Thursday October 13th, 2011

The exercise:

I was inspired by something fellow Protagonize moderator Elorithryn said on my random CD prompt post over there: "Last lines are hard too you know."

So today's prompt is to take the first line of a random song and use it as the last line in your poetry or prose. The borrowed line in italics so we can all spot it easily, and the usual credit where it's due applies.

Kat and I planted our garlic for next year this morning. We were able to use some of the bulbs that came up this summer (we saved the rest for winter use), so we didn't need to order more seed. Hopefully we can do more of that as the years go on, as it certainly saved quite a bit of money.


Scared - The Tragically Hip

She is fearless. You can see it in the way she moves. No hesitation, no second guessing, no looking back. She seems convinced of her invincibility, her immortality.

I watch as she hugs and kisses her friends goodnight before heading for the door. Finishing my beer, I slap a ten on the bar and follow in her lavender scented wake. It's cold outside and the wind is picking up. For a moment I'm worried she'll decide to take a cab, but I shouldn't have bothered.

Why would she be afraid of winter's frigid touch? I bet she considers shivering a sign of weakness.

Her pink boots leave modest prints in the recently fallen snow. They're difficult to track at first, but soon she's traveling on quiet side streets whose sidewalks only bear the marks of bird feet. Not that I need her tracks in order to see where she's gone.

Why would I need to keep my distance when she never looks back?

At last she reaches her apartment building and fishes her keys out of her slender purse. As the door begins to close behind her I grab it and follow her inside. She presses the button for the elevator as I wait a few feet away. When it arrives we step in and she taps the number three before finally noticing my presence.

She's surprised but not frightened.

"I can make you scared," I tell her as I pull the knife out of my pocket. "If you want me to."


Sherry said...

I'm new to this site. Love the idea - thanks for hosting. I couldn't think of how to begin, so I used your last line as my first.

I can make you scared. If you want me to.

What is there to be scared of? Life, the blurry darkness at the edge of my face as I lie in bed at 3:00 am, trying to sleep without waking my girls? I slip out of the room, and my eight year old whispers, Mama?

She has a radar for that - mamas leaving. 70,000 Chinese girls trafficked a year they’re saying now. Really. And who says what is trafficking and what is just plain being scared. Scared of your genetic messages, scared of government sanctions, scared of having a girl who can’t make it in the world you see echoing around you, in those green hills of forever?

I’m scared too, I want to tell her. Scared of the finite time I have to love, of the things left undone, the messes I’ve created without allowing time to clean. I’m scared, but the little glimmers of courage that I have come from you.

I can make you scared. If you want me to.

Greg said...

@Sherry: hello! That's well written and slightly disturbing to read. I think the repetition of the first and last lines neatly encapsulates the piece; lovely work.

@Marc: I like the way the narrator is constantly admiring his/her imminent-victim's invincibility and self-assuredness; we learn a lot about the girl (s)he's stalking and learn very little about him/her in the process – but what we do learn is so important!

Mine:Pink Floyd – Coming back to life
The sun beat down, a bright gold orb in an otherwise spotless blue sky. There was a breeze, a soft sigh of air that tickled the hair on the back of my legs now and then, but it wasn't cooling, wasn't soothing. The sand beneath my bare feet was hot, but I'd stopped noticing that long ago. Back when the skin on the soles of my feet wasn't blistered and blackened, and they didn't smell like cooked pork.
I crested a sand dune, just a small mound of sand in an undulating, never-ending wasteland of golden brown. More areg lay ahead of me, with no respite from the relentless sun.
I blinked, and all of sudden the Madonna of the Fires was stood in front of me, her eyes cool and calculating, her skin hot and dehydrating. She opened her mouth, and though her voice was like the roar of the furnace, I could clearly hear her words.
Where were you when I was burned and broken?

Marc said...

Sherry - welcome, I'm so glad you found your way here :)

That's a very haunting piece, packed full of emotions. Great work!

Greg - thanks, I rather enjoyed writing that one!

Great scene, very vivid. Feels like the story is just beginning though :)

Sherry said...

This is a great forum for getting back into my writing practice. Trying for every day, not quite there yet, but trying.

Greg - Love the heat! It's so dry and desert-y, when the Madonna arrives I'm right there with you. Nice. I'd like more.

Marc - So creepy. The details really bring it to life, lavender, bird tracks, slapped a ten. I love the POV, watching the woman as she moves from bar to elevator.

Drake Davenport said...

Any moment now. Broq waited patiently in his chair, staring out the window. He knew they'd be coming for him soon.

Broq could have run, but what would be the point? There was no hope for him outside these walls, outside this city. The whole world would be looking for him. Anyone who helped him would do so under the threat of death.

And, he supposed, that's why they hadn't sent anyone sooner. He had no where to go. He couldn't escape what was coming for him.

This wasn't how Broq expected things to turn out. He always imagined that the cause would succeed. He figured that they would win, and he would be held as a hero.

How far from reality he was. And now he was going to pay the price.

He wasn't going to be held as a martyr. He wasn't going to be painted onto posters to be remembered for his heroics. He wasn't going to die for anything worthwhile. Not anymore.

He was going to die as a terrorist. An enemy of the state. His body would be hung in the town square until it started to stink. And then it would be torn in pieces and posted on stakes on the edge of town.

He would die in shame and embarrassment, a warning to all others to never again question the Vzar.

The car pulled up. Two men in suits got out and walked slowly to the door. It was his time. Broq got up and opened it before they even had to knock.

Away they pulled, toward his destiny. A destiny befit a murderer and traitor to the state.

It would be a long, slow ride.

Slow ride. Time to take it easy.

Marc said...

Drake - that's a brilliant way to lead up to that final line. Love it!