I wanted to get back to a little more fiction on this blog again, so I signed up for the WEP – Write, Edit, Publish, a flash fiction challenge.
Then I forgot about it, of course. I spotted the hashtag on twitter a while ago, found a post by my talented friend Jemima, thought of writing, squiggled a bit, planning to post it tomorrow, checked the deadline –22 Feb! I felt rightly embarrassed.
So, I set the kitchen timer for ten minutes–my favorite method of writing short pieces. (What’s yours, dear writer?)
The Prompt is 28 days.
Here’s the resulting ‘flash fiction’, tweaked for proofing errors etc. It is basically a bit of ‘writing stretches.’ Like warmup, only with writing. But I have to learn to let go, and hang loose a little, right?
After twenty-eight days, the world as I know it will be no more.
There will be no more sandwiches, for instance. No Starbucks. After day seven, no feeding the ducks, no watching the swan mate, pushing its partner down under the water. No crunch of boots over gravel.
Day fourteen, no watching pretty girls in their high boots, rushing to catch trains. No watching them, never ought to watch them, anyway. No. No sex. No walking each day from my doorstep to the station. No station. No people inside the station. No buskers, no violins or guitars, no voices raised in song. Each of these days, I will walk these roads, till I walk them no more.
Day twenty-one, be careful. Avoid the camera at the street turn. Set the cap at the correct angle. Look like I’m going somewhere. I am. Going somewhere, I mean. Each day I need to wrap up my bulk a little tighter, walk a little faster. Look normal, normal, just another woman walking to the station, a mother rushing to office having dropped her daughters to school. Only I have no daughters. What would it be like to have daughters? To listen to prattle? To touch downy heads? To be the world to a tiny human? No point now, because I will never have a daughter. All these people around me, every one of them, just so much flesh and blood, like cattle. No, like mosquitoes. Roaches. Yes, roaches. Things that must be gone so a better world may come.
Day twenty-eight will be like any other, until it won’t.
On the 1st of March, USA tested the hydrogen bomb in the Pacific archipelago of Bikini, part of the Marshall Islands.
On the 1st of March Johnny Cash married June Carter.
A plane crashed on Long Island on 1st March, after a long stretch of bad weather, on a day clearer than a sunny day in the mountains.
The US Capitol was bombed on the 1st of March. No one died. $300, 000 worth of damages.
This 1st of March, at the end of my twenty-eight days, will be different. Inshallah.
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