FWF – The Cost of Memory


I have had this FWF open in the background all night (I haven’t been online the whole time) waiting for muse to hit me and help me write this week’s time and place scenario- and muse has finally made a call! Here’s my FWF – click the button to find out more.


The Cost of Memory

You’re young. You are standing in front of a shop window watching something on the black and white television inside. A woman grabs your hand and runs down the street, pulling you along…

I see the television boxes in the window, I have always wished I could be like some of the other kids. Lying on the carpet watching the flashing light from the box. I can’t really imagine lying on our floor. I might get splinters. I like to stand here watching these boxes. Many screens with the same magic moving across them. It helps me. Helps me forget, takes my mind elsewhere.

Elva had planned this one for some time, with Smithy’s help. He had practically moved into her room. She didn’t like that, the sleaze she had to put up with just to get by, to keep Christine safe. She had to. There was no choice. Most of the time she hated it, living by the rule of the gun. Smithy had taken full advantage of the day. And he really had been right. Most people’s backs were turned, watching the events unfold. Gathered around radio’s listening or engrossed in the television. Elva had even managed to slip through the Department Store without detection.

But then something. People changed. The atmosphere. People racing out onto the streets, traffic moving. She glanced at the clock tower, it was too early. Torn between the plan and keeping Christine safe, she left JONE’S & SON’S and ran down the small narrow alley. She could see her innocent child, the other side of the street. Exactly where she had left her. Outside Roy’s Electronics. She was a good girl. Elva tried to force the thoughts of the beatings to come out of her mind. She had to find some way to live and survive. But she could move on. She had a brimming haul from today’s work, enough to put down on a room somewhere for a few days.

Elva knew she had no choice now. This was too big for her.

Christine was so captivated by the screens she didn’t see the reflections moving about her in the window. Hadn’t realised the once quiet street was now filling out with a human population all frantically rushing to a different place. Before she knew it a woman grabbed her hand and starting running down the street. Her arm was being pulled from it’s socket it hurt. She called out, but no-one took any notice, the street was thick with people rushing about, holding their hats on. Her own green winter coat seemed to be splitting at the seams, it was cutting into her armpit.

Christine really wanted to know what was going on. The Televisions all showed the same word she wasn’t sure, something about Balloons or Ballet, the last bit she could read T-I-N, Tin, like the bath they used at home.

The man didn’t have any balloons. He had a big thing attached to his head, he listened and talked and was handed new bits of paper to read. He sometimes looked straight into her face and seemed to blink a lot. He touched his glasses at the side and looked at somebody who was inside the box and not on the screen. Then a shiny circle with a bird on it and some big words Christine had not seen. She could read the abc on the screen at the end. That’s as much as she could ever remember;

A is for Apple… B and C.

None of it made sense, she’d ask Mum when they got back. She looked up from her running red shoes, her arm was still hurting.

“You’re hurting me!” she yelled over and over, she looked up.

It wasn’t her mum!

22 responses »

  1. This has some great turns for a short write…I was wondering if it was her mother taking her or not. Or the person she thinks is her mother is not. Wow, I really felt connected to each of the characters with your concise descriptions. Great flow. I want to know more…

    • Great comments thank you. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to be her mum or not as I wrote it, but in the end decided the mum was in so deep that it was likely they would need a pawn (kidnapping the daughter) to keep her from going underground…

      I might write more.

  2. I just read your comment to Gray Poet and noticed your reference to JFK. Interestingly, I thought it might be about the assassination (or the event served as the backdrop to the larger story at least) because of the reference to the clock tower and the spelling of T-I-N.

    • It was JFK’s assassination news that Christine was watching on abc. She couldn’t hear the sound and was not educated so didn’t know what she was watching. I put the other references in their to try and point clues to the reader but liked the ambiguity of it. Somewhere in the back of my mind as I wrote this – Smithy has something to do with a bigger plot maybe his cousin is Oswald…

    • Aw thanks Kellie … Lots of people seem to want more. I wish I could produce the next scene straight away, may take some time…. think there will be one though!

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