Sunday, 14 February 2010

William Spold

An old short of mine, written about 3 years ago on one of my many coach journeys to London from North Yorkshire. I may have plans for this character sometime in the future, so don't get too depressed!

William Spold

The soggy cylinder rotated and rolled between the expert fingers of a terminal nicotine addict.
The hunched figure looked up into a sky full of falling rain. On nights like this, there was the void, and the world was painted upon it in a network of soaking highlights.
And then there was light. A match flared in the darkness.
The man in the rain mused upon his life so far. His name was William Spold, and he would be the first to admit that he hadn’t achieved much in forty-six years.
In fact, he wouldn’t get the chance to admit it - many people would do him the service of admitting it for him.
He sucked on the glowing cigarette banefully as he hunched under what little shelter a vandalised bus-stop offered.
He could remember having ambitions. Long ago. He’d wanted to join a service - be a soldier or a firefighter - a man in uniform. He remembered thinking that the title “Firemaster” sounded rather grand. But somewhere in all the years of mundanity, all that had disappeared, along with the money pissed down the back alley of the pub, along with the women who had loved him.
Had he loved them back? He couldn’t remember anymore. They had all left with the same words - that he was too selfish, too na├»ve, too lazy to love. Perhaps they were right.
He didn’t have the willpower to make any effort in any part of his life. Relationships, career, money - they all went down the drain, like the rain forming rivulets in the gutters. He’d even lost touch with his parents simply because he couldn’t be bothered to contact them.
Spold splashed his way down a rain-soaked street, lit by orange lamp-posts. One of the lamps flickered on and off, on and off, over and over again.
How different it could be if he’d been brought up differently. His parents had cushioned him, prevented him from getting into any kind of trouble. So there never seemed to be any point in doing anything. Eventually it would be done for him.
And now, half-a-lifetime later, he had achieved nothing.
Spold reached a bridge across the great, slow river which meandered its way through the city. Climbing with difficulty onto the balcony, he looked up. Although it was still raining, the clouds were thinning, and one star winked at him from amongst the smog.
Standing up, he took in the view and realised it was higher than he thought. There was the void, with the world painted upon it in patterns of light. He flicked the dying cigarette into the blackness.
He didn’t really want to kill himself, he thought, as he stepped forward. But then he was too lazy to live, so what was the point?

The expanding ripples were disturbed only by the raindrops falling to meet them, patterns of light on the void. Noticed by no-one.

And then there was only the void.


  1. Thank you - I had to use Google Translator to read your comment though!

  2. This is a really great character study, and also works well as a stand-alone story. Your metephors are beautifully structured and the concept of a life as a void is really powerfully. The only criticism I would make is that you mention that William has achieved little in his "forty-six" years, then later you mention that "twenty-five years later", although I think that this perhaps shows the time when he left his parents home, it appears a little confusing to the reader.
    "The expanding ripples...on the void" is such a wonderful sentence, and I would really like to see a prequel to this story, developing the character further.

  3. Yay thank you - Yeah I realised that '25 years later' was a little confusing when I re-read it (as I wrote it about 2 or 3 years ago) but I was too lazy to change it lol! Thank you for your comments - I'm especially appreciative of them coming from you as you're a great writer!

  4. It flows much better now. I hope you don't mind the constructive criticism, I always find it so hard to suggest things, because writing often so personal. But I really did enjoy this piece and I always look forward to your updates :)