Started over on Typetrigger.
Could Be Yours
It could be yours, I kept repeating in my head. It was a mantra. I wasn’t normally afraid of heights, but this branch was particularly hazardous. And yet at the end of it was my reward, dangling by a thread. I took a glance at the ground below at the roots of the great oak tree, but there were no acorns left; they were swept away in the flood. All that remained was this one hope. My last chance hanging in front of me.
I steadied myself on all fours and used my bushy tail to center myself. I inched along the branch, not my usual zippy zappy self. There was too much riding on this. The acorn almost gleamed in the sunlight — a beacon calling out to me. I crept further along the increasingly narrower branch, until it started to bend with my weight.
I hesitated and stopped moving. It wasn’t too late to go back. I looked behind me at the safety of the tree trunk. The branch was still intact. I could still make it out of this alive.
I turned back to the acorn. It was so close now I could smell the nut within the hard shell. It filtered through my nostrils and my belly ached.
I pressed on. Inching closer as the branch drooped sharply in response. I could reach it now. I stuck out a paw and brushed it. It was real all right. Not a mirage. I pushed it harder. It shook the whole branch and my heart raced as it took me along with it. A mighty crack reverberated down the branch and the acorn and I were swung down. We dangled precariously but I held on. I wouldn’t go out this way. I wouldn’t. The tree trunk was within leaping distance. I grabbed the stem of the acorn and I took the chance. I jumped. The acorn snapped off and stuck to my paw. Time slowed. I looked for grooves in the tree — something to hold on to. My free paws hit the bark and slipped down. The acorn was too heavy. I scrambled but it was no good. The acorn and I slid down the tree.
And then everything was still. I realised I had closed my eyes. I opened them to see myself on the ground at the base of the tree, alive and with my acorn. It was a beautiful moment. I could have wept, but there was time for that later. I hungrily clawed at the acorn to reach its inner goodness. It was finally mine.
As posted on Typetrigger.
As posted on Typetrigger.
My body lay in its coffin, perfectly still. It was dressed in my best tan suit, in my shoes that had never looked so polished. A sterile expression was drawn across its face; what used to be my face. The eyes were done up with eyeliner which looked absolutely ridiculous, and the skin was ghostly pale.
Ghostly. Wait a second, what am I now exactly? Is this what it’s like to be a ghost? Looking down on my own body? Am I stuck like this forever? I mean, I know my body has reached its end, that’s what a heart attack will do to you, but what happens to me know?
I moved closer to my body. I tried to feel for a sense of form, but I had no arms or legs, no human bits. Yet I could see around me clearly and float in any direction I wished. I was directly above my head now. I tried to enter its nostrils, but I only bounced back. Great, I get to be a ghost that can’t even move through objects. Where are the perks for crying out loud!
The room was empty; a church. The purple cushioned chairs were laid out in a horseshoe surrounding the stage and the coffin and its stand. For the love of all that’s good and holy I hope I’m early for my funeral. I only get one shot at this.
I flew, err… traveled across the room to the exit only to be trapped by the church hall doors. Blasted, damn ghost powers. After a while of floating in place and moping about my miserable existence, a door opened. In came the priest who walked past the chairs and up to the stage. He closed the coffin lid. I missed my last farewell.
As posted on Typetrigger.
I searched the group of faces for the one. The one who gave me glances in the lunchroom. We never introduced ourselves, and it had been over a week since he started working for the same task masters I proud myself on working for. He sat at a table with a few other guys while I sat, as always, on my lonesome. At least I have my diary and pen to keep me occupied. But I wrote no words, only twiddled the pen between my fingers, taking the occasional glance in his direction and quickly looking away again.
I mean, he had been looking at me too, right? He would have had to been. Our eyes had met, I could swear on it. But I couldn’t do this eye flirting for too much longer. It’s a drain on the system knowing but not knowing. I had to know for sure. I had to know he was looking at me too. That it wasn’t just in my head.
Carefully I tilted up my head. He had just swallowed a forkful of food and was munching on it thoughtfully. Now was my chance; go you beautiful girl you. I stretched the muscles in my face into a slight smile. I say stretched because it took all the strength I had to do it. Fear was holding me back, but I wouldn’t let it consume me any longer. I broke into a full grin, beaming my smile across the room for all to see, but I only needed the one recipient. My recipient. He finally swallowed his mouthful, and before prodding his plate for another, he glanced across the room at me — at me with my goofy grin and crazy eyes, and then he smiled a crazy grin right back.
As posted on Typetrigger.
Life should be more simple.
It seems like such a self-important phrase now that I think about it. What’s so difficult about the life of Max Brody? I have a steady income, I have a house with assorted bills, but bills that I can pay without too much trouble. I have a wife and four kids; two of them moody, hormonal teenagers. I have friends who are there for me when I need them. We have a drink at the pub every Friday night and sit and watch the rugby match or whatever else is on.
Whereas there are people in the world struggling to survive. There’s a person out there tied down to a job that earns them next to nothing, to support their family who share a single bed in a run-down shack. My mid-life crisis and depression is inconsequential. And so is the fear that I haven’t left a mark on this Earth, besides my procreation. At least I’ve had a life worth living. That’s got to count for something.
Should I give in to my purely selfish desires and escape to a mountainside, leave my family behind, and live on whatever I can grow in the garden? A place where I can live without work and the stresses of ordinary life, to meditate and self reflect on the pointlessness of our lives?
That’s when I took the nearest exit and turned my car around. I had traveled past six cities; away from home, away from responsibility.
Running away wouldn’t solve anything. These daily stresses are something I need to tackle head on. Maybe I could talk to Darrel over a beer. He’s been through something similar. Yeah, he would listen.
Max you silly bugger. Next time think it through before you throw it all away!
Thanks to fellow reader and writer, Joanne, I’ve found Typetrigger, a site which will give a writing prompt every four hours. Here is my first contribution for the trigger…
The Styrofoam cup flipped in slow-motion, sending the black coffee spiraling. It spewed in all directions until the cup came to a rest on the pavement where it rolled past pedestrian feet and into the gutter. I stared at it unbelieving, as if this blip in time was nothing more than a false memory, someone else’s problem. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. The thing was, the coffee was the least of my problems. Today I was diagnosed with cancer.
And not the good kind of cancer either. Wait, let me rephrase that. Not the recoverable kind. As a woman in her sixties on the cusp of retirement, I thought I had it solved, that God would have given me the decency to live my work-free days in peace. That should teach me for putting all my eggs in one basket.
The coffee vendor looked at me and I just stood staring for-longingly at the coffee cup in the gutter. I almost pulled out the ‘I’ve got cancer card’, yes, even on the first day of diagnosis. But the young man with dimples, in the black buttoned shirt, flicked me a smile and started on making a fresh cup. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
I’m sitting here staring at a blank page. It’s not Writer’s Block, it’s something else; a lack of ideas. I know as a writer I should have ideas aplenty, but the pot has run dry and I’m lacking inspiration. So I’m reaching out to my readers. Please use the contact form below (or use the comments) to email me your suggestions. I’m thinking of non-fiction essays about periods in my life, my views on a certain subject matter, or maybe a kick-start premise for a short story.
I think for most writers (myself included) will draw ideas from the world around them, and more often than not, their own life experiences. The idea that ideas (sorry) can be drawn out of thin air is a myth, but sometimes it might feel that way. Our subconscious will often pick up the strangest of jumping off points and then the rest is up to our imagination, or put another way, a combination of separate and distant subjects, to make something new.