Peacefully and with a light, melodic tone, we succumb to sleep and the dream begins. The perfect dream, so it seems, adheres to the senses and provides relief from the stressful day. Yet quickly the cheerful sky turns dark and cloudy and the transformation begins. Chimes are stuck and the mythological beings appear. Confusion ensues as the chase begins; the figure follows close behind and closes the gap with every step. The door of light is ahead but the dark figure has almost caught us. Clawed fingers scratch the back of our neck and begin to wrap around it…and we burst through the light and the figure disappears. The room is vast and empty, only a box of light. Suddenly a beat begins, quiet at first, and growing louder with every beat. A new awakening.
With no transition, peace returns. The sun begins to shine, the clouds clear away. Grass grows and flowers sprout. The perfect field appears before they eyes.
Thunder cracks, lightning flashes. Rain pours upon the car as the man sits outside the house. A woman walks out of the building and, through the darkness, struggles against the heavy wind down the street. The man exits the car and slowly creeps behind her until they reach a dark alley. He pushes her down inside the lightless path…
Eyes open, and the head is shaken. The dreams were many, but only one remembered. The nightmare, the terrifying realization of life. And so begins the new day, the mind already upset. To follow the next night, the same.
This was written during an “Icebreaker Game” in one of my classes. Each person wrote three facts (2 false, 3 true) about themselves on an index card and someone else wrote a story involving them.
The room was blindingly lit. The room was fully encased in metal – walls, the ceiling and floor, the table, the uncomfortable folding chair. The door, made of inches of solid steel, had a small square widow, probably made of some escape-resistant material, with vertical bars protecting it. The room was otherwise windowless, and all light came from a lamp pointed directly at the man’s eyes. A mirror adorned the whole west wall.
It was silent, aside from the low hum of the lamp, and remained so for a good hour before a loud buzzer blared through the room. A large figure stepped through and slammed his fists upon the table. It was impossible to tell how long, for now clock existed, the figure screamed at the man, question after question: “Why? How? When?”
No reply was accepted without another question yelled back.
“They were wearing orange. That isn’t even a color!”
“They surprised me at night! I’m terrified of the dark!” The figure seemed to calm after these answers were given, and asked one more question:
“Why did you do it?” The man sobbed – “They jumped at me in the dark. It was a joke – I love dark humor – but it made them cry. They wouldn’t shut up. I needed to get back home to study classical voice.”
The figure turned and began to leave when the man pleaded, “wait!” The figure turned to listen, “I’ve murdered someone before.” The door slammed shut.
The final step in the exercise, a nine sentence story (an extension of a three sentence story) was given to me and I was assigned to extend it to 27 sentences. The original story is below, with my revision below that.
I remember the first time I saw him, a dark shape dancing against the even darker backdrop of a rainy Paris night. His body gyrated in a jerky, spastic dance and his hands and feet cut through the black. I couldn’t hear what he was dancing to over the ebb and flow of the Parisian streets, where some walked home in a stupor while others hopped form one bar to the next.
We dubbed him circle him circle man as he spun and flailed as if secured by invisible strings and controlled by a puppeteer with Parkinson’s. Each sway of the hip, each turn of the head, caused the bangles adorning his body to secrete their own hypnotic song. His feet, too, made noise as they crunched over broken glass that reflected the neon lights above.
I don’t know how long I stood there, watching him dance, but at some point he noticed me. He leaned over, bangles rattling, to whisper in my ear. Never drop acid, he told me.
The nights had grown colder as time progressed past the long summer days and into the colorful season of autumn. The first night I saw him I found especially dismal. I stumbled drunkenly from the club, swaying as I moved down the Parisian streets. I remember the flash of headlights in my face and horns surrounding me. I found my way to a secluded alley just as police car sirens blared past me. His dark figure surprised me as I turned to face the alley, his outline contrasting against the brick walls. I could not distinguish his features aside for his shape and that his back faced me. He began to dance to some beat I could not hear over the mixture of the city and the thumping inside my own head. It began slowly, his heel bouncing on the ground and transitioned quickly to whole body gyrations.
He spun and flailed through the air. His hands and feet slashed through the black. He leapt from his feet at one point and amongst the flurry of movements they never seemed to touch the ground again. He seemed to defy the laws of physics as he virtually hovered in the air. His spastic movements mirrored that of a puppet controlled by a puppeteer with Parkinson’s. Every change in his posture made brought about a response of music. Each sway of the hip, every turn of the head caused bangles and jewelry adorning his body and clothing to jingle, forming their own hypnotic song. The new sound clashed in my head and combined with those already present only to further my confusion. I dubbed him circle man to attribute his odd movements.
How long I stood there watching his spectacle I cannot remember. His odd dance seemed to slow, but the movements remained hectic and I still could not keep up. I could swear, though, that our eyes met. It quickly became apparent after I thought of this that the chaos of his dance indeed began to simmer. Eventually he stopped and came to stillness. He took a step towards me, and I grew terrified of his next actions. But instead, he simply walked briskly to my side. Never drop acid, he told me. He slapped his hand on my shoulder briefly and continued walking into the night.
This piece was assigned during a creative writing class I took. The goal was to write a piece of microfiction, or an extremely short story. My teacher designated that the story must total under 250 words. What I wrote is 223.
She sat by the door of her whitewashed house, patiently waiting for the knob to turn, for the door to creak open, to be embraced and loved and told how much she was missed. She sat, remembering when she woke to find him in his uniform and a packed duffel bag. Remembering how he said he had to go; it was his duty. How he said it was only for a year. Remembering how he said he loved her, how he would miss her. How he would be safe. She remembered how she had counted the days go by – birthdays, holidays…an anniversary; how she had thoughtfully cooked him a long overdue homemade dinner for his return.
She sat waiting; her foot tapped; she coughed. The clock ticked with each second passed, and she counted them all. Seconds turned to minutes, and minutes to hours. The dinner grew cold. A single tear fell to the hardwood floor. She knew what happened, but wished she could never believe it. She wished – that for the rest of time – she could pretend the door had opened, that her tears were of joy. But she knew nothing came from wishing. She tried to pray – but that betrayed her too. There was no longer anyone, or thing, she could trust. She was alone in the world. Truly, utterly, alone.
A continuation from the academic piece I published earlier, the Three Sentence Story, the goal of the Nine Sentence Story is to take another persons three sentences and extend it in the same fashion as the original was written. Below you’ll find the original story (with a link to the authors blog) and my extension of it.
Ocean spray gathering on his brow, that sweet old fisherman dropped the baited lure into the murky water. His dinghy danced between eddies and swells, and together they discovered the true rhythm of the Sea. At long last, though, something drew the fisher’s line taught, giving life to his eyes, and stirring hope in his heart. (Keillor Mose; TheMoseKnows)
And my extended version:
The old fisherman gazed longingly at the sky, his heart sunken and depressed. He rocked with his shabby dinghy, each wave testing the integrity of the cheaply constructed vessel. He flung the baited lure away from the boat, hoping to catch the monthly rent, the night’s supper, and his seat alongside the other fisherman at the bar.
He sat for hours, watching the bobber dance upon the steady waves. He contemplated joining their unison, but he knew he could not leave his family to starve. He set his rod down and stared into the sky, watching clouds float past and cursed them for their natural freedom.
He began to pack his tackle box, stowing what little he had, when a loud thump drew his attention. The reel spun swiftly, fishing line extending farther into the sea, and the rod slowly sliding to the lip of the boat. The fisher’s eyes shone with hope as he grasped the rod and began to whirl the reel back towards him.
I’ve started blogs before but they’ve gone nowhere, so hopefully I can keep this one going. Still lots of work to be done to customize this (including think of a blog title…) and I have more work to post here, but I’ll get around to that soon enough.
For now, spread the link around to your friends! The more the merrier.
This was an assignment in a Fiction Workshop, the goal of which was to create a story in three sentences using no verbs of being and only commas and periods.
Theda sat in front of her vanity, putting the finishing touches on her makeup as her mother burst into the room, ecstatic to take a picture with an old Polaroid camera she found in the attic. Sighing, Theda turned around and smiled as her mother snapped a picture and danced with glee as she flapped it, waiting for it to develop. As she held it up to examine the snapshot she fainted, for not only did she see Theda’s stunning smile, but her reflection smiled too.