Monday July 4th, 2011

The exercise:

Tell me a story about: the knife.

Spent the morning harvesting for our local orders and the evening fiddling with tomato plants. In between I hid inside, avoiding the burning gaze of Mr. Sun.


They called him The Knife, though never when he was around to hear it. They didn't want to have his namesake slipped between their ribs, after all.

His role in the neighbourhood was to keep the peace, though rarely through peaceful methods. His name was enough to cast a chilling shadow on any argument before it could become too heated, and mothers didn't even need that much to keep their children under control.

They simply had to open their cutlery drawer and begin cleaning a knife - any would do.

But The Knife is getting on in years now, and there is concern that once he crosses over there will be no one to fill his black shoes. There's talk of lawlessness taking hold before the soil over his coffin can settle.

I won't let that happen though. That's why tonight, when these weaklings and fools are safe in their beds, I'm going hunting for The Knife.


Greg said...

It sounds like you've got a great working day there, with the European siesta in the mid-afternoon :)
There's a lovely sense of menace in your story today; nothing too overt, just a lingering, uneasy feeling that something unpleasant could happen at any time.

The knife
It lay on a red-velvet cushion under glass. School children on educational trips might stare at it briefly, but they always moved on quickly. It just wasn't interesting enough to look at for long. So when the elderly gentlement with white hair, rheumy eyes and a black lacquered cane came in day after day, standing in front of the case and staring at the knife the curator, Isabelle Bonfontaine, felt compelled to speak to him.
"You seem very interested in that knife," she said with a smile. A stroke some years earlier had paralysed one side of her face, freezing it into a beautiful, if unearthly, beauty. The smile worked on the half that was still under her control.
"Well yes," said the man. He looked at her, then back at the knife. Then he looked at her again.
"Bonfontaine," he said slowly. "Ah."
She raised an eyebrow.
"You know what the knife is," he said. "And since I know who you are, I suppose the knife is better protected than I've so far determined."
She inclined her head slightly, towards the paralysed side so that its immobility was disconcerting.
"Well," she said. "It's the knife that Delilah used to cut Samson's hair. Legend has it that it took some of his strength into itself, so we do have to look after it."
"And did it?"
Isabelle smiled her half-smile again and said nothing.

Andrew said...

The Knife

The knife made its way around town,
Always into the hands of a clown,
People scared out of wit,
And only because it,
Might into their skin plunge down.

I thought a limerick would be a fun way to portray this!

morganna said...

The oven was pre-heating. The baking sheet was ready. The potatoes were washed and lay on the cutting board. The knife lay next to them, ready for the slicing.

The recipe seemed simple enough. Slice the raw potatoes into quarters. Lay them in the baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and bake. Voila, oven-roasted potatoes.

I laid my left hand over the first potato and picked up the knife with my right. I laid the blade across the middle of the potato and pushed it down. It slid into the middle of the potato.

I tried to push the blade down farther, with more pressure on the handle. It wouldn't move.

I tried to pull the blade through the potato. It wouldn't move.

I picked up the potato and began wiggling the knife handle. It wouldn't move.

I wiggled the handle more and more. Suddenly it moved. Before I could react, the knife slid out of the potato and into my left thumb. It sliced across the pad, just below the nail.

It didn't hurt at first. I dropped the knife and the potato on the cutting board and stared at my thumb. Bright red drops of blood swelled up through the skin and over my thumb. The drops became a flow.

Now it hurt.

Alone in the apartment, I didn't know what to do. I watched the blood fall towards the white carpet. Blood on the carpet would never come out. I grabbed a paper towel and caught the blood. I wrapped it loosely around my thumb.

I called my mother. She talked me through cleaning the cut and bandaging it. When the blood didn't soak the bandage, she told me I didn't need stitches. She had to go, so I sat down on the couch with my left hand above my heart.

An hour later, that's where my husband found me. On the couch with my hand elevated, and the bloody knife and potato still on the counter with the other raw potatoes.

He never said a word, just made sure I was okay, cleaned up the mess, and made some other dinner.

Denin said...

Garrett deliberately placed each foot, walking, terrified, through the faintly lit alley. No noise was made. Even the sound of crashing pins no longer emanated from the bowling alley to the right. The neon had long since flickered out like a tube of suffocating fireflies, luminous no more.
In his left hand he clutched it. Ocaasionaly it snatched a stroke of light from the nearby streetlights, the blade glowing as though enchanted. Garrett wished the streetlights would burn out. These betrayals of his prescence could prove to be fatal.
A trash can far behind slammed to the pavement. As Garrett whirled around, the knife gleamed, and Garrett thought he had seen a single green eye imposed only for a breath upon the cold metal surface. But that would only be what the dream man wanted him to see. After all, Garrett was a psychology major. He should know better.
As Garrett slowly pivoted back around, he noticed a flash of a pale gold just above his temple. Best cover that up, he reasoned. He reached back behind his head and cautiously pulled his black hood over his bright blonde hair. The handle of the knife felt hard and unwelcome against the side of his head. He replaced his hands, clutching the blade, prepared to deliver an upward strike just below the ribcage.
That was all the dream man needed. Stepping out from the shadows Garrett had concealed from himself with his hood, he quickly slipped around Garrett's back and slit his neck. He didn't bother to watch Garrett's expression as his body collapsed in a heap on the pavement. He just retreated back into the shadows from which he had appeared and walked away. Shame, the dream man pondered to himself. He could have been useful. At least it was quick. Better to go out with a bang than to fade away. Like neon lights, he chuckled in his mind. He almost wished the bowling alley was open. It was a good night for bowling.

Marc said...

Greg - intriguing beginning. You create such interesting characters... it's hard not to be jealous :)

Andrew - I'm of the opinion that limericks are only very rarely a bad way to handle anything :D

Morganna - was that non-fiction? If it wasn't, you definitely did a great job of conveying the scene. If it was... ow :(

Denin - I really enjoyed the transition from Garrett's point of view to the dream man, that was nicely done. Also liked the suffocating fireflies line.

morganna said...

Marc -- it was non-fiction. Yes -- ow.

Anonymous said...

Nothing cuts deeper
Than the knife of rejection.
I'm so sorry.

(Forgive me, I'm just in such a haiku mood today!)

Marc said...

Anon - no forgiveness needed :)

I hope you saved some for today's prompt!

Ruby said...

As i stab the shaded figure with the knife, he back lashes and he pushes me down to the stone cold floor. He then gets the knife out of my hand and does the same thing i did to him but worse. The rest is a blur but i can remember lots of blood.

Hope you like it!!!