Fun With Freewriting – Week 12: Biding Time

Wow, we’re on week 12 already, almost three months of free writing fun! So here it is, a little scenario to whet your appetite. I quite like this one and have made a note to develop it a bit more. Might have potential …

The naked flames flicker around the room as we huddle together for warmth. We’ve been trapped in this place now for three days without heating or electric. We’ve been taking it steady with our rations, and should have enough to see us through the rest of the week, we just need to keep our heads.

Poor Shane couldn’t handle it beyond the first two nights, and its been over twenty four hours now since he left us. Rattling around in the same rooms without power or even any idea of when we’re able to leave. It had sent him beyond help quicker than either of us had expected.

Part of me is glad that he left, wondering what he’d have done to himself, or us, if we’d tried to keep him contained. But I can’t help thinking of him now as the wind rattles away all around us, out there on his own without food, without water, or even decent clothes to keep him warm and dry.

The heat from our meagre fire barely reaches us as we sit in a pile of blankets in front of it. The wind whistling down the short chimney is keeping at bay any chance of coaxing the flames further. The shutters banging against the window have become a regular, pounding drone on the edge of my consciousness, along with the wind itself.

Although we sit in the middle of the forest here, the trees aren’t quite close enough to hear the rustling of leaves or the creaking of branches. We have long since given up staring out of the windows, constantly searching for signs of a rescue. There were too many shadows and glimpses of eyes for this activity to promise any kind of comfort.

I felt certain that there was something out there, knowing that we were in here and biding its time. Just watching and waiting, seeing if an opportunity would present itself. I try to push these ideas and images to the back of my mind, burying them under a forced optimism, but still they creep back in, deliberately making themselves known.

I don’t share these worries with my sister, not bearing to voice them aloud for fear of the very act bringing to life these demons in my mind. The only thing she fears is running out of food before help arrives, but I’ve made provisions for that.

I just hope that rescue comes soon before it too sends me mad. I’d have no other choice but to follow Shane’s example and abandon my sister in this place. I could not be responsible for anything happening to her, that kind of burden is not one that I would carry well.

All I can hope for is to cling on to my mind, keeping one ear open for the approach of help, or of something else …

A Welcome Revenge – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, and we’re going back to our WWBH roots with one picture and five words.

The picture:

WineandCheese

 

The words:                    screwdriver, saucepan, barrel, spine, comb

The story:

A Welcome Revenge

‘You always have to be the odd one out, don’t you?’ I muttered as the others left the room.
‘I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, darling’ he replied, kissing me on the cheek before clearing the plates from the table. ‘Shall I take this through too? May as well finish them off.’
I looked at the platter of cheese he held out, trying to keep my blood on a slow simmer. He was doing it on purpose, of course, trying to get a reaction from me. I was determined not to give him the satisfacion.
As he headed through to our guests I stacked the plates by the sink, running the tap as I gathered the saucepans. I knew what he was doing, making every effort he could to show up my sisters new boyfriend. The last time it’d taken hardly any effort at all; for a so-called handy man he hadn’t known one end of a screwdriver from the other. Even I had to admit she’d been scraping the barrel with that one.
But she seemed really keen this time, and he was a decent guy. I didn’t want anything to put either of them off. It would be just like Ian to say something as part of his fun and send the guy running for the hills.
I sighed as I cleared the wine glasses away, three red and one white. He wasn’t even that keen on white wine, but anything to be different. Combing his hair the other way. Taking his lunch at different times. All just to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I had to think hard about why I married him in the first place. My friends had tried to steer me away but I was young and in love I suppose.
Pushing unwanted thoughts from my mind, I quickly finished clearing the kitchen so I could go through and try and keep him under control. As I hummed quietly to myself a crash suddenly came from the living room.
Dropping everything I raced through, ready to berate Ian for his behaviour. ‘Ian, what have you … ‘ I stood halfway through the doorway in shock, my spine going cold as I took in the scene.
My sister stood over by the window, shaking as she slowly collapsed to the floor. Her dress was torn and hanging around her. On the floor was Ian, sprawled on his front where he’d landed on the glass coffee table.
And over by the fireplace was Karl, my sister’s new boyfriend, holding my mums cribbage trophy in his hand and staring at me as I burst in on the scene. Looking at them all, one after the other, my mind became clearer than it had done in years.
I smiled up at Karl, who looked at me, puzzled. ‘I’ll get the shovel,’ I said, leaving them both stunned as I left them with a new bounce in my step.

Word count: 497

Fun With Freewriting – Week 11: Life slips you by

Who’s ready for another slice of freewriting fun? I’m not sure where this one came from really, I was just wondering how someone would feel if they’d got so far in their life and realised how much they’d missed. Time is a cruel thing, not letting you go back and change anything. Sometimes you just have to live with that fact …

Looking too far ahead can be dangerous, it can cause you to lose sight of what’s happening in that moment. Without even realising it you’re wishing your life away, longing for what may or may not happen. By pinpointing and fixating on a particular achievement, the majority of your time is spent striving towards that point, constantly thinking about it and working towards it.

A lot of the time this means bypassing everything else happening in life, sidestepping all other responsibilities just so that you can maintain that focus. This is how life slips you by.

This is what happened to Trevor, and he only realised it when he came home one evening and found his grown up son and daughter were like strangers to him. He had no idea what kind of people they’d become, what they were even doing with their lives, and had no recollection of their journeys from infant to adult.

It only started to bother him when he realised how well they both got on with his wife, their mother. She seemed to know all the details of their lives; who their friends were, what their hobbies were. He didn’t even know they had jobs, let alone what they could be.

And yet he looked at his son and saw a reflection of himself, his own image from so many years ago, but diluted slightly with some of his wife’s feature. He wondered to himself, just how could it be that a face so familiar could be so alien all at the same time. On the outside he felt like he knew this person, this product of his own genetics, and yet the inside was totally foreign, an enigma he found impossible to unravel.

He was sure he could remember them being born, bringing them home and those first tentative steps into parenthood. But as he sat with all the family photo albums scattered around him on the living room floor, he realised how little he’d actually witnessed for himself. He didn’t even recall the most important times, birthdays and Christmas’s. Surely he’d been around for those? And his wife’s birthdays? Their anniversaries?

As the enormity of all that he’d missed hit home in his mind, his head felt heavy on his shoulders. Emotions began to overwhelm him throughout, he felt his shoulders shaking as the sobs came, unexpected and unimpeded. He didn’t cry out, just letting the tears fall freely down his cheeks until they soaked his shirt.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 10: Summer

It’s free writing fun time! This may seem optimistic given the weather conditions of late, but a weekend of sunshine has left me inspired for this one …

Looking out as far as the sea goes, all looks calm and serene. The border between the sun and the sky is a perfect line, giving away no hints of the movements and turmoil beneath.

Closer to the shore though is all different. The waves race towards the beach, gathering momentum, encouraging their fellows in a race towards land. Finally, in one last burst of energy they break. Foam sprays and creeps along the sand, like arms reaching out as far as they can go. Right at this moment they are reaching for my toes as I wiggle them defiantly, daring them to stretch out and grab me.

The air is still for the most part, the breeze occasionally coming off the waves and cooling my skin. The sun is sitting high in the sky, beating down in all its glory. The handful of white, fluffy clouds that do hover in the sky keep a respectful distance today, not wanting to spoil anybodies play.

The towel beneath me is just as warm as the sand now, and as I move I can feel it shifting beneath my weight. I’ve found my spot just on the border between the soft, pliable sand and the more compact, water-laden area. Close enough for the water to constantly tempt me in, but far enough that it can’t quite reach me yet.

Surprisingly, the area around me is fairly empty. The families keep themselves back towards the promenade, close to the toilets for the little ones in an emergency, but also keeping them a safe distance from the water.

Further down, the groups of girls and guys are scattered along the beach, each trying their best to grab the attention of and impress the other, but subtly enough to make it seem natural and casual. I wonder how many of them will be pairing off by the end of their holidays.

In delightful contrast to the young ones, here and there among the crowd are sweet, elderly couples enjoying the sun and the sand. The old traditions are still clear for them, sitting in their long shorts and skirts, sleeves to their elbows and large hats to shade their fragile skin from the harsh rays from above. Only their feet are fully exposed, toes twiddling with the loose sand. Hand in hand, they sit together peacefully, enjoying the company of each other and the glorious day surrounding them.

Fun With Freewriting – Week 9: Journey

Time for another, although belated, installment of free writing fun! As usual, this is very rough, but I hope you still enjoy it …

Off in the distance the sun had started to set again on this long journey. I had managed to stop for provisions during the afternoon, and now had a stack of food and drink behind the passenger seat. One thing that would be lacking tonight though was a comfortable bed.

I hadn’t planned any part of this journey, and if I had done I would have made sure to locate some proper hotels or B&B’s to head for each night. At least I had the common sense to bring my sleeping bag with me.

The first night hadn’t been too bad, I’d managed to get a single bed at the Travelodge, but last night had been in the car parked at a busy 24hr service station. There had been constant traffic flow all night, mostly loud lorries, and the fluorescent lighting had been a permanent feature, but it had all made me feel that little bit safer.

Somehow I didn’t expect to even get that luxury tonight. I’d started to leave the bigger towns and cities behind me as early evening began to make its appearance, and now the darker it became the more distance there seemed to be between the smaller villages. As the buildings became sparser, the trees grew all the more frequent until there was enough of them to constitute a small wood. I kept driving though, assuming it couldn’t really last for that long and hoping it would be soon so that I could stop somewhere for a rest.

As I continued though, the trees only seemed to get denser as well as bigger and were appearing much closer to the road. The dread that I’d been trying to keep buried started to make itself known as I realised I was probably going to have to stop soon. I hadn’t been relishing the idea but it seemed I didn’t have many other choices, if any.

Coming across a shallow lay-by, I pulled over and off the road as far as I could and killed the engine. Turning off the headlights, I sat and listened to the engine ticking as it cooled, settling itself in for the night.

I sat still for a long time, letting my eyes adjust to the dark, turning my head back and forth as I got used to the sounds of the night. I knew I would have to move soon, to get myself out of the car to retrieve my sleeping bag from the boot, but at that moment my own terror seemed to be keeping me firmly in place.

 

 

Unwanted Journey – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …

Unwanted Journey

Stepping out into the evening air, Henry drew his coat around his chin with one hand, the other grasping his grisly cargo. Glancing along the street, he kept his head down as he walked, barely noticing the lamps beyond the brim of his hat.

He set his pace as quickly as he dared, not wanting to draw attention to his haste but needing to arrive as soon as he could. This was an unenviable task, they all knew it, and tonight he’d been nominated. Nobody ever volunteered for this.

The further he walked, the less he felt the chill, and began to relax as he fell into his rhythm. The buildings were fading away around him, open fields and a few trees replacing them as his only companions. As he traveled, the sun drew closer to the horizon leaving a greyness in the sky that complimented the ground. He could still make out the neatly paved path of his journey as he approached, it had not yet faded into the twilight. It wound back and forth ahead of him, scraggly bushes on one side, and grass slipping down on the other where it descended into the valley. The shadows had already taken over down there, and Henry kept his focus on the path ahead. He’d heard this part of the task could play tricks on the mind, and he was determined to keep his clear.

The paving was even all along the path, no deviation from pattern or mis-shaped segments. He measured his stride to match them evenly, never stepping on cracks, placing his feet firmly in the centre of each one. He wasn’t superstitious by nature but right now every detail counted.

He’d felt relaxed so far, but as he crested the hill the chill returned to his bones. His palms began to sweat and he constantly adjusted his grip on the package, it’s weight seeming to increase as he neared the end of his journey.

Through the darkness now he could see the pedestal in the centre of the path, marking the end of his trip. Made of stone and standing waste high, its centre glowed a deep orange as it awaited its contribution.

Henry pushed his hat back absently as he made his approach, lifting the sack he’d been carrying and lowering it gently into place. As it sat there, the blood that had seeped from within began to drip down the side of the pedestal. At first it seemed random to Henry, until he saw the orange glow travel along the length of the stand ahead of the blood, itself following hidden grooves into the ground.

Although unseen, Henry could feel them watching and it took all his will not to turn and bolt. He knew he had to be patient, to wait and ensure the journey had been a success.

As he saw the spear point shoot through the front of his chest, he guessed in the end it hadn’t.

Word count: 495

Fun With Freewriting – Week 8: Hopeful

Welcome to another installment of free writing fun! Please remember this is very rough, but may be something to be worked up later.

When she looked up he was looking at her again. She’d noticed him about half an hour ago, and since then she hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything in her books. The first couple of times when they’d noticed each other looking she’d thought it was just coincidence, their eyes meeting across the tables as they contemplated their studies. But then she found herself looking over on purpose, testing him to see if he was looking as much as he was. So far he was keeping pace with her, and he appeared to have abandoned all intentions of actually doing any more studying.

She couldn’t help but smile now each time their eyes met, and it became wider the more she did it. He reciprocated her encouragement, his broadening lips and twinkling eyes setting her heart aflutter at the attention.

A rustling of a coat and bag distracted her for a moment, and she put her head down to her notes again as the newcomer entered and walked past the main desk. Her heart sank as this person sat himself down at the desk opposite, obscuring her view. All she could see now was a mass of long curly hair, trapped on either side by large headphones emitting a low humming sound.

She felt deflated and returned to her reading. After another half an hour she heard noise from across the room, and realised her unknown friend was packing up to leave. Inside she felt herself building towards some kind of mild panic. She was almost desperate to give him some kind of sign, to let him know she still held an interest, but was at a loss at how to do it. The quiet forum of the library was hardly the place to jump up and declare oneself loudly to another.

She was still wrestling with herself when his shadow fell across her desk as he went by, and her breath caught in her throat as he dropped a piece of paper on her books as he passed. Quickly, she placed a hand over it, fearful it may suddenly be swept away on some invisible breeze. With a hand on either side she opened it up and read his message. She felt the grin spreading across her face but didn’t care who saw her. She had to read it over and over to make sure of its intent.

She turned in her seat, hoping to catch his eye and offer some kind of signal in response, but all she caught was the door as it closed gently on its hinges.