Half Wise, Half Blind

Odin

These 33 word entries are kind of addicting. This week’s challenge is to write about love lost, without using any of the following words:

love
sad
tears
wept
heart
pain
I took a mythological approach.

Your fiery hair and wicked smile enthralled me. Our blood flowed as one, till you spilled it onto the frost. The day your child’s teeth are at my throat shall be our reckoning.

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Ink and Parchment

Candlelight

Once again, I waited until the last second on Trifecta. I don’t know why I did this. I know that more people will read it if I post it early. I intended to, and then… I didn’t. If I hadn’t read Momo’s excellent and unusual post, I wouldn’t have done it at all. So credit where it is due.

This week’s challenge was the word

MANIPULATE (transitive verb)

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2a : to manage or utilize skillfully
b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose : to doctor

Here’s what I came up with:

“A single stroke of my quill,” said the old man, “and it is done. Are you certain? The path runs but one way.”

Annabel ran her fingers through her tightly bunched hair. “Once it’s done, she’ll no longer be dead?”

“Oh, she will be,” the man ran his dry tongue along his cracked lips, “but the world will no longer notice.”

“I don’t…”

“You don’t need to. You merely need to decide whether or not we proceed.”

Annabel bit her bottom lip. She tasted blood. “Yes. Go ahead.”

The old man stared at Annabel for a long moment, then nodded. He tapped the elaborate quill against the sand-colored skin stretched over his forehead. Then he leaned down and began to write.

Annabel tapped her feet nervously. It was difficult to breathe. She did not know if it was nerves, or the dry, dusty air. The red flickering candlelight was no comfort. She watched as the old man labored over each agonizingly slow pen-stroke. Every time he dipped his quill in the tiny ink pot, he left it in to linger as he stared off at nothing. It made Annabel want to scream.

“How do you do it?” she blurted out when it became too much.

The old man looked up from his desk. “This parchment is torn from the tender underskin of intention. The ink is lovingly squeezed from the darkness that feeds on discarded secrets. The quill is…”

“No, I mean how do you do it? How do you manipulate things like this, knowing what it does to the world, and go to sleep at night?”

The old man smiled at her. In later years, Annabel wished desperately she had never seen that smile. “My dear, it is far, far easier than you think.” He dipped his quill back into the pot. “As for yourself, I would not plan on much sleep, if I were you.”

In Plastic Armor

Knight

37, day thirty six

I wasn’t going to do Trifecta this week. I really wasn’t! Photo prompts aren’t really my thing. I love images, but they tend to inspire emotional reactions from me, rather than ideas. I get more inspiration to write from music than pictures, and more from ideas than either of those. There’s probably some deep-seated psychosis involved, here.

Anyway.

I went over there to read a few of the posts I hadn’t read yet, thinking that the time for submission had already elapsed. But look! There are still two hours left! I think I was inspired by the scarcity, in two different ways. The first is that there is so little time. It is only 33 words, but 33 well crafted words are harder to write than 500 shoddy ones. It’s part of why poetry is so difficult. It is much harder for humans to express themselves with fewer words. Heck, it is part of why writing is a more difficult medium of expression than spoken language. The second way that scarcity inspired me is that there were already 87 33 word posts about this picture. Surely among these many writings, every apparent avenue of elucidation has been explored? I needed to find something else. Here is what I came up with.

Note: I have been in an Epic mood, lately. Probably due to compulsively repetitive listening of the Annie Lennox Lord of the Rings Song. If you listen to that while reading these 33 words, it will help the tone immensely.

OR

   Photo credit: Thomas Leuthard / Foter / CC BY

In Plastic Armor

I cannot await til she presses her lips against me, and drains my lifeblood away. If my lady can read one more line of script from my sacrifice, then gladly I give it.

An Old Blue Jacket

Blue Wall

37, day twenty six.

Another Monday, another Trifecta Challenge. This week’s prompt is use use the word “quaint,” with the definition of:

3a : unusual or different in character or appearance : ODD b : pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar.

A good prompt, I think. I’m not sure why these have been so dialogue heavy for me.  I originally had something in mind involving time travel. Then I read Draug’s post, and the theme and tone inspired me. I was reluctant do this because of my fear of being derivative. But I realized that this is what is so great about a community like Trifecta. Everyone can influence and inspire each other. What I came up with was, of course, utterly different from hers, but I wanted to give credit where credit was earned.

“Hi Samantha,” Claire said in a weak voice. “You’re back.” She tried to push herself into a sitting position.

“Let me help you,” I walked over to her. “Yes, I’m back. One more time.”

She smiled. Her lips were thin and worn, and her skin was paper white. The smile was beautiful. “You say that every day.”

“Listen, Claire, I don’t have long. This is my lunch break, and I’m supposed to be calling an important client, so just…”

“Then call the client,” said Claire. “I already know what you are going to say. And you know what I will say in return.”

I shook my head in exasperation. “I beg you to reconsider. They say that this new procedure could…”

“Why don’t you wear that jacket anymore?” Claire cut me off. “The blue leather one with the straps. That coat was so beautiful. You loved that jacket.”

I shrugged. “I still love it. It’s just not me anymore I guess. I don’t know. It’s from a different time in my life. When I take it out of the closet, it just seems quaint.”

“Yes. Quaint. That’s exactly how I feel about it.”

“My jacket?”

She shook her head. “Life.”

My eyes widened. “Claire, I…”

She held up her hand to stop me. “I still love it. I still think it looks good on me. I’m just ready to wear something else for a while.”

I clasped her hand.

“Besides,” she said, “I had a good run.” I blinked away tears and nodded.

“Thirty eight years is just so little time,” I said.

“It’s long enough.”

“No,” I squeezed her hand. “It isn’t.”

A Few Words About Milk

angry cow

37, day nineteen.

This week on the prompt site I wrote for last week (for the first time), the prompt is to write a short piece with the words “The first time I saw.” I choose in this first part of my post to use just one-sound words as well, just like the prompt says to do, to keep on theme. I like theme. Theme is good. I will not lie. My muse, such as it is, tempts me to make this part long, to see if I can. This is not the first time I have done it, though. I did it when I heard them do it on a show. It is not as hard as it seems. It gets less and less hard as you go. No time to waste!

Here is my piece. I wrote ten or more of these. It is hard, but they are short, and I have time. This is the one I like the best:

The first time I saw a milk jar I stabbed it twelve times with a knife. I could not help it. Things are less bad now. I have a room of my own. The cows can’t get me.

It’s Always Important

Lobster and Ravioli

37, day thirteen.

I found this neat writing prompt challenge thingy called Trifecta, which posts two prompts a week and gets people to link their replies on the Trifecta page. It looked fun and like a good opportunity to get myself out there a little bit. Plus, the word limit is between 33 and 333 words. That fits in line with my recent attempt to pare down my writing.

The challenges are single word based, and Monday’s was to use the word “whatever.” Specifically, the adverbial sense where it is used to show that something is unimportant. The exact details are here. I’m glad it was an adverb. If it had been an adjective I probably would have had to cut out. Keeping to 333 words was hard, but it was satisfying to be forced to cut down what I had written.

Here’s what I came up with:

(Also, apologize for putting up a picture of food and then not talking about food. It still applies! I promise!)

“Are you ready to order yet, Mr. Jensen?”

Patrick Jensen glanced nervously at the server. “I’m sorry, Jessie. I need more time.”

“That’s perfectly fine, Mr. Jensen.”

“You need more time, Jensen?” scoffed Maria Stevens from across the table. “You’ve been staring at that menu for five minutes. Lunch is only an hour, you know, and I want to go over the Sandberg accounts.”

“We have plenty of time. This place has really good food. I have to make sure I know exactly what I want.”

Stevens sighed.

A few minutes later, Jessie came back.

“Are you ready?”

Jensen nodded. He gave the menu one last hard look, then handed it to Jessie. “Just give me whatever. Something good. I trust you.”

Stevens’s mouth dropped open.

“For you, ma’am?” asked Jessie.

“I’ll have the lobster ravioli.” Jessie smiled, took the menus, and walked off.

“Good choice,” said Jensen. “That’s what I wanted. Excuse me a minute? I’ve had to use the facilities since we got here.”

Jessie came back a minute later with Stevens’s cocktail.

“What just happened?” Stevens asked.

“With Mr. Jensen’s order? He does that every time. It’s his thing.”

Jensen came back a bit later, followed by the food.

Jensen took a bite of his crab and avocado spring roll and closed his eyes with delight.

“What was that about?” asked Stevens. “With your order? I have to ask.”

“Remember after the Millington buyout? You asked how I could make such a huge decision? Why I wasn’t nervous?” Stevens nodded. “I was nervous. I hate making decisions, big or small. So this I what I do. With the little things, I figure out what I want, and then I let it go.”

“And that helps?”

Jensen waved down at his $6000 suit.

“Fair enough,” said Stevens. She took a bite of her ravioli.

It was okay.