Flashathon 2012 Hour Seven

We’re really into the meat of Flashathon now. If you’re going for twelve hours, then you’re somewhere around here. You might be taking this hour off, but this is the latest you can start and still get twelve prompts in. While this event takes place here at Writerly Words, we’re cohosted by Unleaded — Fuel for Writers, my blog away from blog where I post…almost every Wednesday. It’s also our secret escape blog in case Flashathon traffic crashes Writerly Words. One of those good problems to have. So I asked one of the co-owners of Unleaded to give us some prompts, and here is number one. Want the second one? That’s going to bookend this event at 2am.

Stretch yourself. Write a story from a different point of view than your own. That can be disability, gender, race, or class. Highlight its impact on the character’s worldview.

I have this as the earlier of her two prompts as I see it as the harder of the two for most writers. So I wanted people to get it while they were nice and fresh. So crack the knuckles, get into someone else’s head, and get writing.

  1. avatar

    #1 by Dana Gunn on October 27, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    John struggled to sit up. Sunlight streamed in through the car’s windows forcing his eyes shut in defiance. He gripped the steering wheel to pull himself and the seat upright. A pain shot through his lower back despite his earlier caution. The same curse and vow flowed from his lips as it had every day since the bank men visited his house. I won’t spend another night in this car!

    His eyes closed with shame as he looked to his right at his son curled up in the passenger’s seat. When he opened them, he turned his head to check on his daughter stretched out in the back seat. Both children looked at peace while they slept. John felt certain he did not look quite so relaxed.

    When the driver’s door squeaked open and allowed the noises of the city to intrude, the boy, Bradley, cracked his eyes slightly and frowned at the sunbeams with the same disdain his father had shown moments before. John slowly stepped out of the car and as quietly as he felt possible shut the door to block out the urban blare. Even though their current circumstances forced nightly shelter behind a shopping center or under a bridge, John like to give his children the one luxury he could afford two children, a bit of extra sleep.

    Bradley checked on his sister in the back seat, then opened his car door with slightly less noise than John had, he stepped out to face his father who stood opposite him in mid-stretch. Bradley crossed his arms and leaned on the car. “So, Dad, what’s the plan for today?” He suspected it was the same as the previous days, but he wanted his father to still feel in control of at least a few things in his life.

    John finished his stretch before answering Bradley. The boy was growing up quickly and not in the environment John and Beverly had originally intended. Thoughts of his wife flooded his mind with images before he could even begin to use anger or another emotion to drown out the grief. Beverly had been so beautiful. Her blonde hair and hazel eyes had always been able to capture his attention even years after they had been married. But, that lustrous hair and those bright eyes dulled and faded with each injection that drove her closer to her death.

    Beverly’s early demise drove John to distraction which had cost him his job and manifested in expulsion from school for Bradley and a loss of friends for Stephanie. Both things had deepened John’s sadness as he felt he was insufficient as a parent, much less a single parent.

    “Bradley…Brad, I am going to try to head over to the hardware store to get on with some day laborers. Again, I’ll need you to watch Stephanie while I’m gone.” He dropped his head to stare at his shoes. “If I’m picked for work today.”

    Bradley stared at his dad for a moment. With unexpected and explosive anger, he slammed both hands into the top of the car. “Dad! We’re hungry. We have been since yesterday. We need to see about at lest getting Stephanie some food.” Stephanie’s slumbering form in the backseat was momentarily forgotten during the father/son squabble.

    John spun around unable to face his son. “Don’t you think I’m doing my best? After your mother died and I lost my job, there was no way I could keep the house. And you didn’t make it any easier!” His voice continued to rise in volume.

    “You didn’t even try!”

    Before Bradley could continue, Stephanie pushed the car door open knocking him backwards and stepping out. “Cut it out! Both of you.” She looked back and forth between her father and older brother. “It is what it is. Things happened and we have to make the best of it all until we can get back on our feet.” For emphasis, she slammed the car door. The noise echoed in the concrete tunnel of the underpass. “I can’t believe we’re having this discussion again. God! I’m the youngest,” she pointed at her father, “and your daughter, and I have more sense than both of you put together. Now shut up, get in the car and let’s go see if we can’t all find some work!”

    John stared quietly at his little girl. In the morning light filtering into the underpass, Stephanie looked so much like Beverly he was completely left speechless. He just got back in the car and sat quietly with his hands on the will while he waited for his children.

  2. avatar

    #2 by Corey on October 27, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    Great story section, Dana. I’m completely taken in. I want to know what happens next. I want John to figure this out, find work and take the lead with his family.
    Nicely done.


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