Wednesday 26 October 2011

Vincent – A Fairytale

Rai Jayne
Caffe Mocha made with off milk.

Once upon a time, not too long ago on the top floor of a decaying tower block of flats in the murkiest corner of Manchester lived a shy and awkward girl named Vincent. Vincent would often stand at her window wishing she was outside somewhere far away. She didn’t like Manchester and Manchester didn’t like her. When she looked out of the window, as she often did, all she saw were gray buildings, rain clouds and pollution. Vincent didn’t like going outside but she didn’t much like staying in her damp little flat either and quite soon Vincent began to feel alone. She surrounded herself with plants but they always died after a couple of days no matter how well she took care of them. She began to think she was cursed.
One particularly murky and frosty morning in November, Vincent discovered a green-gray fuzz on her cheese and bread and the milk smelled sour. Vincent sat cross-legged on the floor staring into the fridge; its low hum soothed her. She knew she would have to venture outside and buy groceries and this thought filled her with despair. Eventually the light inside the fridge went out and she slammed the door closed in disgust. After wrapping a thick scarf around her neck, and half of her face, she began the decent down the urine-soaked concrete stairwell.
The supermarket was hell. Tall people rushed past her, most of them bumping into her in the process, they all had somewhere to be, someone to see. Vincent didn’t. She walked as slowly as she could up and down each aisle and taking her time to view each product in depth.
Danish Blue Cheese. A full flavoured blue cheese suitable for any occasion. 341 calories per 100g. Suitable for vegetarians. Use within 7 days of opening.
What occasion wouldn’t a cheese be suitable for? Regardless, Vincent dropped it into the basket feeling pleased with herself, she figured blue cheese was best as she probably wouldn’t notice when it had gone off. She collected the rest of her groceries, including a basil plant (easier to look after than other house plants), and headed out of the store.
Back in the tower block Vincent rid the fridge of its diseased contents and placed the new items inside. She smiled. The fridge was empty except for a block of blue cheese, a crusty loaf and a pint of milk. The basil plant! Vincent had forgotten about him, she spun around but he was already dead. She hadn’t the heart to put him in the bin so she gave Basil some water and he sat on the sill looking miserable. She hadn’t the heart...that seemed to be story of Vincent’s life, no hearts. She sat cross-legged on the floor of the living room (it was almost bare except for an old mattress and blanket), an empty glass bottle clutched in her hand, she knew she was going to need it. All at once the tears overflowed from her eyelids, cascading down her cheeks and into the bottle. The world seemed to be crying with her, outside the sky threw its tears against the windows, inside water trickled down the walls.
Vincent pushed a cork into the tear-filled bottle and placed it on the shelf; she stuck a label on the side, ‘VODKA.’  No hearts, the story of her life. Vincent had never received a heart from anyone, no parents or lovers or even friends; she did have a cat once but it jumped out of the window...and died. Vincent knows it committed suicide just to escape her. There was a beautiful little girl who lived down the road in a beautiful little cottage and men, women and every living creature would lay their hearts down for her. Countless men were often seen around Manchester with gaping holes in their chests, or deep red scars from tearing out their hearts. The beautiful girl, whose name was Rose, accepted the hearts of course, but she didn’t care for them. They were usually tossed aside and never thought of again. What people didn’t realised was that Rose, behind her peachy exterior, had a drink problem and spent her days guzzling vodka. This vodka she got from Vincent who would trade a bottle for a heart. Rose was only too eager to give away her hearts in exchange for the burn of Vincent’s tears.
Vincent had built up a small collection of hearts by now and she truly adored each one. She took care to polish them and hold them to her chest to feel the warmth they emanated. She would hold them to her ears and hear the beat and the whispered statements of love.  As much as she loved her hearts she longed for one of her own. She needed someone to tear his heart out and give it to her and then she would be happy, she was sure.
Vincent leaned out of her window, sucking in the bitterly cold air. She loved winter, it helped to stay frozen inside and not feel anything. Her tatty dreadlocks fell down either side of her face liked thick strands of rope. She closed her eyes.
   ‘Vincent!’ She was shocked from her daydream. ‘Vincent!’ A handsome young man was standing below her window, she recognised him from the supermarket.
   ‘What do you want?’ Vincent called back. Her voice was raspy and hoarse and she realised this was the first time she had spoken out loud for a very long time.
   ‘I love you,’ came the reply. ‘I see you every time you go shopping, you buy bread and cheese.’
   ‘But that doesn’t mean you love me. Everyone buys bread and cheese.’
   ‘But you’re special,’ he insisted. ‘Look.’ He tore open his shirt to reveal a bloody, gaping wound in his chest and then he held his heart high above his head. ‘Here is my heart. Take it. Let me climb the ropes to your tower.’
   ‘Just...up...stairs,’ Vincent was struggling to form words. A tear twinkled onto her cheek and froze instantly.
The Boy burst into the room leaving blood-stained footprints behind him. He joined Vincent at the window, breathless he held out his heart.
   ‘For you,’ he said. Vincent looked at the heart, not wanting to touch it.
   ‘It’s not beating,’ she stated.
   ‘That’s because it only beats for you,’ his voice was gentle and sincere. ‘Take it.’ Vincent stared at the heart, it looked ugly. It was bloody and messy and...and...
   ‘No!’ The scream hurt her throat but she didn’t care. ‘No, I don’t want it.’ The Boy’s face crumpled and before he could speak again Vincent pushed him with all of her might and he tumbled from the window, landing in the thorn bush below.
Vincent headed into the kitchen and tore open the crusty loaf, smothered it with blue cheese and took a bite. The sourness of the cheese calmed her. She looked over at Basil. He was standing proud, a vibrant green.

Bio - Rai Jayne is a freelance writer, blogger and zinester. She is in her final year of an English and Creative Writing degree at Salford University. She has co-written, self-published and starred in Hospitality. She plays bass for all-girl punk band Pink Hearse. She hopes to one day change the world with a biro, a pritstick, and a typewriter.

Picture by: © Stuart Taylor |

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