Wednesday March 21st, 2018

The exercise:

Write about something that is: out of sequence.


morganna said...

"Ten, nine, eight, Launch!"
"No, no, no, you numbskull! We count down from ten to one, and then we launch. But look, the rocket was not fully prepared and the launch team set it off anyway. It crashed and we'll have to fix it before we can launch again."
"It's all your fault! You should have explained the launch sequence better!"
"It's all your fault. You should have known better than to say launch so early."
(They dive at each other. Soon all that can be seen is a rolling pile of 2 small boys with kicking feet sticking out.)

Greg said...

@Morganna: that's a fun scene to see play out, I wonder how close to real life it was?

Out of sequence
The walk across the meadow was a hunched, single-file march, heads bowed against the cold and the wind and hands shoved deep into pockets. Snowflakes swirled around them, melting when they landed on bare skin, slowly coalescing into an icy scale where they didn't. The meadow flowers had closed up into tight buds, and the grass was starting to disappear. The reappearance of the stony track was a relief only because it meant that they hadn't got lost; there was no real relief until they were stood inside the guesthouse again. Verbloek paid in large-denomination notes, waiting patiently while the guesthouse owner went through all the tills to find enough change. Only then did they go out to the cars.
"Yanvar, Martz, you take the second car," said Verbloek. "Slakoiné, you will come with me." The men disported themselves in silence, and though Yanvar and Martz were initially driving behind, they quickly overtook and led the way.
"I'm not ready," said Slakoiné, his voice only just audible over the purr of the car's engine. Einmalhafen was receding rapidly behind them, and the Autobahn was less than a kilometre away according to the signs. "I need more time."
"That's your opinion," said Verbloek. "Until you return to Block B you are still a civilian, and civilian opinions are unimportant."
"And when I'm back in Block B and my opinion remains unchanged?"
"You may apply to Duke-Commissar Xaigren and request an assessment."
"Then why are we having this conversation?"
Slakoiné took a moment to reply. "Do you believe that I am ready?"
"My opinion carries almost as much weight as your own."

"The lights are out of sequence." Verbloek touched a lever on the side of the steering column and the soft-clicking noise of the indicators came on. The car didn't slow, and he turned left across oncoming traffic into a side-road, his arms taut as he held the steering wheel to correct for the drift. They fish-tailed just a touch, and then they were travelling too fast on a road that was too narrow; parked cars on both sides and the sun ahead of them, low in the sky and threatening to blind Verbloek. A child was pulled back from the road by the protective arms of a parent, and then they reached the end and turned left again, then a quick right, and another left.
"We're going backwards," said Slakoiné.
"Back the way we came," corrected Verbloek. "For now. Janvar and Martz need to find us, this is an agreed escape pattern."
Slakoiné's head slammed back against the head-rest and his fists clenched. He sucked air through his teeth like a wounded animal and wailed, a low, pained sound.
"The child," said Slakoiné. He untensed, his head dropping to his chest and sweat beading across his forehead. His arms started trembling. "Someone behind us must have struck it. It's gone."
Verbloek lowered his head, squinting out of the window at the street-lights as they went past, still dangerously fast.
"Still out of sequence," he muttered.

The child shook her head and looked around. The road had vanished and now there was a circle of grass illuminated by light from somewhere above; too bright and painful to look at, and just darkness beyond it. She didn't want to look at the darkness, didn't want to risk finding out that there was nothing in it, no houses, no streets, no people. She sat down, crossing her legs, and waited.

Marc said...

Morganna - hah, that's pretty great. The ending really wraps things together perfectly :)

Greg - well this set my head swirling. The writing is pulling me onward, though I'm not certain I wish to find out where the child has found herself...