This morning I woke to the internet being down. Completely off. A recorded announcement from my supplier when I called them assured me an ‘engineer was working to fix the problem,’ which seemed fairly typical.
I use the internet most days, obviously, doing research and reading blogs, catching up on posts I’ve missed and posting work of my own. I’d planned to post a response to Sue’s photo prompt today plus do a few other things, but there I was, cut off.
And you know what? It was not a bad thing. In fact, it reminded me to focus on something I’ve been working on this year – the idea of bringing more balance back into my life. And so I pottered about, looking after family, moving through the day without the nagging feeling that I needed to keep checking this and checking that, a burden I hadn’t realised I’d been carrying lifted.
And then we came back online. My daughter, who’d been horrified when I informed her we had no internet, heaved a sigh of relief (she’s a bit under the weather today, so playing outside wasn’t on the agenda). My husband was able to watch the Aussie Rules football game. And I headed back into blogland, though a little more mindfully than before.
And so here is my response to Sue’s spiral staircase photo. I actually wrote two small stories, each around the 100 word mark. Both stories feature children and, even though I didn’t set out to do so, I think they might be linked. They are also quite dark, which seems to be a thing for me of late. I think as writers we need to sometimes let ourselves go into the darkness, so our books hold both light and shade. Sue wrote a post touching on that the other week, as well. Right. Enough waffling. Here we go:
She could feel its kiss whenever she passed the small window, a glimpse of blue and green, misted fields in early light.
Then her gaze turned upwards, the bucket heavy in her small hands, dripping on the worn stones.
And so she went, day in and day out, cleaning her lady’s chamber. The fields turned from green to gold as water dripped and dust rose, swirling to lie thick on the wooden floor, no matter how she shuttered the windows against it.
But one day, when ice silvered her bucket and the fields beyond, she did not wake, the deep frost taking her as she slept.
Free once more.
‘Come on then!’ He clattered up the old stone stairs, his feet the last thing visible as he rounded the curve. ‘Scaredy cat!’
The words floated down and she frowned, clenching her small fists. ‘Am not!’ She could hear his laughter, faint, the sound of his feet receding. ‘Hmmph!’
She started to climb. Haunted tower or no, she’d see who the scaredy cat was when they got to the top. Then the screaming began, and she grinned. Serve him right, she thought, remembering the dead rat she’d hung there earlier that day.
Then the screaming stopped. And she saw his feet again.