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.
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.”