Thursday June 25th, 2015

The exercise:

I am feeling a touch random tonight. Random Book Prompt random, you ask?

Indeed.

So find a book, as randomly as you like. Off your shelf, perhaps. Personally I hit up Amazon and used their Look Inside! feature to find mine. I prefer to use books that I haven't read yet, but you guys are free to ignore that option.

Anyway. Borrow the first line of your chosen book and use it as your opening, then take it from there.

I spent some time this morning mulching the new strawberries and also weeding around the blackberries... because those guys are coming on quick. So it would be nice to be able to access them a little more easily before they're ripe and ready to come off the bushes.

Tomorrow morning we're back to harvesting for the market. Kat and I will be picking raspberries, strawberries, snow and shelling peas, and broccoli. Kat's parents will be collecting apricots and the first apples of the year - transparents.

It's going to be a hot one, so we're hoping for an early start to beat the worst of the heat.

Mine:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks. I approach cautiously, half expecting to find a severed limb, but none await my inspection. I crouch down and find the blue shirt and khaki pants are spotless, not even a speck of dirt sullies their surface. They smell worn but not sweaty.

I look up and down the tracks and find no other evidence of humanity.

Not expecting to find anything, I check the pant pockets. I find exactly what I figured I would: nothing. A wallet containing photo ID would have been ideal but I would have been happy with car keys or even a shopping list.

A suicide note? Yeah, maybe I'd been preparing myself for that.

The discarded clothes are devoid of clues though. Is this some sort of elaborate joke? I can't imagine this trail gets much foot traffic. Maybe a passenger was drying their outfit by holding it out of their window and then... whoops, there it goes, fluttering away with no hope of stopping the train to retrieve them.

Is there a man out there somewhere in only his underwear and socks, trying to figure out how to escape his train without being seen? An amusing thought, surely, but somehow...

Somehow it feels like there is more to this than that. Something that doesn't have such a light and happy ending.

2 Comments:

Greg said...

Sounds like another productive day! I admit to being a little surprised that apples are ripe already; they're definitely an August/September fruit over here!
You've got with a very thoughtful piece today, with nothing too horrific suggested there overtly, just hinted at delicately, and it makes me think that things are just going to get bleaker and darker from hereon in! I find myself just a tiny bit creeped out by the image of your narrator smelling the clothes that they find in the first paragraph, so I'm sure that'll play a part as well! Perhaps your narrator is a dog... :)
Still, it's elegant work and you make it look effortless!

The devil upon crutches
We will for a while, said Asmodeus, suspend our examination of the living, and for some moments interrupt the repose of the dead; let us take a cursory view of the sepulchral monuments in this cathedral, of the persons they contain, and examine into the reasons why they were erected. Ivan, the damp patch at his crotch an indication of his excitement that Asmodeus was finally talking to him about this, nodded his head vigorously. Watch, said Asmodeus, and learn.
He raised his hands, spreading the seven fingers on each apart, and flexed his four thumbs. Ivan could feel the presure in the air, as though storm-clouds were building on the horizon, and then the air seemed to shimmer in front him like a heat-haze on a sunny day, and a smell of damp grave-earth and old mould filled his nostrils. The pressure released and his ears popped, and then the first sepulchre faded slightly, becoming mostly transparent, and the body inside sat up.
A ruined face looked at them both; the flesh mostly rotted away with only tatters clinging to the bone around the nose-holes and the neck. The skull was cracked and black mould lined the cracks; maggots writhed blindly in the eye sockets, and as the jaw swung open teeth scattered across the floor of the cathedral like corn cast before chickens.
Dr. John Bees, said Asmodeus, a hint of amusement in his voice. Buried here for his tireless good works for the community. Tell us, Dr. Bees, why is it that I am able to command you?
"Curst!" said the lich. Its voice was like the rustling of paper in an empty office.
Cursed, said Asmodeus in the tone of voice that others might use for inviting the Vicat to take another biscuit. Cursed because of the things you did to the small children you took into your charge. And because you are cursed, and because you are buried here, in this cathedral, you allow me to enter in and act.
"Curst!" said the lich again. The left side of its jaw detached and sagged, hanging down from its skull in a way that made the gargoyles atop the columns in the walls jealous. Asmodeus lowered his hands, and the lich sagged back down into its tomb.
"Who are you going to wake next?" asked Ivan, practically jigging on the spot with glee.
Saint Patrick, said Asmodeus.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, it's the earliest apple around these parts for sure. Most of the apples Kat's parents grow are September/October varieties. But they've kept this one Transparent tree and its fruit are always well received at the market by those seeking a tarter apple.

Thank you for the very kind words on mine :)

That's a fascinating looking book you've borrowed your opening line from! Consider me intrigued.

Fantastic descriptions in your scene. Ivan seems like an interesting character, though I suspect he might be in over his head. Though perhaps Asmodeus has a reasonable need for his company...

Somehow I doubt that.