Tag Archives: WP Weekly Writing Challenge

From Nothing to Nothing

It was dark, overhanging clouds heavy with rain cloaking the days in inky darkness, turning them into night. Thunder crashed overhead signaling a downpour that never came. It had not rained in ten years.

She alighted from the back of the taxi that had come all the way from the city. Her suitcases were unceremoniously dropped to the cobbled pavement. She paid the driver in notes which he gingerly held by their corners as though they were tainted, contagious, of what she did not know.

She pulled her scarlet cloak tighter around her shoulders hoping that the envelope of warmth it afforded her would extend to the people walking past, looking down, not daring to make eye contact with the beautiful and mysterious stranger.

Maybe they were afraid of greeting her, giving them something of themselves, lest she asked for more.

She knew what they were thinking, she could see it in their eyes.

“A woman on her own…”

“Look at the red cloak she is wearing.”

“She’s too beautiful to be a good woman.”

“She’s not like us.”

“I hope she doesn’t cause any trouble.”

And they hurried past, leaving her, standing on the cobbled pavement in front of the station that had not seen a train in ten years.

What they did not know was that she was not lost. She knew this village well, knew its people and the way they thought. That was why she had left, on the last train, ten years ago…leaving behind the insularity of the small village and the insularity of the villagers’ thinking.

Sitting on that last train ten years ago she had made a promise to herself to never return. She ran away, never once looking back, leaving behind…nothing.

Now she was back. She had broken the promise to herself. She was back…to nothing. She was still running away, backwards, towards this village of her birth where she still had nothing.

Nothing save for the scarlet cloak and the two suitcases still on the cobbled pavement where the taxi driver had unceremoniously dropped them.

A clap of thunder had her looking up at the inky heavens. Memories of the past crashed into her, jolting her body much like a flash of lightning jolts even the strongest tree. Trembling she  raised her hand to her wet cheeks wanting to wipe away tears only to find them dry.

In confusion she looked down and saw the drops of rain starting to wet the cobbled pavement, landing on her face, sliding down her scarlet cloak to form a scarlet pool at her feet.

WordPress weekly writing challenge: ForeshadowThis week, we want you to toy with your readers’ emotions and try your hand at foreshadow. Click here to read other bloggers' interpretation of this week's theme.

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The Purple 18-Wheeler – Part 2

She slowly came to, the disembodied voice still resonating in her mind somewhere “…purple 18-wheeler…armed and dangerous…do not approach…”

She grunted as she realised that she was lying on her stomach her left arm painfully caught under her, her twisted pose pushing her face into the dirt. The dirt smelt of sweet almond tart.

“Breathe…take deep breaths, you can still breathe,” she repeated over and over again lest she lose consciousness again.

After what seemed like hours, she painfully rolled over onto her back and blinked at the brightness of the the sun directly overhead.

“It’s midday,” she thought, “I’ve been out for hours, they must think I’ve defected.” She scrambled, panicked, to her feet, slipping and sliding in the dirt until she could stand groggily looking around her, “at least there’s nothing broken.”

Whatever she was in was taller than her. Looking up again at the top of the stalks she realised that she was in the middle of a cornfield. She listened for sounds.  None came. She was in the middle of nowhere, unsure if she was in some kind of limbo or Jungian dreamworld.

Slowly she started remembering the details. The chase, the purple 18-wheeler, the flash disk still secure in her pocket. Realising her friends at The Hide wouldn’t be looking for her she sat in the dirt again and put her head in her hands.

She knew the rules – out of contact for more than a day and you’re presumed defected, or taken, or dead. She was all alone now. With a flash disk in her pocket that could restore sanity to an insane world.

*******

She’d been running for hours and still hadn’t reached the end of the cornfield. She’d slipped and fallen many times, the knees of her jeans non-existent, the grazes stinging and stiff making it difficult to run faster.

It was still daylight but she couldn’t see the sun anymore. It would soon become dark and cold and the wolflings would come out, howling at the 2 red moons in the sky, perpetually full. She needed to find shelter for the night.

Questions played over and over in her mind. Where were they? Why hadn’t they followed her into the field? Where was her car? Why was she still alive?

Continuing on from the 1st part - the Purple 18-Wheeler, if you're liking this story...where would you like it to go? What questions should I be asking...and answering? Let me know and let's write Part 3 together. What fun it can be!

Flash Fiction: The purple 18-wheeler

A booming honk. I jump out of my skin. Through the rearview mirror I see a purple 18-wheeler, it’s windows blacked out.

“How did they find me…?”
I pick up speed, trying to outrun it. My little car’s engine screams in protest.

The T-junction comes up suddenly. Left or right? I glimpse at the maps app on my tablet – it’s not updating. The voice in my head mocks “I told you, there’s no cell phone signal in the middle of nowhere.”

I pump the brakes, down-gear, execute a perfect handbrake turn to the right. The back of the car fishtails as I accelerate. More cornfields on both sides of the road. All that food, for nothing, what a shame.

The 18-wheeler also turns right and thunders behind me, too close for safety, its trailer swinging wildly behind it!

“You can’t hide in the middle of nowhere!”, the voice in my head continues mocking, “they always find you. Better to be at The Hide.”

I pat my pocket to assure myself that the flash disk is still there. How archaic to still put things on flash disks. The boffins at The Hide will decipher it and end this nightmare.

Or must the nightmare end so that I can reach The Hide?

Reality swims in and out of my consciousness. I smell sweet almond tart. In the rearview mirror the purple 18-wheeler disappears in sticky vapour.

As I descend into un-consciousness a disembodied voice comes from the radio, “Beware all units. 30 year old white female, armed and dangerous, driving a purple 18-wheeler has been spotted on highway 99. Do not approach. I repeat. Do. Not. Approach!”

 

Author's note: Story inspired by one of my favourite authors of all time - Phillip K. Dick!

I have 6 + 1 names

I have 6 official names. It is customary in Portuguese tradition to give a child a first and a second name. Then the maternal grandmother’s name and the maternal grandfather’s name. Followed by the paternal grandmother’s name, finished off with the paternal grandfather’s name which is also the father’s name. So no one is forgotten.

Modern Portuguese parents are dispensing with all of this and I agree. The “old” way  makes it lengthy, and the poor child (and later adult) has to explain time and time again why they have so many names.  And official forms, for example, never have enough space for all of them.

My first and second names are the same as my Mom’s friend who is also my Godmother. I was named after her.  For many years I didn’t like my first name – Regina. It was too serious and grown up. It wasn’t a little girl’s name. I much preferred to be called by my nickname – Gigi.

When I was born, my uncle, who was a well-known writer, was a fan of the movie Gigi with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier, and decided that would be a good name for the first grandchild of the family.  He also wrote a song of the same name and dedicated it to me, which was sung by a famous songstress of the time in Mozambique, Natercia Barreto. I don’t have a copy of this song, it was probably lost when our family fled from Mozambique. I’ve searched YouTube and even though there are songs by Natercia Barreto, Gigi is not there. I have doubted its existence, although some relatives do say it exists. When I find a copy I will most certainly blog about it :-)!

So the name Gigi stuck and I’m only known as Regina academically and professionally.

The name Gigi has also been the source of many jokes – “Ha ha, my dog’s name is also Gigi!”

When I got married the feminist in me decided not to take my husband’s name – I would then have 7 names! I had to write a letter to the government asking that the population register be changed to my unmarried surname, because in South Africa (at the time) it was assumed that a wife would take her husband’s name,  without the common courtesy of asking or confirming! You can imagine how this went down well with me!

When I registered my marriage in Portugal (many Portuguese people are registered in the country of domicile and the country of ancestry), the government there asked me how I wanted to be known – so no assumptions were made! I was most pleasantly surprised that my individuality and dignity was considered.

Regina is Latin for “queen”. It is pronounced “ruh-JEE-nuh” NOT “ruh-JY-nuh”. My high school principal used to call me “ruh-JY-nuh”.  No matter how many times I told her the correct pronunciation, she continued pronouncing it incorrectly – leaving me feeling mortifyingly embarrassed time and time again.

I have been called many variants of my name – Reg, Reggy, Reginald (I went to an all girls school and we all had male versions of our names) – and have grown to love the uniqueness of my name…Regina.

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