A Character Based on Possessions (a freewrite)

I always thought his chair looked strange without him sat in it. You had to sit in the room a long time to get a glimpse of it empty. When you did you couldn’t help but notice the difference in colour of material where the sun rarely had a chance to reach the places masked by his body. On the rare occasion that he left the confines of the chair it would be because he needed a new, sharper pencil for his crosswords. He kept a healthy supply of orange coloured 2H pencils in an old coffee jar. This lead stained old jar was always wedged into the corner of the windowsill, tucked behind the curtain and more often than not next to a red poinsettia, the pointy tips of the freshly sharpened pencils contrasting with the withered pale red tips of yet another unwanted gift from his daughter who offered endless plants instead of her time.

It always confused me how someone who couldn’t go to bed on a blunt pencil was not affected at all by the noticeable layer of light-coloured dust on the dark red radio next to their bed. I had heard the radio several times on a Sunday morning, so I knew he used it, but it was so old that even the sound coming from it sounded thick with dust. I think he was focused on the things that would keep his mind from wandering, and this was his crossword competitions, so the only things that warranted his time outside of this pursuit, was the sharpening of his pencils and the hole-punching of his competition entry forms so that he could store them and keep on track of his lack of success.  The only reason he kept the poinsettia on the windowsill for so long was for his neighbours to see that someone had been there to see him. The plant itself was just one more unnecessary object around him.

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Eyelash

No matter how many times she tried she couldn’t dislodge the eyelash from the sheet of paper. Every time she brushed her hand over it the eyelash got more and more embedded into the snow white sheet.

The eyelash was thick and black. Not dark brown or just dark because of being against the white, but black. It was like a jet black ink stain, a fresh tattoo on flawless skin.

Her hands grew clammy with sweat, and beige fingerprints started to form on the paper where she tried to lift the eyelash up by getting it to adhere to her skin.

She thought about getting a new sheet of paper from the pack but there would be no way to explain why she needed another sheet. She took pride in only ever needing one sheet to submit her designs, and asking for another would involve having either to say that she had made a mistake or that she had been careless with the expensive paper and damaged it.

So she incorporated the mistake into her design, picking out a long thick black eyelash for the other side.

Woman in the Wind

by Lucy Rose Williams

The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows. A body lies across the doorstep of the church, a line of crumb-carrying ants marches across the fedora covering its face. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease. A figure glides past the church wall, before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.

The figure picks up speed and pushes a large navy blue coach pram over the cobblestones. The cries start to bounce along the air as the wheels speed over the lumps in the road. Her black stilettos navigate the rise and fall of the stones with ease as she strides onwards, diagonally across the middle of the square, her fitted jacket accentuating her perfect figure. She fixes her gaze at the empty bench in the far left corner, oblivious to the noises spurting out of the pram.

When she reaches the bench, she does not sit down. Instead she turns her back to the pram and fixes her stare on the green door ahead of her.

Whoever she is waiting for is testing her patience, as she fidgets and adjusts her scarf, tucking her long hair into her roll neck sweater to stop it blowing over her face. She adjusts her skirt around her thighs and checks the time.

Ten minutes pass and the crying stops. This new silence is broken only a few times by some bikes crossing the square. The green door opens and a woman with curlers in her hair, wearing a long powder blue silk dressing gown, stands in the doorway. She beckons the woman towards her but the woman shakes her head and looks away.

The woman in the doorway reaches for a long fur coat from the coat rack and a large grey fur hat. She puts the coat over her dressing gown and slips off her slippers in favour of long leather boots. She starts to button them up the sides and the woman by the bench looks at her watch.

She doesn’t make any eye contact with the lady in the fur as she approaches, and as soon as the pram has been handed over she tightens her belt up a notch around her thin cotton jacket and marches back across to the church on the opposite side of the square. She isn’t as sure-footed this time, and her cheap heels start to wobble, getting stuck every few paces. She starts to stagger and reaches a bench just in time to let it catch her weight. Her feet look narrow and birdlike, and the plastic black shoes look as though they are painted on her feet as they twist into the gaps in the cobbles. Her toes wrap around the stones like an eagle gripping on to a perch.

Her scraggy hair has come out of her roll neck sweater on one side and she tries to adjust it and wedge it back while she tightens up the rag of a scarf she found, and heaves her shoulders up and down, inhaling deep breaths of icy air, and exhaling steamy bursts. She bends forward and rummages in her pockets. She pulls out a photograph and holds it in her blueing hands. Her breathing gets faster and more frantic and she pulls off her gloves to rub her thumb over the photo. She rubs the baby’s face over and over again before collapsing forward with her head between her knees, gasping for breath.