Sensory Detail + Unexpected Detail

Sensory Detail + Unexpected Detail - student project

Starry Night

The wind whistles its cold breath across the roofs of the lamp-lit village. It rustles the leaves of the tall poplar tree beside me. An owl takes off. The flapping of its wings fills my ears, as does its hoot of farewell. Gusts of wind pull the stars in every direction and drag at the clouds, leaving a swirl of silver and gold in their wake. Lights from a spinning carousel, surrounded with haloes. The oak forest to the west of the village crouches down in the cold with nowhere to hide from the moon’s intense glare. Shadows move. Silhouettes bend. Nature’s power makes me feel small.

The church steeple rises into the night sky, a finger pointing to Heaven. Its bell rings out eleven times. Twice. Deep. Sonorous. In no hurry at all. These are the last chimes before the silence when people head for sleep. A child cries out. Distant but clear. A wolf howls. I shiver. It is the hour for wild animals and ghosts. Not for humans.

Footsteps away, the coil of smoke from my chimney is snatched by the wind. The taste of the pork I roasted earlier lingers on my tongue and the comforting smell of wood-smoke tickles my nostrils. I sigh, pull my down jacket more closely around me and head for home.


An Elephant in the Room

Patrick has become increasingly involved in his own fantasy world over the last few years, I hardly believe anything he says. He is a  grown man now but acts like a child. So when he phoned me for help saying there was an elephant in the room, I took it as his imagination on the loose again.

Next to his front door is a wide bay window. I don’t know what made me glance inside before I rang his bell. Did I really think there was an elephant in there?

A minute later, I picked myself off the ground. I must have fainted. Rubbing the dirt from my jeans I slowly pushed myself up and peered back inside the window. Patrick was sitting in his usual chair bent intently over a book – “Lord of the Rings”. His favourite. ‘I’ve read it fifteen times you know, Uncle John,’ he’d told me.

There was no elephant.

But there had been. I swear it. I rang the bell.

‘Oh hello, Uncle John. Come in. What do you want?’

‘You phoned. Remember?’

‘Oh, yes,’ he said, scratching his chin. ‘If you’ve come to get your elephant back, you’re too late. I let him out the back door.’

‘Right.’ I felt unsteady on my feet. ‘Cup of tea perhaps?’

It wasn’t until the next morning that I read about the young elephant that had escaped from the zoo. The future looked grim. I was going to have believe everything Patrick said from now on. But at least I hadn’t been imagining things. There had been an elephant in the room.

Or had there?