Nobody Got Time for a Soul
You get used to livin’ in the ghetto. Wouldn’t think it but you do. All the apartments smell weird, like somethin’s gone to rot inside. It’s loud, people always yellin’ and screamin’ but ain’t nobody payin’ attention. And the whole damn place is fallin’ apart.
Days ain’t so bad but the night’s is fierce. Gets so cold they burn fires in barrels. Anythin’ gets tossed in as long as it burns, even some thin’s that don’t. Scrap wood, broken furniture, garbage, even books.
God, I hate it when they burn the books. All them lost words. I try to grab ‘em before they go on the pile. Seems like a sin to me, but what do I know. Never been to school. Too late for me now.
When I’m readin’ I can forget about everythin’. My whole, horrible, miserable existence. The basement’s quiet, but it’s cold as hell down here. And ain’t no one come since the elevator broke. Been stuck down here a while, I think. Maybe fell asleep or somethin’. I tried callin’ but it weren’t no use. Wonder if anyone will ever bother lookin’ for me. All these ghosts here ain't nobody got time for a soul.
Submitted to: Poet's United Pantry of Prose #7 - Gothic Fiction
Really like the play between the title and ending. And love that you allow us to get acquainted with the character before letting us know what's going on. Also, the resigned longing translates so well... at the end.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much. I had something else half written and I stalled and I got thinking about buildings and how your home is your castle even if some don’t see it that way. And basements are always a bit of a dungeon where things are lost and forgotten.Delete
I liked the tone of the character's voice it makes it believable. This makes me think about how one can feel alone in a world full of people.ReplyDelete
All these people here and nobody got time for a soul.
Thank you. It really is amazing how you can be surrounded by people and go completely unnoticed.Delete
This builds to a wonderful end. I love the conversational flow - it seemed to natural. Superbly writtenReplyDelete
Thank you so much. A bit of a soliloquy for the character.Delete
I really like the tone of this piece, Lori; the character’s voice rings true, and you’ve captured the setting so well with smell, sound and the fires in barrels. I am dismayed by burnt books and lost words too. The final paragraph is chilling.ReplyDelete
Thank you. To burn not just things but books... burning knowledge and understanding, makes the situation so much more dire I think. How do you find your way out without them, when books are a means of escape? I wanted the end to feel like it's too late for the character, we come to understand that we're listening to a ghost, but the ghost hasn't realized it yet.Delete
Yes, the narration was good and set me wondering how I would cope trapped this way.ReplyDelete
Indeed, and not knowing how long you've been stuck there. It would feel like purgatory.Delete
Lori i absolutely love this! The voice draws me in to see this world and feel the hunger. That ending is superb!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much. I wasn't sure how well I got the voice. I could hear it in my head and hope it translated. I'm really glad it did.Delete
It's telling that the protagonist's thoughts are mostly of the mental and spiritual, but only hints are given regarding their physical survival trapped where they are (Are they living off the creatures that live in the basement? Is a broken pipe their water source?). Beings of ideas and spirit often wander restlessly over this world, and they are almost always misunderstood.ReplyDelete
Oh... that's a really interesting perception! I hadn't thought about that aspect. Thank you so much!Delete
You created a surreal existence. I’m eager to know if the narrator will escape. Enjoyed this.ReplyDelete
Thank you very much! (I am too!)Delete
Your voice in this is amazing... I really feel that I know your protagonist, I can see the things you don't write about, the shopping-carts with belongings, the dirty mattresses, the misery and the end where you transition from some kind of life into afterlife so seamlessly as if it was really just the same.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, when living isn’t really living. I’m glad the picture came through so clearly.Delete
Love, love, love this – the story and, above all, the voice. Now I want the full novel, please!ReplyDelete
Many many many thanks! That’s very appreciated!Delete
Great voice! The entire world spins up in this, right down to its crumbled, haunted edges.ReplyDelete
Thank you! It was really the crumbling building I thought of first and then the character that inhabited it followed.Delete