Saturday, March 13, 2010

Writing Prompt #1

Writing Prompt #1:

“Well, if you could accuse anybody of being downright evil, it would be him”

Tara paced in the cold dirt, her bare feet shuffling up small clouds that left brown stains on her ankles. “Well, if you could accuse anybody of being downright evil, it would be him,” she angrily spat out.

Karen looked up and sighed. She sat huddled by the dying flames of the campfire, trying in vain to relish what little warmth there still was. The sun had risen just an hour ago, and the outlook for the day looked gloomy. Dark clouds overhead seemed to deny the attempted entrance of day. It looked like rain.

Karen looked over to the dry patch of dirt where their tent had been. Everything was gone. The tent. Their sleeping bags and over night packs. The cooler full of food. Even Tara’s shoes, which she had left outside to dry from their hike the day before. This morning Karen had woken up, shivering and curled into a tight ball. Confusion filled her mind, clogging her senses with a film of dizziness. After she had sat up and regained her balance, she had seen the devastation. Then Tara woke up and the cursing began. Karen hadn’t seen Tara stop pacing since the moment she opened her eyes. All Karen could do though was sit there, frozen by the once warm fire, and wish this wasn’t reality.

He was gone.

He had taken everything and left the two of them in the dead of night. They had trusted him, and now he was gone. Karen bit back a sharp choke that tried to escape from her dry throat. Matt had seemed so kind. So genuine. Over the last few months, she might even say she had come to love him. Though his eyes always tended to wander to Tara more than her, she didn’t mind. Tara was gorgeous. Bright blue eyes, luscious auburn hair. A figure any woman would die for. Nearly their entire life Karen had huddled in Tara’s shadows. But she had hoped this time things might turn out different. That was until Tara decided to open her fat mouth and tell Matt the one way to ruin their lives for good.

Finally standing, Karen stretched the knots out of her cold legs and walked a few steps from the fire. She could still see the tire tread marks in the dry dirt, along with the muddy footprints leftover from the walk to the stream nearby. Looking back, she saw Tara was still lost in her own world, and decided to not try to break in and try to say anything. Instead, Karen followed the tire marks until they disappeared into the overgrown grassy trail. She could hear the small stream cascading over the shiny pebbles and fallen branches. Soon she heard a splash and saw she had stepped into the crystal clear water. It ran across the grassy path, cutting a small rivulet into the otherwise overgrown terrain. Tall trees rose all around her, casting cold shadows that made her shiver hard.

Walking away from the path, Karen bent down and scooped some of the ice-cold water into her grimy hand. She splashed it onto her pale face, then smoothed some through her dull brown hair. Yesterday, during their hike, the three had seemed so careless. They had splashed in this very stream, getting Tara so soaking wet she looked like a drowned rat. A beautiful drowned rat. Now the ice-cold water seemed to suck the life from Karen’s flesh.

How had this happened? That was a silly question, and Karen knew it the moment it had entered into her mind. It had happened because Tara happened. As always. Tara always felt the need to be more important than others. So when Matt had casually mentioned that his father was a manager for some random who-knows-what production company, Tara felt the need to inform him about who she was. Who they were. Daughters of someone too important. So important that they had agreed to never tell anyone. Then Tara opened her mouth.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they had any idea where they were.

“Karen! Karen, where are you?”

Grunting, Karen pushed herself back to her feet and found her way back to the empty campsite. Tara stood next to the dead fire, panic blasted across her perfect face.

“Don’t do that!” She shrieked as she saw Karen emerge from the dense foliage. “I thought…I thought you had left too!”

“Tara, why would I do that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I bet you have some insane beliefs that lover boy is just playing a prank. Or will come back with a change of heart. Or…or…” Tara burst into tears. Her shoulders shook violently as heavy teardrops cascaded down her porcelain cheeks.

Karen watched a moment, then went back to the fire pit. She tried to stoke what was left of the embers, but failed. Behind her she could hear the sobs of her sister. Time passed. Gradually the sobs turned to sniffles, then to muted hiccups. Finally she heard the padding of bare feet as Tara walked up to the fire, then sat gingerly down on the cold ground.

“What are we going to do Karen?”

“I don’t know Tara. I don’t know.” She turned to her sister. “Please, tell me it wasn’t in your bag.”

Tara’s eyes clouded over, getting ready to burst once again into broken sobs.

“Tara! We went on a CAMPING trip! Why on Earth would you bring it? For that matter, why did you have to open your fat yap and ruin everything?” Karen’s voice boomed out, full of unbridled anger and despair. Of all the things her sister had ever done that were stupid, this was by far the worst. And the most dangerous.

“I thought it would be safe. I thought – “

“No, like always, your pretty little head didn’t think,” Karen snapped. She let out a heavy sigh. There was no use in yelling. Yelling wouldn’t bring them out of this jungle of a forest back in the safe city that sat beyond. Yelling wouldn’t stop the horror that was unfolding before their eyes. “He must have drugged us. Last night. That’s the only way we could have slept through this.”

Thunder rolled in the distance. Karen looked up to see that the clouds had turned nearly black, threatening a storm that was almost here. Someone up there was mad. And Karen feared the wrath that was about to fall upon the world. Grabbing a hand of dirt, she threw it onto the coals, dousing what little life was left in them. Then she stood, brushed the dirt from her pants, and turned to her sister.

“Well, let’s go.”

“Go? Go WHERE?” Tara looked up at Karen with a look of pure loss on her unblemished face. Karen held out her hand and pulled Tara to her feet. Looking down, she saw Tara curl her perfectly pedicured toes into the cold dirt. Then, still holding onto her sister’s dainty hand, started walking back along the disappearing tire marks.

“Its time to find our way out of here. And to get it back before Matt does what I think he is about to do. We need to get back Pandora’s box.”

(Word count: 1206)