Kristina

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gkmoberg1
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Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:22 pm

Something fun for you to read. :twisted:

Dialogue taken directly from Let The Right One In will be italicized.

[Edit 24-Jan-2021: A slight revision of this discussion thread's story can be found in the Fan Content area: Kristina ]

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:24 pm

        • ----------Kristina---------
          .o oOo oOo 1 oOo oOo o.


I had found long ago that down by the waterfront in Malmö life stirred for at least a short while after dark. And so I became a regular.

On a cool wet night in May, I made yet another of my visits. Oil lamps and candles flickered in doorways, while the occasional gas lamp gave a steadier glow. Figures, the men of the sea, moved their way along the wharf, bent over in their woolen coats and upturned collars. They were dark shapes, hard to discern against the shifting darkness cast from the shadows of the flickering lights. About us, a cold rain fell. It kept the figures moving, either back towards their ships or else into the places that were open to them.

Out on the water, the sway of scattered lights hinted the location of ships at anchor. But as I made my way onto Norra Vallgatan, most of the harbor view became lost behind the bulk of the vessels that were tied up close. Putting the Uppsala bastion to my back, I looked up into the night, letting my focus travel the height of the foremast of the first ship along my route. The wetness of the rain felt good on my face and I rubbed the water into my cheeks and massaged it into the skin of my throat.

I wrapped myself into the sounds and smell of the port. Staying along the edge of the front street's buildings and keeping the water to my right, I made my way along. The harbor itself, the men, the ships - all had their own stench. The mix was harsh and the breeze quickly brought and cleared them way over and over. But mostly it was the smell of the wet street, the wet dirt and the wet canvas that assaulted me.

The next ship was smaller, older, but with more lamps burning within than the first. I could hear the men. Their voices, a form of Dutch, just as with the light of their hanging oil lamps, spilled out through the ship's open portals. Within, they were discussing something to do with storage and how many crates more could be added. For me the details were too difficult to follow.

I continued past the first and then the second open establishment and stopped outside the third. The men inside were grouped into knots. I knew they'd be organized by their assignment. Sailors from any ship tend to stay together when they come ashore. This would be a foreign port with a strange language. Yet it would be a change from ordinary ship life and so for them it would be an adventure to come ashore and to go into the places and spend the evening – for a short while – on land and away from the continuous swell of the water. And so I knew they could come.

I stood and waited, keeping to myself and holding close against the side of the establishment. The groups would filter out in a short while. The docks by day bustled but at night things closed up early. My need was to find a straggler, one who came out alone. By experience I knew it would either happen soon or not at all. Once the groups started to retreat back to the water my chance would be over. Then it'd be over for the night. And I would likewise slip away into the darkness.


[Edited once to match suggestions kindly offered by metoo.]

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dongregg
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Re: Kristina

Post by dongregg » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:04 pm

OMG this is so good!
“For drama to deepen, we must see the loneliness of the monster and the cunning of the innocent.”

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:05 pm

Thanks! It was fun to write. Really got my teeth into it after a while. :roll:

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:06 pm

        • ----------Kristina---------
          .o oOo oOo 2 oOo oOo o.


The patter of the rain continued for a long time. Ships moved against their berths. Canvas creaked. Men sang. The water slapped against the piers and the hulls. Through it all I remained quiet. Over and over, the breeze delivered and then stole away the harbor stench and the stench of the men and the stench of the dirt.

Gradually a new smell came at me from the harbor: the smoke of burnt coal. I had seen the new freighters sporting this ability. Amidships, between the masts, the newer ships would have a single vertical metal chimney. A furnace had been supplied below in the ship's bowels and it could be loaded with coal. The result was a ship that could move without the wind – remarkable. However the soot and smoke put me off on wanting to know more.

Changes such as this, little changes, were always coming along. Gas lighting, canals, and now furnaces on ships. It was ever the slow trickle of change. As much as I regretted this slow evolution, somewhere within me there was a tickle that I had to stay current. I did not understand the need for such travel or the need for coal burning ships yet they were here. In order to survive I had to accept them and keep on the watch for whatever step came next. Could I continue without doing so? I wasn't sure; however, it seemed to be an unwise strategy.

A shout rang from the establishment. I heard a shove and a scuffle. Then another shout. With it came my chance. A lone man stepped out and into the rain. A sailor. Young. Sober. And –my favorite- angry. His posture told me what I needed to know. His solid body was fully involved. Face tight. Arms at the ready. Wide, balanced stance. He made several firm steps out through the door and whirled around with ferocity back at the establishment. As he had yet to put on the coat he held stiffly in his left hand I had a good view of him.

Nobody followed. After a minute he whisked the rain from his face and bristling mustache. He used his clenched right hand in a strong sweep that literally threw the water from his skin. He continued to glare back into the establishment.

"Lars?" I asked. Startled, he realized my presence. Then rounding fully to face me, he pulled back his strong right arm – only to let it down when he saw me better in the light.

"You are mistaken Miss," he replied in English, thick with an Irish accent.

"My mistake," I replied, likewise in English.

"Your man must still be inside."

"I'm no longer convinced of that."

"Then…"

I looked him over, making it clear I was doing so.

"Then Lars will have to wait until tomorrow," I decreed.

"His loss."

I led him away.

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:31 pm

        • ----------Kristina---------
          .o oOo oOo 3 oOo oOo o.

Fire is my greatest concern. For years I took the same risk day after day of seeking shelter under roofs or in cellars. But I found that I was entrusting my security to structures created from wood. Accidental discovery, my then primary motivation, had driven me for years to make decisions on where to shelter myself. And too often I found upon review that I had been subjecting myself to poor decisions.

Men don't go with regularity into darkened spaces, poking about. Their diurnal and nocturnal habits turn out to be hugely regular, and it takes an exception for them to alter their ways. And while fire is also the exception, it takes a different form. Men typically proceed with measure and plan. Fire does not. Men have fears, limits of energy and the time they apply towards an objective. Fire does not. Men willfully retreat when their limits are reached or daylight is exhausted. Fire does not.

It was a recent experience in Lund that had provoked me to reassess my ways. I awoke one autumn evening and found the barns and carriage houses above me in flames. The amount of fuel on hand – hay, straw, the structures themselves – made for an utter disaster once ignited. I had to squirm my way out from the basement I had been using. The floorboards were caving in as I exited; it had been that close. Everything I had accumulated to that point in time was lost. I don't want to remember the size of my loss but the event brought me to think through what was the more serious concern.

In my reassessed life, stone construction became my new target. Cathedrals, town halls and similar solid constructions became my new haunt. I swore myself an oath to avoid wood. Months of uneasiness followed wherein I had to train myself to align with my decision, so great was my fear of discovery. Yet the forced new habit became the norm. Stone become my bulwark.

Somehow on this cool wet May night it was the coal soot coating on that sailor's skin that brought all this to mind. We had made our way off of the docks and around to an alleyway. There, the evening had taken a new turn for him. And while we were locked in a new passion –one of my design – the smell of the coal soot and the taste of it from his skin distracted me. As things progressed through the sequence I had come to take as routine my mind was crossing off steam-driven ships as a means of travel or as a means of securing myself. Anything that might lead to uncontrolled fire had to be avoided. All that wood, canvas, rope and crates, surrounding a furnace and its coal stores and internal insatiable fire, formed nothing short of a conflagration in the making. Sometimes that relentless evolution I saw about me led to questionable ends.

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Re: Kristina

Post by EEA » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:12 am

Interesting beginning!

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Re: Kristina

Post by PeteMork » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:15 am

I like this, GK! You've really set a mood here. I can almost hear the flapping of the sails and smell the salt breeze -- and the stench of dead fish, which you didn't even have to mention. ;) And 'Kristina's' hard life (if indeed this is Kristina) and the hard but practical decisions she's had to make.

(That's way too many 'ands' isn't it?) :D
We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain. (Roberto Bolaño)

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:21 am

Nawwww... if you're going to say that you like 'Kristina', then you can use all the 'and's that you want.

Yup, the story is being told by Kristina. This is all from her eyes. And mind. And memory. (I am practicing my 'and's :P )

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Re: Kristina

Post by gkmoberg1 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:26 am

        • ----------Kristina---------
          .o oOo oOo 4 oOo oOo o.

The little thing shuffled sideways. I caught the movement at the periphery of my vision. Slight. When I turned and could get a better view I could see the figure was short and indeed a child. Its thin arms were spread out from its body, crooked at the elbows. It was ready to dart yet I could see a confidence to its composure that told me it was not afraid.

I wondered how well the child might be able to make me out. It was utterly dark along the side of the building. The sailor and I were standing well into the alleyway – the sailor's back pressed firmly to the wall, my face buried tight into him. It had been a while since the he had last moved or made any sound. I had been fully engrossed in the moment and so was slow to realize that the light taps I had started to hear were actually those made by two small feet treading the stones and dirt nearby.

In this, the depth of night's darkness, the little thing should only at best be able to hear me. But when I moved an arm silently away from the sailor -who had given me so much- and shifted myself so as to be able to get at the child if I needed to, it danced back lightly. This should not have been possible unless it could somehow see as clearly as I could.

And then I understood. I understood.

A jolt ran through me upon the realization. How long had it been? While I am always wanting this to happen, when it did it was usually sudden. Often brief. And sometimes deadly.

The sailor was no longer a concern. Yet I was still wrapped up with him. What I needed to do was ascertain –quickly- what might occur next. The child was remaining alert and very much on edge. A wrong move and it would flee.

"Is it just you?" I asked, breaking the silence. Several moments followed and then came a nod of the small head. "I am here alone as well," I offered. The child remained quiet. I needed to extend my web; draw the child in. I added a plea: "Stay."

There was no reply. I remained careful not to make any motion away from the sailor. The child backed away another small step but remained silent. I needed a plan. Despite years of being alone and pondering how things would proceed when I next met another, I had not anticipated an encounter such as this. A child. A mere child. I'd not seen this for a long time. I thought back. It would have to be at least fifty years. Seventy, perhaps. Yes, all the way back to before my start. Before.

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