Wow. It's been a long time since I've had a crack at writing anything other than a snarky email at work. This was just something that started as a freewrite because I couldn't get my brain in gear. I plan to continue it. But I'll see how this one goes first. All feedback is appreciated. I need all the help I can get, to clear the rust from the brain! If it looks too long and daunting let me know and I'll beak it down a bit
“I think I’ll start writing again.”
The thought had been simple and harmless. Looking back over some of my old work I revelled at how easy it had been. I’d just open my mind and the words would fall about the page in-front of me. I was certain that was how it used to happen. But as I sat at the little coffee table in my front room, the cold hard white (with a flashing black cursor) truth was staring up at me from my laptop screen.
If I had smoked then I’m almost certain I would have been doing something gritty, like watching the tendrils of smoke rise from the end of my cigarette as it hung loosely between my fingertips, or perhaps barely noticing as the ash from the smouldering tip fell across the keyboard. But I don’t smoke. My tea was going cold; I noted in as gritty a manner as is possible when contemplating the temperature of a beverage. And the front room was getting hotter. A shaft of light was searing through the window onto the floor in-front of me. It was bright, and hot and there was a cat laying in the middle of it. It was the belligerent one. The friendly one was probably in the bedroom, curled up on the clean washing, making sure my work clothes had the dishevelled, crazy-cat-owner look that I so liked to portray to my colleagues.
I stared at the contemptuous face of my unfriendly cat and she stared back into my soul, perhaps trying to learn if I had bought any Tuna back from the supermarket yesterday afternoon. “Maybe I could write a story about cats?” I suggested to her. The cat blinked and turned her head away from me. Possibly one of the most affectionate gestures I had seen from her. Maybe not cats then, but what? Over the years I had toyed with so many ideas. Ran so many stories through in my mind. Each one filled with half completed images for characters. If I could just find the right character then I could surely build a story around them. They must still be there, in the recesses of my mind. All I had to do was find a way of bringing them out.
I was torn from my musings by a deep, throaty cough from the little two seater sofa opposite me. It caused me to jump and make a noise that sounded a lot like “Scheeze,” slopping a large portion of my tea into the lap of my replica Jedi-Robe-dressing-gown in the process. The tea was cold and I was spared the agony of parboiling my nether regions, but like most tea, it was still wet. I wanted to move, to get up and head to the bathroom for a towel and a change of underwear (the tea, I hasten to add, was soaking through my dressing gown and into my boxer shorts) but I was transfixed by the figure compressed into the sofa in front of me. Had it been standing its hair would have brushed the ceiling. It was large, and muscular and green. A deep, brown-green mix that looked like moss on the gnarled trunk of an old tree. “Hello.” I managed to stutter as I placed my half-cup of tea carefully on the edge of the coffee table. I missed by a mere foot and absently dropped the mug onto the sleeping cat at my feet. She leapt into the air, hissing something unrepeatable at me. Then scurried off towards the kitchen. No doubt to find one of my shoes to relieve herself in.
The creature before me didn’t appear to notice the dramatic exchange. I stared into a face that seemed to consist of nothing but colossal yellow teeth and two gleaming red eyes, which were looking straight at me. There was something about his awkward posture and the beads of mucus yellow sweat forming on his forehead. He looked, was it, nervous?
“Hi there,” he stammered back at me, and I was surprised at how well he managed to speak, despite the rather large gnashers he was sporting “I’m here for the interview.” 'There was something about the creature that tugged at my memory, but my head was swimming and I couldn’t concentrate. I leant forward and ran a hand through my cropped brown hair, looking to the tea-stained carpet for some answers. “I’m sorry,” I said, because being sorry seemed like a good idea when faced with a creature twice your size with muscles that would make Arnie blush, “I’m not really sure what you mean. Interview?”
My obvious discomfort didn’t seem to provide much reassurance to the creature. If anything he seemed rather put out by my lack of decorum, “You were the one who was looking to find us again, right?” he gestured towards my open laptop with his enormous left hand. I noticed that he was wearing some kind of metal armour that made a sort-of clacking, scraping noise when he moved. I found this a little disconcerting; I had always described the movement of plate armour as clinking. On reflection I don’t even know why, perhaps I read it in a book at some point. In fact I think it’s in lots of fantasy novels: ‘when a man in plate armour moves, it makes a clink’ like an unwritten (written) law.
I had spent too long lost in my musings; the large creature was staring at me imploringly, “Did you want me to start with my name? Perhaps you could make some notes!” The beast gestured towards my laptop again with, not a clink, but a clacking metallic scrape. I wasn’t too clear on the do’s and don’ts concerning large beasts sitting in your front room, requesting to be interviewed. But my survival instinct told me that the mild annoyance of performing an interview with a wet crotch would be far preferable to telling this beast it had the wrong address. I nodded and let my hands hover over the keys. With what I hoped was an authoritative nod at the creature I beckoned him to begin.
“My name is Telawr, I’m a Nork from the Great Mountains near Goldswys.” the creature paused to allow my flustered hands time to catch up. I nodded, and typed as I spoke “Yes, I had a feeling that you might be an Ork but I didn’t want to make assumptions,” Telawr rumbled a “NO!” in my direction and I inadvertently added an ‘lksdjf’ to the end of ‘Goldswiss’ on my computer screen. “I am a Nork. Orks are mainstream and unoriginal, my people are individuals!” I bobbed my head at the green-skinned, yellow-toothed, gargantuan cliché sitting before me. At this point I would not want to imply that Telawr had been ripped straight from the pages of one of Tolkiens finest, but I did find myself tucking my hairy topped feet a little deeper into my dressing gown and slipping my fathers’ golden ring into my pocket, just in case.
I deleted the rogue ‘lksdjf’ from my notes and looked up into Telawrs face. He appeared to be relaxing a little, which was good for him. I imagined it would take me a little longer to feel completely comfortable in this situation. “So, tell me about Nor…” I couldn’t bring myself to say it “your people.”
The beast grinned; at least I assume it was a grin. His lips moved back further and more yellow teeth protruded from his oversized jaw. “This I can do. I could gladly talk about Norks all day if I had the chance.” I stared grimly at the laptop screen in front of me; the whole experience was drawing me out mentally, and I was having some trouble controlling myself. Clenching my jaw tightly against the rising snigger I mashed my fingers against some keys randomly. I didn’t want to insult my guest. It would be impolite and possibly suicidal. “Go on!” I said sharply.
Telawr regarded me quizzically before continuing, “We are a proud and warlike race. We would be a fine species for you to base a story on. Norks are large and they are imposing. It is often said amongst all other races that Norks are firm and proud…” Telawrs’ sermon was cut short, no doubt by the clinched expression on my face and the sharp motion of my shoulders jerking back and forth with barely contained laughter.
As infantile as it was, anything to do with toilets, boobs, passing-wind or willies had always tickled my funny-bone. The added strain of trying not to laugh when I knew I shouldn’t was just too much. I stared into Telawrs’ giant, confused face and burst out a shot of coarse laughter, then another, then a tirade of laughter tore itself from my body.
After a minute or so I managed to regain my composure. I apologised “… It’s just that ‘Norks’ is slang for various parts of the female anatomy.” I explained, cupping my hands in front of my chest, in the universally recognised gesture. The Nork regarded me silently, then dismissed the notion with a shrug of his massive shoulders. “I’m not talking about female anatomy; I am talking about my people.” And with that, the topic was closed.
“Let me now ask you a question.” I found myself staring at the Nork as he spoke, he was a creation of mine, I had no doubt of that. But I had written so many stories involving Orks, Dragons and the like I couldn’t think where this strange creature had come from. “Go on.” I said, the beast had handled himself with a great deal more respectability than I had managed so far, he certainly deserved the opportunity to ask a question or two. He watched me closely as he spoke, “What does my voice sound like to you?” the question caught me off guard, I hadn’t thought much of his voice, I had been too busy trying to convince my brain to accept what was happening to me, “it’s deep, and smooth, like a distant rumble of thunder . Almost soothing.” I ventured. The beast nodded, “Not then ‘like the sound of rocks careening down a mountain-side’?”
“Not at all,” I replied “I’m not even sure what that would sound like, quite cracky and bangy I imagine though!”
“Then why did you describe my voice as such, when you created me?” “It was just something that I had read in someone else’s story.” I answered honestly, “It sounded good, I guess.” The Nork stared at me intently before speaking again “Perhaps you would get more enjoyment from writing, if you tried describing things as you really see them in your mind, rather than how other people do?”
I stopped typing my notes, and stared at the creature sitting infront of me. He did have a very good point. When I was a child I’d imagined Orks to be wise and shamanic, natural and guileful. Why then had I always written them as moronic, cannon fodder for my dashing heroes to despatch? Perhaps to stay in fitting with what I thought people expected? “Uh, thanks.” I said to Telawr. He smiled again “There are others waiting to be interviewed. I hope to hear from you soon!” and with that, the Nork left the room. Without standing or walking, he was just ‘not there anymore’
Sitting alone with my head buried in my notes I became aware of the fact that I was deeply uncomfortable. The stone cold tea had soaked through my 100% cotton boxers and they were now stuck against my body in all their chilly glory. With a grunt I stuck my hand into my dressing gown and began to prise my sopping underwear away from my person, when a giggle from the other side of the room caused me to flail dangerously. What now? Who this time? I didn’t get to change my pants! So that’s what a giggle sounds like! Are the thoughts that ran through my mind, “Gahhh!” is the word that escaped from my mouth.
I looked up sheepishly into wide, tremendous blue eyes, framed with short, straight blonde hair. The girl sitting opposite me looked beautiful and athletic. Her smile was sincere and she was staring at me with my hand wedged into my pants. I quickly adjusted my position to something a little less awkward and tried to smile confidently as I said “Oh… Hi Alyx.”