Monday, May 21, 2012

Timed Writing: 5/19/2012

Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: "... a maze of shelves, crammed with books in their numberless thousands..."
Source: 2 x 5 x 6 + 4 x 5 = 80 = The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

Zane was only rarely invited even into the kitchen of the repurposed old castle, and never into its prodigious stock room. Having watched the cook of the month and the other culinary rotators come and go through forbidden doorway, carrying all manner of cheeses and cured meats, tin cans and jars of fruit, had rendered the pantry, in Zane's mind, the ultimate goal of illicit explorations. Having once gained access, however, his interest in the bounty of the shelves was readily eclipsed by curiosity about a tiny doorway that seemed to have been entirely forgotten.

That morning, a fire had broken out in one of the hayfields. It was happening often enough in the late weeks of that hot drought summer, and given the paltry growth in the fields, the fires rarely found fuel enough to spread. This fire was in the southwest field, however and a steady wind blew from that quarter. All able-bodied inhabitants of the commune house had therefore been called to assist -- even the administrative rotators... and the kitchen staff.

Zane had suggested that he might be of use pumping water. His arms and chest were stronger than those of any other lad of twelve. His parents had forbidden it though, explaining that there would be too many feet running about and too few eyes looking to the ground.

Nobody had actually called Zane a "trip hazard," but he knew. Many had tried coaxing him to use a wheelchair. He would ride higher, they said, seem taller. The chairs were all heavy and awkward though -- too heavy for Zane to drag up stairs without assistance. With the light bamboo roller cart strapped to his thighs stumps, however, Zane could propel himself rapidly through halls and corridors, his hands slapping and pushing the floor and walls. And when he encountered stairs, he was as fast as any, hauling, hand-over-hand, up the metal rail banisters that had been installed during the castle's tourism days.

Shelves were mounted across the rotted half-height door at the rear of the kitchen pantry, stacked high with of canned fruits and bags of grain. The lowest shelf was nearly two feet from the stone floor though, and nothing sat beneath it, allowing sufficient space for Zane to pass. The door itself, after some prodding, gave way with a jarring squeal of rusted hinges. There was a puff of wind and spiced apple and herbed meat scents of the pantry were momentarily overwhelmed by a cloud reeking of mouse dung, dead flies, and moldy paper. Zane leaned back and pulled himself, on his low, caster-mounted cart, through a curtain of spider webs. A maze of shelves, crammed with books in numberless thousands, rose before him, reaching to high ceilings, in which windows of heavy amber glass shone brightly. 

(about my timed writing exercises)

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