Writing Prompt: Day 14

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Day 14 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Your characters bond over something unique.

Shannon: I sat down at my usual table in the library to get an early start on my homework. After whizzing through two Spanish worksheets I moved onto my assigned math problems. I got through the first equation with help from my notes, mimicking the one we went through in class. However, the next word problem had me stuck on where to even start. I’d have to save this one for my tutor after school. As I skipped it I realized I’d have to do the same with next one, and then the one after that, and another, and who was I kidding there was no point in continuing.

Why sit and struggle when I could spend my time doing what I really enjoyed. I pulled out the full script of The Things I Hate About You that I tried to discreetly print off using the library’s printer the week before without success. The librarian gave me the stink eye the whole time, not sure what I was up too, but I tried to pass it off as a homework assignment. She wasn’t buying it.

In my English class last year we had a lesson plan on scripts, and I’ve been obsessed with reading them ever since I got my first glimpse. I wanted to write my own someday, but I knew there were so many hidden secrets and rules I had yet to discover. For now I’d stick to studying them, and stepping into the writer’s initial vision.

“Excuse me,” a guy interrupted me when I was halfway through Kat’s dialogue. “I’m sorry I don’t mean to bug you, but are you reading a script?”

I was a little taken off-guard at why he wanted to know, but he wasn’t wrong, “A…yes,” I nodded and he immediately sat down in the chair next to me.

“Cool, I’m James by the way,” he introduced himself quickly, and continued to speed talk through what he had come over to say, “I love screenplays, and no one I ever met understands what is so special about them, but they are amazing right? There is so much thought that goes into these movies that no one ever gets to see. It’s like behind the scenes access. What movie are you reading? I’m reading Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” he continued to ramble without giving me a chance to answer. I laughed at his ability to keep going as if the conversation involved both of us. “Oh no, this is just a homework assignment and I just ambushed you didn’t I,” he cringed. “I tend to do that I’m sorry.”

“No, no, no,” I stopped him from getting up, feeling the need to say it three times to slow him down. “I do read them for fun, I’m reading Ten Things I Hate About You, you are absolutely right about everything you said about screenplays, I loved reading the Monty Python script,” I continued to list, “And my name is Mia. I think that’s everything,” I smiled.

He looked a little embarrassed, but happy at the same time. “I guess I got a little excited. Tell me more.”

Erin: The first seven times I met my best friend we didn’t talk. We were both sat at a bench in the park. I was there every weekend and it was becoming abundantly clear he would be frequently aligning up with my visits. “I’m Kenneth,” I introduced myself one day.

He told me his name that day and that was the end of our conversation. He didn’t want to talk, and to be real, I didn’t when I was there either. A few weeks later as we both sat in silence. He invited me to get brunch with him. We did.

As we worked on our giant omelets we discussed our love of turning off our electronics and spending a few hours when we had a free chance people watching. As we slowly became closer it became abundantly clear we had a lot in common and a lot to talk about. We never talked at the park though. The park was for quiet, reflection, and judging.

Whoop, there it is. What weird things can you come up with that people could bond over?

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2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 14

  1. Kate:
    Tory always knew she was a little peculiar; the other kids in school made fun of her for enjoying solitude and wandering strange places on her own. Later in life countless girlfriends were confused by her desire for alone time. Instead of seeing it for the comfort she felt in her own self and the love of silence and stillness they thought she pulled away out of disinterest. Long ago Tory had decided she didn’t need to have a girl just to feel whole; she was fine on her own, at least for now.
    The second part of her longing for regular sessions of seclusion was that she somehow found herself in wondrously peculiar places. From a young age she would wander away into the woods alone for hours. Half-mad with worry her parents would eventually find her, lost in her own thoughts, perfectly all right.
    When she was permitted to drive her parent resentfully dropped the keys to their ancient Buick in her young hand, making her promise to always come home. After that, though, they couldn’t get her to stay in one place. The first place she drove was a long abandoned factory on the wrong side of town. Gravel flew against the dilapidated chain link fence meant to keep intruders out as she spun out in front of it. There was a sigh on Tory’s lips as she stepped out of the car, door dinging and light buzzing.
    In the blaze from the dying sun she could see the outline of crooked and rusted steelwork high above her. After a few moments of letting this first taste of freedom set in she popped the trunk and rummaged through the disheveled contents for her pack. Hiding under a first aid kit near the back was a ragged leather camera case filled with a second hand Nikon, an old flashlight and a couple crisp apples. When the trunk slammed closed Tory’s world was thrown into the dim light of the setting sun. Tying her chestnut hair in a scraggly bun she locked the door with a look, and a click of the key, and faced the menacing barricade before her.

    Years later Tory stood before the same chain link fence that had attempted to block her before. When the trunk light flickered off this time, though, she was thrust into the pitch darkness just before dawn with only the stars above and the faint glow of the city to light her way. The fence was no longer a deterrent at all; as the gate swung, screeching, to let her in she smiled at its familiar melody.
    Rattling as it swung shut Tory felt the weight of her new telephoto lens, Nikon, camping headlamp and a couple crunchy apples in her beloved leather bag. Without a need for the headlamp she expertly made her way across the abandoned work yard, avoiding piles of discarded nails and piles of burnt beams and twisted metal.
    At the rotted door she combed through the familiar rucksack for the cold metal of the headlamp before pressing the rough surface and letting herself in. Clicking the lamp on the sound and light echoed in the forsaken building. The stairs leading to the top floor; where you could watch the entire city as it slumbered were a well-traversed path while the corridors leading to the offices and main floor were more of a mystery.
    Carefully picking the steadiest steps to propel her to the top, Tory made her way quickly to the outlook. When she arrived at the top step, teetering on the edge for a moment of daring, she turned to take in the spectacular view before her. Her army boots echoed across the vast empty owner’s office as she padded across the creaky panels. Before her the windows had been blown out, leaving a gaping hole where a wall should have been to keep you from falling down the cliff.
    Placing her leather bag gently on a blackened stool Tory turned the headlamp off and took a comfortable seat at the edge of the room, legs dangling dangerously over the edge. For twenty minutes the peaceful scene continued as the sun began its slow creep up behind the small cityscape. But as Tory was just contemplating setting the camera up to take some pictures a familiar squeak caught her attention at the top of the stairs.
    Shining into the near-empty room was an industrial flashlight, blinding Tory. An unconvincingly authoritarian voice barked, “What are you doing here?” before the voice broke into a round of genial laughter. The young man behind the voice dropped the flashlight beam to expose his clean-shaven face and comfortable clothing. “I’m Xander,” he smiled.

    For the past couple years Xander had been sneaking into the old factory building at night to get away from his wife. He loved her dearly but she was too clingy. After a year he thought he might have to get a divorce until he started coming to the peaceful retreat that was this abandoned factory. Five years on and they were more happily married than the day they wed.
    Walking the place he’d found inspiration in every musty corner and had taken up sketching when he went on his excursions. Strangely he’d never met anyone else on any of his expeditions during the day or night but that worked out just fine for him. There was something about an empty place where you don’t have to speak or think or move. It was something very comforting.
    On that night, however, as he pulled his minivan up to the entrance he had to swerve to avoid a tired-looking Buick that was pulled up to the gate. Curiosity got the better of him in that moment; he wanted to know what kind of person would want to go into a spooky old building in the middle of the night.
    That was where Xander, the twenty five year old haunter of empty buildings met twenty year old Tory, the permanently single loner. Taking a few tentative steps into the vaulted room Xander smiled warmly at the young woman. Tory blinked at him in the dark before deciding anyone with a full-sized sketchpad couldn’t be all that bad. Relaxing a bit she offered her own name as the sun’s first morning rays lit Xander’s face, “I’m Tory. Nice to meet you, Xander.”

    The two sat and chatted once a week, discussing personal details and helping eachother through all sorts of difficult times. Divvying up the rest of the week days forced them to spend more quality time with others and eventually they cut down to only spending every third Monday at the factory to talk and draw and photograph the dying building.
    Tory tracked the desolation of the beams on the factory floor until the fateful day it collapsed while Xander perfected the shading the sun threw on the torn books and water-damaged wood paneling. After Tory married Diana, a painter from a small town, Xander realized she was his best friend and they began hanging out in non-abandoned buildings. They even took joint vacations to ghost towns and places with old buildings to continue the tradition.

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  2. Russell:
    I taste the sludge of cold coffee in my mug and spit into the sink. “Yuck!” Putting the mug on the counter, I opened the fridge and grabbed a carton of milk and an ice tray before closing it. I set the carton and ice tray on the counter as I opened the cupboard door. I peaked my head in as I rummaged through the dislocated piles of sugars, salts, pepper and honey packets.
    I heard the fridge’s vocal synthesiser rumbled to life. “Morning. Daniel.” A slow baritone voice replied soggily.
    “Morning Fredrick.” I said out of habit as I took a packet of Honey Pure from the cupboard. I opened the lower cupboards and found the blender. Putting it on the counter top, I look at the power outlet that is being currently used. Right now, the coffee machine and the kettle were plugged in. “Wake up Butler.”
    The crackle of the coffee machines stereo caught my attention. The coffee machine *yawned*. “Ah, good morning chap. Do you wish for you shot of coffee?”
    “Not really Butler, I wanted to wake you up to let you know that I’m plugging in this blender here.” I tapped the plastic lid on the top of the said blender.
    The coffee machined did its best imitation of a sigh. “Oh sir, you know much we hate it when we get unplugged. I hate going back to that place.” The three lights on the exterior suddenly blinked red. “Hey! Why couldn’t you unplug Johnny?”
    I shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know, it miiigghht have something to do with last night.” I yawned. “Can I get make my Ice coffee now?”
    “Oh, oh all right. Fine. Shutting down.” Butler glumly said as the lights on the exterior of the coffee machine faded. I unplugged Butler and plugged the blender in.
    I heard the familiar footsteps of Emily. “Hey.” She walked up beside me and leaned over the sink. “Having more coffee?”
    I gazed back Emily with a smile. “Hey, just trying to make ice coffee that’s all.” I poured the cold coffee, a cup of milk and a packet’s worth of honey into the blender. “Sorry I couldn’t make it last night.”
    “Because Butler was being a dick?” Emily stated. “You seriously need to get off drinking this stuff, it’s going to make you have wrinkles.” She said the last part in a teasing voice.
    I rolled my eyes. “Coffee does not give you wrinkles.” I fitted the lid for the blender snugly into place. “You already know that.”
    She smirked. “It’s actually a recent hypothesis based upon my observations.”
    Oh? I perked my eyebrows in interest. “And what observations are these?” I pressed the button for the blender, erupting into a hurricane of sound as the contents were mixed together rapidly. I tapped the button a couple times in intervals.
    “Just your nightly routine of arguing with Butler and losing sleep over it.” She grabbed a bag of natural unsalted potato chips from the cupboard. “I hear you walking around until 1:54 man, you need to get some sleep.”
    “Ah.” I said plainly. “I guess there’s merit there.” I firmly pressed the button down before letting go. I examine the ice coffee before pouring it back into my mug. “Insomnia is a killer after all.”
    Emily pushed back from the sink. “You want to head outside? I need some fresh air.”
    I shrugged. “Why not?”
    Walking down the hall with Emily to the entrance bay, coffee in hand. The entrance bay is our garage, workbenches and various parts organised into categories like safety deposit boxes. Thirty feet by thirty feet elevator sat idly for us. Emily walked over to a closet just outside of the door leading to the garage and took out a yellow and red jacket. “You want to have a coat?” She asked.
    I shook my head. “Nah, it’s not that cold up there.” I took a sip of my ice coffee. “Besides, it’s more like summer right now.” We stepped onto the elevator platform and typed in the surface level.
    “You sure?” Emily asked as the elevator began to move. The loud hum of magnetized pullies as the lift rose silently, various chains and steal ropes guiding it up to the surface. “Now’s the time to get one.”
    “Naahh, I can handle a bit of a chill.” I took another sip of my cold coffee.
    It was about half way up I felt a chill on my exposed arms. How cold is it up there? I took a sip and looked at the coat Emily was wearing. It’s probably just the ventilation that’s all.
    I hear the huge facility door begin to creak open and a gust rushes down, blanketing me. I shivered. I’ve haven’t been outside for awhile, it will get warmer. I think.
    The elevator comes to a stop, the cold talons digging into my skin. “Sweet holy,” I catch myself before I can say anything blasphemous. “-Why is it so cold?”
    “Because you didn’t take a jacket.” Emily slipped the right arm off her coat and wrapped it around my shoulder. “Come on now, for a scientist you should have known it was going to be cold.”
    I shiver. “I do but I thought it was going to be spring. Not like this chilly.”
    Emily poked me with her elbow. “Ahh quit your whining.”
    We walked off the elevator and step onto the cold Antarctica landscape. Patches of grass poked through the thin veil of snow as thousands of stars shimmered above. A prismatic ribbon of fire painted the starry canvas, flowing like that of a dancer twirling those batons around. “Beautiful. How many times do ever come up here?”
    Emily thought for a moment before replying. “Ryan only leaves to collect supplies that are dropped off here once every month. Why?”
    I turn to look to Emily, ignoring the stifling breeze. “I think this is the first time I’ve came up here since I’ve started working here.” The glowing ribbons twisted and knighted together before untying themselves. “How about you?”
    “Same. First time being up here.” She tugged the coat in closer to her chest. “I was working for a therapy clinic before I was offered the job here.”
    “I didn’t know you worked at a clinic.” I hugged myself in a vain attempt to keep warm as the coat bundled us together. “Where did you go for university?”
    “New Tokyo at Yamanaka university. You?” She looked back at me with curiosity.
    “Calgary Manitoba. I spent my university studying to be a doctor.” I shivered. “I think we should go inside, I’m freezing.” I started to turn around before finding myself caught in the coat.
    “You realize I’m freezing, too right?” Emily said. “Maybe we should stay up here for awhile before we have to go back to work.”
    I sigh. “It’s either that or trying to get a cup of coffee from…oh no…”
    “What’s wrong?” Emily said as I dashed out of the jacket and rushed to the elevator.
    “I need to plug Butler back in. I told him I would after I was done with…” I found suddenly being forcibly kissed by Emily.
    She broke off. “Now we’re even.” She tapped the button for the ground floor as the facility door cranked shut. “Now go deal with your coffee maker.”

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