Wednesday Write-in #49


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

inside and out  ::  tessellate  ::  starvation  ::  floral  ::  sweat

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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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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50 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #49

  1. Mr Green

    “Are you going to tell me where the uranium is Mr Green?”

    The raspy voice came on a wave of halitosis, it repulsed Mark.

    As if controlled by a chord like a venetian blind, Mark Green opened his eyes with care. He released the extraocular muscles around his eyes at a delicate pace. Despite his caution the fierce sun burning across the azure sky, blinded him into a painful phosphorous haze.

    The tessellated floor tiles with their floral design, were supposed to keep the room cool but now they acted like a thousand small fires. He counted the tiles every day to keep his cerebral potency, today though, today he struggled to focus.

    The cell they had thrown him into twenty six days earlier had no roof. He was lying on his side, one arm pinned under his body, the other straight out in front of his weak frame. A sharp pain shot through the roof of his mouth into his throbbing head.

    Rivulets of sweat trickled down the valley of his spine. It used to make him feel uncomfortable, now though his body was too numb to care. His stocky build had become frail; blue, yellow and deep brown bruises covered every inch of his body.

    The latest tactic to get him to confess was starvation; they would show him the food then take the plate away. The spicy aroma lingered long in the hot air driving him into hallucination. Mark could see himself lying in the isolated cell, before his mind’s eye ran inside and out of his being.

    His ears picked up the noise; a GSh-18 Russian pistol was cocked and ready to fire. As Mark Green wrenched and turned his head the first bullet had already ripped into his chest. The blue warm sky morphed into darkness and with it went the secret of the dirty bomb.

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    • Welcome! I hope you enjoy taking part in the Wednesday Write-Ins. I thought your story was easy to relate to – I know exactly what your character was going through! – and I thought you had an interesting narrative style. Well done on your first entry. 🙂

      • Thank you for your feedback. I wanted to create a piece that would make people think about what they spend their time on, something that they could relate to themselves, but also pretty short piece that would not fail to catch ones attention.

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    • Good to see you back, Tessa! I enjoyed your story, as always. I liked the tension you set up, and the betrayal at the end really does sting. I did think the opening sentences were just a little awkward – you include a lot of information in a very small space, and it seems a tiny bit ‘crammed’. But I loved your characterisation and setting, and the whole premise behind your piece. Well done!

      • Thanks! I’ll take another look at my first paragraph. I’m glad to be back. 😀

      • It’s a really exciting. It intrigued me and pulled me through. I feel there’s a longer story trying to get out, here, and it’s worthy of expansion into something bigger. I got a bit confused in the middle about who was who, but I’ll gladly confess that’s because I’m old and dotty, and nothing to do with your writing!

  5. I am still away and although I can’t comment I am enjoying reading.

    ‘There’s no way you’re going to die of starvation any tme soon, pig face.’
    ‘Shut up, stinky sweaty feet. Don`t you ever wash?
    `Eat my socks, or just shovel in some more toast.`
    `I’d love some more toast, but I don`t think Mum can afford it on her pension!`
    Their mother wafted into the room in a cloud of floral fragrance.
    `I thought you’d both be gone by now. Ed, aren`t you giving a lecture on child psychology to the Institute today? And David, the budget won`t write itself, you know.`
    `Sorry, Mum,` David grinned sheepishly. `Have you seen my briefcase? I`ve got loads of stuff in there on some sort of sticky thing. Thanks. Ah, my favourite sarnies too! Bye.`

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  8. HI everyone!
    Tessellated
    She was her usual jovial self, right up to the end making inappropriate jokes about her special plot in the graveyard and how all the locals are dying to get in. She said I’m leaving the house to Sophie. I’ve a surprise hidden beneath the floorboards for her wink, wink; nudge, nudge, chuckle. Everyone had laughed, slightly uncomfortable that a woman so close to death’s door so openly laughed and mocked in the face of it.
    She wasn’t joking at all. There was a surprise.
    Inheriting her grandmother’s house had been heartbreaking for Sophie.
    There was a giant skip outside the window, the size of a lorry container, leaving only a peep of honey evening sky visible above its muddied and rusted black imposition. It was filled with the innards of the building. Gothic in it’s dimensions, with tall thin windows stretching towards the heavens, the house had been a disused church before Sophie’s grandparents converted it in the 70’s.
    The sight of it disembowelled like this made Sophie feel like she had dug up her Grandmother’s grave, removed her skeleton and exposed her bare bones to the world.
    Woodworm and dry rot meant the internal partition walls were dismantled. They had endured longs hours of sweat and dust. The crumbling buckled floorboards were next to be lifted.
    “I come with sandwiches and tea” Sophie announced as she entered under the black plastic, still clad in the same dirty work clothes as earlier.
    “Great. I’m about to collapse with the starvation.”
    “Makes me sad to see the place like this.”
    “Reminds me of that line from the poem The lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliott.”
    “Why?”
    “A patient etherised upon a table.”
    “I think it looks pinned down like the fur and head of a hunted animal splayed out.”
    “Had no choice really. The insides were rotten. Needed structural repairs inside and out.”
    “I know”
    “It was renovate or disintegrate.”
    Jimmy had borrowed floodlights from the local football pitch and the plan was to work through the night, keep going until there’s nothing left. The intricate stonework was held together with scaffolding inside and out.
    “Come on lets have a last twirl on the floorboards before we lift them.” Jimmy swung Sophie in looping circles around the expanse of the open space.
    “Will you look at the state of me.” Her jeans were grey with dust and her shirt was barely visible beneath a layer of it
    “I always knew there was something scruffy about you.”
    “I’ll have you know I used to be the best dressed child in the neighbourhood,” she said fluffing the scarecrow hair escaping beneath yellow hardhat.
    “Mother made my clothes by hand. Real attention to detail.”
    “Oooh fancy Nancy”
    “Embroidered detail like baskets of multi-coloured flowers on the pockets of smock aprons over plaid dresses just like in Little House on The Prairie.”
    “I can picture you now running through the meadow.”
    “Mam braided my hair into two plaits, woven so tight that when I ran my fingers over its neat surface it reminded me of taut rope.”
    They settled into a satisfied hum of nostalgia, as steam rose from freshly poured tea and they tucked into the sandwiches.
    “Endless co-ordinations made during manic hours while everyone else slept. I always knew the sound of the Singer spinning away all night would be followed by a fall down a bottomless pit. A descent down a hole so deep you wonder if the rest of the world still exists.”
    “Must have been hard.”
    “Oh I loved the outfits she made for me. There was the floral dress that swung up and out when you twirled and the stripy summer sailor suit.”
    “What ever happened to them outfits?”
    “I cut them all up.”
    “Really?”
    “I was pretty angry when she died. I was fuming with her.”
    “Oh you poor thing.”
    Jimmy gave her a little squeeze of consolation. She inhaled deeply and blew away her tears on the exhale.
    “I was ok. I had Grandma.”
    “I think she was angry at Mam too. At least she understood my anger and talked to me about it. Understood my regret too.” She wiped a trickle from her nose. “For my thirteenth birthday she used the fabric from the outfits to make a tessellated patchwork quilt, a collage of my childhood a mosaic of all the happy memories I had with Mam.”
    “What’s tessellate?”
    “A pattern. I’ll show you again now we better get back to work.”
    After their short break they got to yanking up the planks with crowbars. Most of it fell to crumbs, still covering the pattern beneath. Sophie grabbed the industrial sized yard brush leaning nonchalantly against the wall and shoved debris and dirt to one side to reveal a pattern the exact template of the quilt her Grandmother made for her 13th birthday.
    “Now that’s a tessellated tile floor.”
    “Wow. “ Jimmy stood jaw open in amazement at the ornate detail and vivid colours emerging from the trail of dirt.
    “We’ll have to rethink our plans.”
    “Yea we can begin by cancelling that order of concrete.”
    Sophie squinted her eyes to see the spirit of her Grandmother in a floral dress twirl and spin across the kaleidoscopic floor.

  9. I am wrapped in gowns. I bake under the tessellated silver foils that adorn my head. I am square on to the mirror. Perhaps one of the only times it is permissible in public. No surreptitious glances in shop windows to see if something nasty has caught my appearance unawares. Here I can look and people inside and out can watch me look.
    I stare at the silver cap and I am retro sci- fi girl. Serene in my silver : sexy, eerie and probably telepathic.
    45 minutes is up and I am stripped of my silver headgear. I look at the dull highlights in my hair and feel nostalgic for the future of the 70s.                 

    • What a great (and unexpected!) ending. I was thinking ‘sci-fi heroine!’ at first, and then it turned into something a million miles away from what I was expecting. Well done! 🙂

      • Thanks. I had nothing,then, I just went for it a bit. I quite like it ,actually, even although it probably only makes sense to me!

      • Yes, absolutely! Sorry, I just meant I am aware it’s a bit rough (and possibly weird.) Thank you.

    • This is great. Loved how you misled the reader to form a twist at the end. AT&T 1st I was thinking something wrapped in tin foil going into the oven! Loved all the mirror images-you really captured the awkwardness of sitting right in front of one.

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