Family Reunions (Art Prompt Writing Contest)

in #fiction2 years ago (edited)

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Time is an odd thing. Supposed to move along with the regularity of a ticking clock. Without a sense on occasion, nor effected by sentiment. Yet it stretches when we’re stuck at boring jobs and – of course - “flies when we’re having fun”. Perhaps its strangest property of all is its occasional sticky nature, suspending people in it leaving them unable to move forward. Sometimes people, and sometimes even places.

Chris had been sulking in the back of the car for almost two hours now. His girlfriend, Tamsin, and their two young children, Thomas and Chloe, had been mocking him for pretty much the entire time. He always got grumpy when they had to visit his Mum’s house. The kids loved it, their Nan would bake them these mini pastries, topped with berries she’d pick from her garden. And Tamsin got on with Chris’s Mum, Mandy, better than she did her own. They were always great little family weekends away, unless you were Chris.

He had spent his entire childhood in that house, and although it was a mostly unremarkable one, every story has dark corners. Places we prefer not to shine a light on. Places we’d rather forget.

It was just before midday when they arrived and the kids leapt from the car before it had even fully stopped. Chloe literally bounced onto the floor, rolled a bit, bounced back up and ran at her Nan like nothing had happened.

“Watch yourself little one,” the elderly lady standing laughing in the doorway called out, “you break a leg out here, will take a few hours to get you anywhere. You’ll be sipping on my gin to quell the pain!”

“She most certainly will not,” Tamsin chuckled as she walked over to hug her Mother-In-Law.

The two embraced to a second or two, already muttering to each other so Chris couldn’t hear, and then went inside.

Chris waved at his Mum and followed them in slowly. Much as he loved his Mum, he hated this house. He could feel himself physically change as he walked through the door. Such a beautiful house, filled with his loved ones on a sunny summer's day, but he couldn’t enjoy it. The evitable fact that light always fades to dark never left his mind, not for a second.

After hours of playing in the garden, drinking wine and eating far too much, everyone was already tired by about six o’clock. This was always the way on these trips. Even the kids were flagging a little bit, fighting to stay active, but you could see that soon as their heads hit the pillow they’d be out cold.

Everyone began to settle in the lounge and the screens came out. The kids with their tablets, tapping away frantically, and shouting; throwing themselves around as they battled each other. Chris got his phone out for “work”, sitting quietly in his Dad's old chair. Tamsin had poured her and Mandy the end of their second bottle of red and had her phone switched off in her pocket.

“You know I don’t mind dear,” Mandy smiled and slyly pointed to her pocket, “I’ve even left mine on.”

“What happened to ‘no screens’?”, Tamsin quipped back smiling.

“I’m moving with the times?!”

The two laughed and sat drinking while Mandy showed Tamsin her new smart phone.

After a few more hours of chilling and chatting in the lounge, a slightly tipsy Tamsin had declared that since “her favorite Mother-In-Law" had made lunch, that it was time to order pizza.

“It’ll arrive quicker than Chloe’s bloody ambulance would’ve!” Mandy had observed.

Sure enough the overpriced, over-cheesed monstrosities the kids insisted on ordering arrived in just under an hour, just as darkness fell, and the family sat munching and chatting. Having the time of their lives. Except Chris, he had excused himself saying he was going to bed with a headache. Tamsin had pointed out as she did last time that he always “gets a headache” when they visited his Mum, but Mandy had calmly put a hand on her shoulder in a polite effort to ask her to leave it. She knew where he was going.

Chris unlocked the cellar door and walked down the old stone stairs in complete darkness. He didn’t need the light, he had spent so much of his childhood playing down here he knew it inch by inch even to this day. He slowly shuffled over to the old, wonky, wooden chair in the corner of the room and sat down with a sigh.

“You never will get used to this will you?” a voice he recognized so well from his childhood came from the darkness.

“No.”

“Well, it’s always a pleasure to see you all the same boy. How are the little ones?”

Chris sat, tears quietly streaming down his face.

“It’s fine. Your Mother tells me all about them. Says you’re doing well too. You certainly look it.”

“Yes... yes I’m ....I’m doing well,” he wiped the tears from his face and composed himself a little, “and yourself?”

They both laughed, Chris had not laughed that hard in ages. He always dreaded coming down here, it was so painful, but how could he not. His mother handled it better, but she was as strong as they came.

She had once suggested that after the accident they had both gone mad. Experiencing some sort of joint hallucination as a coping mechanism. Chris told her that was ridiculous, but only because he feared it to be true.

A snapshot of time, that is what he had told her. Something that - although he could not explain - most definitely did exist. It had to.

But not to Mandy. As she had said to him countless times. Whether shared delusion, welcome apparition, or temporal pinprick in the universe. To her it didn't matter.

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My entry to #twbwritingcontest based on the fantastic photograph by @nubellorona

Art Prompt Writing Contest #13
@thewritersblock

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You have a minor misspelling in the following sentence:

Tamsin had poured her and Mandy the end of thier second bottle of red and had her phone switched off in her pocket.
It should be their instead of thier.

Thanks, how did I not notice that? Oh , you're a bot. Thought you read it quick. Thanks anyway :)

Wow! Nice Job

Hi samuraihedgehog,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Wow, I went to sleep six hours ago and this video had five likes. I wake up and it's 579 and has been upvoted as "exceptional content". To be honest I'm still not totally sure how everything works on Steemit, but the more I learn the more I'm enjoying it. Thank you for the vote, it's hugely appreciated.

Tamsin had pointed out as she did last time that he always “gets a headache” ...

Lol... Well the house sure did leave memories he did not want to remember. Please who was he talking to in the dark?

I deliberately didn't specify exactly. To me it's his Dad, but different people find different things in different stories. Even only short and simple ones.

Oh I see... Thought so for a moment but I wasn't sure. Nicely written then. Well done 👏

Man, this is awesome. I loved the way you painted family gatherings and Chris's character was really blown my mind. You created this two parallel world going opposite to each other was great and the end was extraordinary. I felt it all and I felt that I was there was in there.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Just read "A Father's Tear" on your page. Good stuff :)

thanks :) Looking forward to your next works :)

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by SamuraiHedgehog from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, someguy123, neoxian, followbtcnews, and netuoso. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows. Please find us at the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

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Brilliant brilliant brilliant story! I loved every second of it and might have shouted out loud at you for leaving me dangling like that ;) Gosh I feel for Chris- what a thing for a character to have to go through and keep going through on every visit- a reminder of his shared insanity... or perhaps his shared connection to something unworldly... never quite able to put the horrible incident behind him and heal.

Congratulations on the Curie vote- so very well deserved, and I'm so glad as I followed their curation trail here and found you... now following! Keep up the excellent storytelling. E x

Thanks so much for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. To be honest I've been surprised by how positive the feedback has been so far. It really encourages me to write more, so there's many other posts on the way!

That's excellent news that there's more on the way- I really look forward to reading more of your work. E x

You got voted by @curationkiwi thanks to SamuraiHedgehog! This bot is managed by @KiwiBot and run by @rishi556, you can check both of them out there. To receive maximum rewards, you must be a member of @KiwiBot. To receive free upvotes for yourself (even if you are not a member) you can join the KiwiBot Discord linked here and use the command !upvote (post name) in #curationkiwi.

Great story! :) I’m also participating in the contest. Let’s see how it goes...Goos luck!

Thanks, good luck to you you too.

H-m-m! You sure got me hooked on that story. I could totally relate to the characters and it left me wanting more. You will be writing more, wont you?

Glad you enjoyed it. This one was just a one off, I've got plenty of other stories on the though.

Ok, when do we get more. That was brilliantly crafted to hook someone into the story. Seriously, in that short of a time building characters, that I want to know more about is insanely brilliant, and you started building to climatic end right from the start, the sense of dread and then the pin prick in time twist.
Seriously, let me know when and if there is more.

Thanks for the comments, great to have some feedback. There's no more of this particular story, was just a one and done. Got plenty of others on the way though. Will have something up over the weekend.

That sounds great I will be looking forward to it. It would be awesome to write a bunch of great posts on steemit, getting paid for them here then turn them into a short-story format book and get paid again.

That would be awesome. Think I need a bit more practice first though, not even two weeks since I posted my first story.

Everybody starts somewhere, and I like the thought of getting paid two times or more for creating content.

It would be nice :)

Hey, this guy appears to have done something very similar, scroll to the bottom. https://steemit.com/writing/@svashta/short-story-loss

Interesting. I've actually read a couple of his posts before, not noticed that before though.

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