This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit 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.