August #JustWrite prompt: superstition

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It would appear the days and weeks and months of this year are ticking by at an alarming rate of speed. We are in August already people! And by writing that, I’ve also realised that yesterday was the first Wednesday of the month and I did not do a #JustWrite post. Jeez Louise. There goes my idea for this post; a change of plans is necessary – I will put up my last piece from my writers group monthly exercise. I’ve edited it using the members comments.

If you would like to play along this month and write something, use the word ‘superstition’ as the prompt (the set exercise was different, but this works just as well):

superstition 

noun [ mass noun ] excessively credulous belief in and reverence for the supernatural: he dismissed the ghost stories as mere superstition

count noun ] a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief: she touched her locket for luck, a superstition she’d had since childhood

Here is my piece, feel free to comment, or have a go yourself and put your take on the prompt in the comments section.

He walked through the golden paddocks, sunshine warming his face, and breathed in the smell of crops only farmers appreciate. Although a familiar scent, he didn’t belong here. It was a mistake.

He’d been watching his family, every second of every day, and they needed him now. But he wasn’t tired. He didn’t need to sleep. Not here.

The field came to an end. He stood before it, mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of patterns across the opening of a shimmering black hole. He turned in a slow, deliberate manner and looked at those who followed him – their eyes low, taciturn, and wishing he would change his mind. In the previous months, they whispered in his ear, ancient lore passed down to each new arrival. And when they knew he wasn’t listening – when the man became too concerned for his family – the warnings continued, but now they yelled in his face, reminding him of the superstitions beyond the black threshold. And yet he would not listen. Nobody had ever ventured through; age-old advice ensured they remained apprehensive. What would happen to him? No one had this knowledge.

Those who knew him from before came forward. A quick hug or a handshake. A hard shake of the head before a small nod of grim acceptance. He looked into the eyes of his mother, the last person in line. “Please don’t go.” The old lady’s voice broke as she shuffled forward.

“I have to,” was his simple reply. He turned and without further pause, stepped through the shimmering hole, vaguely aware of his body feeling like it was being pricked by thousands of pins, and yet it was pain-free. And then, he felt himself swooning as a bright light assaulted his eyes, before he collapsed.

~~~~~

When he woke, he looked around in confusion. His expectations were minimal when he left; this was absurd though. He rose to his feet and teetered, grasping at his head as what felt like a sharp knife pierced through his temple. His eyes blurred, so he closed them and put his hands out to balance himself, save falling over.

Once the sensation passed, he opened his eyes again and watched as a sedan drove towards him, dust billowing behind. As it got closer, he recognized the blue and red lights of a police car and had the presence of mind to cover himself with his hands.

The sirens whooped once, twice, and then the vehicle came to a stop. The policeman stepped out of the car. “Sir, may I ask what you are doing out here naked?”

He went to speak, and found words wouldn’t form. What he wanted to say was, “My name is Allan. I need to see my family. Betty and Bruce and Stephen. Can you find them for me?” Instead, all he could manage was grunts and groans. The policeman watched him warily, before coming forward with one hand on his gun and the other out in front of him.

“Sir, I’d like you to come with me to the station. Is that okay?”

He stumbled over to the car and grasped at the blanket the officer offered him. Once they left, it only took minutes and he was asleep, lulled by motion of travel. He became aware they were at their destination when he felt a gentle shaking of his shoulder. He was led inside the police station and deposited in an interview room. A feeling of anxiousness started to rise; his heart beat faster and faster, and sweat started to sheen upon his forehead.

It was only later, when the officers deduced he could comprehend what they were saying – he simply couldn’t respond via words – they asked him to write down his name and what he could remember prior to waking up naked on the dirt road. They took his details and left him alone with a cup of coffee – he savoured the hot drink as the delectable flavour aroused his long-forgotten taste buds. Numerous times, the officers came back in and looked from him, to a piece of paper they held in their hands, and back again. They would shake their heads, and one in particular, would sign herself with the cross. He was kept waiting and told his family would be at the station in a short time.

His eyesight was still keen, and he spotted his wife before she did him. He stood in an instant and the chair fell over. When she looked over to the noise, a look of horror passed over her face, before she screamed and fainted. The man recalls seeing his reflection in a window earlier, and understands she is viewing a man who looks as he did when she buried him seventeen years earlier. He’d probably faint too.

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