Tag Archives: Inspiration Monday

In Mon – Fridge Monster

It’s been a few weeks since I posted for InMon and I will say now it might be a while before I can again, but I’m glad to be here this time, and with a story for the prompt “fridge monster”. I hope you enjoy; your comments are welcome either way.

The Fridge

“Jules, could you pass Mummy the butter please?” She’s holding the big knife and sawing away at a loaf of bread on the counter, so she doesn’t look up when she says it. Just asks, like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

And it is, right? All I have to do is walk to the fridge, open the door, grab the butter, close the door, take it to Mummy. Easy. All things I have been able to do for ages. When I was a baby, like my little sister Mary, I couldn’t, but now I’m three and a half, I could do it. Easy, right?

But it’s not easy at all.

See. There’s a light in the fridge. And the light only comes on when you open the door, and then if you look really really carefully when you close the door, you can see it going off again just before it’s shut.

And Mummy says the light is powered by magic, but Miranda at daycare says there’s no such thing as magic and Miranda is five and goes to school, so she knows things.

So if there’s no such thing as magic, who turns the light on and off? And why? Why would the whoever it is only turn it on when I’ve got the door open? Because when the door’s open, there’s light from the kitchen anyway, so the only reason they would turn the light on is to shine it on whoever opens the door. And the only reason they would do that is to decide whether to attack you.

And if they live in the fridge, they must be pretty small, so they probably wouldn’t attack Mummy or Daddy. And Mary’s too small to open the fridge, so they couldn’t reach her. So that leaves me. And the whoever in the fridge hasn’t eaten me yet, so it’s probably pretty hungry.

I wish it liked cheese. Then it could just eat the cheese in the fridge. But it doesn’t. And that only leaves me.

“Come on, Jules, I need you to help me out.”

Mummy’s getting angry, but she doesn’t know about the whoever in the fridge. She thinks it’s magic. She wouldn’t want me to open the fridge if she knew.

 

 

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Inspiration Monday – Through the Windshield

This week’s InMon prompt, Difficulty Swallowing, came just too close to the mark. I’ve had a viciously sore throat for over a week now and I’m quite sick of it! So I’ve chosen another one for my story: through the windshield. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

 

Night Drive

It’s dark and raining. It’s been dark and raining for hours, and I don’t know when it will ever stop. The road is louder now, and I wonder if that means we are in a different state, or on a bridge, or something else, but it is too dark outside to make out anything except the headlights of the cars coming towards us, and the taillights of the ones leading us on.

Does each one of those cars hold a girl? Behind the headlights, should I be able to see frightened eyes – tired but sleepless – staring back at me, hoping for answers in the beams shining on them?

I feel like a little girl, and a big girl all at once. I’ve never been allowed up so late before, but now we are awake and driving and there is no sign of a hotel or a house or anywhere to stop.

We filled up a while ago, at a gas station next to a stop light. There was nothing else around and Daddy didn’t want me to get out, but I had to pee, so he let me go into the store. Above the counter it said “Queenston Gas”, but I never heard of Queenston, so I still don’t know where we are.

I close my eyes and for a second I can see Mummy’s face, thick and red. Her eyes are open and staring straight at me, but they are not smiling like normally; they are frightening, maybe frightened.

“Lydia?”

I open my eyes and Mummy is gone.

“Don’t fall asleep.” Daddy sounds strange. His voice is quiet but it feels like he’s shouting. “I need you to be brave.”

I wonder if it would be easier to be brave if I was asleep, but I know I would see Mummy like that again, and I am glad to keep my eyes open.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks after another million miles of darkness.

I shake my head, even though I know he can’t see me.

“You’re safe now,” he says into the night. It sounds like he’s talking to me, but he’s using the voice he uses when he’s all on his own in the bathroom and I think perhaps he’s talking to himself. “It’s all going to be OK.”

The headlights shine on his face for a moment and I can see he’s crying. I want to hold his hand, then, but I daren’t touch him. I wind my fingers into my skirt and stare out at the rain.

 

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In Mon – Is That a Real Place?

More fun prompts over at BeKindRewrite this week. This take on one probably isn’t that original, but I enjoyed writing it and definitely feel I could work more with these characters. Have a look, leave your thoughts, and/or stop over to Steph’s site to use the prompts yourself.

Getaway

The bar was quiet and our host was friendly, setting down drinks then hovering behind Alice. “So what brings you to this corner of the globe?”

“Walking,” I replied, hoping he’d leave us alone. “We’ve heard there are fantastic trails up into the mountains.”

“Sure thing,” he said, pulling over a chair, “We’ve got a load of maps and guides you could take a look at in the Snug.”

“Great.” I picked up the menu and tried to leave the conversation at that.

“I also know a few more secluded trails if you’d like a personal touch. There are places I can show you where you won’t see another person for hours.”

“Except you,” Alice muttered.

Our host laughed. “Well, of course.” He pulled his chair in. “But I can be unobtrusive when I want to be.”

Unlike now, I thought. I caught Alice’s eye and she smiled, reading my mind.

“Do you remember on our honeymoon?” I asked her, excluding him as much as I could from the conversation.

“The Lover’s Island!” she laughed, then she turned to him. “We booked a private island getaway for a day. Then a bunch of Italians turned up with a picnic.”

Now that she’d included him, I tried to hammer home the privacy point. “I paid good money to get some alone time with my wife.”

“Ha, yes,” he said, “Well you’ll definitely find that here.” But I could tell he didn’t really get it. Instead he began to explain the flora and fauna we might chance to see if we took him up on his offer. Alice and I continued briefly our reminiscences, then gave up and read the menus while he droned on.

“… And the mandrakes are spectacular. Although not at this time of year, obviously.”

“Obviously,” I said, trying to sound like I knew what he was talking about.

“Mandrakes are real?” Alice said. “I thought JK Rowling made them up!”

“No, they are quite real. Nice cheap hallucinogen, if you like that sort of thing.”

“Now we’ve never been offered those before!” Alice laughed. “Someone tried to sell us Speed in New York once, and we smoked weed in Timbuktu.”

“That’s a real place?” asked our host, finally standing up.

“Yes, believe it or not. It’s a city in Mali.” He was looking at me blankly. “In Africa,” I added.

“Not like the movies, then?” he asked. “Not quite so many skyscrapers and yellow cabs.”

“What?” I think Alice and I spoke at once.

“New York. You must have seen the movies – all skycrapers, yellow cabs and Americans with loads of money. I assume it’s a bit different if it’s in Afrcia.”

I probably just stared at him. For all I know, my mouth was hanging open.

Eventually Alice spoke. “You’re kidding, right?”

The man sighed. “Did you pass the train station when you drove into town?”

“Sure, but it was all boarded up.”

“Exactly. When I was a kid, I always said as soon as I left school, I’d travel the world and see places. Then the day before my eighteenth birthday, they closed the station. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be.”

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In Mon – Talk to Strangers

What a fantastic crop of InMon prompts this week. I want to use them all … but not in the same story. However, Melanie’s been playing in my head again, so she’s taken the front slot and here’s another snippet from her. And I’ve ended up nodding to two of the prompts.

If you’d like to see more, search “Melanie” to see other parts of her story, although this scene is intended to stand alone.

* * *

Daddy’s instructions had been very clear: “Take Mummy’s prescription to the counter, get the pills from the Pharmacist, pay, leave. Don’t get waylaid.” But Melanie liked getting waylaid; there was always so much to see and do when you got waylaid. And sometimes you got waylaid without meaning to. Like today, in the pharmacy, there was an old lady waiting in the next seat. And Melanie wasn’t really getting waylaid, because she was waiting for the Pharmacist to get Mummy’s pills ready.

“You’re a bit little to be here alone,” said the old woman. “Where’s your Mum?”

“At home,” Mel said, wondering if it was OK to talk to strangers if they were at the pharmacy.

The old woman looked kind, like Mrs Mwanna, only not black. She put her handkerchief in front of her eyes to blow her nose. “You came by yourself?” said the voice behind the handkerchief.

“No. Daddy’s waiting outside, only he couldn’t come in because he’s on the phone.”

“Ah.” The lady came out from behind her mask again. “That’s the problem with these mobile phones. Everyone is always on them. No time for anything.”

Melanie nodded and looked up at the pharmacists’ heads, bobbing behind their high screen. She wondered how long the medicine was going to be, because she was nearly late for school and she didn’t want to have to go and see the Head again to explain.

“They take their own time,” the old lady said, reading her mind like Mrs Mwanna could do. “I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.”

Melanie wondered how long she’d been waiting. Not twenty minutes, because the old lady had got here first, but it felt like forever.

“Do you go to St Bartholomew’s?” the lady said.

“Yes,” Melanie replied. And then she thought about it and wondered if the lady meant the church, which she did go to, or the school, which she didn’t because she was a big girl now and went to the big school, but it was too late to ask, because she had already answered.

The lady tutted. “I thought they had a uniform. I don’t go in for this modern idea of no uniform days. Supposed to be for charity, but it looks very scruffy and you can’t tell one child from another. In my day you knew exactly what to expect just by looking at the child.”

Melanie tried to count the bottles of Calcium tablets on the shelf beside her, but the numbers kept getting themselves confused whenever she listened to the old lady. She wondered whether to explain about the church and the school, but it wouldn’t really help, because her school did have a uniform and it wasn’t non-uniform day, her uniform was just in the wash because she’d forgotten to put the load through and Mummy had said she’d do it yesterday but then hadn’t been able to get out of bed, and so Daddy had said never mind he would write the Head a note. Only, thinking about it, Melanie remembered that he hadn’t given her a note and she would have to ask him when she got back to the car.

“I suppose you go to the church there as well?” the old lady said.

Melanie nodded.

The old lady tutted again. “Not my cup of tea,” she muttered. “I prefer a more shall we say enlightened communicant, if you know what I mean?”

Melanie nodded, although she didn’t.

“A little bit more forgive us our trespasses and a little bit less mine be the kingdom.”

“Ms Santori?” The lady pharmacist’s head appeared from behind the screen and the old lady stood up.

“Well, that’s me. At last,” she sighed. “You watch out for that priest of yours,” she added. “He’ll fill your head with fire and brimstone and leave no room for God’s love.”

Melanie nodded again and went back to counting the Vitamin bottles. It was easier now that nobody was talking to her, and she’d got all the way to two hundred and forty-seven when she heard Mummy’s name being called.

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Inspiration Monday – End of Forever

Having returned to something approaching normality, I am pleased to bring you a new InMon story, based on the excellent prompts from Bekindrewrite. If you head over there, you’ll find a handful of great other stories based on either the phrase I used as my title and inspiration, or various other words and phrases. I hope you enjoy my story. As ever, I am open to comments and critique, so please do leave your thoughts.

End of Forever

We were so different, Patrick and I. He roared into love liked a tsunami, casting aside every obstacle, every question, every other possibility except that we would be together for all time. He never professed any religion, nor any concrete ideas about what happens after death, but he was certain that love was everlasting, and that we would be together for eternity.

I admired his passion all the more, because I had none. My love was a calm emotion: waves washing gently over a shore, unstoppable as a whole, but yielding on a smaller scale to piers and groynes and to the big problems that we encountered in those early days. And I believe in heaven, but not as a family reunion; my vows were only until death us do part.

And so I bury him with more finality than he would have done me. I am free to love again. I am free to find another man who will sweep me off my feet with his passion and vigour. I am free to listen to a new promise of happy ever after, of eternal devotion, of love forever.

But there is nothing after the end of forever. There is only darkness and silence. A bed that is too big for one person and a table with too many chairs. After the end of forever, nothing and never begin, and I am there, hoping I am wrong about heaven.

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InMon – The Doctor Is Sick

I hesitate to post this story for two reasons. One, it opens up a discussion about Dr Who, which I don’t follow and don’t want to follow; two, the post contains swearing, for which I can only apologise and blame the character.
However, when this week’s InMon prompts came into my inbox, I was caught by the phrase “The Doctor is Sick,” and this story wouldn’t go away until I wrote it. So here you are, please enjoy. And please don’t ask me anything about the Dr – Janice is much more up on these things than I am!

The Doctor Is Sick

“It’s Liz now,” her niece, Bella, had declared over the phone this morning. “Bella is a baby name.”

Janice hadn’t argued. She’d always dreamed of being the Cool Aunt: someone her niece and nephews would look forward to spending time with and be able to confide in when they couldn’t talk to their parents. So if Bella wanted to be called Liz, Liz it would be.

She carefully pulled the gift tag off the biggest parcel under her tree and wrote a new one. “Merry Christmas, Liz. Hope these are as sick as the new ones. Love, Auntie Jan x”

Sick, apparently, was a good thing and Janice was rather pleased with her gift. Last time she’d been over there, Bella had been glued to the television and the latest episode of Dr Who, so Janice had dug in the attic, pulled out all her VHS tapes of old episodes and had them put onto DVDs. Then she’d spent hours on the computer, making covers that were exactly like the old ones, but fit into the new sleeves. It had taken her hours, but this was finally a way they could reconnect, so she wanted to exploit it.

* * *

Janice left the other adults in the kitchen and wandered back to the living room. There was wrapping paper strewn everywhere. The boys were fighting with their foam swords and she realised she should have moved a few more ornaments, but resisted the temptation to grab them now lest it make her nephews self-conscious about their game.

Liz was curled up in the armchair tapping on her phone. She looked up at Janice.

“Thank you for my present,” she said, the lack of emotion clear in the spaces between the words. She was saying it because she’d been taught to.

Janice was confused. “I used to watch Doctor Who a lot, I thought you might enjoy a bit of the back-story.”

“They’re all on Netflix,” Liz muttered and looked back to her phone.

“Oh,” said Janice. “But there’s nothing like having your own copies.”

“No. Thank you.” Again, the tone was wooden, and Liz didn’t look up.

“I imagine Slyvester McCoy is a bit different from David Tennant. Not as good-looking, for a start.”

Liz seemed to realise she wasn’t going to get out of this conversation. She put her phone to one side. “He was the Tenth Doctor,” Liz said. “Do you actually know anything about it?”

Janice saw the opening, but not the trap within. “I know Daleks can’t climb stairs.”

“Jesus! Stop trying so hard to be my friend!” Liz stood up, grabbed her phone and flounced into the kitchen. “Daleks can fucking fly!” she yelled over her shoulder.

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InMon – Hatching

A long story for this week’s InMon entry, but I included two of the prompts (unattended children / midwife), so perhaps you’ll forgive me. One of my aims for this year is to vary the length of my writing more, so this sneaks in around 1000 words. If that’s too long for you, I understand. I’ll try to go shorter next time to mix it up!

Hatching

“How long have they been there?” The nurse held piece of yellow paper in front of her mouth, but Joey could still hear what she said.
“Three hours,” the other nurse replied. This one wore a paler blue. Joey wondered if that made her the boss of the other one, or the opposite way around. “They’re very well-behaved though, barely a peep out of them.”
He was being well-behaved, Joey decided. He and Kirsty had been deposited in the waiting room by their father after he picked them up from school early. He hadn’t seen Mummy since this morning, but she was here too. In that room across the corridor. Kirsty said it was because the baby was eating its way out of her tummy, like when a baby chick pecks open the egg and hatches. She said Joey had done the same thing when he was born and Mum was OK after that, so she would be OK again.
But Joey didn’t like to think about the baby eating Mummy’s tummy. It made him feel sick. And that was why he was being good, really, because if he stood up or moved, he thought he might be sick all over the clean carpet.
“How’s she doing?” The pale blue nurse looked straight at him, but she was too far away to be talking to him.
He couldn’t see the dark blue nurse’s face because of the paper, but it didn’t sound like she was smiling when she spoke. “Epidural’s in, but I don’t think baby wants to come out.”
Epidural sounded bad. And it was in. Joey tried to picture the baby pecking Mummy’s tummy. What would be in? Surely out would be better than in.
“Shall I see if they’ve got any biscuits?” Kirsty’s voice roused him from his thoughts. She’d been sitting next to him, swinging her legs and reading out loud all the posters on the wall. “Breast is best,” she said as she stood up, then she giggled. “We’re not allowed to say Breast at school, because it’s rude. I’m going to write that in my news book on Monday. I’m going to write ‘We went to the hospital and had a baby brother and breast is best!”
“Yes please,” said Joey, ignoring all the stuff about breasts and news books and baby brothers.
“What?”
“Yes please, I’d like a biscuit.”
“Oh.” Kirsty turned away and ran over to the nurse’s station. He heard her asking about biscuits and then the pale nurse took her hand and led her away. He wondered if he should follow, but the dark nurse was coming towards him now, so he sat up straight and tried to look well-behaved.
“Hello, Joseph. My name is Britney. I’m your Mummy’s midwife.”
“Mummy hasn’t got a wife,” Joey said. “Mostly only Daddys have wives, except Ian Pilbury’s Mummys. They are wifes and he hasn’t got a Daddy except in Hawaii.”
“Right,” said the dark nurse. “Well, I’m a special kind of nurse and I’m going to help your Mummy have your baby brother or sister.”
“What happens to the baby’s beak?”
The dark nurse looked a bit confused, but before she could answer, an alarm went off on her belt and then the whole room seemed to be shouting “Code Pink!” and the dark nurse, who wasn’t Mummy’s wife, stood up really quickly.
“I’m going to have to go, Joseph. Can you sit there nicely until your sister gets back?”
Joey nodded, but the dark nurse ran towards the same room they had Mummy in, and he suddenly needed more than anything to know that Mummy was OK. He followed the nurse and slipped through the door behind a man in a white coat.
The room was small and bright and there were loads of people all gathered around a really tall, thin bed. Everyone seemed to be busy, but nobody was saying very much. He couldn’t see Mummy, but Daddy was standing by the top of the bed, and the pale blue nurse was there already. Worst though, he could hear Mummy. She was puffing and panting like she’d just run in a race, only really loud and occasionally she shouted out, like she was angry.
Joey stood close to the door and wished he hadn’t come. But now he was there, he couldn’t leave. “Mummy?”
No one heard him. They were all busy with Mummy and the baby chick that didn’t want to come out.
“Mummy?” he called louder, but Mummy’s breathing was getting louder and now one of the doctors was barking orders at the baby chick, like “push” and “breathe” and “easy now”.
Joey suddenly felt a hand grab his hood and pull him backwards. He stumbled for balance and looked at his attacker. Kirsty was there in front of him, blocking the doorway.
“We shouldn’t be here,” she said. She looked kind of whiter than normal, and her eyes were red. “Come and have your biscuit.” She took his hand and led him back to the chairs.
There was a plate of biscuits and two plastic cups full of juice waiting on the little table, next to the toys that belonged to the hospital.
“What’s happening?” he asked, when they were sitting down again.
“Mummy’s having the baby. We just have to wait here a bit longer.” Kirsty pulled a police car out of the toy box. “Why don’t we play with this?”
“Is she going to be OK?”
Kirsty looked over at the door to Mummy’s room. They couldn’t hear her now, or see the nurses and doctors crowded around her. “Yes, it won’t be much longer now. Come on, Joe, you be the police car and I’ll be the burglar trying to steal something.”
Joey did his best to play, but Kirsty kept looking at Mummy’s door and he kept thinking about the doctor shouting. They had nearly used up all the toys in the box when Kirsty stopped playing at all and smiled. Joey turned round and saw Daddy coming towards them with a blanket in his arms.
“Kirsty, Joey, meet your baby brother, Issac,” he said smiling. “Then we can go in and see Mummy.”
He crouched down so that Joey could see the baby’s face. It was red and scrunchy and really really small, but it still looked like a person.
“Where’s the beak?” Joey asked.

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