Prompt: Messenger

Posted March 9, 2012 by Amber in Writing / 13 Comments


She stood in the doorway for a while and watched him, the sniveling idiot.  He sat on one of Papa’s least favorite chairs; Papa said you could tell a man by the seat he chose.  This chair was particularly uncomfortable and positioned in such a place that either he was completely stupid, or the young man could not see her in the doorway.  Anna rolled her eyes, lifted her skirts, and waltzed into the room with the grace that her Mama would have insisted on.  Heaven knows where her Mama was; probably looking for her, since Martha failed to retrieve her from the gardens.  At the rustle of her skirts, the young man stood and bowed.  He had a baby face and innocent eyes – practically a child!  If it was ladylike to guffaw, Anna certainly would have.  Her training as a Southern Belle remained intact, and she curtseyed.

“Mister Alain Hartford, I presume?” she said as sweetly as her Mama’s ice tea.  The young man blushed bright red.

“I-I’m afraid not,” he stammered.  Anna stood mid-curtsey, and was unable to mask the confusion.  She had kept a man other than her despicable suitor waiting for her, for hours?  That was just plain rude.  This young man, disgusting as he may be, must be mortified by her poor manners.  She straightened immediately.

“You must forgive my poor manners,” she insisted. “I was-”

“N-no matter,” the boy interrupted.  She raised an eyebrow at him.  “I am sent here to bring you to the Hartford Estate.  Master Alain… wishes to see you there.”

“I cannot imagine that I would-”

“You will go, Anna.”

Her Mama was back, and suddenly Anna understood how the doorway could seem invisible to this room.  She turned slowly, eyes cast down.  “Yes, Mama,” she said with a curtsey.


The prompt: In honor of Davy Jones and the other artists who enhance our lives, this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt draws inspiration from music.  Go to This Day In Music, and discover what was number 1 on the charts in the United States, England or Australia the day you or your character was born, or any other special day in your/their life, if you prefer.  Listen to the song(s) and let it inspire you. In 300 words or less.

Author’s Note: 300 words is not a lot.  Holy moly!  This feels a little unfinished to me, but I imagine the next installment will be at the Harford Estate.  Since Anna was born pre-1946, I simply used 1946 as the year:  my song was “Rumors are Flying” by Frankie Carle, which actually fit with Anna’s story well and gave me some direction, however blunt the ending is.  You can read the last installment of Anna’s story here.

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13 responses to “Prompt: Messenger

  1. Clever girl! You used your character’s birthdate! I was rather uninspired by “To SIr, WIth Love.” (Cue the sad trombones.) Plus, I have an awesome guest writer today, so I didn’t want the attention to go away from her words. Well done.

  2. I was so tempted to do a character’s birthday and write another piece of my WIP but I thought I’d try and work with what MY birthday gave me 🙂 I think it worked out.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this piece. You set the tone of the characters, the attitudes quite well. And you made it clear Mama is in charge 🙂

    Love the Scarlett O’Hara pic. I’m a HUGE Gone With The Wind fan. Is Anna’s story taking place in the 1880’s?

  3. Yes, 300 words is insanely short. I ended up going over. Dammit. Mad props to you for keeping it at 300 and managing a really good scene. That is HARD to do!

    You did an amazing job of making Mama a formidable character, even without her presence in the scene until the very end. I also really like the bit about being able to tell a lot about a man by where he chooses to sit. Great food for thought and for observation for future characters.

    • Thanks for your insightful comment, Angie! I actually ran 700 characters and had to delete a lot of it. 🙂 Figure I can always talk about more in next week’s excerpt. 🙂