15 Minute Ficlets is a weekly challenge based on the original 15 Minute Ficlets LiveJournal Community. Since this community has been defunct since 2013, I’ve decided to resurrect the challenge on my blog as a weekly Sunday writing challenge. If there’s interest, I’ll turn this into a meme (link up in the comments if you try it!). In the meanwhile, the rules:
Based on a single word, write a story in fifteen minutes. The word count is irrelevant. Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word. You never know what you’ll end up with!
You have 15 minutes. Go!
The Real World
Sunshine flowed over the southern Florida landscape like gravy over a fresh roasted turkey. While the rest of the east coast shivered in the early December chill, the sunshine state celebrated by stretching out on its beaches and sipping slow mojitos. Hattie slung her heels over her right hand and sand squeezed between her toes. It took all her concentration to remain corporeal on this plane, but the caressing warmth of the modern Florida made the searing pain in her head worthwhile.
The wind swirled her lacy white summer dress around her knees and tugged at her gold ringlets. When the Writer offered to pencil her into the Real World, she thought Florida would be like the 1960s film she came from, but so much had changed. Women bore their bodies without shame, soaking in the sun until their skin was tinted bronze. A man rode a mechanical beast along the shore, kicking sand up and spitting it out. Hattie shaded her eyes and looked out at the waves. They ducked and danced and swirled, starting in shades of sweet blue and dazzling green before slowing fading to grey and…
Oh no, she thought, and lifted her hands. She could see the sailboats through her hands – not only between her fingers, but her hands themselves were fading. A fictional character didn’t belong in the real world, and she wouldn’t last long. But the salty wind and the warm sand! How had she lived so long without feeling this electricity on her skin? Of all the films she could slip in and out of, there was an ethereal quality to this world that could not be matched.
Just five more minutes, she pleaded.
Her hands solidified, but not without consequences. Hattie’s heart fluttered and the air rushed out of her lungs, leaving her woozy. She stumbled forward and caught herself with her hands in the sand, gasping.
An acoustic guitar strummed somewhere nearby and a melodic voice followed it. “You okay, lady?”
Hattie looked up and saw the speaker. A man with stringy auburn hair and stubble bent over a painted guitar, his calloused fingers running over the metal strings like he was caressing a lover. His stark blue eyes seemed to both see her and see through her. For a moment she thought she may be fading away again.
The voice came in crackled, like a broken radio. “Hat… I have… bring you….”
She sighed, her gaze lingering on the musician, who had gone back to strumming his guitar. The melody now was sad, forlorn. A goodbye song.
“Take me back, Wallace,”she whispered. The tingling sensation scraped along her entire body and color drained away.
When I write short stories, I usually like to carve moments out from the novel ideas I have running around my head. Hattie comes from a Camp NaNoWriMo novel called Beyond the Silver Screen. The description of the book, as written for Camp NaNoWriMo:
“Hattie is content to be a re-run forever and never once thought of what could be out there in the “Great Wide Somewhere” until her friend Tessa jumped off a dock and into the world behind the film reel.
Unable to live with herself unless she tried to bring Tessa home, Hattie is caught in a whirlwind as she chases her friend through sixty years of motion pictures, not knowing who or what she’ll find on the next reel.”
This story takes place after the events of the book, once Hattie has become an agent for the Film Preservation Society.
If you give it a go anytime this week, link up in the comments and I’ll add you in the post!
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“Acoustic” – Michelle @ Faerie Fits