Sunday, January 25, 2015

On the Ceiling (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

When I wake in the middle of the night with an idea screaming in my head, sometimes it is all I can do to stay under the covers. I know there is a class to be taught tomorrow morning, and I need to be fully awake at 6 a.m. to do my best presentation.

But the story... The story demands something other, and the discipline to get my sleep is not as strong as the pull of the keyboard. What time is it? maybe 1, maybe 2 a.m. Four or five short hours away, I must be ready to rise.

But the story... I close my eyes and roll away from the clock. Perhaps I can sleep if I don't realize the time is passing, and the story is dribbling away into my pillow. The words come to haunt me. I pull the pillow over my head so I don't see the time cast onto the ceiling, the red numbers that tell me I must choose.

Sleep? Or the story?

Maybe both: that's the thrust of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge this week:

January 21, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a 2 a.m. story. Crazy things can happen after the bars close down, even if you never go to the bar! You might, drown in a pile of snow or wake up to find a black bear in your kitchen.


On the Ceiling

I use a dragon-writer, see, because these stories keep me awake at night. In the light, in the daytime, I can hold them at bay. But at night, they crowd so close! I set the mike on the pillow beside me, and when I wake in a sweat of words, it is ready, and I begin. 

As I speak, the letters stream red across the ceiling, once-upon-a-time and Gerald-was-not-a-hero and I-remember-Manderley. Though the stories always seem to end with "2 a.m.".

This is a better system than the keyboard. I can't type so well anymore.

Not in the straight-jacket.