First, I need to say thank you to everyone that has been reading and commenting. I had great intentions of replying to everyone last week, but it didn’t happen. Life, etc.
I have ended up working longer hours than I ever did during the school year — in part because we need to get the scheduling and some reporting done, in part because I figure if I work really hard this week, I can back off and work fewer hours next week — and actually start to have a summer vacation…
On top of everything else, we spent the week interviewing candidates for a new secondary principal: my boss is leaving. I don’t think his departure is related to me being his secretary this year….
All of this is to say, I did not mean for my blog to turn in to a once-a-week posting of short bits of fiction, but that’s what I’ve got right now.
On that note: this week’s prompt at Write on Edge was:
This week, write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece where fate plays a prominent role. You can write from the position of a complete belief or absolute disbelief in the role of fate in our lives or the lives of our characters.
You have 400 words to play with.
I suspect that my mother would consider my current predicament fate.
She used to joke that I was born with my nose in a book and that Dad and I had ink instead of blood in our veins. Now that I’m an adult, I see that these were less jokes than thinly veiled barbs. As far as she could tell, Dad cared more about books and his bookworm daughter than he did his wife and her attempts to climb the very short social ladder of my hometown.
As I grew up, I was disinterested in her attempts to mold me in her image with fashion and hair and a more appropriate physical activity for a proper young lady. She wanted a cheerleader: she got the star of the cross country team. She didn’t understand that I could listen to audiobooks while I racked up the miles, something that wasn’t feasible while bouncing up and down chanting with other perfect daughters.
Here I am, though, locked in the special collections vault, a section of the archive only visited once every three or four months, with no food or water. Thanks to the fake e-mail my captor claims to have sent, it will be at least two weeks before anyone worries about my disappearance.
I can just hear her ranting to my stepfather, after my corpse is found in a vault packed with the most valuable books in the museum’s collection. “I’ve told her and told her that all that time with her nose in a book would come back to haunt her. If she’d just made more friends or had a boyfriend, someone might have gone looking for her sooner.”
Of course, she’ll be conveniently ignoring several key points. First, I do have friends. However, even if they didn’t believe the fake e-mail, their likelihood of finding me is pretty slim. Most importantly, this mess is actually her fault, she’s the one that introduced me to the son of a gardening club cohort. “He’s very handsome, dear. You two would make adorable grandchildren,” she said. She’ll be surprised to learn that not only is he charming and attractive, he is also a psychopath.
Whether my eventual death in this vault is the result of fate or not, I do feel better knowing that I will have plenty to read before I die.
I am using these prompts to work out some backstory ideas, brainstorming about characters and situations. This one ended up a little over the top, but it was fun to do, and has led to some additional ideas for me, which is the whole point of this exercise!
Suzanne, I love your story and the fact that while she waits to die she will have plenty to read. You have a wonderful writing style. Even though I don’t always comment, I always read your blog posts and your stories. Keep up the good work.
AmyBeth Inverness says
I love how she wonders whether it’s fate that leads her to her… er… fate. 😛
I have young daughters, and I sometimes find myself wondering “But that’s not how *I* wanted it to be….”
…my 13yo runs cross country. I could never do that, but I remind myself it’s better for her to have activities that are uniquely hers, instead of being stuffed into a mold by her mother.
shelton keys dunning says
ooh very creepy and Twilight Zone-ish. My worst nightmare? The world disappears and I’m surrounded by books I want to read, but I just broke my glasses.
Poor thing. Someone will check the security feed with the badge-in report, won’t they? Maybe?
Great take on the prompt! Well done!
Interesting. This feels like a great opening scene to something. I would love to see more.
So interesting that she’s locked in somewhere like that as a captor. There are so many threads you can pull on with this one? Is it coincidence that he chose the vault or some crazy desire to have her prisoner but also attempting to make her happy? If her fate led her to that creepy place, will it also help lead her out? Someone else must have an interest in all of those books surrounding her…
I love the moment you find out she’s trapped in a vault, but the best part is at the end when she resigns herself to figuring at least she has plenty to read. I think it would be interesting to hear more of this story, to find out what happens.
Jen Has A Pen says
This makes me so sad for your lonely character. She seems so satisfied with her world- even though everyone else thinks she should feel empty.
I love how annoyed and put out she is. She doesn’t even seem particularly scared. And it was interesting to me that because of this she ended up somewhat resembling her mother’s barb of having ink for blood.
No analysis from me. I simply LOVE this piece.
Patricia (@patricialynne07) says
I love it! That was a fun take on the prompt.
Whoa! I certainly hope that you allow her to figure her way out of the vault and save the day. This was a great take on the prompt–you got my attention in a big way and left me wanting more!