Monthly Archives: March 2014

40 DAYS OF STORY. DAY 7.

The unicorn in Rachel’s kitchen lit a cigarette and vomited a rainbow into the sink.

“Jesus fucking Christ, George!” Rachel shouted from the doorway.

George leaned on the counter and flapped a hand toward her. “Sorry Rach.” His unicorn headband slipped down over his forehead. He pushed it back weakly.

Rachel shouldered him away from the sink. She turned the taps on full. “Just sit down.”

George collapsed into one of the chairs. The headband slipped again to a rakish angle. He ignored it in favour of taking a drag on his cigarette. The sound of water gushing into the sink dominated the kitchen. Rachel watched it swirl the debris down the plughole. When the last of it was gone she put on the rubber dish washing gloves, got out the Jif, and methodically cleaned the sink and the bench around it. George watched her in silence. He smoked his cigarette, blowing the smoke up towards the ceiling. When she finished, he said “You didn’t have to do that you know.”

Rachel glanced over her shoulder. “You’re in no condition to clean up.” She put the cleaning products away.

“That wasn’t my point.” George said. “It’s not like…”

Rachel interrupted. “I want things to be nice! I want things to be clean and tidy and nice!” She grabbed a clean tea-towel from the drawer and dampened it under the tap. Gently she cleaned George’s mouth. When she’d finished she balled the tea towel up and threw it into the bin.

“You know I don’t like you smoking.” She kissed his forehead.

“You know I don’t like your not liking me smoking.” George smiled. He threw the cigarette into the sink where it sputtered and went out.

Rachel shook her head. “Idiot” she said. She sat on his lap. Their too skeletal bodies pressed against each other as they looked out the window.

“So, this is it.” George hugged her as he said it. “I’m sorry for throwing up in the sink.  It must have been nerves.”

“It’s a very nerve-wracking time.” Rachel agreed as she hugged him back. I’m just surprised you had something to throw up… And I hate you smoking.”

They laughed and held each other tighter. Outside the window the first few meteors hit the ground. Flames leapt, the shockwave rolled through their building but Rachel and George kissed as the world ended.

Together, they lived happily forever after.

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40 DAYS OF STORY. DAY 6.

“It began to look purple 2 days ago.” That’s what Rachel was greeted with when she came home after her holiday. She’d been in the taxi, wondering whether the milk would be off, wondering whether the supermarket would still be open at this time of the night, idly scratching at her sunburned shoulder when the taxi turned the corner into the police cordon. Literally, into the police cordon. Right through the police tape, over the road cones and *tink* into a police car. While Rachel sat there in shock her door was opened.

“It began to look purple 2 days ago.” said the woman opening the door. She switched her focus to Rachel “You okay love? It takes some people like that. We need to get you out of here.” Rachel allowed the woman to help her out of the car.

“What takes…what?” Rachel stammered. “I don’t understand.”  The woman pointed down the block towards Rachel’s house. Rachel’s eyes followed. In the front garden of her house there was  a giant plant.

“Is that…is that a beanstalk in my front garden?” The woman nodded.

“Yep, as far as we can tell. Wait – that’s your house?” The woman’s posture changed slightly. From solicitous she now seemed suspicious.

The blue and red lights  flickered over the beanstalk, making it look as if it was pulsing with sap.

“Is that fucking beanstalk in my front garden!? And that – is that a fucking unicorn IN MY HOUSE?!” Rachel’s voice rose hysterically.

The unicorn in Rachel’s kitchen lit a cigarette and vomited a rainbow into the sink.

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40 DAYS OF STORY. DAY 5.

The racket being made behind her was about to send her off the deep end. She knew there was nothing she could do about it. Perhaps that was why it was so annoying? Usually she was the one issuing orders. The one who made all the others jump. She was a Person Who Got Things Done. If things were normal she’d be able to say “Stop that right now” and it would stop. She wouldn’t even have to raise her voice. People would listen to her. If things were normal.

She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing. Inhale. She felt her ribs expanding and imagined the air filling her lungs. Held the breath in for “…5, 6, 7, 8” counts then let it go. Exhale. …5,6,7,8. Inhale. …5,6,7,8. Exhale. 5,6,7,8. Her lips curved in a smile. It reminded her of dancing class.

She had been, 16? 17? yes, that was it, 17 years old and madly in love with her partner. He’d been tall, dark, and handsome. They’d had sex the night before this particular class. Both of them were still giddy with delight and could not concentrate on either the steps or the timing. For some reason they’d found the counting hilariously funny. By the end of the class neither of them could stand properly for laughing. She smiled wider, they were lucky they hadn’t been banned.

The racket stopped.  She slid out from the machine and redressed herself. Took a moment to check her expression in the mirror. Yes, she looked in control. The door to the room opened and she turned to greet the doctor.

“It began to look purple 2 days ago.”

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40 DAYS OF STORY. DAY 4.

It was a look that could kill. Sarah was sure she’d be dead on the spot if it weren’t for the fact that Professor Trigg did not actually have laser eyes. It just felt like it. Sharp green eyes with a piercing gaze that saw all your imperfections. Sarah stayed very still. She looked through the window behind the Professor. There the last rod was being slotted into place. Once it was in place, the workers would press a button to start the machine. That must not happen.

Trigg narrowed her eyes. “You are telling me that I am incorrect in my calculations. That there is a flaw in the schematics which will lead to a catastrophic failure in the water plant leading to a reduction in available drinking water not an increase. That this plan – my plan, will not work.” Professor Trigg leaned closer. “Exactly how many years experience have you had in this field? Exactly how long have you been working on this project?”

Sarah rolled her shoulders uncomfortably. “yess”. She coughed, then met the Professor’s gaze. “Yes. You are incorrect in your calculations. Yes. There is a flaw in the schematics. Yes. Your plan is going to fail.” Her voice strengthened. “I have 3 years experience in this field and I have been working on the project for 3 weeks. That doesn’t make me wrong. People are going to die from this…this experiment of yours. You must delay the launch.”

Trigg sneered. “I must delay the launch?” She stepped closer. Sarah fought the urge to run out of the office into the open air. Trigg moved her mouth close to Sarah’s ear and whispered “Neither of us is going to delay the launch.” Her hand moved quickly. There was a click. Sarah looked down in horror. Cold metal handcuffs linked them both.

“What…let me go!” Sarah cried jerking her hand back. Trigg moved with it. “You must say please and thank you” she said, as the racket being made behind her increased.

Inspired by @sallyheroes 100 days of creativity. First line given by @lancewiggs, last line given by @lancewiggs + @jinnee79 (Slightly modified.)

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40 DAYS OF STORY. DAY 3.

At last the wall began to disintegrate. George allowed himself a small smile. He saw the soldiers draw away from him. He didn’t change his expression but an intense feeling of satisfaction welled up inside him. ‘Yes, that’s right, my sweetlings’ he thought, ‘You are not the only ones who can maim and hurt.’ When the wall was transparent he gestured the soldiers with sledge-hammers forward. As they worked he ran his gaze over the company.

They were looking pretty good for a group who had traveled fourteen days and nights in order to arrive at this castle on the night of the full moon. A bit ragged around the edges of their uniforms, perhaps a bit tense around the eyes. He looked down at himself. Adjusted the cuffs of his shirt. Their tenseness was easily explained. They were here to exterminate some vermin. Vermin that had already seen off three other Companies. He smiled again. None of those Companies had a Chemical Expert assigned to them though. They didn’t have a genius level Chemical Expert who could create mixtures that could dissolve 3 feet of stone wall in under 20 seconds, then turn inert. They didn’t have a genius level Chemical Expert who could create a mixture that would send the Gorgon, and only the Gorgon, to sleep. It may have seemed silly to worry about how the Company looked, but George wanted the last thing the Gorgon saw to be three rows of neatly attired soldiers who were not turning to stone.

The last of the wall was down. One of the soldiers jerked his head indicating that George should go through. George wrinkled his nose. He flicked the switch on the atomiser. When he was sure that it had begun omitting clouds of the chemical that would put the Gorgon to sleep he cautiously walked through the gap in the wall.

He was in a small garden. The hedges were neatly trimmed. There were several rambling rose bushes looking ethereal in the moonlight. Here and there he saw statues. George gave the all-clear signal. The soldiers poured silently through the gap and took up positions on the perimeter of the garden behind him. They waited. After a while George started fidgeting. Once they were in the soldiers were going to lead him to the Gorgon’s rooms. He understood the need to secure the location but they hadn’t moved in 15 minutes. … Hadn’t moved in 15 minutes… His breathing shortened. ‘Perhaps’ he thought ‘ I should have checked to see which way the wind was blowing.’ A movement caught his eye. George turned his head to see the Gorgon looking at him.

It was a look that could kill.

Inspired by @sallyheroes 100 days of creativity. First line given by @lancewiggs, last line given by @lancewiggs.

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40 days of story. Day 2.

Once upon a time, there lived a princess in a castle. She had long brown hair which she tied back off her face. Her eyes were the blue of a fine summer day. They sparkled with good humour. Her name was Grace. She was very like her name.

Grace was fourth in line to the throne. There were her three brothers before her. They were strong, smart, capable men, always having their opinions printed in the daily newspapers. Grace did not have public opinions. Instead, she blogged quietly under a pseudonym. She did other things quietly too.

On Monday she she hosted a book club for underprivileged mothers. On Tuesday she volunteered in a soup kitchen. On Wednesday she read to the children for storytime at the local library. On Thursday she taught a class at the Community College. On Friday she opened a supermarket, or hosted a visiting foreign delegation. On Saturday she’d attend glittering soirees. On Sunday she’d lock herself in her quarters and scream into a pillow.

Grace often felt restrained and confined by her name. One day she started drinking sherry and did not stop. At last the wall began to disintegrate.

Inspired by @sallyheroes 100 days of creativity. First line given by @flexnib, last line given by @lancewiggs.

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40 days of story. Day 1.

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

Her hands start shaking on the keyboard.

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn. bbROwn wti…’

She lifts her hands. Flexes her fingers. Makes a fist. Opens her hands. Shakes them twice. Carefully backspaces the letters away.

‘i, t, w, n, w, ORBB.n’

She stops. Lowers her head to her chest and swears quietly to her heart.

“fuck. fuck. fuck. fuck.” She inhales and looks up. Not at the screen but through it. Imagining the baby shoes. Brown with green turtles on the top. Small, but bigger than she’d expected for a 9 month-old. First time parents.. She smiles remembering how excited they’d been.

He’d lain with his head next to her belly, whispering to the baby. Daft things, exciting things, hopes, dreams, the mundanity of everyday life. “Mummy and Daddy walked around the waterfront today. One day, when you’re older, you’ll walk with us too.” Sentences that talked of the future they’d have together.

“She’s awake”. He’s there in the doorway, secateurs dangling from his hand. “Bring her outside. She can look at the flowers” He grins at her. She rolls her eyes, then grins back. Affection zings between them.

She goes to the baby’s room. The baby is sitting in her cot waiting. Her brown eyes are still sleepy from her nap. She picks the baby up and murmurs to her as she carries her through to the garden. When the shadow of the house is replaced by sunlight the baby wriggles to be put down.

The child skips along the grass. “I had a dream.” she pipes, her voice blending with the birds. “Shall I tell you?”

Her parents smile.

“Of course my love” says her father.

“Of course sweet pea” says her mother.

They watch as she skips around the garden. Her feet don’t touch the ground. The grass is unbroken by her passing.

The child begins “Once upon a time, there lived a princess in a castle…”

Inspired by @sallyheroes 100 days of creativity. First line given by @rmi, last line given by @flexnib.

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