Thursday March 22nd, 2012

The exercise:

Movie Week hits Day 3 with: Memento.

Another beautiful day here. Spent some time in the garden, clearing out last year's weeds from the strawberries, and sorted out designs and supplies with Kat's dad for our greenhouse benches.

Hoping to get started on putting those together tomorrow. But right now... we write!


They have suspects in custody. I heard the young black policeman tell the reporter from the Daily Spark, right there on my front porch. I want to go to the station, see these four men with whatever passes for my eyes these days. But I'm not ready to leave just yet.

What if I'm not able to return? It's silly, I know. I don't want to haunt this house, or any place really. I'd like to think I'd been good enough in life that heaven awaits me in death, but don't most people think that? Surely most people don't end up spending eternity amongst the white fluffy clouds.

Do those four men think they'll be keeping company with angels once it's all said and done? More likely they're not the sorts to think that far ahead.

I suppose that's not fair to lump them all together like that - only one of them is responsible for my death. Unless they worked together, but that doesn't feel right somehow.

I should go meet them. But I want to take something with me, just in case. I scour the house for a long time, I think, until I find what I'm looking for: a framed photo of me and my dad, taken many years ago, the day before he died in the car accident.

As I float away from my mortal home I carry it with me. Not in my hands - that's impossible in my current state. But it's lodged firmly in my heart.


Greg said...

That's an interesting take on a ghost's reason for staying around, and I do like the suggestion that time has little meaning for a ghost; it's just something that passes until the job is done. The reflections on angels and the afterlife really starts to bring out details of the narrator for me now, especially since it's not something I'd ruminate on myself. I think that's a rather excellent piece of characterisation.

Clear the room. Clear the room. Clear the room. Clear the room.
Everything into boxes. Why are there so many things? When he did ever play with teddy-bear? Why did I buy it for him. He was such an ungrateful little bas–.
Oh no. Here come the tears again. Sit down. Sit down. On the bed. His bed. I got him up from here this morning, he didn't want to leave the warm cocoon of the blankets. Are they still warm now? Just a little warmth, that's all I need. Maybe he wasn't shot at all. The doorbell will ring in a moment, it'll be the police. It'll all have been a mistake. A really silly mistake. And I'll have been crying over nothing.

Maybe I'll keep the teddy-bear somewhere safe. Just to remind me of him.

Clear the room. Clear the room. Clear the room. Clear the room.

Anonymous said...


Agnes and Carol got busy tidying up Shirley’s personal effects. It was a special task and they had not looked forward to it. The loss of their friend left a gaping hole in their lives and their hearts, even though they’d had a communication from her from the afterlife and knew she was fine.
It didn’t quite take away the pain they had to go through in the grieving process.
It also made them face their own mortality, something you wanted to avoid when you’re aging.
Shirley had been quite a character. She was a bit obsessive over certain things. She didn’t want anyone touching her things and guarded them under lock and key in the wardrobe in her room whilst she was still alive. 
Her mind had lost a lot of its sharpness over the years they had known her so it came as a surprise to uncover the two mementoes she’d left specifically to her friends.
It seemed thoroughly planned out. They didn’t know she had it in her.
“Look at this, Carol, it’s got your name on it,” Agnes said, thrusting a small package wrapped in faded pink silk towards her.
Agnes delicately unwrapped it. Inside was a box which she opened. She pulled out the item and let it rest in her gnarled hand. It was a single charm that had once belonged to a silver charm bracelet. “It’s a cow,” Agnes stated, somewhat mystified.
Carol let out a small laugh. “Cows, milk, cream,” she made the connection. “She’s not letting you forget about the cream episode, is she?”
“What’s in your package, Carol?” Agnes asked, deflecting the attention and embarrassment off her.
Carol unwrapped her parcel. It was the iron figurine from an old Monopoly set. 
“Hmm, but I don’t leave the iron in ridiculous places, do I? Do I?”
Agnes looked at the younger Carol with a glint of amusement in her eye. “We..el..ll,” she hesitated. “Looks like we’re all a bit guilty of Oldtimer’s Disease, and she knew it, smart cookie. And here we thought it was just her...” she ended rather wistfully.
There would probably have to be some lifestyle decisions coming up for these two soon.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Good Movie. One Rachael likes, but no I’m not using the movie in my prompt *glares at her character* This is your childhood remember! Geash... characters can be so finicky. Anyway let’s see if I can lighten the mood a little. :} (or not... lol, must be the prompt.)

Rachael’s Childhood
Chapter 5: Memento

“All hands up front to strap in.” Captain Robert’s voice boomed through the intercom.

“Come ON Brian!” Rachael grabbed toys from the shelf. “’Aptan Robert said everything away.”

“Daad!” Rachel pleaded through their rooms intercom. “Brian won’t clean!”
It was her mom who appeared in the doorway though. Her eyes swept the room and she smiled. “You can’t expect your little brother to clean like you, he’s half your age right now.” She swooped him up to raspberry his belly before handing Brian to their Dad. “Now, the two of us will finish the rest.” Her eyes twinkled. “Think we can do it before the captain gives us the last warning?”
Rachael and her mother became a flurry of activity, straightening up the book cases and latching the door so they wouldn’t goo all over the place during landing. Toys were put and sealed in their bins. Blocks swept up and stashed away. Game controllers hooked to their stationary consoles. They stepped into the hall as Captain Robert’s voice boomed once more.

“All Hands up front! Last warning!”

Rachael look to her mom and they exchanged high fives, before Rachael sprinted the short distance to the Control room.

“That Terra Prime?” She asked in awe as the blue green and white planet swam into view.

“And we’ll crash into her if ye don’t strap in,” the Captain chuckled.

Rachael went to her chair, only to find a stuffed animal in the way. Her little eyes boggled...


Her father handed the toy to Rachael before picking her up and plopping her down. He smiled as he buckled her up. Rachael’s eyes never left the toy as she stroked it’s soft, very real fur. It purred.

“Your Great-Great-Grandmother thought you might want it, since she wasn’t sure if you’d see her again.”
He ruffled his daughters hair as she snuggled her face into the ancient programmable toy.

Watermark said...

Great reads everyone! :)

Here's mine:


It had arrived in the post shortly after that tragic call. But Jenna only found it several months later, sitting on her coffee table, gathering dust. The original address on the package had been crossed out and numerous other forwarding addresses had been substituted. The sender’s address was old and faded. It was from Sarah.

An afternoon breeze gathered momentum and threatened to carry her away. Jenna sat on the bench, hands cradling the package, her gaze lost at the ocean’s horizon.

“Aren’t you gonna open it?”

Jenna flinched and brushed her hands against the roughened edges of the cardboard. She flicked a glance at a restless Tom who was sitting next to her and squeezed a soft smile. He had darkened circles under his eyes. Clearly he hadn’t been sleeping either. Was it guilt that he felt or was it an old longing? Either way, Sarah’s loss had left a void in both of their lives.

Jenna reached for the dried out strip of masking tape and tugged at it with one swift move. It didn’t require much effort as the cover gave way. There in the box lay a letter, a stack of photographs and the string of beads that they had spent many a summer designing together. She picked up the raspberry coloured necklace and turned the silver-plated pendant over. Friends forever, it said. She ran her thumb over the engraving that her young hands had carved many years ago and recalled their carefree days.

Anonymous said...

oldtimers is affecting moi, i really must stop writing at night, i got my ladies' names confused up there initially :)
(she says, wondering if anyone read it closely enough to notice;)

Anonymous said...

Outside, it was a little chillier than expected but it was only mid April, after all. The movement of her body felt incredible; she took deep breaths, trying to bring herself back to the present moment. Within minutes, she was certain she'd passed a hundred other people. Lack of eye contact in the city still felt unnerving but today she embraced it, alone in a world where no one knew her nor cared to. Most of them were probably as trapped in their thoughts as she was hers and, for the moment, she was glad to know she wasn't alone in struggling.

The cycle of options began again, settling first on the fact that, thanks to Sandra's inheritance, she didn't need to return to the exact life she had left behind 4 months ago. At least not for awhile and in that time the possibilities of new life were endless. Sandra. She hadn't been able to think of her mother as such in awhile, virtually unrecognizable for so long now, left in Creedmon Meadows by her second husband who was killed only a few months later after being caught with another man's wife. Sam felt terribly guilty about the way it had gone down but she had been 1500 miles away and so caught up in her failing marriage, there was no room for anything else. That was why she had frozen her life and moved out here when Sandra's condition worsened, an attempt to make amends.

Not that she had left a career she loved behind. After she lost the pottery shop in the course of being divorced, she had taken a menial office job in a publishing company whose union had gone on strike a few weeks before she left. It was necessary at the time but she didn't care to ever go back to co-workers she disliked and work she hated. She knew already David wouldn't leave the area for her. Was it time to move on? Fantasies of quiet, peaceful towns on the oceanside where she could start throwing pottery again usually came in at this part of the rotation.

Her hands trailed absently in the water and she was surprised to find the fountain was in front of her, the last 12 blocks had passed without recognition. Sitting on the cool cement edge, she inhaled deeply, her face warm in the sunlight. Something was under her hand, a large shiny silver ball, about the diameter of a quarter. Briefly, she considered tossing it in the fountain but a peculiar noise sounded and a woman maybe 19 years old was addressing her. Still feeling as if she didn't really exist to this foreign place, Sam took a moment to respond with a, "Yes?"

"I think you found my pinball," the woman said, delight shone irresistible in her blue eyes, "It was a memento from my grandfather. I thought it was lost forever!"

Krystin Scott said...

@WB - We notice now, LOL
(Seriously thou, I hadn't read it yet)


“Major Knight was on duty?” A scowl planted itself firmly on Chloe’s face. She knew the Major well; he’d been a friend of her father’s and checked up on her regularly after he died. The Major had attended her graduation from the academy and was intimately aware of every major event that happened in her life. They weren’t related but they were as close to family as two people could get. He was all she had left in the world. Unconsciously she put a hand to her neck and felt for the silver locket hidden beneath her uniform, a present from Sebastian.

Fear was taking hold and in attempt to gain back control Chloe unleashed a barrage of questions at the still frightened Lieutenant. “Why would he leave his post? Who did he assign as acting command? Its seven o’clock in the morning Lieutenant, he’s been missing for hours. Why didn’t someone have the intelligence to come and get me? And why the hell is it so damn cold in here?”

“Colonel.” Lance Storm gave her a knowing look and placed a reassuring hand on Chloe’s upper arm. “The temperature of the bio dome dropped rapidly in the early hours. Major Knight assumed that the life support module was experiencing technical difficulties and sent a team of engineers. They found no problems with the module itself and left the bio dome to check on the exterior generators. When they didn’t report in, Major Knight took a three man recognizance team to scout the situation. He ordered me not to leave central command and to refrain from notifying you until a serious threat could be confirmed.

“Damn that old man, one day he’s going to get himself killed.” Chloe said under her breath.

Lance’s eyes widened “Excuse me, Colonel?”

“Shut it Storm. Send one of the junior recruits to wake up Major Darke. Gabriella will take over Central Command. Then go get your gear, were going hunting!”

Anonymous said...

OK. So the *radio* is picking up some pretty weird stuff. Still I suppose it's better than *no stuff* which had been the case for quite some time before I jumped in on your prompts (So thanks for that Marc). Meanwhile the thick plottens.

*** *** ***

Istvan took a deep, controlled breath and concentrated on the small metal cylinder. It was of itself a rather innocuous item gleaming dully in the flickering candle light. A casual observer would suggest that it looked a fair bit like a large caliber shell casing although it lacked the taper and groove that normally detailed those items. The metal was deeply burnished however as if the item had been handled a great deal which was, of course, the case.

Istvan regarded the metal with his eyes and mind fully opened. To him, at this point, the cylinder was more than just a key to his memories but a harbinger of the future. It was the most mundane of objects that held bound in its simplicity a very universe of possibilities. Like the future, the curve of the thing was always disappearing from view and drawing you forward to see what might be there. In his mind's eye he was suddenly a tiny figure stalking forward on the massive metallic drum that the object had become. His horizon was quite near yet never quite achievable. He broke into a run watching the bronzed surface flash by beneath his feet and just when it began to blur out of focus he leapt into the air.

Istvan let out a deliberate, almost inaudible breath and redoubled his focus on the cylinder which, ever so gradually, rose off of the marble slab in front of him and hung in the air perhaps three feet from where he sat, cross legged.

His phone buzzed from where it lay on the tatami next to him. Without taking his eyes from the hovering cylinder, which had begun a creeping, slow rotation he scooped up the phone and flipped it open.

“Hello Joe.”

Marc said...

Greg - that's some fantastically evocative writing. Really deftly handled.

Writebite - hah, excellent choices for both of the parting gifts :)

Cathryn - really enjoying seeing this side of Rachael. You're doing a great job with it.

Watermark - two really great opening paragraphs. I particularly enjoyed the details about the package in the first one.

H.N. - great character development, and it was nicely done to have her come back to the present at the fountain. Her distraction made it believable.

Krystin - ooh, things are really picking up now. Great details, too. Looking forward to where you go with this.

GZ - my pleasure, glad to be of service :D

Love this introduction to Istvan. Really painted a picture, and you've got me curious as to how and why everybody is connected together.

Anonymous said...

That would make two of us...

Aaron said...

I didn't mean to miss so many days but at least I can still finish with you guys.

“You must make your wishes, Jonah, you cannot stay here forever.”
“Don’t rush me! You said this is my only chance to make wishes and after I say I’m done I’ll never get another chance so leave me alone and let me think!”
Robes had returned during the fall (or flight depending on how I look at it.) He returned silently, his voice breaking the silence to explain the controls and the rules of wishing. Rules of wishing! Whoever heard of such a thing? It turns out wishers don’t get to change the physical laws of reality unless they want to create an entirely new universe. We must preserve cosmic harmony and cherish the synchronicity of the one. Or something, I heard the part about limited wishes, and then I couldn’t really focus.
“Can I change my scars?”
“Every wish will leave its mark upon your soul or your body, a memento so that you will always cherish your gifts.”
Every wish would leave a different scar. Every moment we are alive leaves a scar on our soul or our body, why would wishes be different? It still pissed me off. Here I float with the laconic reaper, breaking all the rules of reality, and suddenly there are limits to the cosmic force! It feels like winning the lottery only to find out the prize is twenty bucks! But I suppose you have to play to win. I’ll make the best wishes I can, hope they work. Wishes, certainly, can’t make my life worse.
“You must wish now, Jonah, there is no more time,” He paused then, and turned to look at me from the darkness of his cowl.

Marc said...

Aaron - I can relate to Jonah's frustrations with the limitation on wishes, and I think the comparison to the lame lottery win is very apt :)