Three Dreams in the Key of G by Marc Nash: Extract

Three Dreams in the Key of G

Three Dreams in the Key of G by Marc Nash

Today on The Tattooed Book I’m lucky enough to have an extract from the brand new novel from Marc Nash, Three Dreams in the Key of G from Dead Ink Books. Marc Nash has published five collections of flash fiction and four novels while also working with videographers to turn his work into digital storytelling too.

Pour yourself a cup of tea, kick back and enjoy the extract, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

In peace-agreement Ulster a mother rears her two daughters, as her husband is decommissioned from his violent paramilitary past. 

In Florida a septuagenarian runs a community refuge for women and the authorities have surrounded it as a threat to national security. 

In laboratories all over the world the human genome is being dissected and decoded. 

In Three Dreams in the Key of G three female voices, Mother, Crone and Creatrix, unknowingly influence each other s fates as each battles to assert themselves and discover their voices in hostile environments.



A long involved telephone call. I’m seated on the bottom stair, handset cradled under my chin, giving Amy a draught of flesh top. Suzanne is plucking my arm, but soon takes cognisance of her place in the orchestration. I watch her storm off, quivering with what I assume is unadulterated pique. Momentarily I hold the phone away from my ear, and pitch for the timpani of small-armed percussive reparation. But none is forthcoming. Amy fell asleep and took my pinioned arm with her. My distressed cabled confessant was chewing my ear off. Yet what had ripped out and borne aloft my heart, was the petrified image of my eldest daughter’s receding elfin form. There was only empty space in front of me. And silence. It’s as if she had disappeared in a puff of disenchantment.

I wasn’t tracking her down, more trying to clear my head of the fuzz of phone tinnitus. Having decanted Amy from my arm into her cot, I wandered towards my bedroom. I must have glimpsed a penumbra of colour suddenly occlude part of the door crack, since I snapped myself back before the threshold. The hue displaced itself once again and unblocked the sliver of light that gained me witness. There she was, sat at my dressing table. In front of my hinged mirror triptych, that gateway to the source of identity. The family omphalos. For I too had sat in front of just such a mirror, a child seeking reassurance of my mother’s continued existence when confronting her temporary absence from the house. Jesus wept, suddenly even my pang had a pang of its own now!

My mother’s orderly bedroom with nothing out of place. Everything personal and messy having been buried behind sober, white wardrobe doors. Over the marital bed, fundament of my genesis, a neutral, passionless landscape with a tiny cottage at its heart. ‘I shouldn’t be in here, I shouldn’t be in here,’ I inhaled pantingly. ‘I’ll get caught,’ I exhaled. But then my eyes alit on the dresser, with all those personal allures of woman, my mother. Whisked away by the faint scents and oily emulsions lingering in the air, held in the glass at the kernel. The forge. The foundry. For all that was feminine. A place of creation, beauty and adornment. I knew I must not approach, to seat myself, to touch. For this was the portal to the forbidden world of boys and sex and, once seduced, my soul might be whipped away from me. I would be discovered still sat in this grotto, dusted head to foot in incriminating powders, guilt and shame battling it out with non-hormonal rouge for supremacy upon my cheeks. But I felt the warmth surging through me anyway. Imagining for my mother, a divine trinity illuminated in those three mirrors. Ambrosias and honeys in hand, as she peers in towards the core of her central glass, fluently kindling the two vitreous handmaidens either side with her radiance. Thrice-enhanced, I felt myself equally ordained to enter the burgeoning world inhabited by my mother and her mother before her. The nine of us stretching back towards infinity.

And now, admittedly at somewhat more of a precocious age, here was my daughter undergoing the very same private initiation. I did what any proud mother would do, I checked that the decor was fitting. I didn’t have such a big heavy dresser as my mother possessed, though as a family heirloom, no doubt one day I would have to conjure an excuse for it residing unloved and unsold in a charity shop. And while I could not even recollect whence I had come by the picture above my bed, sorry, our bed, I knew that I had purchased it as a peremptory act, so that was sufficient despite its blandness. The unguents were not as dense as in my mother’s day, but for all their brittleness, I felt still presented a palpable patina with which you could almost limn the walls of the room.

What was she doing exactly? She was bobbing in front of the mirrors, though I’m glad to report that she didn’t appear to be sobbing. Instinctively I pressed my torso back from the door, as she herself cringed back from the purview of the meniscus of the lens. Now I couldn’t get her in focus. Since I’d sat there, both as mother and tremulous daughter, I knew I couldn’t reveal myself and expose her. Yet I had to know precisely what was happening. Fortunately she dipped forward into the dimension of the mirrors again and tugged my frame back to the buffer of the door. Several times we repeated this process as if we were attached by an elasticated umbilical. Or, as it dawned on me, more like that we were just performing a poorly rehearsed routine. Synchronised swimmers who are forced to practice in separate lidos.

I gleaned she was ducking in and out of the glass’s survey, as if it was a searchlight. Trawling for a breakout. For escapees and absconders. Fugitives from familiarity. In a world of inversion, absence becomes a desirable property, a valued valency. If the beam didn’t sweep you up, it meant that you’d slipped away. If it conjured you in its field, you were held fast and atomised. My daughter was too discerning to want to convene the snarled trinity of me and my mother before me. For here she was, treating the triplicated lenses as if they were sited in a House of Fun. Distorting and reassembling. Distorting and reassembling. Whose genes does she see eyeballing her from within the scope of the looking glass? I just prayed that it was only the sloughing of me and my mother that she craved after and not that of her own self.

I took my leave. Not knowing quite what to do next, I went into Amy’s room, as if to confer with her that I wasn’t going to fail her as demonstrably I had with Suzanne. She was still in the land of nod. I stood there forlornly, trying to red eye my doting behind her shielded lids. I held there staring, just waiting to harvest the emanations of attachment, but my well seemed either dammed or dried up. Now I really was marooned. Already exiled from my own bedroom, I didn’t want to creep out of here, lest Suzanne hear me and then denounce me for being close enough to spy on her and yet too distant to be present with her. Something was ricocheting around between me and my daughters, but sure as hell it wasn’t love.





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