|Behind the Clouds
Author: learntosayhello PM
Nano '10. When Oliver's new flat comes complimentary with a hole in the floor and a cute kid with a weird accent, his world starts to spiral, almost literally, into revolutionary secrets, underground societies, and quietly, but quickly, toward the all-too-solid earth that he never knew existed. The space on a floating ship has to end at some point. Steampunk. Slashy.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Words: 2,044 - Published: 10-30-12 - id: 3070026
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
To commemorate the commencement (ahaha, see what I did, see? So clever) of 2012's NaNoWriMo, I decided to post the disorganized, 38,000-word failure of 2010. It was the first and last year I both attempted 100,000 words and didn't even make it to 50. For those who don't know, Aleksi was 2011's Nano, and Adam and Noah is 2009.
This will be the first year that I won't be writing Slash! Hurrah! Sara is branching out!
In any case, I apologize in advance for… well, you know what? I'll just put this out here and see what happens.
Have fun, my loves. Tell me how Nano goes for all of you. And, if anybody should like to word-war, shoot me a PM and we'll set something up ;)
- October 29, 2012, 6:56 PM
A fly, with all its grungy little paws outstretched, landed steadily on a patch of dirt on a wine stain on a goblet. It stared rather shamelessly at Oliver with six unblinking eyes. Oliver returned its gaze momentarily, perhaps out of politesse, perhaps because the view was better, before sliding his dilated, sleep-deprived pupils back to the audience, half staring out in a drunken stupor, half asleep with alcohol dripping from their ears. Between his palms, which were cracked and dry and somewhat painful, he gripped his microphone and pressed his lips against the cackling head, unsure of what to say. Once night fell and the hours became wee, all attention toward him, his shuffling feet and his incoherent speech, fell away, and Oliver began to be paid only for his presence.
To the back of him was a red velvet curtain, brown with years of wet mildew. The stench of the bacteria crawled into his nostrils and what felt like his brain, and the headache, the one he got on so often a basis that he had trained himself to ignore it, came back with a weak, bridled vengeance. Keep singing, Oliver, he thought. Keep singing.
He watched the clock without interest, knowing that even when he got to go home, the only thing that awaited him was asleep, curled up in a place he wouldn't discover until morning. The ticking of the clock echoed throughout the pub, and with each noise came a tiny, unnoticeable jerk from one of the drunks. He knew that his rosy ears were extra sensitive, and in his drunken state that ticking was probably all that he could hear. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Tock. Three in the morning, time to pack up. Without any heartfelt goodbyes, Oliver folded his microphone, mumbled something inaudible to the bartender and stepped out the front door.
Once outside, he turned his hat down as far as it could go to protect himself, ducked his body and charged on. Unforgiving bursts of wind carried the rain every which way, striking his cheeks like a cracking whip. His socks and shoes were soaked within seconds, and his feet squelched with every step. The blackness of the streets only welcomed him with laughter, mocking his misfortune, smiling at his luck.
He rolled his eyes at the blackness. He happened to like the rain.
Tonight Lemons was actually visible, her little body curled up against the sill next to the fridge. Her golden chest rose and fell, and his large, dirty finger scratched her gently as he made his way to the counter. His keys and collapsible microphone fell onto the marble, and he scratched his chin, feeling the little protruding hairs creeping along the contours of his face. But it wasn't as if anyone any time soon were to touch him there; he let his fingers fall.
Lemons turned over in the corner, her thin ribs twisting against the hard railing of the window. Oliver turned his attention to his cat with a slight frown before working his way toward the front door and double-checking the lock. The rain continued to hammer against the windows, but his ears dulled the sound from years of familiarity with the loud, distracting sound. The hallway to his room wasn't lit, and he took the lighter he kept in his pocket and flicked the switch, lighting the candle that hung above on the wall. He stumbled lethargically into the small room and laid on the bed, his breathing even and his head empty. The rain splattered against his window, and he sighed, turning over so he wouldn't have to look at the wet, depressing glass. He thought of Lemons in the next room, able to sleep through such a storm without a care in the world. He wished that he could let her out into the rain, or even when it wasn't raining, to play with the other cats and roam around like she should be able to. But he tried that once, and the others definitely weren't as welcoming as he thought they'd be. Poor Lemons came back with blood bleeding from her tail, ears and eyes. He came home to find little droplets leading him to the kitchen, and Lemons collapsed on the floor. But after a little gauze she was as good as new, or at least she looked like how she did when he first found her in that dark alleyway on that day home from work.
He turned over in his bed again, this time covering his long hair with his pillow. It smelled like the red curtain, damp bacteria swollen within the cotton sleeve. His throbbing head begged him to fall asleep, and with his unwashed hands dug under the weight of said throbbing head, the darkness enveloped him and Lemons began to snore along with her owner.
He woke up the next day, groggy and unprepared for another day. Lemons was still asleep on the sill, but when she heard the vibrations of his clumsy footsteps, she awoke and yawned sleepily, stretching out her long furry back against the glass. He smiled at his pet, and she blinked at him happily, hopping over to the counter as he pushed his keys out of the way so he could make way for his breakfast.
Lemons followed him to the table as he reached for some eggs from the icebox. He sparked the heater within the stove, and in a couple of seconds fire branched out from the heart of the machine, flames jumping up and warming the entire house. He took a skillet and dropped it onto the metal, cracking an egg and watching it sizzle. Lemons listen to the familiar noise joyfully. Her food was coming soon.
He smiled at her and reached for a bag that held a pound of brown, dry pellets for her to eat. He dropped some of it in her red bowl and watched her rush to it, her stomach empty and her mouth eager. He yawned himself and turned back to the eggs, smiling at the silence of the day and the noisiness of his breakfast.
Today he was to head over to his day job as a carpenter, hopefully making enough to meet his rent. His landlord had been on his case the entire week, as he had been late in paying it, and she remarked that his little kitten might be meeting her demise soon if she weren't to be paid in full by the end of the month. He made sure to keep a close eye on Lemons, but unfortunately he couldn't take her with him when he went out. He was considering keeping her in his pocket…
The landlord was a fierce woman, typically donned in a dirty apron and ready to jump on you in a moment's notice if she was in need of cash. "I need an advance!" "You didn't pay me enough last month!" She was an agreeable enough woman, but oh, how he'd like to smash her head open with that skillet of his.
The smell of the egg engulfed the house, and Lemons was still happily munching away on her brown pellets. He flipped the egg nonchalantly, taking out a plate and using a spatula to drop it onto the handcrafted ceramic. He worked with a blacksmith when he was younger, and the wife of his mentor taught him whenever her husband was out how to craft such items. The blacksmith repeatedly told him that ceramics was women's work, but hey, free plates.
He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the clock. He had to leave in a couple of minutes. Playfully kicking Lemons in the rear, he smothered the fire with the concoction the stove came with and shoved the egg between two half-pieces of bread. Lemons, sad to see him go, followed him to the door, meowing as he opened it. He told her to remain safe and to hide if anybody came looking for her, and as he closed the door he couldn't help feel guilty that something would happen while he was gone. Checking to see if anybody was looking, he scooped her up and placed her deep in his jacket pocket, whistling as he locked his front door.
His workplace wasn't very far from his flat, and the stone steps clicked under his boots as he cheerfully walked to the middle of the square. He felt Lemons bob along in his pocket, and he kept his large hand gently wrapped around her so he would constantly know where she was. They made their way over to the table where a burly man stood, hammering away at a large chair. He smiled as he saw who was approaching him, and he put down the hammer to outstretch his hand. "Oliver, it's good to see you," he smiled warmly.
Oliver sent a similar smile back his way. "It's a pleasure for me as well, Donovan. What do you have for me today?" he grinned amicably, and Donovan briefly looked over what was about the shop until he found a sketch lying atop a pile of papers. He explained to Oliver that he needed to finish a bureau by the end of the week for a new customer, and Oliver replied that he'd get right on it. "Do you think though, Don," Donovan looked up, "if I could get paid in advance? My landlord's been hounding me, and she's threatening to kill Lemons." He laughed, trying to keep the atmosphere friendly. For the sake of pulling on his heartstrings, he allowed Lemons to show her head from his pocket.
Donovan's eyes softened. "The hag," he muttered before turning back to his work. "I only have so much Oliver, and I can only pay you half. Is that enough?" He continued to hammer away, and Oliver, his palms slightly sweaty because a lot more than that was needed, nodded in agreement. He'll have to find some more elsewhere, perhaps tonight at the pub.
He thanked Donovan and headed over to the corner of the store to glance at the sketch and the wood he was given. He wanted to take off his jacket so its long sleeves and uncomfortably itchy texture wouldn't restrict him, but he didn't want Lemons to escape. He checked his trousers and, sure enough, he had a deep pocket in there just as he had one in his jacket. He grinned at his pet before putting her deep into his pants pocket, where he prayed she would be safe.
Oliver planned out the bureau, measuring the wood before putting it together. He wondered if the bartender would pay him in advance as well, as he couldn't take being kicked out of his only home. He had another life to care for. Biting his lip, he sawed off a piece of wood and glanced at the sketch again. Once he moved out, his parents were kind enough to find him someplace to stay, but after that, he was on his own. Oliver wouldn't know what to do if he was left out on the streets with only a scruffy beard and a 4-month-old kitten.