I don’t know if I’ve told you but I’m a proud member of The Baked Potatoes. We’re a critique group of five writers who meet up about twice a month, here in Vienna, and we’ll soon celebrate our third anniversary. You haven’t heard of us? Give it time, you will. My writing has improved greatly over these years thanks to the great feedback I’ve received from Sarah, Kathi, MT & Stef.
The latter half of 2017 was… a bit slack for most of us. We didn’t get much writing done, but 2018 has kicked off with a big bang. In January, me, Sarah & Stef, took part in a fantastic two-day Young Adult workshop with the prolific author, Keith Gray. The three of us all agreed that we learned so much from Keith. He also inspired us to knuckle down and get back to writing EVERY DAY! And that’s what I’ve been doing.
One of the four things I have on the go right is an idea from MT. She wanted us all to write a (maximum of 300-words) short story every month, with the topic selected from one of four words that begin with the first letter of the month. So, for January, we chose the topic, Jealousy. First thing I did was look up the exact meaning of the word in the dictionary.
- jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.
- mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims.
- vigilance in maintaining or guarding something.
- a jealous feeling, disposition, state, or mood.
I decided to go for option 3, and here are my 300 words. Nothing too serious, it’s just what I like to think of physical workout for my writing brain. I hope to have links to the other Spud’s entries, as soon as they post them.
p.s. MT has her entry up now, found here, along with lots more of her great poetry.
p.p.s. Now Sarah has her entry up too, found here.
54 B.C.E – Britannia
A spade hurls clumps of earth into the air. A Roman soldier digs into the soggy ground atop a hillock. He puts his foot on top of the spade and pushes hard. The spade briefly hits stone before giving way and falling through a hole. He bends down to peer through the hole and sees things sparkling in the darkness. He claws away at the mud to reveal more stonework. Stamping down hard, he loosens more of the bricks to make a big enough hole to fit through.
He slides down a rope and drops into the chamber with a crunch. He looks down around his feet to see that the entire floor is covered with bones, rib cages and skulls. He retches, then gathers his crimson cloak to his nose. He spots the body of someone sitting on a throne at the far end of the chamber. His sandals tiptoe their way over the bones towards the bottom step of the throne. He looks up at the skeletal remains of a long-dead king staring blankly ahead.
Around the base of the throne, there are bowls of earthenware overflowing with gems, jewellery, and dead flowers. The soldier releases his cloak from his nose and instead uses it as a bag. He scoops up a fistful of gems and drops them into his cloak. He turns to leave but notices a golden tiara under the left hand of the skeleton. He snatches it up and admires it, failing to notice movement on the throne. He looks up to see the skeleton standing and holding a sword above its head.
“That’sssss mine!” it hisses, and the sword cleaves the soldier’s head from his shoulders. The skeleton picks up the fallen tiara and sits back down.