View Full Version : The Day Newport Changed Forever (language)

Daniel Loreand
August 13th, 2015, 11:38 PM
Ok... I'm going to be honest about this one. I myself know very little how to explain this story. What I CAN tell you was that it was written during a frustrating period of my second year at university and that its my first departure from my 'formal' form of writing which is found in my previously submitted stories. I know as well that this stories initial goal was to act as an entry into a series I was planning that was meant to resemble the style of an old 'monster' serial show combined with a sort of torchwood/Twilight zone. An excuse for me to come up with weird monsters and such. But what it turned into... is something else, something incomplete and pointless feeling. Like most of my work such as 'Life as a Dogman'.

Anyway I was curious as to how you guys feel it reads - fair warning like most of my work its rougher than pit fighting bulldog.

The Day Newport Changed

This is Newport. Itís all rain, dog shit and snails. I tell that to people who donít live here that itís nothing but dog shit and snails and they donít believe me. Then they come here and find themselves hop scotching through minefields of turds while trying not to buzz kill the countless snails that litter the gravel paths. I live in Opal, private halls. Cheap, soulless and at times seems like an attempt to recreate a school environment. Leaving my flat I sigh and wonder how many unfortunate snails Iím going to accidently kill today.

Itís raining and grey outside. Itís Newport, Itís always raining. I donít remember a day it didnít rain in this gloomy shell of a city. As I pass under the concrete bridge outside of my digs I flick on my smart phone to check the time, I couldn't tell you what's particularly smart about it other than knowing precisely how to irritate me at any given moment.

Ten past ten. Iím already five minutes late to my lecture.

I speed up only because I donít want to be within visual or any other sensory distance of the morning tramps that drink and piss and shit underneath the bridges shadow. They are already slurping on cans of cheap lager and sucking for dear life on their ciggys by the time I pass by. I have no problem with tramps unless they come near me. And smoking a rollie like I do every walk to uni turns you into a piece of shit for the flies to gather around. Thankfully none of them harass me for one drag. I mean who the fuck is handing a ciggy over to an unwashed crack lipped ulcer mouthed geezer to slobber on, only to take it back and enjoy the rest of their smoke? Unless youíre into that shit the answer is no one, at best youíre going to have to waste oxygen with a skeleton of an excuse that is usually: sorry this is my last on.

These rants usually rage in my head, especially on my own. Sometimes it bothers me that my mind is always on so I often find things to dull it. My flat mate is also on my course but slept in today. I donít blame him, most of the lectures are useless. I spend most of them with a shell shocked expression on my face in constant realisation that these charlatan lecturers are actually getting paid to turn up a half hour late, hung-over to expunge their views and opinions onto you in a vain hope youíre empty enough to absorb some of their agenda driven bullshit. And the beauty is Iím also in debt for the privilege. Genius.

Itís about a five minute walk along the strip to Newport University. They could have put my halls inside the university itself and I think Iíd still manage to be late. The strip sits beside the river and itís a site to behold. Slimy wet sand is exposed when the rivers low, adding a shit coloured brown to the mind numbing grey of the city. Embedded deep in the sands are tires, shoes, food bags, needles, cans, cigarette buds and countless other things that logically is the worst and laziest place to drop. This city is like a corpse long dead that the delinquent refuse to stop desecrating and pissing on. No respect.

Iím from the east midlands where itís hard to find somewhere without at least a little greenery so this place was a shock for me when I first moved down. I wasnít quite a Hobbit that was one moment tending his garden only to be suddenly whisked into a work house in industrial London, but something almost close to that. Iíve come to the realisation that Newport was destined to be this way. In the eighteen hundreds Newport was a profitable city thanks to the river that runs through it like a vein. Hulking great ships would prowl the rivers darkening the air with their fumes, carrying coal and other goods. Naturally this was to be a hateful place.

Before I near the university something catches in the corner of my eye and for some reason my heart jumps, as if to expect to see something horrifying. The wind crashing behind me feels like a cold breath creeping down my neck and unseen eyes pierce me from all around. When I look there is nothing there, just people. Feels like I'm still in Newport but a Newport that exists far away with me being the only living soul standing. The feeling fades away like a tide quick as it came.

I donít get enough sleep I remind myself but still there is a tingle in my spine.

By the time my arse is situated in lesson Iím a grand total of twenty minutes late. The lecturer is not long in himself. This is uni no one cares if youíre late or not, one of the few positive things about it. I try not to mingle with the other students. They are not my sort of people so why waste time. The course is on animation a subject I once championed for and thought was my calling. Then I realised my obsession with it was simply a distraction from problems long left buried and ignored. By the time I came to this realisation I was smoking a joint outside my flat with friends a month ago first term, second year into the course. Wounded.

Iím aware of the pit fall of what I like to call marijuana miracles, the process of having what seems like an epiphany up into the time you sober up and realise you were just talking shit. But when the time to sober up came, the thought still carried and was passed as sound by the fellas wearing judges wigs and filling in as decision makers in my brain. The originals quit early and since itís been difficult finding qualified replacements.

ďWhat about you Lawford. Youíre very quiet today.Ē The lecturer asks.

In the few seconds it took for that sentence to be puked out Iím already irritated to the point of turning someoneís face into a red mess using my hands and the edge of a table. Iím irritated easily. Nicknames get me. Not the actual nick names but someone other than a close friend using one is a personal tick. Vince is bad enough but LAWFORD, a surname. Thatís jumping ahead of a few critical social hurdles in a vain attempt at buddying up to someone that if told you were found dead in your house tomorrow wouldnít care enough to elicit a disinterested shrug.

Apparently a discussion had been well in concert regarding western animation vs. eastern animation. But instead of coming up with a considered answer as I used to I want to tell him that my name is Vincent and that if he uses a nickname for me again Iím going to turn him inside out, I want to say that I donít debate and discuss in class anymore because I hold animation and anything and anyone associated with it to such contempt that I would happily slap them in the face over and over until my hand turned bright red and eventually started to peel off skin.

Instead I give him a vague answer lacking passion or energy. My peers make up for that in their clambering to have their voices and half baked opinions heard. When lunch finally arrives its twelve and I head back to Opal with no intention of returning. Iím unsure why I still stick to this course. Most of the time I like to see things through, perhaps thatís why. More likely itís that a degree go some ways in securing a decent job a possibility in this shitty economic climate. Well it at the very least secures your application being glanced at. Its 2015, the television tells us things are getting better. . Is it? No. The answer is no. Even if Iím stuck doing something I hate itís better than a dead end job that would drive me to nose dive off a cliff an hour into it. I tried real jobs, didnít like where it was going.

When Iím back my flat mate is up making a brew. I make one as well and we both grin when we realise each of us was thinking of picking up. I text the dealer who conveniently lives in Opal and we head out twenty minutes later. The halls were built only two years ago. Cheap shitty material went into this place and it shows. Damp is already setting into the second floor which I live below. The whole place looked looks like a youth centre, like it once had personality and style but it was sucked out with a giant hoover last minute.

There is some fucking about finding a blind spot as there are cameras everywhere but eventually we get our bags and find ourselves twenty quid short. Well the taxpayers are short really as this money is off the back of the British student loan company and the chances of me ever paying my loan back is about as likely as me sprouting gills and returning to the ocean. Before we head inside our flat Iím sure I see a shadow of movement in my peripheral. I turn to look but no one is there. My flat mate asks me what I was looking at and I laugh and tell him Iím seeing things. He agrees and tells me how heís been jumping at shadows after some of our heavy smoking seshs. I donít hear him though Iím overcome by a strange feeling of dread. Iím a logical person, I saw no one. I havenít slept well, I smoke too much. Yet still.

Back in the flat we grind, roll, smoke and laugh. After a good hour we realise that stinking the entire flat out for the fourth time this week is probably grating on our flat mates nerves so we go out for the next one. Afterwards I feel cabbaged so I decide to chill out in my room for a while. When I sit down to my computer I face the uni studentís greatest enemy: procrastination. The next few hours are spent giggling to my self and doing bits and pieces of work on and off and going out for smokes every hour or so. Itís easy to be distracted on a computer, especially when youíre an easily distracted person which seems to be just about everyone these days with the amount of gadgets buttons and flashing lights everyone's glued to. Itís dark outside when I look out the window.

Wait, when the fuck did that happen I think.

I look on the computer to check the time. It's two in the morning. I haven't eaten. Haven't done any work. In short, my productivity levels couldn't be lower. Literally, I'd have to be dead to have accomplished less. Shaking my head I begin rolling again, the logical thing to do the weeds not gonna smoke itself. My hands are shaking when I roll, I don't know why sometimes they just do. I wonder if the shaking is something to really be worrying about, if it is a symptom of a really serious problem. Then I realise I don't care and that I've finished rolling.

I leave Opal the back way and outside is freezing. Not just cold. Bone chillingly raw. The type that has me shivering to my core. People say itís the valleys not far from Newport that carry the wind from the coast. And I reply by angrily asking why we donít have heating systems build into our clothing yet. I mean whatís the deal with that. A dense fog suffocates the early hours of the new day. There is a small pathway that leads to a public footbath at the back of Opal. It's full of dog shit and dodgy rocks that are just twitching to trip you up. I make it through the valley of shit and walk along the pebbled foot path a while towards a small alcove not a moments away. I think how convenient it is and can't help but grin. Hardly anyone comes past and if they do they take no notice of smokers.

I'm already a little wobbly from the previous smokes and for some mad reason decided to pack the shit out of the joint I'm blazing up. The first drag nearly blows my head apart like a shotgun shell. I end up coughing and spitting but it's all good. It's just me, Mary Jane and the silence. Not enough silence around people often ruin it with their pointless nattering, have to savour it these days. Only one of the lampposts is seeping out a piss orange glow that is pathetically trying to make its way through the fog. The rest are dead including one near where I smoke, like someone knew this was the smoking area and thought they'd cut us some slack and provide some cover.

By now I feel the full frontal force of the monster I'd rolled. It's nearly halfway done and I'm twitching like a rat that's been tortured with electro shock therapy. Newport has that feeling to it, that you could turn around and a naked psycho wearing socks on his hands will try and bite your ear off and your natural reaction is to shrug and say: Yeah fair play, It's Newport. Halfway down my smoke and I'm beginning to wish it was ready to flick. The hairs on the back of my neck begin to prick up and I keep looking over my shoulder, squinting at the orange dots of light in the distance to see if anyone's there, a hint of movement. No one and nothing. For some reason I'm anxious I want to be back in my room warm and safe. I could just throw the joint away couldn't I? No. You can't waste what you've rolled that's the unwritten unspoken rule of smoking that's enforced by compulsion and addiction.

My right leg is twitching like crazy as if the more it moves the quicker I'll smoke. The thick musty smell fills my nose and the taste wrings in my dry mouth. Not much left to smoke now. The wave hits me again and it feels like my whole body is being filled with something from feet to skull, something cold.

Peak high? I hope.

A noise. I hate noises not during the day where itís safe and you can just make a joke and move on, no noises at night are a different deal entirely. Someone coming around the corner I think at first. The same damn lamp post gets me every time, looks like the silhouette of a person. I breathe out heavily. I peer to the left by the nearest lit lamppost and take a drag. A hazy silhouette standing beneath the grim spotlight, definitely someone. My heart thumps and resonates like a church bell in my chest. Some stray smoke wanders into my eye and my vision becomes watery. Placing a free hand over my eye my heart begins to beat faster and faster as I focus on the man.

At least it seems to be a man from first glance. Completely naked standing on elongated legs that bent backwards at the knee like a flamingo. Its skin looked unnaturally stretched like a bed cover that didnít fit the mattress, giving the figure a deformed and painful looking stance. A chest bloodied and pale ribs piercing through paper thin skin and arms that stopped at the elbow to give way to rotating blades. And its head sweet Jesus its head. There was no god damn head not a manís head at least. Stitched from the neck was the head of a deer the fur was damp and glistening a deep crimson. Antlers struck out from its head bending upwards and almost overlapping each other. Its eyes leered at me hollow and unblinking while the gaping hole where its mouth should have been despondently dribbled red black liquid down itself.

Standing there. Joint burning quietly to itself. Whole body shaking, head thumping eyes feel like their trying to crawl out of my skull. Its dead eyes keep me rooted to the ground. Logic spun in disarray. A churning sound pierces the air and seems to cut right through me, the blades begin to spin faster and faster. For once my smoke isnít a priority, the joint is still toppling to the shit filled ground beneath me as my legs bolt towards Opal. Iíve always had a distinct ability to run like a rocket whenever the time calls for it. I dare to snap my head over my shoulder and turn it back so quickly I almost get whiplash, the thing is striding towards me flailing its arms about wildly, blades rotating. My heart thumps and I can feel my whole body has gone white, a part of me wants to stop running to stop in my tracks hold my hand out and declare this whole fucking chain of events as bullshit, that every ounce of my being is screaming that this isnít possible, instead Iím fumbling in my pockets for my key.

My hands are damp and sweaty as I turn out my front two pockets, god DAMNIT why is stuff never where I leave it!? I reach the barred gates of Opal and a guttural howl is issued not far behind me, my whole body convulses at the sound of it. My trembling fingers finally wrap around my key in the last pocket I happen to check, I scan the key and hurriedly tug on the gate screeching wordlessly to myself as the chain saw noise churns and churns ever closer to me.

I rush inside feeling dizzy everything around me becoming an incoherent blur, I blitz past the security doors that lead to the apartments and get eyed with amusement and concern by passers-by. I donít notice them in my rush to get to my room, crashing through every door in my way. Eventually Iím in my room. On my bed. Staring at my door wide eyed and trembling. My whole body feels like concrete as if I couldnít move even if I dared. A long time passes, Iím not sure exactly how long in truth but long enough for the convulsing and shaking to stop. My spine aches and creaks from being stuck in one place for so long. I finally get up and begin to pace. The adrenaline slowly leaks out of my system allowing me to breathe at a normal pace but the fear is still very much there. When my hands are still enough I begin to roll up a ciggy and light up. Fuck the indoor smoking policy at this point!

I go over the whole thing again and again trying to piece together what actually happened, what I saw. What did I see? What did I see!? The question rings in my head over and over. I take a seat at the edge of my bed, leg twitching rapidly. I saw it but I know more than most people that you can see things that arenít actually there. LSD teaches you that lesson. But with bud I have never had that issue, never once hallucinated. Seen things in the corner of my eye maybe but nothing to that extent. I can feel my brain trying to find some semblance of logic to the whole deal.

After an hour of pacing and scrambling my brain I begin to feel the effects of the days smoking. Itís nearly four in the morning and my mind feels ravaged. I collapse onto the bed and stare at the ceiling and for the briefest of seconds almost hear that echoing howl and churning noise. As I slip into sleep I hope for a dreamless rest, I get it. My head is pounding the following morning and I decide to miss the dayís lecture, I lay still in bed eyes bolt open. The hours trickle by and I finally manage to stiffly crawl out of bed. I creep tentatively over the floor as if itís laced with land mines and make my way to the door. A deep breathe in and then I peer through the door viewer. The distorted view shows the flats hallway to be empty and still. I lean back onto the wall and breath a long sigh and finally collapse to the floor, head in hands.

I donít leave my room until the following day. Like a raccoon I open my door slow and cautious to scuttle into the kitchen. I pop the kettle on. I stand there staring at it beginning to bubble up. At first itís nothing but a low rumble but as the water begins to boil and raise in temperature so does the noise. A low rumbling noise like that clouds make before shitting out thunder and lightning. Like the churning and rumbling of rotating blades. I hear a door slam and I jerk violently. I forgot making a brew was like the ringing the town hall bell.

I find it hard to focus on what my flatmates saying to me and just about manage to stare him in the eye and nod occasionally. Something about everyone in the block going out for student night. I want to tell him everything, ask him if Iím going mad but instead I mumble vaguely about staying in as I have a lot of work Iím behind on. He didnít seem to buy it, probably thought I just wanted to stay in and smoke all day which usually I would. I return to my room brew in hand and lock the door.

I switch on the computer and put my headphone on, need something to stave off the ticking and twitching in my mind. I navigate myself to loudest songs I know and turn up the volume to max. The day fades away slowly through the cracks of my useless yellow curtains. I go for a slash and hear a big ruckus outside, doors slamming, people shouting and laughing manically. Everyone heading out to town. I almost feel like going with them and blasting a load of money only to wake up and not remember a thing. Not remember a thing.

My hand hovers over my door handle but like a pair of invisible puppet strings something holds me back. I canít face it canít face going outside. I mean what am I actually afraid of here no one else has heard of this or a fuss would have been made surely! If what I think happened did happen then wellÖ shit. And if it didnít then Iím a few planks short of a full roof, an equally terrifying prospect. The noise fades into the distant along with my hopes of venturing outside.

I slink back into my seat and pop my headphones back on. Two hours pass and suddenly a whole day of simply listening to music begins to wear on me, like many pleasures do on a twenty first century human being. My eyes wander over to my draw where I keep my stash and the thought crosses my mind. I could simply roll and spark up. Sure it would stink the entire flat out for a day or two but no oneís here but me, hell the whole damn blocks out as far as I know. I reach to open the draw and something stops me dead in my tracks. Something half conscious that my brain picks up on but is nullified by my attention being diverted elsewhere. I run my hands up to my head and remove the headphones.

For a long second there is nothing. Just me my headphones and my hand hovering over the draw. Then thereís the noise. A high pitched scraping noise coming from my door. My entire being tenses up and all I can do is stare. My chair creaks horrifically as I stand up, giving away any hopes of being undetected. I shut my eyes as tight as I can, stuck in place like a statue. When I open my eyes I can see a shadow on the other side of the door and the noise comes again long and slow like a drawn out howl.

August 18th, 2015, 10:01 PM
Pretty cool, man. I enjoyed it. The voice, the flow, they were both exceptionally consistent. There was no stray thread to pick on...

...Well, there are some. But it comes from sentences that should be broken down to make their own sentences. There's scattered mostly throughout the second half of the story.

An example:

I mean what am I actually afraid of here no one else has heard of this or a fuss would have been made surely!

Again. Great job. It can be taken literally and figuratively. It can be taken as a straight-up horror story. Or it can be taken as an analogy of his failing psyche and the world. Who knows what it's going to mean to others? Other people can interpret any way they want to.

Daniel Loreand
August 20th, 2015, 01:30 AM
If this is horror then I'm a three headed monkey. I think I tried to make it a horror but it's a pitiful attempt. Thanks for the reply tho bud, hope you found it funny at parts - my irritated sense of humour came through on this one.

August 20th, 2015, 02:21 AM
...it's a pitiful attempt.

Read The Manse by Lisa W. Cantrell and get back to me. :-({|=

EDIT: I'll add to this because I'm not discussing it. It's just a quip and a jab.

What gives this story that horror element is that entity didn't come out of nowhere. It was built up here and there until it finally got a form. Albeit the form is a bit clichťd but deer, for some reason, freak people out. I don't know why? Personally, I get hunger when I think of a deer.

And the marijuana. You could have used a different drug. One that's harmful and destructive. If you did choose a different drug, it could have been a moral tale of drug abuse. With MJ, I could not do come to that conclusion because smoking weed is relatively harmless and relaxing.

Daniel Loreand
August 20th, 2015, 05:33 PM
I didn't mean to represent mary jane as destructive or harmful, it's quite the opposite if treated respectfully. Its inclusion in the story wasn't meant to be a statment or symbolic or anything, its simply because I was smoking alot myself at the time (since this story is based on uni experiences) and its a way for the character to question and doubt himself.

August 20th, 2015, 07:05 PM
It's just an if scenario. It's just so convenient that the entity starts making itself known when he'd high as a kite or thinking about sparking up. The transition would be easy.

I still stand by "...an analogy of his failing psyche and the world."