Wednesday Write-in #44


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

sunshine  ::  glass eye  ::  connection  ::  golden gate  ::  lisp

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 if you like, and comment with a link so we can read it.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you can.
  • If you want to write a poem, a script, or something completely different, feel free.

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Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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24 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #44

  1. California Dreamin’
    In my house there’s not a lot of downtime, but I was stealing a moment to lounge in the garden before tackling the rest of the day.
    Random thoughts drifted through my mind – the lawn needs cutting, Mark has a dental appointment, must do the shopping, need more wine, where shall we go on holiday? There was a mental connection between the last thoughts as I longed to visit the vineyards. We could drive up to San Francisco then further north over the Golden Gate bridge. Could a toddler survive a road trip? Could we survive a road trip with a toddler?
    I could picture us, Gracie happily singing nursery rhymes while we sped along the open road admiring the scenery of Big Sur. This image changed to a nightmare vision of me in the back seat trying to console a fractious child while Mark gripped the steering-wheel and grimly counted the miles to the next motel. Which would it be? Serenity or stress?
    My musings were interrupted as my small daughter stepped out onto the patio trailing her one-eyed bear by the leg. That was another job on the to-do list.
    ‘Mummy fix teddy,’ she lisped.
    There was a glint in the sunshine as she held out a shiny object that had been clutched in her fist.
    ‘Here,’ she commanded. ‘Big one.’
    But it wasn’t teddy’s glass eye staring accusingly at me from the palm of her hand. It was grandpa’s.
    Me-time was over. Holiday dreams went out the window. I had to restore two eyes to their rightful owners then go to the supermarket. Wine was definitely on the list. Perhaps a nice Californian red.

    • A woman’s work is never done, eh? 🙂 I loved the bit where Gracie holds out the glass eye, commanding that it be restored to its rightful owner. Kids are good at commanding, right? I hope they make it to California – sometime…

    • I assumed the glass eye would be for the teddy, like a restored antique teddy bear, but it was her grandfather’s eye. I enjoyed how the mother is not surprised or upset. She drags herself up to complete another task. Her thoughts are not on the eye but on what wine to buy. Made me chuckle. Great story. 🙂

    • I love the way her train of thought reveals her character and tells a story of a busy mother in need of some down time. You always weave the prompts in so seamlessly. Well done!

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  4. Short one this week. A little bit sci-fi. Here goes:

    HYPER CONNECTED

    PureNews transmissions are unavoidable:

    “Seekers Approaching!
    Threat to Safety and Services!
    Planetary Borders Closed!
    A PureNews transmission:
    NETTOID One World Government.”

    My mother raises her eyes from our world and lends them to The Seekers’ story.
    She squints at the silent, stricken airships above
    Turned Away.

  5. Hi everyone,
    Hoping to cut this from 888 words down to 500 by Saturday for Flash fiction day so all editing advice more than welcome!
    Ashes to ashes
    The ash wind seemed to carry whispers and children’s laughter but it couldn’t; there were no children left. It was the sound of cold in the air and the movement of the heat upwards as the blaze caught and made blue connections in the firewood.
    Our plan was to leave under the cover of snow, wait until it was falling thick to shroud our motion and cover our trail. The first flakes swirled from an industrial sky and drifted slowly. When wind-driven whirls and flurries blanketed out the world, intense flames licked the edges of the barrel; smoke curled up and twisted out. It was still not heavy enough.
    The farmer drew us a map and wrote directions. Clenched fingers bunched around a pen from which flowed a cursive script. I peeked over his shoulder; each letter had its own contour but was joined. I tried to figure out what it all meant as he inscribed the instructions for our departure. That was the closest I’d ever sat to him. I inhaled his scent deep so I could remember. He smelled like soil, like upturned moss, a freshly dug grave or the bottom of a riverbed.
    We took refuge in a barn belonged to the farmer beside the house he grew up in. The house was dilapidated now but he still lived there. Inside was caked in a dense veil of dirt and damp streaks. There were leaks and shattered windows and the branch of a tree tapped out the undulating rhythms of the wind through the hole in the kitchen window.
    The chimney crumbled under the weight of neglect so he took to lighting a fire outside. We all gathered around it each evening at the entrance to the barn. For a man who sought isolation he seemed to enjoy our presence. He gave me tours of the house, telling me the history of each broken object. Stories we had presumed were embellished to evoke sympathy. I had sometimes wondered about the real truth of things, what had corroded everything?
    He had a lisp which sounded snake-like when he whispered and a glass eye which made it impossible to hold his gaze. The guys didn’t trust him, said he gave them the impression that he was always trying to escape, slip away. I thought there was something dignified about him. I liked the fact that he wore a suit every day. Yes it was well-worn but smart nonetheless.
    After packing everything we needed, we did a last check.
    “Oh my God! This reminds me of going camping with Dad.” Adam danced up and down and seemed to lack the necessary gravitas for the journey ahead.
    “Best not to think of what’s gone. Remember?”
    Adam was as subtle as a machine gun and couldn’t take the hint. There was a palpable excitement but we all knew that we’d be lucky to survive against unknown dangers. I could see jaws clench. I tuned Adam out. My thoughts were crackling and brown. They trundled through a peeling landscape incinerated and still blazing with smoke; a shaken shuffle through mangled rubble.
    We trekked through blizzard for days enduring hunger cramps and muscles spasms from relentless shivering and tensed muscles. We tunnelled face-first into sharp gusts of snow. We didn’t encounter any other life.
    With a sudden twitch Adam froze,
    “Having a Déjà vu moment right now.” he announced.
    I wanted to punch Adam. If we were in an apocalypse movie, he would be the first to be eaten or succumb to a violent death. The annoying one always goes first.
    We were on a steep slope and I needed to focus to push myself up. It spiralled inward and I was eager to see what was around the next bend.
    “My dad used to tell ghost stories.”
    “Adam shush.” I whispered but he didn’t hear.
    I noticed that the snow had stopped falling; the air changed. The path up ahead looked just like the map described but our location didn’t make any sense.
    We had come full circle. We walked up the path to the farmhouse but where previously rusted gates swung from hinges a golden gate appeared. There was a flicker as sunshine squinted through clouds for the first time since the explosion.
    In the light everything trembled, magnified and blurry like a mirage. The house shimmered, standing proud exactly as he had described it to me, filled with the magic of childhood. This place, before only rumoured to exist, looked nothing like the crumbling world we inhabited.
    “Oh yea. Now I remember.” Adam kept talking.
    I began to wonder if we had even been here before. Then we found the remains of the fire. I ran my fingertips over the charred wood and cupped the fragile ash in my palms.
    “There was one story about a derelict house haunted by this old guy who drowned himself a year after his daughter died still wearing the black suit he wore to her funeral.”
    I tried to remember him but the features were hazy.
    I ran inside, the thud of my boots echoed in the emptiness. There was no sign of his physical presence but I felt him. I smelt soil. I could hear his chuckle on the wind, his whisper on the ashes brushed from my hands.

  6. Very atmospheric. Hard to see where you could edit but perhaps delete the bit about the tour of the house, and the ‘peeked over his shoulder’ and ‘tried to figure it out’ sentences, and a few words here and there,eg ‘it couldn’t’ and ‘with Dad’. But if you weren’t trying to cut down I wouldn’t change a thing!

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