Thursday June 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what you can do with: dust.

Because Kat and I were in the garden this afternoon when a random wind storm came raging out of nowhere. It cut diagonally across the garden, carrying a big cloud of dust with it, and headed straight for me. All I could do was duck my head, close my eyes and mouth, and hold my hat.

Fun times.

Also because I've been looking over my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel, Lessons in the Dust, recently.


Inspector Evans opened the door and stepped into the library. The deceased had an impressive collection of books which filled several bookcases, each of them brushing the ceiling. A brief examination showed that they were arranged alphabetically by author.

He moved to the window and pulled the curtain back just enough to peer down at the front yard. He eyed the officers and TV reporters before his gaze shifted to the onlookers gathered on the far side of the police tape. Studying each face closely, he wondered if one of them was responsible for ruining his morning.

Turning away, he walked slowly around the room, deep in thought. The room had obviously not seen much use, he noted, as all of the book spines were covered with a fine layer of dust.

Evans stopped, then turned and retraced his steps. He leaned toward a book that had caught his attention, holding his breath, his nose mere inches away from its surface.

"All of them," he amended his earlier thought, "except one."


Greg said...

It's about time you started revising Lessons in the dust! I thought you were planning on starting about three months ago though?
The dust storm sounds... let's go with exciting. Mr. Wriggles didn't get caught out in it, did he?
That's a really odd room if the books have dust covering their spines; usually the dust rests on top of the shelves and any books that stick out (ahem, I need to dust my bookshelves actually, which is how I know). But the story is a great start to a mystery!

A man arrived in a dust storm.

The church bells were ringing wildly,
Hurled about by angry wind,
And the man was heard to say, mildly,
That someone here had sinned.
He raised a wide-brimmed hat
To reveal a shaven, monkish, pate,
Straightened a paisley cravat,
And started to preach his hate.
The storm rose high above his head,
Walls of wind like iron and glass,
And people listened to all he said
Like school-children in a class.

A man departed in a dust storm.

Behind him, they counted heads.
Someone, they found, was astray,
And then they found the priest dead.
His face swollen, purple, and gray.
His throat'd been choked till it bled,
A paisley cravat had made it quite easy,
The killer'd apparently fled,
And the dust storm died down to just breezy.

Nicholas said...

A swirling cloud of dust quickly formed as our tiny spacecraft ended its slow descent to the surface of the Red Planet. Looking out the window, through the thickening blanket of dust, I could barely see what appeared to be a gargantuan mountain range miles away in the distance. Our destination.

After getting dressed appropriately, my partner and I stepped out of the spacecraft and into the elements of the infamous planet. It looked just as I imagined it would. It was as if we were starring in a movie straight off of the SyFy channel.

The motor on the spacecraft finally died down and the dust began to clear, but just as it did, a warm breeze picked up and stirred the dust around like a blender. The dry, pesky dust began to cake on my visor, hindering my vision.

Seconds later, what was once a gentle warm breeze was now on the fringe of being a tornadic like wind. Gust after gust pounded against my body, until finally, it knocked me off me feet.

I landed on the rocky surface with a resounding thud. I lifted my head up to locate my partner, but I could see nothing through the raging dust.

Quickly, I checked my heartbeat sensor to make sure that my partner had not been carried away by the winds. To my relief, the sensor revealed that my partner was still in the general vicinity, but then I noticed something strange. Not only was the sensor picking up my and my partner's heartbeats, but numerous others.

They showed up as dots on the sensor, and there was a group of them, which the sensor indicated were approximatley one hundred feet away. I was terrified, not only that there was something with a pulse on this planet "not fit for life", but the dots were closing in on our postition, fast.

Heather said...

Marc- I don't find your story believable. How can a library NOT be used? That is inconceivable!

Re: Your confusion from yesterday. You didn't miss anything. I just didn't realize that my character would find a mug of tea and forsake the pile of applications she had left on the table. By the time she made an unexpected phone call, she and I had quite forgotten they ever existed.

Greg- I truly do love your poetry. I could read it every day, except then I would miss your colorful characters.

Nicolas- Nice story. I do hope that the beings are friendly. However, the dust storm sure seems to be an ominous omen doesn't it?


I saw her twirling in her fire engine red dress. It flew threw the air like Little Red Riding Hood's famous cape when she skipped through the woods. Her white socks reached up as if they were going to grab the flowing hem of the dress and remind it that it should be gently brushing her knees. All the while, her black Mary Janes clicked on the sidewalk. Her hair was tied back in two little ponytails that started just behind her ears. Thick red ribbons held them in place. The sun kissed her cheeks, giving them a rosy glow. Mostly, I noticed her eyes. White and shiny. Filled with the joy of an innocent life. A smile to match. Emily was my sweet little girl, just four years old.

That was last week. This morning she wore an identical red dress. The hem of her dress rested lightly on top of her knees. Her socks stroked the hem, happy to have contact. Her Mary Janes were silent. I reached down and stroked her hair which had been pulled back into two ponytails and tied with a new red ribbon. A brush had painted her cheeks pink, but there was not glow. Her eyes were closed. At first glance she looked to be asleep. But I knew better.

Rob placed a kind hand on my shoulder. "Are you ready Isabell?"

Nodding yes, he walked me to my seat and then took the one next to me. We held hands.

"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." Pastor Rob began.

Nicholas said...

Heather- Bravo! That was terrific. Sad, but terrific.

Marc said...

Greg - I've been poking at it once a week or so for the last... hmm, two months maybe. It's slow, but at least I'm doing something with it.

Mr. Wriggles can get blown to Mexico for all I care.

Great story within your poem :)

Nicholas - welcome to the blog, and thanks for sharing your writing with us!

Love the scene, very dramatic. I agree with Heather - that dust storm seems rather ominous.

Heather - :)

Ah, that makes sense about yesterday's post. Thanks!

Aw, that's a heart breaker. Beautifully told though.