Monthly Archives: June 2015

JUST FINISHED: Stone Mattress

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Atwood’s “Stone Mattress” is a compilation of nine different short stories. Each tale is from a new perspective and time, though some are interweaved to relate back to other stories within the book.

One commonality that most of the short stories have is that the main character is elderly. This was a new one for me since most books that I do read never have a leading elder character. Having a point of view from that age group is fairly rare in fiction. Often, if a book is told from an older age, it’s a perspective looking back in time, not in the present. A present POV from an older person has a totally different effect with interesting thoughts on life and its future outcomes.

Each character has their own set of dimensions and each of them even manage to develop into likeable (or some unlikeable) people in the end. I find it impressive that the author can expel so much information and personality in such short instances.

Each tale has its own emotion, whether that be sad, angry, lost, confused, dark, comical, futuristic, or unexplainable. Atwood is fantastic at writing interesting characters from all walks of life and being able to dwell in several types of genres.

It was certainly fun to read a book filled with short stories, as I myself aim to actually write one worthy to even be called a short story. If you enjoy quick reads and are wanting a new age perspective for reading, this book is your go to. If not, I would still recommend you give it a try. You could even just pick one out of the nine.

Advertisements

THE ARTIST

She stepped through the door. The sun illuminating her silhouette, sunk deep in the sky. The pastel red and yellows were beyond. They belonged to some other world.

Closing the door brought immediate darkness to the room. Blanketing the walls, hiding its bland features. There had never been much to it. I like to keep it simple. Clean. One bed. One chair. And one table. That’s all I need.

Her flowery aroma penetrates the stale air. The sweet smell tingles my nose, making me giddy inside.

“Marten?”

A smile breaks o my lips. The last of my name pronounced with a strong accent, French I believe. I want her to say it again.

“Marten?”

A pinprick sensation rolls up my skin. I can tell she is getting distraught. Her hand slides across the walls searching for a switch. The sound is frantic as she fumbles around.

“Hello?”

Back at the door again, she presses the handle. But it doesn’t budge. The hurried noise of heavy breathing quickens the air as she begins to kick the door.

I know what’s coming next. I never like it when they do it, either. This is supposed to be fun.

A scream, a lonely cry for help. More pounding on the door. Heat rises to the surface of my skin. It’s never as much fun when they scream. It makes it too real. Too much like the movies.

I glide across the floor, gently cupping her mouth as I drag her back to my abyss. Her teeth graze on my fingers, cutting the flesh. My blood drops quietly onto her blouse. It absorbs slowly into the fabric, now a piece of something else. Blood is such a beautiful thing. Mine should never be wasted.

She hits the tile with a thud as I release her from my grip. I catch a brief moment of victory rolling across her face. She thinks this is her chance. But that emotion is devoid as I sink down next to her, clinking my knife along the floor.

They always try to escape during my favorite part. Like the rest she rolls to her side and tries to rise. But she can’t. Her evening drink had a touch of ketamine in it. They always like those sweet mixed drinks.

Breathless, she lays back down. The room again filling with silence. I stroke her hair, watching her chest rise and fall. Such a waste. Her blood deserved someone better.

My knife begins dragging across the supple skin, streams of red spilling out over the white tile. Beautiful patterns prevail as it continues to pool and surge.

The artist has begun his painting.