I’m currently trying to work my way through the minefield of novel writing. Now my teaching course is finished I try to dedicate at least an hour every day before life enters my world. This doesn’t mean however that I’ve lost my love for the short story, in fact I’m using word limits of late as a writing exercise, to get the brain moving if you like. Here’s another one of them, this time I gave myself 200 words. It’s inspired by the black paint peeling off the gate – I just changed place and perspective. Over to you.
A hesitant scribble with the last stub of a pencil, trying to make it last. Where would the next one come from? He’d tried scraping the walls, adding saliva, hoping to make primitive ink but it dried and faded, a metaphor for life, he thought. Like a rose, it bursts into bloom then slowly the ground is covered with a silken duvet.
The pencil was his saviour, his sanity. He wrote to no-one but the words he scrawled were his words, his truth. He held the stub of the pencil and wondered how many more words he could write before the lead finally gave way and became nothing.
As he lay on his bunk, listening to the night sounds, he heard a faint patter. His thumbnail struck the match, expecting a cockroach or maybe a mouse for company. He saw nothing except shavings from the ancient black bars, which he now held the match to. The paint was peeling. Before his fingers burnt he scratched the black paint and spat on it. Salvation. The writer, with another six years to serve, lay smiling on his bunk. Tonight he could sleep without worrying about his pencil. He had found his ink.