Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
TITLE: Everywhere a Story Story
By Eliza Evans
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My dear father. Where is he now? Did he escape to safety with his guardsmen?
There is no relief from the constant rocking of the ship or the hot ocean air that burns my mouth and eyes, even through the walls of this small room that holds me.
But the cabin boy, Zak, who brings my meals, has softened towards me. He is not more than seventeen, I think. Two years my senior. Strong, confident as a man and weathered from his life on the seas.
Yesterday, he showed me his pet rat, hoping to frighten me I suppose. Instead, I fed it a nibble of dried coconut and let it sniff my hand and press its small paws against my wrist. I was thrilled with its curiosity and liveliness after my days of solitude. The whole time I could feel Zak's eyes on me, watching me. Eyes as deep and blue as these waters we sail.
Today he brought melons, sugared ginger and a piece of poached fish for my supper. He meant it as a kindness, I know, but it stirred memories of home so savagely within me that I cried out in anguish for the first time since my ordeal.
Zak held his fingers to my mouth and brushed away my tears with his thumb. He stood so close to me I could feel his warm breath on my face and smell the cinnamon scent of him. Truth is...I could not look away from him. He put his hand on my waist, leaned into me and put his lips to my ear to whisper.
He had a plan for my escape...for our escape.
Danielle put down her pen, rested against the counter and sighed dreamily. The restaurant buzzed with activity around her, but she didn't mind. Sure, she was supposed to be back from coffee break and waiting on tables, but sigh...she was lost in writing her story. It was so real. It's hard to keep one's mind on coke and burgers when you're trapped on a ship, and there is a really gorgeous guy, too!
But Danielle wasn't surprised by her unromantic teacher's reaction to her tale.
“Some good stuff going on here, Danielle...but eyes as blue and as deep as the ocean? Puuhlease! Oh, and do remind me. Wasn't it last week that your storybook cowboy's eyes were as dark as the starless midnight sky or some such? And smelled like fresh mountain rain?" Mrs. Standish scoffed but she was also smiling. She was happy to have a willing student...even if that student was a little stubborn and star struck.
"Think outside the box, girl! You can do it," was the constant encouragement.
Danielle went to her job at Ed's Diner the next evening with renewed purpose. She “spied” on her customers and eavesdropped on their conversations, jotting in her notebook anything interesting she might use in her next story. She was determined to write something that would finally surprise her teacher.
When Mr. Todd came in for his usual Belgian waffles and bacon, Danielle studied him with a keen writer's eye as she took down his order.
Bulbous nose. Hunched shoulders. Map of friendly wrinkles lining his face.
“Belgian Waffles and bacon. Coming right up, sir. With freshly whipped cream, too.”
Appreciation showed on Mr. Todd's face.
Sort of handsome with a sincere smile.
Just minutes later Danielle heard Ed, the head cook and head boss-man, hollering her name from the kitchen. Danielle dashed back to the grill.
“What in the Sam Hill is this supposed to mean, Danielle?” Ed unclasped a piece of paper from the food order queue.
"Are you trying to tell me I have a big nose or something? Bad posture? Wrinkles? What the...?" Ed paused to cock a smile. "Hey now. So...you think I'm handsome, eh?"
Danielle groaned. She had mixed up her writer's notes with her waitress order pad!
She should have been embarrassed. She certainly should have apologized to the baffled Ed. But the truth is, her first thought was...“I better write this down. This could make a good story!”
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