August 14, 2005

Picture Perfect

Silk has taken up the mantle worn by Christina, and is now hosting Fictional Fridays. She's offering up a different variation of Take Two, as she presents three images, and the writer is to write a story of about 1000 words. The story can be of one image, or a combination of all three.

She's got some of the entries up, here, and here. My mind has been running in too many directions of late, so I've been easily distracted and put off. My entry is running very late, but I promised I would work up a story,
so here it is... though not a literary work of art.

The rains were falling, as Joe grabbed a beer, popped the top, and settled back in his desk chair. He checked through his e-mails, and found the writing assignment from Silk. She would give him three images, and he was to write a thousand words or less about the image of his choosing, unless he thought he might try to work all three together. It would be his call.

He watched as the first image started loading, complaining quietly to himself about the inadequacies of dial-up internet services. His complaints ceased as he viewed the first picture. With a slow smile spreading across his face, he was filled with thoughts of a past love. Things that had been, could have been, and maybe should have been, had he done things a bit differently. He chuckled to himself, "This may not be that hard of an assignment after all." He began typing.

As the second picture finished loading, another idea hit. It wouldn't just be a story of love gone wrong, but it would be a tragic story. A haunting tale. His mind spun with the possibilities that this could bring. "A ghost story," he finally decided. A story of a love thwarted by others. A love lost due to a brutal tragedy. The spirit of a sobbing woman searching eternally for that love lost. He grinned. "I could make this incredibly creepy." He deleted what small amount of story he had, and began typing in earnest, the stuttering click of the keys the only sound in the tiny room.

As he started laying the outline and various notes out, he began to think of tying all three images to his story, so he clicked on the download button for image number three. As he waited, he listened to the pouring rain, took a long pull of dopplebock, and sat back, savoring the full bodied malty taste. "Nothing like a good beer to kick the brain into overdrive," he murmured to himself.

As the third picture finished loading and appeared on his monitor, the unfinished bottle crashed to the floor, a knot forming in his gut. Sweat beaded on his brow, his face glowing pale as he stared at the last image. "This ain't funny! Why'd she send this?" His mind was filled with flashes of bright lights. Lightning? Or were these memories?

Unconsciously, he began rubbing the small lump at the base of his skull, as memories began piling up behind his eyes. Playing in the old barn as a child, when he felt himself flying through the roof. The tall bald stranger with the deep black eyes who appeared in the haymow from seemingly nowhere. Nosebleeds.

His encounters as a child were relatively harmless. Painless. Gray strangers, watching him. Talking to him, but not. Communication through thoughts. Some type of ESP. What the hell had they told him?

They kept coming as he got older. Less friendly. Taking samples of his skin. Sharp instruments displayed. Lost time, and cuts and bruises unexplained.

They were calling him even now, forcing him to get up and walk outside. The light in the sky. The bright light overhead, the cold table. The grays. Don't stick me with that! No emotion from the bastards. Pain shooting through his genitals. Blackness.

A warm trickle woke him, a droplet of blood coursing down the corner of his mouth, and landing on his arm. Joe wiped the blood away, and looked around. Visibly relieved, he was still sitting at his desk, clothing damp from sweat, bottle of beer on the floor. "That's a sin," he thought to himself. He examined the third image, looking at it scornfully. "How in the hell is a person supposed to pull a story from that?!" He wiped a new trickle of blood away, as he thought, pondered the possibilities. Realizing that he would not be able to tie all three images together, he resumed his ghost story.

As he started typing again, the trickle became a steady flow, and he reached for a kleenex to staunch the flow of blood, then stopped cold. There were wet footprints leading to his desk...

Posted by That 1 Guy at August 14, 2005 10:13 AM | TrackBack