Monday September 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with the number: five.

In honour of Natalie's fifth birthday, as well as this guy turning five months old today:

As of this moment I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with this prompt, but it felt like the right thing to do so... here we are.

I'm sure something will come to me eventually.

All right, here we go...


My goodness, aren't we in a bit of a pickle this evening. There's no denying it, is there? I mean, surely you can have no delusions about your current predicament?

You were caught, as they say, with your hand in the cookie jar. The evidence is plentiful, to say the least. Do you wish to go over it all? We do have the pictures, you know. Actually, I'd be quite pleased to go through the ones with your mistress - she is a looker, as they say.

No? Ah, too bad. I'll keep those for later then. I'll enjoy a... private viewing, you could say.

Now. Where does that leave us? Or, to be more accurate, where does that leave you? At this precise moment in time, you have lost nothing. I, however, have lost so, so much. Doesn't that seem unfair to you?

It certainly does to me.

So, clearly, you need to have something taken from you. To balance the scales, at least a little. But what, do you think, would be a reasonable price to pay? You know, there are some who believe that a thief, should he be caught, should have a hand cut off.

That seems a little harsh to me, to be honest. I mean, you only have two to begin with! Losing half of such an important appendage just... doesn't sit well with me.

However, each hand does have five fingers...


Greg said...

Miles looks very happy in that picture: happy five month anniversary to him!
What came to you was certainly worth writing, so waiting for inspiration seems to have paid off. I like the overall tone of patience and consideration even though the final outcome is probably rather more brutal than the listener was hoping for. I like the pseudo-kindness of not wanting to remove a whole hand but only part of it especially....

Jack Leydon went straight back home, but instead of going to bed he went through the shabby, untidy living room into the cramped study at the back of the house. This was his office: there were two wooden filing cabinets against one wall, standing on torn cardboard to try and keep them off the damp floorboards. The slightly musty smell and the discoloured patches at the bottom corners showed that it wasn't working. The desk was covered with newspapers, some folded and others open. He'd circled stories, pictures and advertisements, all connected (in his mind at least) with things that he was looking into. Three ashtrays, side-by-side, were on one corner of the desk, the only place where the papers didn't intrude. They were all empty, a sure sign that Anna hadn't been in while he'd been out. The chair was a schoolchair: wooden slats nailed together on a frame, and the damp was eating at the feet of it here too.
He turned the gas lamp on, struck a match and lit it. Orange light suffused the room, and he fiddled with the gas supply to try and get it brighter, knowing he should clean the lamp instead. He got it a little brighter before giving up, and sat down to write up what he'd found at the house.
Half an hour later he'd covered two sides of his notepad with careful handwriting. He set the pen down, his gaze suddenly tight and focused, and went to the filing cabinets. The designs he'd seen, the doodle in particular, had finally dislodged a memory.
Filed under F were three cardboard folders, a woodworking file, and a tuning fork. As he always did, he frowned and wondered for a couple of moments if he should file the fork under T instead. And, as he always did, he left it where it was, and selected the cardboard folder labelled Five.
The folder contained several sets of papers, each paperclipped into a group, about things that came in five. He sat down and sorted quickly through: five gangland bosses that controlled much of London's underworld; five sightings of the Lloigor, or water-horse; five places that were the sources of lost rivers; five fragments of prayers left as calling-cards on murder-mutilations; five designs used in invocations and rituals....
He sighed. The doodle was a pretty good match for design number three: if they'd been a little more careful they'd have gotten it right.
He yawned and pushed the chair back. This would have to be taken to his boss right now: whoever these people were they were serious and dangerously close to becoming a real threat.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks, both for the well wishes and for the kind words.

Some great details in the opening to set the scene. Enjoyed the mysterious atmosphere throughout and you've definitely left me wanting to know more...