Wednesday Write-in #60

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Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in. This event runs every week to help any and all writers take control of their productivity and imaginations. Please join in; we’d love to read your work.

Prompts

storm warning  ::  performance  ::  insomnia  ::  turn  ::  stop

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 have time for (but we won’t shout at you if you don’t).
  • 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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43 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #60

  1. Pingback: SJ O'Hart

  2. Je ne regret rien
    Ludmilla couldn’t sleep for a month now. Every time she dozed off, she woke up with heart beating fast and sweat beads rolling down her forehead. The reason for her insomnia was that as soon as she closed her eyes, the unsettling feeling of somebody watching her made her sit up and turn the lights on. But when she stared into the darkness there was nobody and nothing there, except the wall adorned with old photographs and gold medals. The room smelled of fading lavender and dusty memories and if she inhaled deep enough a taste of cotton candy and sweet triumph touched her tongue. But there was nobody else there, only her.
    Ludmilla knew why the shadows were thickening around her dreams but she decided to ignore them for good. Instead she felt for her glasses on the nightstand and went down to the kitchen to make herself an English Breakfast tea: just the perfect beverage at 3 am. The steam made her glasses foggy and she slightly shook her head as she took them off to clean them with her rose patterned night gown.
    “You know, Jim, she blames you for her untimely death. But she is a silly girl, my darling, since it was entirely my decision,” she mumbled into her tea. Nobody replied to her in the empty kitchen.
    The next night there were noises, too. The floor was creaking and sighing as though somebody was dancing on it. There was the soft whisper of tulle and the laughter of young girls. Ludmilla forced her eyes shut and didn’t give in to the temptation to open them. Not even when there was the dying music of an orchestra and an applaud thundering through the coughing of pipes and the crying of the neighbour’s dog. Ludmilla was a stubborn woman and she was not to be tempted into a feeling of remorse.
    “Go away,” she whispered into the darkness, “I don’t regret anything”
    She smiled at the thought, staggered out of the bed and went to the old record player.
    She rummaged around the shelf, looking for the song she wanted. As the needle kissed the black body of the record, Edith Piaf started singing in a distant, somewhat creaky voice. Je ne regret rien, the first song Jim asked her to dance, it was … yes almost sixty years ago. She remembered the touch of his hand and the lights dancing in his eyes. Ludmilla chuckled and she started swaying to the music just like on the night which changed the course of her life. The darkness in the corner was watching her in dismay.
    On the third night, Ludmilla felt a cold touch on her face. She must have left one of the windows open and the cold night air was sneaking in. She turned on the light and immediately saw the culprit. It was indeed a window, the one next to her desk. There must have been a breeze too, because a lot of papers were shred on the floor. Like rose petals, Ludmilla thought, and suddenly she remembered her first big success on stage. They called her the “White rose” and from that evening on, her fans always lay a flood of roses before her feet. She smiled at the memory and crouched down to look at the papers. They were old newspaper cuts, praising her dreamlike performance in “The Sleeping Beauty,” her heart-cracking subtlety in “The Nutcracker” and her graceful death in “Swan lake.” Ludmilla sighed and swiped away the tears rolling down from her eye. The last article was about her, the star on the heavenly canopy of ballet deciding to retire from performance on the height of her carrier. She fell in love, got pregnant and chose family stability over fame and the love of the audience.
    “It was a nasty move,” Ludmilla said to the gathering shadows.
    “At least it made you acknowledge me. God, it was high time,” said the young woman standing in front of her. She was pale, almost translucent and had a tutu hugging her slender body tighter than any lover.
    “What do you want? Haven’t you tortured me enough?” grumbled Ludmilla.
    The echo of her younger self smiled sadly. “I want you back. You threw me away, killed me and gave me up to forgetting. I want compensation.”
    “Look, I am sorry. What is done, cannot be undone. And if you asked me today, I wouldn’t have it happen any other way,” said Ludmilla, carefully avoiding the eyes of the girl.
    “I know and I came to accept your version of the truth. I ask nothing but to dance with you one more time. I am not as vicious, as you like to think of me… We are the same person, after all.”
    “It all sounds too nice. You were bothering me all this time, with your creaking and creeping, just to dance together? Doesn’t it sound a little bit suspicious?”
    “It seems the years didn’t dim your mind at all. Nor did they make your tongue less sharp. And yes there is another thing with coming with the dance. But I think you have figured that out already” the girl sat down next to Ludmilla.
    “You see, I knew you were not lurking around for peaceful reconciliation”
    “Well, I understand your concerns… but there is a time for everything. I hoped so much, I would manage to convince you alone, without using my trump, but you are as stubborn as ever,” the girl sighed, “ if you gave me this dance… you can have him,” she waved in the direction of the door, “for the rest of time.”
    There was a thickening of darkness, night air and old pine smell and Ludmilla’s eyes filled with tears as she saw the shape of a man standing in the door.
    “How ya doing sweet heart? You got a little worn by the years without my care, but we will sort it out,” Jim chuckled.
    “You have all the nasty moves for tonight, don’t you?” said Ludmilla looking at the ballerina who was reaching out for her hand, “I am afraid I am not as flexible and gracious as half a century ago”
    “It doesn’t matter,” her young self smiled, “you will see, it is becoming easier and easier with each step and turn”
    “Oh well. But if you dare to laugh at me, I will show you that I am not as old as I look!”
    They both laughed and they danced through the shadows and the darkness to the lament of violins playing “Swan Lake” and the man in the door was watching them proudly.

  3. The Beach
    The dawn sky, pale mother of pearl streaked with rose and glimmers of yellow slipping through, promised a fabulous day. It was hard to believe that yesterday there had been a storm warning and in fact in the evening there had been some windy weather, although nothing like the forecast. This early on a summer’s morning was the best time of all, when no-one was around and the sand was unmarked by the day.
    Sue leaned further out of the window to breathe in the soft sea air and then she saw them. A man walking slowly up the beach with a dog of indeterminate pedigree leaping around him. Another insomniac, she thought, and picked up her binoculars for a closer look.
    This man wasn’t an early morning exercise fanatic, he walked slowly and scarcely seemed to look up from his path, apart from occasionally patting the dog when it bounded up to him. The dog was running round in circles, making a big performance of charging up to the water’s edge and stopping when it got its feet wet, then turning back to its master for congratulations. With the last foray it brought something back in its mouth; it looked like a shoe.
    Sue’s eyes followed the dog further along the beach then spotted the rest of what it had found in the surf. Gently lapped by the water, and rolling ever so slightly to and fro with the ebb and flow of the waves, it was the body of a woman.

      • You’re right, it was going to be a romance. She’d run down to meet him and they’d walk off hand in hand into the sunrise! But I changed my mind.

    • This would be a great as part of a bigger mystery novel. Great description of the man and dog on the beach. What happens next? 🙂

      • Thanks, Tessa. I did think of it as the start of something longer but I’m not really sure what happens next myself!

    • Ooo – chilling! I really like the twist in direction here. Like Patrick, though, I thought maybe you could’ve been less specific at the end. Maybe just ‘a body’ or ‘a shape that looked like a body’ would work better. But really that’s minor. Great atmosphere and descriptions, and I loved the way you brought the dog to life in just a few words. Excellent.

      • Thank you – I did rather rush the ending, as all you eagle-eyed readers have noticed!!

    • I am glad it wasn’t a romance. I don’t think that it would have been as good. I really like it as it is. May I suggest that Sue could be the sinister one- a subtle nod to that at the end? (Just the fact she has binoculars got me thinking.)

      • Thank you, that’s an idea! I had thought maybe the man could have murdered his wife and she’d washed ashore, but I hadn’t thought of Sue. Mmmm…

  4. Pingback: Overheard #7: The Busker | patrickprinsloo

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

  6. Pingback: Rain Drops and Glass Beads | A Blanket of Noise

  7. Hi, verging on cheery this week!
    Look forward to reading everyone’s.

    My sister is a rhythmical wonder. She knows how to put on a performance: a waterfall of movement, intelligent right down to tissue and muscle. She looks across and smiles encouragement.
    “My moves come with subtitles,” I say attempting a turn. “I got Dad’s dancing skills!”
    “You’re doing great. Don’t stop!’

    She doesn’t want me to give up. She wants us to spend more time together. We share a birthday but not much else.
    That’s my fault. I am bookish.

    Later, I walk a basic strut to the library and the books. I am efficient in this place. I am competent. I start to read, peruse. I feel the rhythm of the poetry and the rage of the words. l feel my hips again. I carry myself. I feel sexy here.
    Right here.

  8. Hi everyone,
    Not much time so here’s a quick one. Not sure what this is yet!
    Slumber
    A flash, a storm warning, made me stop and turn back. Conditions were too dangerous for the journey to Slumber. When I drifted off, I was there again.
    I’ll do anything to stay awake. I’d rather an eternity of insomnia with only blank walls to claw at than revisit those horrors. Holograms stalk the hollow landscape of my nightmares. A performance enacted each time I nod off. The scene replays when I allow myself to fall into the hell of my subconscious mind. When I realise and try to escape, my body paralysed by sleep, is unable to move, a heavy weight pressed down on me. I always wake gasping with skin wrinkled from my own sweat, my soul withered further by the re-experience.
    I wonder if you dream when you die.

    • I particularly like the Holograms sentence and ‘my soul withered’ – great descriptions of fighting against your nightmares. But I’m not sure I’d recommend insomnia.

    • I love the last line, and I can really feel the oppression and fear all the way through. It’s such a great study in intense terror. I’d love to know what, exactly, is in the narrator’s subconscious mind, but revealing it would, of course, ruin the story. Well done, Emmaleene.

    • Very good imagery. So bad she might contemplate suicide the ending suggests to me. I wonder what’s going on in there. Well done.

  9. Hello there :3 this is my first time trying ! It’s poetry, which is a bit unusual maybe, but I don’t really know how to do anything else .___.

    Here is the poem :
    ____________________________________________

    The storm warning me of some ethereal particle quarrel
    Is the background music around which my insomnia tiptoes
    afraid of missing a beat

    The screen radiates Dickinson in cold light
    I read aloud in slow, careful speech
    as the performance should last a bit longer

    (Dickinson seem to gently open the way forward
    to the hours – I found that Pound scares them away
    and H.D. has a nullifying effect – I plan further experiments.)

    I -according to plan- should last a bit longer
    If only to keep company to my symphonious thunderstorm outside
    I will read – aloud (it matters) until it curls in to a stop.

    “And I dropped down, and down –
    And hit a World, at every plunge,
    And Finished knowing – then -”

    I turn to the thought of you perching over my bed
    Thinking I might get some rest when you give me a look – however slight
    A condition nightly denied.
    ____________________________________________________________
    It can be found on my newly created blog here if anybody’s interested in commenting there as well :3 http://theozoneattic.wordpress.com/

    Thanks !

    • I may be off track here. It’s highly possible! It’s insomnia that’s personified in the last verse? I really like that idea. I like ‘I plan further experiments’ – this is night after night- a good sense of that from this. I like your poem very much.

      • … I don’t really know who that is in the last verse. But insomnia personified is the best idea yet !

      • It’s a very good poem regardless. It’s good not to always know exactly what’s happening. I don’t write poetry- a little bit scared of it.

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