Writing Prompt: Day 29

29.jpgDay 29 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about something unexpected coming through a character’s headphones.

Shannon: I laid down my blanket on a free patch of grass outside of my dorm. I was stuck inside doing homework earlier, and decided that going outside to finish it would at least give me a little sunshine on my back, fresh air to breathe, and something else to stare at besides my room’s four walls.

I laid down on my stomach right behind my computer and propped up my upper body by resting on my elbows. I plugged in my headphones and turned on my favorite radio station, so I wouldn’t have to choose from one of my over-played playlists.

Once I was happy with my set up, I pulled up a new document and started the introduction to my report. It was a slow but steady climb, and once in a while I got lost in watching the interactions around me. People-watching was always my weakness. I snapped out of it eventually and got back to typing but only about a minute later the song playing was cut off and a loud static puff was blasted into my ears.

The unexpected noise startled me enough to make me flinch, but instead of taking the ear buds out I just turned the volume down. I wanted to know if it was just the radio station, or if there was something wrong on my end. I was waiting for a sign as I checked my own audio configuration, only to find nothing. It had to be the radio station. Another static puff went on a little longer this time and then I heard the voices.

“Can I take the shot,” the voice questioned.

“Not yet, the target is not in place. Hold off until we get him in a more secure spot.”

There was silence, and I thought I was listening to something from a movie. Was the radio station pulling a prank I questioned myself, because this wasn’t funny, and this was going to freak people out if they turned off the station before it was over.

“Now,” the voice demanded and a loud bang went off. My heart stopped in the silence. I wanted to believe it was a prank and was waiting to hear them say, “got you”, but I couldn’t see how anyone would take it this far. “What’s the status? Are you there Red 764.”

There was another pause. “I’m here and he’s not breathing.”

“Good, continue as planned. You’re in the clear. Wait,” he sounded angry. “Someone hacked the line.”

“What do you mean,” the other voice sounded concerned. “Is it an agent? Can you track it,” the guy questioned frantically.

“I don’t think it’s an agent, it’s just one person, probably someone nearby. I just got their location. Let’s get this spy.”

I pulled out my headphones immediately and shut down my computer in a subconscious reaction. This wasn’t a sick joke. This was real. I begged that my computer wasn’t the one they were tracking, but knew I had to move fast without drawing attention to myself. I didn’t know what they would do when they found me, and I didn’t want to find out. The only problem: how do you hide from people who get away with murder?

Erin: “Liza, my album is done.”

Those were the words I had been waiting to hear from her sister for six long years. She was one who drug her feet on occasion, but the results were always well worth the wait. “Let me hear it,” I reached out for whatever she was going to give me.

She handed over her phone and her precious headphones she never let anyone use. “I hope you like it,” her eyes brightened by two hues.

“I can’t believe I get to listen with these,” the earphones were more valuable than my life so I gingerly brought them to rest on my ears.

Her smile grew as I pressed play, “Hello, Lynn. This is Bridget from Do Ray Me Music Agency. Please call me back. We have potentially exciting prospects to talk about.”

“Does this,” I started.

“I have representation for my album. This could be my big break,” a tear dropped from her eye as her smile reached heights never explored before.

“You let people listen to it before me,” I screamed.

“Just like a hundred,” she giggled.

“You jerk,” I slapped her arm, but then sprung up and held as tight as I could. If she was a bird I would have killed her. “I am so proud of you.”

Did your character hear that correctly? It’s up to you.

3 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 29

  1. Kate:
    The intense bass climaxed into a high-pitched whine as she stroked the metal strings expertly, as though the instrument were a part of her. But when I turned to our producer, Zed, he just sighed in contempt; he was hard to please at the best of times. As the song wore on the melody turned relaxed and deep with a hint of that bittersweet tone that makes your heart break and eyes water. Of course, by the time we got there, Zed’s attention was glued to the glowing screen of his cell.
    Leaning back in the torn, uncomfortable armchair I looked up at the popcorn ceiling stained yellow with bygone smokers. Chances were good that we wouldn’t be in this recording studio for much longer since our producer didn’t care for an all-girl band. So when Casey, the wicked bass player, finished the end solo with a hovering final note I ghosted into the recording room.
    She raised her eyebrows as I mouthed to, “Go ahead with that reckless song. It’s our last day anyway.” Grinning impishly, I bowed to Casey as I slipped out.
    As I settled back in the chair, Zed having not moved since I left, I gave Casey an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Taking a deep breath she tapped on the standing mic, smiled nervously and looked at me. Her bass began to sing a soft, melancholy ballad as her slender frame swayed back and forth before the microphone. Through the speakers on this side of the glass her sharp intake was thundering and even Zed had to look up from his games.
    When Casey’s voice joined her instrument in low, slow syllables, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. Her angel’s voice had turned dark and angry in this tiny sealed room. Vibrating through every cell in my body was the horrible tale of a woman who lost her love to another; Casey’s own story brought a chill to the air. But when I finally got up the will to glance at her there was no rage in her features, only tears streaking down her tanned cheeks.
    She was haunting in this song; both her voice and the low melody accompanying it. Even Zed stared in stunned silence at Casey until she got so uncomfortable she ducked into the sound booth. Comically his eyes were still glued to the glass. When I jumped to give her a hug tears were still raining from her sky-shard eyes. Not until Zed began to slow-clap did she stop crying and show her pearly whites.
    Sighing loudly Zed stood from the swiveling chair in front of the soundboard and spoke in his usual condescending tone, “Congrats ladies, this little filly saved your sessions. As long as you let her write the songs.” Casey was flushed and flabbergasted at the nicest thing Zed had ever said to us until he added, “I gotta take a wiz.” He was out of the room before we could say a word.
    When Casey collapsed on the uncomfortable chair with a groan she lolled her head to look at me. I stole Zed’s chair and turned around to examine the flashing lights, buttons and sliders. Across the board was a play button and, strategically reaching across, I pressed it. Something clicked and whirred somewhere as the tape began to play.
    At first the silence was deafening before a few loud, muffled taps resounded in the studio. Then the somber song started and carried me away from everything; I drifted through dark thunder clouds and swam through oceans of clear blue tears. Caught up in the mournful melody I was only aware of reality when Casey breathed before her siren vocals joined in.
    When the poetry meshed together with the bone-chilling music I was whisked away to another dimension. In it a cobalt blob meandered through a forest of glowing alabaster triangles. His form morphed into a wonky heart when a garnet blob strutted into the scene. Together they frolicked about on a field of roiling lime waves, rolling together under a florescent pink sky.
    Suddenly a sharp amethyst stone rolled roughly between them and the fantasy world froze. After a few seconds of suspense the traitorous cobalt blob rolled over to the amethyst stone and they ghosted away into the pale triangle forest. All the colour in the world seemed to drain; the sky paled and the grassy waves turned brown. When the couple returned, followed by floating, off-colour offspring, the red blob melted into a sad pool.
    The last note of the song echoed in the sound booth as I was suddenly back in the swivelling chair. Somewhere along the way Zed had blustered into the room, found his two clients in trances and had nearly fainted into the other couch. For a while no one could speak until Casey cleared her throat distractedly, “Who was that?”
    Both Zed and I looked to our confused companion with concern. Without saying anything I stood, disoriented, and stumbled to the couch she was on. Taking a shallow breath I smiled, “Sweetie, that was totally you. You’re, like, a-” I peered around, struggling to find the word before, “-a siren.” For the next while none of us was in any shape to leave the expensive studio so we lazed about in the ratty furniture.

    Years later I was going through a box of old music memorabilia that needed to go into storage or the dump. When I reached into the tattered cardboard box I pulled out a small roll of posters; three from my first band, two from my second and the only poster from my third. After three I’d given up on a music career and had stuck with what I knew; teaching kids how to play instruments. This tiny box was the last reminder I had of my younger, reckless years.
    Coiling the brown pages back up I set them aside fondly as a package caught my eye, wrapped in three layers of tape and rope. I picked up the light box and sliced the edges with my scissors; but I couldn’t open it. Frustrated, I ripped at the package until I could see a seam and tugged on it. With the box open I emptied the contents into my hand. It was a single cassette tape.
    When I finally found my ancient cassette player and put my headphones on something remarkable came through. This was the tape from the day Casey and I abandoned my second band and became a two-woman act. The first song was just the bass but after a few minutes the second song began to play its melancholy melody; it still sent shivers up my spine.
    After the tune was over I fast forwarded the tape, searching for our next session but found Casey’s voice talking clear-as-day at me. Her voice was somber like it always was, “Hey, whoever’s listening to this. The band isn’t gonna stay together. But I just wanted you to know that I admire my partner in crime. You’re gonna go far, baby! Thanks for believing in us.” We hadn’t spoken in twenty years, but I hunted up her number that night.


  2. Russell:
    ***Booting up***
    ***CrossMaple 41K Computer industries***
    ***Loading user and saved data***
    ***Loading Complete***
    *** Location: Mars Colonial Eco Base Bravo 6 – Martian winter, January 29th. ***
    *** January 29th Earth standard time ***
    *** Inner galactic rotation date: 12bn 41, 206, 634 y ***
    *** Standard galactic Rotation Date: 13bn 40, 103, 317 y ***
    *** Outer galactic Rotation Date: 14bn 42, 313, 268 ***
    ***Printing out start up log***
    ***Start up log saved***
    ***Enter command***
    ***Review Contents? ***
    : no
    : add log
    ***Adding log 28 to folder: my_diary***
    : enable audio recording
    ***Recording active***

    (Voice: Anderson): (Exhales) “Diary entry twenty-eight of chief senior Anderson Graves. The 70% of the human population is moving to mars in 942 hours.” (fifteen second pause) “That’s thirty-nine days from now. I heard the report just now on my headphones just a few minutes ago. Ashly sent me a link to the news article which I will attach to the document.” (Indistinguishable sound.) “One second, someone is at the door. Start new paragraph. (Indistinguishable sound.)”
    (Voice: Anderson): “I’m coming, I’m coming!” (Indistinguishable sound.)
    (Unregistered voice): “Ander, did you hear about crisis on earth?”
    (Voice: Anderson): “Yes dave. Have you fixed that leaky sink already?”
    (Unregistered voice): “Um, Ander, earth is literally moving here right now! Do you think a leaky sink is the least of our worries?”
    (Voice: Anderson): “I know that. But a leaky sink will be a hundred times worse when they arrive. Get it done already!” (Indistinguishable sound.)
    (Voice: Anderson): “Did it record all that? Crap. Whatever. Their saying terrorists are to blame. They rigged old international space station to collide with Tranquility station. (gulps) Estimates suggest that… (Takes a deep breath) …That 2,977 people were on board. So far only one escape capsule made out from there…The station then collided with a weather control pylon…They haven’t gotten the numbers but I do not want to know. Some of the images we’ve gotten of earth…seeing a skyscraper ripped apart by a sandstorm like…how are we going to support 15 billion people? We can’t! I need to call it a night. I think to think of something in the morning. (twenty second pause) Command: End Recording.”

    ***Recording ended***
    ***Recording saved***
    ***Saved as: January 29th 3317 Earth Standard Time***
    ***Saved to:my_diary***
    : shut down
    ***Saving data log***
    ***Shutting down***


  3. Created to Write:
    August stares at Heather. She isn’t even looking at him. He finishes the last dish, then looks back at her. “…Heather-”
    She doesn’t look up. She doesn’t respond. He stops before he says anymore, feeling the gravity of her demeanor. Her absolute refusal to his presence, acting as though she is currently alone, is crushing.
    “Heather, Ōkami… look at me, please.” August sits down next to her, his hands still wet from the dishes. When she doesn’t even flinch, he sighs, “…The, the team needs me back in New York. Josh is worried they’ll fall apart under his lead,” August forces a chuckle, “so… I’m going to go back. And… Josh would be so happy, he’d be thrilled, if you would call, or something…”
    August waits a beat, and when she doesn’t respond more, he stands up. Going to his room, he packs his stuff; all of it. But at the last moment, he takes out his green jacket, leaving it on the bed. He brings everything else down the stairs.
    He stops at the door. When he looks at her, she’s in the same spot, without a single facet on her face betraying whether she said anything.
    He walks out, and loads his stuff into the truck. He remembers when he almost left before, when she wasn’t herself. He almost steps down, but closes the door behind him. ‘She needs this. She isn’t a broken girl anymore. She needs her space, and will call, or contact me, when she decides.’
    He starts the truck and drives off, trying to decide whether or not Heather said ‘good’ or ‘Ghost.’
    August can tell that everyone is aware of his struggle. He stares at the phone whenever he isn’t busy. He’s constantly in Mission Command, or at the gym. He takes extra shifts at the dojo. No one confronts him about it, because no one can help him feel any different.
    He’s devastated, at himself. Heather is acting this way because he was gone, he left. He needs her forgiveness. He turns to the Bible, trying to find solace. He goes to a church on Sunday to hear a sermon, and also talk to a pastor. He’s told prayer and time.
    And he believes them. He tries to not be discouraged. His demeanor doesn’t change, but he does have some hope.
    He falls to his bed, exhausted after a workout with Josh. The team had a mission the day before and they are all particularly wiped from that, too.
    His phone starts to chime. He checks it. There’s a message; an audio message. He presses play.
    “Guess this means you’re sorry, you’re standing at my door, guess this means you take back, all you’ve done before. Like how you made me, think I was alone, I thought you’d never come back, but then somehow you showed-”
    August charges out of his room, finding his shoes and coat. His phone volume is loud enough so he can hear the rest of the song Heather altered, singing it for him.
    “‘Cause we belong together now, yeah, forever united here somehow… you got a piece of me, and honestly, my life, would stink, without you!”
    “Is that-?” Josh doesn’t finish, because he can see the giant grin on his brother’s face, “Hold up, I’m driving. Don’t need you crashing.”
    “Maybe I was stupid, for wanting you to leave. Maybe I was wrong, for, ignoring all your pleads. I know that I’ve got issues, but you’re pretty messed up too. Either way I decide that, I won’t live without you…”
    Josh pulls out of the driveway, the song still playing.
    “‘Cause we belong together now, yeah, forever united here somehow… you got a piece of me, and honestly, my life, would stink, without you!”
    He plays that song over and over again, the grin not leaving his face. Josh is thrilled for his brother. He knows that Heather would never send him that message for any reason other than the one they both think of. She also changed the lyrics, meaning she’s thought about it and put time into it.
    When they get close to the farm, a few hours later, August’s demeanor hadn’t changed. He still sports a beaming smile, singing to the words every so often. He’ll never hear the original song the same again.
    Josh parks when August starts to fidget in his spot. August’s hand was on the door handle since they hit the first dirt road. But now, August’s seat is empty. “Heather!”
    She steps out of the barn, and bolts. The closer she gets, it is more apparent to August that she had been crying. Her face breaks out into tears as well.
    He scoops her up, twirling her around. He sets her down and she pulls him in. She kisses his lips, trailing her face down his cheek and jaw when she can’t find the emotional strength to pull away. She buries her face in his shoulder and neck. “Don’t ever leave me again,” she says.
    August chuckles, then hugs her close, “I promise. And I will promise every single day for the rest of my life. And then, I’ll see you in Heaven.”
    Heather smiles into his skin. August bends down so he can capture her lips from below. She keeps her hands on his back so he doesn’t fall into the mud. When he pulls away, she smiles at him, tears streaming down her face.
    They see a flash and look up. Josh has his phone out, grinning. “…Don’t stop on my account,” he says. Both lovebirds roll their eyes. August stands to his full height.
    “I… uh, kinda forgot my stuff back in New York,” he says sheepishly.
    Heather wraps her arms around his neck, “Well, I think it’s time to visit the team. Because I am never letting you out of my sight.”
    August smiles, “I’m okay with that.” He kisses her again, and Josh takes another few pictures.

    (I have wanted to write that FOREVER! So thank you for the opportunity!)


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