Horse – Day 65 – Laundrette

In celebration of Chinese new year I decided to write a story with the prompt ‘horse’ ( this year is the year of the horse). I sat thinking about horses, googling them and looking at pictures. After literally 2 and a half hours I looked at my page and saw irrefutable evidence of writer’s block:

“Horse drawn carriage

Only seen at night

Ridden by a ghost

Something something

End”

In the end I managed to painfully draw a story out of my panicking blocked up brain. I jazzed it up with a picture and some tassels in the hopes it would make up for it. I’d promised Chris White that I would release my next story in Morningside, so I drove around looking for a spot and saw a laundrette. 

As this challenge is starting send me as crazy as Simon Pegg in A Fantastic Fear of Everything, I decided this was the best place for the story. So I entered the laundrette…

…and hung it up here:

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Hundreds of years ago a town was captured

One old seamstress had an idea

Red material was gathered discreetly

She found her family and

Escaped on horseback under a dragon disguise

Market – Day 64 – Shopping Centre

It’s 8:40pm and I finally just got this to a shopping centre (thank you late night shopping. Inspired by Adam Byatt’s idea of the mystical shirt of bad taste.

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“There it is,” Mai squealed, pointing to a small tea house.

Inside, the tea house opened onto the hidden canal where the markets were held. It looked exactly as people had described it back home. Hundreds of tiny stone islands covered in stalls, each island connected by a wooden bridge.

There were many delicious delicacies and old treasures to find. One old man even gave us a free shirt which he claimed was mystical. Though Mai did point out on the way back through the tea shop it was the ugliest shirt she had ever laid eyes on and the smell was probably putting off paying customers.

As we walked along the river shops, I slipped on the shirt

“Ew, I can’t be seen with that!” Mai snorted with laughter. “You stay outside while I take a look in this dress shop.”

Before I could take the shirt off, a little boy speeding down the lane on a bicycle caught my eye. I watched as if in slow motion, he lost control and toppled straight into the river. I jumped in after him. I could see him caught on the bike sinking below me. I reached out in vain, then there he was, rising up through the water toward my outstretched fingers.  I grabbed him and the water seemed to lift us, taking us back to shore. When I lifted him out, we were dry.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

He nodded, before running off.

“Lee!” I could hear his parents screaming. “Get away from that strange man.”

“He fell in the riv-“ I started to explain.

“C’mon Lee, he stinks,” I heard the dad explaining as they walked away.

When Mai got back I explained what had happened. She stared at the shirt.

“Do you think the old man was telling the truth?”

I shrugged and a piece of paper fell out of the pocket.

With great power must come humility. This shirt serves as a reminder. 

Late – Day 63 – Bus Stop

Just stuck this up at the bus stop.

The stop is packed because of the rain. Everyone looks tense. It’s now 15 minutes late. We’re definitely going to be late.

“Dad! Dad! Dad?”

Charlie swings off my arm. I look down with a sigh.

“What’s V..vigra?” he asks.

“What?”

I look up at the advertisement on the end of the bus stop, and see an ad for Viagra. The old man next to me sees the look of terror on my face and pipes up.

“It’s for when men are feeling down,” he says with a grin.

I can feel all eyes on us now.

“Can you get some dad?” Charlie implores.

“Why?” I ask, wishing the bus would hurry up.

“Because all the men at this bus stop always look down,” he answers.

The stop erupts in laughter, and suddenly I don’t care that we are late.

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Parked – Day 62 – Car Windscreen

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Dropped this onto a car today.

 

They parked next to each other every day. The flats were small, so the parks were squashy, but they didn’t mind. The two cars were the best of friends. He was young, a family car, shiny and comfortable. She was bright yellow, bomby and owned by students. They enjoyed swapping gossip about their humans every afternoon.

But one day the students graduated and moved out. An old lady moved in and there was no car to keep him company. He longed to be told about parties and breakdowns, and would look for her on every drive. But alas, he never saw her again.

Years later the family traded him in. His new owner would park him out on the street. Occasionally so did the neighbours who owned an old mismatched van. The van was kind, like talking to an old friend. One day she explained the bright yellow patch on her bonnet, it had come from an old student car.

 

Look at this!

Remember that time I put a story through a stranger’s letterbox? Well look what they sent back! (the red square is the story).

“Such a delight to get your story. Here’s us all in front of the inspirational fence! Keep on writing! From G, Bon, Mohammed and Mohammed.”G, Bon, Moh and Moh

Little by Little – Day 61 – The Library

Today’s story went into a library shoot:

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A few books in a room; it could hardly be called a library. When the floods came, the library wasn’t even on the local government’s list.

Every last book was ruined. There were no stories to escape to, just the foul stench of destruction. The locals assumed it would close. But it didn’t. A few weeks later it reopened. There was only one book on the shelf. It told the tale of a mighty water spirit and a brave librarian.

Little by little the locals caught on. Tales of brave butchers and valiant school children started to appear and soon the library was full once more.

The Garden – Day 58 – A stranger’s letterbox

Today I was challenged by Georgia Wellington to write a story and deliver it to a stranger’s letterbox. 

There’s a house not too far away that has an amazing fence made from branches. So I decided ‘made from branches’ was my trigger. I made an envelope and addressed a letter explaining myself…

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 then enclosed this story:

My grandad took me to see the garden years ago. He said it always made him feel nostalgic, like a kid again.

The garden was unusual in that none of it was alive. Giant structures made from old branches towered over my 8 year old frame.

The locals had told us the old lady who lived there built it, and she that could often be spotted dragging a giant branch back to her house on foot.

No one really knew why she’d made it. She didn’t charge visitors and she rarely spoke to them. Most people thought she was an artistic genius not to be questioned.

But 8 year olds don’t know much about artistic recluses. We wondered off to a quiet part of the garden and saw her heaving an enormous branch to the top of a sculpture.

“What’s the point?” I asked loudly.

“It’s art,” grandad answered quickly.

But I was already running up to her.

“Excuse me lady, can we help you?”

“Don’t mind my granddaughter,” grandad called.

“It’s alright, I’d love some help,” she answered.

When we’d finished hauling the branch into place she bent down and whispered, “I collect a branch every day so I can remember.”

It didn’t make much sense to me at the time. I thought it must be an in-joke for artistic geniuses.

Years later my grandad developed Alzheimer’s. He barely remembers my name now. The other day I remembered what he’d told me about the garden making him feel nostalgic, so I took him.

The lady was gone, but the garden remained. Grandad looked bemused as usual, so I took him to the spot where we’d helped her with the branch.

His face lit up and I was reminded of an old picture of him.

“It’s art,” he said.

I delivered it this afternoon so now we wait. In the letter I ask them tweet or facebook me back if they like it. Fingers crossed!

UPDATE*

A few hours after posting it to them I received this comment on facebook:

“Hello there!  we just received your beautiful letter. My partner always has this strange habit of checking the mail box at odd hours of the night..even though the mail has always been delivered. now it seems his search of the empty letter box has been fruitful! This was a wonderful unexpected gift! We are glad that someone noticed our artistic fence. Jaarlz Ross and I made it on Christmas Eve with visiting family. Its been a very long work in progress as he chopped the tree down himself from the backyard and initially just shoved them in a hole. A unique sinister and creepy look – . But now the fence is done we are glad people enjoy it and are even inspired by it! Soon our “cool-fence house” will be known as “Bonaluga house” as we turn it into a small gallery space. You are invited and we’ll have your letter on display for sure! Thanks again and keep on extreme writing!”

So I asked them for a photo and got this beauty:

G, Bon, Moh and Moh