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Extracts from

Jung’s People by Kay Green

  

from Mokey

...They met at the top of the road. Tall, henna'd and bedecked with silver charms, Bettony was the sort who attracted attention. Jess always felt comfortably invisible when they walked anywhere together. They kept their chat inconsequential as they headed across the estate, their faces golden in the setting sun. Anyone with the skill to see such things would have remarked upon the shadowy little figure that trotted ahead of them, glancing over his shoulder from time to time, for all the world like a dog keeping tabs on his walker. If the girls saw it, they made no comment. Ten minutes later, they turned onto a dusky track behind the playing fields, and fell silent until they reached the field gate. 

"So, the lost soul has returned," said Bettony. 

"He certainly has," said Jess. "But it's scary. They're still two people, only instead of Marcus going all dreamy, and saying he's been with Mokey, Mokey's here. Like a poltergeist or something. And you know what they can be like." 

"They're only dangerous if they're denied," said Bettony. 

"Which is precisely what mum does to Mokey." 

"Then the sooner we fix it, the better." 

"You're really sure it'll work?" asked Jess, looking sideways at her friend. "S'funny, but I'm worried what he'll be like." 

"A fiend from Hell's the plan," said Bettony...

 

 From Time To Learn

 

…"There you go again!" Gordon slapped the steering wheel in exasperation. "Why time travel Ju?" he groaned. "It's illogical, impossible, it's...metaphysical!"

"I'm sorry Gordon," she soothed, "but I'm a scientist – I just know it can be done and I have to prove it."

"Okay, I give in," he said, starting the car again. "I just hope you crack it before we get married and then we can settle down and be normal – I don't want to have to explain to my kids that mummy's just blown herself to bits whilst trying to reach the sixteenth century."

Gordon laughed silently to himself. Was he beginning to believe she might succeed?...

 

…She leaned forward and kissed him tenderly, raising what looked for all the world like a pink gin. He watched her put this ordinary-looking glass to her lips and drain it, her eyes glinting with excitement. He watched anxiously for any effect as she replaced the glass on the counter and brought him a pencil and pad.

"I know they were wrong about machines dear," she smiled, pushing the pencil into his hand. "Even I was wrong, when I was four. We don't need a machine! Now watch closely, and when it's over write down everything you notice, and then we'll make history!"

These last words had a hollow, bloodless ring to them. She felt as though she was fading fast. She heard Gordon cry out her name. She was alarmed to see him throw the note-pad carelessly away and try to grab her arms….

 

From Love Hurts

 

Bear up! she told herself. Fifteen minutes to go, then you'll be safely on the train.

Suddenly, her teaspoon leapt from her saucer and smacked into her face. Her well-trained reflexes caught the cup before it could follow.

"Butterfingers!" she laughed aloud, seeing faces turned her way. "I'm always doing that!"

Ignoring the stinging pain in her cheekbone, she fumbled her things together and prepared to leave. There were two possible explanations for the lively crockery – she had picked up Sacha's emotional kinesis, or else Sacha himself was nearby. Either way, she wanted nothing more than to be on that platform, bending her will to the speedy arrival of that train!

She was on the street just in time to see Mrs Parry's car screech to a halt in the station car park. As she whipped round the corner, she caught sight of Sacha leaping from the car, and heard him calling her name. Closing her ears, forcing down shutters in her mind and heart, she sped through an unfamiliar alley, across another street, and into the park.

A well-worn urban lawn spread down the hill ahead of her, and beyond it the belt of trees which protected the green space from the dirt and noise of the main street. Emma glanced from side to side. Her mind echoed with the urgent beat of pounding feet. If she made it to the shelter of the trees before she was seen, could she work her way back towards the station? She glanced at her watch. The train would arrive any minute now.

She plunged into the open space and ran. Her coat slipped from her shoulders, flapping and tangling at her elbows. Her tired, cramped fingers struggled to control the case which crashed cruelly against her legs.

So this is what it's like to be hunted! she thought, as she punished the pain in her lungs with an increased burst of speed. Rubbish and gobs of leaf-mould, uncommanded by the wind, leapt into her path as she reached the trees.

"EMMA! You must STOP!"

She glanced back. Sacha was crossing the lawn in long, loping strides. She darted into the trees, seeking the thickest cover, weaving her way towards the anonymous rush of the town centre ahead.

"Emma! Where are you?"

His voice was desperate, uncertain. She could shake him off. She burst through the last line of trees. There was freedom! There was the station! But she had forgotten about the fence. Between Emma and her goal it stretched, an unforgiving barrier of cast-iron rails. Five feet high, tipped with vicious spear heads, its Victorian message spoke out as clearly now as it had a hundred years before – Everything in it's place! No unprincipled short-cuts here.

Where was the gate? She heard the rush and clatter of the approaching train. She sped towards the sound, black railings flashing past her as she ran. She was all but blinded by pain and despair.

"Emma! Wait!"

His voice was close behind. Her tear-filled eyes told her the railings were leaping, shaking their spears at her. The gate! Less than fifty yards away now! She stumbled on, forcing herself to ignore the railings which, twisting and screaming, dragged themselves from the earth and flew with her, overtook her...

With sickening accuracy, a plunging spear thrust its point into the grass at her feet. She circled, ran, dodged a second, then, mad with fear and anger, she turned to face Sacha.

"Let me GO!" she shouted. "I'm NOT your property!"

A forest of spears fell to earth behind her, blocking her retreat. She resisted the desire to cringe. She looked into Sacha's fevered eyes, at his twisted, angry mouth….

 

From Facing The Dark

 

"You prejudiced against poor Old Nick, my friend?"

"I don't see how it's prejudice," complained Pete, "to turn down an idea that obviously could only make things worse." He passed the joint to Hugo.

"Hah!" said Steve. "So that rules out, say, drinking, smoking, flirting..."

"No it doesn't," said Pete, "they all have their good side."

The bongos stopped. "And a pact with the Devil doesn't?" asked Ash, stretching out a hand for the joint. Hugo offered it with a grin.

"There you go," he said, "and I apologise for my friend. It's his Christian upbringing getting the better of him."

Pete snorted. "I didn't have a Christian upbringing!"

"Alright then, conventional English," conceded Hugo. "Secular Christian."

"Wha?" said Steve.

"Stands to reason," said Hugo. "People like you lot, you're on the best of terms with Tibetan demons, mythological dragons, anything from outer space, and yet you are so sure the C of E's old bogey man is off limits."

"Well, have you ever, ever heard of a pact with the Devil having a happy ending?" said Pete.

"Have you ever heard of a pact with the Devil that actually happened?" countered Hugo. "Where's your evidence?"…

 

…The air was hot and still.

What had become of the others? There was nothing but his miserable

self – a universe made up of a man, weight and weariness.

Weight, weariness, and Ash's voice: "Look up, brother," it said.

"Face the darkness."

And a force greater than man or beast dragged this man's head up and back. Bitter smoke filled his defeated lungs, and with extreme reluctance, with a dread greater than he had ever known, he looked up into the face of the Devil. In the unforgiving light of a torch like a burning club, the Horned One sat, his bird-like feet perched on a low black monolith. A thin line of light, sharp as toothache, scribbled an inverted pentagram on the darkness, and lent a white-hot gleam to the Beast's contours. And the gaze of the Beast penetrated the man. And the man collapsed onto the ground prone, eating gravel, gaping like a grounded fish. Time passed. No relief, no sound, no change. At length the man's battered ego accepted this new low as reality, and slowly, he rose onto all fours once more, and surveyed the scene. A heavy iron ring fixed to the front of the monolith tethered a naked man and woman…

 

From Good Mother Gosse

 

…The leggy, adolescent boy plants his feet firmly, a yard apart, and braces his hips against his mother's corpulent body. Instantly, crackling waves of white petticoats swallow him from the waist down.

"What is that boy doing to his poor old mum?" exclaims a passing soldier.

The players, who have been running around in various states of hysteria, stop to whoop and screech at the spectacle. It's as if the boy's about to fall into a storm-drifted ravine, as if his birth is about to be reenacted, only in reverse.

"Watch your hands, my son!" scolds the mother loudly, "Any more of that, and I'll be laying more than eggs tonight!"

Between the boy's high-pitched shrieks and the mother's deep guffawing ribaldry, they lift and push her huge and wayward breasts, first the left, then the right, into the cavernous receptacles of her corsetry….

 

...It is often said that men who take the role of pantomime dames are a throwback to the times when women weren't allowed to perform on stage. Oh really. So why do they make no real attempt to hide their gender? And why do they play opposite female principal boys who are equally blatant with their true gender? I'll tell you why...

 

From Glorious Peace

 

Glorious Peace watched over the girl as she slipped languorously into

apparent sleep, then he extracted himself carefully from the coverlet, and reached for his clothes. Despite every caution, his sword hilts rattled as he buckled his belt. He paused, watching her attentively, but no more than the merest murmur of complaint passed her lips. He hadn't really expected her to wake. She was a professional, and she knew how he enjoyed leaving her in that dreamless slumber of sated desire.

I'm getting old and cynical, he thought, as he shrugged his cloak and hood into place. Why not accept that she was, indeed, happy and at peace. Surely someone must be! Cheered by the thought, he descended the stairs into the smoke and jostle of the public rooms.

Two voices were raised above the general noise. Their owners sprawled against the bar, inflicting their drunken opinions on the sweating landlord. Glorious Peace hid a wry smile behind his hood. He knew it was a hard job for an innkeeper, fielding the excesses of out-of-work soldiers. He also knew that old Grubbins was good at it, and there should be some banter worth listening to. But his quiet amusement cooled rapidly as he tuned in to the words the men spoke...

"...and what kind of half-wit calls his son Glorious Peace?" hilariously cried one.

The second flung his arms wide, to draw attention to the drama of his reply – "One who's got such a grip on power that no-one will ever dare advise prudence."

"He left prudence behind a long time ago!" responded the first. "Riding into battle at 20, riding wenches into trouble at 40, and..."

"Well, that's no more than natural," put in the landlord hastily.

" Very well, but riding a bottle into Hell ever since?"

"And at our expense!"

The landlord waggled his head, his eyes, every mobile part of his face, in that time-honoured signal which reads, There's a big bloke with a sword right behind you, and you just made him mad. The two drunks turned slowly, their feelings of foreboding confirmed by the looming shadow of the cloaked figure…

 

From Jacob’s Ladder, Lilith’s Pool

 

…It was a slithering, scraping retreat I made, only half controlled, and causing me many bruises and scratches. I let myself drop the last five feet or so and landed, cursing and clutching my elbows, almost on top of the man.

He yelled and cringed away from me, then slapped at my head with a flailing hand as he turned to flee. But of course, there was nowhere to run to. He skittered to and fro for a minute, then settled for crouching at the far side of the cave, glowering at me.

My reaction can't have helped him. Unmoved by his fear, and unused to company, I simply gazed at the promising cushions of his lips as they worked, searching for sound.

Then: "What d'you want with me?" he growled.

The sound of his voice made me jump. Exhausted and shocked as I was, I'd forgotten about speech. I didn't think to answer at first. There was something familiar, something hugely exciting about the sound of his voice. I was impressed also by his features, so fine and regular after the random patterns of the rock I was used to – and his eyes! Rich and deep they were, deeper even than my central pool, and what beautiful hair! Those flowing, golden brown tresses were such a wonderful embellishment to the shapely cave-wall.

"What d'you bring me here for?"

He sounded both frightened and cross. I shook myself, and endeavoured to prepare an answer.

"I just appeared," I said, pausing to savour the effectiveness of my own voice, "...and then you did."

He grunted suspiciously, and there followed a series of groping questions and non-answers, which proved only that neither of us knew very much about anything. We were growing more familiar with sharing our cave though, and moved gradually closer together, until we had ceased to stare at each other, but stood instead shoulder to shoulder, voicing observations on our surroundings.

"There used to be something else," I ventured at last, "a place that wasn't brown."

Fear and anger glittered in his eyes as he considered this, and I returned hastily to the safer subject of that which was, but my idea must have gained ground in his mind because next time the conversation lagged, he said: "There was food and drink."

"And trees, and babies," I prompted.

"And cars, and clouds – trousers, there was."

He clutched my arm fearfully as he spoke. We were both giddy with the endless possibilities which flooded our minds…

 

From Old Magic In A New Age

 

Remember the day you discovered that Father Christmas didn't exist? Bit of a let down, wasn't it. You thought: Oh alright then, so it was just a game – but I'll miss him. No shock, no real trauma, just the end of a nice dream. Kids don't really swallow all that Fairy Land business, they just like it.

Now imagine the opposite. Imagine you are suddenly faced by something you'd been quite happy to play with as long as it stayed in the shadows of Maybe Land . I'm telling you about the most dreadful fright of my life so far. I'm talking about sitting alone, naked, in darkness, whilst a terrible, brooding thing, created by me, stirred to life by me, lay shrouded in shadow, a few feet across the floor. I don't know why I was taken so unawares. I'd known exactly what I was preparing but, God help me, it worked…

 

From Newman’s Bible

 

"How did you manage to cut yourself there?" she exclaimed, a half-laugh

covering her consternation as she took in her husband's clay- and blood-smeared torso.

He looked down, spreading his hands in mock surprise, but even as he blushed he was re-forming his features into a mask of dignified assurance.

"A man has to suffer for his art," he quoted.

"How is it going?" she nodded towards the brushwood screen he had erected to shield his latest effort from the sun's heat.

"He is the biggest, most magnificent one yet," said her husband proudly, "and he'll be finished in a day or two."

She attempted to peer through a frayed gap in the screen, but he stepped defensively in her way, catching himself on a tangle of ivy as he did so.

"Poor old you!" she laughed, as the stubborn vines rasped against his torn flesh. "Come down to the spring now, we can bathe and wash your wound. You need a break."

But she knew from the distracted flicker in his eyes that he wouldn't tear himself away from his work for some hours yet. With a sigh she left him and strolled up the hill to her beloved orchard, the home of her earliest thoughts. Her concern for him deepened as her own confidence reasserted itself. Exactly when, she wondered, had he ceased to trust her?

She bowed her head as she climbed, comforted by the easy rhythm of walking. She watched her pink feet rhythmically rising, skimming and then sinking into the warm grass, and wondered how they were hers. If they were, then was the grass less so? A mist of thought abstracted her vision. The scented breeze, the dappled light skipping between bright leaves, even the promise of ripening fruits – all these had seemed less than part of her recently. With a new self-consciousness, she was questioning her place in the garden.

It had all begun as a joyous, instinctive dance. They had created the sun and moon together, before they had drawn any distinction between his limbs and hers. Words had come, born to praise, describe, name, attach meaning, and then, when they knew each other, children.

There. Pausing mid-stride she saw her guilt in the damage done to him. How had he felt when they had become distinct, when she had produced something he could not? She didn't know. That was her mistake. A night of blood and mystery, the first child born of man and woman, and then she'd been occupied with first one, then two little despots, bless them! Could she have drawn him in more, made it easier for him somehow?

She picked a ripe, golden apple from her favourite tree...

 

From Challenging Myth

 

The young prince sat under his tree, bathed in the light of universal compassion. A beatific smile enlivened his face.

"Oh, I see," he said.

Amongst the things he saw was an old man, hunched and sobbing.

"I'm sorry," the old man sighed, wiping the tears from his rock-like face with his sleeve. "It's just that you've made me so very happy. Usually, it's so..."

The prince reached out a gentle hand, inviting the old man to sit by him. "Tell me," he said. "From the beginning."

"It's not how people think, you know," said the old man, groaning as he lowered himself onto the grass. "I was one of many, once. Just ordinary, questioning how things were, drawing up schemes in my head about how things could be, everyone does that, don't they? Then one day, I realised...Know what I mean?" His watery eyes searched for, and found, understanding in the young man's attentive face.

"Go on," said the prince.

The old man nodded. "Darkness was on the face of the...you know, I forget which book you read round here. Anyway, I put my best scheme into action then and there…

 

From The Eye of the Beholder

 

Left foot back, right foot forward, she stood, with ice burning in her bones. The creeping cold seemed to have nailed her feet to the floor. Her left hand was wedged into the small of her back, and her right hand thrust behind her head, supporting the wilting cloud of her hair. Ironic really. She was supposed to be stretching – glorying in the life of her limbs. As it was, even the roots of her hair felt cold and stiff, like splinters in her scalp. Her long-muscles were beginning to tremble. The candy-twist of her pale, naked torso thrust her breasts forward, so they caught the light just so, and offered teasing contours to the watchers…

 

… At last the sodium-dark slab that was her house came into view. Unlike the useless others it glowed with the assurance of a known interior. She got the key in the lock at the second attempt, lunged against the reluctant door, and stumbled inside. Something papery tumbled near her feet. She kicked it aside, and took a quick glance out into the street. Hadn't someone just slipped into that gateway over the road? Well, so what if they had? It's a free country…

 

…He almost ran at Fiona as he left, and pushed the card into her hand. An ugly little bug, she thought. She looked down at his calling-card. It was, in fact, his student card. But it had his address on it. But he needed it. But she didn't want to call him. She squinted at the card. His name was Louis Renier. And her hand felt hot where their fingers had almost touched. Why hadn't she asked him?

An hour later she was ringing his doorbell.

"Did you follow me home?" she demanded, as the door began to open…

 

From Internal Combustion

 

Another life, another world! These were ideas we students found it so easy to discuss, to make wild guesses about. Many began their training with their heads full of childish things. Their quarters would be decorated with whimsical holograms depicting aliens who were like us, except for one or two entertaining differences – two eyes perhaps, or luminous antennae.

My own mentor soon put paid to any such dreams. Time and again he impressed on me the importance of holding no expectations – of being ready for anything. Even the most clear-headed scouts, he said, were at risk of sending back sense-impressions hopelessly clouded by emotions and assumptions.

I shall not let that happen to me. I am determined that this, my first report, be compiled honestly and accurately, and logged before my unaccustomed brain blurs the astounding details of my first alien encounter.

I shouldn't have let these few hours slip away before I reported in, but when I found myself planted here, on alien soil, learning to breathe the strange air – but wait, even that is not the beginning. I had no body when I first came to earthly consciousness…

From Butterfly Wings

 

…The inmates filed in and sat at their tables. A flurry of greetings, displaying of gifts, arranging of chairs, and then Bekir and Nicky sat hand-in-hand once more.

"You know," he said, "this reminds me of when we first met, that day in The Bell."

Nicky laughed shakily. "Idealists ever," she said. "I think you had the air of a hero about you even then. I wonder what we did wrong?"

"Who says anything went wrong? Would the campaign have reached the news if I hadn't put a policeman in hospital?"

"I suppose that makes you a hero in here, does it?"

Bekir winced. You get very paranoid, being locked up. "We did try to make it a peaceful protest," he said.

"I know," she replied. "There's a lot of us who do know what you went through."

"The thing is, we didn't stop the detentions, or the war. We spent most of our energy fighting the British fascists, and fighting the police."

"I know," said Nicky, "and we can't win unless we stop fighting."

"I'm not so sure about that, now," said Bekir. He glanced over Nicky's shoulder to where Yusuf sat, deep in conversation with his brother. "It's amazing what you learn, in here."

"Bekir, stop talking in riddles."

"Sorry, what I mean is, I may not come straight home when I get out. I've got a...an idea."…

… Bekir climbed out of the make-believe jet, and joined his glowing wife on the sofa. While they hugged and congratulated themselves, the TV panned the gritty devastation of an Afghan town. The camera paused controversially on the body of a fighter who lay face down in a pool of blood. His trousers, bunched at his hips, ominously suggested that his death had been some unspeakable atrocity…

 

From Circaidy Gregory

 

The television showed men firing guns and missiles. The resulting blasts of smoke and debris appearing in the distance implied men, women and children collapsing into a rag-tag of dust and blood in the rubble. Black oil-smoke poisoned the air of the desert. The scene changed to a press-conference, with backdrop stills of tanks and skylines. Politicians' words of pride and power spilled from the television into the living room, leapt through the windows, and danced their death-jangle with the sound of electric mowers and the haze of car-exhaust in this English street. The woman who had been gravely watching the television got up, switched off, and looked through her windows. Last week she had cried shame on soldiers showing off a tank in the town centre. The intractable weight and horror of the war machine on the light paving of the pedestrianised town square had been bad enough, but the black smoke suddenly issuing from the monster's exhaust, and the reptile malevolence of its progress when its hidden driver bid it advance had been too much to bear in silence.

"Horrible!" she had cried. "A horrible thing to see on our streets, especially when there are people in our town who have fled here to escape the horrors of war!"

The stripling soldiers had responded to her challenge with impotent, forced laughter. She was faced with the inability of adolescent man to answer any direct form of passion…

 “Mokey” copyright Kay Green © 2003. Originally published in Here & Now. “Time To Learn” copyright Kay Green © 1994. Originally published in Fiction Furnace, also runner-up for the David Gemmell Cup 1990. “Love Hurts” copyright Kay Green © 2001. “Facing The Dark” copyright Kay Green © 2003.“Good Mother Gosse” copyright Kay Green © 2002. Adapted from a story of the same title published in Legend. “Glorious Peace” copyright Kay Green © 2002. Previously unpublished. “Jacob’s Ladder, Lilith’s Pool” copyright Kay Green © 1997. Previously unpublished. “Old Magic In A New Age” copyright Kay Green © 2002. Previously published in Legend. “Newman’s Bible” copyright Kay Green © 2001. “Dispensers” copyright © Kay Green 1995. “Challenging Myth” copyright Kay Green © 2002. “The Eye of the Beholder” copyright Kay Green © 2003.  “Internal Combustion” copyright Kay Green © 1995. First published in Rattler’s Tale as “First Impressions”. “Butterfly Wings” copyright Kay Green © 2003. “Circaidy Gregory” copyright Kay Green © 2003.

 

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