A really different blog post today – this is a piece of work that I submitted for my degree as part of one of my modules and I made a pact that if I got a good mark I would put it onto my blog and I got a first for this piece and I hardly get a first in anything so I was pretty chuffed to say the least! I have dabbled abit with creative writing before at A-Level and I do write poetry in my spare time. When I was younger, I had an excessive imagination and was always reading so my family always say to me they can see me being a writer so who knows maybe I will pursue this further and put more creative pieces up on this blog and will properly become a mish mash of stuff!
This is the opening chapter to a novel titled ‘Reconstruct. Recondition. Redefine.’ And it is meant to be gothic and dystopian (as my module was gothic and dystopian) and is mainly influenced by two novels I studied on the module which are The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter. So without boring you too much, its set in an arisen Gilead, a fictional dystopian society from The Handmaids Tale and is about young women being bred artificially and their bodies constructed to become the perfect human being. It’s meant to be bringing in topical debates such as veganism (as their bodies are treated as commodities), pornography, and Donald Trump (a few donald trump quotes are masked in their if you can find them). I basically have combined the context of The Handmaids Tale with Carter’s pornographic disturbing language.
Anyway without further ado – here is a little monday night reading!!! DISCLAIMER: ITS MEANT TO BE WEIRD IM NOT A SICKO.
“For I am not natural, you know – even though if you cut me, I will bleed”.
- Angela Carter, The Passion of New Eve.
Seeping pink and red I fingered the wound. A hot sticky mass, I fumbled, twisted and squelched, agonising pain shooting up my side. The smell of rotting flesh hit my nostrils, I vomited. My eyes were stinging with the pain, I inspected myself with horror in the mirror, hating every bulge and ripple of flesh. This ritual was repeated every week, a ceremony of meat, a ceremony of our bodies. Even though, I was told to be disgusted of mine.
“Now stop.” The tanoy rang from above.
I slowly removed the finger. Fresh blood caked my fingernails. I looked down at my front. The yellow bulbous vomit scattered my breasts and nipples. Sweat trickled into my groin. Slightly tilting my hips forward, my lipstick stuck out to the camera below.
My name is Unfreya. I am a child of the Unwomen. This is my story. The flesh and blood of those exiled and castrated from Gilead., who mine the radioactive fields. Through the murky pane of my cell I see them hunched over, mustard forms mixing with the black bile excreting from their lungs. I often wonder, who is my mother? I was ripped from her warm red sack before the slits of my eyes had barely opened. And my father you ask? The mothers are pumped with artificial semen as all the men are either Commanders or at war. A wriggling worm, a contorted shape, I was thrust into the gloved palms of doctors that checked for defects. I was told I was blessed and given the all clear. Blessed? “You are sacred and chosen.” They would chant. Thus, into the Venus program I was selected. Our mothers are hated, they are sluts, they are hungry for flesh, for touch, for intimacy. Yet, it is their flesh that is now devoured by the poison from the radiation. A button, a war of words and wounds started, the nuclear radiation would have killed us all. But luckily, I am told, the radiation is contained in only these fields. We are blessed, all of us is blessed, Gilead rose again.
The radioactive explosions in the fields have caused the children to be born with defects. Incantations of horror are spread. Malformations of terror. Purple and red flowers erupting from their skin. Speckled blue and black fat congealed like the sausages in the canteen. My function is to rid society of this and hide it from the government. My function is to be perfect. My function is to be beautiful. Due to the lack of resources, I am also traded, parts of my body are used to nourish the aesthetics of the lucky few in the echelons of society. In the end we become a vessel, with only a beating heart and numbed brain.
They would describe Gilead as it was before, a country drowned in its arrogance and misogyny. How different is it now? There would be descriptions of the small tribes that gathered in wastelands outside Gilead territory. Nomadic and senseless, desecrating the land with their excretion and copulation. Doing illegal carving of the flesh, melting of gender and mind.
The camera clicked. A snap in my brain.. Turning my face away from the camera, I looked ahead.
The Museum was beating red. The walls were pink congealed flesh. Radioactive sponge, like marshmallow sweets, oozed from the caverns of windows and cracks in the walls. It vibrated from the generators, soft and soporific, giggling in the corner. I longed to touch it. Flesh and blood. Incandescent light illuminated the paintings above. Yellowing semen varnish gristled in the light. Venuses face shone. Beauty in flesh. Flesh and blood. A replica, like us. We aim to be like her, to become her. She is beautiful. Next to Venus is another replica, but this time in 3D and marked in red pen. Gashes across her body, like my fading rib cage scar. BREAST was labelled along with RUMP. Oil, plastic and wax were injected into her body to make her appear more desirable. Her rump was rounded and smooth, without ripped tiger slashes of flesh. We girls circle around her, chant and inspect. We pray that we would one-day look like her. I sometimes dream of biting her fruit, my hands scrambling over the surface of my skin. I conduct a surveillance of my parts, peeling away layer upon layer of skin and pleasure, hunting for the sticky gorgeousness of gore. She is a carnal temptation. Her face a blank expression. Vacancy behind the eyes. Would she scream for help? I thought. Where would she run to?
“Beauty is beneath a pane of glass.” The plinth made a shattering sound with the light tap of the Aunt’s stick. Flesh to flesh we stood. Like pigs for market. Beneath the glass, lay a sack. Beige and bloated. “Our new sustainable alternative for ostrich leather” The aunt smiled smugly “gifted by you beautiful children.” Flesh and blood. What once nurtured a screaming infant now housed Gilead’s cosmetics for the elite. The radiation churned and spat out our bodies into gargled masses of flesh. Bulbous and monstrous we were told. We exchange parts for freedom. For redemption. Flesh and blood. Vengeance? There is none.
“You girls are privileged.” The Aunt would chortle. Sluts walk these borders hungry for male flesh. That could be me. “White wings beat in the nevermore. Bringing fruit to the blue sky.” That could have been me. I turned to face the costume of The Handmaid. A scarlet letter from the past.
“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So, I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you.”
The Aunt recites this passage every time we stared at this relic. I smiled inside at the mockery of how it is one thing to be beautiful but to notice it is sin. We believe this costume belonged to a nameless handmaid who escaped, the hem is tattered and stained white. The eyes would pour bleach and acid onto the vagrant’s feet if they tried to run. Reducing their ankles to stumps, their veins changing from blue to black. Roots of their body extinguished in the flames. Gaslighting their voices, souls and skin.
“You are created in the image of God.”
I clearly was staring at the costume for too long as the Aunt yanked my head to face her. She sneered into my ear, her acrid breath burning my nostrils. “Little Unfreya” She murmured, “If you ran what would we do?”
“Grab me by the pussy”
“WHAT” she barked. “I mean…” I stammered, quaking in fear. “I would be found, and brought back, by my tail.” The aunt snarled in my face, I could see the deep furrows surrounding her eyes. “What has she seen?” I thought. “What does she know?”. Before I knew it, I was down and the swish of her hand slapped my cheek.
The Museum of Bodies pulsated, beads of condensation trickled down the slits of the windows. I could smell stewed carcass from the canteen intermingled with our sweaty rising bodies. All we are is just pieces of fat, pieces of flesh, ripe for consumption. We take the fall like Eve. Who took the forbidden fruit, and now we pay the price. Our menstrual blood is taken from us and used in blood transfusions in the war, our nails are bred with rare minerals of iron so they can use it to create weapons. Hormones are pumped into us to make our breasts swell, nipples ripe raspberries. We are forbidden to have body hair, it is a sin against our beauty, and a bristly scratch against our innocence.
We were moved on, a squelching pack of pigs, to the projection of a woman. This screen was digitalised, harmonious and light. The advance of technology had come a long way since the old Gilead. Some say this is for the better, but small whispers amongst the aunts, whatever doubts they could muster, would say that it is for the worse. An image flashed on the screen, bright and luminescent. A rotation of images would occur, women with the smoothest alabaster skin, perfectly set features, lips full and slightly parted. Their breasts were pushed, and were ‘perfect’, but I only saw them as mounds of market melons. Their stomachs were smooth and supple. Legs long and lithe. Their teeth baring at us, ready to bite.
“Read that logo at the top Unbridge.”
A small voice next to me read in a slow and rolling tongue “Instaaa-graa-emmm”.
“INSTAGRAM” the Aunt barked. These women are perfect, they are what we aspire to be, Venuses of the future.
It’s all a ruse, all a rouge.
Staring bleakly at the mirrors, naked and forlorn, I inspected my wound, a slit cut with scissors, a frayed edge of skin. Tomorrow, I will trade my rib at the market. A week after I will receive a treat for my trade, the week after that I will begin the next stage of the programme. My breast tissue, (if big enough) will be ripped and replaced with sacks of oil and plastic. My fat will be sucked from my skin and used in cosmetics, they pump us with oestrogen as it is vital for youthful looks.. Breast milk is considered vile, a violation of our flesh and blood, the natural needs to be controlled and crafted. I am a vessel for men to look at and come within me, a vase for flowering and fruit. My womb is rendered useless, to be traded to become a bag on the arm of a Commander’s wife. In return, my body will be sculpted and beautiful. Like Venus, like Olympia, like the models in the museum.
Stepping down from the mirrors, the tanoy rang above, “touch yourself.”
My cheeks flushed with fear. “But I can’t sir” I protested, “I am due on and it hurts.”
“Oh don’t play the woman card.” The voice spat down the microphone, I could almost feel the spit hitting the back of my neck, my thighs, my flesh. I stayed silent, passive, hoping that for once, the assault of words won’t pierce me. A groan subsided, I knew he had finished, looking at me was enough.
“You are dismissed.”
A whimper left my lips, the vomit had dried, I craved the burning showers next to my dorm but I knew the cameras would still be watching and inspecting.
As I left the room, I heard the man’s voice, the tanoy, ringing in the corridor next to me: “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part…” Slowly moving away from the wall I knew I was a monster and I wanted to break the flesh of my skin and feel the blood pouring from my veins, a baptism of blood, a baptism of fire, just like the aunts had said. I knew I had to get out, I knew I had to leave.
Thanks for reading! I hope I haven’t creeped you out too much, again, I’m not a weirdo.