So Wednesday it is. W for Wednesday and what a day. Windy, Wet and not a particularly good day in the small south Western coastal town of Warrnambool. Well it might have been wonderful for many locals except sadly they euthanased a beached Whale. There were celebrations of citizenship and probably many good things going on but I was out of sorts. I had had three nightmares during my broken sleep and woke early only to find I might have kept sleeping if communication had taken place in a timely manner. What ho, never mind there are people in the world who have far more difficult problems than my minor probably pathetic ones. I must remind myself I have petrol in the car, clean warm clothing, a good bed and food and moderately good health and I can walk to the store for milk without fearing for my life so all these things combined equal a much better life than those 200 poor mothers whose daughters have been stolen from them and forced into slavery by gun toting uneducated fanatics who believe women should not have any rights and certainly no education. I have an immeasurably better life than the asylum seekers in leaking boats ferried by greedy opportunists only to be imprisoned at their destination with little to no hope of safety. I have a much better life than the jungle people whose homes and livelihoods are being decimated by gold hungry fools who think some rock is more valuable than trees.
My small ones pale into insignificance beside those great ones. I am grateful for all the wonders in my life.
Tonight I was supposed to go and give a speech at my public speaking club but I am wagging. I wish to write instead. So I will go and write and unwind my tight shoulder muscles with prose.
May you see all the good things in your life and in some small way make the world a better place.
Day 6 Story a day
[Writing Prompt] Elizabeth Spann Craig – The Unexpected Guest
Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin/Berkley, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She blogs at ElizabethSpannCraig.com/blog, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010-2013.
[Here's another scenario ripe with opportunities for character development, comedy, tragedy...in other words emotion -- that thing that all readers are looking for! - JD]
Your protagonist opens the door and finds an unexpected guest–a friend from high school who hasn’t been heard from in many years.
This friend has fallen on hard times and wants to stay with your protagonist a few days. As your protagonist and friend sit in the kitchen, the friend reminisces about the old days…and stirs up trouble by recalling some unhappy teen moments, too.
How does your protagonist react and what are those good and bad times in the past?
“Hi, it’s me.” The heavyset woman on my doorstep waved in an immature sideways flap of her hand. She wore threadbare jeans and open toed sandals, an overlarge jumper with sleeve ends pulled down into her palms and had her hair pulled into a sideways pony tail reminiscent of the 80s. She reeked of cigarette smoke and something acrid. Over plucked eyebrows rose up her forehead and she pushed her face forward eagerly. “I was in your neighbourhood and thought we could catch up. It’s been so long, you don’t look a bit different.” Her breath made me step back.
“Er thanks? What can I do for you?”
“You could make me a coffee for starters and we can catch up on old times.” She pushed past me and barrelled down the hall. “This way?” she pointed toward the kitchen at the end and I nodded. I didn’t have a clue who she was and was more annoyed at a stranger invading my space than fearful of her presence. She looked like she could use some warmth with her ill kept toes poking blue from the sandals. I followed her down the hall.
“Oh are these your kids, they are adorable. Are they all yours?” I nodded and watched her move along the gallery of pictures on my dining room wall. “Just like your Mum then, stacks of kids. Are they all yours really?” I poured boiling water into two mugs before answering.
“Sort of. I used to take kids in, some stayed a little while and some stayed a long time but I tried to make them feel this was their home while they were here. Only four are mine genetically.” I set the mugs on the table and a packet of biscuits. “Do you have children?”
“Yeah two. They live with their dad but. Court said I was a danger to them or something, it was all him saying it that’s all. I don’t see ‘em much. Look I’m in a bit of strife and I need somewhere to stay, do you reckon you could put me up for a few days? It would be just like old times.”
“How long has it been?” I was really struggling to place her and hoped some probing questions might give me a clue.
“I don’t know about twenny, twenny-five years. Give or take a few. Hey do you remember that time down on the river after the school dance?”
Now I knew who she was. The comic light bulb didn’t just flick on above my head it exploded in my brain sending shards of razor sharp glass slicing through my memories. I gripped my mug in white knuckled anger. The younger smaller version of her seemed to superimpose itself on the current version and I could see the similarities and I knew her then.
“Yes I remember clearly.” She didn’t seem to notice my clipped tone. She sipped her coffee noisily while my brain remembered how she used me as a patsy and set me up. I remember her behaviour and the men she was with and I clearly remember having to run for my life, crashing through the dark in bare feet with my trousers torn and terror making my heart want to pound through my ribs. I remember them chasing me and her calling me nasty things. I remember making it back to town and hiding in the shadows so they didn’t find me and having to climb back fences when I glimpsed them cruising the streets near my house. Oh I remember all right.
“There is a hostel in town, I am sure they will have rooms available. My house if full right now, not even space to bunk down on the floor really. I used to have spare bedding but since I stopped taking in children I got rid of it all. I’ll find the hostel number for you.” I slid open a drawer and took out the phone book and a pen and scrap of paper.
“Darn, I was hoping we could wander down memory lane together, reminisce about those old school days, drink a glass of red or two and kick back.”
“I don’t drink and even if I did I would not be drinking with you. I have had a very good life since we were at school and the old days were a mere inconvenience on my way to adulthood so I prefer to leave them right where they are.”
“You’ve turned into an uptight bitch. I haven’t finished my coffee.”
I grabbed the mug and rinsed it in the sink.
“Now you have. Here is the phone number and a map of how to get there. I will see you out”
“That’s no way to treat an old friend.”
“You were never my friend. Goodbye.”
I slammed the door as she stepped through, almost clipping her heels. I heard her shriek and a sneer crawled up my face. I leaned against the door feeling my heart pounding against my ribs. How could one stranger bring back that much forgotten terror? I had forgotten. I had forgotten. With shaking hands I drew the bolt and went through the house locking all the doors and windows. For the first time in a very long while I wished I had a guard dog. 889