Another month, another short story! You know the drill by now! 500 words, 55 hours and $500 to the winner. Sigh! Maybe one day it will be me. Check out the Australian Writers Centre’s page for details.
In November the prompts were:
- Your story must include someone PACKING A SUITCASE.
- Your story must include the phrase “ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM” (as dialogue or narrative).
- Your story must include the words CHARM, CRUSH and FAINT. (or variations)
The faint pink of dawn was beginning to brighten the sky. Minette stood by the window and looked out over the ocean; flat and calm. A mere shadow of its former self. In the dark, it had been a roiling, churning monster. Now? After no sleep and a bottle of wine? It was like a bath; mercury smooth and shining like gold.
Minette was not spontaneous, yet twelve years ago, the sight of a crushed velvet jacket had been enough for her to turn her life upside down and make the immediate decision to marry Reese. That human was going places! Minette was ready to buy before she tried. She had never been so sure of anything in her whole life. Her eyes locked on Reese’s. She stepped over the discarded corflutes and bunting that littered the party room floor and their embrace was long and seemed everlasting. Later at their wedding, they joked about the whole “and our eyes met across a crowded room” trope, but it’s what had happened. Really? Really-really!
Like all modern elections, Antony had called it by 9:30 PM; much to the annoyance of those watching at home with a few bottles of Pinot in the fridge, waiting for a slow reveal. It wasn’t any fun these days. The computer could generate the trends so quickly you were tucked up in bed by ten. The ousted pollies would be packing up their office before you’d even had your Weetbix.
Minette remembered that night well. It was the night of the earthquake-sized, landslide, total demolition of the Government. The Opposition’s promise of climate action had worked a charm and the electorate had bought it. Anything seemed possible, even marrying a dork in a 1980s blazer.
Twelve years on, the Party was as sad as Reese and Minette’s marriage. Not dead, but on the way out. None of their promised reforms or targets had been met. The bushfires (arguments) had gotten worse. The storms (sex) more (less) frequent. The coastline crumbled into the sea, despite the wall.
Reese had suggested they move from their beach house six years ago. Minette had refused. It looked bad. The headline “Party faithful leave the coast like lemmings” didn’t seem like a good fit. The media would have a field day. She had insisted they stay. Re-election was worth the risk.
Her window-side reverie was shattered by a now-familiar sound. She watched as the neighbour’s house slipped into the ocean, room by room. Thankfully the Millers had left last year. They knew the writing was on their wall.
As she pulled the zipper shut, Minette realised she had something else to pack. She folded the velvet jacket carefully. It took up a lot of room. It didn’t even fit Reese anymore, but it was a symbol of their hope.
Hope might not be enough but it would do. Minette pulled the front door shut, then laughed at her absurdity. No door won’t keep old Neptune out!