Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Drip (04/25/13)
- TITLE: CONTRASTS
By Pauline Carruthers
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Still dripping history, the ancient renovated stone house stood like a landmark above the new town of Freshlands. It’s oversized front entrance, now split to form two individual front doors, reflected perfectly the personalities of its occupants. Poppy Upbeat’s gleaming scarlet lacquered front door opened to immediately reveal ultra modern, open plan, minimalist living accommodation. Polished wooden flooring glowed beneath low backed matching sofas and haphazardly placed almost ground level side tables. Whilst behind the solid looking, low key brown varnish of Larry Downside’s door, lurked the dependability of ‘don’t show the scuff marks’ carpet and solid chunky fitments. A gilt edged mirror hung ‘placed’ over an antique iron fireplace. The only thing that linked them together was that each had an identical alabaster jar; Poppy’s standing amidst a confusion of colourful knick knacks that sat on her quirky Ikea cabinet and Larry’s standing sedately to attention in the middle of his ‘wise buy, last a lifetime’ solid oak chest.
Each weekday morning would see them making their way together down the hill to the town where they worked. Larry to his job in the local Solicitors office, walking briskly in his thick soled black lace-up shoes, sober grey suit buttoned neatly over pin striped shirt, briefcase swinging loosely from his hand. Poppy teetered beside him on her red stilettos, yellow calf length skirt swirling beneath loose orange jacket, designer handbag dripping from her arm. She graced the reception desk in one of the local hotels, generously soliciting help and information to make the guests feel ‘at home‘.
Sunday was always ’church day’ and Poppy Upbeats lovely soprano voice could be heard singing like an angel in the immediate vicinity. She was a popular girl, exuberant and chatty, radiating happiness in spasms like a light bulb going on and off, never lacking a Sunday lunch or dinner invitation. Whereas Larry Downside had a voice like a frog, and though his personality had the stillness of a millpond he dripped dependability and there was an air of mystery about him. Larry was quiet and shy, awkward in company, not the sort to liven up a party as Poppy did.
Both were regular participants in the Wednesday evening prayer meeting that was held in the church, Poppy’s high bubbling voice holding the attention of all as she prayed and praised, words trilling from her shiny pink lips like drips of crystal water from a fountain. Larry Downside’s prayers were more sedate and stumbling, like a trickle from a furred up tap. He was hesitant, slurring the words, letting them drip into the air as he struggled to translate heartfelt thoughts into sounds that hung in the quietness, as if they had never been uttered.
It was on a Wednesday evening that a massive explosion ripped in slow motion across the skyline above the town, hurling ancient stone and two individual front doors into space, before settling in a pile of rubble on the ground. There was nothing left of the old renovated house that had stood like a landmark over Freelands, except for two alabaster jars that had rolled down the hill towards the town. One had cracked apart, spilling its contents as it rolled; huge superficial tears that gushed like a sudden leak from a water pipe, before being absorbed into oblivion beneath the ground. The other came to rest just outside the old oak doors of the church, its lid opening slightly to release little rainbows of fragrance, held in crystal tears of compassion and a myriad of prayers, that seeped in the evening mist
like radiant drips of love over an unsuspecting little town.
The church door opened slowly and Poppy Upbeat and Larry Downside emerged, their eyes drawn up towards the hill, where smoke and flames and billows of dust replaced the ancient old stone house that had been their homes. In unison they looked down at the open alabaster jar that lay on the ground at their feet, dripping out its hidden treasure. Eye to eye they fixed each other with a searching gaze, before the one whose jar lay open at their feet, stretched out a hand to retrieve it.
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