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EX: The Long Journey Home (standard:other, 2333 words)
Author: ShawAdded: Sep 09 2003Views/Reads: 2713/1792Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
TOF Project. Rewrite of "The Last Montague" with changes I hope you'll agree improve the story. "[It.] - " signifies speech is in Italics, important to show the story's transitions in time. Please read, please enjoy.
 



[It.] – Wake up Mike 

I remember this much, my eyes closing on a dark and constant road. I was
a boy then, curled up on the backseat with the low rumble of the Ford 
engine humming in my ears on that endless motorway. I have a sleepy 
recollection of a toll gate but in the times since I have questioned 
whether it was not some dream my memory invoked of two years ago, 
because I had wondered if the same downcast guard would lift the 
barrier and smile as we opened our eyes on England. The engine wound 
down and I peered up from my nest, the smell of tarmac and dew arousing 
my senses to watch a balding middle aged man in a grey-blue Rover drum 
his outer door and fix his peaked tweed hat alongside. 

As I lay down I discerned the image of a girl with long black hair and
eyes as deep as the mineral earth, shuffling down into the rear seat of 
that grey-blue Rover and turning her head from view. My heart leapt 
when I had thought it was her and fell when I knew it was not, when it 
could not be; then they were gone. 

The small queue soon merged into a haze of roadside lamps, cat's-eyes
and two brilliant rivers of red lights and white lights like lantern 
fish on the long journey home. My eyes closed but I would not sleep as 
I lay curled with the humming and alien murmur of Mum and Dad's words, 
finally coming home. 

Or so I thought. 

‘You're Irish then?' he said with crisp Eton-esque syllables his mother
might have spent years trying to coax from his mouth. My face flushed 
red I'm sure, my eyes stared deep into the hockey marks of the 
playground, such was my amazement at learning I had ever gained an 
accent. ‘What you doing here?' 

I shrugged my shoulders wanting to speak but couldn't. My tongue had
become so thick and unwieldy in my mouth, every syllable in my head so 
coarse, I was afraid that if I spoke only gibberish would fall out. In 
my mind memories loomed upwards of the taunts and loneliness of an 
English boy in an Irish school. 

A few other boys grew closer to him, standing at his back, they on one
side and me on the other. Some younger girls close by stopped their 
game of hopscotch and pointed over. The sun slipped between clouds and 
a muggy depression of sunlight hung over us all in the once beautiful 
morning. 

‘My dad says the Irish are white niggers, murdering bastards.' 

My eyes were alive, I could feel them inside my own head, brimming and
rippling with a pressure that closed in from my cheeks and forehead, 
knowing that release would cost me dearly, knowing I could not bear 
that cost a second time. 

[It.] - So yer English den? All a ye Ing-lish arre nutten more ‘an
murderin' fecks. 

‘Aym not Irish.' 

[It.] - I'm not English. 

‘Ay only live dere acoupla yeer.' 

[It.] - My mother was born in the village 

‘You sound Irish?' said the boy, looking me over with a contagious
contempt. ‘You ever met the IRA?' 

‘No,' I returned. 

‘My dad says all the Irish over here are sleepers,' he said believing
the absurdity completely, ‘he says you're all responsible for what 
happened to my uncle.' 

[It.] - Ye killed him! All a ye! All a ye fecking Ing-lish baastads did!




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