A Skulk – Part IV
by Timothy J Jarvis
Part IV of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.
Soundtrack: Seaworthy and Taylor Deupree, ‘Hollow’
The following morning Waclaw woke early, headsore, gutsick, took a gulp of water from the glass by his bedside, heaved, then, after struggling out of bed, made for his bathroom with a lurching gait, knelt by his toilet, brought up a mess of bile, drink, and kebab. When he’d finished throwing up, he fell back and sat huddled on the tiled floor for a time, shaking and sweating.
Perhaps he dozed, for it was much lighter outside when he was roused by the doorbell. Cursing, he got to his feet, stumbled, head reeling, legs unsteady, out of his flat, down to the front door of the building. Opening it, he found Melanie standing there on the doorstep. She’d washed and wore a skirt and blouse that, though creased, were in good repair.
‘What is it?’ he asked.
Looking up at him, grinning, she revealed that she’d been hiding, behind her back, clutched in her right fist, a bunch of weeds tied up with twine.
He grimaced. Crestfallen, she cast the posy to the ground.
‘It’s no good, it’s no good,’ she raved, pulling at her hair, stamping her feet. Then, calming herself, she reached out, took Waclaw’s hand, said, in low imploring tones, ‘Can’t you see? I love you, I’ve fallen in love with you.’
Waclaw gently withdrew his hand.
‘I’m sorry Melanie, but I don’t…’
She balled her fists, yowled high and loud, stamped her feet.
‘I’ll show you, I’ll show you, I’ll show you, I’ll show you!’
Reaching down, she picked up the spray of weeds, darted off down the street. She’d not gone far when she stopped, turned back.
She spat on the ground, fleeted away.
Waclaw went up to his flat, got back into bed, waited for his hangover to abate, clutching his head from time to time.
A few days later, Waclaw, who’d had ambitions to be a writer as a youth, ambitions he’d had to smother, when, in his late teens, following his father’s death, it had fallen to him to support the household, something that fretted him, though only in the same distant, abstract way he regretted never speaking kindly to the strange, lonely girl at school whose wide face and old-fashioned braided chignon he found beautiful, but mocked along with the other children, was sat at his desk in front of his typewriter, working, into the night, on a lengthy autobiographical poem he was composing, in a neologistic blend of Polish and English, about his immigrant experience, when a light came on in the young woman’s flat. He looked over, curious. Seemingly drunk, reeling slightly, she stood by her bed, undressing. She’d stripped down to her underwear, when a large beast lumbered towards her. Waclaw started, then realised it was a man dressed in a fur coat, with the hood up. As Waclaw watched, the man shrugged off the coat, and the couple grappled and fell down on the bed. Pinning the man down, the girl scrabbled, slightly frantic, at his clothes. The man fumbled with the clasp of her bra a moment, took it off, then sucked at one of her breasts, as if suckling. Waclaw pulled down his blind and returned to his verse, but he could no longer concentrate. Switching off the light, he crossed again to the window, pushed the blind aside, and looked out. The couple were fucking on the bed, the girl on top, her head thrown back. Waclaw watched them a moment, but felt sordid. After turning the light back on, he got down his well-worn copy of Sanatorium Pod Klepsydrą and lay reading in bed till he fell into a doze. When he woke, a little while later, he went over to the window, looked out once more. The girl and young man lay naked, snarled up in each other, nacred, moonsheen on a slick of sweat.
To be continued…