What …with planning a big adventure to Scotland and all my creative energy directed towards travel and photography I haven’t written anything other than blog posts for a LONG time! Here is my effort for the August 2019 Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition.
500 words 55 hours $500 prize money!
I give myself the added restriction of if it doesn’t get finished on Friday night I don’t submit it. So essentially done and submitted in five hours!
The rules from their post are as follows:
Hey hey, it’s ‘Adjective August’ (not to be confused with ‘Alliteration August’) – and we’ve gone absolutely description crazy…
- Your story must include, word for word, ALL of the following SIX descriptions (describing whatever you want):
- SHINY, SILVER
- COLD AND GREASY
- SCRATCHED AND WEATHER-WORN
- SWEET AND PUNGENT
- SHRILL, PIERCING
One of these six descriptions MUST appear in the first sentence of your story. (The rest, wherever you like.).
Ten reams to go:
The shrill, piercing shreik punctuated the dark, quiet air like an ill-placed comma. It disturbed the reverie of the gnarly old writer for only a second, but this was enough to fracture her flow so completely that the shiny, silver lake of ideas that had been swirling in her mind was sucked into the vortex of her brain as is someone had pulled the plug. The story, the line of dialogue, was now a slithery trail of deceptive fiction never to be found again.
What had sounded like a dying baby was in fact only a peacock, settling in the trees after another steamy day in Paradise.
“Hah! Paradise!” she thought. How that description seemed so distant from the truth. The boundless enthusiasm of youth had been replaced by the scratched and weather-worn psyche of an older, creakier woman. The entertaining antics of the monkeys, now dull. The massive, crawling creatures that infested her shoes, no longer a source of wonder. She’d been here 25 years. 24 years, 11 months and 2 weeks longer than she had intended. For her, the holiday in Paradise had turned into something very different – a lifelong commitment.
She got up from the rickety table, pushing herself back with ink-stained hands. No computer for this one. She had to take it slow. She had to be more deliberate and carve each word into the paper indelibly with a slender blue pen. The cut and paste needed to happen in her mind before any words could land on that precious paper, fully formed and perfect. Editing was not a simple keystroke away but rather a laborious trudge of rewriting. Editing meant wasting paper, and paper was more valuable than anything she’d ever owned.
She placed the cold and greasy remains of her Sunday dinner on the floor and banged on the door.
“I’m done” she called.
While she waited, she farted and enjoyed the sweet and pungent aroma of herself wafting around her, enveloping her with the only marker of self-identity she had beyond her writing.
The heavy boots boomed down the corridor. The top hatch opened, and the eyes peered in.
“Move away from the door,” the warden barked.
The bottom hatch opened, the tin plate was whisked away and replaced by five sheets of paper. Five! It was Sunday, Paper Day!
She danced as she held the sheets tightly to her chest. Not too tightly! She didn’t want to crease them. She glanced at the other 6500-odd slivers of joy in the corner of her cell. They groaned under the weight of tightly-packed double-sided scrawl. The once bold script faded, in the same way her initial rants and protests had faded into a jaded acceptance.
The judge had said “Life” when he had banged that gavel. Life? This pile was her life! Would it be as tall as her when they shipped her out in a box? She did the maths. Ten reams to go. She’d run out of time.