Tag Archives: 30 day creative writing challenge

Time Between Trains

11 Sep

I wrote this during the 30 day challenge that I started, and well….started. Good times. Anyway, I was never particularly happy with this so I didn’t post it, but I’ve changed it a little and mostly just hate it less now, although it doesn’t have an ending. Not even close. Ah well, here goes.

Oh, and if you’re interested, it fulfills both day three and (somewhat ambiguously) six.


He glanced at his watch impatiently, and tapped his hand on the handle of the truck. He ran to the train without saying goodbye to the man who drove him to the station (was his name Andy? Or Adam?), running as fast as his suit would let him.

A boy and his dog watched from across the tracks, beneath a sad little tree; one urged the man in suit on, the other hoped he missed it. It was unclear which was which as neither creature made a sound.

He ran past the platform then slowed to a walk, holding his small briefcase with one hand, and his hat with the other. Needless to say, he missed his train.

A beat later he turned back, huffing and puffing and angry with himself for not leaving the house earlier, for being seduced by one more slice of pie. It happened whenever he worked out in the country, collecting money from those that had none to spare. They hated him, he knew they hated him, but still they offered coffee and pie. Out here a guest was afforded certain courtesies, no matter how repugnant they happened to be. It mattered little that he could take away everything they were supposed to own, so they offered the coffee and the pie.

He could feel the dust the train left behind landing on his neck, millions of tiny particles settling in the streams of sweat trickling down his back. He wiped his brow and wondered if anyone would see a smear across his forehead. He already stood out in his suit and fedora, so a smudge maybe wasn’t so important.

He needed a drink, though he knew there was nothing nearby save the white and blue station that sat stubbornly along the dirt road halfway between two towns that were barely there.

He settled for a Coca-cola.

The station agent knew him and his business, but pretended otherwise, no matter how frequent his visits. It was on behalf of those that offered him the coffee and pie, though honestly, the agent showed no one any favor.

“Next train’s in two hours. Well, if you’re lucky.”

“Fine. That’s fine.”

“It’ll have to be.”

“Right. Of course.”

The Coca-cola made everything seem warmer, and he abandoned it after only two sips. He sighed as he sat on a bench, again outside, and again in view of the boy and his dog. He didn’t remember seeing them earlier, and wondered if they had seen him hopelessly running after the train.

He nodded at them and smiled, but was greeted with nothing but the blank stares of, at best, indifferent strangers. He looked away.

He wanted to throttle the people who had said, upon hearing he traveled frequently to the country, how charming everything was. These people were idiots.  He didn’t honestly believe that the people who lived out here liked it, and he certainly did not. Two hours between trains? Where’s the sense in that?

The country was only charming when on a postcard.


(Very) Small Injustices

5 Apr

Day 5: A story revolving around an object in your room

The picture was crooked, but the doorknob said nothing.

In his entire life here, during countless tenants, the pictures were almost always crooked, and few things in his small domain bothered him more.

Still, he said nothing.

The newest tenant was nothing special; she mostly kept quiet, made food that usually smelled good, though sometimes her kitchen experiments ended in disaster. She had questionable taste in music, but he didn’t much mind. And she hated vacuuming, but the door knob didn’t blame her; it didn’t seem a particularly rewarding task. Besides, the current vacuum was an uppity bitch.

But he just couldn’t get over the picture frame. He supposed it could have been something about the way the building had settled over the years, though he doubted it. It was a fine building, all brick and refurbished wood.

The door knob had been an early addition to the building, salvaged from one being torn down half a block away. He narrowly escaped the purgatory of a flea market to come here, where he spent his days quietly fuming over small injustices.

He was very rarely polished or cleaned, and he always noticed first when the door’s hinges started squeaking. There was the matter of his neighbor the vacuum, of course, and  that of the constant blinding he endured by various jackets. If he had to pick just one thing, though, it was that crooked picture of a man hunched over playing a guitar.

Still, the doorknob said nothing.


4 Apr

Remember that time I said I’d post something new everyday, then missed two (almost three!) in a row. Yeaaah. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. In the meantime, posted juuust under the wire….

Day 4: A (terrible) poem using the words: blue, mistrust, half, twang

Looking toward the lake, out of the blue
He remembered a lyric he thought that he knew,

A tune lost from rotation, gone without a trace
Leaving only echos of the twang, of the symbol and bass

Mistrusting his own memory he tried to recall
Whether the singer meant simply to trip or to fall

He used the word stumble, which as you well know,
could mean half-slip, keel over, or plummet down below.

In the end it seemed this didn’t much matter,
Though the girl in the song made quite a clatter,

Yes, in fact it seemed rude to write a whole verse,
Just to poke fun at some clumsy girl’s curse.

Let’s start from the very beginning

1 Apr

On Tumblr today I saw a 30 day creative writing challenge, and I’ve decided I’m taking the plunge during April.

Day 1: Rewrite a classic fairy tale

She lay awake replaying the night in her head. After the dinner plates were cleared and the fire stoked, her family moved into the drawing room for drinks and amusement. Tonight’s consisted of hurling insults through the open door at the help who were mending stockings and wondering why they didn’t simply buy new ones.

But Cinderella knew why they didn’t. It wasn’t money or scarcity. They needed to make fun of her, and were running low on ammunition. As a child, it had been that she was an orphan, then it was her pimples and lanky frame. She grew out of the latter, and the former faded into the past as she approached adulthood.

She was prettier than they were, even without silk stockings and a painted face, and they knew it.

They resorted instead to embarrassment, so the entertainment of the night thus focused on the many holes in their stockings that they had somehow neglected to mend for weeks and weeks.

“Nearly done, dearest?” Her stepmother was already half in the bag. “I do love nothing more than working with odor.”

Surely the neighbors 2 miles away could hear her stepsisters loon laughing. “Did I say odor? Silly me, I meant ardor.” Cinderella decided then she would call the stable boy to carry the woman to bed, speaking of  odor…

The shouts devolved into thinly veiled threats of violence and if the stockings became any shorter, or changed color or shape. She didn’t respond, but couldn’t ignore the barrage two rooms away. Their voices seemed to be amplified in the largely empty mansion, devoid of visitors for many years.

Twelve years, to be exact. She sometimes let herself wonder if they still kept track.

The evening ended with a crescendo of bawdy songs based on Cinderella’s stained clothes and well worn shoes, with a chorus of “there’s nothing here for you!” seeming to echo through the house hours later.

Waves of misplaced anger fought with the moonlight for her attention and she realized she wouldn’t be sleeping this night.  She sat up, looking to the embers still alive in the hearth, giving a warm glow to her quarters. She stretched on her sorry little mattress and thought again of the final refrain.

Her stepmother was right, of course. Nostalgia kept her where she was, fear kept her doing her chores.

She dressed several hours before her day usually started and walked from the house, swiping a breakfast of hard cheese and tart apples as she went.

As she reached the base of the valley that would lead her to the village, she turned around soaked in the view of her father’s house, enveloped in fog and darkness, in bitterness and grief.

Maybe nostalgia wasn’t worth the trouble.