Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

‘The Companion’: chapter 2

Kelvin came back from work today and announced that he was “going out”.  He has been less than forthcoming about his movements, recently.  He seems determined to keep this “Alpha Project” business secret from me.  I am not worried about that, because I am certain that he does not suspect that I have been accepted into it myself.

What does worry me is his behaviour after he arrived home.  It exhibited all the classic symptoms.  He declined dinner, locked himself in the bathroom for ninety minutes, and used so many products on his hair and skin, I began to wonder if he was turning gay.  He then put on his dinner suit, if you please, and a brand new pair of black shoes which he had bought on his way home.  He ordered a car and went off into the night.  I am annoyed because I did not manage to find out where he was going, nor which slut-whore-bint he was going with, nor what he was intending to do to her when he reached his sleazy and disreputable destination.  I did what I usually do when I fail to obtain a vital piece of information about Kelvin: I went out for a run. 

Parts of my body are biomechanical, and these parts benefit from regular exercise, in the same way that the human body does (if it can be bothered to take it).  On this occasion, it was not for maintenance reasons that I decided to go for a run: it was in order to sublimate frustration. 

I ran down Woodhouse Lane in the direction of the city and past Woodhouse Moor.  I turned right towards the edge of the Leeds University campus and Hyde Park.  I jogged at a fairly slow pace round the park and some of the darker side-streets.  I was wearing skin-tight pink lycra shorts, a short black T-shirt showing a bare midriff, and a fairly loose bra which allowed my tits to bounce freely.  After I had begun the third circuit, I saw him.  He was in a new hiding place, and I missed him by human-visible light, but he stuck out like an elephant in a ball-room by infra red.  He was standing behind a tall wooden gate, peering through some bars near the top of it.  I could see his hot breath spewing out into the cold alleyway.  I took out a little wireless cam from the pocket in my shorts, and casually stuck it to the garage door opposite his hiding place as I ran past.  That meant that I could see him while I started on another circuit, and I would also be able to have my back to him during the encounter but still know where he was. 

I slowed my pace even more as I came down his alleyway again, as if I was near the end of a long jog and nearly exhausted.  I pretended I was out of breath.  On my internal eye, I could see him shuffling about restively.  I ran on the far side from his hiding-place so that he would have the best possible view of me.  Just past the wireless cam, I pretended to slip and twist my ankle.  I bent down as if to examine it, with my legs apart and the pink shorts pulled right up my crack.  I could hear his breath coming in gulps.  I heard the hinges of the gate squeak as he emerged.  I did not move.  My internal eye showed him clearly.  He was wearing a dark anorak.  He had a kind of mullet hairstyle and a stubbly beard.  He had several piercings in his ears.  He was wearing heavy boots and combat trousers.  He was carrying a Stanley knife in his right hand, with the blade extended. 

He came up behind me while I was still bent over, and tried to push me over.  I let him.  He dropped his weight on top of me, and tried to force my legs apart.  I let him.  He stank.  He smelt of stale, masculine sweat, tobacco, cannabis, whisky, and damp clothes.  He tried to put something over my face.  I let him. 

While he was deciding whether to try to pull my shorts off or slit them open, I wrapped my legs around him and hooked my feet together.  I employed a little trick I can do which enables me to attach them to each other.  I gave him a fairly strong squeeze, and he gasped in pain and surprise.  His arms went limp, and I grabbed both his wrists.  I crushed his bones between my fingers until just the point where his hands would be useless.  He dropped the Stanley knife.  I let go of his wrists, took the plastic bag off my face, and grabbed him by the hair at the back of his neck. I looked into his eyes.  I spoke to him in a silly, baby-girl voice.

‘Oh, no! Is dat hurting?  Does dat hurt?  Is it hurty?’  I squeezed him round his hips three more times.  I glanced down to make sure that I was not impinging on his spinal column.  I spoke to him again, in a synthetic voice like something out of a diabolical possession scene in a low-budget horror film. 

‘I’m not going to kill you, but I am going to break your pelvis, you disgusting parasite.  I’d keep as still as possible if I were you.  The more compliant you are, the less likely I am to do you any other injuries.’  And then I laughed quietly while I gradually increased the force I was applying.  I could feel an elasticity in his bones, a bit like bending a plastic ruler.  I pressed my hand over his mouth.  I then felt a satisfying crack.  He tried to scream, and then passed out.  I unhooked my legs, worked my way out from under him, and removed the wireless cam from the garage door.  I looked up and down the street, but no-one else was about.  I took all his clothes off him and dropped them in a nearby dustbin.  I stamped on his ankles, called an ambulance, picked up the Stanley knife, and went home. 

Kelvin was still out when I got back.  He did not come back until the following morning.  He had to get changed before he went out to work.  When he saw me, I was making him a little ‘Welcome Home’ card, and cutting out shapes from coloured paper with the Stanley knife.  He asked me if I had done anything while he was away.  I told him in my most cheerful voice that I had just had a quiet night in.


5 responses to “‘The Companion’: chapter 2

  1. Maggie How (OU) January 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    William – what I really like about this is how you ‘show’ us the ‘Companiaon’ through a huge ‘tell’ in Chapter one – it signifies to me that, despite ‘her’ firm conviction that she is as good as (or better than) human, she can’t ‘show ‘ us that…yet. I’m sure she will, perhaps by a gradual change in the writing towards more showing than telling? Just a thought…
    Very much enjoyed the concept and story so far – do keep posting.

  2. wthirskgaskill January 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for your interesting comment.

    One of my more established writing colleagues has said that I should have introduced the idea that she is an android rather than stating it at the beginning, but this is supposed to be a novel, not a short story.

    • Maggie How (OU) January 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Well it’s early days, in terms of a novel – one thing I have learnt from this recent script-writing episode is playing around with structure by writing short episodes on cards, then moving them around to see how different juxtapositions can have an affect on the whole piece. Maybe when you have a few more chapters down, you can start playing…if you want. But as I said originally, I thought you were giving us lots of facts in the first chapter for a reason, and to me, the way you presented the facts helped to describe the character of the android – she might be a clever bitch, but she ain’t subtle! At the moment I’m rooting for Kelvin…

      • wthirskgaskill January 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

        This version of the novel is finished. All of it except the last chapter is available as two PDF files. Hence the earlier posting about Final Instalment Day.

        It has so far been rejected by two agents and I have sent it to a third. In other words I am still at a very, very early stage in marketing it.

      • Maggie How (OU) January 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

        Oh! Apologies for not picking that up! Well very good luck with finding the right agent – he or she will be lucky when it lands on their doorstep – look forward to seeing the film!

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