Well it happened, my novelette Monty is done and it is in the world. This story is the amalgamation of all of my anxious 3am thoughts. It is short and fast paced just like a smack to the face.
"Monty is a wild but kind androgynous drifter, chasing after the wonder in the regular.
But trying to live without ties to anything, proves to be a hard philosophy to hold up, especially now that Monty is home in Melbourne after running off six months earlier.
In one autumn night filled with cigarettes, offbeat friends and house fires.
Monty must choose to tackle their painful past or keep running from themselves and everyone that cares."
Here is a little taste:
A house is burning to the ground. Smoke whips up from the windows, its dirty worn bricks fall, one by one. The red glow of it lights up the shocked expressions of the neighbours, out on their lawns. As well as the two glorious people beside me, Art and Nadia, the three of us admiring from across the street.
"Whoohoo," Art hollers.
I can't hold it in either; I stay still as long but then my hips start moving to the rhythm of the thing. The flames licking up everything in their desperate, hungry way. Because yeah, let it all burn, let every possession, every memory burn away to the purity of nothing. These homeowners would get over it, really they were made free by it, the lucky things. There's a howling in everything tonight, the people, the concrete, the sky. And it all starts right here, with this burning house.
The roof collapses with a whoosh of heat. The sky is crackling with its electric storm. I can feel it all. This night, life, once again is being shaken up. I have no idea where the pieces of it will settle. Good. Let them never settle again. I wave my arms around and jump and yell. Ash is falling like snow, the smoke making clouds, the heat of the thing blasting through my skin and straight into my bones.
Nadia clasps my shoulder, "Monty, let's move,"
I take one last good look and we run off down the street, all three of us. Running from the inevitable finger of blame that always lands on rascals like us. Even though we didn't actually light it, this one anyway.
Art takes the lead, his dark hair leaving a trail of ash in the sky. His long, pale limbs moving like grasshopper legs. The ethereal glow from his skin lighting up the dark streets.
Nadia is just ahead of me. Powerful muscle, brown skin, brown hair. She has the fiery presence of three people, and a mind that penetrates deeply into everything and everyone.
And then me, chasing after them as I do. An in-between, nothing at all. No gender, no home, no anything. But I am full and complete with the world, all absorbed up into it. Ah, and full with fire now.
The streets rush past as we leap through the yellow lights. We run too fast, we laugh too loudly. We are too young and too old and too much. This night is open for the taking and we are rushing for it. We run and run and jump onto a train, any train, the doors shut before my feet even hit the ground. The carriage is empty and scrawled with graffiti.
Art claps his hands together, "The perfect start to an evening,"
We are grinning like fools. Nadia wipes some black soot off of Art's cheek, I dust some ash out of my brown curls. The train creaks away from the platform and picks up speed. We are whirling forward into time with fire dancing in our eyes. I glance at the timetable and whoop with joy.
"The night has aligned for us. Would you believe we're on the right train? Ha! Even though every train would be the right train, yeah." I shrug to finish the thought.
"But this one heads to the partay," Nadia adds.
Art smirks, "Well, I've orchestrated this remarkably well, haven't I?" he says.
"Not so well as to have a bottle of anything...or is it tucked away?" Nadia starts to pat Art up and down like a copper. He bats her away but she reaches into his jean pocket and pulls out a black flask.
Nadia shrieks with excess rage, "You selfish, selfish boy."
She undoes the lid and presses it to her lips.
"Careful my lady," Art bows, "That is not an alcoholic beverage, that's a herbal remedy, specially brewed by yours truly."
I jump up to the railings and swing with the moving train, "Yep, that sounds very promising."
Art's face twists with sick delight, "You have no idea."
"I don't get it. Was that supposed to deter me?" Nadia takes a swig and chucks it back to Art.
I feel her attention snap to me, "I hear the lovely Daria is going to be at the party tonight."
Art chucks me the flask, I drop down to catch it and take a gulp of my own. The herbal remedy is bitter and thick. It burns down my throat and waters up my eyes.
I swallow again, "So?"
Art mimics my voice, "Yeah, so?"
"I like Daria and Mont likes Daria," Nadia says.
I shrug and busy myself looking past the long limbs, curly brown hair and sluggish green eyes of my reflection on the dark glass.
"Monty," Nadia sighs.
"Why are you so keen on Daria anyway?" I ask.
Nadia takes a step toward me, "Because, I think you deserve something wonderful. You've had such a rotten time of it."
I frown at that and grab the flask for another swig. Rotten is just a word, I don't think anything is rotten really. I have everything wonderful at my fingertips because I choose to see it. I'm only home now because, well I don't even know why I'm back in Melbourne, but who cares.
"What's so rotten?" I say with a half shrug and a smirk.
Nadia lets out a harsh breath and the train stops. We have arrived, and not a moment too soon. I smile at Nadia who shakes her head. We follow the bouncing Art off the train and out onto the empty platform. I light three cigarettes and pass one to Art and one to Nadia.
Art takes a heavy drag and blows it up towards the sky.
"Enough talk of nonsense. Let's arrive shall we?" Art says.
I take a running leap over the ticket machines, land and hold up both hands like a gymnast who has just completed a particularly impressive trick. The others follow suit and we head out onto the street. We move together as a pack, a cloud of smoke and golden thoughts trailing behind us.
Art and Nadia share a barrage of intimate banter, which only they could ever understand. I wander on behind them, feeling the smoke enter and exit my lungs. I like watching my breath disappear, here and then gone so fast. As we get closer, I feel something. It's like my eyes are flashing like two green orbs into the darkness. Gosh, I swear I can remember all of this happening already. Nadia and Art in front of me, heads bowed together and this particular party we are attending. Like it was all whispered to me before I was born. But then it is like my senses are all new again.
I bellow out a laugh, "I think the herbal remedy is kicking in guys,"
Art salutes me, "Oh yes, we are in for quite a ride my good friend."
Nadia starts cackling which turns into singing, which becomes a duet with Art. I can't help but just grin and grin at them. Maybe it's okay being back home in good old Melbourne city. I didn't know I missed these two, but I have. Maybe there's plenty here.
We move off the busier streets and into the poorly lit student housing streets. The run down, over crowded little joints where those enjoying the magic of youth eat, sleep and fuck. There is one pulsing house. It is rickety and covered in vines, cottage like, if you ignore the flashing strobe through the window. A crowd of people spill out into the street in front of it, smoking, drinking, laughing.
"There it is," Nadia says.
I rub my belly and draw it all in through my mouth. Here we go.
You can get your own copy on Amazon here.