Dead Cat - the work of Matthew Gaffen



Merry Christmas to you all.

I've taken advantage of a break from my course a little to work on some creative writing. So here is the first scene from a novel I plan on doing some more work on. It's called '47'

To protect the book from anyone who might think of re-publishing it as their own I'm afraid I'll be able to only show little snippets in future, and attempt to keep the plot a mystery. So, without further ado:

[EDIT]re-posted after a meeting with my editor[/EDIT]

. She shivered in the downpour, looking up through heavy droplets into an overcast night’s sky. She spread her arms in a wide welcome and her lips curled into an ironic smile as she realised that for the first time since her childhood, she felt truly happy. Her future was dark, but comforting like bed sheets. A promise of eternal protection and rest, a promise of peace. She was sure of what she had to do this time.
. A pair of lights glinted into existence at the end of the otherwise deserted street, followed by a hulking black shadow. An almost imperceptible moment of recognition played across her features. A slight tensing of the fist, a narrowing of the eyes as the first trill of excitement in months seemed to wake her from a vacant daze. New doubts rose up through murky pools of bitter acceptance to torment her with suddenly amplified loneliness. The air seemed to grow colder around her fragile form as she contemplated the amount she’d be missed. Had she made the right the decision? Fluttering answers to her quandary were illuminated by the warm yellow street light before wilting in the chilled night air. There only seemed to be one kind of escape from her suffering. She had given this world its chance and it had failed her in spectacular fashion.
. She surveyed her surroundings. She was standing on an island in the middle of the road, just up from the Catford Broadway Theatre. It was an old stone building, one of the relics of an earlier architectural style, surrounded by steel, glass and concrete like an exhibit in a museum. Between her and the black shape, a junction controlled by traffic lights clicked on and off with clockwork rhythm. Red for stop. Green for go. The predatory black shape continued to approach with immutable momentum.

. Red for stop
. Green for go.

. Red, and blood continued to pump through her veins, at least until the next opportunity presented itself.

. Green and… Freedom. Escape from pain, hunger and torment. No more worries, no more chances.

. Her mind swung between the two like a pendulum. Could this be it? Doubts once again started to take flight in her mind. Red… Green… Red… Green… Red… Green… Red… Gre- no, amber. Red, amber, green. A third option? A third choice? She thought of her only friend and wished she had him there and then. She somehow knew he wouldn’t come, not now. Not yet. Not until it’s almost too late. Surely if he were there he’d have an answer. Why was she suddenly so unsure? For months she had considered this and now, now she was having second thoughts?! She couldn’t believe it. Did she really know what she wanted?... Red. The shape continued to approach; now only couple of hundred meters away. ‘So, time to chicken out again then.’ She thought, ‘All this build up for another few nights on the street. Typical.’ She was never any good with making decisions.
. Suddenly red faded, replaced by soft amber flashing and she tensed again. The predatory shape closer still, the light kept flashing. She knew something momentous was about to happen. And suddenly he was there with her. He reached out to her. ‘Don’t go’ she saw him mouth. He was beautiful to her in the yellow light. For a second she really wanted to go to him and she almost turned back but the light was green now. She had made her decision and she knew that it had to come to this.
. As the end came nearer, time seemed to slow down. The rain droplets froze into miniature lenses as they descended, each one holding its own tiny refracted rainbow of colour. They became crowns in puddles, solidifying into thousands of caltrops trying to hinder her progress. As she swept through them they collapsed in on themselves. The bus advanced on her with infinite slowness. Its headlights reached out to her like lights at the end of the tunnel. She advanced away from the traffic lights. The rough tarmac pecked at her naked feet. She felt a cold, hard object. She looked down at a small metal cat’s-eye set in the road. Eager to experience all she could in her last moments she enjoyed its touch. Cold, resistant and covered with small scratches from countless tyres. She could see Each pock mark, each cleft in its surface in sharp focus. It could have been the surface of an alien world, with valleys like scars across its face, where massive rivers once ran but now lie dry. Dead. Cold… Abandoned.

. The massive shape came closer.

. Fifty metres away. A stretch of re-set tarmac gave her a path, leading her to the other side. It seemed to stretch out to the horizon, as strange and ineffable as infinity. A car passed. With her heightened perceptions it was easy to clearly see the driver and his passengers. He was an older man, probably in his forties. He did not look happy. Behind him in the back seat, three teenagers were sprawled; hair damp, eyes red, as if they’d been drowned. One reached out to her, clutching an empty vodka bottle like some sort of shield.
. Twenty-Five. The bus a huge Double-Decker buses. It was so close now, though she knew she had to wait until the last seconds to assure her fate. She brought her hand underneath a raindrop as it crawled downward through the air watching its slow decent as it came closer to her skin. This water droplet could have seen more wonders than she had in her lifetime. She saw it cling to its peers in the clouds, by holding on to heaven so tight, all it would have done is weighed itself down. She could almost see it finally too bloated with the weight of its siblings, being flung downwards toward a carpet of stars. Now a ripple finally ruptured its surface, smashing the tiny bubble to tiny droplets. Each reached up toward the sky, but failed, falling back to earth to be reunited with its fallen brothers and sisters
. Five metres. The final seconds. She looked along her makeshift runway; the bus would not stop in time now. She paused for a split second and a jolt of energy burst down her spine, propelling her toward the point of collision. She felt ready for this, having meditated upon it for hours in the park. It was going happen, she had no option. She was not particularly curious about what would happen next; if there would be a bright light, a rushing of air, a heartbeat or oblivion. It no longer mattered whether she would be re-incarnated, if she would go to Purgatory, Heaven, or Hell. All that was certain was that her story was over and that wherever she would go it would not be here. It was finally the end.
. One metre. She ducked down, then launched herself into the air with all her might, drifting in a lazy arc toward the point of contact. The bus driver’s face contorted in horror as he engaged the breaks too late. The world became a beautiful, slowly spinning mass as the final seconds of her life drifted away. A feeling of weightlessness overcame her as her loose clothes floated around her. It almost felt as if she could fly. She felt the moment might last forever, but in truth it was only a fraction of a second. She caught sight of the bus number, forty-seven. She watched the numbers grow and swell in size until they were all she could see.

. Gemma closed her eyes.

I hope that was enjoyable.

Also here's a bit of my OWN video work;


  1. louis showed me that video before...its pretty nice

    And your novel sounds interesting....its well written man.are you gonna have any images init?

  2. Thanks man, glad you're enjoying it.

    Images - not sure. If I do, I won't include many. I started on an accompanying animation a while ago. I should really pick it up again...

    I'm not sure how much more content I'll post from it here, but I'll let you know how progress goes.

    Still up for doing some work some time?


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