Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Week - Writing Prompts (Day 5&7) Downfall & Confessions

This continues from Days 1-3 and Day 4 of the movie week theme story. I had to miss out on Day 6's prompt but this hasn't affected the story much (as far as a week long unedited story goes!)


A knock on wood,
followed a midnight call.
Time froze, we stood,
witnessing their downfall.


It had been six years since that encounter in the desert. What prompted that scene to suddenly replay in her mind, Jenna wondered. Then she remembered the letter. 

She looked down at the package resting on her lap. The letter that she had been holding in her hand was flapping in the breeze. So this was it. Finally, the truth was out in the open. She wondered whether Sarah would ever had told her had she not known that she was dying. It's amazing how sobering death can be, how it can reveal secrets that a lifetime can often protect. She eyed the necklace lying in the box with a distant eye. It was a look of disdain. Friends forever. She sneered at it and stuffed the letter in the box, pushed it aside, holding on to the edge of the bench firmly for dear life. 

"Tom, it's all over," she stated in a matter of fact voice, void of emotion, tired of all that life had to give her by way of disappointments.

Tom reached for the letter but instinctively, Jenna stopped him before he could find out. Their eyes met and he looked at her, questioningly, eyes searching and asking a hundred questions.

She couldn't believe how she had been deceived. 

"Why won't you let me read it, Jen?" he asked with hesitation, almost knowing that he wouldn't like what he would read.

"I know enough. For both of us. For the three of us. You, me and our son. This letter was addressed to me," she paused, fumbling for the right words. "I know that you and Sarah were neighbours, growing up together. I know about her parents..." Her voice trailed off. 

Despite everything, she didn't want Tom to get hurt.

Sarah had known all about the rift between Tom and Jenna's families. It had taken quite a bit of plotting and planning but she had managed to work her magic by first, befriending Jenna and what seemed like a chance encounter between Tom and Jenna had in fact been part of her ploy all along. Of course, Tom had known about the rift too and that had never stopped him from marrying her. But there was more to it for Sarah. Revenge, Sarah had said in her letter. She wanted revenge from both families for destroying her life. For taking her parents away from her. Jenna had always known that Sarah had lost her parents at a young age but Sarah never did talk about it. And Jenna had always respected her privacy. What Tom hadn't known was that his family had been responsible for Sarah's parents death. 

She wasn't about to reveal that to him now, or ever. Some secrets were meant to remain just that. She looked out to the horizon and watched the sun about to bid goodbye. And she thought of the years she had shared with Tom, of the encounter in the desert. Perhaps Sarah's confession was timely. A means for her to rebuild her life, to disassociate herself from a family rift that she had no hand or use for. A chance for their son to grow up learning about love and forgiveness. There might be some good in this tangle after all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Week - Writing Prompts (Day 4) Unforgiven

Continuing from the first three days, the writing prompt for today was:

It was one of those starry and subdued summer nights in the depths of the desert. Cocooned in the enclave of a sand dune, a group of friends gathered around a fire, toasting chestnuts while sipping heart-warming cups of chilli cocoa. The night games had taken an interesting turn with a fresh round of truth or dare. Jenna decided to withdraw from the group and listen to Tom’s strumming on his guitar instead. He was playing an old familiar tune. Soon enough, Jenna was humming to the tune until her voice could sustain itself no longer and she broke into song. With her eyes closed, she gave it her all until she slowly realised that the music had stopped. Flicking her eyes open, she caught Tom looking at her, watching her. There was this awkward moment and Jenna just didn’t know what to do with herself. Hesitating, she smiled and dug her feet in the sand, bringing herself up. But as she took a couple of steps away, she felt a squeeze on her shoulder, bringing her to a stop.

“Jen, let’s go for a walk.”

Jenna shifted her weight to the other foot and avoided looking at him. She shook the sand from her hands, “I… I think I should call it a night, mmmm, where’s Sarah? I need to find, Sarah. Just got this awesome design…”

“Wait. There’s something I need to tell you.”

Jenna blinked nervously as she found herself being led away. She knew what Tom had to say to her but she would have none of it. He was with Sarah now. Yes, they had been married once. Yes, they shared a son. In fact, they had so much in common that it had kept their friendship alive even after the separation and the divorce. Despite all the bitterness and the pain that they had experienced, she could forgive him all that, or so she thought. She had moved on and found new avenues for herself. So when he had hooked up with Sarah a couple of years after it was all final, she had no qualms. But infidelity was not something she could accept or even conceive in her mind. It was a concept alien to her but she wasn’t so sure about him. Tom was fickle and temperamental.

“Look, Tom, this is not going to work.”

“I’m still in love with you.”

“No, stop it! You’re not! You’re with Sarah now. You’re happy together. I won’t have any of this.”

Tom kicked the sand with his feet and made a fist before looking at her in the eye.

“When will you ever let go of it. You never will, will you! After all these years, you just won’t forgive me that one indiscretion. I did it for us, Jen. Why won’t you see that?”

Jenna pursed her lips and tried to stop herself from saying anything that she would later regret. It was of no use now. His lies were in the past and bringing them up now would do neither of them any good. Yet, she couldn’t help the heaviness in her chest, thinking about how he had lied to her about his family. About his history and lineage and how he had known that it would make it impossible for them to ever marry. About the fact that he had allowed her to break the vow that she had been made to take as a young girl. All the daughters of her family had been made to take. He knew it all and he had ignored it all, belittled it, brushed it aside as irrelevant. It made an unfurling sense of indignation rise within her. She picked up a handful of sand and threw it as far as she could. But the cold desert wind, dispersed it, carrying the specks over to the flames nearby. Tom watched as Jenna stormed off, her incensed feet stumbling against the softness of the sand. It was only then that he truly realised that what he had done would be forever unforgiven.

Movie Week - Writing Prompts

This is a story that spans 7 days around the theme of movie titles as writing prompts everyday. Here are the first three with the rest to follow as separate posts. Enjoy and let me know what you think. All comments welcome!

The Usual Suspects

When things go wrong, I
blame the usual six so
round of applause please.

Time, melancholy,
ambition and lethargy,
luck and the weather. 

The Departed
Those six have an uncanny way of creeping up on you when you're busy playing life. Allow me to name the names of those I blame: time, melancholy, ambition, lethargy, luck and the weather. They're like a dance ensemble moving in unison, shifting in and out of space, blending in form then separating to show their true shape. Each has its own unique way of romancing you until your consciousness is captured. You become beyond your own reach. Then by some knee-jerking event that shakes you back to your senses, you realise that you were incognito and that it’s too late.

This is what happened. Jenna had been trying to reach Sarah on her mobile all day. She had tried the night before too. And when Sarah hadn’t answered the call, she had brushed it aside, convinced that it had just been too late into the night. The sms and the missed call recorded on Sarah’s phone would suffice and soon enough, Sarah would be calling her back. But Sarah never did call her. She hadn’t even responded to her message. It was so unlike the close friend that she was.

Jenna slumped in the nearest armchair, curling up with phone in hand, rubbing her fingers in her furrowed forehead, anxiously trying to dig out an explanation. A flashback scurried past through her mind as she recalled their last meeting almost a year ago. Has it been that long, she mumbled to herself. Everyone knew of Jenna’s erratic and busy lifestyle. They also knew of her absent-mindedness and her tendency to forget, moan about the weather and fret. Those who knew Jenna well accepted that she was just the Jen she would always be. Jenna had managed to squeeze in an hour to meet up with Sarah and Tom whom she hadn’t seen in months. As she would only be in town for a few days, she had much to do before her subsequent flight. Sarah had arrived a little late, as usual, and in between the chatter and catch-up banter, Jenna had kept a timely check on her schedule. She had to be out of the cafĂ© and in a taxi at exactly 12pm if she were to make it to her dentist’s appointment. The scene froze before her in her mind’s eye; that moment when Sarah had looked up at her just when Jenna had been saying her usual see-you-laters. Sarah had held on to her for the longest moment, her eyes wide and affixed on her face, searching, almost hoping for more time. It was a look that was yearning for lost moments and unsaid words, for things to be different and for a childhood that they had once shared. It was a look filled with the memories of the years that they had spent together and of the time they had known each other. It was Sarah’s moment of saying goodbye, although Jenna didn’t realise it at the time, nor did Sarah for that matter. But that scene that Jenna suddenly recalled now, as she sat there fiddling with the phone in her hands, filled her with a cold sweat. A rising panic threatened to engulf her as she sprang from the chair, banging her bare feet on the cold laminate flooring. She paced back and forth trying to think of a way to reach Sarah. And then the phone rang.


She hadn’t even given it time to ring. There was a long pause on the other end and the seconds ticked by filling Jenna with every passing moment with the growing assertion that her fears would soon be realised.

“Jen, it’s Tom.”

Jenna nodded to herself in slow motion, waiting to hear more. She opened her mouth to speak but her mouth had gone dry.

“Jen. I don’t know how to say this.” 

Jenna’s heart sank to the depths of the earth and all she could feel were the tears streaming down her face as her knees gave way. Sarah was gone. 

It had arrived in the post shortly after that tragic call. But Jenna only found it several months later, sitting on her coffee table, gathering dust. The original address on the package had been crossed out and numerous other forwarding addresses had been substituted. The sender’s address was old and faded. It was from Sarah.

An afternoon breeze gathered momentum and threatened to carry her away. Jenna sat on the bench, hands cradling the package, her gaze lost at the ocean’s horizon.

“Aren’t you gonna open it?”

Jenna flinched and brushed her hands against the roughened edges of the cardboard. She flicked a glance at a restless Tom who was sitting next to her and squeezed a soft smile. He had darkened circles under his eyes. Clearly he hadn’t been sleeping either. Was it guilt that he felt or was it an old longing? Either way, Sarah’s loss had left a void in both of their lives.

Jenna reached for the dried out strip of masking tape and tugged at it with one swift move. It didn’t require much effort as the cover gave way. There in the box lay a letter, a stack of photographs and the string of beads that they had spent many a summer designing together. She picked up the raspberry coloured necklace and turned the silver-plated pendant over. Friends forever, it said. She ran her thumb over the engraving that her young hands had carved many years ago and recalled their carefree days. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

After life, Simple, Controls, Tumbling - Writing Prompts

Here is what I wrote over the last week in terms of writing prompts :) Stay tuned for next week when I'll be posting the movie theme week series of prompts comprising one story that spans 7 days.

After life

Tiny fingers instinctively wrapped itself around her thumb. The new born was cradled in her arms, its tiny chest rising and falling, seemingly trying to get used to breathing in their new life. A soft caress on the face of the one who could make her believe in a life after a life. It was possible; she knew it now, to start over.


She looked rather simple,
from hair down to toes,
but her smile showed her dimple,
shaped just like a rose!


It was one of those moments in a prelude to a thriller. The lift jolted to a halt. The almost unacknowledged background hum of the air conditioner suddenly left an audible void. There was a flickering of the light bulbs above, the sudden consciousness of strangers within a confined space, accentuated breathing and exclamations from those around.

“You.have.got.to.be.kidding.me.” It was the man standing next to me, mumbling under his breath. Tall and overarching to say the least, he was already fidgeting with a rolled up newspaper. It almost seemed like he was about to whack the nearest person with it. I settled deeper into my corner and waited.

This wasn’t the first time today that the lift had broken down. Maintenance, was what the building management had said, a faulty set of controls that needed to be fixed. They also told us that we were not allowed to use the lifts during the day. But who would listen to a bunch of lift experts. Our managers on the other hand were the self-proclaimed experts. It was just like them to make us sit through fire drills, unmoved, undeterred, nonchalantly waving away the minutes. A slight technicality of lift maintenance was not about to stop us from getting to our offices. Come what may, it was our duty to see to it that we gave our full nine hours of work to the firm on a daily basis. At least that was what our managers had explained to us in exceptionally clear language. So here we were stuck in a box hanging between the sixth and seventh floors, waiting for the reassuring cranking sound that signalled that we were on the move again.

Ten minutes later

“I don’t care if you were caught in the middle of an avalanche, that report was due in an hour ago!”

“Yes but with all due respect, we were both stuck in that same blasted elevator.”

“I’m just about reaching the end of my tether with you…”

Luckily, that was all that my slave driver of a boss could manage as a precursor to a sacking. We conveniently got distracted by a power cut. A raging managing partner stormed out of the office, hurling abuse at a forlorn assistant nearby, leaving me with a smirk spreading slowly across my face.

“Alright, what have you done now?” I sighed shaking my head with relief, waiting for Sam to emerge.
A smug and confident Sam strode into the room. He never seemed to be far away when trouble was brewing in my work life.

“Let’s just say that the lift maintenance has now extended itself to the central nervous system of the building.”

“Sam, what have you done,” calm was the only way to deal with this impish character but I could barely hide my excitement to hear of yet another of his crazy endeavours.

“I switched the controls. It’ll take them days to find out the problem. We might as well all pack up and go home now."


A series of emotions
Leaves me fumbling for more
Tumbling through memories
Hitting right to the core. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


Here is part of my writing prompt for today: Fast

I think this might be the start of a really fun adventure story! So watch this space as I might be adding on to it.


I never had been a believer in those game-themed parties. What a waste of time and energy bringing a group of friends together, who hadn’t seen each other in years, just to set them off against each other. This one particular game, Fast, had become so popular that it was varied every year. Initially, it was a matter of how fast one could eat, or run, or get from Kurnell to Kempsie. Then it progressed to a bit more sophistication with the creative objective of how fast one could make-believe kill everyone else in the group whilst travelling across town in search of so-called treasure. It had caught on and had become so popular that very soon there was a Fast themed game in every town. For my sorry bunch of friends, it was one way of my making memories, I suppose, but mainly it was my only chance to see Lance, of course. So I would go along. And I would participate in these mundane and useless charades. If I could edge a word or two in, while everyone was busy trying to win a hopeless race, then to me that had to be victory even though it meant that I would always lose out on the prize. Neither had I known nor cared for some crummy prize. If I could get Lance to actually look at me and respond to a question or two, then I would later be driving back home feeling like the queen of the world. And if he dared smile at me, it would make my heart cartwheel for days and days after. Lance was a huge fan of Fast and had even become a member of the Fast fan group on Facebook. Of course, I had to become a member too. So whilst I despised and secretly ridiculed these games, the stalker in me had actively been seeking them out. These annual come quarterly get-togethers were something I had a love-hate relationship with. Something I would both wish for and dread at the same time. And then by some strange sequence of events, that were absolutely uncalled for and definitely unplanned, I won. Things took quite a different turn in my life since that day.