{Writing Wednesday} – “It was the Only Road…”

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.

Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna’s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: First Line – “It was the only road out of town but in retrospect, taking it was a terrible decision.”

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{Writing Wednesday} – There Was Too Much Dust

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.
Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna‘s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: There was too much dust.

(From @writingprompt)

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{Writing Wednesday} – “I Don’t Think You Understand”

 

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.

Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesday.

writingwednesdays_zpsfddbe0ad

 

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna’s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

 

PROMPT: First line – “I don’t think you understand.”

(From @WritingPrompt)

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Daily Prompt: Write Here, Write Now

Write a post entirely in the present tense.

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Decisions. We make them every minute of every day, whether consciously or not. Cereal or toast. Blue shirt or green. Right or left. Death or Mercy.

And every decision that we make affects our future. Sometimes those decisions only cause the tiniest ripple in the timeline, other times they can shift the whole thing around on itself. There’s no way of knowing in advance just what affect your daily choices will have on the future.

Unless you’re like me.

I have an ability – some might call it a gift, but I’m not so charitable. When a person makes a decision, I can look forward and see what will happen because of that choice. It’s not so much predicting the future. I can’t just look and see anything, it has to be something based off a decision and I can only see it once the choice has been made.

Like right now, the old man sitting at the table in the corner there, he just decided that he’s going to take the train into Manchester to see his daughter. The whole thing settles in front of my eyes, unrolling before me like a road. See, now that he’s going to take the train, I can see what happens.

He forgets his umbrella at the station – it rains when he reaches Manchester – he gets pneumonia – he dies in the hospital in exactly thirty-nine days.

I close my eyes and try to shake away the vision. They aren’t always so unpleasant as this one, but a lot of the time they are. After all, everything ends in death eventually. Some choices just get you there faster.

Every second of every day, decisions are being made by people all over the world. I can see those decisions. My name’s Sophie and I’m a Choice Seer.

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The Long Lost Letter | Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered

It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

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Today was Friday, and Jason hated Fridays. They meant there was two days ahead of him with no work and nothing better to entertain himself with. Another weekend of sheer boredom and a complete lack of social life.

On the way up to his flat  he stopped at the mailboxes and, after fighting with the stubborn lock on his box, grabbed out the handful of envelopes. He then stormed up to the cramped flat and began flipping through the glossy mail, tossing them into little piles on the kitchen table. Bill, bill, advert, garbage, advert, bill, letter…

Wait, he never got letters, not since Aunt Maggie died two years ago.

Frowning, Jason squinted at the envelope. It was aged and worn, the paper yellowed and one corner torn. The address was written in a cramped script and smudged ink, addressed to Eleanor Matthews. It took him a minute to realise that the number on the address had been smeared; what looked like a three was actually a two.

“Incompetent,” Jason grumbled irritably. For a minute he considered just tossing it in the trash and leaving it, but his hand hesitated above the bin. The letter was clearly very old. It must’ve been lost at the post office a while and just discovered. He felt the envelope – there was a distinct rustle of paper but there was also something else inside the envelope, something small and much thicker.

With an annoyed huff, he threw the rest of the adverts and grocery coupons on the table and let himself out of the flat. It was easier not to wait for the lift so he jogged down the stairs to the second floor and then checked the numbers beside the doors. Twenty-eight, twenty-seven… Ah, twenty-six. Jason tried to wedge the letter beneath the door but it wouldn’t fit through the narrow gap. Resigned, Jason knocked.

It took a minute before the lock on the door clicked and it opened. The woman beyond the door had to have been at least in her seventies, with closely cropped white curls and clusters of wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. She blinked up at him pleasantly with pale blue eyes and adjusted the collar of her floral dress. “Hello, young man, can I help you?”

“Yes, sorry, it’s just the postman gave me a letter and I think it was meant for you,” Jason explained. “You’re Eleanor Matthews?”

She giggled, a sound almost too girly for a woman of her age. “Oh I haven’t been Matthews for a long time,” she said. “That was my maiden name.”

“Well this is for you then,” I said, handing the envelope to her.

Eleanor accepted the envelope, glanced at the return address, and a startled sob escaped her. With a thumb she slit the top open and glanced inside. She immediately put a hand over her heart and Jason was surprised to see that her eyes had welled with tears. “Ma’am, you okay?” Jason asked uncertainly.

“I just – I never expected to get a letter from him again,” she said.

The hand clutching the envelope was shaking and Jason watched her pale face hesitantly. “Ma’am, do you need to sit down?” Jason asked. Eleanor had her free hand pressed against her mouth and she nodded. Jason took her arm and led her into the living room of her flat, easing her down into an armchair. He hovered awkwardly for a moment before sitting down on the sofa opposite her. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“No, it’s fine. You’re such a dear,” Eleanor said, finally looking up from the envelope to meet his gaze. Her eyes had reddened and there was a tear sneaking down her cheek. “It’s just – this letter came fifty years too late. And still, I’m am so, so glad it arrived.” She reached into the envelope and pulled out the bulkier object; a slim, silver ring with a little square diamond.

“Is that-?” Jason stopped, wondering if he was going too far in asking, but Eleanor smiled at him.

“Would you like to hear a story, young man?” she asked, and when Jason nodded, she began to spin a tale. It was a story of a passionate romance; a young girl, just turned eighteen,  met a brave soldier. They shared a wild summer of love then he got the papers, he’d been called to return to service. He flew to Vietnam at the beginning of the autumn with a promise that he would return home and marry her and give her the perfect life.

“For three months I received letters, and then one day the letters just stopped,” she said. “I waited for months and months but nothing new ever arrived. I thought that he had grown tired of me, the silly little girl that was completely enamoured with him. I thought he must’ve gotten bored with me or found himself someone better.

“I was heartbroken, of course, but with time I got over it. The war ended, I married a carpenter from my hometown, and we had a wonderful life. It wasn’t until I was a grandmother that I finally found out the truth. My Freddie had died after four months in Vietnam, in a firefight in the jungle. That was why he’d never written, why he’d never come home to me.”

She admired the modest ring in her hand, her eyes watering. She slipped it carefully onto her finger above the gold band that already sat there. Then she pulled out the letter and unfolded it, her eyes narrowed as she squinted down at the faded ink. “I can’t read this,” she said, “I need my reading glasses. Or, could you, love?”

“Oh, sure,” Jason said, taking the paper as she offered it out to him. He smoothed out the paper and cleared his throat. “My dearest Ellie. I miss you more than ever and I count down the days until my tour is over and I can come home to you. Until then, I want you to wear this for me. I found it in a shop here in Hanoi. I promised you that one day I would return and marry you and give you the life you deserve. This is my first step in that. Love always, your Freddie.”

Eleanor sniffled, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue she’d pulled from her pocket. “Oh Freddie,” she said. She twisted the ring around her finger and then sat up. Her eyes were still red but she was smiling. “He was such a lovely man.” She tucked her tissue back into the pocket of her dress and then leaned over to pat Jason’s knee. “Would you like some dinner? I have a casserole in the freezer that I was going to warm up.”

“I’d love to,” Jason said with a smile.

And that was how he earned himself a weekly invitation to Eleanor’s flat for dinner, and how Fridays became his favourite day of the week.

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Daily Prompt: Sweet Sixteen

Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday.

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“Knock knock.”

I open my eyes blearily, stretching languidly beneath the blankets and then rolling onto my back. The door to my bedroom is open an inch and through it I can see three different eyes watching me – two blue and a green. When they see that I’m awake the door opens wider and suddenly my room is filled with bodies and the smell of warm baking.

“Happy birthday!”:The three of them chorus together.

I sit up and the smile that takes over my face is instantaneous. “Thanks guys,” I say eagerly, my eyes falling on the hot pink sheet-board cake. Happy Sweet Sixteen Baby is scrawled on the top in curly white icing and there’s a semi-circle of sparkly candles above it. It’s obvious that my mum made it herself – the B in baby is a bit lop-sided and the icing is thicker on the left side – but it still makes my heart swell.

“C’mon, make a wish,” Mum says cheerfully and she comes around to sit on the edge of the bed. She holds out the cake proudly and grins at me over the flickering candles.

“Okay,” I say and nod. I close my eyes, thinking over the list of birthday wishes I’ve been making over the last year. This is it, D-day. Which one do I pick?

“This year, Sunshine,” my brother teases. “Before the candles melt all over the cake.”

I open one eye and stick my tongue out at him. Then I take a deep breath, squint at the candles, and blow. I watch hopefully as the flames wink out one after another, and finally the last one gutters to its death.

“Yay!” Mum cheers. She beams at me, wiping a bit of frosting off on her finger and rubbing it on my nose. “Means your wish’ll come true.” I smile, rubbing the frosting off onto the heel of my hand and licking it up. It’s sugary and creamy – buttercream, my favourite.

“Our little baby, sixteen,” Da says, his arms folded over his chest and his eyes looking a bit watery.

Sixteen. Sixteen years old. My mind goes back to my wish and I bite my lip, looking at one of the half-melted candles. 

This is going to be a good year.

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Daily Prompt: The Luckiest People

Who was the first person you encountered today? Write about him or her.

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She exhaled heavily, watching the way her breath and the smoke curled together in wispy tendrils against the cold morning air. It was that deepest part of the night just before the sky would begin to lighten with the first traces of sunrise, and she enjoyed the silence and solitude. This was her time.

For all intents and purposes, she looked rather like the sort of person who thrived in the late hour. Despite her Hispanic heritage, she had wound up with a rather pale complexion and her black hair was clearly dyed – her brown roots were beginning to show; she was due for another colouring soon. She took a draw on her cigarette and fiddled with the flesh-tone plug in her left ear. Stupid bureaucrats made her take out her piercings, said they didn’t look professional. Like she looked more professional with enormous skin-coloured plastic discs in her ears and pinprick holes along her lips.

A train rolled down the tracks beside the car lot and sent a rush of wind her way. She shuddered and tugged up the sagging waistband of her jeans to cut off the draft. God it would be such a relief when winter was finally over. She couldn’t stand this cold weather.

Taking a deep drag on her cigarette, she watched the little orange glow crawl up the paper until it reached the filter. She flicked it away into the darkness and entertained herself by blowing the stream of smoke out of her nose. The swirling twists of gray spiralled in the air until they faded into the navy sky.

Well, smoke break over. Back to work.

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