"She told you, your father walked onto the veranda and saw a chook floating ten feet above the ground. The chook didn’t flap a feather and just sat there brooding, swaying in the breeze.
She said, your father stepped from the veranda to recover the recalcitrant chook, only to find the soles of his feet missing the ground, landing on thin air, and the chook drifting higher.
He couldn’t let the chook go, but with each step he found the chook rose higher. And of course he had to follow. She told you it was like watching him walk a stairway to heaven. Your mother said, he did not appear to be flying, more like floating, like someone rising from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the sea.
Your mother watched from below until your father and the chook became flecks in the sky. She rushed inside and grabbed the brass navy telescope. She saw him and the chook slowly ascending. She saw him wheeze and hold his chest. She could just see his head turning from one side to the other in wonder, marvelling at the view. He appeared to turn towards her. He was white and he coughed violently. But he did manage to stiffly turn around and, ever so slowly, raise his arm in a wave. And she believed she saw the chook, rising up slowly beside him, its neck outstretched and its scrawny beak open in a silent chicken scream. She squinted through the telescope and thought she saw the frost fur crystallising about his eyebrows and his false teeth chattering so hard the blood ran from his gums to warm his mouth. His arm stopped moving and she knew he was hard as a block of ice."
Excerpt from the title story in my book, We Rose Up Slowly
You can buy We Rose Up Slowly here (free shipping in Singapore).
Between 1998 and 2010 I did not write a single story. I was to busy pursuing my career and trying to fall in love. My enthusiasm for writing was rekindled in 2010 when I walked into Books Actually, then at Club Street, and saw a copy of Ceriph Issue Zero. I decided to submit a story written in Sydney in 1997 called We Rose Up Slowly. Much to my surprise, the story was accepted for Ceriph Issue One (Math Paper Press, 2010). This story leads my debut collection, We Rose Up Slowly.
In this story:
- As gravity leaks away, a young couple need to decide whether or not to follow her parents and rise up slowly
- The mood is sombre and elegaic
- The protagonist tries to remain grounded as the world falls apart around him.
- Everything is in a state of flux. This is the end of an era - perceptions, assumptions, core beliefs, the consensus are all up for grabs.
- Time spent with each other is precious, memories are slipping away.
- Secrets remain unspoken. What is in the silver locket? What does the silver locket represent? Note: I was thinking of the hidden secret self in Lady with the Lapdog but from a female perspective
- Do the characters change? Is there an epiphany? In the end there is only the relationships you have with the one you love - even if they don't love you as much as you love them
- There are passing references to Spam, Two Fat Ladies, goitres, a Jona Lewie song, another 80's pop song, the Roy Lichtenstein painting.