My name is Caroline Gorge and I’ve been dead these forty years.
My doggy got sick and ran all over, slathering and slavering.
He bit me on the leg.
It went bad.
I was seventeen years old.
I died in my bed with my parents crying next to me.
But I didn’t go anywhere, not really.
I just lay in the ground.
You’d think it’d be quiet down there but there’s always something moving.
And for a while there was the sound of my body wasting away.
I would lay in my box listening to myself get squishy.
I would lay in my box listening to the worms getting through the wood before getting through me.
Then I would lay in my box listening to myself get brittle.
I would’ve cried if I could’ve.
But when it was quiet I realised that the people above really weren’t so very far away.
The people who came to visit with their flowers and their tears and their prayers.
I listened to them talk to the earth and the ones like me underneath.
My parents who came to see me, no one else.
Before they died too.
Others had lots of visitors, though.
I wondered if they were awake like me, if they appreciated the kind words.
I lay there and listened to them all.
All those sorrowful words.
Then one day there was you.
You were telling your wife how much you missed her.
And you did, I could hear it in your voice, your poor broken heart.
Your honesty, your goodness.
You kept coming back.
And each time you did I felt my heart grow fonder.
I felt my heart grow.
I felt my heart strings pull together and intertwine.
And then I felt my heart beat.
Just once at first but then it beat again.
Each time you came back it started beating.
I felt a tingling all over.
I could move a toe, a finger.
I felt my tongue grow back.
I felt my eye-sockets fill and then I saw.
Each time you came back I slowly came alive.
I felt your tears hit the earth above me and I reached up to catch them.
And then came the day when you didn’t come.
And my heart beat anyway.
And I knew what I had to do.
I reached up and I pushed out and I clawed my way through.
And I was outside.
And I never felt so happy.
And I knew I had to find you.
I could feel you, like I knew where you were.
I just walked.
The night was so loud and so bright but I didn’t care because somehow I knew where I was going.
I walked all night and when I got here I knew it was your house.
How could it belong to anybody else?
And I knocked on your door and you answered and I’m standing here and I’ve told you my story.
And I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that.
It makes my heart ache to see you look at me like that.
Don’t you know how much I love you?
I was dead inside until I met you.
You’re ruining everything.
I’m weeping, beyond that, I’m seeping.
I’m falling apart.
I’m falling apart and you can’t even look at me.
Please look at me.
FUCKING LOOK AT ME!
Right, so this story. The format's a little different. I didn't really think about it until I started writing it, but I thought it'd be fun to try it. The subject matter is kind of a flipside to Do You Still Love Your Girlfriend Now That She's Dead Again, which, interestingly, was another title suggestion from this week's Title Suggester Iain McGibbon. I choose not to examine this too closely!
OK, so my first idea for this title was to write something really scary. It was going to be set in a hotel, it was going to have ghosts and killers, but as I was trying to figure out a good ending for it, this popped into my head. So at some point there will be another story called I Was Dead Inside Until I Met You, but for now, this is it.
I was wondering if it would be different if it was a boy under the ground rather than a girl. I toyed with the idea of writing two, but I wanted it to be sad rather than comedic, and the idea I had for the boy involved him being a kid from the 50s with Buddy Holly glasses, and I thought I'd save that character for another time.
I was also planning on having a lot more detail about Caroline Gorge's decomposition, but it didn't quite fit with her character. I liked her noticing it but not dwelling on it. And her story is more that she's lonely rather than upset about being dead. She's from somewhere in the American south. A small town. Where they occasionally sound English rather than American.
On another note, I'm happy with the character name. I'm never happy with character names, but I like this one.
I had trouble with the last line. Should she swear or not? She seems like such a sweet girl. But she's reconstituted her entire corpse, clawed out of the ground, and dragged her carcass to her beau's house only to find he's revolted by her. I think she's entitled to use the F word.
Elsewhere, the novel moves slowly towards being Finished Finished. It should be ready in the next few weeks to begin what I'm sure is the slow and painful process of epublishing. Anyway. There's also the script with Ben Sheppard of Treppenwitz blog excellence, and a long-dormant project with Martin Parsons which I'm trying to wake up. So, stuff to write. There's also lots of film writing happening, which is fun.
Right, until next time, here's a really lovely song by Phernalia I called Sometimes, who I hope is alright with me posting it here.
And a bit of PJ Harvey because why not.