Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Past Redemption (opening)

Chapter 1


   Everyone has secrets; most secrets are trivial, even ridiculous in the light of reality. Women lie about their age; men lie about their salary. People lie about the things they think will make others think badly of them, but when it comes down to truth-or-dare time, those secrets and lies are just plain silly. They lie about how much they give to charity, about how much they weigh, what size jeans they take; they lie about how important they are at work, they lie about their parents, about having met celebrities. As I say, all just plain silly really. Mine’s a secret of such huge size and implications that I’m hesitating to let go and speak its name, in case I collapse under the weight of it.

   I don’t quite know why I’m doing this; after all, I don’t want anyone to read this while I’m still alive. Even I have some pride. But this is still such a risk, even so. That’s why I’ve put a password on this computer so that no one else can just stumble on what I’m doing. It wouldn’t take very long for someone who knows me to guess the password; I’d never remember it myself if I made it hard. I’d have to write it down somewhere I’d remember to check when I forgot what that sequence of letters and numbers I’ve chosen to be the key to my soul. But no one really knows me so I guess for the moment I’m safe.

   I said I didn’t know why I’m doing this but again that isn’t quite true. It just isn’t a simple, one sentence reason. It’s lots of reasons and one of them is that as I get older the weight of my secret has increased with the years until I think I may not be able to keep silent any longer. Most mornings I still wake and don’t remember for the first minutes of the day. On good days, I don’t remember till lunchtime; bad days it’s there within seconds of opening crusty morning eyes and it’s there with me all day, as close as my own shadow and just as dark. It’s usually there when I settle to sleep but each day is usually so full, I haven’t spent any time thinking of it. It’s a bit like a disfiguring disease that ruins your looks but otherwise does no harm; you forget it until you see yourself in a mirror or in the revolted eyes of a surprised stranger.

  I can hear you asking, my unknown reader, “Well, get on with it, tell us what your secret is. We won’t tell anyone; we don’t even know who you are yet.” It’s a silly conceit, really: writing for someone I might never have known. But like poor Anne Frank with her diary named Kitty, I can’t write in a vacuum, thinking it’ll never be read. I have more ego than I thought I did. When I thought of doing this, I intended it to be a straightforward record of what happened all those years ago. And now I have found like so many before me that the story is a living thing that twists and shapes what you aim to write into something rather other than you expected. This has already happened; I glanced back over what I’ve already done. It should be reading back like a police statement; bare facts, a naked narrative trying to cover its shame. But it isn’t like that at all. I’m still trying to hide the truth even as I reveal it. I’m trying to weave it into a story, a black fairytale so that my reader has some sympathy for me, some understanding of what happened and why.

  “Oh, get on with it,” I hear you mutter.

   OK, I will. But in my way, understand? I’ll stick to the tried and trusted method of starting a fairytale. Once upon a time, a very long way away from where we are now, I killed someone. Is that a big enough secret for you?


February 3, 2009 - Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, death, life, literature, Viv's Novels, women, writing | , , , ,


  1. Great opening Viv, I particularly like the phrase “a black fairytale”. I presume you will now withhold the rest so that I chew my own arm off in suspense!

    Comment by kevmoore | February 3, 2009

  2. err, yes!

    Comment by viv66 | February 3, 2009

  3. You want ketchup with that arm?

    Comment by viv66 | February 3, 2009

  4. I might as well have a side of fries as well, being as, having lost an arm, I don’t need to watch my weight…hey! I’ve just stumbled on the perfect diet! Eat yourself!

    Comment by kevmoore | February 3, 2009

  5. Well writtern piece of work. Well done!!!

    Comment by Rummana | February 3, 2009

  6. Thank you Rummana, I am glad you liked it. I don’t usually write in the first person but this novel appeared complete in my head one night at about eleven o’clock and since it was built up of a mix of memories, reality and fiction, the “real” bits won out and I had to write as “me”.
    I have been haunted for many years with a nightmare about having hidden a dead body and then forgotten what i’d done and then being forced to unearth and transport this dead body to a new location. Grim dreams, that occurred a few times a year from the age of 18 till I finally wrote this novel not long before I turned 40, and then never since. I can only hope that I have buried the body completely with full rites and a headstone now!

    Comment by viv66 | February 3, 2009

  7. technically that’s effectively what anorexia is; you eat yourself from the inside out by forcing the body to live on its own tissue…
    There’s a guy in Ovid’s metamorphoses who got cursed with eternal hunger, who literally ended up eating himself. Can’t remember his name now….but it wasn’t Kevin!

    Comment by viv66 | February 3, 2009

  8. Its usual for the sub-conscious to want to give birth to hidden things into this world. That is really what writing to me is all about.

    You have struck me with your story quickly and I did ask my self the question,”Is that a big enough secret for you?,” but I won’t reveal it.


    Comment by Michael Pokocky | February 3, 2009

  9. Wow! This really drew me in!

    Comment by shelleymhouse | February 3, 2009

  10. I drew me in too, though I did think, my dear viv, that it had to be murder to …well…haunt the narrator like that…but what REALLY freaks me out is that I have a recurring dream of hiding a body I’ve murdered behind a brick wall in my basment- and the absolute terror that someone will find out and I will be in SO much trouble! ! I guess that isn’t hard to analyze but it is bizarre that we have such similar dreams…

    Comment by psychscribe | February 4, 2009

  11. Judging by everyones grisly revelations, I suggest we all do the decent thing and turn ourselves in!

    Comment by kevmoore | February 4, 2009

  12. Very promising opening, Viv! And thanks for posting it here, very kind of you to share it with you.
    I could not stop laughing as I read Psych’s comment this morning…
    Cafe Crem revealing itself a club of perfect criminals!
    Because you know, I have killed my mother different times about 25 years ago, and I haven’t be caught yet… 🙂

    Comment by Miki | February 4, 2009

  13. Gosh, psychscribe, that is weird.
    I do wonder about quite what I have buried, inside my psyche, to have this dream. I am absolutely certain I have “lost” memories; very occasionally they pop up and I freak out.
    Curiously, I might mention that the original commandment is not Thou shallt not kill(in the Hebrew) but is actually, Thou shallt not commit murder. It’s a not so subtle distinction that people tend to forget(just like the bit about Thou shallt not suffer a witch to live: in the original it actually said, poisoner not witch, but when King James had the Bible translated, he insisted it be Witch because he was obsessed with witches. It was illegal in England until recently to NOT believe in witches.

    Comment by viv66 | February 4, 2009

  14. Good morning Viv!
    Would you explain to me the not so subtle distinction? (might be useful to me 🙂 )
    But seriously: do you use the word “murder” only for human beings? Is it that the difference?

    Comment by Miki | February 4, 2009

  15. Well murder is a legal term, meaning specifically to intend to kill. One may kill by accident, also one may intend harm but not to actually inflict fatal injuries and go too far. Killing in battle is not considered murder, but the execution of prisoners post battle is usually murder(esp after Geneva convention). The execution of criminals is not legally murder either.
    It’s one of those areas where there are grey bits; but both legally and ethically there is a massive range of differeneces between murder and killing.

    Comment by viv66 | February 4, 2009

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