Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yeah, Write....

Remember the other week when I asked for writing prompts... and then I said I'd write the next Thursday? Well, the next Thursday was Christmas and I neglected this blog over the holidays. Then the next Thursday was New Years Day and I was still on vacation, for the most part. So. It's Thursday again and I'm doing it, so help me!

Well... since there were five prompts, I've decided I can squeeze them all into one post. Sorry Ginny... I decided randomly to pick all of you even though you were the one that won in the ACTUAL RANDOM number draw! ;)

The smog was thick in this part of the valley. So thick that you could taste it on the back of your tongue, acrid and bitter. My nose twitched as I tried to breath through it, a sneeze threatening to burst out. I held it back. With how aloof he was acting, I didn't dare make a noise.

I looked at him dubiously as he lifted the smoking hood. This was not good. One time in high school I did take shop class, but despite that fact, neither of us knew very much about engines and we were helplessly stranded, that was clear. The highway was crowded with cars, and there were apartments just 100 yards away. I was wondering why no one was stopping or why we weren't walking to a phone, but I wasn't about to ask.

To be honest, he scared me. A lot. Yes, I had been "with" him for more than a year, but I never could anticipate him, and he was getting worse. The last few weeks had brought, at first, brooding. I often watched him with his furrowed brow, and I wondered where his mind was. It was like he was looking through me through some severe memory. He had also started sleeping more and more in the day, but when he was awake, his brooding gradually turned into seething... like a pot of water just before it boils.

It wasn't even eleven and he'd already flipped out twice today. The first one was when he realized he'd forgotten his cell phone. He swore and clenched his teeth, and as he fumed I watched the wiry muscles up and down his arms twitching. I flinched in reaction. I don't know if it was my flinch or the fact that his cell phone was sitting on his nightstand, but he lost it. He bellowed something that seemed like another language and swung his fist, ripping the rear view mirror off the windshield. It flew across the car, hitting my face, and clattered to the floor. Holding my jaw and leaning my forehead against the window, I wished I could ball up some of those snowflakes that were falling outside and cool the throbbing I felt under my sweaty hand. He didn't even notice me crying. The second explosion was less severe, but the look in his eyes made me sure I was going to loose the cold lasagna that I had eaten for breakfast.

A horn on the freeway brought me back to the hissing engine in front of me. My jaw still ached and it was getting harder to move. I was just starting to wonder if it was broken when he shifted his weight and grunted. He stood up and looked at me for what seemed like the first time that day and, as he did, his eyes flicked toward my jaw and a look of horror crossed his face for a brief second, almost too fast to notice. Clearing his throat, he turned away and started pacing, kicking an empty applesauce cup out into the rush of cars.

As I watched him I wondered why he wasn't trying to get some help. Though my heart was pumping like a galloping horse, I finally worked up the courage to say something.

"So, ummmm... what's your plan?" I ventured timidly.

He stopped and glanced first at me and then at the nearby apartments. His eyes looked tight, strained and almost vexed. He didn't say anything. He simply turned around and walked around the car and dropped out of sight. I followed, my breath coming in little puffs as I walked around the car. He was sitting on the ground, staring at nothing.

Irritated and worried, I opened the door and climbed back in the car. I'd never seen him act so distraught. Enraged, yes. Exasperated, yes. Distraught and even confused, no. His confidence was one of the things that drew me to him and kept me here, despite his unpredictability. He felt like a shield between me and the life I second-guessed my way through. He always knew what to do.

My apprehension was getting the better of me as I sat back in my seat. We're totally freezing, but he acted like he had no desire to leave! I didn't get it. It seemed like he was praying that no one would stop or desperately trying to figure out a way to stay away from the apartments and anyone that might emerge from them. I couldn't understand what the problem was. So we were broken down!? Big deal! Let's pick an apartment, knock on a door and use the phone!

Pain flared in my jaw again as I realized I was grinding my teeth. With him safely outside the car, I reached for the rear view mirror to see if there was any visible marks on my face and, seeing the mirror gone, remembered it was on the floor somewhere. After a minute of groping, I found it, held it up to my face. The cold air seared my lungs as I gasped and dropped the mirror. 'That couldn't be right!' I thought wildly.

Gently, I brought my hand up where the mirror had hit me. I couldn't feel much since my hands were getting numb from the cold. But I could feel a lump. There wasn't anything to feel aside from that. Nothing told my fingers about the weird mark I saw there, a half inch across, solid black in the center and gradated into my pink skin at the edges. It was creepy, and I didn't understand how a mirror could leave a mark like that.

When I had seen the mark, I had dropped the mirror so fast I was not sure it was real. Fingers trembling slightly, I picked it back up and turned it over, my face becoming visible once again. Sure enough, the black mark was there, but the first time I looked I had only seen one, and then there were two. I felt panic rise in my chest. I was breathing fast and felt a little dizzy. 'Could I have just missed the second one, or did it show up just now?' I thought to myself. My mind was spinning and I realized I needed to be out of that small car.

I turned to open the door and I screamed as his face loomed in the window. I didn't know how long he had been watching me, but his eyes scrutinized my face, and as he saw the black marks, his face crumpled and he began to cry quietly. I climbed out of the car slowly, unsure of how to react. I had never seen a hint of vulnerability in him before, and here he was crying.

He turned his red rimmed eyes toward me and grabbed me gently by the shoulders. "There's something I should tell you" he whispered.


Holly said...

Okay, this comment has nothing to do with your post, but I wanted to share. Don't think I'm crazy, but your parents showed up in my dream last night. Yeah, I guess that's what I get for reading your blog after 1:00am. I will not try to explain the dream (mostly because it's too wierd and I can't), but the part with your parents went lik this: I was at church, I guess it was supposed to be Wasatch or something, otherwise I don't know why I would have bumped into your parents. They were back visiting, and I saw them in the library. They had been asked to serve in there that day even though they were visiting. I thought that was dumb and told them they should go to RS and Priesthood. Instead of answering, your dad started singing a song to me (I have no idea what song) and asked if I knew it. He then sang one note and asked if I knew what pitch it was. It was an A, and I got it right. That was it. My parents came and started talking to them and I left to go where I was supposed to go. Anyway, I have no idea why they were there, but the next time you talk to them say hi for me. And yes, you can tell them that I'm insane.

Leah said...

that was awesome Clancy!!!!

Elena said...

Okay, you're gonna follow up with more chapters of this story right? Very well done. Can't wait to hear what he has to tell her. Ohhhh the suspense!

Ginny said...

ahhhh....commmmmon. another cliffhanger!?!?! You gotta start finishing these or my dreams are only going to get worse!!! ;-)

well done. i felt like the story was picking up pace like a speeding train, and then. done. ouch. like i hit a wall a full speed.

and to think about how boring it would have been if you had only included the random drawing winner! ;-) (no worries, i never win drawings!)

Ginny said...

oh, and for next week's (continuation...hopefully):

i'm trying to take off the tape

i can't find the thing to do

can we have a snack?

i'm gonna give it back...just a second

(and yes, those are the last things that came out of my kids' mouths as i sat here...and yes, i think i am funny...and no, i won't be offended if i don't win next week's drawing ;-))

Clancy In Idaho said...

I'm sooo sorry. I know the cliffhanger thing was cool once, but I can't do it every time. I just REALLY wanted to post it and I had somewhere to be. That's why it felt so abrupt too. I finally finished with all the prompts and I thought of a way I could end it without thinking too much more. The story keeps writing itself in my head and I have to stop somewhere. I'll work on ending this one. And the lime-kilns one, someday.

It was a good exercise anyway. I just need to leave myself more time. I STARTED writing just before midnight last night. lol!

Maria Hart said...

Clever girl! That was a fun read! I think you should tag someone to write the next portion of the story, kind of like that game we all played as kids, where you tell a part of a story and leave it hanging for the next person in the circle, until everyone gets a turn! That could be pretty fun and funny!

Clancy In Idaho said...

That would be cool, Maria! I wonder if I tagged the person, would they actually do it? I bet you would and Ginny and a few others, but for some silly reason lots of my other readers feel intimidated or something. Love the idea though!

Tag, your it??? ;)

Maria Hart said...

I'll do it! No guarantees on quality, I am more of a technical writer. Can I have a week? Then maybe Ginny can be up for the next chapter?

Clancy In Idaho said...

SOunds good to me. If not Ginny, then I'll do it again. Or if anyone else wants to play... I'll put up a post about it and see if anyone wants to join in! Ooooh! I'm so excited! This will be fun!

Ginny said...

I'm game!! but that's not to say that I'm not intimidated! :-) I definitely don't have it in me do go weekly, but I think it could be oodles of fun. maria, can't wait to see where you take us! (and clancy, I'm still curious where your mind would take the story too!!!)

Genene said...

Ya, Clank, no matter who else does an extension of the story...... I would like you to "finish" it too. Just email it to me or sunthin. After all, no matter how fun the add on game would be, you're flavor would be a fun version to have as well. So..........




PS Right now..... no "Miss Procrastinate", no "Miss Blog" first, nope, not even "Miss Replace the Thermostat" first.........

OK you have a choice, you can paint the downstairs bedroom first or you can write you story. You choose. And you only have till I count to 20 to make up your mind or I'm gonna make it up for you.

Hahaaaaa, JK, love the story though


Kristin said...

Wow! Seriously LOVE it!!! You are amazing and I'm sad that I don't fit into the group of people you think would do it (even if you're right). And even if the game goes on... I want to read your version too. At least on this one since you've thought it through. I'm simply in awe... you have a talent. Man! I sure was frustrated by that cliffhanger. Ginny said it perfectly... the story was picking up pace like a speeding train. SO FUN!!!

P.S. I might be able to make an attempt, but I am VERY intimidated and can't guarantee I'd share it. :S

Travis said...

That was quite gripping. It had a bit of a supernatural quality to it as well.

Nicely done.

Clancy In Idaho said...

Kristin! I'd so love you to play! I only said Maria and Ginny cuz I already knew Maria writes and because Ginny played my last attempt at the meme. Don't feel bad, and definitely play! I'd love you to write your version!

Maybe I should make that the meme! Write a cliffhanger story and then have people finish it. LOL! That could be cool...

Noodle said...

I followed Maria's link to your cool story, Clancy, and now I want your ending, as well as Maria's continuation! Maybe you should have everyone write a continuation and then vote on which one to go ahead with. That could be fun. You could do that each week and end up with a great story. Or not.
Either way, I'm excited to see where this will go, and I'm going to copy your brilliant idea of asking for writing prompts! That's what I need, myself.

Polly said...

Very fun. I didn't even read this one last week. I'm behind on everything, reading and writing, but I figure family, kids, husband, and house come first, so ... blogging falls. I'm picturing something cool and supernatural finish it up missy!

I'm sure I am one who you counted in the "too intimidated", since I didn't even reply with prompts! LOL It's hard for me to write on a deadline and know that others are reading it. Haha.

Clancy In Idaho said...

Actually there's only one main person I thought was too intimidated cuz she told me so... and it wasn't you, Polly. Just in case you were wondering!