Other stories for this prompt

The building I lived in was old, rusty around the doorknobs, the 14th floor was still half under construction. The week of Thanksgiving would be my last there. I was moving Upstate; the leaves were gone, but I knew I needed a change. I had a flashback to 7 years ago, when I was 19. As I was packing my boxes from my soon-to-be-old apartment, I remembered standing in the middle of the road, staring at that white house. I looked left, then right. To the right of me were the woods, an eerie glow radiated toward me. To the...

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My word muscles are stiff. My writing bones ache. The prose reads like a bruise.

I burst bored air through my lips, upsetting the dust on my keyboard.

I see a tangerine, withered in the shadow of an orange, withering; dust on the hand sanitizer; a rubber band ball in a novelty stein; an orgy of paper clips; surrounded by colors, none too vivid, the only highlights are the highlighters.

The building I thought they were slowly constructing around me is being stripped as bare as a gazelle felled by a lion, shred by hyenas, cleaned by maggots.

I wasn't...

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I lay siege to it. This was war and a fast and furious assault seemed the surest course. There was a front to push forward, barriers to overcome, landmines to be defused. I was young and relentless and eager; I couldn't lose. After every foray I watched the scaffolding rise again, higher and higher and each time I tore it down, waiting for the walls to fall. Eventually I tired of the advance and retreat. New orders came. I couldn't win this battle and there were other wars to fight.

Years later I returned to that once fragile country. A...

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They weren't Norwegian, they were Swedish. We bombed all hell out of them anyway.

That was ash, not smoke. Ash moves slower than smoke. Ash langours. Yes, that might have been soot, but it could have been bone.

In the mess at breakfast, we could heard a chirping through the settling din.

That wasn't a bird.

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It was my "life's work," that's what they call such a thing, but it makes it sound so organised, like my life was something i contolled and I sensibly chose each morning to get up and expend my earthly energies on this tower. "You must have a lot of self-discipline" people say to me when I meet them at parties and we discuss our lives as though we see them clearly, as patterns of behaviour about which we can make broad statements. I try to answer, as best I can, saying something appropriately self-effacing.

What I'd like to tell them...

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When he said he'd take me far away, to a world I'd never seen, I had expected more than this.

"You're just seeing the scaffolding."

"What is there that isn't scaffolding? It's...there's nothing else there. It's hollow. It's broken."

He covered my eyes with his hands, pointed me in a direction and hissed "walk" in my ear.

I had presumed this was going to be a date. Clearly I was incorrect.

I could feel the ground beneath my feet alter, and suddenly everything felt different - I was enclosed, and yet not enclosed at all (there was light spilling in,...

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About the prompt

Originally displayed on:
April 09, 2011


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