Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Bright Side


Photo by Christian Widell via Unsplash

He hung his head in shame, feeling disappointed he had missed the winning goal – all due to the sun shining in his eyes as he’d made the deciding penalty kick.

The other players had left the field; the winning team whooping and cheering; his teammates tutting and casting him dirty looks.

As he stood alone, the same offending sunlight caught the shine of a $2 coin on the grass near his feet, and he thought to himself, At least I’ve had one win today.


By Sarah ©2017
Prompt: Three Line Tales, Week 73

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Second Opinion

Image credit Geran de Klerk via Unsplash

The doctor looked through the microscope. Shook his head and checked again. He couldn’t be sure but…it really did seem like it was true.

I’d better get a second opinion, he thought.

“Hey Charles, come over here and tell me what you think” he said to his colleague, who was busy working on a rather nasty looking Petri dish.

Charles put his eye hard up against the looking glass and gave a startled cry, confirming what he’d thought. The girl had sunk so deeply into her depression, she’d become an island. 

Now, how to connect her back to the mainland…

By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Bikurgurl, 100 Word Wednesday – Week 24
Word count: 100

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Sweet Tooth

 

It was a mundane existence really – keeping everything so neat and tidy all the damn time. There was not even a speck of dust on the vents for heaven’s sake. And for what? I needed to grow a spine and just refuse to adhere to such fastidious rules. There were better ways to spend my time!

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied it. A cheeky candy wrapper poking out from under the bed.

How on earth did that get there? I pondered.

I nudged the bed aside to retrieve the offending candy wrapper and that’s when I saw the partial fingerprint. 

Tentatively, I picked it up and walked backwards, toward the edge of my cell.

Triumphantly I held aloft the prize, knowing there was only one person in D block with half a finger. Staring brazenly at the inmate opposite me, I said with a smile, “Looks like I’m not the only person in here lacking la gaudiere*, hey Stubs? Now I promise I won’t tell. But it will cost you the rest of that packet”…

By Sarah ©2017



Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Wordle #160. Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem.

Words used: mundane, neat, vent, spine, wrapper, la gaudiere, nudge (nudged), partial, tentative, backwards, oppose (opposite), smile

* La gaudiere (noun.) glint of goodness inside people, which you can only find by sloshing them back and forth in your mind until everything dark and gray and common falls away, leaving behind a constellation at the bottom of the pan—a rare element trapped in exposed bedrock, washed there by a storm somewhere upstream.

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

All Tied Up

Being tied to a chair was about as unpleasant as he imagined.

One minute he’d been out enjoying the sunshine, feeling the wind ruffle through the grass around him.

Next, he’d been snatched away, driven for miles and then forced into a cold, cold room…and a room filled with strangers nonetheless! And he hadn’t liked the look of them either – not one bit! They were an odd assortment. Tall, short, thin, chunky, groomed, scruffy…and all different colours too.

He had been wondering what on earth was going on when suddenly, the door to the room had opened and a friendly looking, round-faced woman entered. 

Surely she’s not my captor? he’d thought to himself. She seems too nice, too ‘homey’.

He had no sooner completed the thought than she’d grabbed him. Hard. 

Her chubby fingers had dug into his skin and without a word, she’d thrown him against a couple of the strangers.

She’d grabbed some rope, bound them together and tied them to the chair, plonking them unceremoniously next to others who were bound just like them.

Yep, he thought again, Being tied to a chair was about as unpleasant as he imagined. 

Now, just get on with the damn wedding will you?


Image courtesy of Pixabay

 By Sarah ©2017

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Friday 09.06.17

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Walking The Line

She walked the ridgeline, as though walking a tightrope. There was a sheer drop on either side of the thin, rocky trail, and she felt truly terrified. The ice and snow made each step precarious and the dark chasm on either side of her was dizzying. She tried not to look down; placing one foot after the other, ever-so carefully.

The wind didn’t help matters. It whipped fiercely around her, flapping her long black skirt and rocking her balance. With one hand she tied back her hair, as the long black strands lashed her face and obscured her view of the rocky corridor. She kept her other hand outstretched, gripping an invisible rail to steady herself.

There had to be easier way to reach the tower, she thought to herself. She longed for refuge within its strong, solid walls. It’s warm light – a beacon; seemed to be drawing closer at an agonisingly slow rate.

Suddenly a gust of wind knocked her sideways and she slipped. Hanging by her finger tips to a rocky shelf, the chasm yawned below her like a hungry mouth, eager to swallow her in one gulp.

Mustering all her strength, she pulled herself onto the shelf, shivering and breathing hard. That was a close call. Once she’d steadied her nerves, she stood again and continued picking her way along the trail. She hugged herself closer to the ground, lowering her centre of gravity. She was not willing to risk falling again.

Fatigue and hunger were starting to assault her. She trained her thoughts to the task at hand and recalled the words of her hiking buddy, Helen.

She conjured Helen’s smiling face, quipping her favourite words of encouragement, “All you have to do is focus your energy on picking up your foot. It falls down all by itself!”

The memory made her smile and strengthened her resolve. Pick up left foot. Pick up right foot, she commanded herself. It was pure mind over matter. Helen believed she was going to make it, she believed in herself that she was going to make it…and she would!

She reminded herself that the road to recovery was long and hard, and weaves a lonely, rocky path.

And sometimes you’re only one step from falling into that black hole again.
By Sarah ©2017


Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Photo Challenge – 6 June

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

The Wait

As I drained the glass, my breath echoed inside the small space like Darth Vader. I had dribbled some liquid down my chin so I wiped my mouth using a napkin from the dispenser on the counter. COME ON, COME ON! I said to myself. 

I checked my cellphone again. Still no reply. 

Feeling antsy I flicked the lighter, watching the flame pop up and down, up and down, like a jack-in-the-box. The bartender shot me an irritated look. I stopped. 

I considered reading the book in my bag, but knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the storyline anyway.

I got up from my stool, and began pacing around the pub. The bartender sighed loudly. Clearly this annoyed him more than the lighter, as his body tensed with anger. 

I needed to stay out of trouble, so I quickly sat down again, throwing him an apologetic smile.

I was about to go out of my mind, when my cellphone bleeped.

Finally! I thought relieved, as I read the text from my mate John. 

“TOILET’S FREE. ALL YOURS”

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Story Elements June 4, Words: Glass, Darth Vader, napkin, cellphone, lighter, book, anger, trouble, mind

Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: relieved

Stories by Sarah

Track Record

Pacing from end to end of the platform, keeping warm while I waited. I shook my hands, trying to get the blood flowing. It was another crisp morning. With despair, I felt the first few drops of rain, and stood underneath the scaffold of a nearby hedge, seeking shelter. I really hope that damn train is on time today, I thought. Our line was notorious for delays and cancellations.

I noted the other passengers, all three of them, were eagerly checking their watches and straining for signs of an approaching diesel engine too. 

Across the still air, dampened by the wet ground, we heard it. Not a toot, more of a blare. Sounding impatient and eager to get here. Within minutes, we saw the headlights and felt the suction of the wind being drawn toward to the approaching XPT.

4:47am. 2 minutes late, but very good, considering the track record.

I wrenched open the carriage door for Car D. Looking at my ticket, I checked my seat number for the third time. D10. Nope, hadn’t changed since last I looked. Ambling along the narrow aisle I strained to see the seat numbers. The carriage was in full darkness and the lumps of passenger silhouettes, told me everyone was sleeping.

From the other end of the carriage I saw a small beam of light. It was a woman in a NSW Rail uniform, waddling down to assist me.

“What number are you love?” she asked.

I showed her my ticket and she shone the torch towards the correct location.

“Thanks,” I replied, gratefully, however once I got there, I became aware there was a problem. Lying across my seat, and hers, was a young lady, fast asleep. The train began to move, leaving the station. Light from the town street lights flickered on her briefly, illuminating her. She was small and willowy, her clothes shabby and torn. I noticed she appeared thoroughly beaten down by her short time on this earth. Or maybe she was stuck in a mimeomia.

“Um, excuse me, that’s my seat,” I said gently, not wanting to scare her.

No response.

“Hello, miss?” I tried again.

Nothing.

Suddenly, from behind me I heard the NSW Rail woman’s voice bark loud and authoritatively, “Sit up now please!”

The girl jumped up, sleepily pulled herself upright into her chair and mumbled an apology.

Embarrassed, I took my seat.  The train rocked and swayed, dancing with the tracks as we sped our way to Melbourne. I pulled out a nectarine from my backpack and proceeded to wolf it down. A meagre breakfast substitute until the buffet car opened at 6am.

In the seclusion of my mind, I wondered what else the day ahead would bring.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay



* Mimeomia (n.) the frustration of knowing how easily you fit into a stereotype, even if you never intended to, even if it’s unfair, even if everyone else feels the same way—each of us trick-or-treating for money and respect and attention, wearing a safe and predictable costume because we’re tired of answering the question, “What are you supposed to be?”
Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Wordle #157
Words used: blood, scaffold, despair, seek(ing), nectarine, wolf, woman, willowy, aware, beaten

Stories by Sarah

First Frost

My eyes popped open as the alarm screeched, hammering my brain. Noooooo! I thought.

I peeled back the covers and promptly pulled them back over myself again. It was FREEZING. I snuggled back in, pretending I hadn’t heard the clock. I tried to go back to sleep but guilt kept my mind from such joy.

“Are we getting up?” my husband asked, after a few minutes.

“I don’t want to,” I replied.

“Come on. It won’t be so bad,” he promised. “Count of three?   1…2…3…”

We threw off the covers and bravely jumped out of bed. I began hopping from foot to foot, as the cool tiles stuck to my soles. I frantically tugged off my pyjamas and put on my active wear, ready for our daily morning walk. I considered my usual cap and opted for a beanie instead.

We opened the front door and the icy chill hit. It was straight from the antarctic. Although the sky was still dark, the moon reflected on the sparkling, shimmering frost that coated the blades of our front lawn. There was no going back now. We crunched through the ice leaving green impressions of our shoes behind us.

As we hit the footpath, I was so grateful I had chosen the beanie. We breathed out and steamy clouds escaped our mouths. It was at least 0 oC or below and perfectly crisp.

“First frost for the year,” my husband observed.

“Mmmm, hmmmm.” I answered, unable to unclench my teeth long enough for a more eloquent response.

I shivered as we walked along in the foggy early morning. My fingers numb, my nose running and my limbs stiff from the shock of the cold. Our footfall echoed in the still air. Each step, an effort.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~   ~  ~  ~

Twenty minutes later we arrived back at our house, green footprints still visible and guiding the way. As I opened the door, I felt enormous relief that it was over.

We made ourselves coffee and porridge for breakfast. The warmth from the coffee thawed my frozen digits as I cupped my mug. The oats seemed to radiate from my belly, heating my core. I began to feel human again.

As I looked over at my husband, content, I said, “The first frost is always the worst.

He grinned and replied, “Sure is. Same time tomorrow?”

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prompt: Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: radiate


Stories by Sarah

The Silver Violin

It had been months since she had even picked it up. Though the music still coursed through her, the rhythm was sadder, the beat, slower than it had once been. She didn’t want to give up, but she didn’t know if she could move forward.

She ran her fingers over her throat. Feeling the clench in her jaw and her rapid breathing. She tried to calm herself.

Focusing her thoughts, she decided to get ready. She looked at herself in the mirror. Who are you? she wondered, as she took in the pallid colour of her skin. Her eyes, usually bright, were dull and flat. And her hair! She could not recall the last time she’d washed it. It hung in greasy ropes around her thin face.

You’ve got to get it together, she scolded herself. It’s been three months since you lost the baby.

She pinched her cheeks trying to draw some colour. Her husband would worry the minute he took one look at her.

Not bothering with makeup, she decided to dress instead. She picked up her favourite frock.

Usually the pattern, so vibrant and colourful, would make her feel a million dollars. Today it seemed as appropriate as wearing a clown costume to a funeral. The dress, which used to hug and flatter her curvy figure, now hung loosely from her frame.

She sighed. She couldn’t muster the energy to change so instead, turned the mirror around.

“Honey, you ready?” her husband’s anxious voice asked.

“Be there in a sec,” she replied absently.

A few seconds later, he opened the door.

“How you doing today?” he asked gently.

“Ok. The same really,” she answered.

He glanced over to wear it lay. His gaze an unasked question.

He watched her carefully, as he went over to the dresser and picked it up. He rubbed his fingers over it, and gently felt it’s cool metal frame. He turned the key and the tinkling music streamed out.

“It really was an exquisite gift,” he stated.

“Well it’s useless now,” she retorted bitterly.

It had been intended as a christening gift for their child. A tiny, delicate, sterling silver model of a violin that played music when wound.

“Aha! Maybe not,” he replied mischeveiously.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a beautiful long silver chain. Watching her, gauging her reaction like a cornered bird, he threaded it through the strings of the silver violin. He walked over to where she stood and looped it around her neck.

“Now you can keep her with you always,” he said, a tear slipping down his cheek. “Never to be forgotten.”

He wound the key again and as the tune that soothed her soul tinkled out, she sang along softly, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…” 

and smiled.

By Sarah ©2017


Image courtesy of Pixabay

Prompt: MLMM Writing Prompt #209, “It’s All in the Title”, and, Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: loop

Stories by Sarah

Taken away

The Stenham house was an ancient locked thing and nothing returned there except for crows. Their angst driven ‘caw, caw’ echoed against the stone walls. A reverberation in blue melody.

She dared to peer out from behind the heavily draped windows. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought she’d seen them again. Darting around the periphery of her property. Watching the fence line closely, she finally saw them. Fleeting, but most certainly there.

She was scared. What did they want? Why wouldn’t they leave her alone? Leave her family alone? Lucille became more and more agitated, as she considered her fears. She watched from the window for what seemed like hours. It wasn’t the first time they’d tried to get in. To destroy her happy home. A home she had built from the ground up with her husband Walter. A home she had raised three children in. A home she had kept as pristine and proud as the first day she’d opened its doors.

Suddenly from behind her, she heard a voice, “Lucille? It’s me.”

She turned, furious. How had they gotten in? How DARE they?

She launched herself at the intruder, prepared to fight. Arms flailing and abuse spewing forth from her mouth, she was stunned to discover there was nobody there.

Confused and shaken, she retreated to the lounge room. Pouring herself a scotch, she perched herself in the arm chair opposite her husband.

“I don’t know Walter,” she began, “between the strangers in the yard and ghosts in the house, I just don’t know if I can stay here anymore.”

Walter smiled and winked reassuringly. “My daring wife, I am quite sure it’s all in your head. Don’t be scared. I will always be here to protect you.”

Somewhat comforted, she returned his smiled and listened instead for the sounds of her children. Straining, her brow furrowed, she heard nothing at first. But soon, a symphony of animated high pitched chatter, laughter, the squeaking and squealing of toy cars and thumping footsteps up and down the hallway, lulled her anxious heart.

“LUCILLE!”

This time, the voice was more urgent.

She whipped her head around, again seeing no one.

“What do you want?” she demanded. “Why won’t you leave me alone?”

Distressed, she began rocking. It was all too much. The voices, the strangers, the ghosts. What was happening to her?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I’m afraid your grandmother’s dementia has become quite advanced,” the doctor explained kindly. “It’s likely she doesn’t recognise you or your family any longer. In fact, she may have retreated to the past, to a time when she was happy”.

“I don’t understand,” I protested. “She knew me yesterday.”

“That’s the strange thing about the mind”, the doctor continued, “we just have to keep sailing with it, wherever the person takes us. Even if it takes us out of that picture.”


By Sarah ©2017


Image credit: Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prompt: MLMM First Line Friday

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Slipped

Before I knew it, the rope had slipped from my grasp.

I cursed as I watched it slither beneath the surface of the rippling water. Not again! I thought helplessly. The boat slowly drifted away from the dock. How long til I can get back this time? I wondered.

I was sure I’d fastened it properly. I’d been practising the rope knots, just like they’d shown me. Oh, well. There was nothing to do now but wait.

The boat bobbed rhythmically with the ebb and flow of the tide, lulling me into a light sleep. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed and when I opened my eyes, I was alarmed to see the distance I’d drifted from the shore. The land was nothing more than a speck. I looked around at the horizon of unrelenting flat blue; my silent companion.

I began to wonder if I’d deliberately unmoored myself.

Losing your mind is like that.

By Sarah ©2017


Image by bigjom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Daily Post prompt: unmoored

Scribblings by Sarah, Stories by Sarah

Tasi 

My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight and an inaccessible hostel, topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself, was in order.

The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.

I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.

And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.

I have never been a whisky drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cosy 1800s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.

Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the bar, took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.

‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’

‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’

He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar.  I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.

‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.

‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’

‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.

He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.

‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.

I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.

‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.

So I did.

After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.

‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’

‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’

‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’

And I threw that back too.

This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.

‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.

‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’

‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.

Again, I pushed my glass forward.

‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.

This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.

I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.

‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’

I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.

My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.

‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’

‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.

‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’

‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’

‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’

Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass.  Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.

I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.

He smiled.

He knew.

It was THAT good.

I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.

I did not notice if it was still raining.

And I did not care.

By Sarah 2017©
Musicprompt #3 ‘Whisky in a jar’ Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: bottle

Stories by Sarah

Rest Stop

‘Quick! We’ve got to go. We need to beat peak hour traffic,’ my husband implored.

‘Ok, ok,’ I said. ‘Can I just quickly go to the loo?’

‘How badly do you need to go?’ he countered, ‘ We can just stop somewhere along the way if it’s not too urgent.’

I hesitated and evaluated the situation with a quick body scan. No clenching. No aching. No sense of impending doom.

I decided I might just be going for the sake of it, and looked up at him smiling.

‘Not too badly, let’s go.’

We left Melbourne and as he predicted, immediately hit grid lock. Punt Road at its finest.

‘Why did we decide to take this route again?’ I teased. ‘I told you Citylink would be quicker.’

He shot me an irritated look. Uh oh! I thought. Remember, how he always likes to be right? Just be quiet! ‘Never mind. I like going this way because it gets us further along the freeway in the end.’

I clamped my mouth shut and looked out the window. I did, actually, like travelling this way because you could look into the various shopfronts of Abbotsford and Collingwood – artisan delis, fromageries, antique stores, op shops, boutiques. The eclectic heart of the inner city suburbs. Sometimes I really missed Melbourne. But I NEVER missed the traffic.

My husband and I passed the time making small talk about the weekend just gone by. How good it was to see so and so. How awesome that café was. How expensive drinks were at that bar. Half an hour passed. Then forty-five minutes. Finally. We hit the Western Ring Road. Not long now until the freedom and flow of 110km/hr.

And that is when it started.

At first it was just a little twinge. A thought. A whisper. You need to go to the toilet.

I pushed the thought firmly out of my mind. No I don’t. Stop it!

We reached the Hume Highway and nudged the cruise control to 113km/hr (taking advantage of the 3km leeway allowed for speeding). As much as I love the city, I always breathe a sigh of relief as we reach the open countryside. Over the last 8 years, I have developed the heart of a country girl and crave a scenery of plentiful gum trees, rolling hills and paddocks scattered with grazing livestock.

My husband and I commenced our travel game of ‘Windmill/White horse’. (As an aside, ‘Windmill/White horse’ is a game, as simple as it sounds. You look out the window and if you see a windmill or white horse, you call it. One point scored for each).

I was up to my fourth windmill when the whisper became a furtive call. You need to go to the toilet.

I ignored the urge and continued with the game.

We approached our usual pitstop at Wallan. My husband shot me a look and asked, ‘Do we need to stop?’

It was not a real question at all. I could tell by his tone that stopping was not an option. He was in  an  I-just-want-to-get-home mood.

Ignoring the singing in my bladder, I said, ‘No, I’m fine.’

It was a decision I would immediately regret. We had not driven five minutes past the Wallan turn off when the singing suddenly became a yelling. The pressure began to increase. A fullness and heaviness I could no longer ignore.

I began to squirm in the passenger seat. Hoping a shift in position may shift the liquid that was swiftly accumulating and threatening to ruin our perfect run home.

Windmill / White horse. Windmill / White horse. Distract me PLEASE! I pleaded internally.

My husband, finally sensing my now, manic, participation in the game, enquired, ‘Are you ok?’

‘I need to go to the toilet, ‘ I replied.

Like a thing of dreams, once I had given it a voice, it intensified. My bladder was now screaming.

‘Can you make it to Avenel?’ he asked.

‘How far is that?’ I felt out of body as I asked the question. Trying to focus my thoughts here, there and anywhere other than in that car with a full bladder.

‘Hmmm. Maybe 10 minutes’, he answered.

10 minutes! 10 minutes. 10 minutes?

When he received no response, he looked over at me, quizzically. ‘Hun? 10 minutes ok?’

‘Mmmmm,’ I moaned, trying to focus on a point in the road, 500 metres ahead.

I closed my eyes. 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes. That’s nothing! I can do 10 minutes with my eyes closed! HA!

I rocked gently back and forth and crossed my legs. Breathing in and out, in and out. You can do this. I thought.

I opened my eyes and saw the Avenel Roadhouse whizz past.

Frantic, panicked, I looked at my traitorous husband.

‘I thought we were stopping there!’ I hissed, with an almost animal quality.

Startled, my husband innocently replied, ‘Sorry – I thought you were sleeping.’

My eyes bugged and my breathing intensified. I gritted my teeth, as each word threatened to spill forth fluid, I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET.’

Now truly alarmed, my husband desperately scanned each passing road sign for advice of the next available rest stop.

As for me? I was now in pure survival mode. I was no longer aware of signs, scenery or situation other than, find me a toilet NOW. I was in a meditation of Breathe. Clench. Cross. Repeat. Mind over matter.

After what seemed a life time (but was only a mere 10 more minutes), my husband uttered those glorious words, ‘Mokoan rest stop is only 5 kms away’.

I thanked the Lord. I thanked Ganesh. I thanked the fairies. Whoever it was who was responsible for this divine act of mercy. I thanked them all.

My bladder was near bursting. Across my lower abdomen a screaming, burning pain. A water bomb at critical mass, with a pin prick threatening imminent explosion.

I audibly groaned with relief as I saw with my own eyes ‘Mokoan rest stop, 2km’

I had made it. Defied the odds and escaped a scarring embarrassment of epic proportions.

I started to laugh as we drew nearer to the next sign. But my laughter caught in my throat as I saw the glowing amber writing, flashing next to it.

Rest stop toilets closed. Take next exit 23 kms’.


By Sarah 2017©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories by Sarah

Just Like We Planned

A Macbeth Creative Response

‘She should have died hereafter,’ sobbed Ben. His body racked as he cried on my shoulder. The coffin was lowering into the ground. Lower and lower; I stared at it, as if in a trance. Elizabeth’s face, no longer stained with blood; now pale and tranquil instead; disappeared from my sight.

That face! Oh, how I HATED that face! But I didn’t feel any guilt for what I had done. A smirk jerked at the corner of my mouth as I recalled her anguished face, staring into mine. Funny, that anguish was now mirrored in Ben’s face.

‘Come, I’ll take you home,’ I said.

* * * *

The room echoed with laughter, as I began the same dream that shakes me nightly. He was here! I could feel his presence in the room with me. I got out of bed and padded across the room.

‘Natas?’ I called, ‘Natas? I know you’re here. Come, let’s celebrate our victory.’

Oh, how sweet this victory over Elizabeth was! I had finally won!

‘You’ve done well,’ came his dark raspy voice from the corner of the room, ‘but you’re not finished yet’.

Thunder clapped and a streak of lightning flashed wildly across the sky, lighting up the room; showing for one brief instance, his grotesque bulky form, huddled in the corner.

‘But what more am I to do?’ I whined. I was vaguely aware of him moving around, starting to circle me.

There was no reply.

Suddenly, my feet began to burn, and a hot ball of fire beat down on head. Beating down unrelentingly, getting harder and hotter. The mirror on my wall reflected its scorching rays and the glare became so strong, I had to shield my eyes.

Then, as the immense heat was almost unbearable, the mirror shattered and the room began to shake. The ground began to crumble beneath my feet, and images of Ben flew through my head, as I began to fall.

Falling, falling, I waited for the impact and awoke with a jolt, sitting up in bed.

I knew what I had to do.

* * * *

‘I now pronounce you husband and wife,’ beamed the bald priest as Ben slipped the thin gold band on my finger. Although it had only been six weeks since her death, Ben had already forgotten her. As if Elizabeth’s life; her being; was not even worth the memory. Just like Natas and I had planned.

I knew Ben didn’t love me. He would never love anyone as much as he loved Elizabeth. But I would make him love me, even if it was just a little bit. Then I would really make him pay. Just like I made Elizabeth pay. Just like we planned.

‘Morning darling,’ Ben whispered in my ear. His lips met mine in a brief kiss.

‘Morning,’ I replied absently. I was tracing the rim of my coffee cup, hardly aware of what was going on.

Natas had visited me again last night, bringing with him the usual dream. But the dream was getting more and more violent, with each passing night, and though it had never bothered me before, I was frightened.

‘Darling?’ Ben’s voice broke through my thoughts.

I looked up, startled.

‘Sorry. what were you saying?’

‘I was asking whether you were alright. You’re looking exhausted, there are bags under your eyes and you’re not sleeping well at night.’

My heart leapt.

‘What do you mean? I feel fine. I’m sleeping like a baby.’

Could he know about the dream? I immediately dismissed the thought. How could he possibly know?

‘Honestly, I’m fine. Now, can we drop it, please?’

That night, I awoke with a start. But for once, not because of the dream. I had not had the dream tonight. Natas had not come! Puzzled as to why I had woken, I heard a whimpering beside me.

For a moment, I thought it was Natas, but with a shock, I realised it was Ben! Ben was having a bad dream!

Sighing, I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Ben had plenty more bad dreams to come. It was only a matter of time before I made him pay. Then he would know what a bad dream really was.

 ‘Morning darling,’ said Ben, as we went through our usual morning routine. But Ben didn’t have many more mornings to come.

His dreams were becoming more and more frequent, where as mine, less often. Natas didn’t have to come and visit me anymore. I knew exactly what I had to do. It would all be over soon. Just one more day. One more day, and Ben and Elizabeth would be no more than a hurtful memory. All the pain and anguish they had caused me, would be gone. They would have paid for what they’d done to me. Just like we planned.

That night, I was up until 12:30am sharpening the knife. What a pity it would be. Ben’s rugged good looks, replaced with his own blood and gore. I hardened myself to the thought, and continued sharpening.

* * * * 

‘So thoughtful of you to sharpen the knife for me.’

My eyes popped open as Ben’s voice awoke me.

My mouth opened in horror, as I saw him hovering above me, clutching the knife tightly in his hands.

He looked back over his shoulder and said to a dark form huddled in the corner, ‘Come Natas, we’ll celebrate our victory. We’ll make her pay for what she did to Elizabeth. Just like we planned…’

 By Year 11 Sarah