Had to have a think about today’s story for the Wednesday Write-in. I was pretty stuck on the sounds of the words this week, ‘stretched, tree house, tooth, tracks’, all the t’s and r’s and h’s really playing on my mind. Call me a poet.
So last week was an empty house, and this week the tree house prompt was where I began. I wanted to write a story about an apple tree, but it didn’t work out. One of the prompts last week was hunger, and that seems to be recurring this week. I also had to mention ‘tracks’, it’s been a popular prompt so far with other people’s stories. Here is what did come out:
It was a step to cross. A large step that required jeans and balance. There was a moment you trembled on the mossy stones before your hands could clutch at the tree. You would spring from one tree to the other. It was an easy route spanning the rugby fields, the cove-like lawn that was littered with dog walkers, the newly developed netball ground. The day she fell in she couldn’t laugh it off. While they all laughed she couldn’t even remember the saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, names will never hurt me, surrounded by twigs. The girls picked bits of bark up and flicked them at her. They harmlessly bounced and she sat on the bank, very still, while the bark collected around her. It piled up. They began choosing bigger bits, and some tore off tree branches, still fresh and living. Building a ground bound tree house. A green fly sat on her finger, and she watched it as old leaves mingled with new in her hair. The others were intent, occasionally messing around and giggling but when they drew close to her silent, carefully adjusting each layer. Like boys building dams, testing the weaknesses. One was stuffing the gaps with grass, pulled out in her fists. When they’d finished they clapped their creation, then left her inside her camouflage. She stayed there, very quiet, waiting for her hunger to wake her. Until her body reminded her she was human, she knew she wasn’t, she was a field monument, a scarecrow tracking the path of birds as they swerved to avoid her. But then her stomach grumbled, and her time was up. She moved her arm, and she shed.