For the last week and a half, a few of my very lovely writing friends and I have been doing a thirty day writing challenge. Well, trying to, anyways. We’ve fallen behind and used a “catch up” day already, but I think we’re all mostly caught up now.
Anyways. I decided that I’m going to be sharing some of those stories here, especially while I’m traveling the next couple of weeks.
Day One’s challenge prompt (probably one of my favorites) was to begin a story using the last line of a book chosen at random. I
randomly chose “Ivey and the Airship” by Cheryl Ammeter.
“Come along, Mr. Fenchurche. I can’t wait to see what happens next.” A slim, blonde haired woman glided before the water soaked man like an apparition. The large, heavy, wooden door he had opened, almost unconsciously, swung back on its hinges and hit the wall of the house with a loud thud. He stepped forward hesitantly, pulling his hat from his head and holding it tightly in his hands. It felt almost as if he didn’t have control over his own body. “Don’t worry about the water on the floor. Someone will clean it later. I’ll send someone to let your wife know you won’t be able to make it home.”
He looked up at her with wide brown doe-eyes, startled at how she seemed to know his thoughts. She turned slightly as she walked, her emerald green skirt swishing along the tiled floor, and gazed at him. Her eyes, a bright and clear blue, seemed to pierce him straight through the heart.
Elise. Think of Elise. His wife of nearly a year was waiting at home for him. A fire would be burning in the fireplace and supper would nearly be ready for them to eat. She would have needlework in her hands as she rocked back and forth, back and forth in her rocking chair, waiting for him to walk through the front door of their humble little home.
“Lost in your thoughts, Mr. Fenchurche?” He jolted out of his imaginings, nearly dropping his hat. The Woman laughed gaily and proceeded to ascend the great staircase that opened in the entrance hall and led up to the second floor. “Come. We’ll get you dry and changed into some new clothes. I’ll have those dried for you in the kitchen. We wouldn’t want Elise’s hard work to go to waste, would we?”
“If you don’t mind, ma’am, I would rather to go home.” His soft voice resonated in the hallway with a gentle timbre, barely audible to the woman who stood halfway up the stairs as he leaned against the lowest part of the banister.
She turned to face him, the gemstones sewn into her bodice catching the gaslight and sparking hundreds of flashes of light across the walls and ceiling.
“You are a learned man, are you not, Mr. Fenchurche?”
He dipped his head slightly, wringing his hat to vent his unease. “I am a tutor to-“
“Two children, a young boy, about nine years old, and his sixteen year old sister. They are from a wealthy family, are they not? You are paid well, but not too well.” She laughed again, a light and musical laugh that mocked the horrified expression on Mr. Fenchurche’s face. “You wonder how I know this? I have been watching you for a very long time, Mr. Fenchurche. You’ll only know why if you stay, only for a little while. Fear not. I will release you with plenty of time to get back to your darling Elise.”
Mr. Fenchurche stood there, watching her, for a very long moment, weighing his options in his mind. Elise would be waiting.
But how did this woman know all of these details about his life?
His eyes roved the hallway, finally landing on a clock. The time read a quarter past four. Elise would not be expecting him for another half hour. He had the time, surely?
“I’ll be home in time? For Elise?”
“Yes, darling, of course.” She smiled prettily, exposing perfect white teeth. “You have nothing to fear.”
The man looked back up at The Woman and took an uncertain step forward. The Woman clapped her hands delightedly and turned on her heel, resuming her fast pace down the hall, talking over her shoulder the entire time.
“Come along. I’ve so much to show you.”
As he walked down the hall, Mr. Fenchurche glanced up at the clock again and noticed something odd.
The clock hands stood still.