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The Ritual[LOWWC]

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posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 06:36 PM
Everything that mattered left her body....dissolved into the concrete. The thing that boarded that train was no longer a human. It breathed, the blood still ran, that was actually the only thing that gave away a trace of life, in a corrupted body. 

Looking out the window of the train, the landscape screamed back at her, but her eyes only saw the blur of color. Every tree, house and sign begged her not to forget, to remember her foot, her root, her life. It wanted her to hold on, but she had no emotion, no desire. Those were things that she left on the concrete. Those were things she gave away and abandoned, better left to her old life, no need for those things were she was going. 

So when the humid summer air hit her lungs, she was drowning, but she didn't care. There was no sensation, no stirring of memory or pleasure. Somehow all those childhood years did not register, those were too long ago to matter, again the old life, the one she traded for ice and wind and cold darkness. Her heart had grown accustomed to damp chill and the frost. Heat, sweat, the heaviness in her lungs, they brought back nothing.

And there was no root, no foot, even in the squish of mud on the creek bank....what should have turned her 6 again, poison ivy blisters, sweet peas clutched in dirty fat hands, mosquito scabs and the excitement of discovery, it was mud now. And nothing, no amount of reliving would allow those feet to reclaim that earth. The connection to her childhood seemed perfectly severed, permanent, final. 

But the honeysuckle vine, the blackberry bush, the damp fern in the valley, they would not give up so easily. They remembered their old friend, they saw the little girl lost come home. As the day faded, the insects sent up their choir, as if not a thing had ever changed, just the same as it had always been. 

That strange creature, moved so carefully through the grass, moved as if she knew every rock, every dip in the land. Moved as if she had never left and not a thing had changed, but inside her everything had changed, she was contaminated, but her curse was her own, she had poisoned her own well and drank it dry with her pride, her jealousy, her insecurity. Her fear the only food fitting for such a rotten feast of flesh. 

Some time had past since that day at the train station, when it occurred to her to really think. To reflect, to face the ugly image that she refused to look at in the mirror. That creature that looked back at her, was not the beast she had become. It was the girl that became the beast, for the first time in a long time she accepted the image. And she remembered. 

The screaming.

 In any other neighborhood, that howling would have had the cops called. But in that neighborhood, the howling blended into the walls and the walls kept their secrets well. No police showed up. It wouldn't have mattered if they had come, they couldn't have done a damn thing to make it stop. No one could have. Her friends were terrified. The girl they knew, the one who never cried, who always filled the room with the fire of life, was screaming out in pain. Later, her friend would say about that night, "she cried like a wounded animal" and it was true. No human can make those sounds. 

It was a beast lying on that floor, blood smeared across her face, shaking and broken. Something had to be done they said. Truth was, they were too afraid to call the cops, to send for the ambulance. So they left her alone to crawl under the porch and die like the animal she was. And it was better that way. Because the next day she was in bed, a week later, she bathed, two weeks later she caught a train and left believing she could tear her foot, her root away, just as she had done before.

It didn't work. And no matter how many times she performed her ritual, and tried to relive her prior existence, the curse was never broken, the beast never became a girl again, and she never reclaimed her native soil. The mutation was in the DNA. So when you see her now, those human eyes are not quite right, there is something unsettling, something foreign. And the smell is off,  just enough to make you feel uneasy in her presence. And when the locals talk in hushed whispers about that "girl" she used to be....they all ask, "what happened?" "something must have happened while she was away in that cold hard land" and no one, no ones dares speak of it to her, because they fear she will rip their throat out, those people know when something is unnatural.

posted on Feb, 24 2013 @ 11:14 AM
reply to post by Mijamija

Hi M

WOW! Absolutely loved this, it's much more my cup of tea than your newer entry. I aways read stories at least 3 times before giving a proper response, so I'll give you that when I get the chance.

However, for now I have no hesitation in starring and flagging it and stating that this is yet another story I feel has been ovelooked. Well perhaps i'm being harse as I haven't managed to read all the entries yet and so have not commented on all of them yet either. Maybe it's the British desire to root for the underdog, but I tend to look for the entries lower down the page first as I feel they probably need more support than those at the top.

At first reading our stories could almost be comanion pieces to each other.

I'll be back.


posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 07:27 PM
reply to post by merkins

Thank you for taking the time to check it out. This one was written while I was in a mood, and as such it was stream of consciousness...very jumbled and disjointed. I figured no one would really "get" it because of this and how personal it was. I do think it is kinda spooky, so I can see how it could tie into your story to a degree. The theme of a human turning into a "non human" is something both stories share.

I was kinda doing my own little red riding hood/beauty and the beast thing...trying to summon some Angela Carter
I know the author isn't supposed to give up the theme, but really this story was a different take on the same theme of my June story; both deal with not having a "place" in the world, not connecting. Then when connection finally does occur having it ripped apart and how that can affect a person.

I wanted the focus to be on the struggle with those connections, not necessarily the cause of the disconnection, but in order to really explain the change from girl to beast, I felt some explaination was needed. I think it came off horrorific, which is what I wanted. The analogy of girl to beast fit for this story, but my usual analogy is girl to ghost, which I intend on writing about in the future, but I have to get into a place in my head where it comes to me.

I look forward to your critique and further thoughts, you have already been so helpful.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 04:15 PM
reply to post by Mijamija

I'm reading this now for the sixth time and I have to admit I keep getting the shivers every time I read it. No story on ATS has ever given me goose bumps up both arms.

I am extremely jealous that you wrote this almost as a stream of consciousness, with the relative ease and flow that usually comes when writing in that style.

You had a very strong opening, I had the shivers right there. The whole first paragraph is fantastic, it resonated loudly with me and some of the things I've been through. I do have one tiny criticism about it though. There's absolutely no necessity for the word 'actually'. It's redundant in this instance. It is also and a word I was taught to give a wide birth to. It can be perceived impetuously and evoke an image in some people's minds of a stroppy teenager shouting..."Well Actually!'

I always said that every time the word 'actually' is removed, it improves the sentence.

See what I'm saying? Take 'actually' out of the above. And you have a better sentence. Try the next one that i have just written and see that this time too you have a better sentence after removing 'actually'too. I mean who doesn't like the sound of 'Take Out'. Mines an XL, thin crust, meat feast, Dominos pizza please. Sorry to labour the point but I only do so because of the lowered grades I got for using.

Some lines that resonated with me:

"But the honeysuckle vine, the blackberry bush, the damp fern in the valley, they would not give up so easily."

"So when the humid summer air hit her lungs, she was drowning, but she didn't care." I love doing that myself, switching to up, making black white and white black.

"...what should have turned her 6 again, poison ivy blisters, sweet peas clutched in dirty fat hands, mosquito scabs and the excitement of discovery, it was mud now." Wow what a sentence! Please tell me that the duality of the first part 'what should have turned her six again' was deliberate.

"She was contaminated, but her curse was her own, she had poisoned her own well and drank it dry with her pride." spot on.

"...Any other neighborhood, that howling would have had the cops called."

At least to my English ear this sounds wrong...not fitting quite, it's the 'had' thats the culprit. Maybe something like "...any other neighborhood that howling would attract the cops...' less words, creating a tighter script.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 07:57 AM
Forgot to say before, I loved the repeated root & foot phrasing it worked very well. More stories please!!!

Also i recently saw a movie with melissa george and her character is treated similarly by the locals in part of he story. Your section on that made me think of it.

Angela Carter: vaguely aware of her but one of my blind spots that I intend to rectify immediately after reading her wiki profile. What should I read first?

posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 02:15 PM
I loved this story its so well done this should be the winner S&F peace,sugarcookie1

posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 11:56 PM
reply to post by Mijamija

I hope this is a story you will continue to develop. I am hooked! I want to know more about her past.

Very good!

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