The Stalker – Epilogue 1
The twin metal shards beneath my heel clatter discordantly down the concrete steps and onto the platform, their normal staccato rhythm off-beat and out of time. Carefully I place one foot the required 6 inches before its partner in a perfectly straight line willing my hips to wiggle and my pert, toned buttocks to undulate seductively beneath my fitted skirt.
Gradually, I make my progression amongst the assembled throng, my feverish eyes darting hither and thither, fine strands of normally obedient hair falling unwanted across my heated cheeks, one hand clutching tightly at the shoulder strap of my handbag as the fingers of its opposite twist at the lining of my jacket pocket.
All around me beautifully bedecked bodies lounge patiently demanding my attention and awaiting my choice. My teeth worry at my bottom lip as I contemplate the myriad of alternatives that surround me; so much variety; so many different ages, heights, skin tones, body forms, hairstyles. Such a selection of distinctly individual facial features; prominent noses, excessively lobed ears, deeply bagged eyes, lips that curl upwards in permanent sneers, square chins, pointed chins, some clean shaven and others hidden beneath tangled hair … but which one should be mine; which is the visage that will hold me, smother me, surround me in unconditional love. Which of this devout congregation deserves to be my perfect partner until death us do part?
A rising breeze, a humming vibration and a distant clattering of metal carriages rocking their way through the darkened tunnel announces the imminent arrival of the next train. About me people are straightening, adjusting their belongings, stepping forward towards the platform edge. Time and opportunity trickle away before my eyes; the final grains of sand in the hourglass of my present falling to lie redundant on the shattered mound of my past.
I make a choice. Him! He can be my perfect future.
The Stalker – Epilogue 2
We make an incongruous couple as we stomp our way through the dense gravel path; him so tall yet bowed, somehow diminished, as if the entire weight of the cloudless pale sky above us is pressing down on his shoulders. Me, clutching at his arm, pushing myself into his body, top of my head barely reaching his chest, as my too thin heels disappear repeatedly into the ground beneath my feet causing me to stagger and wobble unsteadily like a new born foal coming to terms with remaining upright.
Gradually we wend our way between the assorted gravestones; a pot pourri collection, new and old resting side by side in a seemingly random mosaic. Some, shimmering bright marble adorned with gold letters and fresh flowers, scream of recent bereavement whilst their neighbours, solid lichen adorned slabs of stone the names and eulogies reduced to mere indentations, offer vague memories of persons whose world and loved ones have all long since departed.
Surrounding everything is a cloak of green; new spring grass, still lightly sheened in dew, occasionally bespattered with the adornment of spring flowers … a handful of pale petaled primroses, the bright sharp colours of early crocuses, a swarm of snowdrops heads hanging like tiny tears waiting to fall onto the flesh enriched soil. Above everything, hidden amongst the tangled mess of tree branches, the shrill trilling of songbirds accompanies the crunching of gravel beneath our feet.
It is not far to our destination and this is a pilgrimage we have made many times before; twin supplicants come to pay homage to that which we have lost. Standing, humbled to be in her presence once more, the chill that has played about my toes suddenly overwhelms my whole body and I press my shivering form against Claude’s larger, warmer frame.
“Are you okay, CG?”
His arm is around me, pulling me into him, holding me safe as tears bathe my cheeks, as my lips quiver, as I taste salt trickling into my mouth. I sniff nosily, my nostrils suddenly filled with fluid, my entire body shaking, trapped on the verge of releasing my pent up sorrow.
I nod, uncertain that I can control my vocal chords sufficiently to utter intelligible sounds, my eyes fixed on the two words glowing on the small plaque half buried amongst the new grass.EDIE RAINES
Two words burning into my retina, everything else just a jumble of shapes and forms. Sobs, trapped for eternity in my stomach erupt through me, mouth panting my loss, chest heaving, legs trembling beneath my sorrow. Turning, I grab Claude, push my drenched face into the warmth of his chest, fling my arms around him desperate to feel his life affirming heartbeat beneath my cheek.“I miss her.”
It is a tiny mew lost amongst sobs; my tear filled mouth murmuring it into the soft wool of Claude’s sweater. Over and over again I say it, repeat it, my mantra, all that I am captured in those three words. Forceful, independent me reduced to a quivering, hurting, sobbing mound of flesh deadened by loss.“I miss her.”“I miss her.”“I miss her.”“I know. I miss her too. She was …”
The words catch in Claude’s throat, his stoicism infected by my emotional outpouring.
It takes a while this pilgrimage; two bereft silhouettes paying homage to loss, but eventually, tear streaked and hearts aching, we turn and with heavy footsteps retrace our steps back to our patiently waiting vehicle. We had arrived in silence, but now, with the tension released we might converse.“Your story, CG, how is it? Is it finished yet?”“Nearly, Claude, so very nearly; it has been a long, torturous journey but I think we are near the end.”
Then, for the first time in forever, a small smile plays about my lips.“Did I tell you that you were in it?”
I turn my head to look at him, mischief glimmering in my eyes, waiting for that quizzical look, those raised eyebrows and the thinning of the lips that I know so well.“And Edie. Edie’s in it too.”“Oh, perhaps I should read it then.”
And now I really am smiling; cheeks scrunched up as my lips spread wide and my eyes sparkle.“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t think you’d like it very much. Not really your cup of tea at all.”
He stops almost mid-step; our entwined arms forcing me to a halt beside him; and now he glowers down at my grinning upturned visage his eyes demanding answers.
I let him wait a heartbeat or two; keep my eyes fixed on his, let my top teeth bite at my bottom lip and rotate my right foot back and forth in a perfect picture of coyness.“It is a sad, empty story, Claude, full of damaged heartbroken characters thrashing about pointlessly in futile attempts to find happiness. Not something you’d enjoy really.”
I allow the words to stop. My smile blazing like neon advertising across my features as I wait for the question I know will come.“And Edie? Is Edie one of your damaged characters?”
I’m giggling inside watching the concern flitting across his expressive face.“Silly Claude! Silly, silly, darling Claude! Of course not; Edie is as she always is …”
A slight pause just to keep him on tenterhooks a moment longer.“ … perfect.”
And then, as if the thought has only just occurred to me, I add …“She is practically perfect in every way. The perfect ideal.”
The Stalker: Author’s Notes
I know it is terribly pretentious to include Author Notes at the end of a story but The Stalker is a very different type of erotic tale with themes, allegories, and hidden meanings running throughout the narrative. Most who have written to me about the story haven't really grasped what it was I was attempting to achieve; which says little for my writing skills; so I am going to take this opportunity to explain some of what is hidden amongst the pretty words. The Stalker was written in three separate bursts over a period of 18 months and because of this there are some inconsistencies in narrative (nipple jewellery anybody?) and some of the themes/techniques highlighted below might not be as clear as I might have wished them to be. However, I do intend to re-edit the entire tale to ensure it is as I intended it to be.The Unreliable Narrator:
All of my stories are written as 1st person narratives. I do this as I feel it enables me to better express the emotional and physical actualities of the story I am narrating, but it also allows me to explore the concept of perception versus reality. Each of us experiences the world in a truly unique and individual way and no single experience is the same for every participant … you only need to think about listening to a couple recounting an argument to know that the truth lies somewhere between their separate accounts. So, in The Stalker, the central character/narrator is untrustworthy; her version of ‘the truth’ is distorted and filtered through her own discordant interaction with the world around her … put simply her narration is to be only partially believed and it is for the reader to determine what is truth and what, perhaps, might be untruth. In Stalker Part 2 she actually tells the reader:"I owe you an apology, dear reader, for I have been a little economical with the truth. I have drawn you pretty pictures with soft words and smooth flesh, but I am not to be trusted. I am a charlatan, a fakir, a peddler of half-truths and downright lies."
A paragraph that most readers seem to ignore entirely.
She is a desperate, sad, lonely character unable to interact effectively with those around her. The world has passed her by, left her stranded by herself and the harder she tries to reconnect the more bizarre her behaviour becomes. Even the 'happy' first four chapters are peppered with unusual behaviours and attitudes which should cause the reader to pause and question some of what they are being told.
Somebody wrote to me saying she went out seeking love and all she found was lust and whilst this is true it misses the point that she is no longer able to clearly differentiate between the two; really she seeks sexual encounters in the belief that sexual congress equates to emotional union. As the tale progresses she becomes increasingly dislocated from reality and we as readers get to watch her disintegration; a point I try to emphasise in the contrasts between the opening scene of Chapter 1 and the parodying echo of Epilogue 1.The Stalker Vs Erotica
One of my motivations for writing The Stalker was a general dissatisfaction I felt with the predictability and limited ambitions of much amateur erotica. In most stories if you have two or more characters, they will meet, they will have sex and it will be fantastic. As a reader I came to find these standardised plotlines exceedingly dull and longed for stories where the climax of the tale was hidden from me for as long as possible. As a person I know that whilst sex can be fantastic, amazing and incomparable but that is not always the case and I was determined to recognise that in The Stalker. Throughout each of the chapters I attempted to keep the reader off balance and throughout the whole tale there is no ‘real’ joyful sexual encounter … in fact the story contains not a single scene of actual penetrative sex and three of the chapters end with tears. All of us as individuals have been shaped by our lives, yet erotica, in the main, portrays perfect two dimensional characters inhabiting an unchallenging world ... The Stalker attempts to redress that balance a little.
As amateur writers, we do what we do for pleasure with no financial reward and I applaud each and everyone who puts pen to paper or taps furiously at a keyboard so that others might enjoy. However, if you are a writer reading this, I beg you to attempt something ambitious, something different, something outside the predictable norms with your next story … amaze yourself and stupefy us the readers … please.Fantasy Vs Reality
The major theme of The Stalker is about the relationship between fantasy and reality. The central character inhabits a largely fantastical world of her own devising and it partly because of this that she is no longer properly able to form meaningful personal relationships with those around her. The ‘good’ sex is all fantasised whilst the ‘real’ sex veers from one bizarre and unfulfilling encounter to the next in a downward spiral as the central character becomes increasingly dislocated from reality. During the first half of the tale this fantasy reality is viewed through her distorted, rose tinted glasses which makes the desolation and despair of the final two chapters more shocking when they finally arrive. To quote a reader: "CG, you took her from a daring lady, seemingly full of confidence (even though you made it clear she wasn't) and turned her into an insecure creature who found herself in the foetal position. Even her artwork is telling her how pathetic she is."
Should the story have a moral it might be that an over-reliance and over-indulgence in fantasy can cause the real world to seem pale in comparison and can create unrealistic and unrealisable expectations. We all need to fantasise but must recognise them for the wonderful dreams that they are and not allow them to overwhelm our real lives.The Hidden Heroine
The hidden heroine never actually appears in The Stalker because she is already dead. Edie is an allegory of everything I hold dear in a relationship between two people; a partnership founded on love, mutually adoring, mutually supportive, sexual relations made fantastic from the joy of sharing yourself with that other incomparably special somebody. For me it is entirely appropriate that the story pretty much ends with me stood over her gravestone, mourning her demise … which I guess brings us to the final explanatory segment.
Incidentally, in reviewing the story, I believe that her presence should have been more obvious than it is, and when I re-edit then I will ensure her presence is felt in every single chapter.The Stalker Vs The Author
The central character is me and is imbibed with all my failings. I started writing The Stalker at a point when the relationship that I felt defined me was crumbling and wrecked about my feet. In the intervening 18 months since I commenced this tale my life has, if anything, come increasingly to reflect her world. Certainly I find greater camaraderie, friendship, love and adoration in my online relationships than in those I attempt in the real world and for large chunks of time I have withdrawn myself from even trying to form meaningful physical relations with another person. At times I have fretted over my reliance on ‘fantasy’ relationships and worried that the ‘real’ me is disappearing absorbed by my online persona.
So really, in conclusion, The Stalker is about me. It is an exploration of myself; an exposure of a sometimes lonely person, lost in a fantastical world, feeling divorced from real world relationships, pining for an ideal that they seem unable to attain, who struggles to create something worthwhile in their real life … which is not a very pretty picture at all ... but then erotica and life isn't just about pretty fairy tales.
So, if you have made it this far, thank you very much for reading. I do hope you found the story challenging and entertaining. As for me; I am now going to run off and write some wonderfully happy tales full of joy, pleasure and incomparable, breath taking sex.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
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