Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 9 of the 52 week writing challenge!
I was feeling indecisive this week, so I decided to put three prompt ideas in a Twitter poll:
The winner was ‘Wings,’ so that is the prompt for Sunday 5th March.
The next poll will run from the 5th to the 7th of March, to decide the prompt for the 26th March. It’s a long way off, but the only writing time I’ll have during my editorial work experience in London will be evenings in my hotel room, so I want to decide the prompt early!
From now on, the prompt for the following week will be announced at the bottom of each Sunday’s blog post. This will give more people a chance to join in, should they wish to 🙂
For this weeks prompt, I’ve gone for an original short story. Hope you like it!
Thick sheets of water cascaded down from the heavens. A young woman sagged under the weight of it, and she shivered as she drifted closer towards the ground. Golden wings, once bright and ethereal, were now sodden, and they fluttered uselessly behind her.
It was not Gloria’s day. As she landed, her shoulders slumped under the weight of her wings, and she began to stagger towards a light in the distance.
The rickety house was the only shelter in sight. As she drew closer, Gloria’s eyes flicked down towards the door. A warm, orange light shone out from underneath it. Gloria breathed a sigh of relief. Someone was home.
The door knocker rattled, and shudders reverberated across the door frame.
“Come on,” Gloria muttered, as she stamped her feet and huddled closer to the house. The small awning offered little protection against the onslaught of the storm. “I know that you’re in there!” At least, she hoped someone was. Human’s didn’t leave their lights on when they went out, did they?
Gloria knocked again, a sharp rap this time, and she wrapped her arms around herself in a tight embrace as she shivered and waited. There was a faint shuffle from the other side of the door. Gloria pressed her ear to the wet wood and listened intently. The shuffles stopped. They soon started again, except this time Gloria strained to hear them as they began to move away from the door.
Gloria’s eyes went wide, and she began to pound on the door. “Please, let me in. It’s freezing!”
The shuffles grew louder again, and Gloria winced. They sounded angry. When the door was flung open, Gloria took a step back, eyes wide and heart pounding, so that her wings were concealed in the darkness.
An ageing man leaned on a walking stick, hunched over before her.
Gloria let out a huff of air, and she smiled as she began to ask, “Sir, could you…?”
The old man shot a glare towards her, and he cut across her as he growled, “Why are you out here?”
“I… ” Gloria trailed off and looked upwards for a moment. Then, she clapped her hands together and pulled her bag free from her shoulder to hold it up in front of him. “I’m a traveller.”
“In this weather?” The man exclaimed with a raised eyebrow.
Gloria nodded and bit her lip to keep her expression blank. Her voice was steady as she asked, “Please, let me shelter here? Just until the rain stops?”
The old man leaned heavier on his stick. He tilted his head to the side as he ran his crystal grey eyes over her wrecked body. “Fine,” he relented. “But, in the mornin’, you leave an never return.”
With a nod of acknowledgement, Gloria pushed her way inside with quick, eager steps. The man huffed, and he brushed past her to brace himself against the door. Against the wail of the wind and the onslaught of rain, it did not budge. Gloria’s shoulder joined his against the door, and together they managed to heave it shut against the wail of the wind.
“Thank you,” Gloria murmured cordially, as she favoured her host with a warm smile. “This really is the only house for miles.”
“Just how I like it,” the man insisted. His glare was icy.
Gloria flinched. She hesitated, before she reached out a hand and let it rest on his shoulder. “I’m… sorry?” she apologised uncertainly. He brushed off her hand, and Gloria rushed to promise, “I’ll leave as soon as the rain stops.”
“Hmpf. Come on, then, I won’t stand in the hallway all night,” the man grumbled. “And don’t drip on my furniture!”
Tasked with an impossible mission, Gloria let out a sigh. Her back and shoulders tensed, and she bit her bottom lip, but it was no use. Her wings, desperate to be dry, spread as wide as the hallway allowed, and flapped hard. Wet droplets splattered onto the beautiful canvas landscapes which dotted the walls, and they flew down the hall to land on her hosts face.
Gloria’s body shook with a sneeze, and the sound echoed around the hall. She winced and looked up, but, instead of the expected anger, the look on the old man’s face was wary.
“Are those… wings?” the old man asked, with a hesitant curiosity.
Gloria nodded and began to explain, “I can’t fly like this, I need to… “
“Yes, I understand,” the man replied, as he cut her off mid sentence. His gaze was sullen as he looked away towards the back of the house. “Are you here for me?” the old man asked, as gestured for Gloria to follow him down the hallway.
Gloria frowned and tilted her head to the side. “We don’t even… we don’t collect people when they die, Sir.”
“Never said you did,” the old man insisted. “Why are you here?”
“I fell from heaven and lost my way?” Gloria tried, expression pinched as she ran a hand through her hair.
The old man rolled his eyes and raised a sceptical eyebrow. “Yet you carry a bag.”
Gloria sighed. “Fine. I ran away. I was bored. Happy?”
“Better,” the old man replied, and his lips twitched in a hint of a smile. “Tea?”
“Please, so long as it’s not green,” Gloria replied as she glanced around the small room.
Cupboards lined the walls, and a rickety door stood between them at the back of the room. A sturdy wooden table sat in the centre.
“Why not green?” the old man demanded, as he rounded on her with a spoon in hand.
“I never liked the taste?” Gloria responded, with her head tilted and her brow furrowed. “Some angels are allergic. Nasty business, death by tea,” Gloria muttered as her wings twitched in sympathy. She watched as most of the tension left the old man’s body. He hummed and stretched to gather two cups and saucers from a high shelf above the work surface.
Gloria turned her attention back to the table.
“Oh, you have a microscope! Can I play?” Gloria begged, her eyes bright with excitement as she bounced from one foot to the other.
“It’s not a toy,” the old man grumbled.
“I know that!” Gloria huffed. “Can I?”
He sighed and nodded. “Go ahead.”
“Brilliant, I’ve only ever read about these!” Gloria exclaimed, and she busied herself with the microscope.
Preoccupied, Gloria did not register the clink of the spoon in the cups as he finished the tea. His quiet steps went unnoticed as he made his way over to her, and placed the cup down on the table. The next thing she registered was a hand, which plucked a feather from her wings.
“Oww!” Gloria exclaimed. She turned her head sharply to glare at the man. “How dare you!”
“They’ll grow back, so long as the stems aren’t damaged,” the man muttered as he held the feather up to the light. “I want to see it under the microscope.”
Gloria frowned. She craned her neck to look back at her wings, and smiled a little. They had begun to sparkle once more. It would not be long now, and, through the window, Gloria could see that the rain had lessened in it’s ferocity. Gloria shrugged. She would be out of here soon, and, if he tried anything else, the door was only a few steps away.
“Ok, why not?” Gloria agreed.
The old man’s smile was quick, but it did not reach his eyes.
“You don’t get many visitors, do you?” Gloria observed, as she glanced around the room. One pair of shoes, one coat, only one cup within easy reach. “Have you been alone long?”
The old man looked down towards the microscope, and he placed the feather on a slide underneath it. He looked into the eyepiece, and the last of the tension left his shoulders.
“Centuries,” the old man admitted with a sigh.
Gloria gasped, and she turned to him with wide eyes. “Are you… ? Is that how you knew they grow back?”
The old man’s eyes crunched closed, and his eyelids trembled. After a pause, he inclined his head in a nod.
“If they catch you, they will tear the wings from your back, break the stems, and you will be doomed to live a long, lonely life without them,” the old man murmured, voice barely above a whisper. “Only the inquisitors are permitted to leave our home.”
Gloria grimaced and sent a wary glance over her shoulder. “You thought that I…?” She left the question unfinished as her ears pricked up.
He nodded at the microscope. “Our feathers are different from theirs.”
A dull knock sounded from the door. Gloria froze, and the old man did not move to answer it. After a moments pause, there was a frantic banging, and loud voices filtered into the room.
“… know you’re in there, Gloria. We’re here to take you home,” the voices called.
“They’re lying,” the old man insisted, and he was on his feet faster than Gloria would have expected.
Gloria stared at him with a blank look.
“What are you waiting for? RUN!” he yelled. In the next moment, Gloria found herself herded towards the door between the cabinets. The old man yanked it open, pushed her out into the drizzle, and threw his full weight against the door, so that it slammed shut behind her.
From the other side of the house, the banging continued. Gloria paused, frozen and still. She heard the other door open, and the old man growl, “What d’ya want, Steve?”
“Course it would be you harbouring fugitives, Malachi,” the voice, Gloria assumed Steve, replied.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Steve” Malachi, the man who had rescued Gloria from the storm, insisted. “Bugger off.”
“I think not,” Gloria heard Steve insist. “Search every inch of this place!”
“Hey, you can’t go back there!” Malachi rushed.
Gloria shook her head and the spell was broken. Her wings spread, and her legs tensed as they pressed into the ground. The last thing she heard before she took off, was a cry of, “She’s here. Tear this dump apart!”
When Gloria glanced back through the small window of the house as she ascended into the sky, she saw a young man dressed all in gold, with golden wings much like her own. Held tight in his hand, was the feather from her wings.
Gloria shuddered, and she flapped her wings with haste as she sped across the clearing skies, without so much as a backward glance. From this day forward, she could never go back, and she would never be able to trust another angel again.
I enjoyed writing this prompt a lot. I may expand upon this universe at a later date, either in future prompts, or on Wattpad.
Next Sunday’s prompt:
I decided that second place in the poll, ‘Library/Books,’ will be next Sunday’s prompt:
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 12th of March, and leave a link in the comments below this post so that I can read it 🙂
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 🙂