Wednesday Write-in #25


Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

CAKE.shortandsweet runs a write-in every week to writers to practise their skills, and get chatting to each other about their work. Everyone is welcome to join in, and the more people you tell, the more everyone will get out of it.

 

Prompts

junk  ::  captivity  ::  edible  ::  sombre  ::  full moon

Guidelines

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some brief guidelines:

  • You can use the prompts as inspiration or try to work them into your story somehow. Use as many as you want.
  • When your story is done, post it online (your blog/twitter/in a comment here), tag with #wednesdaywritein and comment with a link so we can read it. You can write as many stories as you like.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you can.

Featured Story

We’ll feature our favourite story on the blog with a review of it and links to the author’s blog/twitter/facebook if relevant.

Posts will generally go up at 12am(ish) on Wednesday – stories are due by 10am Thursday (UK) to be considered for the featured story. You can keep posting your work after this, it just won’t be featured.

The winner will also be eligible to publish on our special CAKE.shortandsweet genre through Ether Books.

Get Involved

Look for us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the write-ins, or click the follow button to get blog updates!

Join our CAKE.writers group on Scribophile, an online community for writers to give and receive constructive criticism.

Read our Previous Issues and check out the Submissions page if you’d like to be a CAKE.author!

 

Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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57 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #25

  1. It was a sombre party that reached the coast after days tramping through the countryside, avoiding main thoroughfares where possible, though progress would have been easier. The months of captivity had taken their toll; two crew mates had died behind bars and the remaining six were gaunt and unkempt. But their spirit was not broken. Now they had their freedom the auspices were good. Yin and yang were surely aligned, Chang still had his red headband, and a crow had cawed at dawn.
    They found the junk where they had left it hidden in a narrow inlet, invisible to passing boats. The gods were smiling; it still seemed in good condition. Jian set about inspecting the hull and Bao-Zhi the sails. Now the priority was food and water. Tired as they were, Fang and Gao trekked back and forth to the stream filling all the water containers they had on board, and Kuan-yin and Dishi set about checking supplies.
    The rice and dried provisions were still edible, although the sacks had been chewed. They were in need of food to give them strength for the journey. Suddenly, a pair of eyes glowed in a dark corner of the store room. In a flash Dishi brought down his cleaver and the rat was dead. More glowing eyes and flashing blade. Soon there was a feast fit for the Emperor himself.
    Well rested and with full bellies they set sail under the light of the full moon, heading back to their homeland where their families would surely have already burnt offerings for their lost souls.

    • They made it. Beautifully written but lacking an edge? I would like to have seen it less smooth; maybe an incident where they lose another crew mate, but the rest escape??

    • Clear and crisp as always. I agree about the edge- including a little bit of conflict might be good.
      However, enjoyed reading.

    • Enjoyed reading this, you did a great job of integrating the prompts into the story. It really flowed. I also like how the ominous threatening pair of eyes become a feast to fill their bellies before they set sail.

    • I really like the mood to this, the sense of celebration and relief, but still very sombre given what they’ve been through. I agree with others that some conflict would bring it to life, but I think the piece still works anyway. The moment where Dishi kills the rat would allow you to bring in some more action; the line is currently very passive as you show no direct link between the cleaver coming down and the rat being dead:

      In a flash Dishi brought down his cleaver and the rat was dead.

      If you link the two more directly: In a flash Dishi brought down his cleaver, killing the rat then it makes the writing more dynamic. But, overall this is great 😀

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  6. #wednesdaywritein

    Hi everyone. Looking forward to reading this week’s material.

    A wee bit of dialect in this one. Hope it’s not too distracting.

    It started out as one of those great days. We were right in the middle of the summer, in the middle of the day, on the second day (effectively the middle) of a Scottish heat wave. The sun roasted bare legs and bare arms – our skin would bubble but not until bedtime. The heat had brought out every kid from the grey multi-storey flats.
    The call went up for a game of Kick – the – Can. Kids of all ages assembled on the grass awaiting the signal to run and hide.
    Age decided how adept you were at the game. The first wave of the fallen were always tiny tots who’d huddled together behind the garage block, seeking excitement, if not safety in numbers.
    Next, were the members of my own age group. We had it in us to go further afield but our strategic thoughts were marred by parental restriction: the bushes were a great hiding place if only you were allowed to cross the road.
    This day, I watched a big boy run round the corner and I followed him. He disappeared into the rear entrance of the multi-storey block of flats. I had been warned and warned about the ‘back stairs’. I was never to go there. It was there the Bogey Man lived in one form or another. But I had decided it was time to graduate in this elaborate game of hide and seek. This big boy knew how not to get caught. I wanted to share in his secret and his victory.
    I took myself into the cold shade where my guide and mentor had gone before me. It reeked of urine. I reckoned he must have ventured to the first landing so I tentatively made my way up the stairs. I tried to control my noisy breathing.
    As I approached the final stair, he quickly made his appearance. I staggered a little and regainedbut my balance.
    “What you up to ya wee bastard?”
    “Nothin’”
    “Did you follow me here?” he said.
    “Naw , honest”
    He grabbed me by the arm and pulled me up the last stair.
    “Ah’ll go away, ah promise,” I said straining on tip-toes.
    “Naw ye won’t.”
    He was quiet from then on. Captive, I was marched down the stairs. He took me out into the blazing sunshine, but my body immune to its heat, shivered uncontrollably.
    He knew where he was going, where he was taking me. I felt it in his step.
    He opened a set of double doors and the stench from the place rushed at my face.

    He waited. We waited for the next rattling rush of noise.

    Mrs. Kelly from flat 4B (whom I discovered owned several cats but never fully emptied any cans of food, bleached her hair but didn’t open any bills and had cut her toenails that morning) couldn’t have known that I was standing where the bin chute ended that I was standing in the spot where it normally fed its inedible junk into huge tin cans.

      • That “second day” line made me chuckle, and you ably recreate the past here. It might just be an glitch in the copying, but the last paragraph had me stumbling until the second read.

      • A really evocative tale of childhood encompassing memories of warm summer days, games with friends and of course the local bully. I enjoyed the minor details, the speech, the low tech nature of the game, and the very apt description of a Scottish summer. It took me back which is, I suspect, exactly what you wished. I really enjoyed this.

    • Starts out gently nostalgic – the fine summer weather, children playing together, then the bully and the horrible rubbish pouring down on the child. I guess he found his Bogey Man!

      • PS — There isn’t a way to edit comments after you’ve posted them.

        Which sucks, true. But if you guys make a mistake, let me know and as an admin I’m able to edit comments and will happily fix typos. I normally do this anyway if people notice their own mistakes and post about it!

    • Love this. The use of dialect really adds to the authenticity, well executed. The image of the skin bubbling with sunburn is great. Kick the can was a game that we played in Ireland so it brought me right back. The threat of the backstairs works well to introduce tension which is dissipated by the humour of what happens. I also like the way the contents of the rubbish were named, it adds to the humour.

      • Thank you. I was trying to give the ending a humorous edge so glad that worked.It takes me ages to come up with anything and you manage two great pieces! Oh to be so imaginative.

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  8. A quick one from me this week:

    Meeting the In Laws

    If it’s on the Internet, it must be true! Which is great, because it was gnawing on my mind as the date of meeting the In-laws drew near. Google search result 182 has reassured me that it’s a-okay to eat junk food in front a group of sombre werewolves while – on the night of a full moon – they give you compliments on how deliciously edible you look.
    Thank god for the internet!

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  10. Happy 25th write in everyone!

    Bernadette
    I escaped under the light of the full moon. It illuminated the world outside to appear black and white. Whenever I heard a car coming, I ducked into the trench-deep shadows dug by the moon’s light to conceal me. I’d come out when it was safely past. I wanted to shape my mouth into an O, tilt my head skywards and with a howl, announce to the world that I was outside of the giant stone walls. I knew that some of the girls I left behind would remain to live and die behind the locked doors and barred windows. I missed them already.
    In moments of breathless scuttling along dark country roads, I allowed myself to feel the ease of freedom. When I was sure it was safe I uncovered my head and let the wind silently brush its fingers through my hair. I remembered when my mother used to brush my hair. We’d sing and sway and stroke each other’s matching manes that flowed like rivers and shone gold like a ripe cornfield.
    I wanted to get to the river. That was where they found her.
    That was when I was nine. My father remarried four years later. There was no room for me in the new family. I was dropped off at the convent and put to work in the Magdalene laundry. This is where society confined its dregs, its junk. Women were sent to here for petty and serious crimes. We were the filth, runaways and vagrants, orphans, children of neglected or abusive homes, rejected by foster parents, unmarried mothers or children born out of wedlock, females accused of being morally suspect. Our names were changed when we walked through the door. My new name was Bernadette. I was told to forget my old one. Incarcerated against our will we were forced into servitude. There was severe punishment for non-compliance. We worked unpaid from 7am to 6pm, earning forgiveness for our sins. We had to scrub our souls clean in silence or in prayer and scrub we did. With our hands in scalding suds we rubbed and wrung and expunged until all that was left was whiteness. All of the old me was gone.
    I intended to step into the inky waters of the river just like my mother did. I wanted them to find me where they had found her with my hair spread like a halo on the surface of the water, floating like an angel. I prayed that death would go easy on me.
    I didn’t make it as far as the river.
    I was snatched back into captivity by the sombre-faced law. They bundled me into their car and returned me to the convent. The first thing the nuns did was hack off all of my hair. I was put into isolation. They made me fast to repent. The only edible thing to pass my lips was cold dry toast.
    Some of the other girls smuggled me some biscuits they had been saving. They made me a pretty hat to cover the bald patches where my white scalp peeped through. They hugged me as I cried. I didn’t bother trying to escape again and after a while was glad I hadn’t made it to the river. I missed my mother but she was gone and so too was my old life. This purgatorial institution was the only place I could call home.

  11. I found these prompts to be very inspiring and wrote a few little bits. I’ll put up another one of them.

    Junkmail

    I write my letter; a letter addressed to a wound, a wound that has healed and opened again. My message is raw like the wound that’s bleeding. I pour out all of the junk, all of the pain and all of the poison; squeezing the evil out of me, pouring resentment openly.
    I sign the letter with a name that is not mine. I cannot claim the pain that’s been left behind. The previous white of the page is obscured by the words of my wound externalised and transferred ready to be passed on, processed. The page is scarred now just like me and I can now touch the texture of that hurt on the page under the one I wrote on.
    I fold the page of tangible pain in three to slide perfectly into the envelope.
    As I lick the glue of the envelope I think of the healing that’s about to happen. The poison has been sucked out and extracted, the swelling is starting to go down and soon one side of the wound will reach the other. Each side will like the flap of this envelope stick together.
    The scar will always be there. A wound healed is still a wound and will never disappear.
    I make sure that the handwriting on the envelope isn’t recognisable as my own and then I anonymously place it in the junk mail pile in the office.
    This is where my pain will get processed again. Not read but recycled.

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