Monday, March 11, 2013

Prompt: Chasing a dream

Sofie woke with a start and bumped her head on the uneven wooden floor. She listened for the noise that had wakened her, but there was nothing. Then she thought of the dream, and as soon as she did, it drew away, sliding down a long hallway in her memory. She jumped up and ran after it, tripping on her tattered skirt and pulling it up so she could run faster. The images of the dream blurred into a kaleidoscope of light and color, and she reached out her hand to try to catch a single strand. He fingers stretched into empty air. She stumbled and stood wavering, drawing in a sobbing breath, though she refused to cry.

The hallway was dark, now that the dream’s light had faded. It was lined with doors, and Sofie reached for the nearest one on her right and tried the handle. It turned, and she pushed the door open, stepped into the room as she looked around. It was empty, with no wall on the opposite side. Sofie ran the few steps to reach the open edge and stared at the ocean waves splashing against the side of the building a few feet below her. The water was dark grey, though the sky was bright blue, with only a few wisps of white clouds drifting high overhead. The sun was behind the building, and Sofie shivered in the shade, even as she shielded her eyes to peer out to the horizon. There was nothing. Not a bird, not a boat, no sign of land or life.

Her shoulders sagged and her hand dropped listlessly to her side. How long had she been here? She looked around the room, hoping for any small item. The walls were bare, with empty holes where pictures had hung. Not even a nail remained. A flash of white in the corner caught her eye. She walked over and crouched down. A scrap of paper, folded again and again into a tight wad. She picked it up and felt all around it. So long since she had touched anything small, held anything in her hands.

With trembling fingers, Sofie peeled the paper folds free, teased it open, laid it flat on the wooden floorboards and ran her fingers over it. Torn along one edge, it had pencil scribbles all over one side. She picked it up and carried it to the open wall so she could see the writing in the sunlight.

the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive…

The paper fluttered out of Sofia’s frozen fingers as she whispered, “Elizabeth—”

She remembered…

Thanks to alexut97 on for the beautiful visual prompt!

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle, Bacon

Mediæval Bæbes, The Virgin Queen soundtrack

Time writing:
15 minutes

March word count:

The poem is one of my favorites, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's exquisite "How do I love thee?".


  1. Prompt: Chasing a dream

    There, out of the corner of her eye: a flit of black, more solid than shadow. Rachael spun left, but it was gone. Nothing marred the smooth, warm finish of the panelled corridor. She held her breath, waiting. Her thigh muscles shivered with the effort of staying tensed, ready to spring.

    A scratching noise, back and to the right. She spun again. The not-shadow vanished as she finished her turn, retreating into a doorway. Rachael gave chase. She skidded on the carpeted floor and dove through the open door into a darkened room. She slapped her left hand on the wall where a light switch should be, but there was nothing. She stopped three strides into the room and returned to feel near the doorframe for the missing switch. It was on the far side of a larger protuberance, which revealed itself to be a red plastic first-aid kit in the flickering incandescent light.

    She scanned the room. Even had it not been packed so tightly full of old equipment that she would scarce have been able to reach the far side had she wished, it was far to late. The dream would be gone.

    She leaned on a table, first pushing aside what might be cuvettes for an ancient spectrophotometer. And was that ornate wooden contraption a microscope? She straightened. This could be interesting, anyway. She reached for the microscope--

    The world flashed white then black, and she sat up from the converted dentist's chair. She yanked off the blackened googles and detangled the earwires from her hair. "Hey, I was getting somewhere there."

    "You lost the dream," Fred said. He retrieved her headgear.

    "There was a lot of good subconscious--"

    "Pah on subconscious!" said Amy, rising from a kneel on the floor. "My turn."

    Time writing: 18 minutes, sleeping lap baby.

    1. I see that you've recorded time writing; I'll try to do that too, although I feel I need to modify it by baby-activity (sleeping lap baby is much more like real time than other kinds...).

      And how funny that we both have corridors! I've been trying to avoid reading your piece before I start, just looking at the prompt.

    2. That is funny! I like the immediate action in yours. Then the visual of the cluttered room...and the jerk/jump into something different. Nicely done!

    3. Oh, I will put the artwork (when I have any) up top for you then, so you can have that prompt as well...