Monday, June 25, 2012

Creative Skills Development: Online Journal #4

http://onebigphoto.com/uploads/2012/06/yellow-eye-of-a-nile-crocodile-thumb.jpgToday is the last day of my Creative Skills Development class so I'll be posting the rest of my assignments for everyone to read. And by everyone I mean my 2 subscribers! This assignment was to take another students set of questions from the Online Journal #3 entry and place that character into a 6-8 page story. We also had to include the following items in the story:

A turkey
An icicle
A bowl of quinoa
A bejeweled dog collar
Hydrochloric acid
A Gobstopper candy
The Cookie Monster
A Nile crocodile

I chose a students story where the character experienced early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 25. She lived in a beach house her dead husband left her. There were more details but those were the ones I needed to crack my story. And here it is:

As the sun set, its fading light sparkled off a sheet of high tide water.  The sounds of sea birds and of the lazy waves dancing up the sand mate with the sound of the cool sea breeze giving birth to a symphony born of the sea, land and sky.

The beach reached out for miles in either direction, empty save for a solitary visitor. A sixteen foot long Nile crocodile stood in the sand, salt water licking its feet.

Queenie watched this strange sight from the comfort of the porch of her beach side home. The rhythmic ticking of her rocker slowed and faded away as she made eye contact with the alien creature. A smile broke across her age face.

Queenie’s bare feet sank into the sand as she approached the visitor to her Florida beach front property. The crocodile lifted its head as the elderly woman stood before it.

“Hello crocodile,” said Queenie.

“Hello Beatrice,” replied the beast in a deep, soft, airy voice, almost a whisper.

“It’s a beautiful sun set this evening don’t you think”

“Almost as beautiful as the Niles.”

“Oh, have you spent much time in Egypt?”

“Some.”

Queenie turned her head to the side. Her eyes focused on the horizon yet her vision was much further. The crocodile watched her silently.

“I’m not here am I,” she asked, her voice tiny and forlorn.

“You are where you are meant to be. As am I,” replied the beast.

“I can’t remember tomorrow. Am I old now?” asked Queenie.

“Yes Beatrice. Seventy-five years old,”

“Seventy-five? My husband?”

“Gone. Five years.”

Queenie’s eyes glisten in the warm red light of sunset. A tear traces her lined face.

“A woman in a nurses outfit keeps calling me Queenie. I don’t like it,” Queenie confessed.

“She means well. She likes your teaara. Don’t be bothered by her. She’s there to help you,” replied the beast.

Beatrice’s face scrunches with frustration. She gnaws on her thumbnail.

“Why? Why do I need help? I’m a fit and capable woman! I can... I can do... things?” her voice trails off into confusion. She looks down at her hands. She turns them over, brings them up to her face. They are wrinkled. They are the hands of an old woman.

“How did I get so old?” she asked.

“You lived,” replied the beast.

“Lived? How? Why can’t I remember? How long as it been?”

“Fifty years. You were twenty-five when your brain began to erase your life. You fought for years. It was slow at first. You lived your life like normal, for the most part. You were forgetful but you were in the present. And than you slowly drifted backwards. Living days in the past, than weeks,  months and finally years. You have been twenty-five for nearly fifteen years.”

“I’ve lost it all? I can’t remember my life. Why are you here? Why are you telling me all this?”

“Your dying.”

Beatrice closed her eyes. She squeezed them tight. Her hands clenched at her sides.

“What are you doing?” asked the beast.

“Aren’t you going to eat me,” asked Queenie.

“I said your dying. I didn’t say I’m hungry.”

“Than why are you here?”

“To remind you,” replied the beast. “In your home there are six objects that will give you back your memories. You can’t get them all back. But you can see the moments that these objects represent. If you hold on to these memories tight enough you may be able to put all the pieces of your life after you forgot, back together again.”

“What are the objects,” Beatrice inquired.

The beast turned to walk away, “You’ll know when you see them. This next part is pretty obvious.” The beast slowly made its way deeper into the ocean.

Beatrice called out to the beast before it was gone, “I didn’t get to say thank you!”

The beast turned and replied, “I think that counts.” And the beast drifted slowly out to sea, it’s immense length swaying smoothly and silently in the distance.

Beatrice turned and walked home.

Inside she found the first item. A turkey. Staring back at her the flightless bird opened its wings.

Beatrice’s greeting was almost a question, “hello?”

The bird did not respond. So Beatrice approached it cautiously. When the bird did not flee or otherwise react to her close proximity she raised a hand and gingerly touched it on the head. One stroke. Two. And she found herself at Thanksgiving dinner with her husband.

The smell of deep fried turkey seeped into her nose and saliva flooded her mouth. Laughter rang in her ears. The warmth of a fire embraced her brittle and aged bones. Before her was a vision of the last thanksgiving with her husband. It was a rare day when she was lucid and had most of her memories. Their children had all been unable to come home that year so it was a quiet Thanksgiving for just the two of them.

Her husband wanted to experiment with deep frying the turkey that year. It was very nearly burnt but full of flavor and moist as a morning lawn. They laughed about the outwardly appearance of the cooked bird. This was the last time Beatrice was able to remember her husband before he died.

Back in her time Beatrice pulled her hand away from the turkeys head. Around the room she looked, anxious to find the next object. Instead she heard a steady dripping sound coming from the direction of the kitchen. Curious, she sought out the cause. Above the kitchen table a hanging light was affixed to the ceiling. Hanging from the hanging light was an icicle.

Bewildered, Beatrice approached the slowly melting ice. A small pool of water was collecting on top of the old wooden table. She held her hand under the icicle, palm up, and a drop of water splashed into her open hand.

The room was gone and replaced by white powdery snow. Beatrice could see her daughter licking an icicle like a popsicle. The warmth of the sight of her daughter washed over Beatrice despite the cold of the snow. The crunch of a snowball hitting the back of the little girls head reached Beatrice’s ears. She turns and sees her son hiding behind a snow bank giggling. A young Beatrice walks to the little girl and holds her, stemming the flow of tears. She whispers something into the girls ear and wily smile brightens her face. The little girl reaches down and gathers snow to make her own snowball. She runs after her brother throwing snow.

This was Beatrice’s favorite memory of her children, a family snow trip for Christmas. She then remembers that this was a memory that she struggled to hold on to for as long as possible. The memory faded fifteen years ago.

When Beatrice returned to her beach home she found the rest of the objects, each one taking her into the past to relive a memory that formed the foundation of her life. A bowl of quinoa took her to a dinner with her mother, a gobstopper candy transported her to the premier of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Each memory formed a web in her mind that began to draw other memories into her mind.

Exhausted from her trip across time Beatrice fell into her lazy boy chair. On the tv PBS was on. PBS was always on. Beatrice’s husband would always have it on and despite her lack of memory Beatrice would always have to have it on after he died. This time Sesame Street was on. Cookie Monster turned and looked right at Beatrice.

“Hello Beatrice,” said Cookie Monster.

“Hello Cookie Monster,” replied Beatrice.

“Are you ready now?”

“Yes.”

Beatrice closed her eyes



Reference:
Guy, Rodney (2012). OJ#3. Full Sail University Creative Writing Online Journal 3, retrieved from http://course.online.fullsail.edu/index.cfm?fuseaction=lms.activitiesDiscussion&activityId=746384&deliveryId=1497992