Friday, September 21, 2012

Fiction Writing: Week 3

We did an interesting word game this week: when it's your turn, say an object-word and make a related gesture for it; then say a verb that's only now coming to you, and make an unrelated gesture with your hands and/or body. Hilarity ensued. Example: someone said "Sincerity", then rolled their eyes sarcastically. Another person said "Barbell," then made a double-handed gesture that signifies penetrative sex.

Here is an extract from a piece of writing I handed in:

Mr. Marshall was over six feet tall, but always seemed bigger to Johnny. He wore a suit of dark tweed and a maroon tie bearing the emblem of a strict Catholic order. He had the upright posture of an ex-military man, and he had a way of staring unblinkingly at you through his dark-framed glasses in a way that reminded Johnny of a hawk looking at a rabbit. He leaned down to listen as Mrs. Crosby spoke quietly in his ear. Bernadette was squalling away, but she stopped instantly when Mr. Marshall raised his palm into the air. Johnny tried to hear what Mrs. Crosby was saying, but all he caught was the low quick urgent tone. Mr. Marshall nodded once, then said:
“Very good, Mrs. Crosby. Please take Bernadette to class 3b and I’ll join you in a minute.”
Mrs. Crosby put her hand on Bernadette’s back, between the shoulder blades, and guided her towards the door. It seemed to Johnny that she was treating the sniffling Bernadette sympathetically. The door closed, and Johnny let his eyes fall to the ground. He knew what was coming next.
“Well?” said Mr. Marshall.
Johnny did not reply, did not look up. The next second he was jolted by a sickening whoosh! as Mr. Marshall slapped a tawse against the edge of his desk.
“Well?” Mr. Marshall said, louder.
Johnny’s eyes locked with the headmaster’s. It would have been difficult for anyone to tell who hated the other more. Still Johnny said nothing.
“I’m going to call your brother,” Mr. Marshall said. “Perhaps you’ll be able to him what you did today. Meanwhile…”
Johnny felt many things at once. Marshall hadn’t said anything about what Bernadette had done, or even why it was wrong, only that Johnny, and Johnny alone, was going to be punished for it. Marshall knew what he was saying by mentioning Johnny’s brother. If he had threatened him with Johnny’s father, then that would have been a sign that the trouble was the usual, small kind. But if Trevor got involved, Johnny knew he was in for more than one beating today.
He held his arm straight out in front of him, palm extended, flat, raised upward. Marshall raised the tawse high in the air and slashed it down savagely on Johnny’s palm. There was an ear-splitting crack that could be heard all the way down the corridor to the classrooms where the other children were sitting. Johnny’s face reddened, his eyes bulged, his lips pursed, but he produced no sound and no tears.
“Oh, that didn’t hurt you?” said Marshall. “How about this?”
He hit Johnny’s scarlet palm again with the tawse. This time, when the headmaster pulled it up, the notch at the end of the leather strap pulled up a small sliver of flesh. But Johnny refused to cry,refused to make any noise. Even as Marshall swung the tawse six more times until Johnny’s hand was cut into a bleeding mess, Johnny continued to hold his breath, staring up at the dark frames of the glasses that slipped down over the beetroot coloured face of his punisher.

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