I mentioned before that I was using writing prompts from Pintrest. There are so many great prompts out there. Here is the latest one I wrote. I liked it so much I added it to my story, Broken Cycle (Name subject to change).
I woke up to hear knocking on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from across the room, from the mirror. The sheet that covered it trembled like a frightened child during a storm. But it was no child beneath the sheet nor was it frightened. I lay back down but still it persisted.
Tap – tap – taptaptap.
It was growing aggravated but I won’t lift up the sheet. I repeat my resolution even as my bare feet touch the chilled floor. The boards creak as I step closer. The mirror quaked and rattled as if it wanted to jump off the wall. My fingers clutched the thin sheet. My mouth had gone dry. Just go back to bed. Let it be. Don’t look. Just don’t.
I was never good at following orders, even my own. I ripped the sheet off and it fluttered to the floor. I stared at my reflection. It occurred to me I forgot to turn on the lights but I saw the face as clear as day. She smiled. It was a wicked smile. Even with my face I knew she was wrong.
“Thanks,” she whispered. Her words dripped with sarcasm but the one word was poison. I could tell by the way her eyes shined by the light that should not be there. Her smile was fixed like a doll, perfect but humorless; no warmth. She was mad about the sheet. The lump in my throat grew as she leaned forward. Her breath fogged up the glass, and I got a hint of something bitter, like lemons gone bad.
“You’ve been a bad girl, Nerena.” She said my name with agonizing slowness, drawing out each syllable. “So bad,” she said. I wanted to throw the sheet back over the mirror, or better yet chuck the stupid thing out the window and be done with her.
“I—I,” I couldn’t speak.
She frowned, “I kept up my end of the deal.” Anger crept in her words. Her forehead pressed against the glass. Her nostrils flared. “Let me out.” I shook my head. No. My whole body was shaking. “I said,” her fist pounded against the glass. “LET ME OUT!” The mirror clattered to the floor, I screamed like a spider just fell down, escaping onto the dark floor. In a way, she was like a spider. A black widow looking for the next meal and I was it. “Nerena,” her voice teetered between sweetness and a growl. Her lips pressed against her gums. I kicked the sheet over but it didn’t cover her completely. “Don’t you dare—I helped you!”
“You killed her!” I yelled back. I plucked the sheet up but her hand catches mine. No! The sheet drops from my hand as she pulls me towards her. She’s grinning and her grin keeps growing, ear to ear, splitting her face (my face) in half.
“It’ my turn now.” My arm is up to my elbow in the mirror, it feels like it was submerged in ice water. Her ragged breath is on my arm and goosebumps ripple across my skin. My free arm gropes around for something. Anything.
“Please,” I choke on my tears. Her fingers are claws, drawing blood as they drag me in deeper.
“My. Turn.” She laughs.
My hand has found something. I grab it without a thought and smash it hard onto the mirror. She grunts in surprise, her grip loosened. I jerked my arm back, her claws scrapped against my arm, tearing it to ribbons. I brought down the object harder. The mirror cracked and her scream sent my mind reeling.
I woke up to the sun stinging my eyes. I was on the floor, and even with the light it was just as freezing as last night. My arm throbbing, and I saw with no real surprise, the long red lines from my elbow to wrist. The blood had congealed overnight but it was still tender. In my left hand was a high-heeled shoe. But I didn’t own high heels, only sneakers, cleats and a pair of winter boots. Then it hit me, mom bought me a pair for Aunt Petrenia’s wedding. The box had been left by the door since last week. As I stare at the shattered mirror, I was never so glad to have high-heels. I’d never complain about them again.
“Maybe I’ll buy another pair or three,” my chuckle dies quickly. If she was angry before, she was livid now. I shuddered at the thought. This was only temporary. She would find a way back. No amount of high-heels would save me then.
I cleaned my cuts with the first aid kit from the hall (I had to tiptoe passed Ken’s room, he and mom were always early risers). It stung like hell and who knew if antibacterial ointments and alcohol wipes were useful for…whatever she had. I swept the glass up with some colored cardboard paper. The neon pink and orange really made the whole ordeal seem surreal. I hung the empty frame back on the wall when Ken walked in (without knocking, that jerk).
He whistled, “I knew you were ugly but damn! It’s not the mirror’s fault it can’t handle your level of—”
“Out!” I thrust my full weight on the door and soon it becomes a match. My feet slipped against the floor. Ken laughed like he isn’t even trying. My arm still hurt and the pain beat against my arm when I threw myself against the door.
“Ken,” I heard mom say, “leave your sister alone.” She didn’t bother to stop, and her steps receded downstairs.
“You heard her,” I said. I shifted so my back was flat against the door instead of my shoulder. I fell forward as Ken slipped in. His smug look dropped when he noticed my arm, “Rena?”
“It’s nothing!” I kicked him right above the knee and shoved him out. I slammed the door, panting, with my ear against the door. He knocked on it, just two soft knocks.
“Nerena,” he paused. “Did you do that to yourself?” And there’s the question. Well, it was my reflection, so technically, yes?
No, I couldn’t say that.
“It was an accident.” I said. “Please don’t tell mom.”
“Okay.” The floor boards creaked under his shifting weight but after a few moments, his footsteps also receded. Ugh, I’m started to feel sick again. The calendar on my wall mocked me with carefree puppies rolling in fields of flowers. I marked the days that passed with Red X’s, well I did until a few days ago. It felt wrong to mark that day with an X, like a target eliminated.
Smells of burning bacon and pancakes drifted up to me, my stomach rumbled but the idea of eating sent me stumbling across the hall to the bathroom. I didn’t bother closing the door, I barely had time to bend over the toilet before I threw up.
“Nerena?” Dad knocked on the open door. “You feeling alright?”
I just chucked up my guts, does that seem alright?
The anger came suddenly. I took a breath, he’s just worried, no need to bite his head off. But the anger was still bubbling, like a kettle on a stove. I could almost hear the piercing whistle.
“Nerena?” he asked again. He kneeled beside me and felt my forehead. “You’re freezing.”
No crap, I slept on the floor.
“I’m okay dad, probably the chicken from last night.” I tried to smile but it felt wrong, like I hadn’t used those muscles in years, they felt heavy. He helped me up and back into bed.
“I’ll get some medicine,” and with that he left. He didn’t notice the empty frame or my bandaged arm, for that I was grateful. I felt my eyelids fluttering close as I fought sleep. Maybe these past few days were all a lie, some stupid dream. I would wake up, sprawled on the couch with Ken and popcorn all over the floor. The TV would be still on, replaying the opening theme of the movie we rented. Mom would yell at us for staying up and to clean up our mess. Dad would squeeze himself between us and restart the whole movie. Ken would laugh as I fall for the same jump scares over and over. It was a normal weekend. No Georgia, no Jesse, but best of all, there was no her and no more late night mirror talks. I fell asleep repeating the thought over and over.
It still needs work (a lot of work), but it’s a start.
If you are interested in checking out some prompts for yourself, I highly recommend using Pintrest. If you’re ever stuck with writer’s block, try a little prompt or even a photo. You will be surprised at what your brain will produce. Even if it isn’t the best writing, it feels good, it feels right, to have words on a page.
I have some prompts on my board, feel free to check them out.
So grab your pens, quills, or keyboard and write away. While you’re at it, why not join NaNoWriMo?
4 more days! That’s right folks (do people still use that word?), only four more days until the dreaded, yet anticipated, event begins! Even the exclamation points can’t express my jubilance.
But of course, right when I decide on the Perfect Idea to flesh out during November, my brain finds three more and those three find another three…and so forth. So many ideas, so little time.