Silver – Chapter One

Silver
Last night, I danced and after the show, two men fell to their deaths backstage.

It wasn’t an accident. I mean, it was a chase, a strange kind of chase. One started climbing and the other climbed after him. There wasn’t anywhere to go. I don’t know what would have happened if they reached the top of the rope. They didn’t get that far.

Tasha yelled “Malinov!” and he fell and then Courlain fell after him. I was spared the sight of them hitting the ground but I was not so fortunate when it came to the sound. I’m sure I’ll take that with me the rest of my life.

Tasha looked over, took Allison’s arm and said “Let’s go.” I’m still shocked, remembering that. They knew both of the men but it seemed like, for them, the show had ended and it was time to go home. I didn’t really know either man, so I went along. I still think that was weird.

I suggested to Tasha that perhaps we should tell the police what we knew. I mean, it happened really fast but it might help them piece together the scene. I know I didn’t know anything but I had a feeling the women knew more.

“They’d never believe us,” she said. I still don’t know what she meant.

So we hopped into a limousine and went round to Tasha’s place. It’s amazing. We didn’t drive too far so we must still be in the halo of Washington. We drove for twenty minutes, I swear, after we came through the gates of her estate to reach a front door. I had no idea the woman could be so rich. Maybe I would have looked at her more carefully if she hadn’t been yelling at me all the time. But she didn’t wear jewels or even fancy fabrics. I guess, even if I had looked, I probably wouldn’t have suspected. That old dancer is rich.

We spoke for a while, ate some grub and were shown to our rooms. I hoped to visit Allison in hers, celebrate our success with a private naked dance, but the day got the better of me and I too quickly fell asleep. We’ve done plenty of celebrating since.

The next few days we just hung out. Tasha has a studio and gave us classes. We been eating more and better than usual. I often wonder if we are overstaying our welcome but Tasha behaves as though we’ll never leave. I’m cool with that, at least until it’s time to prepare for the new season but my contract’s up so who knows. This place is nice.

And I don’t know what will happen with Allison if I go home. She treats me like we’re married but not in a possessive way. More like she’s known me forever and nothing I can do will surprise her.  Like there is no question of whether we’ll be together. As long as I stay here and she stays here, we can pretend that’s true.

This morning, I was introduced to a man they call Razor. He’s a squat little nerd with glasses, kind of nervous and excited and quiet and intense. He gave me this notebook and three books. I told him I was a dancer, that books weren’t the best way to reach me and the notebook would be wasted. I guess I was wrong about that. He told me to take them and trust him.

I’m a dancer so I’m used to being told what to do, to slightly modify what I’ve done until they’re satisfied and then do it again and again until someone tells me to stop. So I took the books.

Razor told me there are people who live forever by force of their will. They refuse to die, so when their body finally gives out, they don’t die but move into another living person, some young adult in the local region. He is one of those people. So is Allison and Tasha and the guys who died.

Allison?

She was possessed about six months ago by Silver.

Is that why Tasha keeps calling Allison Silver? She didn’t start doing that until after the show.

Allison didn’t know she was Silver until then.

All of a sudden, things started making sense. No, I don’t mean that. Some things that seemed weird didn’t seem so weird any more. Six months ago was when Allison started being a great dancer, at least that’s what they told me.

Curiosity took ahold of me and I looked at the books. Razor was right again.

I went back to my room and  picked up Malinov’s journal. Here’s how it begins:

I used to be a pretty ordinary guy. I’m twenty four and consider myself a writer with some talents and skills but mostly I drive deliver packages for UPS. Six months ago, one of my poems won a contest. That was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. I went to school, play some guitar, sing. I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t have much money but I get by.

I started having weird dreams, not the fish discussing canasta during a test kind of weird, but men speaking to me, telling me stories, long stories about European history and torrid love affairs.  At first the dreams just seemed strange but then the parts I remembered when I awoke started coming together to form a long cohesive story of a man who had lived for a long, long time.

There were different voices but over time they melded together, until finally they were all one voice and also mine. What had been distinct dissolved into me. To be honest, I don’t think I can even speak of me apart from them or him or us any more. I am we and we are me. This strikes me as unusual.

To make a long story short, I am Terry Blake and I am Malinov. I have lived a very long time.

Razor asked me to write this record and since writing is my forte, it seems a good way to integrate our skills. This is for you, Razor.

I’m searching for Silver.

I don’t know what she looks like. I don’t know where she is or what she does. I don’t know her name. I have loved her for six hundred years. Nothing can begin until I find her again.

I’ll find Silver by waiting for her to express herself. She’ll select some art form and make herself famous. I’ll look or listen or taste or whatever and will immediately know that the woman responsible is Silver. Of course, I’m trusting that I can recognize her, which will be easy if it is some art form we’ve shared before but will be significantly harder if she has gone some unexplored direction. If she doesn’t want me to be the one to find her.

She was gone most of the nineteenth century. Those were some hard years.

So what am I supposed to make of that? Malinov is the guy who fell. Silver is Allison but he didn’t know that. The journal is dated so he wrote this about six months ago. The voice seems familiar. Too familiar. Like I could have written it. But I’m a dancer. I don’t write.

And the weirdest part? After the show, I started having weird dreams. Just like his.

~~~

This is the first chapter of Silver, my new novel. I’m in the process of finishing the prose, so let me know if you want more. Thanks. Malinov

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Silver

I finished the verse draft of Silver – prose ho!17796273_10203110668965797_5305081158145370672_n

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Silver – stanza 28.3

I raced after Courlain, to grab hold of him
Keep him from harming himself; I knew he
Was making his play for Silver the best he
Knew how, the usual way for our kind
But I wanted to talk, to sit down with
Silver and Tasha and Courlain and make
A new kind of plan, to consciously choose
A course of action that would benefit
All of us, so we didn’t spend the next
Thousand years trading bodies and lives
To maneuver and escape, love and lose
So when he grabbed the rope and climbed
I took hold of the rope and went up after
Him, with no plan in mind but to lay
Hands on him, shake some sense into him
When he reached the platform, I felt some
Relief, for on that stage I hoped I could
Take hold of him, talk to him, talk some
Sense into him, so I climbed harder, knowing
He had no other escape but to jump off
I thought so, but Courlain had other ideas
And he leapt, a terrifying leap away
From the platform, clutching at another
Rope that went to the very high roof
I soon reached the platform and looked
To see Courlain struggling to raise himself
Weary hand after weary hand, with a sigh
I readied myself to make the outrageous
Leap when I heard my name, turned and fell

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Silver – stanza 27.3

We can only imagine what Silver thought
As she became aware, realizing herself
Recognizing Courlain, seeing his schemes
But she carried on, never showing her hand
Never allowing Courlain to see her alerted
To his presence, although he smugly confident
In the distance he’d maintained, coolly
Assured that Silver was not yet surfaced
By Tasha, the only other person who knew
Silver well enough to judge; She promised
Courlain that she would let him know when
She saw the unmistakable signs of awareness
But it seems apparent she did no such thing
Either because she never noticed the sudden
Sharpness in Allison’s eyes as she gazed
Upon them, as they ate and chatted demurely
Or because she knew and never told him
I certainly don’t know what actually transpired
The journal certainly shows Silver came to life
That night, that she danced with me and now
Occupies the mind and life of my darling Allison
And while Silver loves Malinov and maybe
Courlain, I remain convinced that Allison
Loves me, and while Silver may be more
Than meets the eye, she is also Allison
This is more than I can process, I just don’t
Understand how much of what I’ve been
Told is actually true, what does it even mean
To us and perhaps I need to know who I am

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Silver – stanza 26.3

When it came to Courlain, Malinov found it
Difficult to trust Silver completely, he
Knew they had a past together, past
The seventy years they spent together
Recently, Silver had never told him
About any of the time she had spent
With Courlain but Malinov had been
Told a few things by Tasha, who also
Didn’t like to discuss her past, but
Tasha is an incorrigible gossip and
Was very ready to tell tales about
Other people’s past, though she knew
Little enough about Silver, but Malinov
Knew enough to understand that last
Time Courlain showed up unannounced
And Malinov could never be sure
That Silver hadn’t left unwillingly
Just as she had run off with him in
Louisiana, so while she had told
Him to go about his business and
Leave Courlain to her to deal with
Malinov never strayed too far away
Keeping his eye on both Silver and
Courlain but eventually, his presence
Tipped off Courlain that Silver
Was on to him, that her innocent
Suggestions were far from innocent
Caught like a rat in a trap, Courlain
Fought back by burning the trap

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Silver – stanza 25.3

The day of the show started slowly, with
A modest breakfast and a long soak
Down at the theater, Mme. Tasha led
A very light warm-up followed by a
Logistical run through, checking marks
And cues; one of the girls who danced
In one of the other numbers cut her foot
Leading us into twenty minutes of chaos
And panic as they bandaged the wound
And finally convinced the young woman
She was fine and perfectly capable of
Performing; as curtain time approached
I sequestered myself in my overly large
Dressing room; took a quick bite to sustain
My strength without weighing me down
I cleaned myself thoroughly and began
Applying my stage make-up, molding
My coif, Attending the details of my costume
Sitting in silence, I went through my breathing
Exercises, mumbled through the prayers I
Had been reciting since childhood, touched
Or kissed some of the keepsakes, icons,
Totems and good luck charms I had collected
Over the years; I went through a series
Of stretches I have developed to focus my mind
Finally, I left my dressing room, headed
For the stage to watch the dances from
The wings, soon Allison stood beside me, I
Took hold of her small hand and kissed it

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Silver – stanza 24.3

“I’m told you brag about swindling me.”
“Thank them that told you, you wouldn’t have
Figured it out on your own. It was crafty.”
“Excuse me?”
“But I wouldn’t say I bragged about it. Wasn’t
Much of a challenge, really; You’re just not that bright.”
The duel was set for dawn. Malinov declined
To bring a second, and attended by a servant
With instructions to bring his corpse away
Courlain did his part, dispatching Malinov with
A shot through the heart and the servant
Did his, taking the lifeless body to the swamp
And was soon forgotten, having been in town
Such a short time; for a year, Malinov settled
Into his new vessel, a bright young fellow studying
To be a lawyer, his writing and rhetoric
Making a meteoric splash with the locals
Destined to become a big shot in Washington
They figured; When Malinov took the reins
He courted Silver’s selected vessel and
They waited until Silver died before getting
Married and making the journey east
It took months for Courlain to suspect
That Silver had not possessed the vessel
They had planned for her; it took a year
For him to be certain and by that time, he
Didn’t have the slightest clue to her whereabouts
We don’t known what he did then but he caught
Up with Tasha in Istanbul and lived out there

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