On Time (3 of 4)

The third part in a creative writing exercise of mine. The first part  was On Beauty, and the second was On Faith.

(cc) batintherain on Flickr

(cc) batintherain on Flickr

He followed the path, now more a road, away from the crumbling church. The dead were likely grateful his noisy interruption was at an end and they could get back to their conversations with the worms and the soil.

Around a small bend in the road, not too much further ahead, he reached the edge of a town. In little better condition than the church, broken walls and collapsed piles of rubble were all that remained. The grass and green had reclaimed much of the place, taking the land back from the brief loan it had made to man.

As he walked the small, main road through the town, it felt more haunted, more sad to him than the cemetery he had seen before. In the graveyard was a sense of peace, while here was a sense of interruption. Of loss. It looked like a place people lived, and their absence made the resulting silence all the louder.

Past the town the road split in several directions. Checking his map, he took the leftmost branch. In a few minutes he heard the gurgle of a small river.

The wooden bridge that once spanned the water had long ago rotted away, but large rocks at the crossing still made it simple to get to the far bank. There he sat down to fill his canteen.

He looked back at the town, only a few buildings visible from his spot, and wondered what became of them. What drove them from their town and their lives? He idly plucked blades of grass and flicked them into the river. He didn’t see the usual scars of war.

Glancing down at the river, he saw his blades of grass were gone. The long green pieces already carried far downstream, or churned under the water to feed the fish. This was the same river the townspeople probably used for water and washing, yet all the people it once carried were gone. Washed away in the currents, but the river itself remained.

He wondered if anyone knew what became of them. If their children in some far away town told tales of their fate. Or if it was a secret only known to the river at his feet, and the water long since washed out to sea.

He topped off his canteen and, after taking a long cool drink, continued onwards.

Story Forge – Opportunities of War

A few months ago we used the Story Forge Cards to come up with a story outline for Film Noir. Several of us in our writing group each looked at the same card layout and created our own story. Two have already been posted, and here is mine. And I’ll mention it has some NSFW language in it, since we don’t normally have that on here.

Meet Me... by DomiKetu

Meet Me… by DomiKetu

The man in the long coat took a deep pull from his cigarette and blew the smoke in towards the tavern across the street. Bright light and raucous noise spilled from it out into the night. There was other noise on the street that night, but none other sounded of fun. “Are you going to go? Or no?”

The young woman next to him bit her lip, but her eyes were firm. “Yes,” she said. “I can do this.” While the man leaned casually against the wall at the end of an alley, she stood at his side tense and stiff. As if she might bolt at any moment.

The man smiled at her. Not a warm smile, not a comforting one, but a thin smile of agreement. “Good. There will be many soldiers there tonight. Many have not seen a pretty woman in a long time, so you will be… popular.”

The woman nodded. “I can handle randy men.”

The man shook his head. “No, their lust isn’t your problem. Most of them are fodder. They know nothing. You want to make this work, you need to get to someone important.  Then let your wiles do their work.”

“I’m supposed to be a serving girl, how do I ignore everyone wanting ale?”

Shrugging, the man took another drag from his cigarette. “This is not my problem. I only get you in there, get you hired. I create opportunities. That is me. How to spy? That is you.”

“You say you don’t care about either side in this war, but I know you do. Getting me in there with the new offensives coming will be invaluable for us. This name, this job, had to be nearly impossible to do. You care. I know you do.” She touched his arm.

“It was not as difficult as all that,” the man said, smiling again.

“You care. I know you do. Now… I must get to work. Thank you,” she said, sliding across the dirty and noisy street to the tavern.

The man in the long coat watched her enter the tavern. He blew smoke up into the darkness, listening to the yells and catcalls from across the street.

A few minutes later another figure appeared in the alley behind the man in the long coat. The new figure stayed deep in the shadows.

“She will give you what you need, Captain?” asked the man in the long coat.

“She’s perfect. When I uncover her as a spy we will not only get valuable information, but I will surely get a promotion.”

“And what of her when you are done?”

“Kill her, of course,” said the Captain. “What of it?”

“I could use her. A woman like that could fetch a good price.”

“Good price? As one of your whores?” The Captain laughed. “After we interrogate her she will not be nearly so attractive.”

“This is wartime, Captain. Even you might be surprised what men will pay good coin to stick their cock into.”

“So you will make money selling her again and again. You are a harsh man. You fit this war well,” said the Captain.

The man in the long coat flung his cigarette butt into the gutter. “Your war means nothing to me, but it does force me to get creative in finding… opportunities. Good night, Captain.”


This ended up being a bit darker than the things I usually write, but that’s one thing I like about writing exercises like this – they take you in directions you don’t normally explore on your own. The hardest piece of the story to work out for me was the “betrayal” in the first card, but once I sorted that out the rest fell into place, and I think I covered every card in the layout.