Monday, June 10, 2013

Prompt: Click, Scoop, Robber, Piano, Crane (use at least 3 of these)

It would be the scoop of the year—the decade—if she pulled this off. Lisa sat in her little electric Mini around the corner from the gated entrance to Gerald van Kensing’s palatial—and extremely secluded—home, waiting for any sign that she was noticed. She took a deep breath, checked again that her recorder and handheld video camera were safely tucked in her vest pockets, and got out of the car, walking toward the high stone wall as casually as she could manage.
No one had interviewed van Kensing in over 20 years. When his wife died in the fire that destroyed his hands—and his career—he withdrew completely from public life. Personal life, too, as far as anyone knew. Lisa had grown up listening to his piano concertos, and when she got her first job at the Sentinel, she set her sights on breaching his silence. Letters, phone calls, even showing up on his doorstep elicited no response. There was an office pool betting against her. Her editor had suggested on more than one occasion that she was wasting her time. But Lisa was nothing if not determined.

One might even say obsessed. One might think that she crossed a line somewhere when she decided she should take matters in her own hands and sneak into his home. One might question where her moral compass was pointing to invade the privacy of an elderly, broken, grieving man. One might, but Lisa pushed aside any such internal debate and focused instead on the logistics of entering a gated property without permission.

With a quick look in each direction, she jumped up to the first handhold she had noticed on her endless loops around the neighborhood, hoping for some inspiration on how to get inside. The wall was ten feet high, and she had practiced at the local rock-climbing center. She scaled it in fifteen seconds and dropped into the grass below. Hiding in the shade, she pulled a whistle out of a vest pocket and waited to see if the dogs were out.

She counted three minutes and decided to move forward. She walked briskly toward the house, crossing the open lawn as if she belonged there. Reaching the brick patio without incident, she held her breath as she pulled on the handle of the double French doors. The door swung open easily at her touch. She slipped inside and pulled it closed. Looking around, she was surprised to find the room empty except for a grand piano. There were no photographs nor artwork hanging on the walls. No chairs or tables. The piano sat in the middle of the room, angled so the player faced the windows. But the bench was empty too.

Lisa walked toward the piano, feeling drawn to it. She reached her fingers out over the open keys, but she dared not touch it. She felt the prick of tears in her eyes and shook her head. She would not let emotion—sentiment—keep her from her goal. She was surprised by the click behind her. She slowly turned around. An old man stood in the doorway, holding a gun in clubbed hands that surely could not even pull the trigger. His hair and beard were long and bushy, but clean and brushed. He wore black slacks and a light blue turtleneck. That had always been his favorite color.

“Are you a thief? You’re too late,” he said in a harsh voice. “I’ve nothing worth stealing.”

Lisa took a step closer, standing in the light from the hall. “No, I’m not a thief. Hello, Father.”

For a different take, I switched up the setting to a science fiction scene ...

Dogs in house:

Time writing:
30 minutes

June word count:

1 comment:

  1. Prompt: Click, Scoop, Robber, Piano, Crane (use at least 3 of these)

    Hoofbeats. I flattened myself to the rock. The crane in the stream lifted his head, fluffed his feathers, then settled back into quiet watchfulness. The horse stopped moving and whuffed. There was a thump, and then the click-clink of stiruped boots against the paved road above. I closed my eyes, returning to childhood days when I had thought that made me invisible. I did not bother to still my impulse to pray: the gods might be gone, but maybe a prayer could find them wherever they had fled.

    The rider's creaked: leather trousers, kneeling, I guessed. I opened my eyes, unable to bare the suspense. My view was framed by moss on the underside and crossed with stripes of grass. He wore the King's colours, but that meant little. Any robber these days could obtain a set of livery with little effort, half the time stolen from another thief.

    He pulled out a cork with a twisting motion and sunk a waterskin into the stream. The crane took flight as he scooped the water up. He watched the bird rise, and I noticed the tattoo on the back of his neck. I reached for own tattoo and sat up. I was tired of hiding.

    He turned with a smile. "I wondered when you would notice."

    Time writing: 15 minutes