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blackdove2's (blackdove2 on UKA) UKArchive
2 Archived submissions found.
Title
Waiting (posted on: 28-11-08)
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Waiting Maybe you'll see me tonight at the same place waiting. Not that you'd choose to be on Gypsy Brae in the dark at that time waiting. But then you see I've no way back. So I stay waiting for the red car and the window with the slow sinking sound as it unwinds waiting as the door swings open crunching shut with me inside knowing that's my last trick waiting. Twenty-five years ago Sheila Anderson a twenty-seven year old mother of two was found dying after being dumped then repeatedly run over on Gypsy Brae, Edinburgh. Police have decided to re-open this cold case as the killer has never been caught.
Archived comments for Waiting
Mezzanotte on 28-11-2008
Waiting
Dear Blackdove2

The poem made my spine creep before I'd even read that it was based on a real life event. I think you've done a great job of conveying a sense of bad presentiment and darkness with very few words.

A good, chilling poem.
Jackie




Author's Reply:
Thanks Jackie,

I take my dog there to walk sometimes and if the light is fading at this time of year there is an eerieness about the place - or maybe it's knowing what happened there.
One thing that came out of Sheila's death is now Lothian Polices have introduced tolerence zones in the city where street girls can go unharrassed by police. But the fact the man responsible is still out there is the scariest part of it.
Jem

ruadh on 28-11-2008
Waiting
I liked this. Simple but atmospheric Jem. Well done.

ailsa

Author's Reply:
Hi Ailsa,
Long time since I've been here. Nice to hear from you and thanks for your nice comment.
Jemx

Sunken on 29-11-2008
Waiting
Hello Blackdove. Welcome to uka. Have you been a member before? Your name seems familiar. I agree with Ms. Ailsa, atmospheric is the word.

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he keeps a canary by his immersion heater

Author's Reply:
Yes Sunk, I am the same person, only it been such a long time since I've been here, I couldn't manage re-activate my old account, so I had to create a new one.
My head's been walkabout for about two years now and writing had just become a chore.
Hopefully I'm past that and I'm up and at it again now.
Thanks again for the welcome back and the kind comment, you're still a gentleman of the first rank.
Jemx

Munster on 29-11-2008
Waiting
Hi, a well written and thought provoking piece.

Tony

Author's Reply:
Thank you Tony
Jemx

Romany on 01-12-2008
Waiting
I agree, you have managed to convey a sinister feeling in very few words. The poor woman.

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany,
Yes, what a horrible way to end up. If you saw the place at night it would certainly give you the creeps, thinking about what happened to that poor girl.
Cheers,
Jemx


The Music Box (posted on: 28-11-08)
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The Music Box
Her name was Susan. She was two years above me at school, her hair was milky bar kid blond and long, half way down her back. She always wore it in French plaits to school, neat corn rows either side of her head with coloured ribbons at the ends matching whatever she was wearing that day. In all the years we lived next door to each other we never spoke. I don't know if I wished I could be her or just wanted what she had. Maybe it was a schoolgirl crush. Probably all three. Often I hated her. But always I watched her, looking out through the window of the room which we called the side room. It went all the way along the gable end, twice as long as it was wide, the depth of the house. I'd sit there staring across the narrow strip of garden beyond the wire fence that separated our two houses, looking directly into a house the mirror image of ours. Although it wasn't really. You went from uncut grass and bits of old bikes to a neat lawn and scalloped edges, as if the wire fence was the border between chaos and order. The ground plans might be exactly the same but that was all. And her room was the girl who had everything's. Mine, well it never was. Mine I mean. I always shared it off and on, sometimes with an older sister, sometimes a niece and every so often with my mother after her and my father had been fighting. Her 'I'm going to throw myself in the filters' times we called them. The furniture in the side room was mismatched, big and old but not in a good way, mostly utility pieces people had off loaded on my mother long ago, relics from the war years and rationing. Even their G plan stuff they went on to buy on HP to replace it was looking dated by that time. The curtains well they came courtesy of the WRVS, fibreglass with shiny ferns growing on them. The walls had been papered by my mother in two lots - a last bargain from Henry Gilmour's retirement sale before I was born. Often in the evening I would sit in the dark and have a camera view right in to the room across. In it Susan McGill had every shade of pastel you could think of. Her furniture was painted creamy white. On her bed was the palest lilac candlewick bedspread, big cabbage peonies rising up in swirls at the middle with boxed corners to cover bed legs and this sort of tailored bit for the pillows to fit into at the top. A pink bunny pyjama case lay on top. Some nights her brother would be in her room. When he was there they'd listen to his transistor. Radio Luxemburg. They'd sit there waiting for seven o'clock to come . A tinny sound would float over. I'd go forward to hide behind the jaggy curtains miming along to the songs. My favourite, Credence Clearwater Revival.                          I see a bad moon arising, I see trouble on the way… I could even make out the fitted carpet on the floor, all swirling beige. Susan never wore shoes in her room, only fluffy mule slippers just like the ones Doris Day had in that old film Move Over Darling. Her room was the nearest thing I'd ever seen to living in the movies, with David Cassidy looking down from the wall, smiling his American smile.                                                                                                          I felt like the little match girl, peering in as her mother brought up cocoa and a biscuit most nights at eight. She would have slippers on too, never shoes. It always surprised me how plain her mother was. Round and red faced, her untidy hair going grey, clothes too tight. We had that in common. Change of life babies my mother said. Told me I was lucky I hadn't been born dighted. She'd say it in that jokey way and I knew she didn't mean it, though I did worry sometimes. What if I had been? After the cocoa Susan would put on her powder puff dressing gown and go to the bathroom with a towel over her arm. I'd watch her mother straighten things, taking a finger to dust the tops of books I would have loved not just to read but to own. Especially the new Jackie annual she'd got for Christmas. At last she sat down, perched on the edge of her daughter's bed as if she were frightened her large body might mess it up. As if she had no right to be there. When Susan came back they began the nightly ritual, unbraiding the plaits, brushing out corrugated hair. I watched the brush go through those kinks time after time. On Susan's face I saw an expression like a cat being stroked. I think it was at those times I disliked her most. I can still remembered the day I noticed the music box. Maybe it had been a birthday present, anyway suddenly it was there, sitting on her dressing table by the window. I hadn't thought of it as anything special till she took it to her bed, all pink and new, turning the key at the back round and round. It was when she opened the lid the little figure of a ballerina in a gauze tutu sprang up and began twirling round and round. Through the open window, across the narrow strip of garden I heard the faint notes, like tiny bells, da da da da da da dum - da dum. I tried piecing the sounds to a tune but I'd never heard it before. Eventually I found out it was called Pour Elise after I heard Mr. Gillespie our music teacher playing it one day at school and asked him. It was by Beethoven he said. Seemed right somehow. Often I'd go up to look at the music box when I knew Susan wouldn't be there. I willed it to open and the little figure to jump up and dance. Sometimes she'd forget to close the lid and the spring inside would uncoil, the tune playing slower and slower till the last few notes got drawn out and squeezed through. The ballerina would then stand stalk still with her hands in the air and I knew I'd never wanted anything as much as I wanted that music box. Sometimes Mrs. McGill would give my mother things Susan had grown out of. It was always nice stuff, well looked after and smelling lovely but I refused to wear any of it after Alison Murray blurted out in front of the whole class, 'she's wearing Susan McGill's clothes.' No amount of shouting from my mother could ever induce me to be seen in any of those things again. But I'd have taken the music box quicker than snow from a dyke if it had been offered. But it never was. It was round about this time Mrs. McGill went into hospital. My mother said she had women's problems. 'Ida McGill's never been right you know. No since the change.' This was said in a special whispery voice reserved for such topics and she'd say no more. Susan rarely played the music box after her mother took ill. It stood permanently open on the windowsill, the ballerina's arms frozen above her head. Most nights the brother and sister would sit on her bed and listen to the top forty as he brushed her hair just like I'd seen her mother doing. To me this was amazing. All my brother ever liked to do my hair was pull it. It was the night they caught me watching them that it happened. They'd been having a play fight on the bed, Susan trying to grab the radio off her brother. Perhaps I moved, for it was in that instant they both looked up. I just stood there like some dumb animal before trying to hide behind the curtains but still watched through a slit between the edge of the curtain and the window frame. They both stood up. They moved towards the window. Keeping one arm round Susan's shoulder, her brother reached over and took the ballerina between his index finger and thumb. Looking straight to where I was standing he broke the little doll off from the spring that attached it to the music box, the same way a farmer breaks a turkey's neck at Christmas. And on Susan's face I saw it. The same look I'd seen before. Like some cat who'd got the cream.                                                         
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Archived comments for The Music Box
ruadh on 28-11-2008
The Music Box
This brings back memories lol. Used to love listening to Radio Luxemburg at night at the weekend and I always wanted one of those music boxes. The childhood envy comes across well and I can picture the scenes clearly. The ending wasn't what I expected. Not sure what I expected but it wasn't that. I think I thought it would be connected to the mother going into hospital somehow. Whilst I was reading, I then assumed the music box was going to get broken during the fight and this would 'ruin' the seemingly perfect relationship between the brother and sister, thus showing that Susan's life had flaws too. I think what bothers me is that the brother snapped the ballerina, but how did they know that's what the girl was looking at or liked? Just my tuppenceworth.

Author's Reply:
Hi Ailsa,
I meant the story to be a bit darker than that...
What I wanted to suggest was some sort of deeper relationship between brother and sister. Didn't it work? I read it out at a writing class and some of them thought that was suggested. Or maybe there was too much other detail which lightened it, perhaps?
Thanks for the comment, it's made me look at it in a different light and that is good.
Jem

ruadh on 03-12-2008
The Music Box
Hi Jem

I did pick up on the darker side of the relationship but it didn't appear to have any significance to the music box, which seemed to be the focus of the story, so it kinda takes a back seat. It did, however, pique my interest so I was looking for more regarding that. I wondered if this was part of a longer piece. I enjoyed the story nonetheless so please remember my opinion is only 'one' opinion, others will no doubt interpret things differently. Good to see you back.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 04-12-2008
The Music Box
Hello again Ms. Dove. I just read this over a salad bap. It was most enjoyable. Said bap wasn't bad either (-;

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he hasn't chips since Sunday

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 04-12-2008
The Music Box
PS. I did get the dark side. I'm a bloke tho, it's my job.

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he believes that tin foil is the future

Author's Reply:

sirat on 07-12-2008
The Music Box
I agree with Ailsa, the darker side is certainly suggested but the connection between that and the ballerina isn't clear, at least to me. Maybe if the music box had some significance for Susan and her brother – perhaps if Susan always wound it up and set it going as a signal for her brother to come to the room (although that might be a bit crass) – it just needs something to give it meaning as a symbol.

Have you seen the film Music Box? Now that's dark!

Author's Reply: