Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today is week 4 of the 52 week writing challenge.
This week, I am doing something slightly different for the writing prompt.
Figment daily prompts are having a competition: Figment Internet Bestie Competition
In less than 2017 words, complete the prompt below:
My (excessively long) list of things to do in 2017 included entering competitions. This will be the first. Entries must be completed by 12th February.
I have included an excerpt from my attempt below. (I have since finished and uploaded the completed, longer, version below and on figment: http://figment.com/books/1027013-Cryptic)
Sunlight streamed through the window, and left in its wake a trail of dust. A young brunette, Brett, perched on the windowsill. He brushed his hair behind his ear and scrolled through the messages on his phone.
“Wrong, wrong, wrong.” Brett sighed. “Can no one solve a simple puzzle?”
His flatmate, Edward, who would appear smart, were it not for his untidy blonde hair, came to stand beside Brett.
“Maybe if you made them easier, someone would understand,” Edward suggested. He loomed over Brett’s shoulder and glanced at the screen.
“Stand somewhere else, you’re blocking the sun,” Brett complained.
Edward ignored him and wiped his glasses on his tie. “It’s just a bunch of random letters.”
“It’s a cipher,” Brett grumbled. His phone vibrated with a new notification. Brett glanced at it, and a smile played at the corner of his lips. “So, there are clever people left in the world.”
Edward sighed and headed for the door. “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”
“You just did!” Brett retorted. He slouched against the window frame as Edward left.
Well played, but can you solve this? Brett typed out in reply. He accessed the gallery on his phone and uploaded another cipher.
Of course. The stranger, whose blog name was ‘you’ve been lawyered,’ replied.
Solve it then. Brett, under his user name of ‘take me_or leave me,’ sent back.
The response was instant. You do it. All you’ve done so far is post puzzles. You haven’t solved any yourself.
Brett grinned. “Challenge accepted.” He swung his legs around, and got to his feet as he typed his reply.
Two months passed. In a darkened theatre, Brett took centre stage.
Every seat was empty, except one. In the front row, a middle aged woman with curly hair sat, notepad in hand. Brett took a deep breath and began to sing. He was halfway through his last performance, when his phone buzzed in his pocket. Brett grinned. When his performance was done, he bowed and rushed to the edge of the stage.
“Are we ready?” Brett asked. He craned his neck and tried to glance at the woman’s notepad.
“Better hope so, sweetie. Opening night is only a week away,” the woman, Miranda, their unflappable director, grumbled. “Look, I know that you are excited, but could you tone it down a little on stage? We’re aiming for a mood similar to Les Mis, not Singing in the rain.”
Brett nodded, and his mouth was open to reply when his phone vibrated again. He grinned and pulled it out of his pocket. He had another message from ‘you’ve been lawyered,’ Harvey, as he had revealed after a few messages.
“You’ve told me that every day for the past two months,” Brett grumbled. “Has it really been that long?”
“Whose counting?” Miranda grinned. She snapped her notebook shut.
Brett scrolled through his past messages and grinned at some of the puzzles he had exchanged with his best friend. He glanced at his watch. The notification that he received should be a new challenge.
Brett looked up as a slow clap echoed throughout the theatre. They were not alone. Brett spotted a figure, who made his way towards them, and his face twisted into a scowl.
“Oh, is that our sponsor?” Miranda asked. When Brett nodded, she stood and straightened her hair. ‘Be sure to be polite, won’t you? I’ll be in the office if he needs me.’
“Fine,” Brett grumbled. He stuffed his hands, and his phone, into his pockets and glanced to the side.
A well dressed man with a briefcase made his way onto the stage. The man straightened his tie, and ran a hand through his short golden locks with a flourish.
“Always so dramatic. You should be on stage!” Brett retorted with a roll of his eyes.
“You should answer your phone,’ the man replied, voice smooth as silk. ‘I wanted regular updates. After all, I did fund this little hobby of yours.”
“I’m a rising star on the West End, Charlie. It’s not a hobby!” Brett exclaimed. He folded his arms over his chest and stared the man down.
“For the last time, my name is Charles,” Charles replied, affronted. His eyes roamed over the peeled paint and the broken lights of the theatre, before they settled back on Brett. “You are a minor actor, in a few lesser known musicals.”
“I play a major part! I have fans!” Brett protested.
“Family does not count,” Charles insisted. “You would be much better off if you applied yourself. My firm prefers those with an LLB, not a BA in Law, but in your case, I could make an exception.”
Charles held his briefcase horizontal and undid the catches. He pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Brett.
Brett took one glance at the paper and tore it up. “Not interested.”
“Oh for… You’ve never tried it!” Charles exclaimed.
“After three years in university, I didn’t want to,” Brett muttered. He glanced away towards the seats.
“You know where to find me if you change your mind,” Charles huffed as he walked away. “Stay in touch this time.”
Brett rolled his eyes and walked off in the opposite direction. He moved past the changing rooms, and settled down on a table in the break room, phone in hand.
After he had trawled through a few images, Brett grinned. “Got it!” he murmured, and he posted a picture of a man with steam coming out of his ears to his blog.
In the next instant, a comment appeared. Obvious. Your nemesis again?
Brett let out a sigh, and he typed back, Correct. Harvey, King of games.
If we were to compete, it would be a tie. Harvey replied.
I know. Brett admitted. His lips twitched, and he typed, Who has the worst enemy?
There was a slight pause before Harvey replied. You. Mine is just stubborn.
Mine thinks he knows what’s best for me. Brett answered. He sighed and brought his feet up to rest on a nearby chair.
You must have known him a long time, for him to assume that. Harvey replied.
Brett leaned back to look up at the ceiling. He took a deep breath, and glanced at his phone as he began to reply. He’s…
Miranda dashed in.
“Did you hear the news?” Miranda rushed out.
“No,” Brett replied, as he pushed away the chair and dropped his feet to the floor.
Miranda tilted her head. “Really? You were talking to him for ages…”
“He never says anything important,” Brett retorted.
“Oh, behave,” Miranda scolded. “He’s arranged for us to perform our opening night at the Apollo!”
Brett’s eyes lit up, but he groaned, “If he thinks this will change my mind…”
Miranda cut him off. “I think he’s being nice. You know how much his parents love musicals.”
“Only too well, Miranda,” Brett sighed. He waved as he left the room, and pocketed his phone for now.
Back at the flat, Brett settled at the table and ignored dinner in favour of his phone.
“Are you on that blog again?” Edward grumbled, as he gulped down a bite of rice. “Your food will go cold.”
Brett nodded and typed with quick fingers. Do you have a brother?
“Have you ever thought of meeting this guy in person?” Edward suggested.
Brett laughed and shook his head. “The internet is where you go to escape reality, not confront it.”
“Is it?” Edward frowned.
Brett shrugged and tapped his phone on his leg. It vibrated, and Brett scowled.
“Not Harvey?” Edward guessed.
“No. My sponsor. We had a disagreement.” Brett sighed and deleted the message.
Edward blinked at him. “The healthy way to deal with a disagreement is to talk it through.”
“People don’t talk to their enemies,” Brett insisted.
“Most people don’t have enemies,” Edward sighed. “You know, my rates are reasonable, if you ever…”
“I do not need therapy, Ed!” Brett stood and waved his phone towards the door. “Don’t you have people to see?”
Edward nodded and glanced at the clock. “You know where to find me if you need me.”
“I won’t,” Brett insisted.
Edward left. Brett’s phone buzzed. He glanced at it with a smile.
Harvey had replied. Yes. Do you live in London too?
Brett hesitated for a moment, before he typed: Yes.
Would you like to meet, Jo? Harvey asked.
Brett smiled at the false name he had given and tapped his phone against his chin. He glanced at the table, where a flyer for his show lay. Brett grinned, and he replied, Apollo theatre. The 14th. 9pm. Wear a red scarf.
In the hall, after the show. You wear blue. Harvey suggested.
See you there. Brett replied. He hesitated, and then followed up with a : )
When he received a : ) in reply, Brett smiled and went to reheat his dinner.
The week flew by.
After the performance, Brett bounced off the stage with nervous energy. There had been no one in the audience with a red scarf, but that meant nothing. No one would wear a scarf inside a theatre.
Brett checked his phone. Harvey had left a message: See you soon.
‘Hey, great performance,’ Miranda beamed, as Brett passed her.
Brett nodded and grabbed his bag from backstage. His blue scarf peeked out of the top. Brett pulled it free and hesitated, before he stuffed it into his pocket. He made his way into the lobby, and mingled easily amongst those who had gathered to discuss the show, eyes peeled for a red scarf.
As he listened with pride to another compliment, Brett spotted a flash of red. The man had his back to Brett, but he was the only one in the lobby who wore a red scarf.
Brett touched the scarf in his pocket and he grinned, but then, the man turned. Brett fled.
Outside, Brett pulled his phone from his pocket and called his flatmate.
Edward answered on the third ring.
“I took your advice,” Brett snapped as he began to pace. “I met my online friend.”
“Really? That’s a first,” Edward retorted. “What happened?”
“He’s my nemesis,” Brett sighed and stuffed his free hand into his pocket. His fingers brushed his soft blue scarf.
Edward laughed. “Seriously? Of all the people… ”
“Yes.” Brett bit his bottom lip. “What do I do?”
“Talk to him,” Edward insisted, and hung up.
“Useless flatmate,” Brett scowled. His phone vibrated.
A new message from Harvey. Did you get held up?
Brett pulled his scarf free. He wrapped it around his neck and headed back inside.
“So, you’re calling yourself Harvey now?” Brett retorted as he stormed up to Charles.
Charles rolled his eyes. “Of course it would be you.”
“I’m hardly thrilled either, Charlie,” Brett retorted. He slumped beside Charles against the front desk.
“What now?” Charles asked.
“Don’t know,” Brett muttered bitterly. “I enjoyed talking to Harvey.”
“And I, to Jo,” Charles murmured. “You were good up there tonight.”
Brett rolled his eyes. “Thanks, but I know you only funded me to please our parents.”
“I funded you to please you!” Charles retorted.
Brett took a step back and blinked at him.
“As much as I don’t understand you, you are my brother,” Charles sighed. “If you would rather perform than take your place in the family business, I won’t stop you.”
“Then why…?” Brett murmured.
“I had to be sure,” Charles insisted. “You were always so fickle.”
Brett nudged his shoulder, but it was playful. “Convinced yet?”
“No,” Charles replied, but there was a sparkle in his eyes. “Come on. I was going to take ‘Jo’ for a drink.”
“Can we test the IQ of the population whilst we’re at it?” Brett asked with a grin.
“Of course,” Charles replied. He held up a handful of printed pages from Brett’s blog. “Why do you think I brought these with me?”
There are obscure references to two TV shows in the above work, and one musical. Bonus points if you can spot them!
Thanks for reading. Did you try the prompt yourself? If you did, let me know how you got on!
I encourage participation from anyone who is interested, so if a prompt takes your fancy, give it a go. If you make an attempt and post it on your blog, let me know the link in my comments section. If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂