Dam Break - This piece has been lodged in my brain for quite a while as a vague idea for a thriller. It's a scene I had envisaged and never really gotten round to write. The "Where is it?" prompt instantly let me think of it.
”Haunting!” Fern breathed between her teeth. ”What’s this one called?”
She pointed at a bizarre convolute of stuffed toys, doll limbs and heads mounted on an intricate skeletal structure.
”Misplaced Solace,” David said hardly looking up from his sketches.
Fern approached the sculpture to have a closer look. Most of the toys showed clear signs of neglect. Matted hair or fur, gouged eyes, rubbed off and faded paint, stuffing spilling out. The big doll at the centre of the piece stared at her from empty sockets, a bright pink squirt gun pressed to its temple, the naked body twisted and covered with sucker darts. She shuddered.
”These are really good, you know? I would love to show them at the gallery.”
For the past half hour she had drifted transfixed through his studio, fascinated by his mixed media collages, installations and sculptures.
”What material do you use?” she asked, touching the delicate structure.
”Steel enforced epoxy, wood, mesh wire, fibre glass, resin and stuff I find,” he said in his peculiar slow drawl. His voice was thick, dark and slow like treacle.
He got up and stood next to her. Fern felt a strange tingle as he turned his head looking at her. There was just something about this man. He was not particularly good-looking but he certainly had something going for him.
”Where do you find these things?” she hurried to ask trying to avoid an awkward silence as she found herself staring at the oddly defined cupid’s bow of his upper lip.
”Everywhere,” he answered, one corner of his mouth curling into the faintest trace of a smile. ”You find things in the weirdest places. Kind of makes you wonder, you know? What’s the story behind them? Who lost them? What kind of a person were they?”
”So I take it this is what you’re expressing in your artwork?” Fern tried to sound professional.
”Has it ever occurred to you that the literal opposite of ‘remembering’ is ‘dismembering’?” David’s brilliant hazel eyes seemed to study her face intently. ”Forgetting means losing parts of yourself. In my art I try to ‘remember’ to reconstruct, give these lost items a new meaning.”
”Sounds like you are talking from experience. Have you ever lost anything important?” The question had just slipped out. Too personal, she chided herself.
“My memory,” he replied drily, his features not betraying any emotion.
”You’re kidding!” Fern blurted.
“Nope,” David replied curtly. ”Dissociative amnesia they say.”
Fern didn’t quite know what to say. Her brain was still trying to grasp what she had just heard.
“You mean you can’t…?”
“Nope, nothing,” he cut her short.
Fern tried to imagine what it was like to have no recollection of your past. There was something appealing to the thought. Nothing to haunt you, no baggage.God’s odd answer to her prayers. A clean slate, an unwritten novel of a man.