Thursday June 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the wilderness.

We cancelled our trip to Penticton after a night of not much sleep for anybody in the family. Instead we got a couple of things done around the house before dropping off a small restaurant order (eight pounds of cherries) in the afternoon.

Which lead to one of the sous chefs ordering cherries for her own use. Looks like I'll be dropping those off tomorrow afternoon.

Still too early to tell how much damage the rain has done to the cherries remaining on the trees. Might have a better idea by tomorrow night. Fingers still crossed it'll be good news.


It seems so stationary. I have watched it for hours at a time, staring into its depths until my eyes ached, and detected no movement. No signs of advance, no indication that anything is changing.

And yet it draws closer every day. There are mornings that I wake and look out my window and recoil with shock, so much ground has been covered in the night. Thinking that it only dares to approach under cover of darkness, I have shunned my bed, lit bonfires in the yard, and kept watch from dusk until dawn.

Nothing. No knowledge of its workings gained, only sleep lost.

Then I turn away for a moment, lower my guard for a breath, and onward it comes. I fear that it can only be held at bay by my vigilance.

But I cannot do this alone. I must sleep. If only others could see the danger so close at hand. Partners must be recruited, shifts established. The watch must be kept.

I will convince others to join me, or all will be lost to the encroaching wilderness.


Anonymous said...

I hope your sleep was just Max being wakeful and not the rain invading your home. Though if it were that I'd have expected the prompt to be "the flood" or something similar :)
I sometimes feel sorry for your narrators; so many of them fear things outside that they have no explanation for. You do present these fears very well though, and the little details in today's piece (the bonfires, the turning away for an instant, the not-quite-sane inner monologue) are all lovely and maintain the pace right until the end.

The wilderness
"This," said Dr. Septopus, throwing his tentacles expansively wide and gesturing to all points of the horizon, "is The Wilderness! We shall be team-building here for the next three days."
"No it isn't," said the Green Lightbulb. He and the Red Lightbulb were still conjoined in the same body and kept fighting over which way they were going. "This is the Aquakitty Sanctuary for Feline Psychopaths."
"Isn't Feline Psychopath a tautology?" asked Red, as Sylvestra said, "I want to be a team captain. And I get first pick."
Dr. Septopus looked slightly nonplussed and decided to ignore them all. "The Wilderness," he said, spitting the capitals for emphasis, "will force us to use our native cunning, our ingenuity, and our wits–"
"What about the witless?" asked Sylvestra, carefully not looking at Green.
"–wits," repeated Dr. Septopus, raising his voice, "to pull together as a united force and survive. By the end of this we should be capable of actually carrying out a fiendish masterplan without bickering, assaulting each other, poisoning the Green Lightbulb or leaving his wheelchair in the middle of rush-hour traffic."
The Red Lightbulb raised a hand, and Green immediately used the other arm to try and put it down again.
"Yes Red?" Dr. Septopus felt pleased that Red was trying at least.
"There's a Demented Jaguar coming towards you, Doc. I think you smell like fish."

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

It was right before Mom stopped letting us play outside. Peter had tossed a ball high over our heads and while the others fell over each other watching it, I scrambled after it when it landed in some bushes. It ended up rolling under and beyond the bushes at the edge of the yard,

"Peter?" I handed him the ball. "Who's that in the clearing?"

He stiffened a little, like when Mom yells at him. "No one's in the clearing, Leslie."

"Yes there is," I insisted, pointing for clarity. "There's a guy sitting out in the clearing, just watching from out behind the back of his house--"

"That's nobody, Leslie. C'mon, we have to clean up for supper."

But there was somebody, I knew it. I heard Peter talking to Mom about him, after us littler kids were in bed. They talked quietly, halfway between a Christmas whisper and the whispers they used before telling us Gramma Lynn had passed, and they knew him too.

I was up early the next morning, even though I was sleepy from nightmares of blobby ink-cloths slithering and turning everything into ink. I dressed nice and warm--like Mom would dress me--and crept out of the house, down past the bushes and to the clearing. The man was still sitting on the edge of his porch, dozing now, and the fire pit smoking. I didn't want to wake him, but I stepped on a twig and he started awake. His eyes seemed to go everywhere but stopped on me. Peter would've wanted me to run away, but that would be rude.

"Hi," I said, "I'm Leslie, I live next door. What's your name and what are you doing on your porch?"

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, that was all Max. Not sure what's going on with him lately. But so far so good tonight.

*crosses fingers*

*knocks on wood*

Yeah, I tend to be rather mean to my narrators. Glad you appreciate the execution at least :)

Ah, a team building exercise with this group is bound to be a memorable event!

g2 - very intriguing beginning here. Really liked the details with the whispers ('halfway between a Christmas whisper...' is an awesome line).