Doorway Writing Group May 2017
The writing group crossword generated a lot of interest again this month, resulting in a total of seven guests beavering away – in groups on three separate tables – to complete it.
At the writing table, we talked about when and how we write things. We discussed how to cope with inspiration when it ‘attacks’ – often at the worst possible moments e.g. in the middle of the night, or when you’re on a bike, running, in the shower etc. We mentioned a few famous songs composed in the middle of the night by people still half asleep; Paul McCartney allegedly wrote the melody to Yesterday pretty much in his sleep – maybe that’s the best way to write things then!
Here is J’s latest offering – not written in his sleep, but certainly a short story you can savour and maybe dream about….
Earshot – a short story by J
Freddie laughed nervously, nervous scratch, nervous laugh, he was a bundle of nerves this morning, sitting in the job centre like a dog in a pound pondering life’s uncertainties. His own life of elaborate detours, loose ends and letdowns.
What had prompted his reflective mood, maybe the memory of one shiftless night long ago 20 years or more; climbing the stairs of the multi—story car park, like a moth under the austere strip lights. He opened the side door: Level 13, an acre of deserted concrete, the acrid fumes of departed vehicles hung in the air. He noticed a shape, a bundle of clothes? No: a figure; a boy hunched over the parapet only just taller than the wall itself. Freddie cleared his throat apprehensively and leant with his back against a pillar transfixed by an emotion comprising guilt, fear and helplessness.
Nigel, a 14-year-old teenager heard the sound snapping his train of thought like a dry twig, switching the synapses from fear to flight, he bounded towards the exit door and fled down the stairs. In the same split second Freddie turned and saw the figure vanished! He raced to the spot and peered over the edge, the morning still too dark to see any sign of a body on the pavement below. His hurried footsteps echoed in the stairwell and relief surged through his trembling frame while he paced the empty pavement back and forth for nearly an hour.
In the hour of the first birdsong, the grey light of morning creeping across the sky, a thoughtful teenager trampled the gravel drive to the home where his family lay sleeping; quietly opening the kitchen door, he crept back up the stairs.
That was the story of ‘Freddie’s Phantom Adoption’, unnoticed even to themselves, two strangers giving life to each other in the barren spaces of a slumbering town.
Time moves on another 20 years. Nigel checked the time for his next appointment and took a few brisk steps towards the waiting areas. He beckoned, “Ah Mr Norton, please step over. Take a seat. Now, what have we been up to?” His finger hovered over the ‘enter’ button of his keyboard. Freddie had a nervous cough….