Writing Prompt: Day 190

190.jpgDay 190 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Something comes flying at your character.

Shannon: “Head’s up,” I heard a few voices frantically yelling in front of me. As I looked forward I caught a glimpse of a yellow ball headed toward my head. Like an old habit, I quickly raised my hand to catch it without flinching.

A girl with a glove soon stopped her chase in front of me. “Whoa,” she was shocked as I attempted to hand the ball over. “Can you play? Why aren’t you on the softball team? We’re looking for more players,” she kept questioning before I could respond.

I shook my head. “I don’t play anymore. I’m sorry,” I pushed the ball forward again, but she still wouldn’t take it.

“Hey good catch,” another girl came running up. “Have you ever played softball?”

“Already asked,” her teammate informed her. “She said she doesn’t play anymore, but I think we can convince her,” she tapped her arm playfully with her glove.

“What,” I questioned, but they brushed it off and just looked at me with big smiles.

Erin: “Heads up,” was the last thing I heard before the ball that was hurling towards my head came into view.

I tried to duck out of the way but it skimmed the back of my head. “Ugh, I grunted and immediately started rubbing it.

“I’m so so so sorry,” the player who hit the overzealous serve came over.

“It’s fine,” I tried to get him back over to their court.

“Are you okay,” he worried.

I stopped rubbing for his benefit. “I’m fine. It grazed me and it’s just a tennis ball.”

“It hit you pretty hard,” he countered.

“Were in the middle of a match,” I pointed to my partner.

“Your boyfriend any good,” he whispered.

“Doubles partner not boyfriend,” I corrected starting to become even more irritated.

“We’ll if you’re looking for some good competition come on over to court one,” he offered with a wink.

“I don’t have to your hitting your balls into my court any way,” I spat back not thinking hitting me in the head was a good lead into flirting.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… you decide what it is.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 190

  1. Looking up into the enormous, wrinkled face of the ancient house, I knocked lightly on a door that appeared as though it could fall apart at any moment. The sound rang hollowly on the other side of thin, faded walls and I could have sworn one of the window panes on the second floor rattled. As I waited, I took a tentative step backward on the crumbling porch and peered through the gaping holes in what had clearly once been a grand awning. Whistling and birdsong melded together in the strange place; there was an overgrown orchard surrounding the run-down manor with bright-hued weeds and rampant vines wherever you cared to look.
    As the strangely familiar tunes drew closer, followed by the inevitable melody of birds singing, I realized with a start that the sounds were coming from inside the house, not behind it. When the door swung open a small bluebird shot out of the darkness and swooped low above my head, its little feet brushing the top of my hair. It continued to dive-bomb me as a low, malicious chuckle slinked out from the depths where a pair of glistening eyes studied me. Suddenly, the whistle sounded again and the tiny bird flew back through the door and was gone, leaving me stunned and waiting on the wrecked porch.
    “Annie,” cooed a deep voice as boots made their way, followed by the rest of a tall, lanky man, out of the shadows and into the mid-summer sunshine. “What’s it been, eight years?” he purred, stroking the crimson feathers of a bird perched securely on his shoulder. When it shivered under his touch, clearly pleased with the company, it hummed in a disturbingly catlike manner. The man himself wore a scraggly beard of dark chestnut that matched a mass of hair streaming down his back, and a comfortable cotton set in tan. Wrapped around his neck, though it was a warm day, was a multi-coloured scarf that appeared to be coming apart at the seams, and a horribly-clashing vest hung limply from his shoulders. While his eyes still glittered in the hard light, the once-brilliant green of his irises was gone, replaced with pale, dull grey. Overall, he hadn’t aged much since we’d last seen each other, but he wasn’t the same man I’d known.
    Grinning forcibly, I replied in a clipped tone, “Leighton, how nice to see you again. It really has been too long,” I laughed, stepping forward into his strong embrace and smelling the unmistakable stench of smoked herbs. When we broke apart, his bird twittering irately into his ear, I carefully straitened the pantsuit I was wearing and hiked my purse up on my drooping shoulder. “I have some things to discuss with you; I mentioned it a bit on the phone, but I’d really rather speak in person,” I pushed, widening my lips to form a more sincere smile.
    “Oh, of course, Annie, love to have you,” he trailed off suddenly, having just noticed something strange over my shoulder. I turned to follow his gaze as he exclaimed, “You sure have done well for yourself, eh? Got a pretty snazzy car.” Nodding vaguely, I admired the glint off the newly painted hood and thought deeply about his negative tone. I knew he didn’t care for that kind of thing, preferring a run-down place in the middle of nowhere with a truck badly in need of a mechanic to the stability of a city job, but it seemed a bit rude to be snide about my life.
    With a subtle roll of my eyes, I looked back and motioned toward the door with a wide-cuffed arm. “To the drawing room?” I joked, suddenly feeling the need to be as comfortable as possible. He bowed so low his bird fluttered from his shoulder and he had to catch it on his finger with it chirruping angrily again and pecking at his exposed skin. Dipping his head minutely, he led the way down a long, dark hallway to a slanted door that moved to expose a bright, homey kitchen. As I step through the rotting doorway, though, a large owl that had been roosting sleepily above a cupboard took flight, circled over our heads a few times and set its enormous round eyes on me.
    “Hey, Albert, don’t you dare. She is our guest, and we don’t attack guests,” Leighton called to the large bird, setting the tiny scarlet one on a dead tree near the window. Behind him, the entire wall was a patchwork of various sizes and styles of window to create the illusion of the outdoors being inside. As the massive owl wheeled about, screeching quietly to itself, Leighton held up an arm enticingly and spoke to it softly, “Come on down here, Al, come on.” Nodding to Albert, the man locked eyes with the owl and it circled lower and lower until it latched onto his well-worn sleeve.
    Turning to me, with the predator’s headlamps locked on my mouse-like bone structure, Leighton laughed heartily. Carefully unbuttoning the cuff of his shirt, he pulled the fabric back to reveal leather underneath, having obviously seen my horrified glace as the bird’s talons supposedly sliced through his skin. “When I got Albert here, I got some gauntlets and arm protection, otherwise I wouldn’t let him do this,” he explained, sounding as sane as I’d ever heard him. When he took a step forward though, I stumbled backward into the chipped counter and he frowned decidedly. “Come on, he’s not gonna hurt you. If you put on that glove, there, and grab one of those mice,” he pointed his free hand at a large, dusty jar behind me, “and he’ll love you forever.”
    With split-second deliberation, I reached for the jar, slipped my hand inside it and pulled out the tiny, limp body of a field mouse. As soon as Al saw the rodent, he let out an ear-piercing shriek and I quickly put on one of the heavy leather gloves that lay in a large pile beside the mouse jar. Placing the food on my outstretched hand, I squinted as Albert took flight and flew straight for me. But, just as I thought he would carve my face, he gently grabbed the mouse with his talons and hooted deeply as he flew to his spot atop the cabinet.
    Clapping a hand on my shoulder, Leighton laughed again and twirled toward the stove as he buttoned his sleeve back up. I floundered to get the glove back off and paced to the windows, admiring the stunning view. “Wow, this is some place you got here, I mean, land-wise,” I thought out loud, attracting the recluse’ attention immediately.
    “Yeah, it’s a beautiful house, too, you know. You just have to know where to look,” he stated dreamily, opening empty and decaying cabinets until he found the teacups with a little exclamation. “So, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?” he asked politely. When I turned, he was throwing a lacy, moth-eaten tablecloth on a bistro table and setting it deftly with once-exquisite tableware.
    I took a seat and felt the worn cushion sag dangerously and sighed deeply. “Well,” I began, speaking slowly, “I was in touch with you sister last year because of the debt your brothers racked up on her credit.” Considering I hadn’t talked to him since college and his sister hadn’t flattered him over our year of conversations, I wasn’t sure what he would be thinking about the situation, if he knew anything at all.
    “Oh, I haven’t talked to Cam at all in at least that long. The guys come around occasionally sniffing around for the inheritance,” he spoke offhandedly as the kettle began to call and he rushed to pour the tea.
    Sighing, I dropped my bag and settled in for the long haul. “Okay, you have the inheritance, right? Cam just didn’t know how to talk to you about it, but I’ve dealt with this kind of situation before,” I explained, breathing deeply.
    “Yeah, o’course I’ve got it; they entrusted it to me. I don’t know why Cam wants to know when it’s not hers,” he called over his shoulder and brought two steaming cups of tea to the table. “I mean, the guys wanna spend it, but what does she want with it?” he asked, sipping lightly on his cup.
    I scratched my forehead and started again, “Look, your sister wants her share of the inheritance because she needs to pay for my firm to represent her in a case against your brothers, but she has no money right now.” Silence followed as he realized what I was actually asking and how serious a situation it was. When he laughed again, staining the tablecloth with dark red tea, I rolled my eyes.
    “Cam doesn’t need her money, the guys were just screwing around with that gambling and stuff; they didn’t mean anything by it. Besides, you know she’s good for it,” he scoffed. Above our heads, a small flock of chickadees flew in through an open wall on the second floor and chirruped noisily.
    As I listened to their chatter, I clarified, “This case is going to trial; it’s already been submitted, but I can’t let my firm take it on without the promise of payment and you have the payment she needs and deserves.” I could feel the blood beginning to boil in my veins, but I knew how to hide it well, so I continued in an even tone, “She was left money and you have to give it to her.” Clear as day, the words hung in the air like a stained glass mural.
    “I can’t,” he whispered as he sighed deeply and wouldn’t look up. Before I could ask what he meant, he uttered words that shook me and my faith in humanity. “How do you think I could afford this house?”


  2. Nikki walks toward the coop, a basket for the eggs on one arm and a bag of feed in the other. She steps over the wire fence, eyeing all the chickens. “Okay, simple. Feed goes on ground outside,” she opens the bag and shakes it onto the ground. Most of it lands in a pile. “Ohh…” She she kicks the pile with her foot to spread the feed out a little more.
    Chickens wandering around come over slowly, pecking at the ground.
    “And then go into the coop when they are all busy,” she says, with more confidence. She walks up the ramp and steps through the opening. She hears an angry squawk behind her and slowly turns around. A couple chickens are coming right at her face, causing her to shriek and drop the basket and bag of feed.
    Lucille comes rushing over. She shoos the chickens away and helps Nikki stand up.
    “Devil chickens,” Nikki grumbles.
    Lucille only chuckles a little as she picks feathers out of Nikki’s hair. “Let’s get those eggs.” They both gather eggs. With Lucille there, the chickens mostly leave Nikki alone. Once they are back in the house, Lucille has Nikki sit down. She looks over the young woman’s face. “There’s only a few scratches. Nothing deep.”
    “I think I swallowed a couple feathers,” Nikki comments. After a beat of confused silence, both slowly start to chuckle. “Does that make any sense?” Nikki asks.
    “No. Now, would you like to help with breakfast, or do you need to take a break?”
    “I can help.” Nikki stands up. “It’s not like I have to use my face to fry eggs.”


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