Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Posts tagged ‘September Writing Challenge’

Guilt Indebted

Prompt: “I got the last ticket.”

She carefully wrapped it in gold and silver paper.  All her savings had gone into it.  It was the very last one.

The next day, she went to school as usual, waiting until the end of the day to approach her best friend, Edna.

“I got you something as an early present.”

“Really?  What’d you get me?!”

Edna was the type of girl who had everything.  It was hard to surprise her with anything, so Lily really hoped that this would do it.

“Why don’t you open it, silly!”

Edna laughed, “Alright then.”

As Edna peeled back the gold and silver wrapping, her eyes grew wide, the smile vanishing, replaced with shock.

“How?” breathed Edna.

“I got the last ticket.”

Edna threw her arms around her friend, “Oh Lily!  This is the best thing in the world!  You’re amazing!  Did you know my family tried to buy tickets, but there were only three left from the place they were buying from?  I’m so glad I get to go with them!”

April 10, 1912

Lily went to the pier with hundreds of other spectators to see their friends and family off.  She waved and screamed with thousands of other even though she knew that Edna couldn’t see her.  She was so happy that she had been able to afford the chance to give her best friend such a momentous opportunity.

Inside, she was envious of Edna, but she knew she would never fit in with the rich folk.  That’s why she had been so surprised when Edna wanted to be her friend.  But their friendship blossomed over the years and they became inseparable.

Edna had a kind heart and gentle soul.  She never wanted Lily to go without nor did she want Lily to miss out on all the fun that her fellow classmates could afford.  You see, Lily was from the poorest of the poor.  Her parents could barely feed and clothe her, let alone send her to school.  Lily had met Edna in first grade and by third grade, they were up to all kinds of mischief.  That’s when the money ran out.  Lily’s parents wanted to pull her out of school, force her to get a job to support the family, but Edna stepped in.  Edna told Lily’s parents that she could not stand by and watch as their family suffered.  Edna promised that from that day on they would never have to worry about food on the table, or whether they could afford to purchase new clothes to survive the coming winter, or to send Lily to school.  Edna vowed that she would take care of them, not out of pity, but out of the belief that everyone deserved this basic kindness.

All this time, Lily had saved up, hoping one day she could repay her friend with a gift worthy of everything she had done for her.

Lily smiled.  This had been Edna’s dream ever since it had been announced to the public and Lily was happy she had been able to give something back to the best friend who had given her everything.

Then came the news.  April 15, 1912.  The whole neighbourhood was abuzz.  How could the unsinkable sink?

And all Lily could think was that she sent her only friend to her death.  How could fate be so cruel?

So Lily lived on, never knowing whether her friend had lived or died at sea.  Only in Heaven did she finally learn the truth.

 

Beauty of the Change

Prompt: autumn inspiration

Caught between two worlds
Between waking and death
Her ice cold touch
His warm fiery breath

Each sharp inhale
Slices through flesh and bone
Each chill
Reverberates like sound through water

Then another symphony rises
Of reds, yellows, and oranges
Swirling
And lifting

The crisp cool air
Bringing back the memories
Of academia
And the bright cold sun
Burning in our minds

Another time
Another change
Each symphony greater than her last
Until silence
Nothing Gold Can Stay*

*Name of one of my favourite poems that describes the change of the seasons best

Meet the Family

Prompt: Since you’ve been going out for quite some time, your boyfriend/girlfriend arranges for you to meet his/her parents. When you get to his/her house and enter the front door, you hear him/her say “I’m sorry” as the door closes behind you.

You turn to face him, but he seems to have vanished.  Before you, you see an old living room with furniture dating back to the Victorian era or earlier.  There are an assortment of people sitting on the sofas and armchairs, as if frozen in time.  It was as if you have stepped into Madame Tussaud’s , to a moment forever preserved, like page from a Jane Austen novel.  You swallow, the blood slowing in your veins, turning cold as your heart beats faster.  Your breathing has become so shallow, you’re not even sure how your cells are getting enough oxygen.
“What is this?” you wonder to yourself.
Then the room springs to life.
“So you’re the new girl.”
“Pretty young thing, isn’t she?”
“Almost too young for our Thomas.”
“But he chose her.”
“Did he now?”
“She looks just like-”
“Don’t.”
“But doesn’t she?”
“Don’t say that.  Thomas won’t like it.”
“Oh, we mustn’t be rude.  Come in, come in child, welcome to our home.  Please, sit!”
You are immediately swarmed by six or seven women, ushering you towards the sofa.  As you sit, Thomas reappears with a tray of tea.
“Sorry about that…” he said sheepishly.
“Don’t ever do that to me again!”
“I didn’t mean to…well, when I mentioned that we had been dating and…well they all wanted to meet you.  I din’t know what to do but to bring you by…so this is my family…all of them.”
“You really scared me, you know, vanishing like that.”
“I’m sorry…”
You sigh, taking the final cup of tea from Thomas, as he joins you on the sofa.  One by one, he introduces you to each of his family members.  There are aunts and great aunts, cousins and second cousins, his mother, his sisters, and grandmother, but something is odd.  There are no men, no fathers, brother, uncles…
“This is your whole family?”
He nods.
You bite your tongue.  It might be rude to ask.  Whenever he had talked about his family, he had only mentioned his female relatives, but only now did it really sink in how strange that really was.  Maybe a few would make sense, but could all of them be unmarried, divorced, or widowed?  That seemed too much of a coincidence.
“Something troubling you, my dear?”
“No…I’m sorry.  I can be a little spacey at times.”
His mother smiled and the rest smiled in sync.
“Are you hungry, dear?  Thomas, why don’t you fetch the cakes?”
“Yes, mother.”
“Let me come with you,” you say, quickly following him to the kitchen.
“You didn’t have to.”
“I know, but I wanted to ask…”
“Why there are no men?”
You look away awkwardly, giving him the answer he needed.
“I’m the first male born in this family  in over four centuries…my family is…special.”
“But how…?”
“It cannot be explained by science or any manner of natural law.”
“Yes, but-”
“How are we making out in here?”
“Excellently, mother. ”
“Everything’s alright?”
“Yes, Elsie’s just a curious soul, that’s all.”
His mother smiles at you again, “Dear, what is it you want to know?  We have no secrets between us here.”
“I…just didn’t want to be rude.”
“Nonsense.”
“Why-How can there be no males in the family, with the exception of Thomas?”
Each of his mother’s smiles grew more and more unsettling.
“Come, sit, and enjoy Thomas’ cakes.  We’ll tell you the story of our family.”
Reluctantly, you follow his mother back to the living room, with Thomas bringing up the rear.
“Elsie, do you love Thomas?”
“Yes.”
“Enough to be with him forever?”
“Well…I-I would, if he’d have me.”
“I think he would.  Isn’t that so, Thomas?”
“Yes, Aunt Beryl.”
“Shall we tell her?  What you think, Grandma Edith?”
“Do you think she’ll react as badly as the last one?”
“What do you mean the last one?”
“Thomas’ previous girlfriend.”
“What happened?”
“Are you sure you want to know?”
“Yes.”
“Alright then, but we must warn you, once you go forward, you cannot go back.”
“Logically, yes, that would be true…”
“Very well.  But before we proceed, we must know, how important it is for you to have a man in your life.”
You stare at them blankly, trying to understand what this has to do with anything.  On the one hand, this is a family consisting of only women…could that have something to do with everything?
“I…It’s not absolutely necessary, I suppose.  It’d be nice to be in a relationship with one before I have his child, but…there are other ways to have children.”
“True.  And what do you think about the roles men and women play in society, generally?”
“Well, I believe that a man and woman can be equal in skill and ability, if afforded the same opportunities.  There are, of course, physiological adaptations that have made men stronger than women, so in that instance, they would be better suited for the task.  So roles should be assigned based on what each individual can do best rather than by gender.”
“Well, I like you more than I liked his ex already.”
You laugh nervously, unsure what to expect next.
“We are the women of all time.  From past, present, and future.”
“What does that even mean?”
“We are not born, but created.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“It means, out of all the women in history, we were chosen, melded together into one family through interweaving our DNA with one another.”
“And Thomas?”
“An anomaly.”
“You see, Thomas didn’t fit into his role in life as a “man” in his time.  The first of many.  Thomas could have been any one of them, but the choosing is always random.”
“So…were each of you…conceived?”
“We were once and we are in the sense that we are born from a womb again into this life, but we are, as Grandma Edith said, created, not born.”
“So…your purpose is?”
“To show the world that these gender norms are outdated and need to change…but we’ve never been able to change the outside world…we are confined here.”
“Why?”
“Because we cannot step foot into a world that isn’t ours…we must be invited to.”
“Is that why I’m here?”
“Well…sort of.”
“What do you mean sort of?  Am I or am I not?”
“You’re here because Thomas loves you and wanted to introduce you to us.  He said you were strong and opinionated.  A breath of fresh air out in the stifled world.  That you would, if you could, bring about change.  And he thought maybe we could help each other.”
“What do you mean?
“You’re young and there are consequences to your actions.  How it will reflect on you, your family, and anyone affiliated with you, is something you constantly worry about.  Well, we thought, perhaps, together, we could come up with a safe platform and location to initiate change.  You are not the only one in the world who believes what they believe.  We want to help.”
You look at them hopefully.  For the first time, you see your dreams coming true.  Everything you worked so hard for coming to life.  You nod and smile.
Today is the beginning of everything.

Of the Small Things

Prompt: How did you end up with that much?

She looked over at him.  Just a glance at first, but something made her do a double take.
“Wait a minute!”
“Hmm?”
He looked up, his mouth full of ramen noodles.
“How did you end up with that much?!”
“Of what?” he said, continuing to shove noodles in his mouth.
“That,” she said pointed to the noodles.
He looked at his bowl and then at hers and back at his and shrugged.  Her pouted and started inching closer to his bowl with her chopsticks.  A smiled tugged at the edges of him lips as he tried to conceal what he was about to do next.  Slowly, he began to inch his bowl away from her.
“Stop it!”
“Stop what?”
“Moving away from me!”
“I’m not!”
“You so are!”
With a swift motion, she drove her chopsticks into his bowl.  With his, he clamped down on hers, effectively preventing any movement.
She let out the most irritating whining screech that annoyed the hell out of everyone except for him; he found it endearing.  He laughed as she pouted again.
“Oh, come on babe.  I’m kidding, you can absolutely have some.”
“YAY!” she squealed at a pitch that was only audible to dogs.
He smiled again wrapping his arm around her waist.
And he thought he was the luckiest guy in the world.

Suspended Dew

Prompt: the fog!

It came like the night
First slowly
Then all enveloping

The street lights grew dimmer
The buildings grew fainter
Until all that remained were
Floating orbs
In suspended dew

Here in the shadows
Obscured from sight
A madman does his business

By day
He is a Dr. Jekyll
By night
A Mr. Hyde

He is a villain
A monster
A demon of the night

The goes by many names
Yet
He remains nameless
Faceless
Elusive

You and I know him to be
Jack the Ripper
But to someone else he is
A father
A brother
A mother
A sister
A husband
A wife

A villain
A hero
Always one
Always the other

It just depends
Who’s telling the story

Mismatched

Prompt: Found poetry – utilize a previous work and turn it into a poem

I used the first bit of my short story addendum titled “Promise to Milton” to construct this piece.  “Promise to Milton” was part of a larger piece called “Life of a Schoolgirl” that came from a summer writing challenge which ultimately was the basis of my novel An Affair to Die For.

I did move some phrases around and add in some stuff so it’s not a true blacking out poem like I did with the Sherlock piece a while back.  And this is a lot choppier than I’m used to.

I stood
Called back

Remember

Raising an eyebrow
Shook my head

Remember

Last night?
A bell?
Paradise on Monday morning?
Rules to defend sleep?

Wednesday evening dinner
In front of the TV
A lot of work
To perfect my Wednesday
Wasted disappointment

The Gift

Prompt: the package won’t come until the day after tomorrow

He sat there
Alone on the porch
Eyes shimmering
Innocent hope
Watching and waiting

Today’s the day
The day it would come
The promise

Morning turned to afternoon
And afternoon to night
But nothing arrived

Each time
It grew harder for the mailman to face the small child
For with each disappointment
The little boy’s heart
Sank a little more

The next day came
And went the same
The mailman apologized
Tomorrow

And so the little boy waited again
And hoped
That the promise would come

On day three
The mailman returned
Handing to the little boy
A box with glee

“Open it.”
Said the mailman
“You’ve been waiting for so long.”

The little boy smiled
Setting the box down
The mailman helped to cut it open

What would it be?
A new train set?
A new game to play?

The little boy reached inside
And pulled out an urn

The mailman looked on in horror
And thought to himself
“How strange for a child
Not barely five
To hope for something like this,
To be filled with joy.”

The little boy looked up at him
A smile on his face
“Thank you Mr. Mailman
For bringing them home.”

Tag Cloud