Tag Archives: Weekly Writing Challenge

The Letter – a short story

5 Aug

He wasn’t fine. Everything, and yet somehow nothing, had changed. Children still laughed as they ran carelessly around the park, birds still floated effortlessly on the breeze and the street lights still turned on as the sun said goodnight. The world around him reminded unchanged while he fought off silent demons.

The letter – that was the breaking point. The sender, an anonymous person among the masses, could be anyone. The cryptic note, spelled out in a mash-up of cut-up magazine letters, provided no clues as to its sender. The message brief – “French Café. 2:00 PM tomorrow. Look for the red rose. Your instructions await. Come alone, I will be watching.”

It had been years since he’d last been inside, let alone seen the café. So many memories, some bad, but mostly good. That’s where he first saw her – indulging in not just any french pastry, but a caramel éclair. Her expression, eyes closed, tongue peeking out at the corners of her mouth to lick the last bits of lingering chocolate, without ever saying a word, told him it was the most incredible thing she’d ever tasted.

Putting on his courage like a suit of armor, he made the bold move to introduce himself. She was annoyed at first, having been interrupted during her moment of bliss, but he quickly won her over with his goofy smile and quirky personality. She could tell he was trying to hide his nerves – maybe he doesn’t get out much? – taking pity on him, invited him to join her for coffee.

Thinking about that day, a small, mostly absent smile played at the corner of his mouth. He use to think of that first meeting often, replaying it over and over in his mind, wishing he could have been smoother on his introduction, but often deciding it was for the best he hadn’t been. Nowadays, he avoids all reminders of her and the café, but tomorrow he would be forced to return.

Deep in thought as he walked, he hadn’t realized at first where he was. On his left, rundown Mom and Pop shops from his childhood and to his right, the old cemetery where he’d spend many nights as a boy telling ghost stories with friends. Having started down the journey of reminiscing the days gone by, he walked under the old archway towards a well-known old maple tree.

As he walked past, he couldn’t help but run his hand over the tombstones, wondering about the people and the lives they had lived. What were their stories, had they lived their dreams or been taken from this world too soon? Had any of them felt as he did now – empty, alone and with more questions than answers. Did they have demons to face at one time – were they successful at vanquishing the fear.

Seated alone under the tree, he listened to the sound of his racing heart – lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. As the wind picked up he heard it, a plastic rustling sound overhead. “How odd,” he thought, to see a bright blue balloon, probably from a child’s birthday party, caught in the branches of a cemetery tree. “Out of place,” he mused, “just like me,” as he released the balloon and watched the evening wind carry it out of sight.

After a restless night of pacing and nightmares, he made his journey slowly towards the meeting at the café. Eyes darting back and forth, he checked his watch – five minutes to spare thankfully, he did not want to find out what would happen if he was late. As the thunderstorm broke over head, he swallowed the lump in his throat and entered without looking back…

 

**This short piece is part of The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge where we were instructed to use The Ray Bradbury noun list technique to beat writer’s block. The words in italic are the words that had to be incorporated in the story – I chose to pick five from the list The Daily Post compiled and add one of my own. I wasn’t sure where my story was heading until I was halfway through it! A new thrill for me – someone who likes to plan the plot and details before the first word is ever penned.

 

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

28 Jan

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end we’re all storytellers. Writing Challenges help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and styles.

This week, we’re asking you to consider things from a different point of view — to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Leave your moccasins and bunny slippers at the door, and tell us a tale from a fully-immersed perspective that is not your own.

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Did I Help Murder Duncan?

*A scene from the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, from the view of Lord Macbeth’s shirt.

The night is late as my master stirs, thoughts heavy on his mind. The floorboards moan under his weight as he paces back and forth. Creaking, they shift back into place after he moves his feet. Creek, creek, creek. Though the night is warm, he shakes violently; chills run over me as well. Far off in the distance a bell rings, breaking the otherwise silent night. He stops, knowing the meaning behind the bell tonight, as do I from our previous meeting with his mistress. Taking slow, shallow breaths he heads for the door. Silently I pray he’s changed his mind, hoping he won’t be able to go through with his evil plan.

 I cling to him; mimicking his every move, feeling his heart beat quicken and intensify as we get closer to the guest room.  Outside the entrance he takes one more ragged breath and slowly pushes open the chamber’s door. As the old door opens wide it makes the most eerie creaking sound possible. (It must also know the danger our sleeping guest is in.) Walking in a daze, my master heads straight for the giant bed, arms tense at his sides. Suddenly he stops, pushes me up above his elbows and grabs one of the sleeping guard’s daggers. The sensation of choking is upon me. Try as I may, I can not relieve my stress and fear as I fight to slide back down his arm. Angrily he pushes me up again.  He’s tense, feeling the weight of his decision upon him now, as I’m stuck struggling for air.

Master Macbeth suddenly snaps back into reality minutes later. He leans over the sleeping Duncan, King of Scotland and honored guest in Macbeth’s home, as a half hearted smile splits his face. He waits for the perfect time to strike, all the while watching the steady stream of air fill and escape Duncan’s motionless body. Assuring himself that Duncan and both his guards are sound asleep, Macbeth makes his move.  With one large circular motion with his and my own left arm, Macbeth slams the pointed dagger in the precise place of Duncan’s heart.

GASP! The last sound to ever be heard from the lips of Duncan, for he quickly bled to his death. I was motionless, unable to think as I slid back down Macbeth’s arms. What had I done? Why didn’t I try to stop him? As thoughts flooded my mind, I was filled with a horrible feeling of betrayal; Macbeth had killed me as well. There stained on my front was the dark red blood of Duncan.

I was covered, marked as the mastermind of the crime. When Macbeth returned to Lady Macbeth’s side to relate the deed was done, she noticed too. She made Macbeth remove me when she heard a knock at the door, so now I lay lifeless in a corner on the dusty bedroom floor. How long will I remain, that is an answer only time can tell. But as I lay here alone with my thoughts, I can’t help but wonder; did I help kill Duncan, too?