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Story Cube vignette

February 6, 2012

[Happy Monday, folks, and welcome to Chasing Maybes. Here, I challenge myself not to believe everything I think.  It’s a fumble toward growth, and it’s lots of fun.]

So, on Friday I told you about my impulse purchase, Rory’s Story Cubes (a creative game consisting of nine dice with simple pictures on each side), inspired by my three year-old son.  I also challenged myself to begin a story based on my first dice roll and to share it with you today.  To avoid the risk of becoming mired in the quicksand of my own perfectionism, I gave myself 30 minutes to write a fictional story (vignette, really) using the nine images as prompts.  As a reminder, the images were: scales of justice, a hot air balloon, a scarab, an airplane, an arrow, a lamb, a fountain, an abacus, and a rainbow.

I created the rule that each image had to be used in my writing in the order in which it appears in the above photo, snapped immediately after I rolled the dice last week.  Each image appears in bold text in the vignette below.

Anyhoo, I am a huge fan of prompt writing, so this was a lot of fun  for me.  Who knows?  It might even evolve into a short story, once edited for awkward word placement (seriously, try working “abacus” into a story… not so easy).

Here goes nothing:

No one had ever told her she could run.

When she sprung from her mother’s body, formed perfectly, round to the very white tips of her fingernails, she was swathed in pink.  She was battened down and buttered up, softened with the kind of love that tipped the scales of justice in her favor.  She wasn’t allowed to be real.

When she was two years old she toddled, briefly beyond her tall mother’s gaze, into the small back garden.  Leaning forward, she picked a bright buttercup, chubby hands golden around her prize, and lifted it to her mouth.

“Noooo!” her mother, seeing, screeched panicked from the kitchen.  “No eat!  No eat!  How did you get out here?  No eat!”  Her mother’s face was pearlescent in the sun, glowing with a thin sheen of sweat, round as a hot air balloon.  “You never leave mommy, you hear me?  No eat!”

She remembered that day with vellum covering it, blurring its edges. But she remembered it.

When she was seven, her mother gave her a silver scarab to wear around her neck.  “For luck,” she had said, clasping it to her, pressing it into her skin for a moment too long.  Still, no one had ever told her she could run.

When she turned thirteen, her math teacher told her to see him after school.  He told her he needed to talk to her about her last test, and she shivered with anticipated embarrassment.  All morning, she daydreamed about flight, imagining herself climbing on an airplane, locking and unlocking the tray table as it lifted off of the ground, floating away.  She wasn’t good at math, although her mother didn’t seem to mind much.  She wasn’t good at much of anything, she figured, but it only stung her once in a while, a dull arrow in the pit of her stomach.

When Mr. Carson closed the door to the chalky classroom behind her, he turned on his heel and faced her.  He wasn’t tall or short, but he always wore tennis shoes which, she thought, made him appear out of place among the other laced-up teachers.  His hair was fluffy and white as a lamb.  He smelled a little like smoke when he leaned toward her, and for a split second she had no idea what was going to happen.

“You are so beautiful,” he whispered hotly in her ear.  “I’m not sure you even know that, do you?  So beautiful.”

Pain welled in her stomach, a hot fountain, as she realized he was kissing her neck.  Mr. Carson.  Who wore tennis shoes and smelled like dirty cigarettes and was old, old, old.  Too old to kiss her, she knew.  She counted the beads of the abacus on the desk beyond him — one, two, three, all in a rainbow — and then she knew she was going to throw up.

“I’ve got to go, Mr. Carson. I’m sick.”  She pulled away.

He gripped her arm hard enough to bruise her.

“We can’t tell anyone what we’ve done, okay?”  he whispered urgently.  “We would both be in a lot of trouble.”

His eyes were dark grey, she noticed, and creased at the corners.  She never heard his last word, “trouble,” because she leaned over and vomited on his white tennis shoes.


I hope your Monday is filled with luck, rainbows, and a little poetic justice.  Thanks, as always, for showing up.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2012 9:18 am

    I love it!! Oh, I needed to start the morning with a giggle 😉

  2. February 7, 2012 10:29 pm

    In every writing class I’ve taken, we always have an exercise. I hate them. Hate them. I think to myself, I’m not paying to here what other people write (because the teacher usually goes encourages folks to read their work). However, I must say, after 12 weeks of extemporaneous writing, I was certainly able to create new connections in my head, so I grudgingly say…it works. I’m impressed with what you’ve done here and how you push yourself. That’s the sign of a writer. Always improving. (And I love the well-placed humor).

  3. February 7, 2012 10:31 pm

    Sorry. Should of proof read. “here”, should be “hear”. Delete “goes”. I need to slow down. Sorry if it sounds like hillbillies are following your blog.

  4. February 8, 2012 6:47 am

    Thanks for your comment, Barb, and no apology necessary. I am the queen of leaving typo-riddled comments, and yours didn’t even register. Your compliment was all that I read, and I so appreciate it!

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