The Orphans of the Creek – Excerpt Two

Hey all! I thought I’d give you another sneak peek at my upcoming novel, The Orphans of the Creek. It’s a fairly early draft but you’ll get the idea.

If you haven’t read the previously posted prologue, you can do that here. Then come back and read on…

Chapter 1

If you were to ask me what I remember most about the Town Pump, Scanlon Creek’s biggest dance club, it would be the lights. Every Friday night over the past nine years I’ve watched those lights move over the darkened room from the safety of my DJ booth, sweeping over the multitudes in neon hues. They wash over gyrating humanity like an ominous rainbow; snarling beams of colours, dancing with ever-watchful spotlights rolling through the smoky darkness in an orgy of spectral elegance. The strobes suddenly burst like exploding stars in the midst of their death throes, driving the swirling human mass below into frenzy of movement. Sometimes the lights move with the beat of the music; other times they spin to their own inner rhythm. Either way, they never stop moving until the final song is played and the last chance for love rings its final note. In the meantime, the panting mass seem to breathe in time to the lights that swing overhead, hiding and revealing their sins and desires, their very inhibitions exposed for a few precious hours on their faces.

The lights brush across the heads of bodies also constantly on the move, moving to the ebb on the dance floor, moving to the bar for drinks, moving here, moving there, an endless stream flowing in every direction. They reveal bored young men in tight T-shirts that show every last sinew of every last muscle, knocking shoulders with other men as if invited to battle. These circuses of bravado appear like stop-motion animation under the violently flashing strobes until a swarm of black-shirts swoop in like hunting locusts and rush the offenders through the ocean of sweaty bodies and out of sight. The young women cheer from the sidelines wearing revealing tube tops or denim vests and shorts that give the impression they were poured into what little clothes they wore as other gladiators explore their nubile features. The excitement of battle is then quickly forgotten.

For the last two Fridays one sweeping spotlight caused me concern. It was an odd colour for a club, crimson red like Silas Green’s eyes, and sometimes it shone directly on me, causing me to wince at its dull fury enveloped me. My whole world changed under the glare of this single light, replacing reality with a nightmarish vision that I found almost beautiful in its primal glory. People aren’t singing or talking or dancing with joyous glee, they’re screaming in terror as unimaginable horrors play out in their minds like a scene from a spectral Hell. Young girls are covered in blood, oozing buckets of it from the canyon-like gouges in their head. The glasses that once held their liberating elixirs have exploded in their hands, hands that now shoved the broken pieces of glass into their eyes, bringing a shower of eye fluid to mix with the blood now cascading down their once pretty face, creating a pool of ever-expanding blood on the metal dance floor. I watch as the men cut themselves through their shirts, torturing their bodies, stabbing at their genitals, maiming themselves in front of my eyes. Their once-precious bodies now populate a den of inhumanity; screaming, soulless beings without hope, damning themselves for sins that lay buried within their hearts.

And deep inside I want to be with them. Deep inside I know I should be. Deserve to be. But instead I stand on my stage alone, without parentage, with no company or direction, watching the spectacle in the entirety of what to me is raw beauty.

Then suddenly it’s gone. The red light snuffs itself out and all returns to normal. I’m Whiteboy once again, working the tables and rockin’ the mike, all the while scouring the crowd for the next young thing to shag behind the rows of coats in the checkroom or pray to me in the booth while I’m beat-mixing. There’s nothing like having a nineteen year old trying to prove her mettle as a big girl on the club scene – until the crimson light winks at me again. It really gives me the needles.

Me and RaincloudRichard S. Todd is the author of the critically-praised Raincloud: A Novel and holds talks on the self-publishing experience. He spends his time blogging and working on his next novel, The Orphans of the Creek

Don’t miss the next installment of “Introducing…”  Get a Free Subscription to this blog by clicking on the Subscribe link on the right.

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The Orphans of the Creek: Sleep Late this Sunday

The Orphans of the Creek is an assault on those who judge others based on differing values. The lead character, a small-town DJ named Whiteboy, suffers a devastating emotional trauma and begins to see the world in a whole new light. He then embarks on a destructive path towards redemption, destroying all that made him what he was in an effort to be reborn.
In writing a scene for Orphans, I recalled an episode in my own life that proved a turning point in my view of organized religion, and thought I would share it with you.
I was about age 10, at Sunday school in Newmarket at the insistence of the pastor that lived a few houses down the street. The teacher told us this story about three men standing before St. Peter. St. Peter said to the first man, “You’ve lived a life of sin and never worshipped the Lord. You’re Hellbound.” He said to the second man, “You’ve lived a life of great virtue, were true and honest and worshipped the Lord. However, one time when you were 11 years old your mother asked if you had brushed your teeth before bed. You lied and said you did. You’re Hellbound.” He turned to the third man and said, “You’ve led a life in complete worship of the Lord. You may enter the gates of Heaven.”
The lesson being, do what the church tells you and you’ll go to Heaven. Nothing short of that will permit you entry.
But there was another lesson there: if you come just a little short of the Church’s exacting standards you’re going to Hell. Even one lie over a long, virtuous life will sit you beside Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot.
In short, if you’re going to sin once, you may as well sin often. If there is a God, how silly man is that he thinks he can possibly understand His true meaning.
Sin well, my friends. And sleep late this Sunday.

Me and RaincloudRichard S. Todd is the author of the critically-praised Raincloud: A Novel and holds talks on the self-publishing experience. He spends his time blogging and working on his next novel, The Orphans of the Creek

Don’t miss the next installment of “Introducing…”  Get a Free Subscription to this blog by clicking on the Subscribe link on the right.