Murder House – With Respects to Virginia Woolf

Following is a Scaffolding story on a scene from ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf. I have remained true to the original scene, but changed adjectives to give it a different mood and feeling.

“I SEE a ring,” said Bernard, “hanging above me. It quivers and hangs in a loop of light.”

“I see a slab of pale sangria,” said Susan, “spreading away until it meets a mahogany stripe.”

“I hear a sound,” said Rhoda, “cheep, chirp; cheep, chirp; going up and down.”

“I see a globe,” said Neville, “hanging down in a drop against the enormous flanks of some volcano.”

“I see a crimson tassel,” said Jinny, “twisted with gold threads.”

“I hear something stamping,” said Louis. “A great beast kicks the door. It stamps, and stamps, and stamps.”

“Look at the spider’s web on the corner of the balcony,” said Bernard. “It has beads of thick garnet on it, drops of scarlet darkness.”

“The leaves are gathered round the window like pointed ears of silent bystanders,” said Susan.

“A shadow falls on the path,” said Louis, “like an elbow bent.”

“Islands of merlot are swimming on the grass,” said Rhoda. “They have fallen.”

“The birds’ eyes are suppressed in the tunnels between the leaves,” said Neville.

“The stalks are covered with harsh, short hairs,” said Jinny, “and dried clots of ruby have stuck to them.”

“A caterpillar is curled in a pool of green,” said Susan, “crushed by blunt feet.”

“The grey-shelled snail draws across the path and flattens the blades behind him,” said Rhoda.

“And burning lights from the window-panes flash in and out on the grasses,” said Louis.

“Stones are warm to my feet,” said Neville. “I feel each one, round or pointed, separately covered in sticky red.”

“The back of my conscience burns,” said Jinny, “but the palm is clammy and damp with sweat from the hectic writing.”

“Now the reporters crow like a spurt of hard, red water in the white tide,” said Bernard.

“People are talking up and down and in and out all round us,” said Susan.

“The beast stamps: the murderer with its foot chained; the great brute on death row stamps,” said Louis.

“Look at the house,” said Jimmy, “with all its windows dark with blinds.”

“Rust red water drips from the tap,” said Rhoda, “on the rotten mackerel in the bowl.”

“The walls are cracked with bloody cracks,” said Bernard, “and there are bloody, finger-shaped shadows beneath the windows.”

“Now the real estate agent pulls up in her large, black Mercedes,” said Susan.

“When the smoke clears, blood curls off the roof like a mist,” said Louis.

“People sang in chorus first,” said Rhoda. “Now the do-no-enter banners are gone and the scullery door is unbarred. Off they fly. Off they fly like a fling of seed. But one sings by the bedroom window alone about murder.”

“Bubbles form on the floor of the saucepan,” said Jinny. “Then they rise, quicker and quicker in a silver chain to the top.”

“Now Biddy scrapes the fish-scales with a jagged knife, revoking ancient memories in the wooden board,” said Neville.

“The dining-room is dark blue now,” said Bernard, “And the air ripples above the chimney, as if painting it will change anything.”

“But the house is sold now; its present owners unaware of previous horrors,” said Susan.

“That is the first stroke of the church bell for the victims,” said Louis. “Then the others follow; one, two; one, two; one, two.”

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