Wednesday Write-in #48


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

toxic  ::  imprint  ::  fluorescent  ::  cream  ::  water pressure

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

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, a free 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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35 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #48

  1. Pingback: CAKE: Dance story | beccaaudra

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  3. Hi, found it difficult today, but I’ve had a go. Look forward to reading everyone else’s

    Once he was out, she slowly rose to her feet. She squinted in the bathroom mirror at her bruises and cream complexion. She had grown up fast that year.
    Life had been shit. But there would be no body under the patio, except maybe hers. She left for good this time.

    She was standing at the kitchen sink. Drama about nothing, his fist shot out. A rose that made her eyes water stamped itself on her cheek.
    She stayed down. It was Tuesday. He wouldn’t make himself late for the lads.

    He didn’t dance. She got drunk on his beer stained kiss and believed his slurring spiel.

    She was eighteen and the future glowed fluorescent. Any day could be Saturday. Door ways closed to daylight, opened up to night. Two-bit sentinels guarded stairways that led to dance floors and toxic promises that sat high above the pavements she walked on as a kid.

    • Moving piece, took me a minute to connect the scattered time up, but I quite liked that. It’s like she’s going into herself to find out how she got here, finally ending on kid gives it this sense of promises and hope mixed with vulnerability and damage. x

      • Thanks. glad you liked the scattered time. I didn’t want to end on going to the police or her murdering him so just taking it back to how young and vulnerable she is/was seemed right.

      • Thanks. I was trying to push my use of language this week so I am really glad you said that.

    • God, this was powerful. Such amazing imagery, particularly the ‘rose that made her eyes water’ and her ‘bruises and cream’ complexion. I adore the last paragraph, it’s like poetry. Wonderful work.

      • I am glad ‘bruises and cream’ worked as I really wanted it to. Thanks so much for your lovely comment on the last para!

    • I loved this not only for the punchy (pardon the pun!) impact it had but especially for the way it can be read with so many layers. It’s structured brilliantly & I really enjoyed when I finished going back & reading it again backwards. Tiny suggestion would be to edit out “except maybe hers” it seems to contradict the fact that she’s leaving (if I am reading it correctly). Although this a sad story ultimately it’s ends/begins! On a hopeful note with her leaving him. Great stuff- going back for another read!

      • Thanks so much. I am so glad you liked it .Yes, I’ll have a look at that.

  4. She leaned against the wall aiming for nonchalence, trying to look blasé, like a cat that had lapped up all the cream. But Sam could see in the harsh flourescent light that it was all a facade. The scene was toxic. Behind the pose she was frightened. As she turned her head he could clearly see the imprint of a hand on her cheek. Not long ago someone had given her a hard slap.

  5. Pingback: Wednesday Write in #48: Docking | Brassduke's Blog

    • more life signs than there is permits- is a great line. Like the fluorescent waistcoat and woman. I may be totally off, but I feel like the bureaucracy is in the way of the excitement and this is your point.

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  7. Hi everyone,
    Happy Wed/Thursday! Apologies mine’s a bit late, long and rough around the edges. Looking forward to reading the rest.
    Stones then pebbles then sand.

    Killing someone should be a major shift in perspective in a person’s life.
    The weight of the ordeal drags me to the ground, adrenaline wearing off, pain a steady throb.
    The fact that I had just killed another person, not only someone I had known for a long time but someone I regarded as a friend seemed to have no effect on me. The gun in my hands still scalding from use should be radiating guilt, but it’s not. It should disgust me. I should throw it away in horror, but I don’t I grip it tighter, my arm still feeling the sudden jolt of it.
    Have I become a monster? When did it happen? Was it when I bought the gun?
    “What type of weapon are you looking for?”
    “I don’t know the first thing about…One that kills.”
    “This beauty lets you kill with impunity.”
    Once the war began I decided to use the licence to carry a weapon. I was no fighter but I wanted to be able to defend myself. The guy in the munitions shop seemed to think that we all purchased firearms with our target already in sight. When I bought this gun the last person I though I’d be killing was Bertie.
    “Issue us with licences to kill and kill we will.”
    “Oh no it’s just in case.”
    “We’re all licensed to fight monsters nowadays.”
    *
    We survived the Final World War, the war nobody won, without the need for me to fire my weapon. It was all very anti-climactic really. We still lived because the wind carried the toxic clouds up and away from our impregnable valley. The world beyond, vanished, everything withered away to sand.
    We scratched out a sufficient existence to delay extinction. Life was never the same. Everything seemed to be charged with a frenetic energy, like the knowledge that we could be the last survivors of the human race put pressure on us all to perform. A routine developed of scrambling to persist in a new world. We all endured the same emotional claustrophobia. The inability to express fear, for fear that fear itself becomes contagious. Our need to escape the intensity was always outweighed by the risk of being devoured or incinerated or some other unimaginable horror. Sometimes I felt so swamped down, that I thought I would drown from the sensation alone. A sense of life elsewhere became a beckoning mistress I had to ignore. We fortified our walls against it. Big stones first then pebbles then sand. In my mind I put the world back together, staying safe inside its mossy banks, I’d ignite imaginative worlds from embers of forgotten lives.
    I worried about how my friend Bertie was coping. He was an evasive presence who often dropped noiselessly out of sight. I knew he traipsed the edges where the air quivered with impurities. I knew about his taste for illicit substances, stimulants in particular. I suspected he extracted elements from the atmosphere and was experimenting with chemical compounds after contact with the outside world was cut off.
    When I questioned him about what he was doing. His story didn’t add up and was clearly fabricated, extensively embellished with scientific jargon for authenticity. I knew he wasn’t sleeping and spent his nights pacing and muttering and indulging in other bizarre behaviours.
    The last time I tried to ask him about it, my throat refused, folding and gathering inwards upon itself. I watched him. His face had settled into an instinctive scowl as he concentrated on the contents of the test tubes in front of him. Tiredness misted his gaze and I could see that a vein throbbed, a nerve twitched, a jolt of misdirected electricity plucked at his eye lid.
    I knew there was something not right. I swallowed.
    “What are you up to?”
    My question was shrugged away. Even after escalated needling he smiled neutrally and gave nothing away.
    That’s the problem with the inscrutability of other people; you never truly know what’s going on in someone else’s head. As he scratched stubble on his chin and quenched the candle by pinching sending filaments of blue smoke scuttling into the atmosphere, I knew he was up to something.
    Woken from sleep with a sudden screech of light, I grab the gun, put on my shoes and go out to see. The sky pulsed with unearthly colours, a fluorescent glow, and residue diffusing. Suddenly steps become a run; I sprint faster to get to the light. It was coming from the reservoir at the top of the other side of the valley. I’d seen Bertie snooping around up there.
    Took me a while to figure out what I was looking at, splintered fragments strewn about. Violent, visceral animalistic sounds gave Bertie’s whereabouts away. There was a crazy look in his eyes. As I approached I could detect the odour of decay from his breath and kept my distance. He was spurting with spontaneous, strange, manic utterances.
    We needed to move away from the reservoir. I knew by the sound, the water pressure was increasing dangerously. The dam wall must have been damaged in the explosion. Water crashed and churned and whisked to such frenzy that cream gathered and clotted where the gushing flows overlapped, great big foamy warning signs.
    Then I realised it he was planning to blow up the dam and flood the entire valley.
    I plead with him to come with me. He said he wanted to leave his imprint on the history of humanity and be the one to wipe them all out. We were nothing but monsters he said. His arms were dead sticks waiting to die, but his fingers cling desperately to something. A detonator.
    “It’s for the best.” He shouted at me and that’s when I shot him. He slumped to the ground, danger disabled.
    It didn’t take long for others from the valley to arrive. Together we were able to stem the flow from the reservoir by rebuilding the dam. Big stones first then pebbles then sand.

    • So many great images: beckoning mistress, odour of decay, big stones first then pebbles….. I think this could be an excellent lengthy short story.( I have written a kids’ picture book that’s denouement involves dinosaurs working together to sort out a flood! Obviously mine has a totally different tone!) Really great use of language.

    • I *really* enjoyed this, Emmaleene – you built a great world, well imagined and well described, and you made me care for the character of Bertie, and wonder why his friend had to kill him. If I could make one tiny suggestion, it would be: have you considered using more dialogue, instead of long chunks of exposition-type writing? It might achieve the same thing in a smaller space (if you’re worried about your stories being too long, that is!) and also rachet up the tension a bit quicker. It’s just something you could consider for a future project. This story, I think, is my favourite of all the work I’ve read by you – I really loved it. The last line is devastating – in an emotional-wringing-the-last-drop-of-sorrow-from-the-reader way! Really well done. 🙂

      • Oh thanks! Delighted with that feedback. That’s the funny this with these prompts- I just tend to go with what comes to me-never sure if its any good but writing anyway so I am really pleased you liked it! Great tip about the dialogue- going to set it as a writing exercise & see how I get on. It’s exactly what I need to do! My poetry past always steers me towards description – looking forward to expanding my horizons!

      • Yay! Excellent. I’m so glad you found it helpful. Good luck with your writing exercise, and can’t wait to find out how it turns out for you. 🙂

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