Thursday, September 22, 2011

Creative Writing Assignment WK 1 - 9/22/2011

I am taking a creative writing course at Coastal Carolina University's Geezer Outreach Program. My first week's writing assignment was to write something. I did that. The amazing thing is that I didn't wait until the night before it was due to begin. I wrote the following very short story based on this picture. Don't ask:


Joshua was ten when he realized that not everyone could see the future. He had known that he had that ability ever since he could remember, but didn’t think much about it until that fateful year. He could not control when it happened. It just happened. Sometimes it was just a little thing, like knowing the phone was going to ring or that his mom would break a glass in the kitchen. Other times it was a more meaningful event, like a neighbor’s dog getting run over by a garbage truck or an earthquake in India. Though he didn’t know exactly where India was.

The mistake he made was telling someone. One night, he frantically warned his dad not to drive to the grocery store because he was going to get shot by a robber. His dad laughed and said something about Joshua’s imagination, promising to be right back with some ice cream. An hour later his dad was in an ambulance with a bullet wound in his shoulder and a confused look on his face. The police were equally baffled, when they apprehended the shooter based on Joshua’s detailed description; including the license plate number of the getaway car. His dad, being in shock, could provide little information to the authorities, but could identify the culprit from a lineup.

From that moment on, everything was different. Joshua was talked about on the news. They used his soccer team picture in the broadcast. People were calling his house day and night, wanting to know who would win a ball game or what lottery numbers to pick. No one understood. It didn’t work that way. Random Images would just appear to him, as real as life. He had no control over when or where. It could happen in a dream, at the dinner table, or in the classroom. Sometimes he would go weeks without a premonition. Other times they would come so fast and frequently that it gave him a headache.

The kids at St. Marks Elementary School suddenly steered clear of him. They called him a freak and a mutant. Even the teachers, who were mostly nuns, looked at him warily and he was sure he heard whispered devotions as they passed him in the halls. But the worst part was the way his parents looked at him. It was never the same again.

Mrs. Howard, the school counselor, was not a nun and seemed more interested in his “gift” than afraid of it. She met with his parents and it was decided that he would undergo some trials to verify his ability, though she admitted being skeptical that this type of power (she called it ESP) actually existed.

Joshua was very nervous on the day he was to be tested. He didn’t know what sort of exams he was going to be given, but he hated tests of any kind. For one of the assessments, Mrs. Howard held up cards with symbols on them; stars, circles, triangles and he was supposed to guess which figure was on each card. He knew, without even seeing the look on the therapist that he was not getting them right. In fact, he failed all the tests, but he did know that Mrs. Howard’s heart was going to stop working very soon. He decided to keep that information to himself. No one would believe him anyway. Mrs. Howard concluded that Joshua was not gifted with second sight and things at school soon returned to normal. Things at home never did. The knowledge about the shooting was explained away as coincidence or happenstance. That was fine with Joshua.

Life went on, but not for Mrs. Howard. When his mom told him that Mrs. Howard had died, he acted surprised. He had learned to perfect a look of astonishment.

That was twenty years ago. Joshua was now a successful Wall Street stock broker. Though he never learned to harness his ability, he heeded his intuition enough through the years that he had made some very successful investments for both he and his clients. He was happily married and had a wonderful ten year old son, named Jacob. Joshua never discussed his talent with his wife, Sherry, or anyone else.

Tonight, Jacob awoke from a terrible dream and crawled into bed with his parents, shaking uncontrollably. As Jacob related the horror of the dream, Joshua decided to take a personal day and spend it with his family at their home in Connecticut. He circled tomorrow’s date, September 11, 2001 on the calendar on the refrigerator. He did not tell anyone else. They would not believe him anyway.

13 comments:

Kathy TeStrake said...

Damn Rick, that was really impressive! I didn't expect to be so into the story, but I really was! Dude you have some real talent! You must continue this writing class and keep up the practice of writing! I expect great things from you!
Loved it!

ServusViva said...

I was getting a Stephen King like enthrall. Good Job :) New profession? Thriller/Horror/Mystery novelist?

myrtle beached whale said...

Any profession would be new.

orionsbow said...

As always, buddy, it was great stuff. I thought it was going to wind up like a mystery thriller and it turned out to have a little sci fi twist to it, WHICH I LOVED! You know me, that was right up my alley. Left me wanting more, as it should. You NEED to do this for a little money. I'd be GLAD, as I have told Manny many times about him writing a cook book, to shop it around to publishers for you. You're far too good NOT to be writing books.

Shammi said...

Wow. This can only get better for us, as long as you post all your completed assignments on your blog, Rick!

linda may said...

G'Day, it was good to find your name back in the Sunday Scribblings list. Well done mate.

Anonymous said...

Very Twilight Zoney!!!! Have you ever read "Night In Funland and Other Stories from the Literary Cavalcade"? It was required reading back in the late 60s early 70s in many schools. Your story could could be another entry alongside "Flowers for Algernon", "One Ordinary Day with Peanuts" and more. Twisted stories are certainly your forte. clo

ladydayton said...

Awesome! Have I told you how much your writing moves me? I think I have, several times. But just in case, Your writing moves me, man...

dehvonroberts2007@yahoo.com said...

Worth the time to read it for sure, and there is wonderful talent within you that should be unleashed for the world to experience. Thank you for sharing this assignment with those that are here at this connection with you.

Nadja said...

Absolutely fantastic, I hung on every word! :)

WV LeAnn said...

WONDERFUL story....I usually never comment but couldn't resist on this one. GREAT job! A+

CoreyJo said...

Wow. I didn't see that coming. Great story Rick.

~CoreyJo

Anonymous said...

Just my kind of story. Another fantastic read! Love you! Carly