Sunday July 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the land of broken promises.

Had a fairly uneventful day off.

That's not a complaint.


He moves through the changing landscape slowly, with heavy feet and sagging shoulders. It seems that no matter where he looks, his eyes fall on familiar sights.

A baseball glove gathering dust in a closet, no ball to be found nearby. Dinner growing cold at an abandoned table with candle holders covered with melted wax in the shape of teardrops. Flowers dumped upside down in a trashcan.

And on and on it goes.

And all the while a lone thought keeps repeating itself in his mind.

"Ah yes, I have been here before."


Anonymous said...

Uneventful days are some of the best! I had a perfectly pleasant Sunday with little else to do than think about modes of convergence and how they generalise (this is probably only interesting to mathematicians, however) :)
I love the sense of weariness that your prose starts with today, and the detritus of life that the narrator moves through. It's really evocative, and slightly depressing, and perfectly captures the idea of broken promises bogging down an existance. I'd be very intrigued to see where this goes too, as the narrator must either sink or swim!

The land of broken promises
Phlebitis, doomed sailor, sat in his Captain's cabin and tried not to cry. The wind had dropped and the ship, still redolent of the smell of boiled frogs from the last cargo voyage, was sitting still just off a sandy, palm-tree adorned coast. According to the map on the desk supporting his elbows this coast was part of Tarbran, the Land of Broken Promises.
Outside the cabin the ship creaked and there was a splash and a cheer as the men launched a ship's boat, determined despite Phlebitis's warnings to visit Tarbran. Phlebitis shuddered and went back to calculating how few men he actually needed to sail the ship.
He'd been to Tarbran four years earlier, shipwrecked after taking Madame Sosotris's advice on who to sail with. He remembered how the sand seemed initially golden and the trees were welcoming and coconutty; the air was balmy and there was always just a hint of a breeze fingering his hair. Then tar started welling up from the sand and the pollen from the trees made you sneeze. Coconuts fell with devastating aim and weight, and the wind gusted strongly, trying to push you into their path. And from the beach then, the interior of the coast suddenly looked much more promising....
"They eat people," he muttered, remembering nights of terror when it felt like the screaming would never stop. "And that's if you're lucky."

morganna said...

Brought into being with unthinking words
Broken by thoughtlessness,
They creep across the gray, ashy ground
Broken-winged, they stumble
Bright feathers becoming ash,
Molting their lovely, youthful promise.

positiveaob said...

As he awoke, the old guitar slowly came into focus through his bloodshot eyes. Could that old magic still be there? He grasped it with his tattoo-covered arms but his hands began shaking violently and it fell to the floor, sending several cockroaches scurrying for cover. How much could he get for it? Surely someone would still pay a little extra for the guitar that Johnny Sunshine once played. But he needed to act quickly, because after the shakes came the hallucinations, and then to a place he didn’t want to go again.

katdelval said...

Every time a promise is made, it sparks to life. A tiny spark of light that almost always goes unseen, except by some young children and animals. And every time a promise is broken, it goes to the land of broken promises. The Keeper tends to the land, and plants each broken promise in the ground like a seed. It sprouts up to be a beautiful flower that will never be seen, or a most delicious fruit that will never be tasted. Only the Keeper knows of the wasted potential. He weeps when the flowers fade and the fruit rots away. His tears water the soil so that the new broken promises can grow, only to die and remain forever unknown.
Tired of the futility of it all, one day the Keeper decided to stay in bed and watch soap operas all day. He had always wanted to set a day aside to catch up on his stories, but their were far too many plot lines to follow. In the end he experienced nothing of true substance, only empty fluff, but that was sort of the point. He accomplished nothing and gained nothing but a much needed break. Meanwhile, the world experienced no broken promise because there was no one to plant them. For a single day, every promise made came to fruition, and the results were seen and tasted. “Tomorrow,” the Keeper said, “I will return to my work. But today I will flip channels.”

Marc said...

Greg - my goodness, you really do know how to relax :P

Hmm, continuing on from where I stopped? That does have a few possibilities, doesn't it? I shall ponder it.

That's a delightfully horrifying description you've provided of the landscape. I'd certainly hate to be trapped there.

Morganna - fantastic. Love the imagery in this one.

Positiveaob - really great scene here. Excellent choice on the perspective and you definitely used it well.

Oh, and welcome to the blog! I hope you find it useful :)

Katdelval - and a warm welcome to the blog to you as well :D

Absolutely loved the initial premise and, once I got over my surprise at the sudden twist of the introduction of soap operas to the scene, also enjoyed the follow through.

I think the idea of this Keeper of the land of broken promises has... well, a lot of promise :)