Bristol was laid out before them. To the left the Georgian buildings stood four stories tall and blended with the gray and straw rectangle cut outs of the twentieth century. Ahead of them the park gave way to the docks and the pristine business park with a paving courtyard and glass tall buildings which mirrored the hill and the bright sun in the sky and beyond that stood old converted warehouses and beyond that the city stretched out before a clear line divided it from the countryside beyond.
Bet dat’s a long wey, she said, nodding to the arrow that said it knew where Australia was.
Other side of the world, he said.
Ow long dew reckons et takes ta get thur?
I don’t know.
You nose everfing, Carlo.
I think it takes 24 hours, on a plane, he said, all day and all night.
I’m gonna get thur, she said.
Yeh, totallee. Get the fuck owt o dis place.
They’re making a plane, he said, that will do it in two hours. It will fly up, outside the atmosphere and just wait for the earth to turn. And then it will come down.
The wurl be smawl from up thur, she said. I can seez et now, like I’ve bin thur afore. Like I’ve bin beamed ere from the footure, from up thur. I got me memoree of et Carlo. A real one. Fucken seen eh?
She radiated, her hair was ablaze, her eyes were wide.
Daizee Byatt ya fucken ore betch, said a voice behind them.
Carlo watched the colour fall out of Daizee’s face. He turned to see a sixteen-year-old boy in a green combat jacket with rabbit fur around the rim of its hood. He had blonde hair, hazel eyes and a narrow face. In his right hand he held a knife. A big knife that had once been mated to a gun.
Stanton, she said, wot the fuck you’s doen ere?
Stanton came right back at her, wot the fuck you’s doen ere?
Put ya fucken shank away, ya cunt, she said.
Oo the fuck is he? said Stanton bearing his teeth and pointing at Carlo.
Fuck off, Stanton, she said.
Carlo stepped between Daizee and Stanton. Who are you? he asked.
Oo am I? Oo am I? I’m Stanton Fucken Parks, he said. Wot the fuck you’s doen wiv my bit o gash?
Why dohn’t you’s leave I the fuck alone, she screamed.
I got a fucken taste fer you’s my cunt, and he flicked his tongue in the air like a snake.
Daizee? Said Carlo and the sun beamed razor blades into his eyes as he switched his gaze from Stanton to her and back again.
Therez nowt tween im an I. Not a fucken fing, she pleaded.
Dis ere ez a second world war Nartsee bayonet, said Stanton. Et blonged to a secun world war German infantreeman. A fucken SS fucken sooper trooper.
Stanton sliced the air with contorted joy in his limbs as if he was sketching the damage he would do to her body.
Carlo felt a hand on his shoulder smooth him forcibly out of the way into the door to the passageway down. When he turned he saw that the green pool of Daizee’s eyes had become cool and inviting but they weren’t inviting for him, she was looking directly at Stanton. Behind Stanton and Daizee the green horizon white noised into the sky. Daizee bit her bottom lip. Carlo had never seen this look on her face before, she was looking at Stanton like she wanted him and every time she breathed in it was as if her lungs were filling with a pleasure he’d only seen in pornography, it muxed her face into soft focus and every now and then she let out a soft ooo and sometimes she sucked the air through her teeth as if she was coaxing Stanton into orgasm. Carlo’s feet were rooted to the spot. He wanted his body to be supple but he felt brittle and the doorway contracted onto him to hold him where he stood.
Dew wonts to touch I, Stanton, she said calmly gently hissing her breath in. Ez dat wot you wonts? and she moaned a little for him.
I’m gonna do more an dat, he said, yer nose wot they’ms did to I in secure?
Dew wonts to do dat to I? said Daizee in a cheeky sex toy taunt. She looked calm, almost serene. OK.
Carlo saw that Stanton was confused.
Daizee took her coat off, held it out and let it drop to the floor.
Wot you’s doen? said Stanton.
Wot dew fink?
Stanton’s look flicked to Carlo. The look made Carlo flinch. He panged up with something like guilt for what he was seeing of Daizee and what it was doing to Stanton.
Dohn’t worrees non my sweet, said Daizee to Stanton, thurs onlee one fing dis cunt wonts. Ee wonts to wotch us. Fucken filfee taint et? Dew wonts im ta wotch us? Ee likes to wotch, dohn’t you’s, ur lover? She said casting an eye Carlo. You can fucks I, Stanton, an ee can wotch. Gurt lush or wot?
Stanton showed Carlo his top teeth. Carlo looked at Daizee but she didn’t return his gaze, at least when she did look at him it was not as the Daizee he knew, or had come to know, she had no expression on her face for him, not even the curse she had set upon him the first time he had crashed into her. There was nothing. Not one acknowledgement. She was entirely in the moment with Stanton; she was not Carlo’s any more.
Daizee slowly began to take her t-shirt off. Carlo wanted to rush forward to stop her but he had no movement in his body. He was watching her like he was caught in the web of a deep sin. It had wrapped itself around him and was absorbing any impulse to run. He watched her as she lifted her t-shirt over her head, to reveal a red bra. She held the t-shirt out and dropped it to the floor and it fell at Stanton’s feet. A slight breeze blew through her hair as she put her hand on her left breast and began to massage it, pinching the nipple. The expression on her face had hardened. Carlo wanted to cry.
Doesum wonts us to take ur troozers off? cooed Daizee.
Carlo looked at Stanton who was staring at Daizee and began to say silent prayers to himself.
Doesum likes that? said Daizee
Stanton began to blush.
Doesum wonts ta put dat shank on ur skin?
Stanton’s jaw quivered.
Good, I wonts you’s to.
She unbuttoned her jeans, slid them off, revealing a black thong. The front had a little red bow on it and it was cut low. The cotton cloth was thin and tight and clefted with the soft indent of the dimple between her legs. Carlo was shocked at how comfortable she was in her nakedness. Daizee, what are you doing? he asked almost in a panic.
Shu up, she said. She was looking at Stanton. Doesum likes the wey I spoke to im?
Stanton’s eyes flicked to Carlo and then back to her.
Daizee ran her index finger of her right hand from her chest, down her stomach to the front edge of her thong. As her finger dropped Carlo saw cigarette burn scars on her belly. These hadn’t been light daubs but deep and torturous. Some were pinker than others and could not be that old, but what disturbed Carlo more, were the ones that were set white like old solidified glue, burnt when she was small, when his own mother was planting kisses to flower him into childhood.
Daizee toyed with the small bow on the front of her pants before slipping her fingers into them.
Stanton’s tongue was on his lips.
Wot a puppee dawg look, she said. Et were a shame you’s got kicked owt o Travis Ouse, weez cud ave ad a right fucken dirtee time. Fucken Soshal Servisez.
Watching Stanton, Carlo began to feel the back of his scalp begin to burn and his breathing grew in depth and speed, not with fear but anger. Anger and hurt. Stanton no longer saw him. He was just looking at Daizee. Carlo wanted him to stop, he wanted him to stop turning Daizee into this creature he did not recognise, the filthy object of Stanton’s desire. Daizee began to lower her thong, gently moving her buttocks to music that only Stanton could hear. Carlo was not in on the tune, he could only tell that it was being played by the look on Stanton’s face.
Carlo blinked and the knife was gone. There was no puff of smoke. Daizee had reached forward and taken it. Stanton looked shocked. Daizee said, dew sillee cunt.
Stanton Parks made one swipe with his fist, Daizee ducked. Carlo lunged forward with his eyes closed like a little boy in his first scrap and deflected Stanton over the barrier wall. Carlo opened his eyes to see Stanton fall silently the one hundred feet to the ground below. His head cracked as it hit the concrete.