, ik weet wat jullie denken, maar het is liefde dat ons bindt, liefde, bewondering, adoratie als je wilt. Maar vooral liefde, boven alles liefde. Wie zegt dat jullie liefde beter is dan de mijne?



SCENE [2]
GELUID VAN MUZIEK VAN VORIGE SCENE
STEM #2:        Ik deed gewoon mijn werk toen ik jou zag binnenkomen. Natuurlijk herkende ik je, ik had je al zo vaak gezien.
STILTE GEVOLGD DOOR CAFE GELUIDEN
Als ik mijn ogen sluit zie ik je voor me... de manier waarop je loopt... de manier waarop je lacht, je hoofd wat achterover gooiend... Ik keek naar je, zoals bijna iedereen naar je keek, je bewonderend, maar ook een beetje bang, alsof we ons aan je zouden kunnen branden.
 STILTE
Als ik mijn ogen sluit zie je voor me zoals ik je in mijn dromen zag, dichtbij, je raakt me aan, sensueel... jij en ik... mijn dromen.
Nooit had ik verwacht je hier te zien, hier waar ik werk. Je komt stilletjes binnen, zoals de meesten, je zegt geen woord, herkent me niet. Het geeft niet, je bent hier, bij mij.
MUZIEK WEER TERUG OP ACHTERGROND
Ik kijk naar je zoals je voor me ligt, ik strijk het haar uit je ogen. Je kijkt alsof je het niet begrijpt. Zachtjes sluit ik je ogen, je hoeft niets meer te zien. Met mijn vingertoppen streel ik je wang. Je vuur lijkt wel gedoofd, maar God wat ben je mooi. Ik wil je lippen kussen, maar ik hou me in, dat zou onprofessioneel zijn.
Even afstand nemen, ik stap terug om mijn gereedschap te pakken en kijk opnieuw naar je. Dat ik je ooit zo dicht bij me zou hebben, het tintelt in mijn lijf, ik wil je voelen. Ik weet hoe je zal voelen, gereserveerd, terughoudend, maar dat geeft niet, dat vind ik juist aantrekkelijk, dat maakt dat ik me veilig voel. Ik zou willen dat het anders was, ik zou willen dat ik was als anderen, zomaar op je af kon stappen, zo ben ik niet ...
Ik pak mijn schaar en begin geroutineerd je kleren los te knippen, later zal ik je weer mooi aankleden, maar nu... nu twijfel ik.
Je naakte lijf... nog mooier dan ik me had voorgesteld... ik zie je blauwe plekken. Wie heeft je dit aangedaan? Dat vroeg ik me af. En ik denk dat ik het nu weet, één van jullie. Jullie zitten hier en kijken naar mij met een oordeel in de ogen, ik zie het wel. Ik begrijp het ook, ik wilde het zelf ook niet. Ik had mezelf niet in de hand, het voelde op dat moment zo goed. Maar kijk me niet zo aan. Altijd moet ik compassie tonen, waarom kunnen jullie dat niet! Ik weet dat jullie ook niet zo onschuldig zijn ... die blauwe plekken.
Ik zou je nooit zo behandelen, nooit pijn doen. Ik poets het weg, dit bewijs van wat je is aangedaan. Bij mij ben je veilig. Ik til je teder op om bij je rug te kunnen, ik hoor je zuchten... de echo van mijn zuchten, mijn verlangen. Je bent niet de eerste waar ik naar verlang, maar jij, jij bent anders... Met jou zou ik mijn droom kunnen beleven, jij zou het kunnen begrijpen, dat voel ik diep van binnen.
Oh, om je zo in mijn armen te houden, over je heen gebogen. Ik kus je hals, en leg je snel weer neer. Dit hoort niet.

Ik weet hoe anderen er over denken. Ze zien het niet zoals ik het zie. Ze zien de liefde niet. Ik heb het zelf ook niet gewild, niet zo... maar het is zo mooi, zo puur, de alles verterende liefde. Ik wil je vuur zien. Ik wil zien hoe het vuur je aanwakkert, je kilte verdrijft. Ik zal je vuur zien, binnenkort.
GELUID VAN VUUR MIXT MET DE MUZIEK
Het vuur... ik hoor het brullen... Het vuur in mijn lijf, mijn verlangen naar je. Zoals je hier voor mij ligt, je naakte lijf... je mooie gezicht... ik moet je gewoon aanraken, echt aanraken, ik wil je huid tegen de mijne voelen...
STILTE
STEM #2:        Ik deed gewoon mijn werk... het was niet de eerste keer dat ik me tot een klant aangetrokken voelde, seksueel aangetrokken. Ik kan er niets aan doen, het gebeurt gewoon. Alleen met een klant in de stilte, de meest intieme plekken van een lichaam verzorgend, je moet liefde voor je klanten voelen, anders kan je dit werk niet doen. Ik hou van ze, van ze allemaal, hun stilte, hun sereniteit, hun geur, het gevoel dat ze me geven... Maar sommige dingen doe je gewoon niet, dat had ik altijd gedacht... tot jij kwam...
GELUID VAN VUUR ZWELT AAN EN NEEMT WEER AF, ANDERE MUZIEK OP DE ACHTERGROND.
Je ligt daar op mij te wachten, precies zoals ik je al zo vaak in mijn dromen heb gezien. Ik trek mijn schort uit, mijn shirt, en daarmee ook mijn professionaliteit. Met ontbloot bovenlijf voel ik me meer mijzelf.
Voorzichtig klim ik bovenop je, je nogmaals vertellend dat ik je nooit pijn zal doen, nooit! Langzaam laat ik me op je zakken, schuur me tegen je aan. Je voelt zo goed, zo vanzelfsprekend... dit moet wel goed zijn! Dit is het, dit is waar ik altijd naar verlangd heb. Je koele huid tegen de mijne. Je ondergaat het, dat is niet erg, meer heb ik nooit van je gewild...
Ik kus je lippen, streel je, ik wil meer... Ik druk mijn lippen op je gesloten oogleden, bekijk je, ruik je, ik wil alles van je, je helemaal bezitten. Ik rits mijn broek los, stroop hem naar beneden zonder van je af te stappen...
OPNIEUW GELUID VAN AUTOBANDEN OVER HET GRIND, SAMEN MET MUZIEK EN BRULLEN VAN VUUR
Ik voel je, je hele lichaam... eindelijk... jij, voor altijd van mij... tot het vuur ons verteert.





SCENE [3]
GELUID VAN EEN OPENGAANDE DEUR, MUZIEK ZWELT AAN
STEM #3: (= andere medewerker van het uitvaartcentrum)
De familie van de overledene... mijn God...
GELUID VAN METAAL KLETTEREND OP EEN TEGELVLOER SAMEN MET VOETEN DIE OP DIEZELFDE TEGELVLOER NEERKOMEN NA EEN SPRONG
STILTE
GELUID VAN SIRENES
STILTE
STEM #2:        Ik zie jullie denken... Ik zie het oordeel in jullie blikken. Die dag deed ik gewoon mijn werk, het werd me net te veel. Er knapte iets. Ik had het nooit mogen doen.
Het was het beste wat ik ooit in mijn leven heb meegemaakt. Heb ik spijt? Ik weet het niet...
Het was onvermijdelijk, het was pure liefde, waarom kunnen jullie dat niet zien?
MUZIEK + MUZIEK FADE OUT + STILTE
STEM #1:        Zit je nog goed? Heb je spijt? Wil je sorry zeggen, dan is dit het moment. Zet je hoofdtelefoon af en zeg het maar, of niet...
Je kunt daarna opstaan en de zaal verlaten. Vergeet niet je hoofdtelefoon in te leveren.

EINDE




[1] © Nina Kramer - 23 april 2015 – nina.kramer@upcmail.nl - 0031653229591

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Alice

Inspiration: Picture by Anja Bart taken on her holiday in Sintra Portugal.


‘No, I’m not doing it! I’m not going to be Alice again and jump down the stupid rabbit hole this year, you’ll have to find someone else!’

Of course there is no other Alice candidate and I’ll jump just the same, although I really believe I’m getting a little bit old for this role. But they keep telling me the audience loves me and I wear the Alice frock so beautifully. I hate that costume, it makes me look childish and innocent.

There is a new guy playing the white rabbit. They had to get him last minute because Peter broke his leg in a stupid accident. I mean, whoever breaks a leg reaching for cat food on the upper shelve. He keeps claiming he really saw the Cheshire cat grinning down at him. Guess he’s been the white rabbit too often, it's getting to him. None of us has seen the new guy yet, but he came highly recommended by a friend of the director.

Standing in the shadow of the trees I can hear the audience taking places and making comments on the stage decoration in our open air theatre. Suddenly I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around and look into the face of a white rabbit. No, not looking into a mask, a real animal face. My god, somebody worked a miracle on costumes and make-up this year. Even from up close I could swear the rabbit looks real.

‘You must be Alice,’ the rabbit says.
‘No I am Aileen. My real name is Aileen.’
‘Never mind, you have to come with me, now! We have to hurry.’
The rabbit grabs me by the arm and starts pulling me away from the stage, he has a real firm grab. I try to break loose, I don’t like being bossed around.
‘You’re going the wrong way, the stage is up there. And we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer till the audience has settled in. We’re not starting yet.’
I yank free from his grip and rub my arm, it hurts a little bit. I’m not going to be intimidated.

‘What’s your name? You haven’t introduced yourself yet.’
‘I’m the white rabbit,’ the rabbit hisses. ‘Now stop being difficult and follow me, please hurry!’ The rabbit grabs my hand this time, a little bit gentler and despite myself I start running with him, following the lane in the wrong direction. Strange, I don’t see any of the other players nor the crew, the lane is deserted.

‘What are we running from?’ I can hardly speak, panting while trying to keep up with the rabbit.
‘Look up, you’ll see.’
I look up at the trees. No! This is not happening. I see, not one, but hundreds of cats smiling down on me. There’s a grinning cat on almost every branch of every tree.

‘Quickly,’ the rabbit is hissing between its teeth. ‘Go down here, we’ll be save.’

I don’t have a choice, the rabbit throws me down a pitch-dark hole and I start falling, falling and falling. No, no, no! I will never, ever be Alice again, never!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Taurus

Inspiration: Picture from the PS4 Game 'Wild", sent by Lynn de Jong, a friend from my writers group.



Looking down on my beautiful little newborn, I remember the bloody mess of his conception. Some people say childbirth is messy, it was nothing compared to blood and rain streaming all over me on the day he was conceived.

It had been raining for months. I came back from a long ride with my mate, looking for dryer grounds for our horses and cattle. We make a good team. Mino is very good at guiding a horse with his mind, he is strong and very willful. My mind tends to wander easily, but I have a sharp eye and a good sense for balance. So I am the perfect scout, standing on the back of the horse Mino is guiding.

That night when we came home, it had stopped raining for the first time in three weeks. The sky was pink in the light of the late afternoon, promising more rain tomorrow. We were in a gloomy mood when we were met by the elders. Mino almost lost it when he heard the elders had picked me for their ancient ceremony. We all had heard the tales of the ceremony of course, but it was never performed in our lifetime.

‘How can you pick her? She is hardly a virgin! We have been together for months now.’
‘Exactly,’ the elder answered, not wanting to dwell on that fact. ‘But she has never been with a bull has she? So technically that makes her a virgin for our purpose. She is perfect, standing strong on her feet and not too squeamish.’ And so it was decided, it had to be me.

On the day of the ceremony the weather gods seemed to agree with it, sending us more rain and even storm and thunder, making a real spectacle of it. First the bull was led to the cow, which he rejected. Then he was led to me. I was covered in cow dung and maybe something else, the bull liked that. It hurt like hell. I think I was bleeding, I was certainly screaming, but never lost my balance. I was standing strong and proud. After the bull did what he had to do, the elders slit his throat, catching the blood and pouring it all over me, like fertilizing me twice. I just stood there, till the rain had washed off all the cow dung, all the blood, all my tears. When it was done, Mino wrapped me in a blanket and took me home.

‘It looks just like its father, you can’t keep it,’ Mino says, looking down on the baby. How can he say that? The baby is perfect. Yes, he has his father’s eyes, his father’s nose, and his father’s chin. He even has his father’s lovely hairy ears standing proudly on his head. But he is human in every other aspect. Since his conception the rains have stopped, our land has dried, our cattle is healthy again.

‘Oh but I am! I am keeping him, look at him, how beautiful he is, a gift from the gods.’
Mino just grumps, turning his head away.
‘Hey, I am naming him after you, Mino! You will help me raise him, won’t you? You’ll be such a good father, he’ll need your strong mind for guidance. Please Mino? I’ll have to name him after his other father too. The elders insist. His second name will be Taurus. But please Mino, yours will be first.’


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Way Back

Inspiration: Cheating a bit by using one of my own pictures, taken during a week of bowbuilding and archery in France.
The people in the picture are dear friends and are in no way like the people in my story.


Crap, she thought, from all the devices she could steal she must have taken the only malfunctioning one. Her intention was to flash back just a few hours, not a few centuries. She had never seen a world so green in her own time, the device must have sent her way back. Sure she had noticed it was an old model when she picked it up, but there was no time to be picky really. It was either act and flash back or be gone forever. She preferred the first choice.

The world around her was overwhelmingly green. Did she die after all? People who came back from the dead told stories about green hills and colorful flowers. But the grey clouds above her contradicted that suspicion. She must have travelled back before the 22th century, when rain was not controlled yet and was known to pour down for days, hence the green land and the moist soil beneath her feet.

Concentrating in the middle of her head she tried to brain scan her surroundings, but as she feared she lost connection, definitely way back in time. She closed her eyes in order to access her internal library, but the lack of sunlight must have shut down that system too. So she had to rely on memory! Not many people of her time were able memorizers, but now she was grateful it had been a part of her training as a time traveling assassin. During those intense training years she had to memorize a whole range of ancient weapons too, all designed to inflict bodily damage, so barbaric.

With a shock she recognized the bows, one in the hand of a man walking in front of her. She must have landed in a warzone, if only she could know when? Bows indicated somewhere before the 16th century even, but something in the picture didn’t add up. There was a wooden chair, with more bows on it. That was strange, in every picture shown during training, bows were stored in racks. Nobody in his right mind would lay a precious weapon such as a bow on a chair.

The man in front of her started to turn, it was only a matter of seconds now before he would see her. If she was in a warzone, he would most certainly take her for an enemy. He would shoot her, wouldn’t he? She fumbled with the device in order to get back, trying to estimate the century she was in to be able to travel back safely. Travelling beyond your own lifespan meant a certain dead, thus were the rules of time travelling.

She had to think fast. So she calculated, archery, replaced by fire arms around 1500 AC, take a safety period of 200 years that would make it around 1300 AC. Adding the years travelling back adds up to… She set her estimated goal and pushed the button, before anyone noticed her.

Green, the land was still very green, was the device really broken? No the rainclouds had vanished, the men and bows were gone. It was sunny, very sunny but not hot. She looked at the big flowers in unbelievable colors. She had never been good with calculations.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Vanishing Point

Inspiration: Picture sent by Bandy Huijgers, one of my students Communication and Multimedia Design Breda.


Most people don’t mean it literally when they say their world turned upside down, I do, mine did. I’ve always been curious and was convinced that was a good thing, not anymore.

It all started with a little message on Facebook, sent to me by a friend. He was so excited! He found a new way of making ends meet. As students we were always broke and ways of making money was one of the favorite subjects of our more or less beer intoxicated talks on Friday nights, when the beer is promising and the bills are not.

At that moment I paid little attention to his message, he was nearly as impulsive as I am. Yes sadly I think I have to say ‘was’. My friend Owen has vanished, is gone. I really have no idea where he might be now, so sad, I miss him. He is or was the only one who could understand my fucked up world right now. We were in it together.

As design students we were very much into new technology, Owen even more than me. He found a little add from an agency, looking for testers, it had something to do with the Oculus Rift and mental illusion. To us it seemed like a job from heaven, all we had to do was to live in a virtual scrambled world for some weeks and cash a large sum of money. We even checked out the agency on the internet, testimonies and that sort of thing. It all looked very licit, official and trustworthy.

Some doubt crept in when we met the ‘professor’, in a place that resembled a crossover between a junkyard and a warehouse. It was all very hush-hush. We were asked to call a number on arrival and let in through a little door at the side of the building. Inside some containers were stacked together, being our homes for the next weeks, although the professor told us we were not confined to them.

He told us very proud that he had the next thing to an Oculus Rift, contact lenses based on some very secret technology, developed by army researchers. It would basically do the same thing as the Rift, project an image replacing the real vision. We would have to wear those lenses and yes there was this other thing. A tiny little camera had to be implanted in our foreheads. Just a minor operation, nothing to worry about. It hurt like hell.

The effect was amazing, it turned our vision upside down. You have no idea what that does to you. Even the most normal actions become weird and difficult to perform. The professor told us it would take our brains a couple of days to correct this vision and that despite the equipment we would start to see everything normal again. And he was right, that is exactly what happened.

So he took us to the next level, the lenses turned everything upside down again, or maybe just put it right. The next level however was to distort our surroundings even more. Not just upside down, but multiplying the closest object, repeating and minifying it. So my world is subdued to endless vanishing points, endless chairs, endless doors, endless trees. 

I live in a world without real dimensions now. I can’t even see what is behind the closest object, while it feels like I live in huge spaces. I can’t find Owen anymore, although I sometimes think I hear his voice. Maybe he is just a little bit behind the endless trees. I can’t find my cellphone either. I need to call the professor. I want this thing removed, now! I don’t even care about the money anymore.



Monday, 20 April 2015

Belfast

Inspiration: Picture sent by Cai Vosbeek, telling me it was taken in a public phone box in Belfast in 1978.
On request in Dutch (Sorry English readers)


18 februari 1978

Pappa, al sinds gisteravond probeer ik je te bellen, waarom neem je de telefoon niet op? Het is doodeng om over straat te lopen en ik durf niet te bellen in het huis van Mrs. Burns. Ze is vreselijk overstuur en ik durf niet eens de woonkamer in. Ik snap best dat ze helemaal vergeten is dat ik er ook nog ben. Maar pappa, ik heb de hele nacht niet geslapen. Ik weet niet waar ik heen moet, de familie Prior is er ook niet meer. De straten zijn vol mannen met grimmige gezichten en geweren, vooral die geweren maken me bang. Ik weet niet eens van welke kant ze zijn, die mannen.

Ik probeer zo min mogelijk op te vallen als ik over straat moet, het is erg onrustig en de herrie doet nog steeds pijn aan mijn oren, ze zijn sinds gister niet gestopt met piepen, ik hoor het de hele tijd. En ik hoor het gillen en schreeuwen, ik voel het stof overal kriebelen, ik heb nog niet gedoucht, volgens mij heb ik zelfs mijn kleren van gister nog aan.

Het was zo feestelijk, kleine Deirdre had ik in haar mooiste jurk geholpen, haar schoentjes extra glimmend gepoetst. Zelfs Chiaran liet me voor deze ene keer zijn haren kammen. Het was fijn om Colum en Orlagh Prior weer te zien, ze waren alweer gegroeid en dat in die paar maanden.
Pappa, ik probeer het nog een keer, neem alsjeblieft de telefoon op! Ik wil dat je me komt halen, ik wil naar huis!

Voor mij was de geur nog het ergste. De stank van benzine, rook en bloed ruik ik nog steeds, het zal wel in mijn kleren zitten. Maar de geur van brandend vlees was nog vreselijker, die raak ik nooit meer kwijt. Ik hield Deirdres handje vast terwijl ze hartverscheurend huilde. Ik beloofde haar niet alleen te laten. Ik weet niet hoe lang ik daar zo heb gezeten, wachtend, tot het te laat was. Ik moet het Mrs. Burns nog vertellen, hoe Deirdre om haar moeder vroeg, maar ik durf het niet, omdat ik dan de rest ook moet vertellen.

Weet je pappa, ik was zo blij dat je me aan dit baantje had geholpen, eerst bij de Priors en toen bij de familie Burns. Het voelde zo bijzonder om voor een minister te werken, ook al was het maar als au-pair voor zijn kinderen. En ik mag het eigenlijk niet zeggen, maar ik hield van Deirdre het meest, ze was ook zo makkelijk blij te maken, ze had zich zo op het dansfeest verheugd.

Ze kunnen niets vertellen over Chiaran, niets over Mr. Burns en ook de Priors zijn nog niet gevonden. Ze weten niet eens precies wie er allemaal waren in dat restaurant.

Pappa ik probeer het nog één keer, de mannen met de grimmige gezichten zijn nu aan het eind van de straat. Ik wil je stem horen voor ze omkeren, terugkomen. Pappa, ik zie je! Ik zie je lopen, vlak bij mij, je houdt Deirdres handje vast terwijl ze opkijkt naar haar vaders beste vriend. Je was bij me pappa, gisteravond. Waar ben je nu? 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Prey or pray

Inpiration: Painting Old Growth 48" x 72" Oil on canvas
by my friend Marleen Vermeulen


‘If it’s smaller, it’s prey. If it’s bigger, run!’ The eagle didn’t seem that huge from the distance, but it was definitely gigantic when it almost landed on top of the small cat, it’s talons stretched out for the catch, just missing the cat by an inch because it ran at the last split of a second.

The little cat was totally lost, she knew she shouldn’t wander too far from the house. The Canadian forest is no place for a cat. But on this lovely spring morning the sunlight was inviting. She was challenged by a field mouse, definitely prey, and just wanted to get out. The mouse was mocking her, washing it’s tiny whiskers in full sight of the cat. It had been doing that for some mornings, taunting the cat for being locked in the house. It hadn’t counted on the kitchen door being a little bit ajar this morning. The mouse had to run for its life with the cat chasing it all the way down to the brim of the lawn.

The smell of the forest on that early spring morning was inviting. The cat had wandered off, enjoying the sunbeams falling through the canopy of the trees, not very thick this time of year. She was totally enchanted by the richness of life she found beneath the ferns. Lots of small creepers. She reminded herself, if it’s smaller, it’s prey. If it’s bigger, run! If it’s slithery, be careful. She sniffed some of the creepers, they did not smell very tasteful.

Soon she decided not to waste more time on the crawling little animals. The early morning forest was full of more promising life. It was vibrating with whistling, twittering and other bird sounds. She looked up at the trees, they were like endless pillars reaching to the sky. What a view she would have up there! And then she saw the bird, it was looking down on her, like it was mocking her. It reminded her of the mouse this morning, so confident it was out of her reach. She would teach that bird a lesson, she would go after it, just like she went after the mouse.

The next moment the cat was running as fast as she had never ran before, seeking cover in some bushes. She was glad they were thicker than the fern she had been exploring, making her almost invisible. Almost, the eagle was watching her with its piercing eyes, like it was contemplating what to do with her. She was definitely smaller, she was prey.

All of a sudden the eagle took off, flying up to the high branches again, like something disturbed it. The small cat peeked out of the bushes. There it was, another cat approaching her. For a moment she felt relief, than as the other cat came closer she started praying, it was huge.

The mountain lion glanced in her direction. This time the little cat didn’t run, she just froze in her hiding, hoping not to get noticed. She was absolutely much smaller.  

Monday, 13 April 2015

Habitat

Inspiration: Picture sent by Nienke Huitenga.
The picture is an add for Savora Hotels made by McCann Marketing Services


Hunger is a horrible feeling, it’s the sense of having an emptiness inside, a hollowness that makes you weak. I had not yet experienced it on that specific morning, when I overheard two villagers discussing their craving for food. After a successful hunt I was resting in my usual tree, accompanied by the hind legs of a gazelle, just a few yards away from the villagers. I don’t think the people noticed my presence, but maybe they were just too hungry and weak to care.

Really, I can understand lots of human talk, but some concepts are strange to me, such as jobs and money. I have a vague feeling it has something to do with food and survival. This morning, while I was enjoying a full belly on the shadowy branch of my tree, I overheard them talking about leaving the savanna and heading for the city, traveling towards the sunset, in order to escape the hunger.

I forgot all about it for some time, living my own life in my daily routine of sleeping my days away and hunting at night. One morning, I was brutally waked by loud and roaring noises and a horrible smell. Provoked like that I jumped from my tree, roaring back at the big loud monsters approaching. All of a sudden people were shouting at me, trying to drive me away. Irritated, I snarled and hissed, defending my territory. But it was just me against lots of them, so I took my leave and wandered off, determined to come back later.

And so I did, sneaking my way back, sensing from far something terrible had happened. The grass was gone, the pool had changed into a puddle of debris and my tree, my lovely tree, had disappeared. There was nothing, a wasteland of nothing, a vast landscape of stench and mud. I was devastated, not sure what to do. Smelling their food, I circled around the camp of the people, but they kept chasing me away. Knowing I had to find a new place to live I tried to follow the herds of prey, only to be met by hostile predators, hunting the same game. I became an outcast, stealing whatever I could get my paws on.

It was the start of my acquaintance with hunger and not to my pleasure. One night I remembered the talk of the villagers and decided to follow their lead. I started my journey towards the sunset, the promised land, the city. 

The landscape has changed. It smells a lot like the foul smell of the destruction of my habitat. My pawns have blisters from the hot and hard surface. My ears are ringing with the constant noises. There are people everywhere, screaming at me, trying to scare me, smelling of fear themselves. It is awful, all of it, but I have to endure. Most of all I hate the trees, they are sleek and slippery, hard to climb, almost impossible. I miss the branches and even more the shade in these leafless trees. I rest here, in one of those strange trees. I sleep in broad daylight, exposed to the sun, waiting for the night to fall.  

I’d like to know how much further I have to travel to reach the city and wonder what it will be like. It cannot be worse than this. I am yearning to end my travels and reach that promised land. I can almost picture myself in my beautiful green tree, standing in the outstretched grassland of the city. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Krijtjes

Inspiration: drawings by Wendela Wendelart
On request in Dutch (Sorry English readers)



Eindelijk zit ze rustig aan tafel, haar tong tussen haar tanden. Geconcentreerd haalt ze haar krijtjes uit de grote hoop die ze eerder in haar driftbui op tafel heeft gegooid. Haar voeten zijn verdwenen tussen de proppen papier op de vloer.
Als je nu eens rustig opnieuw begint,’ had ik tegen haar gezegd, dat had ik beter niet kunnen doen. Ze houdt er niet van gecorrigeerd te worden, zeker niet als ze ‘bezig is’, zoals ze het zelf zegt.

Enkele dagen is ze al aan het tekenen, vanaf het begin van de zomervakantie. Geen tijd voor iets anders, behalve eten en slapen. Inmiddels ken ik deze buien van haar, de aan obsessie grenzende vastberadenheid, als ze eenmaal iets in haar hoofd heeft. Ditmaal is het tekenen. Ze krast enkele lijnen op het papier, bekijkt de tekening met haar grote ogen. Ik zie haar fronsen en kan bijna het vuur uit haar ogen zien schieten als ze weer niet tevreden is. Ze verfrommelt het vel en gooit het op de grond. Ze heeft nog nooit iets anders getekend dan krassen op papier.


De eerste dag heb ik de proppen opgeruimd, ook dat had ik beter niet kunnen doen. Een aan hysterie grenzende driftbui was het resultaat. Ze heeft een half uur lopen krijsen, mijn oren deden pijn. Pas toen ik plechtig beloofde dat ik niets, maar dan ook niets van haar werk zou weggooien, tot zij zou zeggen dat het klaar was, werd ze kalmer.


Ze lijkt alleen te kunnen scheppen in chaos, zelfs haar geboorte was een chaos omdat ze zichzelf klem had gezet in het geboortekanaal, ruim vijf jaar geleden. Ze kwam ter wereld als een boos klein meisje met vurige ogen, toen al. Er wordt me vaak gevraagd of ze op haar vader lijkt, maar ik kan me haar vader eerlijk gezegd niet zo goed herinneren.


Mijn kleine meisje heeft haar krijtjes ondertussen op kleur gesorteerd. Alle blauwe, zwarte, grijze en bruine krijtjes liggen keurig op een rij. Daarnaast, een klein beetje apart, zijn één roze en één geel krijtje gelegd. Alle groenen, roden en andere kleuren, de kleuren die mij vrolijk maken, zijn terzijde geschoven. Afgekeurd. Ze heft haar arm op om ze in één zwaai van tafel te vegen.

‘Nee,’ roep ik, de krijtjes zullen breken.
‘Mamma!’ Die akelige strenge toon. ‘Mamma ga de kamer uit, nu. Niet kijken!’

Ik loop de tuin in. Ik snap niets van dit kind, die obsessie, dat fanatieke, dat heeft ze zeker niet van mij. In mijn kleurige bloementuin, op het bankje in de schaduw, vind ik tijdelijk rust. Dan hoor ik haar stemmetje, nu lief en vrolijk. Ze komt de tuin in huppelen met twee tekeningen in haar handen. Ze laat me de vellen zien, haar grote ogen kijken verwachtingsvol naar mij op.


‘Ik heb pappa getekend,’ zegt ze trots, ‘en dit ben ik, voor ik geboren werd. Hier ben ik in de grot, bij het water, weet je nog wel?’

Op het papier zie ik een lijkbleke pappa met drie vingers aan elke hand, grote holle ogen en geen neus. Zijzelf is een kleinere roze versie van hem, drie vingers aan elke hand en nog grotere donkere ogen. Snel kijk ik naar haar handen die de vellen papier omhoog houden, tien vingers, tien perfecte vingers, vijf aan elke hand.
‘Heel mooi,’ zeg ik tegen haar, ‘dat heb je knap gedaan.’

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Confession

Inspiration: Picture by Sue Harris


Burying the child was the worst part. The boy was not yet dead, but we had to hide him. I buried him next to his mother. I didn’t want to kill her, really. It was an accident. She just shouldn’t have come. She was not supposed to know. Ignorance is so much better. Why didn’t she stay at home? She knew my friend didn’t want her here. This was our place and ours alone. She had everything she wished for, on one condition, she should never come here. She shouldn’t ask questions, she shouldn’t look. And she certainly shouldn’t drag the boy along. She might have blamed it on the boy. His dog went missing, they were just looking for the dog. They had no clue about the dangers of this place.

It is that time of year again, for months everything is quiet and we have nothing to fear. Than the cold  sets in, it is that time that worries me. They always come with the cold. I guess it is hunger that drives them. Sometimes they come in the dark, sometimes they come at dawn, at that moment when the night is at its coldest, just before sunrise. They never come alone. It is the barking of their hounds that gets me on the edge of my nerves.

So we were on watch last night as nights are getting colder again. All of a sudden I hear the panting of a dog, it sounds real close. I hold my breath and stare into the darkness. There is definitely something there. My friend takes his aim and fires. I hear the yelping of the dog and see someone looming at the edge of the wood. I take my shot. It was only after the second shot the boy started shouting. We ran over and grabbed him. We had to shut him up. And we buried him, just for a while.

We dug up the boy later. Fortunately he was still alive. He is a beautiful boy, somewhere around nine years old. What will he remember? I hope nothing. There are just some things you should never know about your father. And what his father and I do here is one of those. We dug the boy up and wiped off the dirt. He hasn’t said anything yet. He is just staring at us.

I am looking right past him now. We should have left him where he was. We should have waited. The sun is rising at the rim behind the trees, spreading its promising yellow and gold light. The ground is almost white with frost. It was definitely a cold night. And they are coming. I see their shadows approaching in the fog, men and dogs, determined. With one hand I signal the boy to get down, down! I have no wish to bury him again. With the other hand I bring my rifle up. I cannot let the boy get caught in crossfire. It is bad enough he knows he is living at the border now, next to a graveyard.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Cats Rule

Inspiration: Picture of Tom by Olivier van den Brandt


Do cats rule the world? Of course not. The idea alone is ridiculous. Everybody knows there are pathetic little pussycats and there is us, the real Cats. Pathetic little pussycats are miserable creatures, that have absolutely nothing to say in their lives. They take things as they come, being totally dependent on the good things life throws in their manger. Real Cats have a plan.

The first step of my plan, was being born on a farm, with the luxury of two mothers taking care of me. I hate to admit, my plan was not really working out the way I wanted. I hadn’t counted on having many brothers and sisters, but hey, I was still very young. My next goal was being adopted as soon as I could. Of course I went out of my way to look extra adorable, a little black furry thing with innocent blue eyes. Oh the irony, they picked my sister first, a common grey tabby. They said they didn’t want a tomcat, but I’d been practicing the big eye. So I gave the woman the eye and she changed her mind. I can still hear her saying; ‘Oh, but we have to have a black cat. Look at him, he is so adorable.’

Adorable! Little did she know. I had picked my humans, dragging my tabby sister along. I soon discovered a very promising human in their household, young and inexperienced like me, but with the same ambitions. He was the perfect one to bond with for my long-term goals. I started sleeping on his bed, making it easier for me to fill his mind with my idea’s, while he was sleeping. I could have done that anywhere of course, but being in his bed made him more receptive. He became my most loyal companion, and he still is. The woman was harder to control, I had to give her the eye several times when she thought she could mock me. She was convinced my ego outgrew my capacities. But like I said before, she didn’t really get me.

So year by year I worked silently on my secret plan, gathering an army of black cats around me. Some humans thought I had fathered them all. Alas that was not the case, but I really don’t like to go into detail about that. Slowly my army of black cats started to brainwash our humans. Now, you might think we are evil, but I assure you we are not. Humans need to be brainwashed, they are destroying our world! We cannot let them go on like this, it would be a catastrophe. What would become of cats when the world floods because of global warming? We might have to learn how to swim, yikes! We have to stop it! And let’s be honest, we can’t leave it to the humans. The world needs someone with vision.

It was a sad moment when I realized I was reaching the limits of my power on earth. I had to leave my young human behind, to be able to work on a bigger scale. So now I am working in the heavenly dominions, pulling strings from here. I still communicate with my promising human, he is spreading my word. He will be the prophet of a new religion.    

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Concerto Loci

Inspiration: White Palace by Olga van den Brandt


Elena is staring out of the window, looking at the snowflakes falling down in her silent white world. She knows she has to start searching again, it has to be somewhere, if only she could remember which room. For days she has been wandering around in this palace, never meeting someone, only faint shadows of people. Elena can’t even remember how she got here in the first place, this colorless, silent world. The first days she has been shouting, screaming, singing, smashing doors, stamping her high heeled shoes on the tiled floors, anything to break the silence, anything to make her presence known. Nobody cared, not even the shadowy people, they just ignored her and there is nobody else.
 
There has to be a first day, there must have been an arrival. In her head is a mental image of herself standing outside the palace, shivering in a thin white dress on her unsuitable high heeled shoes. An image of herself, admiring the palace with its white walls, its stepped gable facade and pointy tower. Than the cold gets the better of her and she approaches the grand white door and steps inside. The palace has been hers ever since that moment, weeks ago. Inside it is warm, there is a fire in every hearth and even in the kitchen. Somehow there is always fresh food. Elena suspects the shadowy people are taking care of that.

The first days have been an emotional rollercoaster, filled with exploration, excitement, and frustration. Now she is much calmer, with a sense of determination. A few days ago Elena wandered into a small room, a room she had not seen before. There was a teddy bear sitting on a desk. The moment she picked it up, she remembered she was here with a purpose, looking for something. The teddy bear guided her from room to room, although it was not literally speaking to her. How strange, how could she not have noticed before? Every room has something special, the white rooms that seemed so equal to begin with, started to be distinctive. Elena found small things in every room, sometimes a picture, sometimes an item, like the bowl with nuts she found yesterday. Moving those items is not an option, she knows that will get her lost again. The only exception is the teddy bear, which she kept close ever since she found it.

On her bare feet, in silence, with the teddy in her left hand she turns away from the window and grabs the railing of the stairway to the top of the tower. She has been there before, on one of her first days. The skirt of her thin white dress blows slightly up by the draught, going up with her. A rope hangs down from the top of the high tower room, a thin string. At the end of it, just within reach, dangles a beautiful G-shaped golden key.

Elena looks at it with admiration and anticipation, she reaches out with her right hand, holding on to the teddy bear. She has to stretch herself on the top of her toes, like standing on high heeled shoes. The very moment she clasps her hand around the key the silence shatters to pieces, music surrounding her. With the silence the white mind palace disappears. Elena is standing on a podium in her white dress and high heeled shoes with her violin under her chin. The conductor is staring at her, while the orchestra is holding on their last note, in anticipation for her to set in. Violin Concerto in G minor, how could she forget?