Mike hurried west into the setting sun, the trees around him bathed in the early evening light, orange and gold before the darker shadows rendered everything a shade of grey. He moved quickly and bursts of anxious energy coursed through him as he tested the air. There came to him the smell of burning, not wood or leaves but sickly artificial plastic, not nature’s burning, but the waste of mankind. It shortened his breath and shut his throat and burned his eyes, tears running down his face.
To the left and the right of the rough gravel he heard creatures moving, the muted steps skittering in deep leaf mash, but could see nothing through the darkening cover. Away and behind him the sounds seemed to be headed, and the noise of creatures both large and small, the deer and the mouse alike, leaping away from the direction he was going.
There came now, in the path he was headed, a haze of smoke. As the light had faded he could see no color, but in his imagination it was a sickly yellow, a caustic ammonia. As he headed on it worsened and he thought of turning back. It was important to him to continue. Ahead he discerned not a sound, but the rumor of sound, the waves of it deep and rumbling that he not so much heard, but felt, in his jaw and his chest, a physical manifestation of sound.
It came now to his ears, a deep grinding, a mechanical elephant call that traveled through the ground and the mass of the biggest things around, the source maybe close maybe miles from where he walked.
The prompt for this was “what is just over the hill or behind the closed door.” I wanted to work on description today and had no idea what lay ahead but only that it was ominous. It is the time of year for that sort of stuff. I had the goal of description and to use senses and to keep away from exposition. I thought 20 minutes was not long enough at all and once I had started I didn’t want to write about the idea I had chosen.
A pattern in my writing that I do not care for seems to be repetition. Not intended, there are clearly very important times repetition needs to be used, but needless repetition of words and phrases. I might have to look at a text on grammar, but the use of the present tense “to be” seems a source of lots of unnecessary words.
Ok, I have a book at the library on evolution and a copy of “A Confederacy of Dunces.” I read it more than 30 years ago now and can still recall quite a bit as I play it in my head. I remember not being able to get all the way past the tone of the preface where the editor tells of what happened to Toole. It really colored my reading of it all those years ago. I don’t think it will this time, but I am not certain.