Writing Exercises

Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes #3

It’s that time again- ‘Ten Weeks, Ten Prompts, Ten Minutes’ writing exercise time.

Every week for ten weeks, I give myself ten minutes to expand on a prompt from my Narrative Prompts post. Prompt three is a dialogue prompt with a supernatural element to it.

Prompt Three:

“What’s in there? What did you see?”

“It’s not what I saw, but what I heard. Grandpa told me to leave.”

“Grandpa’s dead.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Raya slumps on the grass verge, staring at the derelict house. I study her face to make sure she’s okay. It’s unlike her to get freaked out; the girl who watched the Exorcist movie at ten years old and said it was mediocre.

“I know what I heard, Maxim,” she says, without looking at me. “So, quit staring at me like I’m some sort of fruit loop.”

“I don’t think you’re a fruit loop. I just think that sometimes when we’re scared our minds-“

She gets up, and heads back towards the front door.

“Where are you going? Raya, that’s not a good idea.” I gather up my satchel and books, and scurry along behind her, trying not to drop anything.

“You’ve always been the wimp out of the two of us. I wasn’t scared, I was just… shocked.”

“Okay, I believe you. Now, can we go home?” I ask, but she opens the door and heads inside.

Great, now I’ve got to follow her.

The kitchen stinks of rotten wood and wet animal. I’m not going to imagine what types of animals roam these rooms or how many diseases they carry. Oh my god, what if I get bitten by a rabid rat, or the fungi spores bring on an asthma attack? What if I touch something with my bare hands? I feel through the fabric of my coat pocket until I find the familiar, safe outline of my hand sanitiser bottle.

“Raya, all this mould and dust isn’t good for my chest,” I call after her, taking a puff of my inhaler.

“Oh, shut up, Germ Boy” she replies. The light on her phone gives her features a stretched, witchy look. “I just want to check out the room one more time, and then we can go home, okay? I’ll even help you burn your clothes or whatever it is you OCD weirdoes do.”

“For your information, I don’t burn my clothes, and OCD sufferers are not weirdoes. Did you know that about seven hundred and forty thousand people in the UK suffer from various forms of OCD. To generalise us like that is plain ignorance-“

Raya holds up her hand, cutting me off. “Shut it. Do you hear that?”

I do hear it. Footsteps; running footsteps, and they’re pounding over head, starting down the stairs. I withdraw into an alcove, but Raya races through the doorway and into the hall. There’s a scream, but it’s not Raya’s. The sound is harsh and male. My skin contracts, and every hair on my body stands on end.

“Uncle Ferg,” Raya gasps. “What are you doing here?”

Uncle Ferg? I follow Raya’s path out into the hall. Uncle Ferg stands at the bottom of the rickety stairs, red-faced, and sweating profusely.

“Twins, you shouldn’t be in here. Why the hell are you even here?” He grabs my elbow with his sweaty hand, and I have to stop myself puking. I allow him to manhandle me out of the front door and into the cool night air.

Raya pulls me away from him. “Let go of him. You know he doesn’t like being touched. Why are you here?” she snaps.

Yes, she’s a pain in my ass ninety nine percent of the time, but Raya knows my quirks, she may not understand them, but she accepts them. She is the only one in the family who does. I whip the sanitiser out of my pocket and douse my hands and arm.

“What did you see in there?” Uncle Ferg asks. Raya looks to her feet, but Uncle Ferg grips her wrist tightly. “What did you see, Raya?” His violent shaking of her arm sets me on edge.

“I heard Grandpa,” she retorts.

He kicks at the dry leaves. “Damn it twins. I want you both to go home and you will not mention this to another soul. Forget you’ve ever been here, and never come back to this house again. Promise me.”

Raya shakes her head. “Not a chance.”

Uncle Ferg almost growls at her. “You will do as you’re told.”

“Tell me the truth or I’ll tell Mum,” she says, testing him.

He laughs into the air. His breath leaving his mouth like smoke. “Your mother knows. Who do you think brought that son of a bitch back from the dead?”

Now, it’s my turn to laugh, albeit a little nervously. “You’re insane. Even if Mum could do weird voodoo shit like that, why would she?” I ask.

Uncle Ferg’s eyes darken, and his lips set into thin strips. “Oh, she can, and she did.  I don’t blame her though. I also want to know the truth about the man who played at being our Dad for the last thirty nine years.”

All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman


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