3.13.2011

burn marks

Week four of the Indie Ink weekly writing challenge! In the challenge, participants are randomly challenged by our peers with a writing prompt. This one turned out, well, heavy.
 
Look at this heavy walnut bureau, ornate and beautiful. Wide and sturdy, with its pretty scalloped mirror. Only one crack in the glass. It has those teeny drawers I like at the top, little jewelry tray inside. I love it.

But it has a big flaw. A large wound right on top, right in the middle, see that? A ring, a burn mark. More even than that, charred wood, almost like firewood, right there on top. Can't miss it, right? Oh maybe I could set something there, put a cloth over that. Maybe I could make it work.

But what could make a burn like that? What could make such a scar? It's the wrong shape for an iron burn. A candle, perhaps? A candle unattended, just like they warn you about? Never leave your candles unattended, they always say.

how could she
why would she
why didn't she
leave?
She thought they could work it out. It was worth it to try, he was worth it, they were worth it. She put on her nice sundress, she wore her best underwear, she poured some wine and lit a candle on her bureau. Hoping.

He came over and they ate and drank and drank some more. And even more. They danced. He held her, asked for another drink, they drank some more. They kissed and lay down and they talked. And he began to get angry. Lying in her bed. Angry drunk and crazy. She looked up at him. Begged him. No, that wasn't true. No, that never happened. No. Oh please, no. She looked up at him for the last time.

The candle on her bureau burned unattended.
I don't think I'm gonna buy this bureau after all. That wound on the top is just too raw.

This week, I was challenged by A Lil' Irish Lass thusly: "Go to a thrift store, Salvation Army, yard sale etc. and select an item. Tell me about the person who owned it through the item."

25 comments:

  1. Marian! What a beautiful piece. It is at once so melancholy and yet so moving. Way to step up to the challenge!

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  2. Yeah. Heavy. But also very good. I once lived in an apartment where the woman who lived there before was murdered by her estranged boyfriend. Those things leave their marks-- whether by an unattended candle or by shell casing indentations on the wall...

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  3. this one is certainly dark; scorched, you could say.

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  4. I didn't know Golum had a jewelry box! LOL!

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  5. i'm feeling a little uncomfortable about this. i hope this piece is not too light, about something so serious.

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  6. Marian, I love what you did with this challenge. It was not light at all... it was deep and serious and beautifully written. Well done.

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  7. thank you, Mandy. i totally made up this story, but i did see a real bureau with a real burn on it, after the woman who owned it was killed. so i'm feeling big responsibility here. now that it's present maybe i'll write some more about this.

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  8. "light," other than the candles, is not a word i would use to describe this piece.

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  9. good, thanks. standing in a bedroom in which a woman died, seeing that bureau? very, very heavy.

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  10. Some things I love here: there's a new narrative voice in these II pieces of yours. Your poet voice sounds one way, this is another.

    I love the suggestion of backstory without an inundation of facts and exposition.

    And you treat the horror with sufficient matter-of-factness as to make it chilling.

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  11. thank you, wise woman. this challenge is challenging!

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  12. This is great. Dark, yes, but truly beautiful.

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  13. That is pretty scary... how did you find out that the bureau belonged to a woman who was killed? Do shops tell you that?

    Btw, I agree with everyone else, it's a heavy piece, not light at all.

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  14. okay, so thanks for exposing my cheating. :)
    when i got the prompt, this bureau came flooding into my brain demanding to be written about.
    but i did not see it at a thrift store. i really saw it in an apartment where a woman had been killed.
    so i took liberties with the prompt and made it like i was shopping in a thrift store and came across the bureau.
    forgive me, Lil' Irish Lass, for messing with your prompt!

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  15. Beautifully done. I wasn't sure where it was going, and it held my interest all the way through.

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  16. Every scar has a story worth telling and begs for someone capable of telling it well. Great job with this.

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  17. No apology necessary! You fully embraced the spirit, if not the letter, of my prompt.

    Your writing was really excellent here. I love where you took the challenge and I agree with the commenter who spoke of how brilliantly you present backstory without overwhelming us with detail.

    Truly one of my favorite posts of the Challenge.

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  18. I love dark and heavy, so I think this was a great piece!

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  19. I really loved it, not too much detail but enough to make us think. Well done!

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  20. Very well done! Dark, yes, but wonderfully structured in the way the past is brought forward, influencing the present. I enjoyed it!

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  21. yes, that's right, influencing the present.
    thank you lovely people! i love our challenge!

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  22. This is certainly a talented group. I'm glad I joined the challenge. Challenges can be answered in straightforward manner. However, all pieces I read go beyond, creating wonderful stories.

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  23. thanks and yes, for sure, great writing.
    each week it gets harder and also easier. go figure.

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