Today I thought I’d share a piece of flash fiction I wrote last week for the Cake.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-In, so not strictly creative nonfiction nature writing, but I might have to test those boundaries a lot over the coming month if I’m going to complete NaBloPoMo! I did feel as though I was channelling Alice Oswald’s poem For Many Hours there’s been an Old Couple Standing at that Window as I was writing, so that might offer a tenuous link. And there is a folk tale feel to the story.
The Cake Wednesday Write-In is a weekly online event in which writers respond to a set of five prompts and the best piece goes up on the Cake blog. Despite being a co-editor for Cake this was the first time I’d managed to submit a piece for the Wednesday Write-In and I was really glad I did. It was a relaxing way to pass an hour because I didn’t feel any pressure to make it a good piece of writing and it was fun seeing where the prompts took me. The prompts were caffeine, poverty, stalk, scalded, and blown.
The illustration was done especially for the story by my friend Suky Goodfellow; artist, illustrator and all round creative person.
Leaves blew across the square as the couple sat drinking coffee. They were wrapped up to their ears in scarves and still the wind bit at them and they drew their coffee mugs closer for warmth. Over head the sky was white with unbroken clouds that seemed to weigh down on them, forcing all conversations to scurry away. Their minds were blank and sleepy. The coffee sat heavy in their stomachs and clung to their mouths, failing to have the desired effect. No amount of caffeine could seem to bring them back to life. It was the season of hibernation and the ever-lowering sun seemed to tug at their resolve.
They drained their coffee mugs, paid the bill and walked home. Stumbling with tiredness they finally reached their house, threw off their coats and climbed in to bed. Sleep overtook them. All through the winter they slept. They slept through the snow storms. They slept through the scurrying of the mice that had grown brave and raided their larder. They slept on as the letters piled up on their hall mat and the telephone rang and rang. A musty fug filled the air of their bedroom and patches of moss started to grow on their blankets, but still they slept on.
Only when the days had grown long enough and the sounds of joyful bird song had started to filter into their dreams did the couple finally stir. They stretched their creaking limbs and took tentative steps to the window. They pulled open the curtains and smiled in the glow of the evening sun.