Myra stepped into Clive's living room and the space almost grabbed her. She moved with precision, examining the clean lines and sultry paintings. One painting, in particular, stood out from the rest. She felt an echo of it, deep in her belly and it churned. She had seen this before. The vibrant stars glowed against the harsh royal skies above a small city. It looked as if a scorching sun had just wilted the sky over a sleepy town with a secret. Darkness seen to roll from humble homes into the streets. But the stars continued to pulse even as darkness fell. With her next breath, Myra inhaled the sweet ashy scent of Clive's cigar, smoldering clumsily in a crystal ash tray. She thought again of the painting. Maybe the swirling sky and dark looming tower were plumes of smoke. Engulfing a city, that no longer deserved to exist, with flame, a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. She suddenly had the sense that starring too long may turn her to salt, and maybe that would be alright.
Unexpected Detail Exercise:
Cartoon clouds limped across a gray sky. The swollen ground squelched under Abigail's tap shoes. She hadn't worn those lyrical heels in close to forty years and maybe that had been for the best. Tonight, she wore them and dance with the same rhythm and agility of a young Ginger Rogers. The shoes shuffled and clapped and smacked and slid. They clipped and clopped and then fell silent as Abigail's beloved husband fell to the floor, clutching his chest and startling her with his wide eyes and trembling mouth.
"Clip, clop, clip, clop" she ran to him, the mesmerizing sound losing its hold on her. She called 911 and waited. She forgot about the shoes the same way she had for years, until she dug them out of storage. They had made her smile then.
The ambulance arrived and now these shoes matted down exclamation points in the wet lawn as she walked beside her husband. Maybe storage is where old things belong, she couldn't help but think.