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The Stranger

The Stranger

A Story by cleomaxtic
"

A story of a chronic wanderer infactuated with a beautiful stranger in a small town. Was written in about 2 hours to submit for an English class the next day. Still a draft I guess..

"
The Stranger

Blue.
It surrounds her as though in a pool of liquid; foetus in womb.
Comforting and safe. Same and limiting.
It consumes her, carries her in it's perpetual ebb and flow, but never takes her very far.
The line of the horizon between the ocean and the sky was barely distinguishable on the warm afternoon, a slight breeze tickled the girl's neck as she sat atop a limestone wall; the view from Fremantle's Round House had the cathartic effect of soothing the most fragile of nerves, the most turbulent of headaches and set a fractured heart in an impervious plaster. Jane was a frequent visitor to the place. Often she would walk without a great deal of purpose through the town, down the Cappucino Strip and up High street to the Round House, where she would sit, perplexed by her own thoughts, and admire the panorama of her whole little world. The ocean had a way of gauging her
emotions. It's waves would dribble gently onto the shore when she was content, and rage ferociously as her mood deteriorated. To her, it often looked completely still, regardless of the fact of it being in constant motion.

On this day, Jane had barely noticed the time pass. A change of light and the distant chime of a clock brought her back to her seemingly monotonous reality. Her watch's forever changing face had navigated itself around a number of rotations, and, with a sigh of distaste, Jane stepped down from the wall and began to drift towards the bus stop. She never walked with purpose, for, regardless of the amounts of homework she had, she never felt the compulsion to partake in such a constrictive activity. Most days, she'd spend an undetermined amount of time wandering about the all-too-farmilliar streets of the town. She never had a reason, but rather, would procrastinate from life itself and take pleasure in the small things. Apart from her visits to the Round House, Jane was always on the move; always walking but never with a destination. She was searching for something, for anything, but had no clue what it was.

As she travelled nonchlantly through Fremantle, the bustle of human traffic made her slow stride even more obvious; a lone instrument playing in a different time signature to the rest of the orchestra. Everything was always the same, from the sound of gulls fighting over man's waste to the grainy texture of each step due to a permanent saline layer on every surface within the town's perameter. As Jane walked, her lips grew dry as she breathed the salty air and became parched, and as she stopped to take a sip from a bottle of water, she caught sight of something in the corner of her eye.
A flash.
A spark.
A flicker of red amidst the grey crowd.
The red hair of a stranger moved quickly against the tide of people, an opposite stand-out to the indolent pace of Jane. As a bull to a matador, Jane's attention was drawn completely to the trail of fire burning it's way down the street.
Gravitas.
Inexplicably, Jane could not help but follow out of curiosity, and this impulse drove her to hurry after the flame. She was almost running to keep up with it, and the more she travelled the more intent she was to find it. Finally she arrived, flushed red in the cheeks, at the bus stop, just in time to see a woman with scarlett hair step quickly onto a bus, which left promptly after her boarding the vehicle. Although she had only a glimpse of the young woman, the moment was slow like honey tipped in an old jar, and Jane noticed the alluring stranger's porcelain skin, her eloquent stride, turquoise eyes and full ruby lips.

Panting for breath, butterflies swarmed Jane's insides, and her heart beat was rhythmical and velocious.
She felt alive.
After a short blissful moment, cerulean disappointment drowned Jane. Endless questions of who and where and why circled around her head, and the image of the perfect stranger was branded into her mind. After a moments pause, Jane returned to her routine life and waited for her bus to arrive. The stranger however, did not leave her thoughts, and sparked a fascination in Jane's mind, stimulating an enigmatic infactuation or sorts. Jane knew nothing of this person, but her curiosity for her scarlet stranger began to drive her to a point of delirium. Every day as she journeyed through Fremantle, she began to stray from her usual cycle, walking purposefully yet somewhat needily through Fremantle. She went against the courses she had mapped for herself in the tiny city by the sea, and her passed the same shops in different orders. Even this slight variation to her usual routine gave her a rare sense of liveliness.

Innocent enough at first, her curiosity grew into a fascination, and fascination grew to become a kind of obsession. Originally, Jane was merely in awe of her stranger, she just wanted to be able to stop and tell her, without any fear or alterior motive, that her beauty was appreciated.
A piece of art hanging from a gallery wall.
Jane saw in her stranger what she herself lacked, and was inevitably drawn to her, bewildered by her perfection. As time carried on however, Jane was still trapped in a single memory, and the moment that had brought about a revolutionary break in Jane's cyclic existence began to develop into an even less healthy demise.
The thought of seeing her just one more time...that was enough for Jane.

The longer she searched, the greater amount of anxiety Jane experienced. Her pace became hard as her steps travelled towards nowhere in search of unattainable perfection. When she would finally arrive home, each day a little later than the next, her feet would be red, swolen from her destination-lacking journey around her tiny corner of the world. The stranger had taken over Jane's thoughts like beach sand caught in the wind; what originally started as a light tickle around her ankles grew to become a stinging whip against her bare legs. Anguish tormented her, the stranger was all she needed in order to fix herself, almost like her desire for companionship drove her to escape her self-imposed confinement. The stranger brought about Jane's potential to be set free.

One desolate evening, as the cold wind churned the air violently, Jane chased speedily though Fremantle, shop fronts closing up for the night and traffic ceasing to a mere trickle of cars. She had never felt so lost in her entire life, and to Jane, feeling lost in Fremantle was comparable to losing oneself on the way to their bedroom.
She was completely exhausted.
A final lap of the city was enough, and Jane, brought past the point of complete disappointment, made one last detour on her way home. Down the Cappucino Strip and up High street, she walked to the stairs of the Round House, her feet sinking like lead into the brittle limestone stairs. She approached her wall, ready to beg the ocean for it's attention, when she saw a silhouette, appearing like the colour of hot embers against the orange sunset. Struggling with an emty lighter in the cold wind, the figure turned with a smile sweet enough to conceal the bitter habit.
"Could I trouble you for a light?"
Jane smiled, stepped graciously toward the beautiful red-haired figure and sparked her lighter, the cigarette catching ablaze and burning brightly in the cold, evening air.

© 2010 cleomaxtic


Author's Note

cleomaxtic
ignore spelling errors/small mistakes as my word processor has been malfunctioning a bit and i wrote this at midnight.

My Review

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Featured Review

This was a great short story. You really captured the loneliness of the Jane character. I thought the structure and word play were so smooth and kept the story moving. You gave Jane a background and you used the city in such a way that it became a character. I imagined this small friendly town, where the streets were cobblestone and people said hello to another.

The ending also fit so well, tied everything up quite nicely.

Thanks for sharing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This was a great short story. You really captured the loneliness of the Jane character. I thought the structure and word play were so smooth and kept the story moving. You gave Jane a background and you used the city in such a way that it became a character. I imagined this small friendly town, where the streets were cobblestone and people said hello to another.

The ending also fit so well, tied everything up quite nicely.

Thanks for sharing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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459 Views
1 Review
Added on August 15, 2010
Last Updated on August 16, 2010
Tags: obsession, stranger, attraction, lonely, small town

Author

cleomaxtic
cleomaxtic

Australia



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Imperfect and content with it. more..