Thursday November 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: the locket.

Busy morning around these parts. Helped Kat's dad pick up and unload two truckloads of wood shavings (for general garden use) and then rented a rototiller (to till between the rows of strawberry plants).

The afternoon settled down a little but we'll be back out there tomorrow to work on spreading the wood shavings and seeding the winter cover crops.

I didn't mean it to be, but this ended up being a continuation from yesterday's writing.


Sorting through the ashes, it was the only thing of value he found. Silver, heart-shaped, its chain missing. Its contents a mystery, as the heat of the fire had sealed it shut. A jackhammer might have managed to get it open but he wasn't about to go looking for one.

Besides, what did it matter whose picture was inside? And what business of his was it to find out? Just useless, distracting curiosity. Keeping his mind away from the haunting landscape he was traveling through.

He was on foot now. The damned gas tank sprang a leak. Must have been a rock the tires kicked up when he was driving cross country to avoid a town he hadn't liked the look of. In hindsight, he guessed he should have just taken his chances. Probably would have been fine.

Or maybe he'd be captured or dead or worse.

He stuffed the locket in a jacket pocket and moved through the remains of the house toward the front door. He couldn't explain why he didn't just leave it behind. He couldn't explain why he did much of anything those days.

Movement in the shadows across the street. He decided the back door was a better option.

At least he could explain why he made that choice.


Greg said...

Sounds like a productive day at least :) I'm still trying to work out why the hours in my days seem shorter than they used to. I'm missing at least four every day :(
The continuation is good! It reminds me a little of Lessons in the Dust, and I'm sure you said you were starting a second draft of that soon – has it started already?
I like the detail about the locket, and the way they're all dropped in through the story and not just dumped in in one go.

The locket
"This locket,"said Jason MacDoozle, still writing down a description of it, "what did it contain?" He looked up at the slim, athletic-looking woman with the flame-red hair.
"My mother's ashes," said the woman immediately.
"Uh." MacDoozle thought about that for a moment, and wished he'd been more eloquent. There was something offputting about this woman, and the way she kept smiling. "Uh, I mean, how big is this locket then?"
"Oh no," said the woman. "There wasn't very much left of my mother, her ashes fit quite easily inside the locket."
"What happened to her?" said MacDoozle. There was a nagging thought that he'd met this woman somewhere before.
"She was a scientist in the National Laser test facility. Then she accidentally became a target. After that, she became the subject of a rather well-read paper. Well, well-read for a paper published in a Physics journal."
"...and you put her ashes in a locket?" MacDoozle was sure that this woman was poking fun at him, but she was so darned convincing that it was hard to stop her and call her a liar.
"Yes. It seemed appropriate. She was agoraphobic as a child and liked small, dark spaces."
"There's another odd tragedy here, isn't there?" said MacDoozle, almost to himself, setting the pen down on the counter.
"How did you guess?" The woman smiled, tossed her hair, and conjured a back of salted caramels from a pocket. "Caramel? No? Yes, my mother unfortunately was brought up by desert engineers. She used to have to sleep under their jeep as they liked to sleep under the stars. One morning they forgot about her and drove off, and she woke up miles from the nearest tree. She was beside herself when they remembered her and came back, and she never really recovered."
"I know your name, don't I?" said MacDoozle slowly. "Do you dance the Macarena?"
"Now and then," she smiled. "When you do think you'll my locket?"

Anonymous said...

The Locket part one

The Locket

It came in last night's repairs batch. The jeweller eyed it off. Antique silver. Being silver, it was worth more in sentiment than in dollars. 
It probably came from a cache of stuff left over from a deceased estate; that was the usual pathway for these old, battered pieces. 
The locket's catch was jammed shut. Delicate tools, a good eye and some auspicious prying would get it open, then a new hook which wasn't dented would operate the lock like it was brand new. 
The jeweller sat down, a craftsman of the old way. His own tools were old, scratched and worn from a thousand watch repairs. His mind wandered back. Father had been a watchmaker. It translated to his craft as jeweller and silver-smith. He valued his craft, not yet quite a dying one in this modern age of lasers and acrylic. He remembered his mother, she'd died young. He was a boy when it happened. Father had packed away all her stuff, unable to face any of it. It wasn't even in the attic when he'd searched his parents' house years later, after father had also passed. It must have gone into storage, the key long lost. There was no record of it. 

Anonymous said...

The Locket, part two

The phone rang. Its shrill sound broke the reverie to which the jeweller had succumbed in these early hours. An impatient voice spoke on the other end of the line. "How is the locket repair going?" A woman shrieked into the mouthpiece.
"I'm just taking a look at it now. How did you come by it, by the way?" the jeweller couldn't quite explain this unusual level of curiosity in himself and the words were out before he'd had a chance to analyse this stray from procedure. 
"Came in through an op shop. I was lucky enough to spot it before anyone else grabbed it. I love the rose design. Is it worth much, do you think?" she asked, the dollar-driven hunger in her voice was unmistakable across the telephone wires. 
"Not in dollars, maybe fifty in today's market. It's not quite antique, the date stamp is 1925, but it is Sterling," he replied.
"Oh," she sounded almost disappointed, but allowed him to continue. A locket that couldn't be opened was worth nothing, what would be the point?

He hung up and continued to work on it. Soon enough, he'd pried the lock open...
...There she was, a black and white rendition of carefully coifed auburn hair, freckles powdering her nose, evident even in this small picture, a mouth small, shaped like the rose bud which adorned the locket's face. Eyes sparkled. You couldn't see their colour but they were undoubtedly blue - as blue as his own. The facial shape was unmistakable, too. You didn't need a Chinese face reader to confirm that. he looked in the mirror, and looked back at the photo in the locket. he knew, without a DNA test, that he was looking at his mother. 

He would offer to buy the locket from the customer, paying whatever price she would charge. It eas only silver but, to him, worth more than gold. 

Marc said...

Greg - not started yet, but soon. If you don't get an email from me reasonably soon asking for some help with it then feel free to kick me in the shins.

Salted caramels and flame red hair, huh? Yeah, I miss that story too.

Writebite - a two parter! Awesome :)

I saw the ending coming, but I enjoyed it regardless. T'was nicely told.