The opening...

The opening...

Chapter 1 (cnt'd): where Jesus is tormented by memories and we learn of a tragic love...

finished/unfinished


It came as he knew it would as it had done before. She was waiting outside the train station on that that wild summer day. She wore a light red dress, just above the knees, and black sun-glasses. Her lips were painted scarlet and her hair was black, medium length and silky. She had arrived early and Jesus had enjoyed that. He had spotted her from a distance and he stopped to watch her. It was the first time he had seen her outside the dark of the bar where they had met. She looked just as sultry in daylight as she had done by night. As she waited she smoked and she did not look out or around nor check the time. She seemed to know that she would not be stood up. Jesus watched her, her long slender arms and legs, bare and tanned and elegant. She had a thin, flat waist and small, pert breasts. Jesus lit a cigarette and approached. When she saw him she raised her sunglasses onto her head. Her dark eyes shone and glared like a wild fire, and that effect seemed to set off a reaction right through her body which made her shiver. They both noticed it. Jesus had never seen a reaction like that in anyone before and it stirred something strong deep inside of him and he wanted it to happen again and again. 

They took the train into the centre of town and sat opposite one another. Jesus stared deep into her eyes and an erotic drunken veneer washed over her pupils. Although they were all but strangers she seemed to drift off under his gaze, like she was being hypnotised by something inside of him. As the tube rattled along its track her eyelids would close over to the rhythm of the train, like each backwards lull of the carriage sent an orgasmic wave of pleasure through her. This was something new and strange to Jesus and it thrilled him. There was some kind of pull they exerted upon one another, something psycho-sexual from the start. He smiled at her and she smiled back and the train chugged along. He called her over besides him. She came without hesitation. Jesus took her hand and squeezed it gently and never released. It was soft and the fingers long and on this sticky summer day her grip was cool and refreshing. He  held her hand and the wildest, most dangerous passions were astir and already the happiness was so great that a fear was born, the fear of that touch, that hold, ever being prised apart. In the black reflection of the window, as they rocketed through tunnel, Jesus secretly spied on her and secretly she spied him back.  

They did not speak much the entire day. Words seemed not so much hard to come by, but unnecessary. It was a day of looks and silent reflection and something gave in both their eyes that said it was healing just being together. They were not of wealth and this was never going to be a restaurant date or a movie or anything  like that. This was about the city, about London, about the secret spaces and skies of her metropolis, about the river and the small cobbled streets that echoed in the tawdry afternoon and smelled of honeysuckle and pine . And so Jesus took her to St James' park and they walked. She removed her shoes and said the grass was milky and cool. Jesus asked if they had parks like this in Istanbul and she said they did but that  Istanbul was of the sea and the sea was blue. Jesus told her that London has no sea of blue but that London has green  and she looked for miles into the distance and said she likes the green and that maybe one day the green would replace blue and Jesus hoped so too. For the first time in his life his city seemed full of beauty and wonder and he knew it was because she was besides him and that scared him because it took so much control from him. He looked at her with fear and longing, and on the grass she could see his lust and she lay back and let him see her thighs up her dress, and when she laughed she would fall into him so as he could smell her hair and see down the top of her dress at the smooth skin of her breast disappearing into her light bra. But for all her power of beauty she seemed just as in awe of him as he was of her. They smoked on the grass and ate sandwiches and found hidden places among the pines. They did not kiss nor touch anything but hands, but it was building and becoming emotional and they both felt the evening arriving and the floral smells drifting in the late air. The day had passed so quickly and now a sadness was in their eyes at the thought  that the night would separate them.  Jesus said, "I suppose we should get going... It's late." And she said, "Yes, it's late... we really should go." Jesus said, "I enjoyed the day so much"  and she replied, "Me too... It was sad wasn't it?" Jesus said, "It was not sad but it became sad as time passed on." She nodded furiously at his words as if that was what she  had meant to say. 
"Maybe the evening can be ours too?" she posed. "Maybe we could find some place to have a drink?" Jesus agreed and smiled and said he would love a drink  and for a moment they had postponed the end of their first day. The evening took them to a series of small bars, a drink in each and then Jesus would escort her home some more. To postpone the point of their departure they kept finding another bar and another reason to stay together. And soon it was dark and the bell was being swung in The Man on the Moon. It was call for last orders and by now they did not want to leave.

Jesus was making animal sounds in his sickness. He was squealing and his hands were contorted in strange positions, as if he had become paralysed while raising them to his head. Where he had wept before it was different. Those were  tears born of self pity due to the injustice of the physical pain. They were not wet tears. Now as he made these strange, bestial noises the tears flowed wet and strong and the last time he had cried tears like that, tears that bubbled in his nose and mouth and made his whole face feel like it was streaming away was the night when she had left and the coldness of her voice so far away down the telephone line. Before that, before her, he had not cried so honestly since being a child. And now in his sickness, his fever rising once more, a new suffering was upon him. It had come in from nowhere; was in the room, and he wanted it all to end. 

To pull himself together Jesus cried out to Jean-Baptiste: 

"Jean Baptiste, please!!!" he cried. "Please be on your way... I need something." Jesus concentrated on his friend, but in the room the atmosphere lingered and with every small lapse of concentration he would start sobbing again and squeeze his brain tight shut to try and stop the memories flooding in. Heroin seemed ever more vital to Jesus and he promised himself that when this sickness was over he would never fall ill again. He cursed life and vowed, at the first opportunity, to lay himself out cold with a triple loaded fix, a shot to end sickness and forget this ghastly fucking world. 
What is this suffering? he thought. What is this perverted idea of original fucking sin and why the fuck should I be the one to bear it!


- - - - -

note: rethink name for Buket. Look through old notes from Loves Down Tango or Mythical Darts

Chapter 1 : (cont'd) where Jesus' illness progresses and we learn a few words of Jean-Baptiste and the mental agony of sickness begins...

finished/unfinished

Jesus paced the room.  He could feel the sickness in every cell of his body and yet knew this was just the first day and that how he felt now would be nothing compared to how he would feel in two hours and that would be nothing again compared to how he would find himself come the first  of the morning light.  His skin burnt and irritated him and and the huge cavernous yawns which now came every few seconds felt like they were stretching and ripping apart every muscle in his face and neck. Sometimes he would sit on the chair and flop over holding his stomach, mucus running freely out his nose. He would snivel and look out from burning eyes and let out whimpers of suffering and curse. Then he would rise again, pace the room, lay down, shake and groan before getting to his feet once more, gagging and retching. Although he knew it to be impossible he still tried to find some moments of comfort, some way to pass some real amounts of time. Now when he lay himself down the beginnings of a restless feeling entered his feet and legs. This would get much worse, to the point of being unbearable, but for now it was just the beginning and he could alleviate the sensation by flapping his feet and creating waves of cool air over them. With no heating the flat must have been 1 or 2 degrees at most. Jesus knew it, knew his body must have been freezing even though he was burning up and sweating profusely. In the low lying shadows of the room Jesus felt a weird sense of stillness, timelessness and a silence which was haunting. Outside the sky was deep blue and  grey and the loneliness and vastness of the universe made him feel like he was entering the initial wavering stages of an LSD trip, like the room was spinning lost through the dead black of space.

The wide bulky frame of Jean-Baptiste with his slightly in-turned lower lip where he had lost most his bottom teeth came to Jesus.  He stood in Jesus' mind, at the front door, in those grubby white acrylic tracksuit bottoms he wore. Over his shoulder Jesus could see the street, the wintry mid-morning and the blustery gales sweeping old newspapers along walls and then way up high and off. Jean-baptiste had his hand out asking Jesus for money or heroin to tide him over until he got paid. Jesus did not ask any questions. The two had been hooked up as junk buddies for the past 8 months, running around the city like stray dogs, scoring and raising funds together, lending each other cash and splitting bags of brown and rocks of crack with filthy fingers  tipped with grimy nails.So Jesus did not think. He  ran back upstairs and returned with two ten bags of heroin and a small brown glass bottle containing  just over 40ml of methadone. Jean-Baptiste told Jesus that he would make good in three days and then said, "er, actually, no... four days." Jesus waved the words away. Three or four. It was cool. An extra day was nothing between friends and made no difference.Well, it did make a difference: a big one. Today was the fourth day  and it was a Saturday. Jean-Baptiste couldn't be paid today and he had obviously  known so when he asked. Jesus now understood why three had become four. In the junk world, where survival is so harsh, there is a reason behind everything.

Jesus' ran hot tears. His head ached somewhere deep inside. He damned Jean-Baptiste. This was all his fault.  He named him all the cunts under the sun and wondered why he would do such a thing. Of course, Jean-baptiste did not know that Jesus would be in such dire straits - not even Jesus knew that.  If he'd have had even the slightest inkling that this may happen he would never have been so generous and trusting. Jesus reached for the TV remote and checked the time. It was only just gone 10pm. He wandered over to the window and stood  looking out. He pressed his face against the glass. He was hoping against hope that Jean-baptiste may still keep his word and come into view out the dark. He thought of his name, over and over, sending out  unconscious beams of messages he hoped Jean-Baptiste would pick up. Then he thought hard of where Jean-baptiste could be, trying to recall snippets of talk they had jawed away while passing the crack pipe back and forth. If he could only know where his friend was staying he could still, just, manage the walk. But Jesus did not know where Jean-baptiste could be. He cursed himself for that. How could he not  know where to locate his junk buddy? Why had he never bothered to get exact details of his whereabouts.. the places he stayed? What kind of a real friendship must that be? And so Jesus watched the silent street and now the cold of the window pane induced an icy feeling within him and  suddenly Jesus felt the heat of his fever freeze over and a terrible coldness eat its way right to the heart of his bones. His damaged foot throbbed as if the skin had been stripped bare. Jesus hunted through the piles of clothes on the floor. After some searching he  found a large black coloured fleece jacket, put it on and zipped it up. Then he got into bed, shivering, and pulled the blankets tight up around him so as no air sneaked in. His face remained out in the room and his nose felt like it was chiselled out of ice.

Jesus snivelled. His body trembled and his teeth chattered. His nose ran an icy mucus which he rubbed against the top of the blankets so as he did not have to bring his hands out into the air. He began rocking  his entire body, creating friction between his skin. On the TV some late evening political debate was taking place. The sound was muted but as the camera panned to the audience Jesus could hear laughing and clapping and imagined that it was in response to him. He peered around curiously like he was listening out for something. For a weird moment he had an intrinsic understanding of space and time, could see space bent around his body and feel the tiny weight of the infinite universe upon him. The standing lamp had illuminated a strange reality in the room. Jesus did not know what reality that was but there was something haunting and melancholic now present. He squinted his eyes tight shut and rocked his body more furious still. In the black  front of his brain something was forming, he could feel himself giving birth to it as he scrunched his face up. He heard faint sounds from long out the past. Memories were coming; he could feel them. He would hear that sweet ghostly music soon and then see her, be carried away and dragged under a sea of shimmering memories, the sun filtering through from up above, sound and joy and youth echoing in the depths of his mind,  a foreboding sense of tragedy inherent in the yield of the day.


Chapter 1: SICK (cont'd 2)

finished / unfinished

Jesus heard the occasional noises of the afternoon and then nothing for a long time. When he next  opened his eyes evening had fallen and the room was in near total darkness with him wormed up like a host disease at its centre. He was covered in sweat and breathing low.  As his eyes adjusted to the blackness shapes and edges of things emerged into vague focus. Over, towards the only uncovered window, the wooden chair sat morosely in shadow and slanted night light.  From  the mattress on the floor Jesus stared out the window and up into the sky. Something about that made him feel immensely lonely and sad. He pushed the covers back and lay out flat like he was airing his souk. He wanted to rise, to go to the toilet, to light the room, but the thought of standing, putting all that weight on his legs, of using energy to move gave him the dreads. And so he lay just where he was for the moment, the internal static of his existence whispering away like insects in his ears.

That got him up. A sneezing fit which turned to retching and a panic as he caught his breath down his throat. When he had finished he was laying over on his side, head bowed off the  mattress, with snot and saliver draping from his nose and mouth. Jesus pulled the stringy discharge clear and slung it off his fingers onto the floor. He breathed heavy and cursed. Then he sucked cleared his throat of further mucous and getting himself up gobbed it into the woven wastepaper basket. On his feet his head spun. he steadied himself against the wall and pulled his trousers up a notch. His damage foot throbbed and felt frozen and burning at the same time. Holding his stomach in he stood in the dark, building himself up for his next movements.
There had been no electricity in the flat for almost a year now. After his mother had died no-one had paid the bills and so a series of letters were sent and not opened and then one afternoon the electricity went off and never came back on. In response Jesus had run a wire from the communal hallway* light downstairs up into the flat, fixed a switch to it and so was able to run a lamp, TV, charge his phone and boil water. He had to be careful using multiple appliances so as not to trip the switch.  He also didn't want a huge electricity bill going to the Housing Trust for a single hallway light. It would be for some reason like that that they would come sniffing around and not only find he was pilfering their electricity but also that his mother was dead  and that  he had been continuing on with her housing benefits claim and having the rent paid and living there illegally by not declaring it.  Jesus now turned his little line of electricity on and a tall standing lamp lit up the lower half of the room. In the corner, just a meter or so away from the edge of the mattress, the television went from blank to static to a grainy picture with sound. Jesus looked in the mirror. He dragged a hand down his sick face finishing with a loose grip of skin around the chin. God, he really was ill. His eyes were already baggy from the wet tears and his face was ashen yet oily, his pupils wide and frightening looking even with the light on. He looked at his bed and noticed fresh blood down at the bottom of the bare mattress. Fuck, my foot, he thought and he looked down at his foot. He saw that  blood. was seeping through his sock. It was not important. His sickness was his major worry and left no room for anything else. He ached around the room, pulling up pieces of clothing  and tossing them aside until he found a small battery powered torch. With the torch in his hand Jesus left the room and went down the hallway. After a moment the hallway lit up. 
When Jesus returned to his living room he was with two empty saucepans and a third full of water. Jesus put the two saucepans to the side of the bed and  emptied the third  into the kettle. From a little cabinet alongside the TV he took out two half pouches of old dried tobacco and a  little box of loose cigarette papers and put those beside the mattress too. Then he looked out at the sky and the dark and a sudden wave of panic hit him. He looked at himself in the mirror and he had to struggle not to cry and he had to try and do something. He needed to know the time. Then he remembered he had no phone and so he couldn't tell the time. He went to the window and as he went his body felt like it was dying with each step. Jesus looked through the window and over the old school, down the road, he could just make out the high-street. When he saw traffic he knew evening was not night but he needed to know how late it was. Then he remembered the TV text, the CEEfax and standing shivering, making noises of suffering he flicked jittering across to the text and there he saw it was just gone 8 and a little hope returned.

It was still early, Jesus thought. Dealers will be on until at least midnight and some even later. If I can borrow a phone, or 20 pence, I could get Bobby or Tee to come out. They know me well enough and I've never asked credit before. I will call them and say nothing and when they arrive I will let them see me sick and ask for credit then. If I tell them before there's a good chance they'll say no. No, I must phone first and only let them know when they arrive. Sure they'll fucking moan and curse and say it's not possible but they'll come around. I'll ask for three and then they can cut me down to even one and that will be good until tomorrow, allow me to find a fix until Monday. So Jesus for a moment had a plan and he once again waited near the window. He went through his immediate neighbours of  who he could ask to use the phone. Barely had he decided on old Polish Rosa from three doors down  than he suddenly remembered that not only was his phone missing but also his wallet where he kept his dealers numbers on paper. JJesus cried out in anguish. He hung his head in despair and liquid bubbled out his nose and then ran down and over his lip. The sweats went through him and he began his jittering again, trying to create a sensation he could follow to take his mind of the sickness. In a flash of haste he once again  thought of his wallet, that it must be somewhere in the room. Surely I couldn't have lost everything, he thought.  He looked around again, sitting down every few minutes, shivering, sniffing and groaning before searching over again. But it was hopeless. His bag nor jacket nor shoes where in the apartment. He cursed whatever event had happened to him and then got back up and looked in the mirror for the third and last time. And in that look, in that reflection, he saw a condemned man and he was scared. The bed was ready for him and the evening was drawing in and his fate was an horrendous one. The smell of sickness cut Jesus in two and he doubled up and retched and for the first time he was sick and it came out his nose and then spewing out his mouth . Jesus went to his knees and Jesus was sick. the TV let out a beep and the teletext changed page and the night was coming down. 


* so house is a maisonette with the downstairs flat empty. we need to explain somewhere how Jesus had got in on millenium night without any keys. The keys will be used later in stiory. 
Problem in the writing of 3rd person limited and 3rd person omnipresent. Maybe not discernible to the reader but I can feel the tension of  it as the writer. have a look at the omnipresent parts and have a go at writing them using mostly passive sentences so as Jesus (his body) remains the subject throughout. 

Chapter 1: SICK: where Jesus first wakes up sick unaware he died and came back to life the previous night...*

finished/unfinished

When Jesus next came to, the world was sick. He could smell it and taste it and feel it; an occupying illness which had hijacked every cell of his body. His trousers were still damp and the damp seemed to have penetrated right through to the marrow of his bones. There was not a joint or muscle in his body which did not ache. He threw himself free of his blankets and shot up sitting, breathing hard, as if he had been drowning in his sleep. Before he knew who or where he was he understood he was junk sick. His awareness of the condition was as astute as if it were a vestigial instinct left over from an evolutionary past. Jesus squinted his eyelids unstuck and looked out at the spiritless world which confronted him. He groaned, a low, profound sound. For a moment he questioned nothing. The dull of the day sat stagnant all around. With a winced look of anguish on his face he stared lamentingly into the deadspace of the room as if haunted by some spectral memory of events that he could not quite bring to mind.


Sat up in bed, Jesus felt out his illness, gauging what level it was at.  From his  burning eyes and running nose and his general discomfort he surmised he must have been about  sixteen hours into withdrawals.  And he was:  Jesus Maria was sixteen hours in.  He tried recalling what had happened the previous night but he could not remember. His last memory of the evening was unloading his fix at the Blackhouse. From that, and how he was feeling now, he gathered that whatever he had shot could not have had much, if any, heroin in it at all. As for leaving the Blackhouse, his journey home, or even the smallest recollection of the world party which had taken place, he had absolutely no memory. He looked over at the window. It looked the dullest of dull days out there, Jesus groaned again, wiped the hot tears out his eyes and slowly rose.


What Jesus did know, what he had not forgotten, was Andy promising to lay him on a free shot for the morning. Jesus went through his trouser pockets searching out a small wrap or ball of dope. When he found nothing, not a coin, not a lighter, no wallet he threw his eyes around the room looking for his jacket and bag. Strange, he could not see either of them. That's when he remarked his left foot. It was swollen quadruple, had a large wound in the forestep and had left dried blood all around his toes. It was bad, but nothing he had not seen  before. Since deciding to  begin mauling himself with syringes three years earlier he had experienced a wide array of swellings and lumps and terrifying effects from missed shots. The foot could wait. It would heal itself. What would not heal itself was heroin sickness and it was progressively getting worse with each minute. The sand clock had been stood on its head and Jesus knew he had but hours to stop himself from slipping into complete and debilitating junk withdrawal.


Jesus was baffled. He had searched high and low for his jacket and bag but could not find them anywhere. And that was not all. Neither could he locate his shoes, nor his phone, nor wallet or small change. Even his tobacco and lighter were missing. After using up the little energy he still had he finally sat down on an unsteady wooden kitchen chair that was in the room and closed his eyes. He tried concentrating away the early pains of withdrawal while thinking of anything he could do and of any memory of what had happened. Then Andy's words came to him again, the promise of laying him on a shot and he was back up, hunting around once more, getting crazy and frustrated each time he dragged himself through the flat and came upon none of his belongings.


There's no fucking way I'd have left without having Andy make good on his word, he thought, no fucking way!

That's when he first really pondered the strangeness of it all, and tried thinking as to what had happened after the shot he had taken.As hard as Jesus tried he just could not recall a single moment post-injection. It was all a blank and in all his years of using he had never blacked out like that before. There had been times when he had nodded out for a good hour, maybe two if he was extremely lucky, but an entire evening? No way. That was not how heroin worked. He remembered how he felt as the shot rushed through his system, first the strange  taste in his sinuses and also wondering as to whether he could feel anything or not. His last recollection was feeling slightly out of sorts and then nothing more thereafter. An idea as absurd as dying and being robbed and dumped in the street only to survive never entered his head. The closest he got to the reality of it all was to conclude that the heroin must have been laced with strong barbiturates or something, maybe some concentrate form of diazepam which had knocked him out cold for hours before. As to what had become of all his belongings was just a mystery, and most mysterious of all, what had happened to his shoes? He just could not figure. To know more Jesus would need to visit the Blackhouse, but the Blackhouse was miles away and he could never make it sick and with no shoes and with his foot damaged as it was. So Jesus sat put on a t-shirt and a shirt and he sat in the chair, alongside the window, looking out in the hope that one of the many local addicts he knew would pass by, maybe even a dealer, someone who he could call down to for help. And so Jesus stared out the windows and morning slowly merged into afternoon and on this slow, freezing day of the new millennium barely a soul passed down the street and Jesus' illness got progressively more malignant and his burning eyes became a torture and the yawning now strained his jawbones and left him sniffling and his stomach muscles felt like they'd been constantly stretched and punched weak  and something in the day made him dry heave and retch and before the afternoon was out Jesus was a rocking, groaning, dribbling wreck and proper junk illness was then upon him. Time was over. Anything desperate that Jesus could have done to prevent this needed to be done before its onset. Now it was too late. So with his eyes half closed over in suffering and self-pity Jesus Maria moved himself away from the window and the sad light of day and dragged himself back to the mattress on the floor and lay down. He pulled the cover around his rattling body and closed his eyes, dreading each passing moment as he knew that as bad as he felt that it was still nothing yet, that come each hour and by each night and through each day all of hell's fire and passion would hit him in waves of reports, that before this was over and he crawled out into the street crying and begging for help he would be physically and mentally tortured, driven to the point of insanity and despair, sweated down to his essential being and left to marinate in the poison of his own body. Jesus shook and groaned and said “Oh God... no. Oh please God, no.”

Note to self:

Consider throwing Jesus directly into complete sickness rather than this half day of mild illness. It would be a much stronger opening of the real novel, a better birth, waking up right in the centre of the nightmare with no time to do much about it. I'm hesitant to do that because it's not how it would usually happen in real life. usually our bodies wake up in minor discomfort (are woken up by that discomfort) and we descend into fully blown withdrawals while awake.

Where in a later chapter Jesus tracks down his estranged lover in France only to close his eyes and lose her once again....

(FINISHED)

On the Croix Rouse the early morning was up. The smell of crushed, filtered coffee swamped the air. A young male server in black and white swept his café front clear of cigarette ends, guiding them towards and down the drain grate.  In the square, the old Muslim men were already grouped on the benches and around  the statue, talking and sipping mint tea and smoking. Jesus looked at a piece of paper in his hand and then looked around. He set off ion one way, stopped, saw a street sign and then looked at the paper in his hand again and turned and went in the opposite direction.   At the otherside of the square, crossing over the road, he slowed his pace. There he saw it, a few doors away from the corner,  the old academic bookshop where he had been told Nuran was working.  It was closed. He was glad for that. Cautiously he approached the door to look for the opening hours.  It opened  at ten. Looking past the sign on the door he peered on  inside. It made him shiver. Something instinctively told him that Nuran was indeed working there, that this was the place she now brought herself to everyday. It was like he could already see/feel her arrival, that somehow he knew that today he would see her  for the first time since she left his bed that morning, that unfinished view he had been punished with. He remembered her naked bottom and the small gap between her legs and her sex from behind. She had purposely teased him with a view as she bent over to retrieve her knickers from the floor and slipped into them. It was a cruel goodbye. She was so fresh and sprightly and they had fucked and then she was gone. Jesus saw his old life  in the reflection of the door, that morning where she had left, and after, alone, how he had wriggled back down under the duvet to smell  her body some more - to sleep in the calm of her scent.  And then, in the door he saw the future, the very soon,  of how it would unfold, her shock at seeing him there, sober looking with the ghost of the great melancholy she had induced within him manifest in his face and stare. She would like that.  The great hollow of pain and distress gaunt in his face he saw would make her erotic with power and sadness and  regret. Jesus' heart thumped. It was a sexual heartbeat. Something that excited and subdued him, made his head dream and his groin want to gyrate.  He finished peering in through the door and then lit a cigarette. He smoked two puffs, looked around at France and then went off in search of a cafe  from where he could sit and watch the shop.

Jesus took a seat inside. He didn't want to risk Nuran passing by his way, seeing him and that fate of chance spoiling how he had imagined their reunion would happen.  He ordered a coffee with milk and sat down at the window, at the far corner, so if anyone did pass, heading towards the bookshop, they would never have been able to see him. Smoking he stared out. Oh, it was a fine day.  A day of spring, where the oncoming summer had snuck in on its back on a reconnaissance mission of  the city.  Jesus felt the world so fresh and mysterious, full of noises and scents and commotion like he had not felt since heroin.  He felt healthy, like his still  damp hair and the smell of shower products on his skin was life and nature itself.

10am came and went. At 11am the bookshop was still closed. Jesus had not been nervous before but as time had ticked on, past the allotted opening time, his stomach had dropped hollow and he could take no more coffee and felt nauseous with anticipation. He was no longer so sure of himself. No longer so sure his presence would provoke Nuran's heart in the way he had envisaged earlier. The last thing he wanted was to stutter and be uneasy in her presence. She would mistake that for drugs. Crying and desperate emotions would work on her, but any coldness of feeling or lack of passion he knew would nail him dead on the spot. He remembered how she liked to be fucked like a whore and held like a lamb, that she liked men of passion and commitment, men who could kill and who could weep. Jesus had never killed but he knew he could kill for her, she had given him something he could no longer bear to live without and yet he did not have a single solitary idea as to what that was.

He would have missed him if it wasn't for his terribly humped back, bent right over like a curled finger so as it looked like his nose was  hoovering the pavement.  Jesus' eyes caught and followed this unfortunate hill of a man. Apart from his back, and his obvious age, the only other detail discernible was the dusty black overcoat  which consumed him. And then the old hunchback stopped, right outside the bookshop, and it was soon clear that he was turning a key in a lower look and then his arm reached up, above his hump, and it opened a second, higher lock. The old hunchback entered the shop headfirst, pushing the door open with his crown.  Jesus sat and watched, but the door closed back over and there was nothing else to see.

It was gone the half hour when Jesus paid up and left. With no Nuran, and the best part of the morning gone, he decided to visit the bookshop and try to find out if the old man worked alone and if not, could his assistant really be Nuran. He entered the shop with low hopes. They had all faded throughout the morning. The bookstore was a jumble, books piled up everywhere, some wrapped in paper, some obviously old, others marked up with what he took as despatch addresses. He looked carefully at the handwriting but he did not recognize it. The old humpbacked man was standing, doing nothing, behind a  desk which seemed to serve as a counter. On seeing Jesus he waved both arms like in distress and said: "On n'est pas ouvert, monsieur!" Jesus did not understand, though  he could tell the man was not French. He approached. "We are not open," said the old man, his eyes suspicious on Jesus. Jesus bent his forearm around and feigned looking at a watch.  "Half-day," said the old man. "Half-day open today." Jesus  thought about asking a few questions but gave up before even deciding on whether to or not. He decided  he'd return to the cafe and wait on the half day. It was obvious the humpback could not run the shop alone and so someone, even if not Nuran, would have to turn up to help. Jesus held up his hand to signal he was leaving. He turned and went to take the door but it opened for him, and instead of him leaving Nuran entered and went straight passed him and over to greet the old man. Jesus went weak in the tiny breeze she had caused and his eyes welled up at the scent he had missed so much. He did not  stem his tears, he couldn't. He instinctively followed her scent, and standing there distraught, his instinct commandeering his beast, he said: "My Love?"

On hearing the voice Nuran froze and turned. She looked like the bottom of her soul had fallen out. She faced him with shock and then was overcome with a quick and deep sense of anger at having someone she had consciously left have the temerity to impose themselves in her life.  Jesus noticed the  underlying  fury in her and had to resist his instinct to crush her in an embrace and kiss her and make a thousand desperate apologies and promises.

"What happened my love?" he asked.
"I am not YOUR love," she hissed with suppresed spite. Then forcing a smile, to keep up a pretence to the old man that this was not a rag of her personal life present during business hours, she said: "Will you please leave. This is not fair. This is my work. Please." Nuran saw that Jesus was wilting under his emotions, that a deep and all-consuming hurt was subduing his  pride and that his emotional being had come to the fore and the Jesus was ready to collapse and throw himself around her feet and cry and beg, regardless of where he was or who was present. To prevent such a scene she softened her tact and said "not here, please," and ushered him outside. She said something in Turkish to the old humpback  who had not noticed they were anything but common acquaintances.

"Can we get a coffee?" asked Jesus, calmed a little and wanting to get out off the street and be alone with her. She looked at him, weighing something up. He appeared so fragile and truly hurting, almost shaking, that she nodded and said "one minute, I must tell the owner, he can't do much alone."

When Nuran returned she had removed her coat and scarf  and was with a small handbag over her shoulder. She was wearing a black dress which buttoned up the front, a round neck which exposed her chest bone, shoulder and neck. Jesus could smell her perfume, could taste her neck in the air. She excited him even through great sadness. As they walked he watched her. Her  tall, slender profile and lips and hair and neck. She knew she was being observed, devoured. She straightened further, her small breasts against her dress, but she did not look back.


In the throes of his illness Jesus now felt that French day, the cries around Croix Rouse and the short walk they had taken to find a café and how the coffee chugged and churned and the smell separated and sat in that space between them. There was also something flagrantly sexual taking place, there could not help but be. After all they had done together in London, the sexual taboos they had transgressed, his lustful eyes on her as they sat  and her awareness that she was bringing his animal passions to the surface, it all created a strange and dangerous erotic environment where she could barely  keep eye contact  for fear of being seduced and falling victim to her own lustful desires and fantasies. But these were no longer blissful memories to Jesus, rather torturous things which seemed to physically hurt him having them play out in his brain. And Jesus wept. And he could no longer distinguish if he was weeping in self-pity over his miserable state or whether the tears were of the memories in his head. !but they were real tears and tears which soaked his skin and he could see leaking through him and dripping from his ribcage and over his organs and he wished somebody would come, scoop him up and take him from his bed.


* * *

In the cafe on the Croix Rouse at midday the two ex-lovers smoked. It was dangerous to smoke and drink coffee because these things were focused on the lips and they both knew it well and both knew what it meant. With a real hurting human in front of her Nuran had softened. She felt  much more in control of the situation now than when he had first appeared and when he was capable of anything and it was out of her control. They chatted random nonsense stuff strangers would not even bother with, the big questions, all from Jesus, bubbling under the surface and waiting to come up. He wanted not only answers but also a solution, and a certain solution at that. he did not want this French excursion to end, but to be the start of their second romance. He asked her what had happened and she said she did not know that she was scared and lonely. He asked if there was someone else and she said there was and Jesus nodded knowing it had been the case. It did not deter him. He had been the someone else to her too. What he had lost to another so he had taken from someone else. He understood something in her and forgave her and wanted her back to him and yet he also knew if she came back this would be a cycle that would be repeated until he was either killed in a duel or by her or at his own hand. She was a fatal encounter and yet it only spurred him on more, feeling even more of a romantic warrior having given his lot to death. And so he nodded and he bowed his head and she could tell he was  crying but he made no sound only looked up after a while so as she could see his pain and she saw it. Drawn in by his emotions she took his hand in hers and her touch burnt him with its softness and she seemed to radiate hope through him that that touch was something more than humanism within her. For her she had a man head bowed, at his weakest point, one of life's rebels and here he was subdued and she felt beautiful and powerful albeit in respectful ways. She held his hand and he withdrew it and smiled and lit a cigarette and stared with melancholy out the window at the passing life on the Croix Rouse. And she smoked too and looked at him and her smoke came his way and she did feel guilty for the hurt in that man. He trembled as he smoked and although in real pain he tried his best to look devoid of all hope and desire, like he was staring out at death. After a moment he turned to her and asked: "Can we meet somewhere tomorrow?" Nuran nodded and looked at him so intensely. She had lost herself like she feared and she told him "yes". Then he said: "It's not hopeless is it?" And he was shaking his head slightly as he asked and she followed his cue and said "nothing is hopeless" and now she was crying and she could not understand and a fire of obsession was in her and she wanted him to bite her neck because nothing was hopeless and that felt like the poetry she needed in life.

With the early sun warm upon him, and Nuran just opposite, Jesus closed  his eyes and all the pain and sadness of the past weeks melted away. In the closed orange glow of meditation Jesus found a perfection in being.  Nuran watched him. It was a bad sign. Jesus' natural response to warmth and peace was to cocoon himself away with it, mentally prolong the bliss and fall back crucified into tranquillity. What that was was a disposition to heroin. She saw it as clear as day. That Jesus turned to heroin not only to block out trauma, but also to preserve the moment and enhance blissful perfection, those vulnerable states of being that can turn so suddenly and sink their  venomous fangs into a man. When Jesus opened his eyes Nuran was there and  she smiled and he reached across and placed his hand over hers, unbeknown to him that tragedy had befallen him again, that the present is proof of nothing, that really she was gone.


word count: 2626

where in a later chapter Jesus remembers a summer drought and spends two days ill with his mother and is visited by her memory once more...

It was a quarter past eight of a summer evening in Grace's hole of an apartment. The evening was still light but in the room it was dark, like dusk had settled there before anywhere else. Now and again the door would squeak open and Grace's mongrel dog would slink in, wander around, whine and leave. From outside, in filtered the scratchy tones of music from the late Ice-cream van. The windows were open but the drawn curtains did not move.  On the sofa and on the floor, against the walls, heroin addicts were strewn and sat about in various positions, silent and rocking themselves through time in painful meditation.It was the first evening of the summer drought and everyone had been caught off guard.

Jesus was sat on the floor on a bean bag which was usually the dog's. He had the first uncomfortable symptoms of junk withdrawal. He felt tremendously tired in his body and couldn't stop yawning, huge cavernous yawns which stretched and pulled every muscle in his face and neck. After each yawn his eyes would stream hot tears. The music from the ice-cream van came to him like a great tragedy, waking up a melancholic universe which had lain dormant within him ever since picking up the needle. He wore an expression like a shard of glass was stuck in his brain. He yawned again and shivered and stared down at the screen of his phone. He no longer tried ringing his numbers. They were all either turned off or only serving crack. His one slither of hope, everyone's one slither of hope, was from Mikey who said he'd call if he managed to reload. Jesus stared at the dark screen and concentrated,  bellowing the word MIKEY out in waves from his mind, sending invisible lines of communication to him, urging him to come through and ring with good news. Jesus didn't believe in such nonsense but it was at least worth trying and kept up a silky thread of hope. Not even a day into withdrawals and Jesus was already onto miracles. The phone didn't light up. The evening wore on and the city darkened and illness progressed in uncomfortable but well-known increments and then it was 11pm, night-time, and the room was in utter darkness and the first groans of physical discomfort began.

The dog whined. Jesus had heard it scampering around in the dark. Now a cool nighttime breeze blew in the open windows, wriggled the curtains and brought in a scent which  made Jesus cry. He cried in silence and the tears ended in his mouth and they made him want to vomit. The room was quiet save for the scuffling of bodies as they turned in discomfort, ten or more junkies, all writhing about and letting out light groans of pain.  Every so often someone would light a cigarette and the room would be illuminated  for a second, the wriggling, aching hell revealed, wide open eyes staring dismally out, like a room full of AIDS victims left to rot in  death. Jesus watched the orange glow of the cigarette tip moving about like magic in the dark. When he was young he would watch his mother's cigarette in the dark too. She'd make fire drawings for him in the night, crazy circles and zigzags or his name all joined up in glowing orange letters followed by a heart that would disappear almost as soon as it existed.  Jesus watched the cigarette and after a moment could make out the smoke. It hung in a cloud and then slowly dispersed and time was like that in heroin sickness, almost on the point of being static.

The drought lasted four entire days. On the second day Jesus scored 150ml of methadone and shared it with his mother. It helped for just over 8hrs and then the yawns and the watery eyes and the snivelling came back. As hard as he tried, as much money as he offered, he could not get anything  thereafter. News of a heroin drought had circled the streets and anyone lucky enough to have a script was keeping it for themselves. So on the evening of the second day, Jesus got into bed with his mother and together they descended into proper and severe junk withdrawal and for two days they did not speak, just moaned and looked at each other and cried the words "oh God" and "fucking hell", vomiting and retching and  sweating and crawling to the bathroom and back. With the sickness and the fever and spasmodic episodes they  sought comfort in different positions on different materials, laying stretched out in the hallway, or on the tiles on the kitchen floor, and then to the sofa, the bed, the carpet... pulling the covers on and off, burning up and then shaking with cold, the muscles so weakened and sore that they often crawled on all fours and Jesus was now thinking of these things and contorting in pain and grinding his teeth, halfway in some past world and halfway in the now and at one moment he opened his eyes and looked up, his tongue hung out his mouth like it had died, and his mother was standing over him, almost fifty years old, gaunt and yellow and crying and saying "It hurts.... it hurts so bad" and those words somehow endeared her to him and he vowed he would never let her get sick again and those words haunted him now as behind him he could see the open door and out into the landing where his mother's room still was and then the cramps hit his stomach and he curled up and whimpered in pain and he said the word "mum" over and over and Jesus said just that.

Word count: 965

Chapter 2: Where Jesus comes back to life and suffers post-death illness and makes his way home half naked and bleeding...

On the third hour of the first night of the second millennium his eyes opened and they looked like they saw but he did not  really see. The colours in the sky meant nothing and the stars meant nothing and the dark cold night meant nothing.   He rose and he walked and without knowing it he walked to the east. His foot was swollen and hurting, the syringe still deeply embedded in it.  He was frozen through to his core but he did not know and so the cold meant nothing and did not  hasten his pace and the shivering was just there. When he had first risen he was not bleeding but now there was blood and it flowed from the wound in his foot and trickled down between his toes. He was still on the high-street and now winds were blowing and the majority of people had gone home. Under a fantastic purple sky, some thin clouds over the partial moon, the  city was bright, lit up by white and blue neon signs which made the streets look ghostly clean. In this hour noises carried on for miles. Overhead the last fireworks exploded and  a few drunken screams still rang out and Jesus walked and his walk was east.

He staggered down the high street, half stooped, his arms and hands bent out at strange angles with some of the fingers rigid straight and others bent or poking down. It gave the impression that all the bodily pain which he could not feel was channelled down his arms into a contorted, paralysing force.  In those first moments post post-mortem Jesus was completely oblivious to his own self. It was as if his soul, his essence, had not returned with him. He was conscious but he had no notion of destination or direction; temperature or night or day. So bare footed and naked from the waist up he made his way east, the syringe working lose and falling out his foot and blood running afresh out the wound. For some way along, the blood ran under his toes and to his sole, and a series of bloody left footprints were printed, leading diagonally across the road.  The night was now so chilled that frost particles settled and welded to the metal of cars and a fine veneer of sparkling white covered the road up in the distance. The street lights gave off spheres of light but Jesus saw nothing of it. As Jesus reached the far side pavement a small group of revellers, the last left on the street, came down from the opposite direction. They parted to let him through and some slapped Jesus on the back and one of the party blew a party hooter in his face. Jesus carried on without so much as a flinch.

It was somewhere off the high street, along a dark and deserted turning of road, that Jesus first saw and had his first or what could be called conscious thoughts. Through a letterbox of awareness he saw a pair of naked, walking feet and the left was wounded and bloody. His eyes closed over and opened to the same scene many times and with each vision the blood and the red became more pronounced and without feeling it he was reacting to horror. Soon after Jesus felt discomfort and then pain and then cold. He heard shouts and though he did not understand them he felt some obligation of response, even if that response was only the recognition of voices themselves. There was still no conscious drive onwards and  absolutely no notion of destination. His feet just walked and his eyes observed and soon his eyes moved and he saw a hand and then a bare chest, and in the same moment he heard a groan he realised the groan was his although he did not know what 'his' was and yet he groaned again as it seemed to reverberate some intrinsic need within him, some natural echo of existence and a call to those other sounds which he had not understood but reacted to. The first time he willing moved his head was to a loud crashing in the sky. He looked up but saw nothing and on slowly turning back to his feet he caught a car passing by and he followed the red tail lights until they disappeared out of distance, into the cold veneer of white which was the dark of the distant night.

He saw the twinkling of the black river. It rippled in the dark of the night catching the light of the bridge and some vague notion of profound depth came to him. He shivered and groaned and now he felt his skin tight over his chest and his insides frozen and sore. On the near shore a party boat was unloading and people were coming off the boat and whooping to fireworks which exploded way over yonder above the next bridge along. Jesus saw the explosion of colour and remembered some great event, some special occasion and the number 2000. He now stopped and watched the people load off the boat and he had an instinct to hide and remain quiet.  The river gently lapped in the dark and now a strange stagnant smell came to him and a burning feeling all over his body. with this burning sensation he heard the wind howling under the bridge and he grimaced and his eyes watered and he held himself in and rubbed himself and then hurried on to wherever he was going. Now Jesus came to a highstreet and on the far-side, on the first corner up, there was a circular building potted out with blue lights and a bright white display with red letters on it. He remembered this place. In the dead of night, with blackness in all directions, something now figured. He looked up past the building, in the opposite way from which he would take, and he said "oh no oh no" and he somehow knew his pain was from there and to that way was not home. And now Jesus was conscious and freezing and in  pain.


(copy and paste from initial writing. just an idea of the walk home)
 the group laughing and howling with  a slimey  his half folded form half illuminated by the shop displays and blue neon sickness across his face. Ill. He staggered past a cruising police control car, the radio only in his head a a lost vfeeling of warmyth and comfort from when hs father had been arrested and he hd once sat in the back of such a car ad smelt the radio. On the bridge. Trying not to look down into the river, a dark expanse leading into nothing, something tortued in the distance, in the deserted and quiet wastelands of the outskirts of town, something tortured in his minds eye; a razt crept away to die. He kept his thoughts on the middle of the bridge, a marker of sorts, somewhere to aspire to, to reach, thinking of the downhill slope and the little acceleration it would afford him not of his own volition He walked through the dead streets now, cursing his illness, groaning in self-pity. The bars were all closed and midnight loomed, that lonely touch of time as TVs flick off across town and people climb stairs to bed and the last lights flicker in living rooms. As he walked past the old school he though he was crying. It was one tear and then another and then blob, plop of heavy rain tarting to come down. The city was aromatized around him. He could smell scabby, ulcerated mongrel dogs, the water on concrete and for a moment the word was a his of slapping rain. Beneath the wet he was sweating through and a cold was on his chest and freeing his chest cavity. The ran slapped down and brought a faint refection of him into the road, a dark, shiny presence in the rivulets of water making their way to the gutter and sewer. He tried to hasten his pace, wanting now just to be home, to suffer down and get on with this wretched illness that was now in him. But any comfort, even of the mildest notion, wa unattainable He had surrendered so much that the rain cut right through him, soaking him to the bones. His hair was curled against his head, his clothes cold against his body, water dripping off his nose; his shoes squelching past old haunts which somehow now screamed out to him and imbued him with a profound and irrepressible feeling of sadness and history, a loneliness that only a man adrift in the universe could understand, floating off to nowhere on memories of home.



By the time he turned into the front path of the house he was soaked and drained through. He slodged along the path, walking the faint light down into such darkness that he was eaten up by his own shadow. As he painfully searched for his key he now regretted reaching home, reaching a place where there was no more hope just surrender. He dropped his key and it jingled twice and then fell silent in the wet yard. With no will at all he swooped down and gathered it p, scraping his knuckles on the enough concrete yard? A drop of blood rolled across he top of his hand and dripped and burst like ink in the rain. He opened the door, and in the dark, he climbed the stairs, the smell of the empty house and foul kitchen overpowering him. he entered his symbolic room. without turning on the light he walked over to the bed and for in, boots still on his feet. he pulled the cold blanket up around him and lay shaking in the dark, the tears falling and shadows jutting out *
210 (unfinished)

Where Andy and Jude carry Jesus' body through the celebrating millennium crowds and dump it on the high-street...

So, as if he were drunk, were suffering from the bends, Jude and Andy carried Jesus from the Blackhouse, along the balcony, down the two flights of stairs and out into the frosty morning of the new millennium. Once outside the shock of what they were doing hit them. They felt like everyone  would spot the corpse immediately, would know that they had killed the man and were now getting rid of his body.

"Where the fuck we gonna put him?"  asked Jude.
"Fuck knows, but as far away from the flat as possible."
"Why?  What does it matter? Let's just dump him in the bin outhouse... Junkies always die in places like that. It'll be  too hot walking a corpse through the fucking crowds!"
"The bins? Get a grip.  The first place anyone will knock is the flat. Fuck,  just the stench would lead the pigs up there an' I don't trust that stringy violent black cunt to keep his lips sucked shut when they do. Out  on  a three year suspended sentence??? He'd have no fucking scruples... 'specially concerning the likes-a-us. Just hold him up and curse him or talk to him like he's a fucking baby...  There'll be others in a far worse state than him tonight! "

And so they carried Jesus on, off the quiet residential road where they passed not a soul and up to the high-street where people celebrated and every other bar was packed out, charging triple prices for drinks and making sure they got the most out of their extended late hour licences.

The first small crowd the men came upon were a group of posh drunken faces with plump lips standing outside one of the many wine bars, smoking.  They looked at the three  men strangely,  raising an eyebrow and turning to each other playfully aghast.  Jude felt his stomach loosen, felt a blanket of guilt descend over him. For a second he lost hold of his portion of Jesus.  Jesus collapsed down to the side, trailing along like an orang-utan.  His head flopped back, and in a weird second, just before Jude caught freshly ahold of him, Jesus's eyes went askew and whatever forces of gravity played upon him it looked as if he flashed a disastrously drunken smile at the gathering. The group looked at each other in mock horror and then burst out in raucous laughter as Jude salvaged his portion of the corpse and tripped on forward with Andy staring at him furiously.

"You doing OK, mate?  Not far now ya daft sod,"  said Andy to the corpse, heaving it up a few inches so as the legs gave a slight impression of  trying to walk.

"No, ya gotta be joking," shouted Jude, feeding of Andy's initiative, "there's no more for you tonight...  You've 'had enough to see ya thru to 3000!  Oh, you'll  live to regret this one!"

Up in the sky and out across the distance fireworks and cheers rang out.  People were singing and shouting. Young men staggered forward into nowhere, celebrating about a new millennium but seeming angry, like they wanted to vandalize something, vandalize themselves. Other groups ran down the street screaming and smashing bottles.  One man, podgy, mid-thirties, was in the middle off the road with his trousers and pants lowered, bending over with the number 2000 daubed in thick red lipstick across his buttocks. He was screaming something about the new century and a little group of friends were over on the pavement, pointing and laughing and taking photos.  What little traffic there was joined in the mooner's fun, flashing their headlights and letting out a series of horn blasts.  Up above scores of people hung out of windows smoking and shrieking, letting out whoops of joy as each new firework fizzed through the night and exploded in bursts of great colour in the sky. Apart from the few stationary folk they passed, no one seemed pay any mind to the two junkies supporting the dead, half naked and bleeding Jesus.

"We could carry this cunt around forever and no-one would be any the fucking wiser," said Andy, a little out of breath. Jude didn't reply. He felt nauseous with guilt carrying the body of his old friend around like this, the whole world celebrating and Jesus dead for the sake of ten quid - five pounds a-piece. Jude cast a look at Andy. He already knew that this night would separate them forever, that such events do not bind men but push them far apart. Heroic acts bind people. A cowardly act like this invariably leads to people being unable to face the other, forever seeing their own shame in the features of the other. Andy now took on a vile, criminal appearance, like he took pleasure from the darkness of the deed they were carrying out. Even in the way he would occasionally snap at Jude, snarl at him to keep his portion of the body up, like Jude had some major weakness of character in finding the chore nauseous. As Jude watched Andy, caught the  slumped head of Jesus out the corner of his eye, he decided to be  more courageous and insist on quitting the body if Andy was intent on walking the corpse much further on.  Having plucked up the courage, the words he would say already a shape in his mouth, Andy suddenly said; "Over there, look... in that fucking doorway."

Jude looked over to where Andy had pointed with his free arm. It was a dark doorway of good depth streaming with an evening's worth of urine which had couled back and was run across the pavement and down into the gutter. Jude looked at the dark, damp hole and a great melancholy pierced him, being able to visualise the final resting place of Jesus before he had ever been lain there. Andy seemed quite delighted with the grotto. "No one will find him there for a while... they'll think it's some old dosser camped down in his own piss!" he laughed. "The police will hook him out at a distance and slap him in the morgue without even a post-mortem. They'll not waste any fucking time on some half naked junkie gone over in his own filth. Come on, lets unload the fucker in his tomb."

The two men had a quick look around to make sure no-one was watching them or coming from behind or on their way down. The coast was clear. They walked Jesus to the doorway, turned so as facing the adjacent side of the road, and on Andy's count of three dumped Jesus in the doorway like he was a great sack of spuds. As Jesus fell into the doorway there was an almighty clack like two stones kissing one another. Jude grimaced. It was the sound of Jesus's head snapping back against the cheque tiled ground. The head aside, the way Jesus landed was not ideal. His body had collapsed  half in and out the doorway, the lower legs and bare feet stretched out into the street.

"Help me get him inside and outta sight," said Andy. Jude didn't want to. He was overcome with nerves and horror and now just wanted to be gone, as far away as possible. But he knew Andy was right. He'd be discovered within minutes left like that, and with so little time having elapsed since they had walked him down the high-street it was very probable that some of the revellers would recall having seen him with them. Andy leapt in the doorway and took ahold of Jesus' torso and dragged him in and up. As he did Jude pushed his legs in so as his final resting place was sitting up against the back of the doorway with his head slouched and his legs bent at the knees and collapsed to one side.

"You still got his spike?" asked Andy.
"Yeah," said Jude, with a quizzical look.
"Stick it in his foot, where he took his shot," said Andy.
"You're fuckin' kiddin' me int ya?" said Jude.
"Do I sound like I'm fucking kiddin'? Is there time to be kidding? Now fucking stick it in, we want this to be dismissed as an overdose immediately."

Jude took the needle out his pocket, uncapped the spike and looked at Jesus' foot. It was swollen with dried blood down the fore-step and running between his dirty toes. "I can't," he suddenly said, "I can't do that... no way."

Andy flew out the doorway in a rage. He whipped the needle out of Jude's hand and with some kind of sadistic delight bent down and rammed it deep into the fore-step of Jesus' left foot. Immediately the plate of the foot swelled up, the needle implanted firmly, right down into the tender, maybe even into one of the bones. Jude turned and vomited and as he vomited he cried and as he cried he saw Andy marching off in front of him, back down the high-street from the direction they had come. Not wanting to be left near the corpse alone Jude spat out the thick clear viscous fluid that had come up after the vomit and then hurried on to catch up with Andy.

"Man, I need a fix," he said, having caught up with his fellow culprit, "I need to blank this fucking night out."

"Well that's what it's fucking for,' said Andy, "That's when it works its magic best."

"Magic" thought Jude, and in the sky a family of rockets zoomed up and exploded one after the other, shattering across the night to renewed whoops of joy, albeit  a little fainter and a little less jubilant than before...


Word count; 1589.
Notes: add in one or two other mentions of how they are holding Jesus and what he looks like, etc. Prolong the walk. Work on the individual dialogues and personalities of the two men. really distinguish them through their dialogue. think. Rework the scene where Andy shoves the needle in his foot. We want a very visceral scene, that makes people cringe to read it, the brutality and sadism of Andy.

Where Lloyd hits Andy; the two junkies strip Jesus of all his possessions and dump his body in the street.


For a moment  everyone in the Blackhouse fell quiet. Now and again a scream of celebration would filter in from outside, a firework would whizz off and explode across the sky or  high pitched female voices would pierce the brittle air of the  night. The wind scoured up the stairs and along the balcony. It rattled the front door and letter box and and gave off Arctic sounds. The three men in the room said nothing, just stared at the dead body of Jesus, laid out on his back on the filthy floor in front of the dying embers of the fire.

"We gotta call an ambulance," said Jude, to no-one in particular.
"It's a bit  too late for that," said Andy. "That poor cunt's way beyond hospital help. And anyway, the ambulance would bring the police and they'd probably drag us all in."

Lloyd approached Andy. He had moved so slowly and the two junkies were so pre-occupied with the death that no-one had paid him any mind. Lloyd now stood in  front of Andy, towered over the smaller man, his eyes dangerously out of focus and an afro comb planted in the side of his hair?

"Ya give dhat man wha, huh? Ya Pussy clot!!! Wha skank food you fill im d'ere wiv? I sees you not gone tuh no ground, cha! I sees you in fine fettle."

"I didn't give him nothing! He came here desperate to have a shot. I don't know where the fuck he got it from. tell him Jude... ain't that right."

Before Jude could confirm Andy's story Lloyd was then screaming the words "BLACKHEART MAN. BLACKHEART MAN!"

"Your lie stink! You a sells dhat man dere ten pounds O pure filty death. I's a ear you plain as sight... as plain as dat white nose on ya  face. Yous kill a man in Lloydies yard... Make mess for I!" Lloyd suddenly struck out. A drunken slap which caught Andy upside his head. Andy darted back holding up his hands, obviously terrified of Lloyd and not willing to fight back. As Lloyd got within striking distance again Andy cowered into a standing protective ball, his hands up in defense like guarding himself against a whipping. Lloyd began slapping him like he were a woman, reddening his face and knocking his hair out of place. When Andy finally fell to ground Lloyd  kissed his teeth and gave him a dull boot in the side.

"You clean dat mess up and get im and you outta 'ere, ya'ear? I's not having no beasties round 'ere. Pussy clot ya lie rank!"

The violent figure of Lloyd made its way back to the bed where he cracked open a fresh can of brew and sat staring wild mad at Andy. Andy, having taken a beating now transferred some of the humiliation he felt onto Jude, shouting at him, telling him to get up and help sort the situation out. But Jude was sad. This was not just any old addict who was lain there dead, it was Jesus, his old friend who he had grown up with, had got into heroin with. As chronic drug addiction took its toll, put strains on the friendship, they finally fell out after Jude  fulfilled his historic role and stole the last bag of smack from their pooled reserves and left Jesus dying from withdrawals through the night and half the next day too.

The two junkies now stood over Jesus, looking down at his inanimate form. For a second they were both struck dumb by mortality. It was Andy who broke the silence. As he spoke he kept  one eye on Lloyd to make sure that he heard his words and approved.

"We're gonna have to scoop this cunt up and dump him someplace."
"dump him? Fuck off! That's Jesus... that's my friend, OUR friernd! It ain't right. Let's just take him  to the stairs and say we found him there?"
"If you wanna do three years a clucking we can do that. The police ain't gonna fucking accept that with no questions. And once they start fucking sniffing about, poking their fucking snouts in, the slightest hesitation or nerves and they'll fucking have you in on a murder or manslaughter charge. Roxy, r'member 'im? Din't he get  five years for the same thing? Fuck that. They'd love to put us away. Nah, mate... We'll put the cunt in the street and let em have him as a fucking statistic... he's dead no matter and has no family to care whether he died in a clean king's bed or  was found raped and quartered in some fucking dumpster." Jude thought in silence over Andy's brutal words. Dumping Jesus' body seemed so callous. And yet, he was dead. Nothing from then on could affect him either way. So Jude didn't agree but he didn't protest, and so the idea hung in the room and dissipated into the silence and it was then decided, by sheer lack of opposition,  that that was what would happen, that the two men would carry Jesus out and lay him to rest in the night.

Jude once more cast his eyes at Jesus, laying there under the shadows of the smouldering fire, his left arm flopped out with the hand open and the index finger pointing like in some religious painting.  "Oh God," said Jude, "the needle... it's still in his fucking foot!"

"Fuckin' pussy clot blackhearts!" came from across the room.

Andy now looked at Jesus's foot. The needle dangled over, caught by the pin probably still in the vein. He knelt down and carefully extracted the syringe. Holding it cautiously buy the plunger he looked over the small table for the orange cap. When he located it he stood it up on the table and put the needle into it and pushed it secure. Then he gave the needle to Jude and told him to hold it, that they'd need it later.  Jude took the syringe, he studied it, could hardly believe such an instrument could end a life. It was just a needle. They'd used tens of thousands of them between them. The pin was so fine that it often didn't even draw blood on withdrawing it. Jude put the needle in his trouser pocket.

From across the room a match was struck and a small fizzing sound was heard and the room opoened bright for a second and then descended back down. Lloyd shock the match dead and inhaledaudibly from his cigarette. He upended the last of his can of beer, squeezed in the tin and chucked it at Jude.

"Yous a get dhat chief outta here! I see's dhem evil spirits congregating now an Is want no death in ere with me. I warning yews... be outta here here yous all, cha!"

Jude lifted his hands up, a sign for Lloyd to hold on that they were taking care of it. He turned to Andy to know hat to do. Andy was now kneeling before Jesus,  riffling through his pockets. He removed some loose change, a lighter, a moblie phone and a wallet with nothing in save for a list of barely lisible handwritten phone  numbers and a photo of Jesus' recently deceased mother. For some reason Andy kept the numbers but tossed the wallet and photo into the fire as if it were something which could affect him disastrously if he kept possession of it for too long. Jude watched Andy stripping his dead friend of anything of any worth. If anything it made him feel kinda fraudulent. There was no doubt he was watching Andy and seeing something despicable in his actions, judging him, yet the truth was that Jude had done just the same and far worse to living men, to Jesus himlself. He  had had no scruples about it and a living man would have to suffer the consequences of such thefts.  Now , how he felt about someone doing it to the dead he couldn't quite understand, and yet , all the while he was overly interested in what Andy recovered. Andy saw him watching and the condemnation in his face.

"What?" he asked. "The man's fucking dead. He won't need this stuff where he is! And anyway, if he was any kind of a friend at all he'd want us to do this. He'd certainly not want his money por possessions being buried with him or fucking auctioned by the state. The cunts got fuck all anyway! You couldn't have planned it much better. And i'd have loved to see you turn down his drugs i he had any or a wallet full of notes? Fuck that. Don't get all moralistic. The dead need fuck all <

Word count: 566

Where in the Blackhouse Jesus dies and Jude gives a Judas kiss and a beast rises for the first time

It was the junkie Andy who reacted first. He had watched Jesus clench up and topple forward and now stretched out a leg and tried pushing Jesus' body up a few ribs so as he could see his face. It was to no avail. Some strange weight had entered Jesus and pushing him up was like trying to manipulate a huge sack of sand. Then Jude was up, panicking around Jesus.

"He's gone over! Quick help me!" he said to Andy.

The two addicts now dragged Jesus from behind, clutching him under the armpits, and pulled him free off the milk-crate. Jesus's head was collapsed down against his chest and there was thick saliva and a small trace of what looked like vomit from his mouth.

"We gotta walk him around!" said Andy, "Fuck!!!!"

The two men tried walking Jesus around the room but it was useless. Jesus' legs  were like gelatine and his entire body was pulled down by all of gravity's might.

"Lay him down," said Jude. "The fuckers gone.. he's fucking gone!"

No one said it but both knew this was no heroin overdose. What Jesus had just shot was from a score they had made some days ago and which had affected both men badly.Not as badly as it had affected Jesus, but it had made them unwell and nauseous and both had suffered severe tachycardia. They laid Jesus down on the floor. By now the commotion had woken Lloyd who was sat on his bed, a tall dark  vicious looking Jamaican with yellowed eyes and a scarred face, an afro twisted in violent piks and topless, his torso lean and stringy and branded. He sat groggy holding a can of Special brew and staring with a look of vicious contempt at the junkies, as Jesus was laid out on the filthy floor and Andy lowered his ear to his chest to listen for a heartbeat.

"Rars' clot!" said Lloyd, kissing  his lips. "Wha a g'waan ere? Wha madness disturbin muh shut-eye?"

Neither of the addicts responded to Lloyd. Andy, not able to hear Jesus' heartbeat took-up Jesus' wrist and pressed in two fingers to sense a pulse. Jude meanwhile was slapping his face and calling his name. "You got a pulse? Anything?" he asked Andy

Andy shook his head and said no. "He's gone, man... the fuckers gone over on that shit!"

"CRIMINAAAAL" screeched Lloyd, glowering into a drunken gaze at the junkies.

"You gotta revive him... this cunts dead, he's crashed. Andy, you need to fucking blow some life back into him!"
"I don't know how to fucking revive people... never had someone go over like this on me!"

"You a kill dat man tonite," cursed Lloyd, cackling through a mouthful of beer. " 'im d'ere  not gonna see no new millenium. Dat bredren done cooked good."

Jude pushed Andy out the way. "Get ready to pump his chest when I say." He pinched Jesus' nose and pushed the top of his head back so as his mouth flopped opened. He looked in at Jesus' rotten teeth, the tongue corrugated in the mouth. He cleared his mind, put his mouth to Jesus' and blew. When he stopped he told Andy to pump the chest. Andy was on his knees astride Jesus. He pushed down on his chest but looked more like he was kneading dough.

"Harder! You gotta do it harder!!!" said Jude  filling Jesus' lungs again. "You've gotta get to the heart... Break his fucking chest plate if you have to."

"What? I could kill him doing that!"

"Kill him? He's already fucking dead!"

"I's gonna kill a dead man!" ridiculed Lloyd

Andy kneaded the chest again, a little harder but still like he was working dough and with no passion. Having barely given six pumps he gave up and despairingly said it was useless. Jude filled Jesus' lungs again and now desperately tried the chest massage himself. He worked the chest so hard that he heard the lungs empty and felt the air come out through Jesus' nose and mouth.  The stench that come up with Jesus' stale air was eye-watering. Jude gave one last unsuccessful attempt to revive jesus and then too gave up, collapsing down on Jesus'  thin, junk ravaged torso. He shouted and beat Jesus' chest with his fists. Andy, now sitting on the floor besides the tragedy, put his hand on Jude's back and told him to stop, that Jesus was dead. Jude looked at Jesus, his old friend, and then sobbed tears borne of a tremendous guilt. The two men had purposely sold Jesus that stuff and now he was dead.  They had enough good heroin between them that they could have sold him. Jesus' life suddenly seemed to have some value, life seemed to have some value. Death was in the room, amongst the smoke and in the fire and the smells. Jude looked at Andy and asked: "What the fuck we gonna do? He's dead."

"Dead, rhars! Pussy clot junk fien' dead in da yard! I's warn yous good, I's not having dhem beasts round ere! ya'ear? Nuh... BLACKHEART MEN... Blackheart men!!!"  Lloyd was now raised, unsteady on his feet, his stringy arms slung down his sides. He looked wild with violence, something murderous in his gaze. For forever he'd kissed his teeth whenever anyone cooked up in the room and he held open contempt for junkies, and now, this night, there were three of them and one was stone cold dead.

word count: 917

Notes: ensure the millennium celebrations are characterized in noise and colour during Jesus's visit to the blackhouse. Also adapt time so as he is actually there for the turn of then New year. Go through old notes on London Jamaican patois and notes on Lloyd.

Where Jesus scores from two junkies in the Blackhouse on Millennium eve and receives a score of toxic gear and ascends from life to Roman Candles and bubblegum sparks...

As he climbed the two flights of stairs to the second floor, he could smell the Blackhouse thick in the stairwell, a mixture of urine, stale body parts, burnt wood and spilt beer. He made his way along the balcony, to the very end door, and gave a secret knock - that being three short raps, before a pause followed by three more of the same. As he waited for a response he stared out over the balcony. The evening was frosty with a clear mauve sky struck bold way out over and across the city. Jesus eyed the beauty of it with a look of seared tragedy, like the great colours and events of nature now haunted him. He was thinking of something so profound looking out at that that it manifested itself as a great void of nothingness in his mind, as if he was frozen in an expression of grief.

He heard the latch on the door lift and he turned. He was hit by a furnace of corrupt smells which only humans with nothing can make. A young black woman, hair picky and dusty, in just a nightshirt, bare buttocks displayed was already walking back down the unlit hallway. Jesus followed, closing the door behind him. With an outstretched arm, pointed finger, the young black girl motioned to a room on the left as she turned to the right. Jesus took the left. It had no door.

Jesus looked around the dark, smoke filled room. The only light came from the fire which burned low in the grate and from one or two candles sticking up out of mountains of old wax. The room was surprisingly empty and subdued for an evening, just three figures occupying the dark. Jesus scanned the men hurriedly. For a moment the thought he was out of luck, but then he saw a man sat in the only armchair with his head and shoulders drooped forward and his arms hung low, his knuckles almost grazing the floor. It was Jude. Jesus's fears were allayed immediately. Looking around he caught the next figure. It was sat on the floor, male, bolt upright against the wall just to the left of the fire. His eyes were  half open and looking at Jesus, thinking. That was Andy. The third figure, over on the bed which ran along the far wall, was Lloyd the flats legal occupant. He was slumped on his stomach, crashed out with his trousers undone and halfway down his arse. Jesus barely registered him or his condition.

"You after something?" said Andy, sitting up against the wall.
"Huh???" said Jude, coming to in the armchair, straightening up and looking around.
"Not you. Jesus. Jesus is here."
Jude wiped a hand across his, ironing the skin out around his eye. He made a waking noise which made Jesus think of peace.
"A ten bag if you've got it? It's all I'm good for until tomorrow," said Jesus.
Andy nodded.  Sure he had a ten bag. He looked at Jude and Jude looked at him.
"A ten bag," he said strangely.
Jude stared and then seemed to understand.  Jesus did not spy a thing. He had seen how stoned Jude was so figured there was good smack coming. He crossed the room and picked up an upturned milk crate with a cushion on it and placed it near the low table which was pushed just out of distance from Jude. Jude was kinda half raised, pushed up in the armchair, fingering down for something in the small secret pocket of his jeans.  It was a ten deal of heroin, wrapped in the red and white striped plastic of a market bag. He tossed it, like one would cast a dice, across the table to Jesus. Jesus picked it up and examined it. It looked small, but all bags looked small nowadays. Anyhow, his mind was fixed on its bonus being in its quality so Jesus kept  ahold of it  and gave Jude the ten pounds which he had found. Jude put the cash in his pocket.

"You got any fresh works?" Jesus asked.
Jude pointed to a bag below the table. "Be careful, there's some olds uncapped in there."
Jesus didn't appear to register the statement. There was a time when if he would have heard that he'd not have dared touch the bag. Now,  a syringe was a syringe and in going through his own old needles often enough, pulling each spike against the back of his hand to test its sharpness, he had learnt how to handle them, knew he could dip into a bag full of uncapped spikes and grip a handful of them without spiking himself once.  Here he only had to open the bag and pinch out one of the new spikes in its packet. There was nothing to it. He had known Jude so long that he couldn't seriously associate this old friend with incurable blood viruses. Jude pulled the bag out from under the table, peered in and pulled out a strip of three syringes. He ripped on off, opened the backing and removed the syringe.

"Who's spoon?" asked Jesus, pointing to a teaspoon on the table, the arm bent downwards so as it could sit balanced with the bowl flat.
"Use it but not the filter," said Jude.
Jesus picked the dried filter out the spoon and put it aside. Jude watched him and where he put the filter. Then Jude picked up the filter and put it in a matchbox he had lined with aluminium foil. Jesus ripped open a sterile swab and wiped out the bowl of the spoon and then put a lighter to it to burn away any alcohol which hadn't yet evaporated. For a brief moment the smell of neat alcohol floated up into the room. Jesus bit the small knot off the bag of smack and wriggled all the powder into the spoon. He had a look over the gear. It was a light colour and powder. He didn't like pure powder, especially powder where you couldn't feel small harder rocks. But over the years he had injected everything and of every colour and he was never surprised now over what did whatµ. He paid no real mind, and seeing as Jude was so low on the heroin down he accepted that fine powder or not this was not bad kit. He was more preoccupied with deciding if he should shoot the lot in one grand injection or save a small injection in a syringe for later that night. Before he made any decision either way he spoke to the two addicts in the dark room:

"Who's gonna set me up a fix for later? I gotta shoot all this. Just a small fix? I'll be around tomorrow and will give you a bag in return?"

"I'll give you a touch," said Andy, still sat over against the wall to the right of the fire.

"Yeah?" said Jesus, a little surprised at Andy's proposal.
"Yeah, I said so didn't I. Just don't let me down for tomorrow."

Jesus promised he'd not let him down. Jesus also knew it was not altogether in  his hands to make such a promise. His score tomorrow would be coming by way of his junk buddy of the last few months Jean-Baptiste. As long as Jean-Baptiste came good on what he owed Jesus then Jesus  would come good on what he owed Andy. But Jesus knew it was a risky game borrowing against the promise of another addict, borrowing against the promise of anyone. Still, he did it. He figured that if Andy was willing to forward him a fix it must mean he has a good amount in reserves, enough gear that a day delay from Jesus wouldn't matter. Jesus now felt better knowing that Andy was set to lay him on a shot. Now he could take a proper sedative fix without the dilemma of maybe economising niggling away inside of him or  without the burden of knowing that his opening gambit would  result in him passing an uncomfortable last part of the night and then a tense, eye searing and sniffling morning waiting on Jean-Baptiste.

So in the semi-darkness, the fire burning and crackling low in the grate, smoke harsh in the air of the room, Jesus now cooked up his fix to candlelight without the slightest inkling that four cunning and wondering junkie eyes were on him, on the gear in the spoon as it let off vapour and scent, waiting to see what would happen. Jesus let the flame of his lighter die beneath the carbonised bottom of the spoon. He carefully laid the spoon down on the table. From his pouch of tobacco he took out a cigarette filter, unwound the paper which bound it together, and tore of an amount of the cotton. He dropped it into the mix in the spoon and uncapped his needle.

"How the fuck do you guys fix up in here?" he asked, "Is there no better light?" No-one replied. Jesus pulled his trouser leg up and felt around his inner and out calf. He rolled his trouser leg right up to his knee and was prodding and pulling around the kneecap for any sign of a vein. For better light he moved his crate over towards the fire. he tried a few pokes in his lower leg, cursed and laid the needle down. Then he removed his shoe and his sock and bent far forward feeling around his foot, bending it around, searching around the ankle. Finally he felt right down the centre of his foot and in-between the bones he could feel the squelch of a large vein that headed into the deep of his forefoot. Jesus took up his needle, pulled back on the plunger, pushed the shot up the barrel until a tiny drop squeezed out the needle. Then he turned the needle facing him, and slid it into the mid of his forefoot, gradually pulling back on the plunger all the while.

"Gotcha!" he said. Jesus relaxed now, knowing he was in the vein and that he would soon have a sheath of tranquillity pull down over his emotions. He held the needle steady and manoeuvred to make the shot. Andy was watching him and Jude had also craned his neck over the armchair to witness Jesus execute the shot. Jesus pushed the plunger, slowly, unloading the shot into his foot and around his system. When the shot was done he remained in the same position, his eyes cast a little to the side concentrating on the feeling, wondering if there was a feeling. He didn't feel or taste anything. Knowing that sometimes leg injections take a moment to circulate and hit the brain, that sometimes they get blocked by a bent knee pinching the vein closed, he stretched his leg out straight. And then he felt it, the itching, going up his thigh and side. His side burned and itched and then he got the first taste in the back of his throat and in his sinuses.

"How's it feeling?" asked Andy. He looked at Jude. Jude nodded his head indicating to look at Jesus. Jesus was there with a pained expression across his face, his eyes scrunched up and a hand raised with the fingers curled and paralysed as if experiencing some great pain. He made a sound and looked like his hand was trying to raise and hold his head where a great pressure was building. Simultaneously Jesus could feel his heart rushing, like he'd shot amphetamine only it was thumping, really thumping and the pressure building in his head all the while. He was conscious, panicked, but was frozen in the pain of what the shot was doing to him, his actions dictated by a natural response to the strange feeling going through him. This was not heroin he had shot. This was not the substance that had hd Jude bent over double in the armchair. Now Jesus felt like his head was going to explode. The pressure was expanding in his brain and he was frozen in fear of the consequences if this didn't stop in the next few seconds. But it did stop. everything stopped. Jesus felt like his brow had carbuncled and was a ledge over his eyes. His hearing went first and then his vision. He knew he was near the fire, a great fire, and that was the last he knew of this mortal life. Jesus slumped forward, his hands still gripped in fear, an ugly expression plastered across his face that could have been the face of his times. For a man so contorted in pain he collapsed over so eloquently, like an illusionist disappearing and leaving just a pile of clothes behind.  It was just gone midnight.The needle was still in the centre of Jesus's foot.  Jesus ascended to great celebrations, to Roman rockets and champagne sparks in the sky. The flames chased along the river and for a moment that was the end of that.


Word count (approx): 2190

(notes: rewrite ending paragraph. fix timeline so as the death can coincides with the countdown to the new year. make some references to the outside celebrations filtering into the blackhouse.)