These Things Happen
☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.
Outside the cabin, the sun was setting, and the wildlife skittered in the shadows. A robin sang somewhere up in the trees, while a couple of squirrels raced back and forth between their stores of nuts.
Mark stepped back inside from the deck and beelined for the cupboard above the oven where he kept his whiskey.
racing down the tracks, the crunch of stones with every step, the train bridge ahead stretching across the river
“Who was that?” Hannah asked. She had tucked the kids in their beds and moved down the stairs.
He took a drink and said, “Ian.”
“I haven’t heard that name in a while. How’s he doing?”
“Okay, I think.”
sliding down the banks, reeds swaying in the rushing current, the sun is low
She sat back on the couch beside the light of the fire and pulled out the sweater she was knitting for their youngest. “You don’t sound convinced.”
“How’s his wife… Olivia?”
“He didn’t really say.”
“So why did he call?
walking past the wood pilings, the train bridge towering above, a path leading into the trees
“He was asking about someone we used to hang out with?”
“What about them?”
“Wondered what happened to them.”
“Did you know?”
“Yeah, I did.” He finished off the last of his drink and put the bottle away. He sat down beside Hannah and stared out the window. The sun had set, and the forest was dark. He could no longer hear the animals outside through the open window.
“Is something bothering you?” his wife asked.
“No, I’m fine.”
the old house, with rotting floorboards and shotgun blasts in the walls
“Don’t lie. I can tell when you do.”
“Did he say something to you?”
on the second floor, caught in the dust and dancing light
“No, nothing.” He knew she was watching him. He reached over and held her hand. “Sorry, it just caught me off-guard. I haven’t spoken to him for so long, it surprised me.”
“I never understood how you two ever fell apart. You were best friends.”
He stared out the open window and shrugged.
Ian standing there, a bloody knife in his hand
“These things happen, I guess.”
I may not do a story like this the same way again. I knew that I was going to split up the two points of view, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was delivering this one.
I didn’t really know what the story was, and initially, I thought it was Mark that killed the woman. It was only today that I switched it to Ian.
I also wanted a bit more description. I stripped it down so much yesterday., it felt a little too experimental.
The other challenge, the ongoing challenge, is that since I don’t know the story, I tend to write in a less dramatic, less showing voice, as I try to narrow down what the story is. Then, I have to cut all of that out and strip it down to its simplest dramatic narrative. I’m hoping with time, I can improve that process.