Thursday December 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: the pursuit.

Hmm, it appears to be December. How odd. I'm quite sure I didn't give my approval for it to be here yet.


I've been running for as long as I can remember. Lately though, the days have been blurring together worse than usual. Used to be I could tell ya the day of the week; now I'm lucky if I get the month right. I suppose it's just a matter of time before I lose track of the year.

I'd stop for a rest, get my bearings if I could. But they won't let me. I can't sleep because they don't sleep. Not sure how they manage it, or why they think I'm worth the damned bother, but there you go and here I am. Exhausted.

Heard tell they think I stole something from 'em. Great joke, that is, with all the thieving they do. You'd think they'd hire me to work for 'em if that was the case. Help 'em rob every last penny from their slaves.

Pardon, I mean subjects. They don't like it when you call 'em slaves. Implication being that would make 'em slave owners, and that's just bad PR, ya know?

Anyway, the point is I didn't take nothing from 'em that wasn't already mine. Not that I'll ever get the chance to explain that. They'll have five bullets in me before I can even open my mouth.

Shame, too, cuz I've got some choice words in mind for 'em.

Though I'm so tired it might be a challenge to get 'em in the right order.

What I need is a place to hide, but there ain't nowhere safe left for the likes of me. Reward for my capture is too big; nary a soul to be trusted with that kinda gold being bandied about.

Guess I best keep running then.


Greg said...

How horrified would you be to know that I have booked today as a holiday so that I can actually get some work done without being constantly interrupted (mostly by complaints that I haven't done the work yet...)?
I've seen your email now by the way, and I'm thinking about the torches. There's a very obvious source of fat, but it's not that easy to render and it's probably more gruesome than you'd want :-o
I like how exhausted your character sounds from the writing; the short paragraphs feel like they're coming from someone who's got things to say but is too tired to do more than just tell. The little accents in there are great too!

The pursuit
The garden is amazing right now. Juanita, the garden, is puttering around up by the koi pond, hoeing all the weeds out from between the crazy paving that makes the path. I still can't believe how much I paid to have broken paving slabs laid down in the garden. Just musta been one of those days I guess.
The trees are magnificent; they were here before the garden and the first gardener worked them into the landscape. They're tall enough, they group together over on the left casting deep shadows and creating hidden places to lead a lover; tiny little bowers where small flowers push up through the earth and struggle to make a difference. Creepers hang down from the trees; I'm not so keen on that, they remind me of snakes.
On the right there's a tiny little hill, the rhododendra and shrubs, the Koi pond. I put a little sundial up on the hill, it doubles as a compass.
There's a flash of movement somewhere in the shadows of the trees, and I realise that the shadows are active again, moving steathily, hoping I won't see them against the dark backdrop. I stare at them, daring them to come up to the house. I've got the light here, just waiting for them. I'll show them.
Juanita screams and there's a splash; when I look over at the Koi pond, impossibly she's gone and the pond is still. The hungry ghosts have taken her.
I can't help it; the flashback is overwhelming; the smell of napalm, the distant screams; cordite working its way through the jungle and the staccato thud of bullets letting loose, screaming through the air to tear into their target.
When I pull out of it I'm on the floor, sweating, shivering, the matches spilled in front of me. I scrabble them up in a panic and haul myself up so I see out of the window, see the shadows, the hungry ghosts in the garden again. They're still there, I don't need to bring the light to them just yet.
I lay an ashen, shaking hand on the flamethrower and pull a difficult breath of air into my lungs. They may pursue me, but I'm not defenceless yet.

Anonymous said...

marc, another short story in the making there!
greg, kind of romantic ina dark way, a different approach today.

The Pursuit

“The pursuit of happiness. It is within the reach of all of us. Just be it. Now. The pursuit is not in the doing of it, but in the being of it. A state of mind.”

Stacy turned off her iPod and pulled out the ear buds. It had become a regular thing for her to 
listen to motivational speeches during her morning walks. This one was about an aspect of the Constitution. Since her break up with her boyfriend and then the cancer she’d suffered which pursued her like one of the four horseman of the apocalypse,  she sure needed some lifting and found solace in other people’s ponderings. 
But it wasn’t enough.

She re-examined her life, now, as she poured herself a herbal tisane. You couldn’t find happiness through others. You had to know it comes from within. That was a truth she’d come to realise the hard way, but she was getting there. Doing things for herself, finally, gave her a sense of wellbeing and boosted her self esteem which boosted her immunity and aided her recovery. She had become so used to doing, it was hard to get used to just being (but she figured that was a kind of ’doing’ too - doing nothing).
As her heart ache healed, so did her body and a new sense of vitality seeped inwards. Now she did most things ’cause she wanted to, not because she had too.
Yes, the speech spoke true. She put the iPod away in the drawer. 
She might change back to music tomorrow. The speeches may have done their job. The pursuit of happiness? She figured she was already there.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Rather than a story, I saw a group of words, perhaps a conversation, but I'll let you read it as you see fit. :}

Over there
No there
Over here
No there

Lost it
It’s gone?
Looks so

Marc said...

Greg - extremely horrified. But I hope it helped!

And yes, just a little too gruesome. Don't worry about getting back to me, I know you've got plenty of other things on your plate right now.

Great scene descriptions and a very vivid tale to go with it!

Writebite - yeah, I'm kind of tempted to make something more of it. We'll see :)

Really lovely sentiment in your piece. Quite meditative.

Elor - I'm seeing a conversation, and a rather comical one at that :)