Digital Ischemia

18/08/2018

Wratislaw part 7 of 10

A drily hyperbolic, humorous short story – a pianist with a passion for Janáček’s music finds the composer’s unrequited infatuation is part of the bargain

Wratislaw series begins at part 1

In this dense web of stalks, cloud-reflected metropolitan light is inadequate. The ridiculousness of Wratislaw’s predicament, however, is plain to see. Pursuing an as yet unseen woman through some eccentric philanthropist’s forgotten wilderness. Easy to explain.

To continue his form, at this point, he wonders whether his unintelligent next move should be more blundering about in vicious thickets, or to hunker down. His stinging forearms and shins, and his throbbing arse, beg for respite. Hunker down and wait. How long should he wait to extinguish all doubt that Kamila has gotten utterly bored of his disappointing efforts and abandoned him to his mortifyingly un-man-of-the-woods-like fate? Mortified. Unmanned.

Wratislaw gazes about, trying to subdue his creeping anxiety. Is he more bothered by losing her or himself? Once again his brain loses visual traction on the shifting shades of dark. Frantically clawing in complete stillness. Instead he becomes highly sensitised to the tickling, the crawling, the scurrying, the rustling. A clear whistle pierces the fog, inside and out: a bird’s alarm or a guiding signal? Or just a rusted mental circuit venting dangerously high steam pressure.

Will anyone miss him? BBC Ben and his glowing orb would be a welcome lighthouse right now. Wratislaw would offer some professional enticement for… That sounds sordid. Plus his stock probably isn’t so high after that performance. So long ago. That other so civilised world. Not out here in the jungle.

Regardless of Wratislaw’s existential crisis, clouds drift along their journeys. Yet somewhere, something powerful grows impatient with his lack of progress and grants him a boon. A fortuitously timed shaft of moonlight spotlights a stone edge: a carved edge: a building. A purposeless ornament, which, as it turns out, finally has use.

Folly. How perfectly apposite. Wratislaw lunges for the stonework, pushing mercilessly through the knives and forks and razor wires, stumbling and slipping, arms scissoring across his face in a violent dance. He does not appreciate the overgrown path Janáček allusion. Emerging from the malicious vegetation, he hauls himself to a cool stone pillar and hugs it shamelessly. After tactfully clouding his trembles for an interval, a further moonbeam benevolently shimmers across the river and delicately lights the blindingly obvious path thither.

Wratislaw bravely departs his safe haven and careers jelly-legged to the water’s edge. He yanks at the infernal luring willow and swipes wildly at illusory clothes. The rippling water and the thrashing twigs have messed up the acoustics. He plonks on the first stone that seems big enough. Unfortunately it’s just another shadow so his landing is lower and wetter than he expects. His battered coccyx complains. He exhales forcefully.

After a few moments of bewildered and moist stillness, he imagines he feels warmth on his arm, a faint breath on his cheek. Probably some rebound sensory effect from the thrashing. Or, just possibly, hiding in plain blindness.

He conjures Kamila in his mind, slides his hand across and is shocked when he connects. Electricity crackles through his skin.

…continues at part 8

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues part 7 […]

    Pingback by Wratislaw part 6 of 10 | Digital Ischemia — 18/08/2018 @ 16:08


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