Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Timed Writing: 2/15/2012



Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: In the beginning, the skulls were treasures
Source Tom Brown Jr. and William Watkins, The Tracker


In the beginning, the skulls were treasures. Lust for them fueled crimes -- burglaries, street robberies, a few murders. Later, once we had discovered what else the skulls did, all that changed. Rather than being coveted, they were shunned and a person who carried one was no longer celebrity, but pariah. Doors were shut to him and he was treated like the lepers of old -- an outcast, forced to live beyond the confines of the city, scavenging what he could glean from the fields and gardens of the unwary, while seeking someone to accept his skull.

I possessed a skull for a short time. My girl, Annie, had been talking of them and I wanted to impress her, so I snuck into the diggers' camp and stole one. I was no great thief. I just got lucky when a careless foreman left a haul unguarded. I did not keep my skull for even a full day.

I woke the following morning in a bed not my own. My head was dull and groggy and the ceiling that stared down at me gave no clue of my whereabouts. There was a hollow beside me, where someone had lain, but it was cold. I lay atop the covers, fully clothed, with even my hat and boots in place.

The skull! I jumped up and looked around. It was nowhere to be seen. My satchel lay in a corner, with the purse of coppers untouched inside, but the skull was gone. I looked out the window and the farmers' stalls looked back at me from across the market square. I must be at the inn.

Vague memories of drinking by the fireplace returned to me. Annie had brought me a tankard. Was that before or after the stranger came in and I got angry at him for talking with Annie? Everything was tangled and my head rang anvil-like with every pulse of my blood. I stumbled out of the room and down the stairs to the public room. The host met me.

"I was coming to roust you, Johnnie," he said. Can't have you two fouling my flop all day 'less you're payin' for it."

"What happened?" I said. "Where's my skull? Where's Annie?"

Before he could answer, the door behind him opened and the constable entered.

"John Harris," he said, looking past the host, to me. "John Harris, I'm arresting you for the murder of Anne Carson."

(about my timed writing exercises)


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