Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Excerpt from Falling Out of Cars

Black marks, wetness, scratches. In the darkness, a pen moving across skin, across a young girl's skin. Words being put there, on the skin, with Marlene's own hand doing the writing. Words, these words, being written on the skin and Marlene thinking to herself that only by covering the body with words, entirely, will the young girl be saved. And then feeling the sharp, polished nib of the pen cutting into the skin, pushing the ink through into the body of the girl, pushing the words deep into the veins; Marlene realizing that the words, these very words, they will either enliven the girl, or kill her. Only by putting the correct words down, in the correct order, will the girl be roused again. The soft wetness, shreds of skin, scratches, the black ink. Tiny cries of pain, the darkness. Marlene knew that she was failing, she was failing in the task. The writing was a poison. But still, she could not lift the pen away from the flesh. Marlene could not stop writing. And then from nowhere came the idea that all she had to do, to stop herself from writing, was to wake up. She had to wake herself up from this dream, that was all. Marlene had to open her eyes, let her eyes come open, that was all, but she could not do it. She had to wake up. What was the problem? Marlene's body was a [272] slow machine, with only the brain and the hand at work, the writing hand. Marlene's eyes would not come open. She had to seek out the hidden instructions that would activate the machine, set it going. Marlene had to find in the dark of the skull the countless tiny levers that made the eye work. She had to pull at the levers, gently now, allowing the operation to take place. To lift the pen from the body of the young girl, to let the eyes come open finally, blinking at the light that burned into them.

Jeff Noon, Falling Out of Cars, (London: Doubleday, 2002, pp. 271-272)

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