This week's challenge from Terrible Minds was to use four of eight random words in a story.
TM 2012/6/01 - Eight Random Words
On a bit of a random kick, so let’s go with that, again. This time, I give you eight random words:
Saw, Milkshake, Bath, Flowerpot, Wheelchair, Bully, Zoo, Heretic
And you must choose four of these and incorporate them into a piece of flash fiction no more than 1000 words long, posted at your blog or online space by Friday, June 8th, at noon.
I decided to add my Fairy Tale Folk too. Words I used are in bold above.
Making a Choice
"Why me?" asked Rapunzel. "Why not Red Riding Hood?"
"Because you've had to make this choice in your stories," said the witch. "You just always happen to choose your kids, even knowing of the hardship that awaits you, single, with the twins in the wilderness."
"Well, I do love kids," said Rapunzel.
"And you do love Princes," said the witch. "You just love them a little too much."
"But this is more than a re-telling of a fairy tale," said Rapunzel. "It's a march on a clinic - there'll be real mothers and children out there. It could get violent, people could get hurt."
"The Grimm's have decided to widen their scope even more," said the witch. "Our power to persuade and influence will help direct the crowd and build this into a stronger story, hopefully a defining moment. It'll be ok, think of it as just another job, slip into your role and don't get all involved."
"Who will be doing the other side?" said Rapunzel.
"Romulus, our wolf," said the witch. "Not visibly as a wolf of course, just as that talk, dark and handsome character he wears so well, leading the women with his charismatic power, talking of the sanctity of life, their duty to have children, the evils of your pro-choice group."
"Good choice there," said Rapunzel, "given that many of them will likely be carrying one of his kids."
"Jealous?" said the witch.
"No, he's a little too rough for me," said Rapunzel. "I prefer my princes, they're always so gentle and grateful."
"Just wondered." said the witch. "OK, off you go, the story is starting."
Rapunzel ducked as something - possibly a tomato - flew past her and splatted against the clinic wall. She was glad the twins were back inside, sleeping. She hefted her sign and yelled out a chant. "Right-to-life, your name's a lie, You don't care if women die!"
The crowd picked up the chant, and moved with her. She loved the flow of power when this happened, the surge as those around her picked up her emotions and fed them back to her, then back out to the crowd. This was a new clinic, in a poor area of the city, and a focal point of the movement, a chance to show solidarity. These women all needed it, and the support it gave for their tough life, with difficult choices at times. Rapunzel shook her fist at Romulus, as he led his crowd closer. His group were mostly men and women he'd picked from the more upscale parts of town. Children were not a problem for them, as they all had nannies and housekeepers and private schools to deal with them.
She saw that his crowd held signs lettered with Biblical verses, and words like murderers, heretics, sinners. Right in the front was a wheelchair, with a twisted little body in it, surrounded by beeping monitors and dripping tubes - limbs twitching, blind eyes rolling wildly. The woman pushing it held a sign proclaiming that pro-choice would have murdered her baby. As Rapunzel stared at the child, the blank eyes cleared for a moment, and one winked at her.
Rapunzel grinned. "Rumplestiltskin, you little bugger."
"What?" said the woman next to her.
"Nothing, just saw a friend," she said.
"These are not friends, these are enemies," said the woman. "Show them no mercy."
Rapunzel looked around her, realizing she might have pumped the crowd up a little too much. They were all chanting and screaming with the same fervour as the wolf's side was, no longer content with just making a stand for their beliefs. Her crowd was ready for an aggressive push, to try to outdo their opponents with violence. This would be a defining moment alright, but for the wrong reasons. The wolf's side looked ready for bloodshed too.
The woman behind Rapunzel gave her a shove. "Come on, let's get them!"
This was too much, it wasn't just another job. She' decided to take the chance of upsetting the customer, and quickly dialed back her power. She still needed a distraction to break the spell, though. Rapunzel looked up at the balconies overlooking both sides of the street, crowded with people shaking their fists at the other side, balconies with flowerpots hanging over the railings, all bursting with blooms. She gave a quick, high whistle to Romulus, caught his eye, pointed up, then down to the space between their two mobs. Hoping he'd got it, she focused on the balconies opposite her, pushing. The people stopped their wild-eyed yelling, paused, then grabbed some flowerpots, and lifted them overhead. She saw the wolf focusing upwards too - felt his surge of power matching hers.
With a crash the pavement in front of them was buried in a mound of shattered pots, dirt, flowers - a riot of colour. Both crowds froze in their forward march, then turned and looked around at each other, as if coming out of a trance. Which they were, she thought. She grabbed a sign from the woman next to her. Using it as a shovel, she started to clean up the mess, with just a little nudge to those around her. The wolf smiled and started to do the same on his side.