Wednesday Write-in #46


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

hamlet  ::  prescription  ::  sorting  ::  missing person  ::  cocoa

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.

Get Involved

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Any questions? Otherwise, have fun writing!

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42 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #46

  1. Pingback: Story :: Going Missing | a slice of imagination

  2. Part 1

    Would you mind telling us a little about yesterday morning, Miss?

    No, not at all. Well, Mary was here first as usual. She had the kettle boiling. She always sorts out the repeat prescriptions first. I told her the pharmaceutical rep had arrived. They talked for a while. Straight away, she put up those bottles of New Improved Cocoa Butter samples he gave her. She looked fine. Nothing out of the ordinary, at all.

    Part 2

    And you are sure this is your statement, Mam?

    9 00 strung a series of basic skills together to negotiate the social landscape.

    9 30 weighed, weighed. measured. measured.

    10 00 smiled all the way through a dull dull dull conversation.

    10 45 avoided colleagues by filling shelves with vegetable extract.

    11 15 ticked. ticked. ticked.signed. signed. signed.

    I was at the pharmacy the whole morning but something was missing: me.

    Mary Keech

    Part 3

    The queue was growing in the approach to lunchtime. Mary took up her place in The Dispensary. She heard the old lady complain to the young man that this place was always so slow. He agreed. Mary took note. The young woman behind them was pleasant enough. The middle aged man huffed and puffed and shuffled. His mistake.

    Part 4

    “Three people have been taken to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary with suspected poisoning. Police are treating the cases as suspicious and have arrested a woman. A young male victim and a woman, believed to be in her seventies, are in stable condition. However, a middle aged man is said to be critical. Police are not releasing any information about the suspect, at this time, but say there is no longer a threat to the community.”

      • Thanks for reading! Yes, I don’t think I intended writing about someone so sinister, but that’s just how ended up.

      • Thanks very much. I’ve wanted to use this type of structure but start at the end of the story. I didn’t quite manage that, but will have a go again at some point.

    • Interesting format, got me hooked. By ‘Mary took note’ and ‘His mistake’ I was a bit worried about the outcome!

      • Thanks. Yes, I did try to pick up pace at those points. Glad that worked.

    • Creepy! And so cleverly structured! Great story. Mary’s a tough cookie – I wonder what her victim/s did to deserve this treatment… perhaps – the scariest option of all – they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

      • I think I wanted to hint at Mary being disassociated in some way. Haven’t completely got to grips with her. Although her statement was my favourite part of the story to write.Thanks for comments. Glad you liked structure.

    • Loved the way you structured it too-was able to read again & get more when I read again- love that. If you want to start at end could use a newspaper headline as a title. Great story very intriguing – her ‘absence’ suggests she’ll be pleading insanity or boredom!

  3. HPSMpC

    ‘Have another sweetie, my dear.’
    ‘Please, I like.’
    ‘So, have you come far?’
    ‘Malay Peninsula, long way, very tired.’
    ‘Come along then, I’ll give you a lift.’
    *********************
    ‘Honey, look at this. Page four. Says there’s another missing person, a young girl come to work at the hotel. Mai Ping’s her name. Could be she’s been murdered like that other one.’
    ‘Hotels are famous for staff issues. Perhaps she never turned up at the station at all. Someone will have made a mistake and sorting it out will be down to me. My problem. (yawns) Cup of cocoa and a chocolate before we go up?’

    • A short piece and I still got a chill reading the woman had been murdered. Coupled with the ‘who cares’ attitude at the end, the story carries an uneasiness, creepy even. Good job!

      • You’re right – he was the murderer. I’m not sure if the ‘title’ gives a clue but I decided to use the initial letters of the prompts in sequence this time.

    • Such a great story – and dealing with one of my favourite issues in fiction, the total ‘normality’ of killers. I find it really touching that her name is mentioned, but the killer and, I presume, his wife, remain nameless. Excellent touch.

  4. Pingback: The Prescription | patrickprinsloo

  5. Pingback: Wednesday Weekly Write-In | Tessa Sheppard

  6. Hey all.

    I apologize for the one-sided relationship. I know I should read and comment and be part of this, but I can either not find the time or if I have the time I piss it away doing something unconstructive. (if that’s even a word.) I feel a bit guilty.

  7. Pingback: Missing | Craig Towsley

  8. HI everyone,
    Here’s mine- (still untitled)

    ‘Can I have your number Jane?’ He handed me a pen and smiled affectionately.
    “Of course.”
    I wrote it at an angle he wouldn’t be able to read straight away; would probably need a mirror to retrieve what he thought were the digits.
    J. Dough m1551ng p3r50n.
    I’m the one nobody has bothered to look for. I slithered out at night silently closing the door behind me. I thought it was only a matter of waiting for them to notice my absence.
    They were too busy guarding the bedroom door bolted by grief; the room I was forbidden from entering for fear I might contaminate her smell and the purity of her memory. Something remained drifting in the room, the tinkle of little bells, I just wanted to listen. I missed her too.
    There was an old house; I listened to it for a while. It sounded very empty. When I got inside I discovered why nobody wanted to live here. Everything was smothered in a layer of brown dust like someone had sieved cocoa powder over the whole lot. After removing the brown fur and preening things into their places I went out and gathered things.
    When I got back, I emptied out my plastic bags and after a good sorting, chose carefully the items to weave into my skeleton house to flesh it out to become a home.
    This is now my den where I’m safe in my loneliness. On paths I have carved out for myself through the darkness of intense isolation I go out collecting, mainly food and feathers and sparkly things to adorn my home. I learned to catch fish from the river. I’ve survived all these years by scavenging. I lived on leftovers and queued behind the pigeons for the crumbs in the park, the uneaten crusts from a business men’s cardboard lunch.
    Sometimes a bird hops along my windowsill and fills the air with her gentle song. I’ve often wondered what it meant and if the bird thought I understood. It was the little bird that got me planning and scheming.
    I wondered what she might think of me as she peered in at me. I wondered if the bird was just being nosey or did she understand what I was doing, and was admiring my nest building skills.
    Then I wondered what someone else might think about whether birds are capable of such thoughts. Do other people consider these things and if not then what? I felt a raw need to talk to someone about this, just have a conversation about it, and share opinions, like how it was with my sister as we figured the world out together.
    There was another house; I listened to it for awhile. It sounded very loud. Everybody wanted to be there.
    I gathered all of the sachets I had pilfered from magazines and scrubbed myself clean in the river so I smelled nice. I found shops full of powder and paint and ladies who help to apply it, so many colours. In smoky kohl, I sketched the selves I will become later that evening when I sneak into the party. I’d watched them coming and going. I knew exactly how to blend into their little hamlet. I shrouded myself in mists of mysterious aroma on the way out the fancy doors.
    At the party I reeled them in, hook line and sinker, like trout the colour of metallic rain. Safe behind my galvanised barrier of lies, I can now coax the truth from others. I flirt to attain a sense of intimacy, to get an opinion, a sensitive vulnerable side exposed.
    That is all I’m after.
    “And you live in Dublin?”
    ‘I studied there.’
    ‘What did you do?’
    ‘Medicine.’ I flickered my emboldened eyelashes and wondered if my lipstick had faded.
    I planned to fill my pockets and leave early with their knowledge. I hadn’t counted on getting drunk. A different person took over and gave me a break for a while. The lipstick thought is the last one I remember. She took him home.
    When I woke the air felt haunted. It was sound of someone else’s breath inside my four walls. There were clothes strewn about the bare floor. I slid out of the bed and tiptoed over empty bottles to my patchwork armchair and felt safer watching him sleep from my perch. I searched the window, where broken slats dangled from the blind, for signs of my feathered friend. I wanted him to hear her song.
    When he woke he stretched his arms out above his head. I cringed in recognition of my drunken scrawl. He scanned the room and found me.
    “You wouldn’t be able to write me a prescription Doctor Jane, I’ve a pounding headache?”
    “I guess I’ve been found out.”
    He looked up to his arm. “I think you’ve been found anyway.”
    He was right, I’m no longer missing.

    • ‘I sketched the selves I would become…’ is great. I also love ‘a different person took over…’. This is full of rich imagery and is poetic. I hope she has been found. I am in awe of how much material you are able to come up with in such a short space of time.

      • Ooh- creepy! I love how the final line which seems to be banal gives so much away.
        The yawn is very aptly placed- not only does it seem normal & everyday but it also supposed to be a body language sign of guilt/ concealment! Great story!

      • Thanks ! Glad you liked it. I just scribbled down my ideas in the morning in this case I got the idea of the homeless woman at the party ( opening) & then just went with the weirdness ignoring the screams of my inner editor! Didn’t get much time to refine so I pretty much typed it up as it was. Looking forward to editing & making sense of ! Thanks for comment.

    • Many-faceted, like the narrator. I like the listening and bird themes throughout. Very poetic, as always. (A less romantic observation might be that all she needed all along was to get plastered!!!)

    • I’m glad she had a happy ending! I enjoyed some of the language and imagery in this piece, though I wonder if it could be structured differently – start with the party, and expose Jane’s backstory through things she doesn’t say in conversation, questions left unanswered, maybe? At times, I’ll admit I found it a bit hard to follow. But some really lovely writing. Well done!

      • Thanks for feedback; really helpful. Going back to edit this now: this was more of a vomit draft than a first draft and was written pretty much as it came to me. Some of it’s a bit abstract alright. About to get a good cutting and restructuring. Glad you like the writing, looking forward to making it better.

  9. A great ending but a bit of a journey getting there. Some lovely imagery along the way but I felt the word count could come down – with tighter writing, not losing the content. Could this story be put into verse form?

    • Thanks for your feedback. Going back to edit now. This was a really rough draft and will benefit from a good trim and juggle around! Thanks for your suggestion : verse form sounds interesting will try it out!

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