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The Falcon: Reg, awakening
More novel. I did warn you.
N.B. what follows is a snippet from my work-in-progress novel. You can keep up with my progress (and comment!) in this Google doc, which may well, in time, make the below make more sense. See post-snippet for a bit of an explanation.
A blare of light hits me; it seems, I tell you, to be made of sound. The air — though it does not feel like air; breathing it in is hard work, for the air has the taste of carpentry about it — seems a solid thing, as thick and plain as a plank. I trust nothing.
A woman’s face, care-lined, plain, over me. I must be on my back. Her hair is coming down and is tickling my face. She turns away, says something. I don’t know the language, but I know what she has said. He’s awake. Now what are we to do with him?
There is some rustling. I am aware of the sigh of a sawblade, farther off. A voice in the same strange language says, Feed him. Give him water.
And your father? She says.
He would say the same.
Another face. This one is dark-complected, snub nosed, square-jawed, with a depth about the eyes that’s impossible to describe any more than that, so … We have wine, if you want, he says. He is little more than a boy, yet the impression I get of things is of absolute manliness, self-determination.
I unglue my tongue. Yes, I say, and though I am thinking and speaking in English he nods in understanding.
Mother, he calls. He will have wine.
More rustling. A sack is put to my lips and I drink and I drink and warm hands brush my forehead.
“Christ, he was really out.”
“Well, you give him that many … How many did you give him?”
“A fair few. He was screaming. Scaring the hell out of everyone. The mirror’s done for. This corridor’s off limits for now. He’s lucky it’s just cuts to the knuckles.”
“He’s coming round.”
Two men there, roundfaced both of them, one bearded. One with baby’s face, all soft and detestable. An infant. This is the same pattern, always: two man-children.
“You all right?”
I tell them what I saw. I see them look at each other. One of them smirks.
“It’s not funny,” I say. My voice sounds far-off, a child in a well.
“Woah woah woah,” the baby-faced one says, flapping, palms out. “Not laughing. Nobody laughed. Nobody said anything about funny.”
“And we want you to know that,” beard says. He stands up. He belly appears beneath his smock, wobbling and distended. They’re always fat, the bearded ones. History repeats itself. Metempsychosis.
“Do you remember,” baby-face says, rocking back on his haunches and plonking himself down so his back is against my wardrobe, “what happened last night?”
My head feels thick, heavy. Last night. I don’t remember, but this feeling, this seesawing nausea, means they had to knock me out again. I’m aware of my hands smarting. My knuckles are bandaged, crudely.
Beard’s belly disappears; there is the rasp of curtains. A blare of light. “Close them,” I say.
He doesn’t; instead I hear a click and the rush of outside air and sounds coming in. I shut my eyes.
“You really don’t remember?” This could be either of them. It doesn’t matter now. I hope to feel those warm hands on my forehead, but it is cold now.
The Falcon concerns Reg (I’m not sure about the name yet), who ostensibly has dementia and is a resident of a nursing home. What actually happens is that Reg ‘migrates’ to different places and times, inhabiting different bodies (human and animal). He does not understand why and is unable to explain his experiences comprehensibly. Tied into his narrative is the narrative of his (now dead) wife, Lesley; the narrative of his son, Ian, a Catholic priest with an (secret) illegitimate daughter who feels threatened by his new curate, that of his daughter, Bernadette, who is perpetually angry and writes letters she never sends in a bid to curb said anger.
The above is an attempt to show Reg in his two states: here, he has migrated to Palestine to the home of the teenage Jesus, before ‘awakening’ in his room in the nursing home with bloody knuckles and no idea how he got there.
There is lots more I could explain (for example, there are a lot of ideas / references to the poetry / concepts of W B Yeats, but I don’t have the heart to go into all that now.