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Sprawl

Sprawl

Ratings: (0)|Views: 11 |Likes:
Published by Luke Conlan
This is an exerpt from something i've been working on for a couple of months. i thought i'd put it out there and see how people react to it. still not sure what i want to do with it yet. any ideas?
This is an exerpt from something i've been working on for a couple of months. i thought i'd put it out there and see how people react to it. still not sure what i want to do with it yet. any ideas?

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Published by: Luke Conlan on Apr 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/07/2013

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Something in one of the toilet cubicle next to him was making a sound like a rabid dog barkingthrough a tin can.He lifted his head slightly, glanced in the direction of the noise, and then returned to his book.Since taking his job at The Martyr, Sean had become sour. Not because he hated his job, althoughhe did hate his job very much, but because he hated the idea of doing the same thing day after day.He had become volatile, selfish, impudent, intolerably moody and, worst of all, boring. Each dayafter work he would make his way home, eat a meal with his parents, have a fight about somethingunimportant and retire to bed. The next day he would get up, eat a bowl of cereal, drink a cup of tea,go to work and think about how he could improve his lot.His everyday life had become a challenge. He was constantly trying to surprise himself, not throughachievement but through extraordinary outbursts of passion, fury, anger, ludicrous confessions thathe wasn't sure had any relation to the real world.“Coauucaouwww-” that noise again. It was a strange noise, unlike anything he had ever heardbefore. He glanced once again in the direction of the sound, paused for a second, let out a resignedbreath and closed his book. The previous evening Sean had broken his hand when he had punchedhis bedroom wall. He had been trying to repair a puncture and had realised that the attachment forhis bike pump was the wrong size and that the entire exercise had been futile.He looked at his grazed knuckles, at his swollen baby finger, at the dark blue bruising between hisindex and middle fingers, he sighed again.“What the fuck is this?”“Coauucaouwwwaawww...” that noise again.“What the fuck is that noise?”The rabid dog in the tin can was obviously becoming agitated. Sean stood up, buttoned his trousers,and opened the cubicle door.Now, more than ever, he felt that his life was getting away from him. He was not a bad person, hehad never wronged anybody, he would like to think of himself as caring, compassionate, someonepeople would like to be around. He was not, though. Shortly after taking his job at the Martyr, Seanhad come to realise that he was none of these things. He was a moody person who generally thoughtabout himself before anybody else. He was bad at his job, had no partner, wasn't particularlypleasing to look at and could overcomplicate the simplest of tasks.He was 23 years old and had never really experienced independence. He was completely reliant onhis parents to provide him with food, shelter. His intern job with the newspaper barely provided himwith enough money to fund his social life, which generally consisted of smoking weed in hisfriends' houses.The water gushed out of the tap onto Sean’s injured hand. It was hotter than he had expected,impossibly hot in fact. It stung his cut knuckles and caused him to let out a strange coughing noise.Trying to stifle his anger, he focussed on his own image which was reflected cruelly in the mirrorover the sink. He stood perfectly still, fists clenched, teeth gritted, legs trembling as he came togrips with this grave encroachment. He traced the lines around his mouth with his eyes, followedthe contours of his shoulders, down his left arm, through his fingers, over his broken hand, downthe creases of his left trouser leg and onto the floor. He could hear his heart beating in his chest, hecould feel his eyes quivering with rage at this injustice.“Why is the water that hot?” The water really was incredibly hot.“Caouuuuaaowwwcaouaarrr...” Louder this time. This was the first time it had registered with Seanthat the noise was coming from somewhere inside the bathroom, from one of the cubicles actually.He glanced towards the door, making sure that there was nobody else in the bathroom, made hisway towards the cubicles and stopped outside the one he had heard the noise come from.The water continued to gush out of the tap, he had made no attempt to turn it off after he had burnedhis hand. Had the water not been splashing onto the tiled floor of the office toilets the room wouldhave been in total silence.“Caaaoucarraoffffofff” There was no doubt about it anymore. The noise was most definitely comingfrom one of the toilet cubicles. Slowly and as quietly as he could manage, Sean crept along the row
 
of cubicles, shoving each door open as he passed and peering inside. There were 5 cubicles in total,the first four he had checked had been empty. Nothing exceptional in any of them really. Now Seanstood outside the fifth toilet cubicle, the one he had just come out of and the only one he was suredidn't contain a rabid animal. He gave the door a light shove, there was some resistance. The doorwas not locked but something stopped it from opening fully. He pushed again. The door opened acouple of inches, revealing a curtain of burgundy velvet.“What the fuck is this?”“Carrouuuawwwoorrfff...” Louder this time. Angrier. More savage.Sean rubbed his injured hand, glanced back at the mirror, then back at the curtain, then to the toiletfloor that he had just flooded. Sean rushed over to the tap and turned it off.“Carrooouaulllrrr......carooowwwlarrrrr.” There was an urgency to the growling now. It echoed offthe blue tiled walls of the office bathroom, bounced off the soaked floor, left Sean feeling veryalone, very confused.He returned to the cubicle whence the noise had come. He pushed the door, harder this time, takinginto account the resistance of the velvet curtain, he pushed the door with both hands, pressed hisshoulder against it, pushed it with all his strength. The growling became more insistent, moredesperate, fainter, tinnier. The door didn't budge.“Carroooaauuucarroouuucarrooouuulllll....”Sean slipped on the wet tiled floor, he rammed his shoulder into the cubicle door, managing to openit an inch at a time. He drove both fists into the green MDF, frantic, desperate to find out what wasgoing on. He clawed at the lock with his nails, cutting his fingertips quite badly in the process.The more Sean struggled the more the rabid dog growled and moaned. He was becoming desperate,frantic, with each shove the door got stiffer. The bottom of the curtain was soaking up the water offthe toilet floor and was getting stuck beneath the door. Frantic. Desperate. Frantic. Sean charged atthe cubicle door, he heard his neck and shoulder clicking as the impact jarred his entire body.Again, he walked to the other side of the room and charged at the door, two more inches.Again, taking a bigger run up. Shoulder and door crunched simultaneously. Sweat ran down Sean’sback now, he had to make sense of this rabid dog. Again, from the far wall Sean ran, every fibre ofhis body contrived to open that door. He charged, leapt shoulder first at the door and collapsed onthe wet tiled floor.Grabbing a handful of the soaked velvet curtain, Sean began to tear and gnaw at it. He pulledlengths of material out of the cubicle and left it piled on the floor. He dragged the curtain with allthe strength he could muster. The muscles in his back tensed and tore, his neck and shouldersquivered and collapsed under the immense strain. Nothing.Sean was a mess. He was out of breath, he had cut his face just above the left eyebrow, his shirt andtrousers were dripping wet, his neck and shoulders were red and swollen. He picked himself up,looked in the mirror, turned to the door and pushed it open.The burgundy curtain parted effortlessly revealing a toilet cubicle, identical in many respects to theother four. Sean entered the cubicle, looked at the curtain questioningly, closed the door behind himand sat down. There was no sign of a tin can, much less a rabid dog. The one curious feature of thisbathroom however was the presence of Sean’s bicycle pump.The pump sat atop the cistern of the toilet. It was definitely the same one that had failed him theprevious evening because he instantly recognised the ill-manufactured attachment.Sean sat in the cubicle for a couple of minutes, until he had gotten his breath back. He stood up,picked up his pump and went back to his desk in the news room. Despite being bloodied, soakingwet, and limping heavily he managed to arouse little suspicion from his colleagues.Minutes passed and he didn't move. He wasn't angry, which was unusual. He wasn't scared, orupset. He wasn't confused. He wasn't anything really.After about five minutes he returned to the bathroom to see if there were any clues as to what had just happened. The floor was still wet, the velvet curtain still hung on the toilet cubicle, the reams ofmaterial that he had pulled from the cubicle still lay in a sodden mess on the tiled floor. The rabiddog still growled from his tin can. Fainter though.

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