Saturday, June 25, 2016

Start the summer with a bang: Still Life with Memories

Why not start the summer with a bang? Here are three excerpts, specifically chosen for their impact, from each one of the novels in my series, Still Life with Memories:

So instead I raise my head and with wild, vicious force, I bang my forehead, then bang it again against the keyboard. I’m free now, so free to attack it. The beast wakes up, and from its belly springs a sharp, fierce cry, which makes the air tremble in bursts, short bursts coming at me, doubled by echoes from every wall, every corner.
Meanwhile, in the background, I can hear them blinds, like, smacking each other, and giving way, suddenly, to a gust of wind. And there, in the opening of the glass door, which leads to the balcony, I spot his outline, standing behind the tape recorder. 
The moonlight shines briefly on his shoulders as Lenny crosses the threshold. With a slight limp he makes his way in, and leans over my shoulders. And I can feel his strong arms wrapping around mine, arresting me, blocking my attempt to bang, bang, bang the keys. He turns me around—but me, I try to refuse him, and I fight like a savage, like a cat, and something surges in me, so in my fury I push him, I shove him away real hard, till he falls to his knees before me. 

Anita in My Own Voice

So then, bang! I pound the keys, this time fortissimo—with full strength!—as if to cry, Stop! No more darkness, no more gloom! There’s a thud, there’s a boom! Hear this, right here? Hear my voice? Tell me, Yes—you have no choice! 
And before this phrase fades out Anita straightens her back, and places her hand on the keys. Then, to my astonishment, she plays the next phrase of music, this time with raw, intense force, which I never knew existed in her, bringing it to the verge of destruction, making it explode all around me. And I, in turn, explode with the following one, because how can I let her outdo me? I am, after all, The Entertainer... 
Here I come! Here I drum! No more woes. Let me close! Let me in, hold me tight! Don’t resist me, do not fight—

The M1 Granad, with which our company was practicing shooting skills, is a semi-automatic, shoulder-fired rifle loaded by inserting a metal clip that contains eight rounds into the receiver. Once the eighth round has been shot, the empty clip automatically ejects with a notable noise, a ping that would cost the lives of many soldiers, as it would provide the enemy with a clue as to their whereabouts, especially in close-combat fighting. 
That morning in training camp it was not the sound of loading, nor was it that distinct ping that alerted me to danger, but the whisper of blades of grass tearing asunder, falling with a whoosh left and right as the bullet came flying straight at me. Like a thunderbolt, it hit my shoulder. There is nothing friendly about so-called friendly fire. Searing pain started spreading to my arm, my entire quivering body. I staggered into a spin and fell onto the soft soil of the earth.
My mind drifted in and out of consciousness. At some point I felt a stretcher bouncing under me, and realized I was being carried somewhere, perhaps to the army hospital. I heard someone ask, “Is he still breathing?” 
Wincing in pain I tried to answer, but my tongue would not move. 
I recall hands, many hands touching me, grasping my arms and legs, lifting my body onto some hard surface. Then they started to apply direct pressure and elevate my limbs, perhaps to control the bleeding. 
I passed out. I came to. 
With the bullet isolated from the flesh and pulled out, splints and dressings were applied to immobilize the injured area, which was then wrapped with a dressing. I glanced at my left side. It was beginning to look like a mound of white gauze. 
I got a glimpse of the sterile table next to me. It was littered with empty syringes, clamps, and a heap of cotton swabs, most of which were drenched in blood. And there, in their shadow, lay surgical Mosquito forceps. Normally they would be used for halting flow in small blood vessels, but right now they were holding something between their delicate, serrated tips. A bullet.
I passed out. I came to. 

Lenny in The Music of Us

On the way back to London I could barely keep my eyes open, except for the very beginning of the journey. The meadow looked gray, with dead horses, cattle and mattresses strewn all about, covered in falling debris. Of the nearby farm, not a single structure remained in place, and not a brick could be found anywhere near it that resembled building material. And there, rising to the sky, swaying in the wind, hung a mushroom cloud.
The earth quaked. Casting a look over my shoulder I saw a ripple going through it. Then a big depression was being formed out there, with cracks yawning wide. Before long it became a cavernous crater, maybe a hundred feet deep, threatening to swallow us alive. Its mouth spit up dirt and rocks, only to devour them with an incredible crackling sound as they came tumbling down. There was something eerie about this landscape. It was ravenous. Riding at utmost speed, we kept just out of its lip.

 Love reading? Get this series 

Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Volume IV: Dancing with Air
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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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