Friday, September 25, 2009

Wordzzle 82 - Shadow people

This is my contribution to this week's Wordzzle. Wordzzle is a game in which each week word lists, used to create stories, are given on the blog Views from Raven's Nest. Participating users post their stories on their own blogs.

This is my entry number 26, for Wordzzle week 82.

Ten Word Challenge:

Tibetan sky,
won’t you come home Bill Baily,
shadow figures,
brain cortex,
practice makes perfect,
start of school,
chow down

Under the arch, in its shadow, figures could be seen. They had been there for quite a while now, and he felt they were watching him. His brain cortex didn't work as well as it used to, but some things were fairly obvious.

He wondered when they were going to make their move . Maybe they were waiting for him to move first. If so, they were in for a long wait.

Finally, they began to walk toward him. Eventually they were standing there, looking down at him where he lay on the bench. He looked up at them, in their lavender suits, symbols of the smug elite.

"Won’t you come home Bill Baily?" one of them said.

"I've got better things to do, boys. It's the start of school today."

"But she's fixed your favorite, Tibetan Sky. She's sure she's got it right this time."

"The last few tasted funny. Burned my mouth, too."

"She misread the recipe. It said 'Adds life' and she thought it said 'Add lye.' She doesn't do that anymore."

"I guess practice makes perfect. Time to chow down, then."

He got up off the bench, sighing. He hated this complicated code word routine. At least he had something to do now. It looked like it was going to be an interesting mission, too.

Mini Challenge:

mental hospital,
falling leaves,
apple cider,
packing crates,

The bum sat among the apple cider packing crates, half covered by falling leaves, and watched the world go by. He had a bottle with him, but it wasn't apple cider. He used to tell people that he had been in a mental hospital, and was put out on the street. He had hoped it would lead to more donations, but people shied away from him. Now he just held out his hand, when he had the energy and when he remembered. He left few clues about where he was from, or what he had been. Sometimes he talked about the military and fighting the enemy, so some thought he must have been in a war, but no one was sure which one. He wasn't a young man anymore, and there were several to choose from.

Suddenly a black limousine pulled up, and men dressed in dark suits and dark glasses got out. One talked briefly into a radio, while two others headed for him and gently pulled him to his feet.

"You've got to stop slipping away from us like this, sir."

"You almost lost me this time, didn't you?" he laughed. "One day I'll work out the proper 'strategery,' and then I'll really be gone..."

Mega challenge:

Tibetan sky,
won’t you come home Bill Baily,
shadow figures,
brain cortex,
practice makes perfect,
start of school,
chow down

mental hospital,
falling leaves,
apple cider,
packing crates,

"Isn't there something you can do to get rid of those shadow figures?" she said.

"Oh, they're not so bad. They just like to watch. Sometimes they like to touch, too. That's when it really gets creepy."

She winced and jerked back from them a bit.

"But why are they here? I never see them anywhere but here."

"I didn't see them until I'd been here for a while. I think they're kind of shy. That's probably why they're not normally seen other places. That, and people just don't pay attention. Probably some people don't have their brain cortices wired right either, and couldn't see them anyway."

"I feel like my brain cortex is being seriously altered."

"Well, there you go! Maybe you'll start to see them more places, then."

"Oh great. I'd really rather just see them here. Or, rather, not see them here."

"But you are seeing them. And you know what they say, practice makes perfect."

"I don't think I need this kind of practice."

"Would you rather they be there watching you, and you not know it?"

"No! That is, I'd rather they not be there at all. But if they are there, I suppose I'd rather see them. Now I'm going to wonder if they're there if I don't see them."

"Just remember, no matter what you do or where you are, God is always watching."

"That really makes me feel good."

There was silence for a time.

"I feel like I should commit myself to a mental hospital for just having this conversation," she finally said.

"If you did, I'd have to join you."

"Do you really mean that?"

"Well, I'd at least visit you there."

"Thanks a lot!"

Some shadows of falling leaves fell across the table where they sat.

"Are they really people, or just shadows of people?" she said.

"They do seem to cling to surfaces. I've even seen them on packing crates, going over the top and down the side. But if they are just shadows, I don't know what the light source would be. I don't see them when it's completely dark, though. That doesn't necessarily mean they're not there."

"So you're saying they could still be there and I wouldn't know it. I think I'll sleep with a light on from now on." She shuddered. "I wish we had something stronger than this apple cider."

"Another thing to think about is, if they're just shadows, where are they really? Where is the invisible person that makes the visible shadow?"

"Now you're saying that if we see them we still don't know where they are!"

"I'm just speculating. I really don't know. There aren't many clues to go by."

"I don't know if I can ever get to sleep again. I dread the thought of going home and being alone."

"You could try singing to them. 'Won’t you come home Bill Baily, won’t you come home.'"

"No! I don't want them to come with me! I'm afraid I'll be alone and they'll be there!"

"But then you wouldn't be alone. If you don't like that song, we could try another. 'Under the Tibetan sky, shadow people spy...'"

"Stop that! I said I don't want them! Besides, you're a lousy singer."

"I'm hurt. I guess practice makes perfect, though, so I better start practicing."

"Practice somewhere else. Not now! Don't leave me!"

"I'm not. Think of this as like the start of school. Everything is new to you, but after a while, it all seems normal and routine."

"I'm not sure it will ever seem routine."

"You'd be surprised."

"You don't understand. This can't be right. Maybe they're here to eat us, or eat our souls, or, or, something."

"Now that you mention it, I have been a little tired, lately. Maybe they've already chowed down."

"See? See? You've got to get rid of them!"

"Well, you know, life exists by feeding on other life. That's just, um, life."

"But we don't have to volunteer!" She picked up the apple cider bottle and refilled her glass, her hand shaking a bit. She took a sip and then another.

"This stuff isn't strong enough to help. Even the apple on the label is lavender instead of red. I need something with alcohol in it."

"Alcohol won't help. They'll be there whether you're drunk or not. Wouldn't you really rather be fully aware of it?"

"Not really." She wrung her hands together, looking miserable.

The figures stared at the shadows of a man and woman sitting at a table.

"Look what she's doing with her hands. She's put them together and keeps moving them over and over. Do you think it's a symbol for something?"

"I don't know," another of the figures said. "I just wish they'd go away."

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Blogger Raven said...

I love the end of the last one. Made me laugh out loud. They are all clever and creative as always.

7:37 PM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Argent said...

Once again, I loved all three. You have a great way of building atmosphere in your writing and, in your third one especially, your dialogue is so natural that the characters become very real. I'm wondering who the "bum" in the second story really is - not the President, surely? Although I bet he'd like to run away sometimes! I've often wondered if there a shadow poeple watchign us that we're not aware of and if they wonder about us...

3:37 AM, September 27, 2009  
Blogger Reston Friends! said...

All three are good! My favorite is the 2nd and I love the twist of the last! It kind of makes me wonder what the animals are thinking as people watch them at the zoo....if we only knew with what contempt they watched US!

5:17 AM, September 27, 2009  
Blogger Dr.John said...

Couldn't begin to choose among them. They are all so well written and interesting. I just love the way you find different uses for the words.

1:41 PM, September 27, 2009  

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