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Ambient Spark
by Alex on 1/3/98 4:21AM

Disclaimer: Yeah, I actually wrote this story for school believe it or not... That's why it's not nearly as graphic as it could (or maybe even should) be. The ending is rather too vague and abrupt... will have to change it, though may not benefit the symbolism. I sat down and wrote this right after watching the "Spark" music video. I immediatly wanted to put it to words. Enjoy. Dedicated to and inspired by Myra Ellen Amos (in fact it really is HER idea). May we always go on healing together.
May post more if this goes over well.

A ravenís caw marked the resonance of morning. The inconsistent smells of gasoline and fresh rain lingered like a cloud in the sky. Mist draped the following scene and observed like an all-seeing god. A woman lied in the dead leaves and the mud wondering if she was alive, and if so why she cannot see. She could sense rope; dry and splintered like a great grandmotherís brittle touch around her pale wrists. She could feel a cloth blindfold hung taut over her eyes. She tried to shift only to find one of her boots missing from her foot. The bare foot touched mud and she felt worms inch over her toes. She knew she must be in a forest, and the combining sounds of animals and the smell of gas and cologne choke her into a mist-clogged reminiscence of that morning.

His name was Giovanni and he had smelled of coconut oil and some kind of cheap cologne. It was slowly drizzling outside and she had been watching the rain plink against her windows. He had worn black leather shoes and what seemed to be an exclusive Italian suit. She had answered the door of her one story house in her pale blue-grey dress and black boots, her fiery orange-red hair in an immaculate mess of bright sodden tangles. Giovanni turned out to be a salesman who was peddling encyclopedias from his car. He spoke with a slow rolling southern drawl that was meant to melt women like butter in a warm skillet. With a clean smile of off-white enamel and a seemingly cordial personality, she had trusted the man and took a rite to the black car with the brown leather seats to see the tomes he had been so earnest upon selling. Something hit the back of her head and she had fumbled to a novel sensation of dimness. Several times she could remember waking up and passing back out in what seemed to be the trunk of that car. His mind was running so rampant of thoughts of rape and then murder, or murder and then rape she could feel them pressing against her like a wave of bees. He lit a cigar to quell his excitement. With a disturbing imagery of his bees swarming over her so rampantly they crawled down her throat, she had again retreated to a world of unconscious darkness.

Her guess had been that he had taken her to the nearest forest to do his tasks of malice, but now... she was wondering what she was doing on the soiled damp woodland ground. A toad croaked in the distance, the sound of a bubble eroding from a water cooler. The gasoline worried her. If she could smell the gasoline, then something had happened to the car. Her sore limbs allowed her to perch herself on her knees. She could feel little pricks of broken glass needling against her skin. The remains of a freshly totaled automobile sat a few yards from her. The trunk was open and in its felt upholstered prison sat her missing sable boot. The impact of Giovanni veering off of Route 67 and slamming into a birch tree had rocketed the trunk open throwing her from the car to the forest beyond. She was blindingly lucky despite she was still blindfolded and her arms bounded by his rope. She cursed the man for being so damn kinky, like most of their gender. Her first husband had a flare for handcuffs, and their divorce papers had been signed and promptly folded in the mailbox right on the first of the month. Regardless, the woods sat looming around her like a giant fish behind its prey, and she knew it would not let her leave alive.

Getting on her knees was easy, but now the prospect of standing up seemed virtually impossible. She felt a butterfly, quite possibly a Monarch, flutter on her neck. Strangely, the whispery touch felt reassuring. She stretched one leg out (the bootless one) and smeared her calf with moist mud and soil. Leveling on her leg she steadied herself until she could get both legs into a squat position. She swung herself like a beef hook on the hips of hell, allowing her to thrust upward on her feet. She thought darkly she would have to pat herself on the back when she freed her hands from their sore prison. The smell of gasoline was in front of her, and by instinct she took a few steps back and felt her back meet the scaly bark of a maple tree. Her fingers wiggled like skinny white candles dangling from a bookshelf as she felt the bark. Strangely she could feel an indention in the treeís skin. She ran her fingers upon the crease to discover it was a carving of a heart with two names: Debbie + Trevor. Her sisterís name was Debbie. Debbie had married when she was only eighteen. She had been the homecoming queen and the apple of her parentís adoring eyes. Debbie had married some young buck; possibly the quarterback (her memory was coming and going in sparks of throbbing pain) and he had beaten her well enough to put her in the hospital. Debbie finally talked, and her husband came after her to show her what being a man, a husband, was all about. He had grabbed the shotgun that had sat in the top of the closet...

A manís cough cut through the forestís animal chorus like telephone wires through the sky. Giovanni had awoke and she only stood a rough ten yards from him. She could hear mutters of his twisted dialogue through those same off-white teeth and that same southern drawl that felt like a cat tongue on her ears. She began to creep slowly away with the feel of crunched leaves between one pair of toes. She could feel the forest floor begin a muddy slope downward. She cautiously stepped, as to not trip and unintentionally break her nose. She vaguely remembered the first time she had broken it, she was playing tag in the 7th grade, running after a Billy, running after the rain. He had said she was really an ugly girl, but he liked the way she played, and she literally died, but she had thanked him. And she had run face first into his fist when she beat him. Ironically she had ended up winning that brawl, and the thought gave her a small glimmering hope for her present state. The forest floor now began a wicked rise upward. On her second step her other foot came up without her boot. Pressed for time, she returned to her egress, this time without her boots. She could hear the churning waves of a nearby stream. A beetle munched hopelessly on a blade of grass by her feet.

Thirty minutes later Giovanni got to his feet. "Damn," he began followed by a stream of dialogue laced with curses; "I crashed the damn thing with only two more damn payments on it too,"

He checked his Rolodex watch and thought about how nice it would have been to take the day off instead of having only two more ungenerous hours before having to be back at the office. Unlike his captive he had been lying unconscious inside his car. He lit another cigar and dragged slowly to arraign his diminutive memory. Man, it was his lunch break and he had hoped to go on with his daily ritual of eating at Harperís (a nice thick rib eye steak with sautťed onions, side of french-fries and two tall frosted glasses of Coors), taking some dumb chick with a killer body to a motel for a little "run around the bed post", only to return to work and then come home to his wife and three kids, eat dinner, and watch a little TV or read the paper before going to bed, claiming his wife like he had done everyday of their twenty-five marriage. He normally didnít resort to capturing women, but lately the only reason that kept him wearing pants a little big in the front was the prospect of watching them squirm under his heat. Something in his mind snapped as an inch worth of ashes fell from his cigar. The gal he had "acquired" from this afternoon was nowhere in the surrounding vicinity. He turned back and noticed she wasnít in the trunk, but one black boot that smelled of her perfume marked her recent "departure". He let a yell of rage and checked his watch again, throwing down his lit cigar and ran after her. The cigar laid curiously in a cropping of leaves, a glowing ember at the tip. A puddle of gasoline grew steadily by.

A little lake of water licked her toes. She clenched her teeth at its cool caress. She could hear the bubbling brook loudly now. It sounded like quite a current was running through. She started to think if there was another way she could cross, but when she imagined Giovanniís shoe crunching through the leaves and various mushrooms, she decided on the river. She closed her eyes even under the blindfold; as she began to walk blindly through the unknown shoal that was foamy yet clear on the surface yet murky and savage underneath. She hoped it wasnít too deep or that far across. The water built up to her waist quicker than she had expected before slowly crawling up to her neck. Her soles, quite sore from walking without protection, could feel slippery slime covered rocks. Now the water curdled around her chin like rind on the flesh of a fruit. With a deep breath she went under into the wet murk. She tossed and turned furiously in the current filled trench. She went with the current as well as what she hoped was on the other side of the river. A quick gush of water caught under her blindfold and knocked it off her face. She blinked and looked through the pallid blue water. Behind her in the woods lay the cigar with a small spew of gas now falling towards it. It began to catch in a wild whitish flame. Just as soon as she felt the last whispers of air draining in her lungs she burst upward, wet hair curling around her face, gasping for the precious mist filled air. The car that had brought her to a murky labyrinth of trees and mist exploded behind her.

Giovanni clenched his fingers together as he heard his favorite car give in to the gas and cigar. It was the womanís fault, he thought feverishly, and the only thing that would quell the stinging of rage was that harpyís throat under his clammy excited fingers and palms. He began to walk up a hill of mud when he saw a boot peaking up from a pool of wet soil and twigs. He pulled it out and threw it to the side. The grey sky like a vortex loomed on.

The same raven that had cawed earlier that morning now watched the red haired woman with much curiosity. It again let out a cry and flew over her head. She ran despite the pain caused by the rope digging into her wrists, roughly rubbing against the tender feminine flesh. She ran despite the aches of her bare cold water soaked feet. A bitter wind blew through her blue-grey dress causing her to shiver once again. The butterfly, long since dead from drowning (a much less crueler fate that hers undoubtedly marked) still laid on her neck. Yet, she still ran, blessing her ability to see once again what was in front of her face. Upon making out a small crude wooden fence, she began towards it seeing the beginnings of the forestís only road.

Giovanni checked his watch. An hour had passed since he had been by his sacred automobile. Wanting to kill her more now than ever, he began to wheeze holding on to a branch for support. He was no longer a man of twenty, and this free spirted nymph had called his bluff once again. These thoughts soon dissolved into a red haze of berserk thoughts. He came upon a stream that seemed to stretch on for miles on either end. In his rage he stepped into the churning water intent of catching her if to forest did not do it for him.

She let a cry of joy out as she stepped on to the road. Miraculously she could see a car coming towards her. Faith returned to her as she ran towards the surreal vehicle. The car stopped as she stepped in front of its obscene yellow hood. She could see a young man and woman, both in their twenties now gawking at her. She ran to the side of the car where the woman was now sitting anxiously and showed them her arms bonded by rope. The woman in the car got a petrified countenance on her face and turned to her husband. She appeared to be telling him to let the woman in locate help. The man snorted and began telling her all the reasons why they shouldnít. She was a con artist. She was a murderer. The women in the car looked back at her and saw the surprise and despair in the womanís eyes as they drove away. The woman slumped down on the forestís only road and began to reach for the mist filled air. She had seen the distress in the womanís gaze; it was the same as hers. She had also had seen the bruise on the womanís cheek. Giovanni was going to catch her and make her compensate for his rage. Then she would become worse off than the woman in the car. The ropes finally became too tough for her skin as blood dripped down from her wrists. As her blood, womanís blood, dripped on dry leaves a toad croaked, a raven cawed, worms crawled up from the water, thousands of unseen insects fed on some form of food, and the mist of the forest wrapped around her as a new rain began to fall on her making her wet once again. The forest was not going to let her leave alive. She began to walk down the road in her bare feet hoping for faith once again, an ambient spark flaring amidst life.

"You were wild, where are you now, King Solomonís Mines, Exit 75, Iím still alive, Iím still alive...,"
"Sheís convinced she could hold back a glacier, but she couldnít keep her baby alive...,"
"If the Divine master plan is perfection maybe next time Iíll give Judas a try,"
"So many storms not right somehow, how a lion becomes a mouse by, the woods by the woods by the
~Tori Amos~



The following comments are for "Ambient Spark"
by YesAnastasia

Needs more work
The story had a okay thrill but there were too many errors not to have a re-write.
You should read over the story as you write it so that you won't forget certain events that happened before. (I.E. She was able to read the carving on the tree, but her blindfold didn't come off until later. Unless she can read with her fingers....)
You should also work on bringing in the events gradually or else the reader gets a "Superman" feeling from flying from one point to another.
(Ex: In the beginning of the story you described the aftermath of the crash, but then "fly" right to the kidnapping right away and then back to the crash site.)
This goes for descriptions as well. (The main character smells the gasoline, but doesn't smell the cologne until later ? Also, since the mist was present in the damp forest it should be mentioned again since the main character's blind fold only came off later on when she's running. It would be cool to mention that she was blind from the blind fold, only to be blinded again by the mist after she gets rid of the cloth in front of her eyes.)
Which leads me to the last item on the list : POV-Point of View.
You bounce too much between the kidnapper/rapist, to the woman/victim. Due to this, readers will get confused as to who is the main focus and character. You could've been telling this through either person's POV.

Anyways, I hope that wasn't too harsh and if you though it was, I'm sorry that was never my intention. Your a good writer and even good writers make errors. I just think with a little more "tweaking" this could be a very good story.

( Posted by: Diamond Dog [Member] On: August 16, 2001 )

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