Heart On A Bayonet – Act Two

Synopsis: Wrongly convicted, a once prominent woman finds herself looking for life’s true purpose.

Note 1. I actually wouldn’t necessarily call this “graphic” nor sexual (because I refuse to write blatant sexual acts between characters – you can read the reason for that in the comments) but WordPress has their rules. So here’s the cautionary warning: This story contains graphic content as well as strong language.

Note 2: Written in third person. Italics indicate the main protagonist’s inner monologue.

Use. That’s all people did. They used Catherine and complained when she rarely asked for help.

“We love different opinions,” they said…”we’re very accepting and tolerant,” they exclaimed.

A lovely summary of my childhood, teenage years, adolescent, and adulthood, and probably what may be beyond this. But what they didn’t say was that they could never admit that they were hypocrites and would piss on your grave the second, not the minute, the very second they had the chance. Hell they’d kill you themselves and defecate on your corspe if it weren’t illegal…Or is it? 

Beaten to a pulp everyday of the week. It’s a wonder I’m not brain dead…yet. 

“we call you when we need something and your NEVER fucking there.” 

Yeah, I call you, I text you, I email you, 50 zillion times only to get told 48 hours later “We don’t need you. We have more important matters to attend to.” I might as well send a worthless letter that’ll get there by the time the I or the Pony Express am fucking dead that you can manically laugh at while you proceed to burn it.

You know what I can’t believe is how the hell arrogant, asinine, ignorant, hypocritical, vexatious people like them remained in the 21st century…

Enough ranting, Catherine. My conscience. Ah. There you are. 

What we’ve denigrated to as a society is abhorrible…

It had been 8 weeks since she escaped. And in those weeks she got a job at a small film studio, retreated to her previously bought “safehouse,” and aimlessly walked around the streets of Hollywood Blvd. Aimlessly searching for meaning. She thought about how her boss was no better than her family.
“You’re nothing but a whore,” she told Catherine

The old haggard reminded her of the people who raped her as a child. How they cut deep into her wrists, and made her do unspeakable things.

Yeah, just over talk me and insult my appearance and brag about your pathetic PhD when you don’t even know how copy and paste works which I attempted to explain to you but you refused to listen because by my bloodshot eyes, dark eye bags, messy, unkept hair, and the wear and tear on my clothing you assumed I was a mentally retarded whore, Catherine thought as her asinine employer went on. She would’ve told it to the vexatious harridan’s face but felt any sign of aggression would cause a scene; detracting from her newly created identity as Grace. This was the new normal in society.

Before becoming an author, Catherine had gone through several careers including working as an apprentice at a law firm and a scientist graduating at the top of her class at the age of 17. She would’ve been a doctor or nurse in the health sector had she not been banned from every hospital around the world after aiding heavily to the discovery of a cure for all types of cancers that led to cures for every disease known to man including the common cold and acne. No, Catherine didn’t accomplish such a feat on her own, but this was monumental for any one involved.

This was the culmination of eons of research, and numerous scientists determined to end the need to endure the hardship of the faulty human body.


I was kicked from every career that’d make a difference almost instantly. So what was stopping me from joining a group of rebels shunned for the same reasons.

Ten.

Ten highly intelligent, highly qualified people who came up with intricate opportunities to worm their way back into the system and turn on it. 

 

What we were ignorant of ourselves is how we were puppets in the authoritarian’s masquerade.

I, along with a number of respectable men and women, discovered a cure for every disease known to man. Hell, even my asinine PE teacher in high school couldn’t believe it. 
*Flashback*
 

“Have you ever heard of xenopolycythemia?,” I inquired.

PE Teacher: …wait that’s an actual… medical condition?

Me: You bet your sorry ass it is. And seeing as you’ve heard of it, you should know it affects the spleen and in the current stage I’m in, this incurable disease has inhibited me from taking part in said physical activities.

PE Teacher: Well you should participate anyway. You look to be in perfectly good health and don’t you prioritize your grades above personal interests?

Me: The matter of my well being balancing on the rope of life and death is certainly not a personal interest and shouldn’t be belittled for the sole purpose of meaningless letter grades. Partaking regardless will result in further damage and paralyze the body. What rigorous activities will you have me participate in then? Which incapacitated student can drag their nearly lifeless bodies the farthest accross the gym floor?

I never did get a response out of him/her/them whatever “politically correct” term you wanna muster up. 

The Collapse is what took its toll on her…on every person desperately wanting to make a difference.

“This is an immense break through in the world of science, for the people of not only our nation but also the entirety of the universe!”
“Oh, Catherine. Can’t you see the difference between what you’re saying and what you should be saying?”
Martial law was enacted thereafter the protests turned into riots. The pharmaceutical industry forced once brave, outspoken people to tuck tail and run. To those who fought underground trying to dispense the cure, were banned from hospitals if they could not be shot on sight.
For days we ran under the cover of night. For days we dispersed our numbers. For days we were hunted like rats and killed one by one. 
But I was not on the kill list. 
Corrupted officials wanted Catherine to end her own life. They wanted her grief to take over. For she was the source of the major revolt.
Growing ever more frustrated with the fate she’s left with, Catherine decided to head for a drink at a speakeasy. Alongside the corruption that came with martial law, only illicit private establishments who were in with the political realm could stay in business “under the radar.”
Little did Catherine know, this would be her last bone breaking bar fight.
She sat on a bar stool, minding her own business, ordering several more glasses be poured each time it emptied. Catherine didn’t get drunk to forget, how could she anyway. These moments could be buried but would always resurface to drive the dagger home.
A shout broke her from her thoughts.
“YOU!”
“Who, me?” Casually turning responding back at the furious group with the best sarcastic smirk she could pull.
“Yes, you, missy. You did this. You destroyed our lives. I hope you’re happy with yourself.”
“I don’t know what virus is swirling around in your braindead skull right now but I do know you ain’t too right in the head, laddie.” Her Scottish accent that she suppressed for years seethed through her alcoholic haze.
In a violent fit, he picked the woman up, slammed her onto the bar top and drug her across it, shattering every glass with her head. The others made an effort to pinn her down when she fought but she shoved her boot right into each of their jaws, and knocked out them out after a fury of right hooks. It felt like forever she had been fighting before they dropped to the floor.
It was then Catherine realized the damaged that had been done. Her abdomen was bleeding faster than a New York minute. The S.W.A.T team showed up no sooner and she shuffled away from the scene with the crowd gathered in the night club.

She bust open the door and shut it with haste. Taking a long, stern look at the home she’s been living in for the past month, she shook her head.

This is it…After all these years…

A flashback hit her: “You’re the PROBLEM. YOU DECIDED TO BE BORN TO US.”
 
And another: “You’re a millstone around our necks! You contribute nothing! You are nothing.” 
Catherine doesn’t let these memories get to her. In fact, they don’t even make her flinch. Words. That’s all she thought of them. What did get her was not how much her own blood despised everything of her living being, but the fact that no matter how much she may try with all her might, she would never change this place.
“Why don’t you kill yourself, Catherine? You’re nothing but a useless, USED, OLD COW in the machine.”
 
“YOU CHOSE! YOU BLATANTLY CHOSE TO RUIN OUR LIVES!”
“Right, tell me again how before even becoming a fetus, this none existent individual had a choice? And how are they supposed to have a say when the ability to even speak in verbal form coherently hasn’t quite been developed yet…”Age 13
 
“Why are we stuck with this THING for 18 years.” 
 
The slime from their disgusting mouths covered that statement. It grossly slicked the floors and ran wild like an outbreak of salmonella. It bled from the holes of their bodies like Ebola. They held my Heart on a Bayonet. 
It isn’t the memories. It isn’t the flashbacks. It’s the present. 

Grabbing as many whine bottles as she possibly could to smash them clean against the columns of the room converted into a music studio.

She lied there, bloodied and broken. Shattered glass and cracked records covered the wood floors while music blared through the halls.
A familiar face opened the door, cautiously.

Her clouded irises betrayed her. It was the last man from the group of people who she watched colaspe onto the floor. He had died in front of her, and here in her delirious plight she remembers rushing to his side, unable to do anything to save him. Only make his demise more comforting.

He walked over to her.

“Come on Catherine, you’re not dying tonight.”
She went unconscious
Jolted awake by the sound of a bottle of single malt Scotch being poured, the adrenaline numbed the pain long enough for her eyes to adjust to the bright lights.
Once they did, Catherine realized once more this wasn’t her house.
Grumbles and cursing slurs stirred the man who poured the drink.

Her beloved friend wasn’t the one standing before her now. She had imagined him. Although, she had seen this gentleman across the room before, skepticism got the best of Catherine.

“Get this crap off of me.”

“Do you wanna die? For god’s sake, woman! You barely stumble back home, miraculously have the super human strength to trash your studio while bleeding out might I add, and then you black out awaiting your peaceful death.” He finishes his rant, flailing his arms wildly in the air, giving her his most cantankerous expression, clearly exasperated by her careless actions.

“Something like ‘I missed you too,’ could’ve made a more profound point but…that’s just me.” She coughs out, throat dryer than the Savannah. Attempting to make peace with him.

“Yeah, but I swear on my father and his father that if you attempt to pull those IV’s out, I will kill you myself.

“Kill me yourself? No, you’d put me in a coma that’ll last seven centuries.”

He snickered at that. She never lost her sense of humor after everything.

This wasn’t a hospital, it was an apartment that belonged to a man named John. Though she may have trusted him, she remained apprehensive and vigilant. It had been years since they were together and times have changed.
John joined the army as an infantryman upon dropping the doctorate degree. After his service, he became an engineer. Catherine and him worked together when she was in her prime as a prolific writer. He was the young boy’s guardian, too, when his family served him nothing but abuse.
The equipment to sustain her life were not by some miracle lying around, but stored in several areas around the city. Because John wasn’t as abrasive as Catherine was in any industry, he maintained contact with corrupted pricks still working in the hospitals.
She slips back into the unconscious realm before being able to ask him for a sip of his Scotch or how he’s been, as if she couldn’t already tell.
This was day 1 of actual recovery.
There were stitches above her eyebrow, a cast on her broken arm, a gauze pad wrapped around her abdomen, and a searing gouge in her right leg.
All she remembers from the previous night is a glass shard piercing into her stomach and being dragged across the bar.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, but, I’m not you.”
“Thanks doc, sarcasm much appreciated,” Catherine satirically returned
“I presume I can trust you without being tied down to the bed?”
Glaring at his whimsical remarks, “Your call,” she managed in reply.
On day 3 she became sick of his charades and the short instances of amnesia the drugs gave her. But she continued to play along, play nice, so the day these IV’s stuck in her veins could be removed would come quickly. And once it did, and he turned his back, she made a break for the door, albeit barely dragging her still weakened limbs to the exit.
The lock cracking open sends the man nonchalantly strolling out the back door. His clairvoyance gave him the security of knowing exactly the path she’d be taking, and she wouldn’t get too far with the gravity of her injuries, still not completely healed. Catherine would run or rather limp the same short route she took when she shadowed him. She was barefoot and wrapped in nothing but a raincoat that she grabbed before bolting into the oil slicked street.

He slowed his pace and follows her through the alleyway, completely disregarding the heavy rain nearly impairing their movement.

She knows he’s just around the corner, and decides to wait. He sharply turns, running right into her grip; pinning him against the brick wall. For a recovering patient she held her own quite well, or least the adrenaline did. He could have swept her up easily but this was their game, he let Catherine get away, he let her turn the tables and overtake him.

“What do you want from me?”

It was more of a demand than a question. He doesn’t answer; instead he stares straight into her eyes, returning the same look – rain water dripping from his brow.

She stares back; slowly letting go of his coat, allowing buried memories invade her mind. The boy with blue eyes comes into view making her drop into the puddle behind her. The friends she loved, each face flashed.

“I want you to stop running…” his voice echoes in the night; overpowering the booming storm, taking her out of the insanity that went on in her mind.

He bent down, and held out a hand.

She took his hand and he pulled her up.

Her legs were still weak from the affect of loosing nearly 2 pints of blood and pain from the wounds she achieved during the free for all over a drink.

With a nod in agreement, she allows him to carry her.

“I’m sorry,” she tells him, clinging onto his collar.

“I would’ve done the same, amnesia or not.”

A beat passes.

“I remember you, John. You were studying to become a doctor and dropped out after the chaos.”

“Never did care for working with blind, greedy animals.”

Returning back to his apartment and getting a set of clothes finally, John led her to the area she liked to sit at by the window with a bottle of rum in her hand. He frowned at her choice to consume alcohol so early, but he entrusted her with not drowning in a pit of toxic waste. City lights gleamed, flying cars zoomed by.

gasoline_by_yuuike-d9pszle
I couldn’t save them, just like I couldn’t save my friends. Just like I never bothered saving myself. 
 
My own family, disowning me from birth. 
 
“I had the chance…I had the gun…The bullet would’ve beautifully blown my brains out and ended all of this.” Catherine mumbled.

“But you didn’t pull that trigger,” John whispered a reply to her.

She wasn’t one for self pity but knowing nothing could change, there wasn’t a point in continuing. Until now…

“But why did the lad have to die?”

“He didn’t.”

The night went on like this until dawn. Back and before she questioned and he gave her an answer; these answers weren’t to please her either, they were for logic to suffice in an illogical world where you were shunned for excelling above others, labeled mentally ill for knowing the truth, and punished for succeeding past their control.

 

Through their drinking they were entranced by one another. A tug of war laced with defiance of authority, passion, and the drive to live a better life. That’s the flame that ignited between them when they were near each other irregardless of intoxication. She could write freely, he could play piano and tinker with machinery without frustration.


He wanted to tell her, “our minds control this, Catherine.” He wanted her to know how life wasn’t simply set in a fixed route. John wanted her to know that some things could be controlled and others could not. But it worried him to anger the woman only to lead her to believing the boy, and the lives of many, could have been saved, then ending up killing herself. He knew this because he himself attempted the act upon the realization.

 

Each time “reality” hit the duo repeated the mantra in their minds:

Just let me write
Just let me play
For one more minute
For one more day

 

Their childhood desires resurfaced.

There were moments of utter peace and glimpses of a world without suffering when Catherine was younger. A world without someone wanting to stab you in the neck for a couple of bucks around every swift corner. These moments, however, were never enough to quell the mindless violence that surrounded everyone.

 

On that very night she again became addicted to him. He, too, renewed his addiction to her. Their strong love for each other, however, never involved nor invited sexual innuendo.

They basked in the thought of no longer reaching for an unattainable desire. An open mind in a closed system.

 

Credit for image: http://yuuike.deviantart.com/art/Gasoline-587538482

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9 thoughts on “Heart On A Bayonet – Act Two

  1. “An open mind in a closed system.”

    A great final line!

    I liked the atmosphere of this story — the rain, the desperation, the loneliness. It reminded me of Blade Runner.

    And Catherine is definitely a character whose journey and growth I want to read more about. I’m excited for Act Three. It’s amazing that she has accomplished so much but also horrifying that she has suffered so much too.

    I don’t know what Catherine’s arc as a character will be, but I will follow her wherever she goes.

    Keep fighting, Catherine! Don’t let the haters be the end of you.

    If I had one thing to criticize about Act Two, it would be: Is it necessary to have Catherine’s thoughts in bold and in italics — won’t either bold or italics work?

    Other than that, I’ll wait till I’ve read all of Catherine’s story — I see all that she has gone through, and is going through — before further critiquing the story, because my criticisms could be addressed in future Acts.

    If you don’t mind me asking: I was just wondering: Why don’t you write blatant sexual acts between characters?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The gibberish in bold was for the pre- editing stage so I can easily know her thoughts in the story and keep it separate from the narrator’s words because WordPress is a pain to keep from glitching on mobile (it constantly removes the spaces and italics between the paragraphs.) I’m planning on removing the bold and keeping it with italics like I originally planned once my laptop is fixed again.

      I don’t mind early criticism, it greatly improves my writing so feel free to rain fire down upon it. Lol

      As for refusing to write blatant sexual acts, I’ve had my bouts with the topic. On one side I want the character to ache for physical contact and finally receive that satisfaction however on the other side of it, this ruins the subtlely that I as a writer chomp at the bit for in films these days. I was also originally going to have a scene with Catherine and John where they’d give in to primitive desire but decided otherwise. See, I’ve always wanted more stories that didn’t involve a sex scene at all throughout it. We know these characters are close, we know they may or may not be in love, we know what they want, but we don’t have to watch them make love to arc the novel.

      But, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve scrubbed every act out, I am not against nor do I refuse to write genuine intimate acts between characters. So rather than describing one thrusting into the other for a full on sex sequence, their passion and love is portrayed through their interactions that society wouldn’t normally pay attention to. To be brief, tough love is the ambient barrier I want to display between John and Catherine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “I don’t mind early criticism, it greatly improves my writing so feel free to rain fire down upon it. Lol”

        My criticisms for Act Two, so far — other than having Catherine’s thoughts in either bold or italics, not both — would be:

        “The lock cracking open sends the man nonchalantly strolling out the back door. She was barefoot and wrapped in nothing but a raincoat that she grabbed before bolting into the oil slicked street.”

        Moments after waking up from surgery, Catherine is already on her feet, and out the door, and only one person knows about it? That hospital needs better staff. I would also think that there would be more than one person with her in her room. Doctors usually work in pairs. And a person is usually hooked up to all kinds of machines, many of which can’t be removed by the patient, so that the hospital staff know as soon as a patient does something like try and get out of their bed. And, as someone who has had surgery, it takes at least a day to become fully conscious once you open your eyes again: You don’t open your eyes and immediately start running.

        “She would’ve been a doctor or nurse in the health sector had she not been banned from every hospital around the world after finding a cure for all types of cancers that led to cures for every disease known to man including the common cold and acne.”

        Why would she be banned from hospitals and denied a career in the health sector if she made everyone’s life in the sector easier by curing cancer and then, implicitly, curing all known diseases? I would think that people would be falling at her feet, begging her to work with them.

        And it seems a bit too good to be true that Catherine would be this much of a genius when it comes to health. I can understand her finding a cure for cancer. But her finding a cure for *everything* pushes my suspension of disbelief to its limit.

        Other than that, for now, I have no other criticisms of Act Two.

        “…their passion and love is portrayed through their interactions that society wouldn’t normally pay attention to.”

        Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki has a similar view about relationships. You’re in good company, Heather. 🙂

        “…tough love is the ambient barrier I want to display between John and Catherine.”

        I like it.

        It’s a kind of relationship that I don’t see often in fiction.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am so, so glad we’re addressing this. That part haunted me when writing it. Even before posting Act Two and receiving your criticism which I expected, I had a part written up that I was going to add but my laptop broke down last minute and I couldn’t recover said part. So I rushed that section in. I’m currently rewriting it and will be adding it to the story tomorrow if not tonight. It tells about Catherine recovering over a few days enough for John to relinquish the equipment attached to her and the natural adrenaline being enough for her to manage to “bolt” out the door. Also, I should be more descriptive, she doesn’t wake up in a hospital, it’s John’s apartment. Being a former med student and not making his presence into the limelight, he maintained connections to keep the necessary equipment stocked in a storage center nearby. Also shadowing Catherine throughout all her careers, he always had her blood type at the ready due to her aggressive nature in case anything serious might happen.

        This lost part will also be rewritten into the act as well as the explanation below.

        Catherine being banned from the health sector is due to corrupted officials fearing that they’ll lose the billions of dollars made from worthless treatments. They care more about money than cures. Her being a “genius” is from the work of both herself and several scientists and the culmination of scientific research. You would think that there would be riots for the cure to be released to the public, which is why in Act Three I’ve written out an event called “The Collapse” where the rioters and scientists who advocated and fought for the truth were murdered and across multiple cover ups, the government finally enacted martial law (hence why people being treated like shit by their employers is the new normal rather than being able to sue). With martial law, people who defy the “new order” will be killed on sight.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Act Two is looking great!

        It’s much better than it was yesterday.

        I’m sure in the coming days I’ll think of more criticisms for Act Two, but for now my thoughts on it are nothing but positive. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. ‘Love construtive criticism and will continue to go back and revise previous acts to make them the best they can be. I feel better now that the plot holes are squared away. Act three will be from John’s perspective to further develop his character.

        I’ll have Act Three up as soon as possible and delve more into John and Catherine’s relationship, the society they live in, each of the ten members of the group who died except Catherine, and how enlightenment plays a part in the story, also how the mind plays with every instance.

        Liked by 1 person

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