Hi so this is my first ever short story what i wrote. I hope you enjoy it, I'm sure there are things to be improved and developed but this is the splurge from my brain as it happened :)
Where the heart is.
Where the heart is.
The bus smelled like piss. Piss and stale biscuits. Why did the 33 always secretes that bloody stench? The 51 was okay, musty, but bearable. She glanced at the back of the head in front of her, crusted rhubarb and custard tangled in greasy hair. Maybe the bus wasn’t giving off that stink voluntarily or by itself. It seemed to be the work of Mrs Crusty sat in front of Caz. She quit breathing through her nose and tried to convince herself that the congealing lumps flaking onto her best trousers were in fact rhubarb and custard... misplaced. The bus pulled to a grunt outside Big Johns. Predictably a couple of ‘gangstas’ swayed off nonchalantly followed by a cloud of green from the top deck, no doubt to get their fill of fried chicken. What Caz hated most of all was the prevailing air of superiority that ironically clings to them.
The tin can of skanks continued on its dismal descent into the ghetto. Caz’s stop was just before the derelict tower she had the joy of walking past. Such an eyesore she thought. But it was cheaper to keep the eyesore standing in full view of everyone than knocking it down. She looked up and an old curtain flapped depressingly in the gusts of wind. The gusts brought with them the fumes from the canal which was like breathing in fresh air after her journey trapped inside a dirty nappy. For a second, her mind played tricks and she saw someone up on the fourteenth floor but the wind whipped at her and she blinked them away. She straightened her back and walked in the direction of home. She ignored the shouts and wolf whistles as she carried on her way, never once blinking in their direction. She knew she had no special attention and that the men round here would whistle their own mother. She tried to remember the first shouts of abuse she had walking those streets. Somewhere in her head insists “sexy slag” but another corner argues “cheap whore”. Neither which Caz was but the slick haired Asian boys never tired of shouting and making fools of themselves in front of their own kind. “Oh just fuck off” she thought, clenching her fists inside her coat pockets. It made her so mad, but she felt hopeless. She felt like a white girl in a dark ocean. Maybe if she really got into trouble one day she wondered if anyone would help her at all. Would her cries be ignored? She let their curry breath insults bounce off her pale skin.
She reached her front door not a moment too soon but not before her neighbour had a spare second to request a shag.
“Yo Caz!” The sound of his drawling tones set her temper flaring at once.
“Fuck off Jackson” She snipped her tones without looking him directly in the face.
“Baybeee you know you want it. I know you want it! And you owe me money. Money or a lovely favour you said! You’ll give up this feminist front or whatever you got goin’ on girl. And when you do, I’m all yours and I’m a giving fella ya know love I...”
Before he had a chance to convince Caz what a love machine he was she shut the door over his face. Even if he took on the form of Usher overnight she would still never consider even breathing the same air as that scummy bastard let alone paying back the money she owed him. In fact, Caz was of the opinion that her fellow residents were devaluing the already worthless houses by just breathing inside them. She kicked off her shoes into a pile of old Metro papers along with her jacket and flicked the kettle on. She’d been dying for one all day. Suddenly she relaxed; she felt her shoulders relax all the way down to the small of her back. She switched on her tiny TV watching with eagle eye for the steam of the kettle with her other eye. Trying each channel for something mildly interesting she gave up and punched the TV off again to silence it. Her anger was quickly dispelled with the click of the kettle and she hurried over to fill a mug with boiling water. As the steam warmed her cheeks and condensed on them she carefully put the cold metal into the boiled water. Chink. Thirty seconds would be enough to brew surely. Her heart pounded with lust and excitement. She took the sterilised metal to suck up the juices, like a butterfly with the sweetest nectar. Without hesitation, she trod a well worn path and pressed the tip into her skin, the satisfying pierce made her catch her breath and her chest heaved. She won’t remember the rest. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head.
A few minutes later and she was back in her apartment. She felt like she’d been wrapped up in a big blanket of strawberry flavoured marshmallows and the world was okay again. Caz looked around at her tiny house. Sure it wasn’t much, but it was cosy and comfortable enough for her. She walked over to her window, the sill covered in mildew. She stood swaying as she looked over at Jerry’s back garden, watching his fat black cat preen itself. Jerry appeared at the kitchen window and waved briefly in her direction. She opened the window and shouted “Hey Jerry! Hey over here! Beautiful day huh? I was just watching your cat, gorgeous cat, gorgeous. I’d love a cat but ya know, I’d probably forget to feed it or whatever, anyway I do like cats hope you’re well!” and she hurried back inside leaving Jerry with a quizzical look on his old leathered face. A moment later a short sharp knock at the door startled Caz and she jumped out of her chair. Casually lolling towards her door there was a visible image of a tall man standing on her front step. She instantly recognised his stance and threw the door open which slammed into the already visible dent in the wall behind the handle.
“Ohmygosh, Dad! It’s good to see you, how long has it been? I’ve missed you ya know; can I get you a cup of tea? I just bought some Jaffa cakes? Want some? They only had blackcurrant which is kinda weird but if you want orange I’ll go get you some right now from the corner shop it’s only...”
“Katherine stop. Blackcurrant is fine” The man, looked around him with distain, stepped inside and followed his daughter who was bouncing down the hallway to the kitchen.
“Have a seat Dad ill put these on a plate for you” as Caz scrambled around her dirty dishes for a clean plate her father sighed and sat down on the only chair which was visible around the small plastic table which looked like patio furniture.
He took a deep breath and said “Caz, I hope you don’t mind but I thought maybe you could do with a little help. So I. . . I signed you off from work for a few weeks so you could come and stay with your mum and me. Just as a kind of break, a holiday you know?” He stumbled over his next choice of words “Its not that we don’t think you can’t look after yourself it’s just... well... Katherine... you could be doing so much better for yourself. You don’t belong here.” He looked up at his daughter with tired eyes. A flicker of anger flared up inside Caz but she knew in order to get her own way she had to humour her father. “Daddy. Please. I am okay. I’ve got my own little palace here!” Her father’s thickly raised eyebrows said more than words. Caz spotted a stray grey hair like a broken wire which was unruly on her father’s brow and it started to annoy her. In fact it did more than annoy her; she could feel red mist building inside her stomach and suffocating up to her chest. The high was wearing off already. “Dad why the fuck don’t you get your eyebrows seen to once and for all you look like a twat!” This outburst a couple of months ago would have taken Timothy by surprise but now his posture didn’t change, he barely flinched at the word “fuck”. This reaction was probably more unsettling than if he had flown off the handle. He had become accustomed to his daughters new personality, and its many changes. The slight eye roll of her father sent Caz into a frenzy. She threw things, she punched a hole in the plasterboard wall, and her tiny TV came to an end with the dirty carpets. She only stopped when she realised she had cut her hand quite badly on a shard of TV screen. The sight of blood seemed to switch her off and she just stood staring. Staring at her bloodied hand. Her dad ran for a tea towel and grabbed the cleanest one to hand. Being careful not to press the yellow stained part of the material onto her open wound he wrapped up her hand and secured it with his tie.
“You’re coming home with me” were the only words Caz’s dad muttered before bundling her into the front seat of his new Audi A8. She was feeling so queasy and lightheaded from the sight of blood that she didn’t have the strength to argue and so followed to guidance of her father’s strong arm onto the comfortable leather seat. For somebody that continuously stuck needles into any willing vein, Caz was surprisingly squeamish with blood. The journey into Newington Grange was not comfortable for Caz, the country roads twisted and turned and the small hump backed bridges made bile rise in her stomach. She watched out of the window as the houses became fewer and nicer, not that it was hard to get nicer than her road, she thought bitterly. She just hoped that her nosy neighbours had not caught sight of her Dad’s car. She’d be in the shit next time she saw Jackson that’s for sure. The roads became narrower and the fields greener and after waking slightly from her nap she heard the crunch of gravel under the tyres and she knew she was home.
Hauling herself up from the car seat she steadied herself on the car, making sticky fingerprints on the darkened windows. She looked up towards the whitewashed building in front of her. Home sweet home. “Daaaaahling!!” a loud screech echoed from the front door towards her delicate ears. Then she caught sight of her step mother Tracey for the first time in probably three years. “Katherine my darling! How we’ve missed you!” Lying bitch Caz thought. God look at how fat she’s got, two extra chins at least, which cheered her up slightly. This had the effect of Tracy thinking that Caz was pleased to see her. “Hi Tracy” Caz managed to mumble. Ignoring Caz’s blatant disinterest Tracey continued to bustle around with her ridiculous smile plastered to her face “Now do come inside darling, I’ve had Joita make us all some dinner for your arrival!” Her father Timothy then appeared at Caz’s side. “Now Tracy, Katherine has had a tough day, let’s show her to her old room and we will let her rest for an hour or so before dinner, we don’t want to wear the poor girl out now do we!” he gave Caz a knowing look and she gratefully slipped up to her room. Tracy had obviously had the whole place redecorated. Her old room now looked like Mary Poppins had eaten bouquets of flowers and then thrown them all up over the room. Caz was obviously more exhausted than she thought because she fell asleep before her head had hit those nauseating pillows.
She woke to sounds of voices drifting up from the grand hallway. She looked at herself in the mirror quickly and smoothed the stray hairs with her hand. She popped on a clean T-Shirt and made her way downstairs. As she entered the living area voices became hushed. What was this? Caz thought, a bloody party? On my account? Fucking Tracey has organised some kind of get together behind my back, well she could have at least told me about it! Anger rose in Caz’s chest once more as she stomped down the stairs. Before she had time to clench her fists her father came over “Darling when word got out about you being home a few old friends of yours popped over because they wanted to see you. A few of Tracey’s friends were coming over already for drinks, we hoped you wouldn’t mind” Caz longed for the day when her Dad grew a pair of bollocks and bloody used them. “No. Sure Dad” Caz replied through gritted teeth. She took a few steps on the plush carpet and then began to recognise a few faces. She didn’t notice them at first because they were all gathered by the fireplace looking sheepishly at one another. But no, there the were, Camilla, Jessica, Grant and Genevieve. Because no one was meeting her eye Caz decided to stroll over nonchalantly and make a nuisance of herself. “Boo!” she jumped into Jessica’s eyeline, and made her jump nervously. “Did you lot just come here to stare or what? You not going to say hi or anything?” the intimidating look on Caz’s face prompted Grant “Uh yeah hi Kathy, been a long time huh? How is errr ... Everything?” his gaze flittered around the room somewhat irritatingly and Caz realised that they must have known what happened earlier back with her Dad. My god that Tracey was a blabber-mouth bint. Not letting the posh knobs get to her Caz held her chin up “Yeah yeah good thanks, you know how it is. I’m alright though, can’t complain.” She looked at each person in the eye but no one knew how to respond. Camilla, the more animated of the three girls looked like she had something she wanted to say. Never one to hold back, she had long blonde highlighted hair, a Caribbean tan and the face of a horse. She looked like she’d had one too many tastes of her salt lick. “Uh yah so Kathy we kind of like, know about your problem yah but its like totally cool because like you’re one of us right and we’re going to like help you and take you out and stuff and get you popular again. Ill even lend you a Karen Millen dress so you like totally fit in with our friends. There is a party round at my place tomorrow night and I’d love if you could make it.” The forced sincerity in Camilla’s voice almost made Caz snort but she swallowed it. Smiling sweetly she said how lovely that would be and excused herself to the bathroom.
On her way back downstairs she heard muffled voices in one of the spare bedrooms and recognised Jessica’s snivelling tones. She pushed the heavy door open and saw her old group of socialites sat on the four poster bed. Jessica was bent over and old oak dresser, she looked as though she was listening. The creak of the door and sudden hush of voices caused her to snap up straight. Wiping her nose quickly Caz then realised what they were all doing gathered in here together. Alright, she thought, maybe this night won’t be so bad after all. As usual Camilla was the first to pipe up “Oh Caz, you like, weren’t supposed to see this, just trying to liven this party up you know? It’s just a bit, we do it all the time...” she trailed off when she realised the irony of what she had said. “And you lot thought it was okay to treat me like a complete outcast earlier did you? After you found out about what happened with my Dad? You lot are just as bad as me!” Caz couldn’t believe the scene in front of her.
“No Kathy, we don’t inject into ourselves and we’re not addicts like you.” Grant said bitterly. Who was he trying to convince Caz wondered? “We just snort a bit now and again, socially. Maybe pop a few pills at the club, it’s completely different to what you are. You’re a disgrace.” Grant looked triumphant at his argument. Caz knew she could outsmart him in a flash. “Actually Grant the only difference is that you lot snort coke at your posh horsey parties and its fine because you can go home at the end of the night and fall into your comfy beds without a worry of work in the morning. I however, fall asleep amongst old newspapers and rodents who have more control over my house than I do. You’re no better than me, we are the same. I would rather know who I am than spend another day pretending like you fuckwits do, prancing around in your Gucci dresses with an ounce hidden in your bra where the padding should be.” With that final statement she grabbed the half full bag of white powder from the guest bed, walked down the grand stairs and out of the front door. No one heard her leave and she waited on the lane outside for her taxi. It took her all 15 miles back into the centre, back to her haven where she knew she belonged. As she pulled up outside her house she could see Jackson’s dark shadow in the window next door. She knocked on his door and he seemed surprised to see her. “So I see you ain’t what you pretend to be aye Caz? I saw your pimp pick you up t’other day. You gotta have that dough for me now girl, you gotta be loaded!” Caz pushed Jackson inside the front door taking him by surprise. “Girl what you doin’ to me? You ain’t...” Caz pushed a finger over his mouth “ssshh” she took the small white bag from her inside pocket. Jackson’s eyes lit up immediately and he looked at Caz for an answer. “Here is what I owe you; I think you’ll find it a little more fun than boring old money.” She carried on down the hallway with a glint in her eye, still pushing Jackson gently with one hand. “Also I believe I owe you interest on that money. How ever can I repay you?” She looked up at his black-blue face with mock Bambi eyes. Jackson’s eyes glittered as he led her to his damp dark living space. She was familiar with the layout as it was exactly the same as her house next door. He fetched a blade and began cutting lines on the plastic coffee table. Kneeling beside the table he looked up at Caz and grinned. “Welcome home daaaahling.”