It’s back: the ever-popular (no really, it is!) exercise where we all write stories using the same list of words.
It’s silly, it’s low-stress, it is, frankly, ridiculous and it makes for a great way to break blocks or take a break after a longer or more serious project.
So here goes:
Write a story containing the following words
3 thoughts on “[Write On Wednesday] Word List Stories”
This is the first list prompt short story I’ve ever read and I LOVED it!
Wonderful, Clive. Thank You for sharing.
Thanks Julie! 😉
December was bitterly cold. The shortest day of the year passed without the storms which had been forecast, but the cold deepened and fingers of ice began to stretch down the banks of the river.
Tandhu Fierie made her monthly trip from the city. She strolled along the path, careful not to turn an ankle on one of the ridges of mud which had frozen solid. The only sound was her footsteps and the draw of her breath. She could almost believe the world was empty, devoid of everyone but herself. She stepped onto a crude slipway, careful of ice on the slope between the river and the boathouse.
“How cute do you look in that ushanka?”
She turned, her foot sliding a little.
“Careful! You’re too valuable for us to lose with a broken bone at this juncture.” Baz-Baz Chinelle had a wolfish smile, but there was concern around his eyes. The strain of co-ordinating the plot was taking its toll, even on a master of planning and organisation like him.
“Baz! What are you doing here?”
“Trying to convince you to restart the torrid affair we had when we were cadets. If you are quizzed.” He stepped out of the boatshed, “Can we walk. I got a little chilly waiting for you to appear.”
They started walking. As cadets, Baz shortened his stride to make their walks more companionable. Now the effect of his false leg accomplished the same thing.
“So why are you here Baz. A dead drop is dangerous; an unscheduled meet at a drop point is insane.”
“There is a problem.”
“I guessed that. Give me some details for pities sake.”
He nodded his head, “Hoas Mertt was picked up by The Inspectorate. A good source tells us that he recieved enhanced questioning. He told them everything he knew.”
“Sweet mother. What did he know?” She put thoughts of the interrogation from her mind, not wanting to imagine the tecniques used, aware of the ultimate outcome.
“More than he damn well should!” Said Baz, angrily. “That isn’t all. We lost Absalom Fanty too.”
“At least he didn’t know anything,” Tandhu glanced across at Baz, “did he? We hadn’t brought him on board, as far as I know, that is.”
Baz shook his head. “No. He knew nothing, but that is not the issue here. He was taken out by a Sefirot Maegster.”
Tendhu stopped, but had to hurry a few steps to catch up as Baz continued forward, a limping metronome on the icy path.
“Why are they using one of those? When did the policy change? How do we know it was one?” She stopped talking as the questions multiplied in her mind
“How far is it to your drop? My leg is stiffening badly,” asked Baz.
Tendhu frowned, “It hasn’t moved. Another half mile.”
“Of course. This damn cold.”
“So are you going to tell me about the Maegster and Absalom?”
“Sure. I was due to meet him to discuss things. So I arrived early to have a watch from the patisserie across the street. I recognised… sorry, can we stop here for a moment?”
They were on a small bridge, crossing a stream that flowed into the river. Tendhu nodded and they both leaned against the railing.
“Where was I?” Asked Baz
“The patisserie,” said Tendhu
“Right. So, an aelectropede pulls up, and out she steps. I recognised her from, well, I recognised her.” He shook his head ruefully. “She went in, forty minutes later she walked out.”
“Well. No more Absalom Fanty. Gone. There was a greasy residue on the floor of his store-room – I think he was making a break for the back door.”
A bittern boomed somewhere in the reeds on the other side of the river, and they both looked towards the noise. The bird stayed hidden on its nest. The sky was a formless light grey, the clouds unbroken.
He turned to look at her.
“Were you already working for The Inspectorate when they picked Mertt up?”
Baz whipped his hands up, reaching for her neck.
“Ah, no, step back a little, there’s a fellow.” She withdrew a compact shock-flail from her pocket, the charge primed and sparking in the chamber.
“How did you know?”
She watched, debating with herself how to deal with him.
“You didn’t know where my dead drop was.”
“I thought that might be it.”
“And you knew who the Sefirot Maegster was.”
“I don’t understand,” he said.
“You had never met one, but now you recognise one and feign an old relationship. Even then, I wouldn’t have known. If you hadn’t responded so, precipitously.”
He watched her with hollow eyes, collapsing into himself like a childs bounce bladder losing its air. His breath wreathed around his head in the stillness of the icy air.
“Why Baz? What did they do that overturned what they had already done to you? I can’t believe you have had a sudden change of heart for no reason. Bad faith remains bad faith after all.”
“The picked me up after Hoas had cracked. He gave me up. He’d held out. Right up until they abacinated him. The hot metal mask burning his eyes out broke him, and he gave them the only thing he had kept hold off. His contact. I was told this quite explicitly. My name was the only new piece of information that they got from him after the mask.”
He shook his head and turned, placing his hands on the rail of the bridge. Tandhu kept her arm steady, listening to the confession pour out unprompted.
“They took me to him, after they described how they tortured him. He was a mess. Mentally he was shot, muttering and blubbering about who knows what. But his face… His face was… There was blisters and pus and a smell. He already smelt dead. Then they talked to me about Gina.”
Tandhu inhaled sharply but Baz carried on unheeding.
“You never met Gina, I didn’t want her meeting any of you. But they knew her. Discussed quite calmly how she would look after abacination. That the mask would go on with me in front of her, the last thing she ever saw, knowing it was my… Oh cr–”
He broke down, tears flowing down his cheeks.
“I’m sorry Tandhu. This wasn’t meant to happen. My Gina, I’m sorry.”
“Me too Baz, me too.”
She discharged shock-flail and Baz convulsed, froth oozing from his mouth. He fell forward, collapsed over the railing. Tandhu went over and leaned down, taking a hand from her glove she checked that there was no pulse. Satisfied she stood, regloved, and tipped him over the side. The body splashed into the stream, breaking the thin crust of ice.
She took one last look, and carried on the path, already planning her escape.
Oh I LOVED this.
Often these lists prompt silly, fun stories but this was tense, fleshed out, and I CARED. Really well done!