Wednesday March 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: thorns.

Nothing going yet. Still playing the waiting game.

I don't recall this stage being so... lengthy last time around. And we only just crossed 38 weeks...


"Good morning, Patrick. How are you feeling?"

"Oh, uh, hi Doc. I thought you were still on vacation."

"Nope, had to cut it short. Wouldn't want to leave Sally at home by herself for too long anyway, you know?"

"Sure, yeah. Right. How is your daughter anyway?"

"She's fine. I'm more concerned about you right now though. What the heck happened?"

"Oh.. I, uh... fell in some bushes yesterday. I guess it was a thorny one? Anyway, I can't seem to get these bastards out myself, so I thought I'd come get some professional help."

"Well, you've come to the right place! Just relax and think happy thoughts, I'll have these out in no time."

"Thanks, Doc. You're a lifesaver."

"Sure, sure. Huh."

"That, uh... doesn't sound good. Are they poisonous?"

"No, don't be silly. It's just that these thorns... well, they come from a very rare plant."

"... do they?"

"Yeah, there are only a few in the whole city."

"I... did not know that."

"And they are all planted in the garden bed outside Sally's bedroom window."


Greg said...

I've been told that babies come when they're ready, though I sometimes think that the mother has a say in it too :) Certainly when Dolly had puppies I'm fairly convinced that they were a week early because she was fed up with being pregnant and had decided that enough was enough!
Well done on the comment catch-up by the way! I'm trying to make sure I'm caught up too and haven't missed any days, though there seem to have been a few in there in the last month where I was just too tired to get to the site every day.
And... well, I suspect your doctor of being slightly paranoid, though perhaps justifiably so. Planting rare thorny bushes below Sally's bedroom window does seem like a clever way of finding out who's trying to get to Sally. I really like how the conversation gradually reveals the sequence of events, and the tone change as the patient realises that his doctor knows exactly what he's been up to is very nice.

Cecily had passed out sometime after midnight. Her head lay on the kitchen table, her skin pale as alabaster in the morning sunlight and her hair pooled around it like spilled phlogiston. A wine-bottle lay next to her face and it rocked very gently back and forth in time to her breathing, which had an almost mechanical quality to it, putting me in mind of the steam-pickers that still scuttled along the rows and rows of the vineyard.
I stretched; the beds here seemed to be always damp no matter how much I aired the rooms and set the sheets and blankets in the sunlight during the day, and it made me achey to my bones. The books were still piled up where I'd left them, stacked on the dirty stone floor near the wooden door that led down to the cellars. A faint scent of decay was detectable when I went to pick them up, and for a moment the dirt, the foetor, Cecily's drunkenness and a certain feeling of senselessness to the whole affair washed over me, filling me with rage and dullng me with torpor simultaneously.
I sighed. I set the books carefully on a counter-top, and went out to the barn to rouse the urchins. They slept clustered around the Chief and the Dark Lady, and though I felt there was something wrong there too, I hadn't yet found the energy to do anything about it. As they sat up and rubbed their grubby faces and their dark, shining eyes, I gave them tasks. Clean the kitchen, clean the whole damn house. Try not to wake Cecily, though that didn't really need to be said. Find the cows and milk them, and put the milk in the scullery. Do things to make this place somewhere to live, not somewhere I was squatting while Cecily stole Phlogiston.
And when they'd scuttered off, racing like cockroaches across the fields and farmyards, an odd liveliness in their eyes that I'd not seen previously, I looked at the equipment in the barn. The Chief, at the front, and the Dark Lady, that I suspected from the books was a new addition at some later stage. Something that might not be for the best. But the barn needed tidying too.
And that was how I came to discover, buried under lumber and rags and something black and sticky that might have been blood too fresh to contemplate, a third distillation device, with a hand-written label: Thorns.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I don't think anyone is really able to convince a baby to come out before he or she is ready. But once they're ready to go... sometimes the mom won't let them get moving right away. Timing, she be everything.

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Ah, I'd forgotten about this tale. You did such a wonderful job with it, too. Lovely details abound. Looking forward to getting back into this series.