UKArchive



UKArchive ID: 18010Violence Fest by thegeeza
Originally published on December 1, 2006 in Fiction

Violence is so common these days that is passes almost without notice. In Iraq, people are blown to smithereens regularly, and it barely makes a mention on the TV news or in the newspapers. Frankly, it's almost unbelievable and when you do get to see it, it doesn't seem like stories and pictures from the real world. When you think about the causes, there are deep-seated issues, but I can't help thinking that a little respect and understanding would solve so many problems - something that seems so near but yet unachievable. I've tried to express my thoughts in this experimental piece. 845 words.
******




The train jolted and a hundred pairs of eyes looked at the window. Fury. Fucking trains. The eyes released themselves from the grey and dreary morning and followed the outlines of those sitting in the seats and of those standing in the aisles. A smart-dressed businesswoman coughed.

‘Do you fucking mind?’ said an executive male.

‘Fuck off,’ she hissed.

***

‘Stop the train, Brodie.’

Four men in dark grey suits sat at a bench in front of large monitors, computers and panels with flashing lights. A man nodded, moved a mouse and clicked a button.

***

The train slowed and came to a stop. A hundred teeth clenched. Fucking bastard trains.

The businesswoman, dressed conservatively, but with enough cleavage to draw attention leaned forward and coughed in the executive’s face. He leapt forward and punched her on the jaw. She grabbed at his hair and pulled him to the ground. He emitted a constant growl during the struggle, she shrieked with every pull at his hair and the side of his face. She pulled herself up slightly, towering above him, holding him down with a well-placed knee, just under his chin. She lifted the knee and slammed it down on his nose, exploding gristle and covering his face in blood. She laughed triumphantly, and crashed her knee back into his pulped face.

Those around watched carefully, willing her on. Smash the smug bastard. Scramble his shit for brains. Kill the cunt. Wanker. See his fucking family nursing the dribbling brain-dead tosser to his long delayed and painful death.

A builder jumped up and kicked her straight in the mouth with his steel-capped boots. She fell, snarling up through the red mist. He stamped on her face once, then again, again and again until she convulsed and was still.

All the people from that part of the carriage threw themselves forward onto the person opposite: biting, scratching, punching, butting, kicking, gouging. Each roared with the bloodlust of a lion and raged with the strength of a gorilla.

The other side of the carriage recoiled into their seats and those standing moved as far from the melee as possible, trying not to look. Someone pulled the emergency cord, but the train continued to stand alone in the cold and damp morning. The lush green grass on either side of the track occasionally swayed in the wind, the stones on the track reflected the low light. The train stood motionless. One side of the fourth carriage showed statues, the other half, fast moving shadows leaping into one another. The silent violence shielded from the world by a flimsy aluminium shell.

A female passenger sitting with head bowed shrieked as she noticed a pool of blood spreading towards her black stiletto shoes. She lifted her feet allowing it to pass by, unmolested. The man opposite saw her raised legs and looked down at the red river making its way around his brown brogues. He chose to let it continue, thinking it could never rise high enough to get into his shoes.

Only half a dozen fighters remained. They were the strongest or the most cunning. They looked at each other, considering their next move. Blood dripped from their hands and their mouths. They turned and looked at the other half of the train. They didn’t like these people. They were not the same. They could be taken easily and then they would have the whole carriage.

***

The sound of gravel crunching startled the sparrow and so it darted away from the fencepost from where it had been watching for worms. Four policemen drew their batons as they ran towards the stationary train. As the bird flew, it saw light from behind the hedge where it had its nest, so it diverted away in a panic. A stream of vehicles with flashing lights came down the country lane, spewing more policemen and a wall of screaming and shouting.

The first policeman to arrive stopped and could not believe what he saw. Dead bodies lay across the track down the whole length of the train. Every one of the windows had been broken and glass was scattered all around the blood-soaked corpses. He could hear his colleagues approaching just behind, each one stopping with the same silent disbelief.

***

The lights on the panels went out, the technicians packed the monitors and computers away and everything was labelled and sent back to central stores for re-use. Many reports were written and filed, newspaper stories suppressed, people silenced in many different ways – some imaginative and some not. The good guys became the bad guys and the bad guys became the good guys. This classification is always dependent on the viewpoint and position of the individual at the time of the event. The trains following the 07:11 from Brighton suffered inconvenience to their onward journeys, but everything soon returned to normal. Those travelling in the opposite direction with a different goal were puzzled by the police on the line near Burgess Hill for a short while and then they forgot about it.


End. (c) Steve Smith. 2006.


© thegeeza (thegeeza on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 18010
Archived comments for Violence Fest
AKAauthor on 01-12-2006
Violence Fest
I started reading and thought this was going to be a blasé account of commuters worried about trivial matter like delays, and uncomfortable seating. I chuckled at the ‘Hundred teeth clenched’.

Then bang, the story twisted, I thought then, I know, it’s a person day dreaming, at the end he will get off, including all the other passengers.

Then, bang again, it did not. I was a little lost, so I read it again, and again, and again…

I think the point is, “If this was our doorstep” or “if this was normality for us” Or did I get it wrong? Regardless of the message it portrayed for me, it was a good read, and very visual.

P.S. Hate commuting, fucking trains.

Author's Reply:
I'm glad it got you thinking! No, you didn't get it wrong. For me, I find the ultra violence in today's world more uncomfortable than the middle pages of the newspapers that car bombs get reported on these days, the fact it's almost forgettable when 40 people get blown up on a bus on their way to work, and knowing it's really not that far away and very real. The real perpetrators are often far away from the grisly scenes too.
Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.
Steve.

RoyBateman on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
Horrifying - what a nightmare this turned into! And then I woke up, sweating...oddly, the only time some yob hit me in the face on a train (Near Lewes - not too far from Burgess Hill!) nobody else took a blind bit of notice. Even the BTP, when they found the bugger, didn't prosecute him. I was never informed why not! Anyway, a very vivid read and a real cautionary tale, Steve.

Author's Reply:
Roy,
There's definitely a vulnerability on a train, where you know not many people would interfere (given the knives and things people carry) or even pull the emergency cord, and then you could be stuck between the stations with only the courage of the train driver to help. It's different on a bus, as they can stop it and you could (try) to run - on a train, you're stuck on there, and so is the attacker! It's potentially lawless for a period of time.
The transport police probably couldn't be bothered with the paperwork!
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment - much appreciated.
Steve.


e-griff on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
The story was a bit far fetched for me, but your words at the end were very uncomfortable. If you wrote a story based on your words THAT would be truly chilling.

Author's Reply:
Far-fetched - are you sure? 😉
The scenes from the Middle East these days are much worse. I can't get the pictures - particularly from Lebanon in the summer - from the news out of my head... I can't help thinking that there really are people manipulating this carnage, behind the scenes too.
Did you mean the final paragraph?
Cheers for reading and commenting, as usual, John.
Steve.

Kazzmoss on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
I didn't get this at all. Almost gave up reading it part way down, but continued down to the end, but am still clueless.

I didn't like it.....I didn't the violence or the language or the senseless of it. But that is what writing is about isn't it?

Its not meant to appeal to everyone, but it is still important to write it - and you can write - I have seen pieces like this written by people who can't spell or the grammatically incorrect. All they was to do is write something violent and nasty.

You have obviously thought carefully about this and felt it something you wanted to experiment with. Thats the whole point of being here.

I'll be interested now to go back and see what others have written. Kazz

Author's Reply:
Senseless is what violence is, I guess. It's experimental - and definitely not for all!
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
Steve.

orangedream on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
Couldn't agree with you more Steve, about the Middle East and Lebanon but have to admit, I'm with Kazzmoss on this one.

Don't get me wrong - a damn-good piece of writing though.

orangedream

Author's Reply:
Thanks, and definitely not to everyone's taste, for sure!
Steve.

Romany on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
I took this to be more of a metaphor for the way you percieve violence in the wider world, than to be an actual story. Perhaps I should have been more face-value about it? I must admit that towards the middle -end the violence became too 'heavy' for me and it deterred me from reading it somewhat. But this is not meant to be an easy read; by its very nature, how could it be? Was I so far wide of the mark to read this as a metaphor for the terrible things that are done the world over, on a daily basis? An uncomfortable and deeply unpleasant read, as I am sure you intended. You have certainly made your point.
Romany.

Author's Reply:
Hi Romany - no, you were spot on, in fact. The scene in the train is completely unbelievable, but so are a lot of other things around the world - and also in the UK. People getting stabbed to death for an Oyster (travelcard) card and a mobile phone, and bleeding to death on the street? It's beyond comprehension if you stand back and think about it, forgetting the fact we are all so used to it, it almost passes by without notice.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment - much appreciated.
Steve.

e-griff on 02-12-2006
Violence Fest
sorry, I meant your reply to Roy!

Sure there is violence in the world, but that is between 'sides' and with a 'cause'. In this, they just seemed to be odd people turning on one another - there was no motivation/sense to it for me, So - everybody on a train starts fighting each other for no apparent reason - is that a plot?
At first I thought it was similar to Mark's 'Rainbow Maker' and was wondering if a similar thing had happened (something in the water).

As I say, I think if you wrote a story about a gang on a train and the different human reactions and it could be very effective -and far more scary than this. best JohnG 🙂

Author's Reply:
I don't want to explain everything with "whys" and "whos" with this. Much bigger subject of course, but in the world today I don't see the "sides" and the "cause" should produce the level of violence we see today. There's no "plot" - read above. The points you make (motivation/sense) are the points I'm trying to highlight through metaphor, John! Not all shorts have starts, middles, ends and explanations - it's art/creative, not following prescribed steps! I don't want to signpost and explain, I'm inviting people to think. (And I don't mean that to sound as pretentious as it does! Soz if it comes across that way!)
The men in suits are supposed to represent people behind the scenes controlling. I should probably add a sentence in there to show that - roughly along the lines of Mark's "Rainbow Maker", yes. Unlike terrorism (with Mark's), more to represent secret government type activity.
Hope you get what I mean and don't see it as a defensive reaction - it's not. It was marked experimental - and it truly is!
Thanks for your interest, as usual! Steve.

e-griff on 04-12-2006
Violence Fest
OK, understand now, perhaps I didn't read carefully enough .. 🙂

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 04-12-2006
Violence Fest
OK, understand now, perhaps I didn't read carefully enough .. 🙂

I do think however even a 'snippet' should be somehow complete in itself, otherwise there is no context.

Author's Reply:

Rupe on 07-12-2006
Violence Fest
I've read this three times now. At first I didn't like it at all, then I did - and now I'm not sure...

I guess the senselessness of it is the point - a graphic illustration of the idea that violence happens and there is no clear reason for it (or that the reasons are too deep below the surface to be articulated).

One aspect of it I'm not sure about is whether the piece would be stronger if it was given completely in a moral vacuum. The policeman arrives and the narrator says he

'could not believe what he saw. Dead bodies lay across the track'

Which makes the reader think - ah, yes, of course this business is completely unreasonable, after all.

What if he just arrived and noted the dead bodies without any sense of disbelief? Or any reaction at all?

Author's Reply:
Hi Rupe,
Yes, this would re-enforce the message, but I hope there are always people who see the senselessness! Good point, though.
Thanks for reading (3 times!) and taking the time to comment.
Steve.

KDR on 24-01-2007
Violence Fest
Hi Steve,
Missed this when it was 'current'.
Mate, you've written some slightly strange stuff before (that 'the way things will end up' stuff I read, for example), but this...well, it's off-the-wall and a bit mind-blowing when you read and realize there's no point to any of the action in the story - which, having had the benefit of reading some comments, I guess was the whole point.

The subject matter is very disturbing, as it is obviously meant to be, but I found the violence to be very well done, if graphic. I guess the intent there was to shock and see how we reacted. If we were indifferent, you'd proved your point, right?
I particularly liked the way you got the level of violence right. It seems like it is no longer 'enough' to fill someone in but leave them so they can at least limp off home, after lying and groaning for a while. Now, it seems to be a case of kicking them into a coma and permanent brain-damage. It's pointless and, far from showing us at our most civilized, shows us instead at our most primitive and animalistic.

All in all, a good read and a fair point, well made (IMHO).

Karl

Author's Reply:
Hey Karl,
Thanks for reading and commenting. Yeah, bit off the wall and experimental - and I realised it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was to make a point, yes.
Funny that I'm replying to your comment today, some young lad of about 15 was beaten up right outside my house by a bunch of youths who took his mobile phone today...
Cheers - Steve.