Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Silent Room Part 12

Number 11

Life felt like it was set on endless repeat. Though it had probably only been a day at most.  Maybe two.  Maybe... but no. It must only have been a day. Except the sun had set at least once in there. Hadn't it? It was just so the never-ending same that he couldn't keep track of where he was, let alone where the sun was.  Climb down the ladder. Wonder around looking for something new. Get too tired to keep the eyes open. Climb up the ladder. Fall asleep to dream of being chased by spidery men.  Dark. Light it didn't matter. It was irrelevant to the cycle.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  With a groan he struggled to his feet and headed for the ladder again. Even if he was too tired to safely get down the ladder, he couldn't take another dream.

Surprisingly, when he reached the bottom of the ladder, there was something new.  A basket, neatly covered over with a  blue checked napkin, was sitting comfortably in the center of porch.  So someone had been here in his sleep while he was busy fighting  the monsters in his dreams.  To bad he hadn't heard them. Maybe he could have gotten a ride out of here.  Then again, if they had left him food, they had also known he was here... and left him all the same in this dreary place with its phantom ghosts and lack of amenities.

He shoved it roughly toward the steps with his foot, afraid it would turn into something else. What he didn't know. The dreams were getting to him. It didn't.  He nudged it one more time just to be sure, then settled down on the top step next to it to examine its contents.  A moment later, his entire world had righted.


The basket was filled with soft flaky cheese biscuits still steaming from the oven, a container of pan fried brussel sprouts with bacon and pears, a small jar of what turned out to be the best peach jam he had ever tasted in his life, a thermos of hot sweetened coffee.  A strange mix perhaps, but he dug in with gusto, nearly moaning after every bite.  He only had two biscuits left and a few swallows of coffee left in the thermos when it occurred to him that perhaps he should have rationed the food a little better. Apparently hours, days, without food and little sleep, a sleep laced with a hoard of chasing hooded figures, had left him too famished to think that far ahead.

With regret he forced himself to wrap up the last two biscuits in the blue checked napkin and put the cap back on the coffee thermos.  Then he looked out at the grass lawn and the endless field with its dusty rows. 

Within moments he felt the overwhelming fatigue begin to weight him down again.

He shot to his feet. No, he wasn't staying here to fall asleep again.  He refused.  He needed to be up and moving and DOING something. He looked around desperately for something that might qualify as needing doing.  Besides taking the ladder down.  There was nothing but emptiness.  He took off around the building in four quick laps, racing the feeling of lethargy tugging at his bones, pulling him down.  Back at the front steps, the ladder beckoned the next stage of the repeat. Sleep. But someone had been here while he slept. Who? Where?  He didn't know, but he was going to find out.

With sudden decision, he picked up the napkin holding the biscuits where he had left them and pushed them into his shirt.  With a swift about face he headed away.  A moment later, he was down at the edge of the field carefully examining the ground for any signs of where a vehicle or a walker might have come to bring him his basket of breakfast.  

At last he found a faint track running out across the even rows of turned earth.  Yes, he decided, it did look like a faint track.  And with a decided nod and one last look around at the house to make sure he hadn't missed anything important, he set off across the field to see where it would take him.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

From a prompt on shifting points of view using a found photo on a bing search with Copper yesterday.  

Link to Photo
Link to Copper's prompt writings.

Prompt 1: From her point of View

Lacey stood at the window, looking out at a summer day whose promise had all been wrung out to dry. Thick gusts of dust and dried up grass gusted across the vacant yard and battered fence rails. The supposed to’s piled up along the shattered barn wall with the rest of the rubbled supplies.

They were supposed to have gotten paid for at least one crop or head of veal by now; they were supposed to have a been hosting a wedding party with paying guests tomorrow; they were supposed to still have a standing barn, one that had not been shattered by some freak thunderstorm/tornado mix; they were supposed to be able to make it with just the two of them and one farm hand working the farm, not have Wes post surgery and unable to lift anything heavy for the next month; they were supposed to have received a loan extension due to extenuating circumstances; they were supposed to...

Lacey cut off the thoughts. Supposed tos were nothing more than broken shingles and splintered barn walls. Not much good for keeping the rain out or the wolves at bay. She drew in a deep shuddering breath. Tried with everything she had to hold on to her guttering trust that “things would work out” if she could just keep its tiny spark alive within her.

Prompt 2: From the Viewers Point of View

Wes tried not to let emotion work its way to the surface as he sat in the old beat-up pick up. Dust gusted around him. Lacey hadn’t noticed he was back yet, and it gave him a rare moment to see where she was really at in this whole fiasco. His strong pillar of support.

She hadn’t wavered for one second. Hadn’t let doubt strip him of their belief in getting this dream off the ground. He’d known the farm would be tough going. He was an independent small town farmer after all. Life was always on the line, waiting on the whims of weather and crops and hard work. He’d grown up with it. He’d grown up loving it and bleeding it and steeped in every detail. Taking over the farm from his uncle two years before, he thought he was as ready as he could possibly be. But this...round of hardships, he didn’t know if they could survive.  And from the look on Lace's face right now, she wasn't so sure either.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Silent Room: Part 11


The question of what to do with the odd list of items in the burned up letter turned out to be rather easily answered a minute or two after the pounding feet of the guards stopped outside his door.

 He had relaxed back into a slack position against the wall within his eyes closed tight.(He saw no point in  giving away that he was awake and aware if they didn't already know that.)  Apparently they didn't expect him to be anything other than in a deep sleep though because they didn't even flip the door window open. They just started calling out in quick succession one voice after the other-- "Room 1 engaged."
" Room 2 engaged."
" Room 3..."

A flood of images exploded in his mind behind his closed eyes and their voices disappeared. The chains disappeared.  He was back in his own home, nestled in his comfy chair with his feet up. A soccer game was on and in mid-play. The world of the prison completely gone.  If he hadn't experienced that little interlude with the  red headed doctor, he would never have thought anything about it. He would just have dismissed the chains and the prison as a bad dream he was waking from, and dropped into the blissful contentment of a lazy weekend afternoon at home.  Now though...

He looked around a little more closely. It was home. On the surface of things. He was surrounded by his favorite comforts. But the details weren't quite right. Small errors.  There was a bottle of his favorite micro-beer sitting to his left (a "friends only beer" his best friend brewed in his basement), the cold sweat of condensation rolling down its side, but the label wasn't quite right. The crescent moon was just a fraction to wide, a little to close to stocky pine tree instead of a tall leggy one. He stared at the label; watched the error dissolve into accuracy.

Then he glanced over at the soccer game a little more closely. It was a tournament game from last year.  One he had missed, actually. The third in the series. Something he would definitely love to watch. He'd been on the run then too, and there were some plays in that game that were for the annals.  He managed, barely, to pull his attention back from the game and to look around with close attention once more.

The only glaring thing out of order was a lidded jar sitting on the counter. That had never been there before.  He stared at, waiting for it to dissolve out of existence. It didn't shift.  It did, however seem to lift off the counter and become slightly less concrete.  As thought it was now in the vicinity of the counter instead of being on the counter. 

A little like that letter had looked near his hand.

He got up to investigate.

As he got closer, he could see that there were still two faded letters on the side that must have once spelled a word.
                                                  OU R
He pulled it toward him.  Taking off the lid, he saw the fine white powder of flour inside before it dissolved in his hands and the room abruptly disappeared, leaving him standing outside in the sunshine of his grandfather's garden.

He blinked in surprise.  He hadn't seen his grandfather's garden in twenty years! Not since it had been razed for a new industrial parkway.  The bushes hung heavy with roses. A profusion of pinks and reds and whites holding court. There were even a few naked lady lilies peaking out here and there.  He remembered how shocked he had been at seven when his mother, in a calm and casual voice, remarked to his grandfather, "Oh, dad, your naked ladies are beautiful this year."

A smile split his face.  They really were beautiful this year. The heady perfume of his grandfather's favorite "old fashioned" rose drifted on the lazy summer air.  Boy that smelled good.   All thoughts of flour jars and prison guards vanished from his mind as he started walking in search of it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Once Upon a Cloud

WNP: "She refused to open her eyes until she could remember every part of the dream."

She felt the soft warmth of the duvet and downy pillow enveloping her as if in a cloud. She refused to open her eyes until she could remember every part of her dream.  She had been wandering....through misty clouds in a castle made of flagstone and glass. The voice of Cosette singing of her castle on a cloud weaving in and out of the mists. Her dress had been like something out of an old photo, all layers and lace and floating streamers of ribbon dancing around her.  There was laughter and chattering and the most wonderful smell of biscuits and gravy wafting out from an invisible kitchen.  A table opened up in front of her filled with plates of crispy bacon, stacks of pancakes, platters of cheese filled omelettes, bowls filled with clementines, red pears, and so much more good food than she had ever imagined seeing on one place in the whole of her life. Enough food for a hundred hungry children.   It was so warm and cozy and welcoming here. She wanted to stay here forever. She reached out her hand to snitch a slice of bacon, only to find herself brought violently awake as icy air rushed in around her shivering too cold frame under the tattered remnants of her barely holding together blanket.  Unwanted reality pushed away the remnants of dreamland in the predawn light already filtering in through the barred window above her head.  With a depressed sigh she flopped back onto the stiff army cot.  Somewhere a door banged.  She jumped to her feet.  Time to get moving. Time to get back to work.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Silent Room: Part 10

At long update to the silent room series.  I will hopefully be a little more regular about posting this over the next few weeks..

WNP:  "the room filled with a strange yet familiar scent"


Grenfelder had somehow managed to open the envelope and unfold the paper inside it, though it had taken him the better part of what had felt like an hour to do so.

Inside was simply a white sheet of paper with a list. It read:

            Flour Jar
            Paving Stone
            Red Geranium
            Blue Checked Napkin

           Think of fire for 5 seconds.

He read it over twice, thinking it was like some kind of weird memory test.  Unfortunately, he was so puzzled by this last line that he stared at it for a little too long. With a flash of fire and the heavy scent of smoke, the paper suddenly vaporized in his hand. Shocked, he stared at his hand as if the paper would suddenly reappear.  It did not.  This was some jacked up dream he had going on, he thought.

Then, because he was still alone in a room chained to a wall with nothing to do but sleep and wait to see what torture they had for him next, he sat and contemplated what he could remember of the list, trying to pull back all the random words and instructions. A great deal longer on, when his eyes had begun to drift shut and his brain to conjure images of giant flour jars filled with smoke and geraniums that burned in a bright blaze of fire in the early morning sun, he heard the jangle of guards coming back to make their rounds.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Year of Writing with Courage

I started this post in the old year, sitting by the fire at my parents' home and reflecting on the past year of "writing with intention".  I wrote several lists of things I learned, things that were good, things that I wished I had done differently etc, etc...  But it has taken me a little longer to actually put fingers to keyboard and post my reflections here. In part because it represents an end note on a beautiful, if difficult, year that I don't want to have to be ready to say goodbye to yet.  But time moves whether we are ready for it or not, and it is 2014.

All those lists I wrote by the fire boil down to this.

2013 was so many good things: it was embracing my creativity and trying to find my writing legs in a more intentional way; it was a gathering of returning health after a long season of asthma flares, arthritis, multiplying food sensitivities, and brain fog; it was finding myself connected in a vibrant creative/writing community (my friend Anna, my friend Copper, my sister and mom, a critique/writing circle with I & H, the Cincy Wrimos, an Artist Way group, and a highly creative church community); it was... more blessings than I know how to put into words.

It was also a year about endings and letting go, where I had to say goodbye to two precious and important people in my life- my very beautiful and dear friend Anna (age 37) who lost a difficult battle with breast cancer in mid-November, and my grandmother Verna (age 96) back in the spring.

And so, as I begin this year with contemplating a new word and a new theme for my writing in 2014, I have chosen the word Courage. 

It is in honor of my friend Anna who found a way to courageously live each day fully and abundantly and with presence even as the insidious beast cancer did its best to steal her away from us.  Who found a way to put pen to paper and speak words that mattered to so many of us even on her most difficult days.  May I have the courage to keep writing even on the tough days, and may I have the courage to live this year even half as fully and abundantly as she showed me how to do.

Have you chosen a word for this year? or for your writing? I would love to hear what it is and why.

PS- for all those wonderful people who were so kind as to comment on my blog this past year and then wondered why I never commented back,  yes I did get them and greatly appreciated them! I'm afraid I must claim the excuse that blogger kept eating my replies except for the rare instance when I was using a friend's computer... a software problem to do with my (lovely sister's) older computer?? as I seemed to not have the same trouble when attempting to comment on wordpress blogs. I should be getting a new computer in the next month or so that has more up to date software, so the "anti-Z" commenting problem will hopefully be resolved then. Best wishes for a new year and many happy writing trails for all of you!