First 1000 words of “The End of the Garden”

Since I was last posting I went through a series of Depressive Episodes before I found a regimen of therapy, meditation and supplements that helped. I’ve managed to go a couple of months without SERIOUS suicidal thoughts – actually considering the means etc. I have the odd few death wish thoughts but the’re relatively mild.

In other news I attended a discovery day for new authors held at Foyles, Charing Cross Road where Literary Agents Curtis Brown did a meet, greet and read for authors. The line was through the door and there were timed slots all through the day. I gave them the first three pages of my novel and they loved it. I need to try and get it finished this year and then submit it. They’ve given me a name to submit to so I’m now very motivated to think, act and plan as a writer rather than as a wannabe.

So pleased to present the beginning  of “The End of the Garden” by Yusuf (Smiley) Yearwood. (1st novel on backburner, 2nd novel cooking nicely)

(UNEDITED 1st draft)

And there squats on a river next to a swamp a bloated ugly creature. It was once beautiful but time has punished it for its corruption of eating the flesh of the young and the innocent and the desperate traveller. It’s size has deformed and disfigured it and it is now unrecognisable from its former stoic beauty.  It has grown many arms and reaches out across the land grasping unceasingly to feed itself tearing flesh from bone, root from land and child from mother. It’s body is dirty and rotting save from those parts it licks clean to satisfy a memory of a dignity it once had.

Early October, 1980

The little corner of London had withstood the blitz, fire, flood and storm. It was close knit, welcoming and cosmolpolitan. It was poor but proud as the residents were not above telling anyone who would listen. Old cars which should have been long scrapped and replaced were polished within an inch of their lives and lined the streets defying time and sometimes the law. It was against all the odds a happy little neigbourhood, but all good things must come to an end.

The fog that day was memorable. No-one on the street could remember anything like it. The older women on the street stood in the gardens and couldn’t see one another across their fences. The damp cold got into chests and sickened the elderly and the weak. The entire city was blanketed and from the air the city almost invisible.

These were the days before the skyscrapers rose and destroyed the old skyline. If you climbed onto the roof of the last house on the terrace on a clear day you could see the

The weather had turned and the meteorologists on TV had declared yet another coldest winter and yet another promise of a White Christmas – Yes for sure! Definite probability! Might be worth a flutter.

The moving van was tall enough that had someone wanted to they could have stood on top of it and passed boxes directly into the first floor through a window. To the passer by it looked like some huge child had placed it by hand in the parking space. The peeled out of the van and jumped into the road one after the other like a well drilled military unit and began their work. There was a Volkswagen beetle behind and the vans double doors had just scraped over the bumper when it had opened. The British Gas in front of the van was now so securely boxed in that the gas fitter had gone off to make a phone call to let his office know he was going to be delayed and was now tucking into a second cooked breakfast in the ancient cafe on the corner.

Geoff was the boss of the four moving men, “Daa” to one, “Unc” to the other two, but he usually insisted that they call him Mr. Collins.

The van doors had swung open to reveal a minor miracle in organisation. The van could be unpacked floor to floor, room to room, from the back corner of each room to the front with the “Fragiles” placed in the centre of each room so gently the dust hadn’t been disturbed. Military precision of a sort.

The men of the Collins family were hard workers and surprisingly there was a lot to move for one woman and her infant boy. They weren’t complaining, the whole experience was strangely satisfying. The young woman was charm personified and all four Collins’ were utterly enchanted by her. She said her husband was no longer with her and their hearts had melted because they had inferred she was a widow and who doesn’t feel sympathy for a young widow with a baby. She was graceful and well spoken and nobody’s fool. She’d already caught them out once today and it wasn’t even midmorning yet. She’d noticed their creative maths when they tried to charge her for a fifth man which far from annoying Geoff had rather tickled him.

It wasn’t until the second morning after moving in and her first night of sleep that Emmie allowed the enormity of what had happened sink in. She stood in the kitchen wrapped tightly in a dressing gown and a scarf round her neck. The ancient expiring boiler had little chance of warming even this modest terraced house but like the little train that could it tried anyway. The fan heater burnt money but she turned it on anyway. She wanted her 3 year old son to wake up in the warm; wake up in comfort; wake up at home.

“This is mine” she whispered to herself. She laid her hand on the textured wallpapered wall badly painted over by a well meaning previous owner. The colour was a gloriously naff orange and here and there, rips in the wallpaper inexpertly re-painted over by someone who was a loveable mixture of house-proud and all-thumbs. A wooden hand rail lined the wall just out of the front doors range of swing. In its favour it was at just the right height for an elderly lady to catch a hold as she shuffled into her zip-up boots. Not in its favour was the fact it was as crooked as a Stratford market stall.

“That’s going first” she thought to herself.

She brought to mind her mental to-do list of tasks that needed seeing to. There were boxes unpacked in the front room but they were full of items that would eventually end up in random resting places all around the house in days to come. Baby boy had of course seen to making sure his toys, comics and books were all in their new spaces in shelves, cupboards and corners as a child would prioritise, only noticing his clothes had magically appeared after a day or so.

“Nothing to worry him” The thought brought a smile to her face and that rush of happiness gave her the strength to make her first cup of tea now that the chill had left the kitchen. It was already eight am on a Thursday but it felt like ten am on a Thursday. The neighbours were quiet and the the only sound in the house was the gurgling in the radiators.

It had been a long journey to get here, growing up Trinidad, studying in Leicester and now settled down in London. She’d made it now the good begin. Her son would grow up and take his place in the world and she would retire to Trinidad one day, her life’s tasks complete and then; then she could rest.

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