Monday 3 June 2019

Continue the opening line..

Week 8 Flash fiction course.

The task is to continue the opening line," Smoke escaped from the basement window" and end the story with the image of smoke.
This exercise did not interest me at all but to progress to week 9 I had to complete it. Doggedly I sat at keyboard and here is the result. Try it!


Smoke escapes from the basement window. She’d opened the sash window to stifle the smell and there it is, the tell tale curl, the waft of forbidden activity drifting into the garden. He would kill her if he knew what she was at. She’d promised on her grandmother’s grave to never do it again. So much for oaths. Her grandmother lived for sixty years with the same problem. Three score years, she’d be happy with that, until the end anyway. In the end her granny felt short-changed, her life’s ambition, to write her account of a stifled life, unaccomplished. 
The trails of smoke curl upwards like silk scarves thrown. Cleo stiffens. She hears him pottering about nearby trying to connect two hose pipes. He’s cursing and muttering to himself. Not handy. That’s what her granny said about him when he arrived. And very bad tempered is what she should have added. Violent, in fact, at times; hopefully not this time. 
But he hadn’t much sense of smell which was a disadvantage if you live with someone with a compulsion like hers. There was a name for it; she couldn’t remember what it was.  They said the habit was foul. They talked of it as if it was a genetic deviation. They didn’t get it, the anticipation, the exhilaration. She’d set fire to the curtains once or twice, her own that is, but that was unintended. Her damage was usually confined to old shacks and derelict buildings. 
“She’s at it again.” Her mother’s voice dowses her musings. “Can’t you smell it coming from the basement?”
 “I’ll tan her hide!” he shouts.
 Cleo takes a final drag, legs it out the window and heads for the barn where she can already smell the euphoria of smoke rising.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2019

1 comment:

  1. This reads as if you had great fun writing it!!