Sunday January 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

Let's write about: visions.

I managed to get prompts and takes done up until February 10th today, so I only have three more days to go. Of course, I still have to get them all typed up and scheduled...

Kat and I got into planning our second week in Jamaica this evening. Starting to get very excited.


The old woman who lived in the apartment across the hall never said hello, never asked to borrow sugar, never gave me cause to complain about her. Until last week.

When I left for work last Thursday morning, she was standing in the hallway, just staring at my door. I asked her if everything was alright and she went back into her apartment without a word. It was a little creepy.

When I got home after work she was standing outside my door again, mumbling under her breath. She saw me before I could say anything and disappeared back into her room. Unnerved, I knocked on her door but she refused to answer.

I made sure I used every lock on my door that night, even though I knew I had little to fear from such a frail little thing. It just doesn't hurt to be too careful these days, you know?

The next morning the hallway was empty, but I'm certain I heard her just on the other side of her door. Watching me. I shook my head and went on my way, making sure I'd locked the door behind me.

I didn't go straight home after work, as a couple of the guys at the office invited me out for drinks. I'll admit I was a little tipsy when I did get to my apartment, but I swear on my life that this is true: she was waiting for me inside my apartment, sitting on my couch as if the place was hers.

I yelled at her to get out, threatened to call the cops, you name it. And she just sat there, mumbling under her breath. I guess I made enough noise for the building manager to come check things out. I told him the problem and you know what that joker told me?

"You mean Miss Savard? Didn't you hear the news? She passed away Wednesday night!"


Greg said...

Ooh, a ghost story! I wasn't expecting that from your prompt. It works really well, and the ending, though not completely unexpected, certainly isn't an obvious twist. I like the idea that the narrator is worried about an elderly lady to the point of locking their door as tightly as possible, that's a nice detail.

The Green Lightbulb looked at the label on the bottle again. It read Take one small spoonful before a meal. Don't eat fish. He put the bottle down on a shelf in his bathroom cabinet and turned to leave. Then he turned back again, and looked at the shelf. Closed the door to the cabinet. Got half-way through the door before turning round again. He came back, slowly, and opened the cabinet door. Closed it again. Open. Closed. Open.
"Feather it!" he said, and took the bottle back out. The liquid inside promised the drinker a Vision Quest(TM) and Green had run out of ideas of things to do to cheer him up. Perhaps this Vision Quest(TM) would help.
He poured a spoonful with shaking hands, and swallowed it; then another as his hands had shaken so much he'd only managed to drink half of the first spoonful. It tasted like cinnamon.
Finally he left the bathroom, heading out for lunch with Sylvestra. He'd heard good things about the Sole Meuniere, whatever that should be.

morganna said...

Coming up the hill into the old commercial district, I had a vision. Oh, not of ghosts or anything else that wasn't really there, but as day faded through dusk into night, the neon lights shone out and the buildings shimmered enticingly. Suddenly I could see past the crumbling facades and drooping signs and see the glory of this road sixty years ago, when it was the place to be, before it was replaced by the shiny new one that was in its turn replaced.

Anonymous said...

@Greg - just getting acquainted with these characters, but I think Sylvestra is in for the lunch of her life.

@marc - love the ghost story - want to know what she was mumbling.

@morganna - the last line is beauty. Tugs at the impermanence of life.

Here's my take, the vision for this piece came in front of St. Patricks Cathedral on 5th Ave in Manhattan (it was 11 degrees out):

“I’m gonna take over the world,” declared the man. “I know what people want and I’m gonna give it to them. I got more visions than anyone. I could cure cancer if I wanted. I’ve got the ideas. I’m gonna razzle and dazzle ‘em. I’m gonna show them. They think they know, but they don’t. They don’t know that I see what other people don’t. I can see what the world needs and I can see that I’m the one to give it to them.”

The woman did not listen to the man’s words and the man did not see the woman. She stopped long enough to put a quarter in his hat. She shuddered as the frigid wind danced on her spine. Then she moved past, heading towards the train that would return her to the cozy apartment.

summerfield said...

marc, creepy story, but powerful.

greg, i like "It tasted like cinnamon."

morganna, whenever i go see new places, i sometimes feel that way, too; trying to see what it had been like before.

dumbricht, wow!

mine's a little long (again) and if you care, you can read it here.

Heather said...

This is not at all what I intended to write. I had other better ideas. I enjoyed reading everyone's entries today!

Marc- It appears they may be riding through the Colorado Mountain ranges instead. It's still a toss up until the Spring though.

All- I considered writing the story of Esther from another character's view point or telling a new story about corpses or maybe just describing what my husband and I have called the Loch Ness Monster's second home. But no. I stalled after a few sentences in each one, opting to erase it and start over instead.


It saddens me that I don't have the energy to write as of late. January was suppose to be my come back month, but it seems to be slipping away more than December did. In December, I gave myself permission to slack off, to not hold myself accountable for letting my writing muscles apathy, to basically take it easy and rejuvenate. There were so many things to do. Santa Claus was coming, my eldest was turning 6, travel plans to ensure extended family still felt valued, and so on. It all took up my days and nights.

So what is my excuse this month? Life happens just like it has every month. No, Santa is not making a return trip. Instead, I had my nephews for a week and the wrapping up of a couple of holiday parties. I started a class with the Anti-Christ of Education. (She is actually a very good teacher, but the amount of work is quite overwhelming. By writing this, I am actively avoiding working on the presentation that is expected in a few days.) And what else? Two side writing projects (which I really need to get in the mail) and a photography swap due at the end of this week. My usual, every day responsibilities. It's a handful, certainly, but not significantly more than I typically have.

I have a new vision. February will be my Take Back the Reins month. I'll be settled into the patterns of homework. I'll have renewed my driver's license, bought groceries, filed my taxes, attended my son's school program, and regained control of the clutter monsters sitting on my counters. I won't have any more excuses. I won't!

Oh shoot. I see now that my daughter has her conferences scheduled in February and there is that concert to go to. Plus, the owner's of the preschool are asking for an emergency board session. That reminds me that I have to staff the Open House and find volunteers for........

Marc said...

Greg - I was actually writing it with the woman having had a terrible vision of the narrator until about 3/4 of the way through, haha.

Ah, good old Green. Things are about to get even more fun and interesting, me thinks :D

Morganna - liked that a lot. Agree with Dumbricht about that final line.

Dumbricht - you perfectly captured the essence of the scene.

Summerfield - thanks :)

And I shall be over to read yours momentarily.

Heather - well I'll keep my fingers crossed for a more northerly route :)

Ah, finding the time and motivation and energy to write. Some days it feels like an impossible dream - I suspect that is true for all writers.

On those days I try to find five or ten minutes, even if they're not consecutive, and do what I can with them. The result usually isn't much to speak about, but at least there's a result!

Zhongming said...

Nice work everyone :)



It disappeared before even i have a chance to see what's going on. The dark blue skies turned into a dreamland, filled with vibrant colors.

The loud sparks that triggers the fireworks deaf my ears instantly. I turned around and I could see kids around me cupped their hands around their ears. Can you imagine its loudness?

I couldn't hide my tears after watching something so beautiful that totally caught me off guard.

The words up there?

"Would you marry me, dear?"

Marc said...

Zhongming - lovely :)