Lightning Rounds 58

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: hollow

The rain dripped down across the back of her neck and my eyes followed as a single drop slipped around her throat, curving into the hollow space between her collarbones. I was being obvious, but her mind was too occupied to notice. She dropped the compass back against her thigh and turned, her voice barely audible above the pattering rain. “We’re half a click from the LZ. It’s going to be hard to hear the choppers, and we’re going to take fire as soon as we poke our noses out. I need everyone one of you to stay sharp.” She looked at each one of us in turn. Her eyes pierced mine and she squinted slightly. I saw her shoulders hunch, ready to spring, but I had no time to prepare before she smacked me solid on the ear.

“Torrent. Seriously. Fucking focus.”

I ducked my head and tried to remember what the mission objective was. “Sorry, sir,” I mumbled. “Jungle’s fucking hot.”

The gunner behind me snorted. “Gonna get us all killed, moon-eyes,” she hissed. I felt the barrel of her rifle on my side. “Maybe do us a favor–”

“Enough.” Angeles locked eyes with Sistine. “We’re none of us going to die today. We’re all in, we’re all out. Got it?”

Sistine grunted and stepped back, but she didn’t seem convinced.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 57

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: indubitably

There was no doubting that she was right and that was the real crux of the issue right there. She was so infinitely capable of holding conflicting viewpoints that she must have some kind of psychic yogi. Cognitive dissonance was painful for most, but not in her world, not in her existence, which kept her apart from us.

When I was twenty-seven, my own cognitive dissonance finally became unbearable. I opened my eyes then. I breathed in the world and let it wrap itself inside my brain, and lightness spread to the corners of my insides. I can’t imagine going back into that cave. I can’t unsee reality.

My doubt saved me. My disbelief saved me. These were the things — not the drugs, not the self-harm, not the constant effort to make reality conform — these were the things that saved me. It is obvious that I can’t control the world, and now I wonder why I ever thought it was possible. Or maybe more accurately, I wonder why I never doubted that the form of my existence was under my control.

She cannot see that. She still believes that everything obeys her thoughts. The world is magic to her and she is the magician, the one and only Real, the most important because there is nothing else but her.

I hate it. I wish I didn’t, but now I let myself feel what I feel because I know I can’t tell myself to feel it differently. Because my existence is like the beauty of a river flowing and not a painting in her hallway.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 56

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Compliance

Eddie looked down, shuffling his hands through his pockets. He pulled out a handful of fluff and old cheese stuck with bits of paper. He sighed. “It’s in here somewhere.”

The initiates sitting behind him fidgeted in their chairs, nudging each other and giving his back exasperated looks. The leaders of each syndicate waited dourly before him, and out of the corner of his eye, Eddie was sure he could feel his mother closing her eyes and trying to melt into the floor. He patted his jacket pockets, and drew in a quick breath of relief. He drew out the slightly crumpled playing card and laid it face up on the felt in front of him.

“I choose Unthinking.” His voice was bolder than he felt, yet still it was swallowed into the sudden silence in the Sorting Room. The leaders looked at each other askance, momentary confusion flickering across their features. Reginald cleared his throat twice before he opened his mouth to speak. “Unthinking is not a syndicate, Master Eddie, nor is the Queen of Hearts a token for any of the choices.” Eddie’s face flushed as Reginald extended his long fingers and snatched up the card that had been placed before him. “Since you seem completely unaware of how to behave in this — the most basic and fundamentally important of our cultural practices — we will make the choice for you.” He flipped the card back at Eddie, who blinked and let it fall to his feet. Victor reached beneath the table and drew out a tiny brass duck the size of his palm. Setting it on the table in front of Reginald, he intoned “This boy has chosen Remediation.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 55

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Lament

It was a hot day, hot enough to feel it creep up over your sandals and up your ankles. I snatched off my crooked sunglasses in annoyance and squinted in the bright sunshine, shading my eyes with my forearm and trying not to poke my face with the remains of broken bow. Sweat plastered fine hairs against my neck. There had to be shade somewhere along the boardwalk, but the thought of pressing through a sticky crowd of people made my nose wrinkle. Instead, I dodged sideways down a narrow staircase, hoping there would be some relief beneath.

The shade was welcome, but the air was noticeably more humid and for a few short moments, I clung to the end of the railing, gasping like a fish. I blinked a few times and my eyes focused on the ice cream truck. It looked cooler there, but it may have been the snow-capped mountain that was painted on the side playing tricks on my heat-addled brain.

There is nothing nicer than a Drumstick – a sugar cone with vanilla ice cream, chocolate coating, and crushed peanuts. Nothing nicer on this day. And there is nothing more forlorn than a Drumstick smashed against the gravel path. Sadness.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 54

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Just an ounce

If I could stop sneezing, writing would be a lot easier. I thought that I had it knocked when I doubled up on the decongestant, but that seems to actually be making it worse. My snot is thinner, but it’s pouring out of my nose. I collected it in this tissue here, but it got soggy fast. Really fast. I think it’s tickling my nose as it comes out and that is why I am sneezing so much.

Now it’s hard to think, because my frontal sinuses are tickling. It’s funny because my neuro told me that I had pretty much non-existent frontal sinuses and that’s why I was probably prone to migraines. It has nothing to do with the hallucinations though; I guess just an ounce of mescaline is enough to mess a body up good for a decade or so. When one of the main disadvantages of losing weight is tripping out and ending up in a truck stop shower on a Sunday afternoon three weeks and ten states past your last memory, you end up putting on a few pounds over the years and I guess that’s what I’ve done.

I wish I had a few more tissues. They ration them here, like cigarettes in prison. I considered stealing a roll of toilet paper in order to keep up with the slimy discharge that insists on oozing from my nares, but that seems like it would inconvenience more than a few of my co-workers and how would that help position me in the long run, here at the office? Not well, I tell you. Not well at all.

I tried tea, I tried coffee. It’s hard to breathe and harder to swallow without breathing because I get that horrible water-filled nose sensation. I hate being sick.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 53

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

I missed the one last week, so here it is.

Topic 1: Dying

“Is it done then?”

Amos removed the limp body from the makeshift container. He turned it over carefully in his gloved hands, then nodded. “Yes.”

Kara pressed her lips together and held out the shoebox. Amos carefully laid the squirrel inside. Kara set a bit of tissue paper over it and replaced the top. She stood for a moment, staring at the box she held awkwardly in her hands. Her brow furrowed. “I’m not sure what to do now.”

Amos gave a sober chuckle, then shuffled to the back of the maintenance shed. “Well, you could bury it, I suppose. Under your rose bushes.”

Kara straightened slightly, then turned and craned her neck to see where he had gone. “I don’t have no rose bushes.” She took a few steps toward the end of the crowded metal shelving. Peering around the standing cabinet on the endcap, she spotted the stained coveralls of the ageless caretaker. He pulled his glove off and wiped his nose with the back of his hand before he ran his fingers through his hair. He turned slightly and propped his elbow on the tool rack, his eyes a mass of scrunched wrinkles. “Guess you could toss it in the incinerator.” He shrugged, removing his other glove and tossing the pair onto the desk. He shuffled through a stack of papers, then reached for his coffee cup.

Kara looked down at the box in her hands, then back up at him. She sighed. “Yeah, I guess that’d be the best thing to do.”

Topic 2: “It’s up to you, innit?”

I found it rather remarkable, as I stood on the edge of the rooftop staring 80 floors down to the pavement, that I didn’t just fall from the sudden vertigo. The cars below me spiraled clockwise slowly, and I concluded that it must be countering the natural spin I always experienced when I was up high looking down. The angel standing next to me shifted slightly, placing a hand against the small of my back. “It’s a leap of faith.” Its voice bubbled through my consciousness, and my nose wrinkled involuntarily.

I scratched my ear with the knuckle of my pointer finger. “It’s up to you, innit?” I drew my head back and closed my eyes briefly as I turned to face the winged messenger, trying to keep my balance. “You’re going to push me if I don’t do it myself.” I looked at it levelly, searching its eyes for some kind of humanity, but the human shape — even if it had wings — was just a trick of the senses. It wanted me to empathize, it wanted me to treat it as though we were somehow equals. But we weren’t. Its eyes betrayed it.

I smiled briefly and held out my arms. “Let me embrace you before I go.” The angel returned the smile automatically and reached for me. I pushed hard and dropped back onto the roof top, and the angel tumbled, wings spread and useless as leaves on the wind.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lightning Rounds 52

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: fun freebies

The sun baked the sticky sweet smear of ice cream into the vinyl beneath my hand.

“Aren’t you worried about bugs?”

I shrugged and leaned back, licking around the edge of the waffle cone. “I like it with a little crunch.”

My husband made a face, then grinned and pinched my knee. “Hey,” he pointed out the window, his eyes darting quickly from roadside back to the windshield. “Was that a crossbow?”

“We should check it out.” My tongue made another round, catching the tops of my fingers this time. He crunched across the gravel in a stranger’s driveway and turned back to the yard sale. When we pulled up under the shade tree next to the dooryard, he jumped out and went ahead. I took a bite of the cone and followed him at a leisurely pace. At the end of the driveway, I stopped to pick through the freebie box.

I rummaged through one-handed, like a pro. I propped the elbow of my other arm against my side, eating the cone sideways so I could keep my eyes out for treasure. I pushed aside an old mitten. My hand froze, eyes locked on a puzzle piece the size of a postage stamp. It was blue, the deep blue of the ocean, with just a hint of a cresting wave along one edge.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized