Sunday January 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: an early return.

All the snow that we'd had here in Osoyoos is gone now, though it lingers still in the hills surrounding us. There was a bit of rain yesterday, but the main culprit is the temperature: highs around 8 yesterday and today, threats of reaching double digits on the positive side of zero tomorrow.

I don't think spring is actually making an early return, as I'm sure winter has not given up on us quite yet. But I figured it's worth a prompt, at minimum.


The leaves still clung to the trees lining Morris Avenue as I drove home that afternoon, their reds and yellows guiding me like torches in the depths of some medieval dungeon. Foot traffic was sparse on the sidewalks; I remember feeling grateful for that.

I kept my eyes on the road, avoiding at all costs the depressing images the rear view mirror reflected back to me with such glee. I'd almost torn it off an hour previously, but I decided that would only make matters worse.

Pulling into the driveway was unexpectedly painful. It felt like a weightlifter had closed a massive fist around my heart and was gradually squeezing the life out of me. I took a deep breath, then another, reminding myself that the world was not ending. New beginnings were already opening before me, I just couldn't see them yet.

Somehow I found myself standing at my front door. I don't remember getting out of my car, the short but windy walk past the rose garden clinging to the porch, the steps. None of that.

I found my key lurking in my coat pocket and briefly contemplated using it. Shaking my head, I decided knocking was the better option. Following through on that thought, I did so while bracing myself for what was sure to come next.

My parents were not going to be the least bit pleased to learn that I'd been expelled from college just one month into my freshman year.


Greg said...

I'm still waiting for winter over here, the temperature hasn't fallen to below autumn levels yet. I saw the first frost yesterday morning, but that appears to have been an outlier. I suspect that North America has stolen our winter :(
At first I thought your descriptions in each paragraph were a little heavy-handed, but as the story progressed I started to get why they were there and why they were like that and when you reached the punch-line it all made sense. So on the whole I enjoyed it!

An early return
"You're a bit early," said Zocta. He tried not to shrink back in his seat, but his muscles weren't obeying him at the moment.
"What you mean, sweetheart?" Viretta's lips were the colour of old sea-ice and her eyes were as chilly. A claw-like hand, the skin drawn tight over bone and muscle to the point of whiteness, chucked him under the chin like a lap-dog.
"It's customary for the undead to wait seventy-two hours before rising. You've barely waited twenty-one. We've had no time to prepare... a party for you!" He hoped that she wouldn't notice that the last few words had been improvised on the spot.
"That suggests you knew I was going to die," said Viretta. She drew her hand back and slipped it inside the shroud she was wearing; clearly she'd come straight from the tomb.
"Um, no," said Zocta. He shuddered. "When you died I was grief-stricken. That's why there's a three-day wait. Manners, Viretta. Manners."
"Oh well," said Viretta. "It's good to know that you weren't hoping that any bounty hunters specialising in the slaying of the undead would turn up before I woke up."
"Yes," said Zocta. Sweat ran down the back of his neck. "It's lovely to have you back, dear."

morganna said...

Hades and Persephone had a fight
She emerges early from the underworld
Rubbing her eyes and crying.
Spring rains come early this year.

Marc said...

Greg - wow, I hadn't realized that winter had been so busy over here that he'd neglected to pay you a visit!

I'm glad I managed to salvage an enjoyable tale for you :)

Delightfully creepy scene you have there, with some very nice touches in the conversation and descriptions.

Morganna - that's a neat take on the prompt! Nicely done :)