Castle Rouge

Page 66…. in a fiction series

From the sidewalk Miranda saw fire in the distance, the flaming stacks of the Ford River Rouge plant. The plumes rose high above the Detroit River and lit up the sky like demons in flight. She watched as the silhouettes of tired workers walked to and fro, their loads of iron, limestone, and coal feeding the furnaces, their fat bellies gorging in the night. Even though the towers hadn’t been active in years, the dellusion seduced her.

The furnace throats screamed with laughter, sending their flames even higher. She stood at the entrance to Castle Rouge, a place far more daunting than her law office pals let on. The portico, of sorts, was a remnant from an ancient warehouse abandoned long ago, the door of steel painted red with no window. The building was bordered by empty row houses along a dusty road, the kind of neighborhood where if someone screamed, no one would hear.   

Like the flames on the river, Castle Rouge had a strange appeal. It fueled Miranda’s racing mind, the roaring furnace inside her. With her gaze fixed upon the flaming mirage, the man in the velvet cloak disappeared, leaving her alone on the sidewalk.  An unusual smell lingering behind him.

Miranda’s judgement smoldered in the ashes, a dog barked in the distance. On the sidewalk a man on a leash approached on all fours. He wore a rubber mask in the likeness of Bill Clinton and little else. An attractive woman with raven hair held the other end. The couple seemed at ease with their shocking appearance. The female opened the door, admonishing her pet to wait behind her. Miranda took a deep breath, a foolish chance, and followed them in..

Even before her eyes adjusted to the dark, she found her way to the bar, an instinctive behavior learned over time. She might have prayed, that might have helped, but manic people, or worse yet, people segueing into a mixed state, just don’t do that. They just don’t.

She might have called someone who cared for her, even under these shameful circumstances.  Her parents would have helped, but that was out of the question.  She had them fooled long ago.  There was Tiller, but he would have been so disappointed.  And of course there was Drew Becker, her one true friend, the only person she really trusted.  Maybe she would tell him about this place someday, but not tonight.  She left her cell phone in her hotel room on purpose.

With all sources of hope left behind– the fever of Castle Rouge, dark and ghastly, took her away.  The man in the mask drank beer from a water bowl.  Miranda asked for a double to soften the way.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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21 Responses to Castle Rouge

  1. .endtransmission. says:

    Linda, I think you should go back to the early pages and read a few. Your writing style has improved VASTLY since then, and your storylines are just tremendous. If you keep this up, you’ll be on the bestsellers list soon.

    I don’t miss Lipman at all.

    • Linda says:

      Best selling author would be a nice job for me, wouldn’t it? Working past midnight, and sleeping til ten. Life offers so many possibilities.

      Thanks for your ongoing encouragement, stupid remarks, and your GLARING MISTAKE ALERTS along the way. : )

      Will Lipman return? It’s too soon to tell, but an interesting thought.

  2. Ann says:

    Oh boy… I don’t know that I want to think about what could possibly happen …
    ( I’m wondering aloud how many Miranda’s we walk past on a daily basis without even realizing the new help)

    “She might have called someone who cared for her, even under these shameful circumstances.  Her parents would have helped, but that was out of the question.  She had them fooled long ago.”
    Sometimes it’s easier to hide than explain…

    Another beautiful piece. I agree , you are truly gifted

    Blessings and thanks
    ann

    • Linda says:

      When I wonder how many Miranda’s are wondering around out there, I always consider that people who have a mental illness or are functioning alcoholics look strangely like the rest of us. If a man had a cast on his leg we would hold the door for him. But as you said, we just don’t know about the sick people in suits driving clean cars.

      “Easier to hide than explain.” Really like that, Ann… may steal it later.

  3. Linda, Your weaving of Miranda’s story is extraordinary. My thoughts and writing are so much more linear, but you write with depth and with changes in direction that highlight the subject matter. And the details that, if I were writing, I would think were superfluous and not include are just those details that make this story come alive. I am thankful that there is room in this world for both of our types of writing and that both will ultimately glorify our Lord. Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      I’m thankful, too, that there are so many ways to tell a story. Even your softest material (like the triolets that I love) still get to the point. I like reading those because I know the verses will make sense in the end. On the other hand, I always wonder if my stuff weaves and wonders too much! I also wonder how much of it has a little bipolar touch.

      Thanks for the generous compliments. Means alot… : )

      • Linda, I believe your story does have a little bipolar touch, but that only enhances the story. I actually want to go back to page one and reread the whole story at once when I can find the time. You might be to the end of the story before I am able to do that, but maybe waiting until I can read the final page is best anyway. :) Peace, Linda

        • Linda says:

          Final page. Too funny!

          I am so humbled that you would go and read all those pages that you’re making me cry. In a good way. Thank you… so glad we’re friends…

  4. Jan says:

    “She watched as the silhouettes of tired workers walked to and fro, their loads of iron, limestone, and coal feeding the furnaces, their fat bellies gorging in the night. ”
    You have a gift. And you are using it well, and developing it as you write. Good job.

    • Linda says:

      You’ll get a kick out of this. The phrase that you liked… guess how many hours I spent researching the Rouge Plant to come up with those words? And once I saw how fascinating those times really were, I just read till I dropped!

      Such generous compliments… thanks for the “Good job”. Means alot.

  5. Theresa says:

    You are an amazing writer. I could never write anything like what you have written. I wish I could.

    I was confused when I read these words two posts back:

    “She stepped out of the cab, tripped up the curb, stepped out of her shoe, and was caught by a man in a long velvet cloak. Normally, this would have troubled her. That kind of contact with a stranger was out of her comfort zone. But the scotch reassured her that he could be trusted. Miranda’s troubled mind, Harry’s fatal crash, and her declining sense of judgement would be her downfall. She heard the mania hissing, beckoning her to go in.”

    I had over looked this part (probably reading too fast) in the previous paragraph:

    “The alcohol brought a warm familiar rush that begged for more. ”

    …so it hadn’t occurred to me that she was planning on going somewhere else to drink more. I thought she was already quite intoxicated and her grief was leading her to drive to some strange place that would be relevant to any number of intense feelings that might be flooding her mind at this tragic time. I had never heard of Castle Rouge or the Rouge plant… was a little confused, so I looked it up a few minutes ago. But at the time I read the part about the man in the velvet “cloak” I was confused, and thought maybe she was going to same place where there was a religious cult, or maybe the cloak she saw was really a robe on a man at the grounds of a sanitarium, and she was on her way to commit herself. But finally when I read the part below and then went back to the other post and read it again I finally started to understand what was happening. I’mam slow sometimes…most of the time…often miss important clues when reading mysteries.

    Sorry my comment ran so long, but I just wanted to share my thoughts. I am anxious to read the next post.

    “Like the flames on the river, Castle Rouge had a strange appeal. It fueled Miranda’s racing mind, the roaring furnace inside her. With her gaze fixed upon the flaming mirage, the man in the velvet cloak disappeared, leaving her alone on the sidewalk. An unusual smell lingering behind him.”

    • Linda says:

      Miranda’s a drunk so she will keep seeking alcohol till she can’t stand up. Castle Rouge (the neighborhood) is real, but the club by the same name is not, I made it up. I just thought it had a cool sound.

      Castle Rouge isn’t exactly a cult, but like minded individuals tend to meet there. None of it’s good, just a warning. I think it’s place in the story can be alluded to without ever mentioning what it’s really about.

      Can’t believe you Googled this stuff! Makes me feel good that the whole concept worked well enough that you were interested!!

      The one time I saw the Ford Plant in person, I was on a boat trip up the Detroit River with Harry Stowe (who thankfully, isn’t really dead). It looks like a big, overbearing ghost… an old place left in tatters. Wish I could find the pics I took… it was years ago, maybe 1993. It made such an impression, I knew it would be a great setting for these chapters.

      Thanks thanks thanks for your kind words. : )

  6. Debbie says:

    “She might have prayed, that might have helped, but manic people, or worse yet, people segueing into a mixed state, just don’t do that. They just don’t.”
    That part really spoke to me. “They just don’t.” We need to understand that. When my daughter starts melting down and getting upset . . it’s too late. She can’t pray then either or make better choices.
    Linda . . .I will just say what everyone else is telling you .. .you are a super star writer! Just sayin’! God bless you and the gift He has given you! love and prayers!

    • Linda says:

      Can’t verses won’t. Interesting that you notice the same thing with your daughter. It’s really true, though. When you and I first became friends, you mentioned a pastor who is bipolar and couldn’t pray when he was sick either. Until then, I didn’t realize other people experienced this.

      Thanks for connecting all those dots. And thanks for all the kinds words. I’m so humbled by all the nice comments, you wouldn’t believe… : )

  7. Larrywho says:

    “…the fever of Castle Rouge…”

    The word “fever” describes this scene perfectly. Great job.

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

    • Linda says:

      I tried on a handful of words for that spot… glad we both liked “fever”. I appreciate your encouragement so much.

      • Larry Who says:

        I drove past the Ford River Rouge plant back in the 1970′s and even took the boat ride on the Detroit River to the amusement park. Back in the days of my life in Detroit.

  8. Tod says:

    Linda,

    Your writing is great. I felt the need to share with you a brief passage that painted a picture in my head – “The building was bordered by empty row houses along a dusty road, the kind of neighborhood where if someone screamed, no one would hear.” Perhaps it’s because I’ve been in similar places before. They etch their moods into you. My mental connection to this statement may be different from yours, but it’s still vivid. I just wanted to encourage you that what you’re writing is connecting with some of us.

    Hugs to you!    

    • Linda says:

      Well now that you’ve left me hanging, Tod… I would love to know how this place connects to your place. So far, the whole Castle Rouge stuff is right out of my head, only real in my imagination. Now I wonder if your “place” is real. See you on FB? : )

  9. Many thanks extremely valuable. Will share website with my friends.|

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