Hide and Seek

Another old prompt challenge which I thought I’d have a go at, this time using ‘betray’ and the meaning ‘to fail or desert in time of need’. I went a little over the usual 333 word count you’re meant to use, seeing as this was just for fun, and not the actual competition.

Most families in the town wouldn’t even look at a Jewish girl, let alone hide one in their airing cupboard.

They’d already taken Mama, and Pa, and George, and little Eve. But I’d been in the woods, fishing and flirting with Wally Roberts. When I got home, they were gone. Our house had been turned upside down – contents of drawers everywhere, the dirty breakfast dishes smashed on the floor. I knew what had happened. I wasn’t stupid.

I cleaned up the mess, re-made the beds, swept the floor – Mama would have been proud of how I left the house. I took a knife from the drawer and tucked it into my apron pocket. And then I ran.

Some of the people in town spat at me. Some made their children cross the road to get away from me.

But the Jones’, a family my Mama knew, took one look at me in my dirty apron, covered in other people’s phlegm, and let me in. I don’t know why. But I trusted them. As I curled up to sleep in their airing cupboard that night, I thought about Wally Roberts and his wet kisses of only a few hours ago, and how long ago that seemed.

That was a week ago. I knew they’d come eventually. I could hear them talking to the Jones’, and the stomping of their boots. They were stomping up the stairs now, getting closer to my hiding place. The boots stopped.

They were right outside my cupboard. I could hear their breathing. I tried to stay calm despite the pounding of my heart. I thought about how scared little Eve must have been when they came to the house, and tried to stay strong for her.

And then I realised, I could no longer hear the Jones’.

I’d prayed they wouldn’t betray me. But as the soldier opened the airing cupboard door, I knew they had. Mama would be disappointed Mrs Jones wasn’t the nice woman she thought she’d been.

I picked up the knife I’d been keeping with me for protection, and stabbed it through my sad, betrayed, Jewish heart.


A Day at the Seaside

This weekend’s Trifecta Challenge was to use page 33 of a given book (Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge), and take 33 words from the page, making them into your own piece of writing. Here’s my attempt, check out other people’s at http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com

Wild violets. Seagulls flapping. A sailboat. Low tide. Kevin parked near the marina. The island had a comforting quiescence. He still had the rifle. And the bones of the woman in his car.

Sally’s Choice

I decided to have a go at one of the old Trifecta Challenges, this time using ‘path’ as a prompt. The given definition was ‘a course or route. A way of life, conduct, or thought’.

Sally flinched as his fist made contact with her face. She felt another tooth crack, and could taste the blood from her bleeding lip. She heard the front door slam, shaking the rest of the house. She finally allowed herself to breathe.

What should she do next? Little Tommy was sleeping in his moses basket in the corner – how he’d managed to sleep through the row, Sally didn’t know. He gurgled in his sleep as she picked him up. Is this the life she wanted, being knocked about every time her boyfriend had a drink? Being left with no money to buy the baby anything nice because the fruit machines and the greyhounds were more important? Constantly living in fear of closing time?

Sally looked at the time on the microwave clock. It was the only thing he’d bought her to cook anything with. Last orders was hours away yet. She was safe for now. Leaving him would mean a new life for her and Tommy, no more broken teeth, and maybe one day a new boyfriend – a kind one, someone with an actual job.

But what would happen when he came in from the pub to find the house empty? Sally shuddered to think. He’d find her somehow. She cuddled Tommy closer and thought about what to do. She honestly didn’t know which path to choose.

Twenty-five years later…

Tommy was flicking through the channels trying to find the football scores. He was waiting for Jennie to bring the tea in – chicken and chips, his favourite. She brought it in from the kitchen slowly, and handed him the plate without looking at him. There was a slightly unpleasant smell lingering in the air. The food was burnt.

Jennie cowered in the corner as the fist made contact with her face. Tommy felt better now he’d hit her. That was what you did to women wasn’t it? It was all he’d ever known. He hadn’t had a choice.


Sweet and Sour

This is my first attempt at writing for the Trifecta Writing Challenge where a set word is given (here it was ‘exhaust’) along with a definition, and you have to incorporate this into a piece of writing between 33 and 333 words long. My response is 275 words long. Check out how other people got on here: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

He hadn’t changed his bed-sheets for a whole two months when he produced the ring from his underwear drawer. The tacky pink-coloured diamond caught the light from his cheap red desk lamp. So, this was it. As a young girl, I’d expected candlelight, red roses, and a beautiful jewel. But hey – you win some, you lose some right?!

As a young boy – and as the thirty-three year-old man he was that day – he expected a yes. He got a ‘hmmm’.

I needed a few minutes to think. Plus, last night’s leftover sweet and sour chicken was glaring at me from the bedside table, making me feel nauseous.

I tried to ignore the smell of the Chinese as I took a moment to consider the rest of my life. He was smart. PhD smart in-fact. But he bought tacky pink-coloured jewels for me. He was a great cook. But he loved the sickening pineapple/pepper/red sauce/chicken concoction, whereas I’m more of a pizza girl. He was beautifully handsome, but he didn’t change his bed-sheets for an awful long time…

…in the light from the cheap desk lamp, I looked into his pleading eyes, and I thought, I can exhaust the pros and cons of saying ‘yes’, or I could just say itOr I could say no and maybe meet someone with better housekeeping skills and a love of pepperoni pizza. But despite the flaws, I loved him.

So I said yes.

The next day – the first of the rest of our lives together – I hired him a maid. Fresh sheets every week for the rest of my life? Life was sweet.