So.. these challenges are starting to become really addicting. I find myself checking terribleminds.com several times during friday, holding my breath for a new challenge to arrive.
Here‘s this weeks challenge. There were a few that talked to my subconscious, but I chose ‘The Shape Fights The Motionless Ink.’ And here is the resulting story, which has no title since my brain refuse to play along…
“Hank?” Hayley cracks the door open and sticks in her head. The train of thought Hank’s been chasing for the last two hours implodes and disappears. He plasters a smile on his face, one that doesn’t show the flash of anger that flicks through him.
“Yes honey?” His jaw muscles burn under his ears, a yawn is trying to work its way out. He ignores it. He has to write, has to finish this story.
“I’ve got to drive mum to her doctors appointment yeah? So you’ll have the house to yourself for a few hours.” She smiles and he nods, but doesn’t feel the sense of relief the promise of an empty house normally gives him. He just feels angry because couldn’t she just FUCKING LEAVE HIM ALONE WHEN HE WAS WRITING? Never mind that he hasn’t written a word for days now.
“OK honey. Say hi to her for me.” He turns back to the typewriter, rubs his eyes and listens to the silence from the door, the minuscule sigh and then the soft click of the door as it closes. The loose floorboard creak in the hallway, the door slam and then… silence.
He takes a deep breath and his shoulders relax, his fingers find the keys and he tries to piece the train of thought back together, closing his eyes to shut out the weak light from the small window. The familiar film starts rolling.
A woman in desperate need of help walks into a PI’s office.
Total cliche, but oh so satisfying.
The woman, sultry, hour glass shape body, long blond hair falling in loose curls around her slim shoulders. The promise of tears lurking in her eyes. Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys with just a touch of Lana Turner in the sad look and the swaying hips.
The PI, dark haired, dressed in an dark suit, is behind a huge desk, his wingtips resting on the table, twitching to the tones of an old timer coming out of the radio. Nonchalant and relaxed. Part Humphrey Bogart and part George Clooney.
The woman wants help finding her fiance, who’s gone missing and the PI is more than happy to help this particular damsel in distress. The fiance is of course a virtual poster boy, but when PI goes digging, he turns out to be a lowlife henchman for the Las Vega’s mafia. The Neon Cosa Nostra.
Hank’s lips stretches in to a wide smile, and his breathing deepens.
The setting is the inevitable smoky back rooms, scantily clad women, drinks in cut crystal glasses, oak wood bars, the constant tching tching of money in the slots.
The PI delves into this dark seedy world in hot pursuit of the missing fiance, ruffling a few feathers along the way and soon he finds himself trapped in a dark, dank alley, his back against the wall and two mob goons towering over him. Huge dark shadows back lit by the passing head lights and the dusty yellow street light.
He can see it so clearly, it is almost like a dream. ‘Come on,’ he cheers himself on. ‘Come on. You can do this.’
But the inner movie freezes up, right where its been freezing up the last two days.
The PI against the wall, the promise of violence in the air.
Frustration fizzles in Hank’s brain, but he struggles to stay relaxed and breathes deeper. Frustration will only trip him up more.
He takes another breath.
His head tilts forward and the clack sound of typewriter keys being pressed down echo through his tired brain. He briefly opens his eyes, fadk u, it says on the blank piece of paper. Yes, he thinks as he sinks back under, fuck you too.
The static PI is still up against the wall.
‘Come on you son of a bitch, you can’t just stand there, letting the goons get to you.’ Hank growls at the PI, and himself.
The background fades away, slowly leeching out, leaving the PI as a black shadowy shape in the sea of white. Two words bubble up under him. Large carbon typeset words.
In the back of his mind, Hank knows that he is dreaming, that he should wake up, but he’s been sitting in the ratty old office chair all night, and fatigue is weighing him down. The battle to open his eyes is futile.
The black ink on the sea of white shifts.
The shadowy PI shape raises his arms. Surrendering.
The shape takes a step back.
The words flash faster and faster, and the shape takes down his arms. Shoulders hanging.
The word is perfectly defined in the middle of the brilliant white nothingness. It doesn’t move, just stands there, holding up its challenge like a red cloth in front of a bull.
The shape squares his shoulder and moves forward, pulling something out, something long and slender.
Then it takes a small step back and crouches down into a fighting stance.
Like a ninja, Hank thinks.
The shape attacks, bringing down the sword, slicing through the C.
And as the shape fights the motionless ink, as the letters fall to pieces under the might of the sword, Hank is hit by inspiration. Ninjas and Private Investigators. A story set in Japan, in the age of shoguns.
He opens his eyes. His head is resting against the keys of his typewriter, and the corner of his mouth feels slimy with drool. He wipes it with the sleeve of his shirt and sits up. Pulls out the sullied piece of paper, and slots a new piece in, his fingers itching to start hitting the keys.
“The PI and the Case of the Mysterious Warrior Princess.”
The fatigue is gone, there is only room for the story. He doesn’t hear Hayley come home, doesn’t feel the kiss she plants on his cheek when she places a cup of coffee on the desk next to the typewriter.