STORY OF THE MONTH
by Kate Larkindale
They met that night at the end of the world, the edge of civilization. At least that’s what they called it, what it seemed to them. In reality it was merely the last streetlight on the stretch of road that led into the countryside.
He arrived first and curled, cat-like, against the lamppost. In the sickly light he looked pale, vampiric. Shadows played across his face as he flicked up the collar of his leather jacket to light a cigarette.
She saw his silhouette from a long way off and felt her heartbeat quicken. Hurrying towards him, she became conscious of how her short skirt rode up her thighs with every step. Before reaching him she ried to tug it down. He watched her coming, smiling as he tossed away the end of his cigarette.
“Hi,” she said breathlessly as she reached him. His arms snaked around her, drawing her close. “Hi,” he murmured, his breath hot in her ear. Excited, yet a little afraid, she pulled away. “So, what are we going to do tonight?” She allowed him to put his arms around her again as she waited for an answer.
“Let’s just go for a walk.” His voice was low and casual, but not without a hint of suggestion. A shivery thrill ran through her as she smiled at her feet, blushing, thankful for the cover of darkness. “Want to go?” He bent his head level to hers, whispering knowingly. She blushed again as she nodded. Over her head he grinned at the stars.
They walked past the lamppost into the thick, blackness of the summer night. They spoke little as they walked, arms wrapped around one another, needing nothing but the feeling of their hips brushing. They paused often for long, leisurely kisses, passionate and tender. A car passed, illuminating the pair in its headlights as it roared past in a haze of smoky exhaust, rust-eaten muffler blaring its protest to the night.
“Come on,” he urged, pulling her off the road and into a field, the grass still damp from the morning’s rain. The sound of a horse nickering came from somewhere nearby, but they could not see it. He led her to a flat spot and sat down, lighting another cigarette. She stood by, watching, unsure what to do, what was expected.
“Sit down,” he suggested, patting the ground beside him. She did, drawn to him as if by string. He pulled a small flask from the pocket of his jacket and, unscrewing the top, passed it to her.
“Drink this,” he said as she took the bottle, hesitant.
“What is it?”
“Just drink it.” He was watching her, dark eyes burning. Not taking her own eyes off him, she drank. She choked a little on the first, tentative sip and looked at him as she wiped her lips. He took the bottle and swigged a healthy amount himself.
“Whisky,” he said as he passed the bottle back to her. She didn’t choke on her second swallow; she found she enjoyed the warm glow the liquor created in the pit of her stomach.
Between them the flask was soon emptied, leaving them relaxed. So relaxed that when he leaned across and put a hand on her left breast, she did not protest. He moved closer, pulling her to the ground with him. They lay together, him exploring her body with starving hands and tongue. Warmed by the whisky, first their jackets then other items
of clothing were tossed aside to crumple lifelessly in the grass until they lay together, bare skin touching for the first time.
“I’m not sure….” she gasped as he began to press himself against her.
“Shhh,” he whispered, his hot tongue flicking around her ear, tracing a line around the stud in the cartilage at the top, then travelling down to nuzzle each of the five rings laddering the lobe. “I won’t hurt you.” He held her tighter, fondling here and there as he waited for muscles to loosen. She felt secure, loved and happier than she had been in her sixteen years.
“Okay,” she breathed as she opened up to him. They writhed together on the still-damp ground, she, awkward and fumbling as she felt her way through unknown terrain. Then pain, hot and searing, that made her bite down on her wrist to keep from crying out.
And it was over.
He rolled off and lay close, her head cradled in the crook of his arm as he breathed heavily.
“Okay?” he asked once he had recovered. Dazed, she nodded. She was aware of a persistent throbbing and stickiness between her legs. That was it, she thought. A phrase came absurdly to her mind and she whispered it to herself.
“I’ve been deflowered.”
He turned to her, but found her lost in her own thoughts. He lit a cigarette which they passed back and forth as they lay in the uncomfortable silence, bugs settling on bare flesh to feed.
“Did you like it?” he asked finally. She said nothing for a moment, unable to vocalize the strange mixture of emotions coursing through her. He took her silence as an answer and tore his arm out from under her. She turned to find him pulling on his clothes with an animal savagery. Feeling vulnerable, exposed, she too dressed.
“Come on,” he said without looking at her. “Let’s go.”
He left her on the doorstep, not even pausing to kiss her goodnight.She stood before the dark house and watched as he strode off down the street. The milky light of the streetlamps distorted his features, casting deep shadows beneath cheekbones and eyes. When she could no longer see him, or the glowing ember at the end of his cigarette, she let herself into the house and climbed the stairs to her room. She lay on her bed and stared at the ceiling.
He was gone. It was over. All that was left was waiting.
Waiting for blood to flow.
Kate Larkindale is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand after a nomadic life that has led her from Vienna to Washington DC, from Samoa to Beijing, London and Melbourne. She is the mother to two young sons, and as a day job, runs an art-house cinema. In what little time she has left, she writes. She doesn't sleep much, and as a result, drinks too many strong espressos.
Her short fiction has been published in Residential Aliens, Halfway Down The Stairs, The Barrier Island Review among others. She has completed two YA novels and has just finished her first book for adults, a western set against the tail-end of the Australian gold rush."
She has been published in the following:
HER Magazine (October 2009)
Viola Beadleton's Compendium (March 2010)
Residential Aliens (March 2010)
All Things Girls (April 2010)
A Fly In Amber (May 2010)
Halfway Down The Stairs (June 2010)
Daily Flash Anthology (2011)
THANKS, KATE!. GREAT STORY! NOW TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF...
I'm a cinema manager, film reviewer and mother to two boys. I write in what little spare time I have. You can find me blogging at http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com/. I've been writing all my life but only got the confidence to start submitting stories in the last 12 months, and since then, I've had 20 or so stories published.
Q. What would you want our readers to know about you?
I'm older than I look....
Q. Do you write in a particular genre? If so, what genre is it?
My goal for 2010 was to write and publish in as many genres as possible. And I'm doing well! Now, if I could just get someone to accept that sci-fi....
Q. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Ummm.... Words? Can't write without words. Seriously though, it is all about words and choosing the right one to drive your story or character. It's like a puzzle, fitting the words together into sentences that flow, convey meaning and have a beauty of their own. Then making those sentences fit into the paragraphs that make up the whole.
Q. How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I almost always start with a character. They come to me and my nasty little mind says 'I wonder how he/she would react if ------ happened?' And a story is born. I'm not an outliner at all. I tend to just purge my brain on the page and clean it up in the editing.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read. Mostly in the bath while drinking herbal tea. I'm also not going to say no to a nice glass of red wine.
Q. What inspires you? Who inspires you?
I find inspiration everywhere. My kids say things every day that inspire me. I'm also often inspired by films I see or books I read. Sometime just a single phrase or word is enough to set me off. I also can't ignore my wonderful critique groups and the challenges they set for me.
Q. Are you working on any projects right now?
I've just finished my first adult novel and am querying it. Some members of my writing group and I are working on a series of linked novellas, and my story is the starting point for the collection I'm a part of. I also have a YA novel that I'm about to tear into and revise for the eight or ninth time. In November I'm hoping to knock out a first draft of a new YA book during NaNoWriMo.
Q. What is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
Most frustrating is definitely rewriting. Most rewarding I'd say are those emails with the word 'accepted' in them.
Q. If I were sitting down to write my very first story, what would your advice be?
Just write. Don't worry about spelling, grammar or even if the story makes sense. Just write. The rest can come later. Getting those first words onto the page is the hardest part.
Q. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write. Forget about being good at it, or who's going to read it. To begin with, just write. And read a lot too. You can't be a good writer if you don't read..