The book isn’t finished yet but it’s well on its way. So just to give you an idea of what you’re letting yourselves in for, here is the Prologue and the first chapter. Comments welcome! (Try to be as constructive as possible please; life’s too short for bitching.) Hope you like it!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was Lucien. And Lucien said, “Let there be darkness”.
The dark, the night, is where I belong.
Time, the most institutionalising of all concepts, abandons all meaning when deprived of the unremitting march of the sun across the sky. The hours of work and structure are done, and the arrival of darkness heralds new and endless possibilities; a freer, more diverse and inevitably more nefarious world in which our actions can be lit – or not – in whichever colours we desire.
The moonlit world beckons me, draws me out as it does the moths and the foxes, creatives, chancers, crooks – all those who prefer to make and choose the rules they live by rather than existing in perpetual acceptance and submission. By night the Difference does not haunt me; the absence of daylight renders us all the same. The crowds are gone, and the remaining few are free to be dissident, to conduct themselves in whatever manner they consider appropriate, to light up the night sky with the consumptive flames of their passions or to crouch surreptitiously in the shadows. How you choose to spend the night-time hours is largely dependent upon your view of darkness – is it the sweet security of a warm blanket, or a well-deserved moniker for evil?
For people like me, the night brings hope.
I wasn’t always a child of darkness. Once upon a time I attempted to live a life much like any other, the potential of the night sacrificed for the stability of the day, throwing myself headlong into the pretence of being like everybody else. Sights, sounds, emotions and experiences went unheeded. I pushed the Voice into the farthest corner of my head, and part of me wished it would never return. Yet It and I were intrinsically and interminably intertwined. When I met Lucien, everything became clear and there was no turning back.
When I’m with Lucien, I am alive, I am a libertine; anything feels possible under the protective cloak of his darkness. The world is night, and it is alive, and I am alive, and I am the world, and the world is Lucien.
Like a velvet hurricane he comes to me, envelops me within the welcome manacles of his infinity, and inside his dark embrace I am at once the most powerless and the most powerful I have ever been. I am the quarry who, once ensnared, is free to rule the world, safe in the knowledge that for as long as I do his bidding, he will do mine.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Gospel According To Eleanor
Chapter 30, Verse 7.1
(July, Year 0 B.L.)
I’ve decided I don’t want to do it anymore. Life, that is. Doing life is kind of like doing life, in the prison sense of the phrase. The daily struggle against the all-consuming abhorrence of myself and my situation is like living in chains. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but I’m thoroughly sick of it. It’s the same shit every day. And it’s always worst in the mornings. Get up. Co-ordinate myself sufficiently to reach the bathroom. Blow last night’s party out of my nose. Wipe last night’s fuck out of my crack. Ponder the notion of yesterday having been yet another day in which I got no further towards achieving any of my goals. Then – and only then, having flushed the vestiges of the previous day’s failures down the toilet, where they belong – steel myself to face my own reflection.
What I see is a face that is 30 years old. It’s not a bad face, really, despite a bumpy nose and strange eyes that look different colours in different lights. Sometimes they’re green, sometimes amber, brown, or even black when I’m scared, angry or on drugs. What colour they are at any given time is really of very little relevance. It’s what’s behind them that matters, the war-torn memories and unfulfilled visions, the experiences that have shaped me and scarred me and define me to this day. These are what I see in my reflection, each one as real and raw as if it were fresh, as if the paint has never quite dried. These are the reasons I don’t like to look. The nakedness of my skin without the make-up accentuates the nakedness of my soul without the flirtatious humour and bluster I apply when I face the world outside. That’s why mornings are the hardest. They force me to confront myself.
“Well done, Ellie,” I congratulate the face staring into my own. “You made it to another day.”
She says nothing back. It’s OK for her, cosseted behind the security of the glass. She doesn’t live in my world. Sometimes I like to think she lives in the other world, the one I’ve glimpsed in snatched fragments throughout my life, the one where everything went right. But I’ve only ever felt it for a second at a time, and sometimes years go by and I don’t visit it at all. If that’s where she lives, I envy her. Meanwhile, I’ve tried to make the best of living in this one. It’s no-one’s fault it hasn’t worked out. Ellie the mysterious, lonely child. Ellie the problem teenager. Ellie the nightclub singer whose failure to get any further has at times meant failure to pay the bills. Ellie who can’t have children. Christ, Ellie who can’t get a man to stick with her long enough to contemplate the notion of having children, even if she could. Maybe that’s why every now and then I revert to thinking about Jude, wondering what he’s doing now, if he ever spares me a thought after all these years… Stupid sentimental cow I am at times, when I’m on my own, wishing the real me was the hard, flippant caricature all my friends think they know, wishing I really didn’t need anyone. Even the Man seems to have deserted me. I’ve not heard from him in a while now.
But none of it will matter for much longer. Soon enough I’ll leave all those guises behind, and this one, the real me, who has encompassed them all, and carries them with her like so many crosses on her back.
See, I really don’t want to do it anymore. So I’ve decided to die.