There is a contest at The Tenth Daughter of Memory. There are nine muses (prompts) and you write something for each. All nine make up one whole story. 5 muses are already up. The first muse was “A Random Memory.” Here’s my 1st, called Dark.
The second muse is “A Fear of Writing.” What follows is my selection and the continuation of the story.
The bright, harsh light of the adult world raged through the opening door and blinded her. It shattered the refuge created during her punishment. She blinked to adjust her inner screen to the reality of appearances.
No tears proved the lack of irreparable harm. No blood proved the lack of serious hurt.
Several whacks with the wooden spoon reminded her that she had too much fun when she should have remained frightened and grown contrite. Her very being felt wrong.
The women sat around drinking coffee laced with Schnapps and smoking cigarettes purchased for their once-a-week get-together.
“Where is your daughter?”
“Out in the woods, getting dirty, I’m sure. I wish she would wear pretty dresses and sit with us like your pretty little girl.” She flicked her fingers in the direction of the Shirley Temple look-a-like.
“She gets good grades though, doesn’t she?”
“Yes, her teacher is very happy with her. She doesn’t cause any real problems. The teacher does complain that she’s always adding her own ideas.” Drawing on a cigarette, inhaling in deep exasperation and forcing two streams of thick white smoke from distended nostrils.
“What does that mean?”
“She does the assignments. She gets all of the answers right. She completes them in plenty of time.” Looking down at the silk, lace cloth covering the table, hiding the shame showing in her eyes. “Then she uses the time left while others are finishing to play games with the work. She never disturbs anyone. But when it’s time to turn in the assignment, she rushes to put it back to the right way. The school wanted to move her ahead a grade but the teacher said she has trouble sticking to the directions.”
“Isn’t she young for her grade, anyway?”
“Yes. Still, it would be nice to tell our friends she skipped.”
She came in with skinned knees and a smudge on her face after escaping the mushroom ogres that chased her through the pines. She looked at the living doll playing in the living room. She looked at the faces of the women seated around the dining room table. Her very being felt wrong.
"Show me your homework."
"The assignment was to write a story..."
"You erased words and made smudges."
"The teacher wants the story about…."
"It looks messy. Rewrite it."
“I wrote about…”
“You crossed out words.”
“I told how…”
“You can do better. Rewrite it.”
“The girl visited…”
“That word looks wrong.”
“Spelling doesn’t count.”
“Have you no pride? Rewrite it.”
“I received an A.”
“That looks lovely.”
Her very being felt wrong.