Hello again. Today is the half way point for my writing challenge. Just gotta do it one more time.
I wasn’t really sure what I should write about today. I think I’m reaching the end of the exercises I know and need to find new, unique sources from here on out. In the end I settled on another dialogue exercise, this time one focusing on setting a conversation in a strange set of circumstances. In other words, two people having a conversation at a time they normally would not have that conversation. In this case, a couple having a talk about their relationship during some unnamed calamity. It got a little darker than I intended, but I guess that’s what happens during free-writes.
As always, feel free to leave comments/critiques. Also, if anyone has any writing exercises that they particularly enjoy or find helpful, please let me know.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy.
By E W Morrow
Word Count: 721
The bus rattled as it hit a pot hole and Greg wondered at their luck to get stuck on such a hunk of clap-trap at a time like this. In the distance, a siren wailed. At the front of the bus someone sobbed into a blanket and no one moved to comfort them. It was probably stupid to worry about the state of their transport in light of recent events, but then again, a lot of things were stupid now. It didn’t stop Greg from worrying about them.
“Kat,” he said. His throat was dry and it came out like a croak. “Kat? You awake?” The woman beside him mumbled something but didn’t turn her head away from the window. Outside, the sky was an ashen roof. Greg wondered when it would fall. “I want to talk about last night.”
“Why?” Kat’s voice was hollow, but there was the echo of emotion in it and it made Greg sad.
“Because I think we need to,” he said. Kat turned to look at him. She looked so old now. She had blonde hair, but the dirt and ash had dulled it. Her normally rounded features were a little harder now, not quite gaunt but headed that direction.
“Does it really matter anymore?” she asked.
“It does to me.”
“It just does.” For a moment there was a spark of anger in Kat’s eyes, but then they died again, cold and gray. She turned back to the window. A city block’s worth of darkened and boarded up windows rolled past before she answered.
“There’s nothing to talk about,” she said, finally.
“Were you with him?” Greg’s voice cracked again. He really wanted some water.
“Why do you always go back to that?” Kat asked.
“I don’t always go…”
“Well it seems like it,” Kat snapped. Through a gap in the buildings Greg could see the distant flash of an explosion. It painted a small section of sky red and then was gone.
“Maybe if you told me why you don’t come home some nights I wouldn’t have to worry about it,” Greg suggested. He meant it in a kind way, but Kat didn’t seem to take it as he gave it. She made a face that he couldn’t quite make out in the reflection on the window.
“What, you mean check in with you?” she asked viciously. “Like you’re my mother or something?”
“I didn’t mean…” Greg began.
“Maybe I should get a chip put in,” Kat continued. “Like I’m a dog.”
“Stop,” Greg said.
“Is that what I am? A dog?”
“Stop it,” Greg hissed, grabbing Kat’s arm. She squirmed and pulled but didn’t scream. A pair of military trucks sped past the bus going the opposite direction. The bus rattled again. When it stopped, Greg said, “I’m sorry. I just—I wish you’d talk to me.”
“Well maybe you should trust me,” Kat whispered. Greg let her arm go and she pulled it in close, placing it between her body and the window.
“Trusting and talking are two different things,” Greg said after a while. “I’m not accusing you. I’m just—asking.”
The wail of the siren was almost gone now. All that was left was the rattle as they rolled along, punctuated by the occasional crack of gunfire. The buildings were getting smaller now. Every minute or so they would pass an empty lot and the gray sky would press in again.
“No,” Kat said suddenly.
“No,” she repeated. “I wasn’t with him last night.”
“Oh,” Greg said lamely. “Okay then.”
“I stayed the night at my mother’s.” The bus lurched to a sudden stop. The doors opened and someone, one of the soldiers, got out.
“I see,” Greg said, craning his neck to try and look out the front window. “That’s nice.”
“Well,” Kat said, huddling close to the glass, “she wanted me to talk to a lawyer friend of hers.”
“What kind of lawyer?” Greg asked. The soldier was back on the bus now. He leaned in close to the bus driver and had a few words.
“Divorce,” Kat said, her voice hollow again.
The bus rattled forward again. It rolled through an intersection, and Greg turned watched as a burning wreck of a car came into view and then sank into the ash colored night behind them.