So for my Fabulism class this semester, we had a creative assignment to mimic the writing style of Cormac McCarthy. In particular, his book The Road, possessed page long sentences, a poetic language to his visual descriptions, and almost to no punctuations. Then there’s McCarthy’s style of writing on very dark and gloomy subjects. This was fun to try and I hope you enjoy this short piece.
The girl flinched. Every time a car honked, or a bird cawed or a tire screeched or the breeze whistled or a dog barked from some unseen but existing backyard or a person passed by talking loud on their cell phone or the corner stop sign on the verge of decapitation wobbles and twists with an eerie creak. She’d blame her ears but really it were her nerves, the tiny nerves that once were strong, resilient, and growing in maturity with age. The explosion on a hot summer’s day decided to happen while she strolled and hummed through aisle and aisle pondering whether to buy this or that. No one saw it coming and no one was the wiser. The hairs along her arms did stand and goosebumps crawled across her skin but the brain, the mind, so quick to comfort and put eeriness at ease told her everything was okay. But the strange man that almost knocked her over, high-tailing out the wrong exit, hood pulled down to his nose and head hanging, hands tucked in pockets, and black clothing and army boots screamed something was wrong. Again, her brain, her mind, reassured her everything was fine. This was America, not the middle east. This was her neighborhood. Her street. Her market. No one would do such a thing. But it did and the bang and the boom sent everything flying, bulleting into her fragile body, bursting her eardrums, and crashed her into a shelf of laundry detergent. She woke up in the hospital. The girl didn’t know what happened, but her ringing ears, her bruised bandaged skin spoke volume. The oxygen she inhaled too fast causing her heart to beat faster and the nurses and doctors to run in frantic as the machines went wild told her she was alive. Alive, the girl flinched. Every time she glanced out the door before exiting her house, she flinched. Flinched and glanced back over her shoulder. The dog she carried in her arms was for comfort and anxiety relief but the poor creature shook more than she, whined more than she, froze more than she. Every day she will continue to flinch until death gives her true relief.
Her doctor and her mother suggested she should go to therapy or one of those group therapy sessions. The ones for trauma victims. She procrastinated because every time she looked at herself in her bathroom mirror, any mirror, she would flinch at the scar trailing across her face. It refused to return to the natural color of her plain paled face. But the scar was only part of the reason for not attending any therapy at first. At first, she was in denial of life, asking herself questions on why she survived and did not join the everlasting slumber of the five unfortunates. Who’d ever think detergent could save a soul? Now she hated detergent and would go days without doing laundry. The pile would grow and her clothing would stink and her mother would pass by every day to either convince her to do the laundry or do it herself. So eventually the girl went to therapy, the group one, and glanced shyly at the eight around the circle. No one said a soul on the first day especially when the instructor was ten minutes late. They sipped their coffee and water and nibbled on dry cookies and the girl clamed up and flinched when the ceiling light above her decided to flicker and buzz to let anyone with ears or who cared to know it was about to die. Only then did the girl stand walked to the other side of the circle and asked the green-eyed gentleman if he’d like to switch seats. He nodded didn’t say a thing and gave a quick smile and scurried across the body of their circle to sit in her seat. And then the silence continued and the girl shivered from the draft coming from a cracked window across the room. Finally, on the first day, the therapist arrived and began the session by having – no forcing – everyone to introduce themselves. Their problems were discussed later. The girl prayed at night she would be healed from these edged nerves and hoped in time she would be her old self. But every time she looked in a mirror and saw the scar and attended sessions and flinched everywhere she went she knew deep down in her soul her old self had died in the explosion.
Please tell me what you think below. Try McCarthy’s style on your own. It’s very freeing.
WRITTEN/COPYRIGHTED – LEQUITA C. HARRISON