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Carterhaugh: Time plays against us.

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By SaffyLailo
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“Do you ever get one of those days where you’re acutely aware?” Caldar asked rather impressed he could still say acutely when he’d had this much to drink “That you’re always running out of time?  Every day. Just…running out of time.” This was the sort of thing that didn’t always make sense to  humans his age and you definitely couldn’t say in front of people you’d be in charge of in a couple of years. He’d  been saying a lot of things like that to Mei over the past week.

“All, the time.” Mei sighed. “When you’re a kid you think you’ve got forever. Then wham! One day you wake up and you realise you’re living on borrowed time.” She ducked her head, drawing circles on the waxy surface of their wooden table.  Her hair was a dark screen, hiding her from view. She sighed again, the motion shaking her body. Cal was struck by the urge to lean across and push her hair back from her face, coax her from hiding and try and read the mystery underneath.

“What was it for you?”
“Hmm?” Mei raised her head and blinked at him curiously
“That moment you know… When you stopped having forever.” He asked, leaning towards her.
“Best friend died in  a car crash,”
“Ah hell lass. Sorry.” Cal sat back slightly, he should have realised, those kind of moments were almost always something painful.
“It was just  like…You haven’t met my mum.”She waved one hand, the other still nursing her latest glass of whisky  “Quite aside from the whole I’m a wererat thing and all of that…there was like  about five years during my teens when she was always on some adventure. I mean my godmother’s a witch. Their best friend’s a halfsie. Mum exorcised a ghost,got rid of my psycho  father, pissed of brighton’s chair and lived to tell.”
“Wait wait your mum pissed off Medea Blanche?
“Yeah,”  she nodded
“…I dinnae know you” Cal made an exaggerated show of pretending to leave the table.
“I know right?” Mei snorted then sipped her whiskey, "Anyway!” This time she waved the hand with the booze in it “there’s all this stuff happening every day, and we …just came out of it and it go to feeling like 'we are fucking invincible!' 'This life cannot touch us!'”
“I think that’s just being a teenager” Cal grinned
“And then I come in,” Mei forged on, dignifying his response only with the quirk of an eyebrow “bout two weeks before A levels and they have this big assembly an tell us  Tracy’s dead, funds for memorials blah blah blah but it’s like blam. She’s gone.  On Friday she was there and on Monday she was was gone. Just gone.”
“Feck.”

“Yeah,” she said again was looking at him now, studying him carefully. He wanted to reach across and cup her jaw kiss her slowly, or maybe not so slowly. He felt every tick of the clock somewhere between his shoulder blades. It was that kind of night, well, morning. They were the only ones left in the bar, sunk so deep in the faded leather chairs he wasn’t quite sure of his ability to clamber out. He didn’t know what else to say, and he’d let the silence stretch on past the best moment to speak.  “What about you?” she asked, rescuing them.
“Hmm?”
“What was it for you?”

“I had two.” Caldar sighed, “I went off with friends after graduation. We went travelling round America. So I’m there right? sitting on the grand canyon.”
“Jealous,” Mei said, sounding it.
“It was braw yeah, so I’m up there with a friend. Human friend, and he’s just finished his BA in medicine right? He’s telling me all about next steps, going back to do his foundation program and I’m thinking shit man, I don’t have time for all that.  If I’d been in medicine that’d be half me life gone right there by the time I qualified.”
“Ah hell doesn’t mean you couldn’t have had fun. Have you watched Grey’s Anatomy?” She teased
“I try not to.”
“Pity,  I love that show.”
“You would.” He  snorted softly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She asked.
“You’re that kind of lass.”
“What kind?”
“A romantic.”
“Oh and you’re not?” Mei raised an eyebrow, hiding a grin.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Sitting on the friggin  grand canyon waxing philosophical about time?”
“Bang to rights  Hen.”  Cal couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face. She had a point, maybe he was a bit of a romantic at times  “you got me bang to rights.”
“Go on with the story then.” She tapped the table in front of him.
“A’ight bossy! Anyway, where was…right. Medical school. No time for that bollocks. That was it really. Just thought…he’s got so much more time than me. Least twenty years more time than me. So jealous I nearly pushed him off the canyon.”
“Cal!”
“Joking hen, joking.”
“What was the other one?” Mei pressed
“What?”
“You said there were two for you.”
“Me m’am died… bout two years now.” He shifted uncomfortably. He was never going to get used to saying that anymore than he would get used to not having her around.
“Shit Cal, I’m sorry.”
“S’not your fault is it?” He looked round at the deserted room, the discarded pool cues and the empty chairs; tried not to think about how hard it had been. The smell of beer and whiskey and sweat was thick in his nostrils “We better get out of this bar ‘fore they kick us out.”
“Sure,” Mei nodded, standing up and stretching. Christ did she realise how good it looked when she did that? Did any woman? “You got any good rooftops round here?” she asked.
“What?” He said, wondering if the reference to rooftops would have made more sense if he hadn’t been watching her stretch, or maybe if he’d had been just a tad more sober
“Rooftops? Two hours to sunrise. Might as well not miss it now.”
“Oh,” he said, catching on again. “I don’t think I can climb a roof after this much booze Hen.”
“Lightweight,” she teased.
“Bad climber.” He corrected her. It had never been his forté “Let’s go down the river instead.”
“K.”
So Florent Pagny ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tl0cn… )comes on my itunes and Cal takes a definite liking to it.  Resulting in another little excerpt for the Carterhaugh story. I'm not quite sure how I feel about Cal yet. I really quite like him as a person, but I feel like he's too darn nice as a character

hmm.
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© 2014 - 2020 SaffyLailo
Comments6
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DarthVengeance0325's avatar
DarthVengeance0325Hobbyist Writer
Hmm. Does she often feel the urge to roost on rooftops?
SaffyLailo's avatar
SaffyLailoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yep. She's  a wererat, and I guess her inner rat is more roof rat (rattus rattus) and Cal's is more brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) (they tend to  prefer nesting underground)
DarthVengeance0325's avatar
DarthVengeance0325Hobbyist Writer
So are they closer to Nosferatu, or to skinchangers? Or even lycanthropes...?
SaffyLailo's avatar
SaffyLailoHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, they're  lycanthropes, my personal interpretation obviously :).  Why, did you think they might be vampires?
DarthVengeance0325's avatar
DarthVengeance0325Hobbyist Writer
Nar, just checking. :)
SaffyLailo's avatar
SaffyLailoHobbyist Traditional Artist
K! :D

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