Category: Writing Samples

Circular

There’s something in the way you move that reminds me of him. It flickers across your face and changes you. Momentarily. And then you are back.

I wonder if it’s co-incidence or if my masochistic subconscious latched on to it as we fell in love. Worse still, I wonder if you picked it up from me. If I’ve been unwittingly carrying him in the way I hold myself.

It scares me sometimes in a way I struggle to explain. I have to remind myself that bad people have good traits too. And that some bad traits wore the masks of good ones and I shouldn’t hold the good ones responsible for that.

But it’s hard.

When you say, How was your day? What did you get up to? I hear, You better have a good excuse for not being here today. And you better not leave again any time soon.

Abuse can wear the face of concern. And now both of them give me chills.

Apocalypse

The news screams of war.

Nuclear sirens and wildfires,
Flooded homes
Extremists taking their fight
To the streets.

I try to memorize the way you look at me
The way my name sounds on your lips
How warm you are, how safe.

Politicians in hot water
Displaced children
Without a home nation
On a boiling planet.

I might be holding you in the eye of the hurricane
There might be disaster at our door.
But I will remember this moment.

For when the world ends.

via Daily Prompt: Memorize

First Sight

He emerged from the shadows. A streetlight shone down on him, turning his blonde hair into a halo and forming a pool of ethereal light at his feet. His piercing green eyes spoke directly to her heart. She was instantly enamoured. Love at first sight.

He smiled and she felt warm. He beckoned her over, towards the light. She went without question, amazed he’d noticed her at all.

She stepped in to the light around him. His outstretched hand turned in to a claw. He scooped out her eyes. And love at first sight became the last thing she ever saw.

 

via Daily Prompt: Enamored

Shit: An ode to Anxiety

There are so many people
Everything feels out of time
It messes with my thoughts
And messes up my rhyming…

Shit. That’s not quite right
I know I can do better
Words scramble in my brain
I can’t settle on a…

Shit. What that word?
For one alphabetical member
I’d communicate my meaning
If only I could… not forget?

Shit. They’ve all leaked
From my brain into my chest
There’s no space for air
I need a place to… sit?

Shit. That’s not it.
Is this some kind of test?
The walk home, alone
Gives my brain a rest.

In the cold air of December
I start to feel much better
Do you think they will remember,
When I misplaced a letter?

When I lost my rhyme?
Do you think they will forget it?
Or will they understand
That I just felt too… well,… shit?

 

via Daily Prompt: Rhyme

Magnetic Love

The lovers stilled to watch their hearts dance.

Between them was more than chemistry, more than sparks. It was a charge that buzzed through the air, crackling over the goosebumps of the crowd.

They were electric. Magnetic.

In the right mood- pulled together and impossible to unstick. Circling one another, always touching and never looking away.

In the wrong mood- violently repelled and relentlessly repulsed. But even then every action was reactionary, unable to do anything that wasn’t tied to the other.

Two halves of one force of nature.

via Daily Prompt: Magnetic

Dementia

When I wake up I’m 50 and my kids are all at Uni. My parents are dead, I know this. My wife looks different… older. She tells me I’m 73 and my memory’s going. She must be right, my mind feels foggy.

When I wake up I’m 40 and my kids are teenagers, but they don’t look it. They look about my age. And they’ve got kids of their own. They look at me expectantly, but I don’t know them.

When I wake up I’m 25 and I should be at work. I keep trying to go, but they won’t let me.

When I wake up I’m 13 and I ask for my parents. I ask. Nobody answers.

When I wake up I’m 7 and I don’t know where I am.

via Daily Prompt: Foggy

Red

Mum keeps his bedroom door shut.

His pictures are still in the living room. They used to gather dust, but not any more. She must polish them when I’m not looking.

She’s taken his coat off it’s peg and his shoes out of the hall. It’s like he’s just gone out. Or run away, like everyone says. Kids run away all the time. He’ll be back in a few days. Days turn into weeks. Then months.

In the bathroom there’s the piece of evidence that mum clings to.

His red toothbrush still stands next to mine.

He didn’t pack it.

via Daily Prompt: Toothbrush

White Rose

A single white rose grew in a field of daisies.

She knew she was not like the others.

She grew taller than they did

And lacked their happy yellow centre

Her petals were too big.

 

When children came to make flower crowns

From daisies that were so easily chained

They looked but did not pick her,

For they knew she was substandard

Her stem was too thick.

 

A boy ran to catch up with his sister

Dropping a daisy chain near the rose

She watched them wither and realised

Picked daisies never came back 

And so she grew thorns.

via Daily Prompt: Substandard

Hidden Doors

I picked up a book and dusted it off. It smelled just like an old book should. I took it to the counter, swiped my membership card and heard a satisfying beep. There used to be someone who’d stamp books with the return date, but it’s all done electronically now. I don’t mind the new system, it suits me and it suits this place. Nobody who frequents libraries objects to having an element of human interaction removed from their visit. We come here to read, not talk.

I put the book in my rucksack and zipped it up.

It was raining when I stepped outside- not heavy rain, but the kind of light drizzle that you have to squint through to stop it from going in your eyes. The kind of drizzle you can’t really feel on your skin, but that gets your clothes wet inexplicably quickly. A van in the car park reversed towards me. I backed away and took cover in a small alley that ran between the side of the library and a high stone wall.

A gust of wind came from nowhere. A cat was startled from her position on the wall, leapt down and darted past. I turned to watch her run down the alley behind me, to cower beside the library bins, when I saw a door I’d never seen before.

It looked like it had seen better days- it was grubby, weather beaten, and the paint was flaking off in several places. Above it there was a panel of glass with faded gold lettering that spelled, ‘Come, sit down, every mother’s son, and rehearse your parts’.

Was this a part of the library? I’d walked past this place so many times. How had I missed it? What was this mysterious door tucked away behind a library, hidden from sight by a few pungent bins? Where did it lead? And why was it slightly open?

I made my way over to it and pushed on the wood. It didn’t budge. I pushed harder and there was an almighty creak as it scraped against the floor. It opened wide enough for me to slip through.

I found myself standing in a once- grand foyer. My footsteps echoed and I wondered why this place was a secret. A white marble statue of a woman reading a book sat in the middle of a chipped mosaic floor. Behind her rose a staircase that reached a small landing. I started climbing, cautiously at first and then a little quicker until I reached that little landing. I chose the stairs on the right, but it didn’t matter- they both lead to the same place. Another landing, but this time there were a set of double doors in front me.

I hesitated. Surely this would be the point where my luck ran out. Nobody would leave these unlocked too. I pushed. They sprang open with no resistance.

Music filled my ears and I was hit by the smell of freshly made biscuits. Rows of worn and threadbare seats filled with people that looked too vibrant for their surroundings looked out over a stage where performers were beginning to take their places. An usher took my arm. “You’re just in time,” he said and smiled like he had been waiting for me.

He lead me to the only remaining empty seat in the Upper Circle and handed me a red and white striped paper bag filled with biscuits. They were light and sweet and still warm.

The lights dimmed and a performance began on stage unlike any other I have ever seen. For a moment I forgot where I was.

Actors became characters who then became my friends. They sang songs that brought me to tears and a lullaby that relaxed me more than a good night’s sleep ever could. There was fire and thunderstorm on stage that was so realistic I jumped with every crash of thunder. Things moved and people flew with no visible wires attached. A man turned in to a flock of doves before my eyes and a woman vanished from the middle of the stage to appear in one of the boxes seconds later. They battled daemons with flames and flew like angels. The applause when they took their final bow was deafening.

And then the curtain came down and the lights went up and I was alone. The stage was empty, the seats were threadbare and falling apart and my lonesome applause echoed in an empty space.

I ran from the theatre, back down the stairs and in to the Foyer. ‘Our revels now are ended’, the words glinted at me in gold from the back of the door. I pushed it open and stepped outside.

Back in the car park, drenched in sunlight.

And the door was gone.

Via Daily Prompt: Hidden

The Smell of Death

 

Death smells differently depending on which side of it you are on.

To those left behind it is stagnant, rotting and somehow… cold? It slows down the air until it is thick like soup. It makes people around it still, but uncomfortable.

For those who walk with the Grim Reaper, death carries another fragrance as it will peacefully shroud you in your favourite scent. It won’t be anything generic like freshly baked bread or cut grass. It will be something you thought couldn’t be recreated. Your childhood home. An old pet. Your favourite person.

Follow that smell into the Night.

via Daily Prompt: Fragrance