One Hour Story 1

So here’s my first one hour story. The prompt was the lyrics I’ve had in my head all day: “backyard skulls, not deep enough to never be found” from Backyard Skulls by Frightened Rabbit, and it was also inspired by yesterday morning’s storm that had me driving through water several inches deep on my way to work and on bone-dry roads on the way home.

Not too sure about the story; I felt happy with the narrative voice at first but once I got into the dialogue I sort of forgot about everything else. Ends too abruptly, but I ran out of time. Not fantasy either, I was sort of expecting fantasy to come out because that’s what I always write. Oh well. Here it is:

She stood in her wellington boots, though the waters had subsided. The road was still dirty and damp and covered in rubble – not suitable for any of her heels and she didn’t want to get her trainers dirty. It hadn’t looked so bad from the top, just a corner of the garden sheared away, a few bricks tumbled, and the rest of the garden damp and flattened by the rush of rainwater.

But from the road, under that tumbled bit of wall, it was bad. Oh, the garden was fine, the grass and plants would bounce back. And the wall wasn’t even that bad, it had lost a few stones but most of them were just on the pavement. A few had been rolled a couple of metres down the road, but they were all still there; the wall could be repaired.

No, the problem was the bones sticking from the mud behind where the wall had been. It wasn’t a quiet road, people would see. Some already had.

“Poor Rover,” Emily sighed aloud, aware of the looks she was getting from the passers-by, in case anyone said anything.

She’d have to get a sheet from inside, the bit of tattered plastic sheeting she put over the windscreen in winter so the frost didn’t take. But she didn’t move, not just yet. She stood there, tilting her head to the left as she examined the damage and the dirt-stained bones that poked out.

It would change everything. Here it was: proof. She couldn’t pretend any more, couldn’t ignore it, couldn’t imagine the dozens of scenarios it could have been and believe that she would never be able to know the whole truth.

She tore herself away from the morbid sight and plodded back up the steps, round the side of the house across grass that still squelched to the shed. The plastic sheet wasn’t hard to find and she used stones that had previously made up the wall to pin them down, covering the little landslip the flash flood had caused and with it, her brother’s bones.

She’d have to do something about them eventually. They’d have to be gone by the time she got the wall repaired, at the very least. Before a bad gust pulled the sheet up too.

Plans formed in her head. Digging up the actual bones of her dead pet and reburying them in the same spot would be a start, in case the police came knocking. She could explain they were dog bones and show the freshly dug “new” grave as proof, complete with Rover’s remains. As for Charlie’s bones, she’d have to find somewhere safer for them. A holdall in the attic, for the time being, until she had the time to find somewhere better.

But before all that, she had a phone-call to make.

“Mum? It’s me.”

“Oh hi, dear. I’m actually a bit busy right now, do you mind calling back in a little while?”

“Mum, there was a flood and the garden wall fell down. I found some bones.”

Emily waited for her mother to reply. For a moment she thought the signal must have cut out, but then she heard a sigh.

“I see. Give me just a moment dear.” Her voice became quieter. “It’s my daughter, I won’t be long. Why don’t you pour us another and I’ll be back in a moment. Now dear, Emily,” she added, returning to normal volume. “You understand, don’t you? I did what I had to. Any mother would have done the same.”

“You told me he’d run away and promised never to come back,” Emily reminded her mother. She wandered over to the window to look out over the half-ruined garden. “You said he’d taken the diamonds and was probably living the life of luxury in Argentina.”

“Well, he did take the diamonds,” her mother said defensively. “He was going to take them to the police and tell them it was all us. Can you believe that, Emily? He was going to accuse us before we got the chance to tell the truth.”

“Mother.”

But now her mother was started, Emily couldn’t interrupt.

“Can you believe that, my darling? He was going to frame you! He’d have seen you in jail and gotten away scot free!”

“Mum, I-”

“I mean, after all we did for him. The drink, the drugs, and after all our patience and support he would have thrown it all away, first in his stupid heist and then by putting it all on us. And that poor man.”

“Mum, I know.”

“No, dear, you really don’t. You let him blind you to it, you let him manipulate you.”

“No, Mum. I know.”

“The diamonds weren’t for drugs, Mum. Were they? I saw the letters, I wasn’t blind. Foreclosures, debts, threats of bailiffs. And all those letters from those quacks and pretend priests with their magic water and ancient relics.”

“I don’t know what you mean, dear.”

Emily sighed. “The truth is, Mum…”

What was the truth? Her memories were jumbled, like those stones from the garden wall left on the pavement. She remembered his face, and sometimes Charlie’s face was on the poor old man’s body, in her nightmares where she’d always known she’d been denying it all.

“Mum, those diamonds weren’t for Charlie’s drugs. They were for the house. I know you took them from him and paid off all the debts. I know where you found them and I know you confronted him about them.”

“He denied it all, of course. Not a truthful bone in his body,” Emily’s mother complained. “As you will be able to see for yourself.”

“Mother, that was morbid. But Charlie wasn’t lying. I did take them.”

So that’s it. What do you think? Did anyone else attempt my little exercise?

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2 thoughts on “One Hour Story 1

  1. I think it’s a sound first draft. My favourite parts are the wet weather and appearance of the bones- unusual and sparks interest. However I was a bit disappointed when I learnt they were Rover’s and at the ease with which as a reader I found out they were Emily’s brother’s. I think the story might work better if there is more of a mystery surrounding the identity of the bones, and if Emily’s emotions were more mixed or she couldn’t full remember what had happened to keep the reader guessing?

    1. Yes, good point; I was happier with the first couple of paragraphs than the rest. I don’t think I did the emotional side well at all; Emily just feels so detached. And I don’t think it was obvious enough that the Rover bit was a ruse Emily was using to stop people asking questions.

      Thanks for your feedback.

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