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The DayDream

by Chestersmummy 

Posted: 08 April 2017
Word Count: 976
Summary: For this week's challenge

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‘Then there was the bad weather….’  Tommy sucked his pen, tilting his head to one side.  
Yeah.  That was good.  Original.  Hey, it was a doddle, this writing lark. Now, what next…?  
 He looked at the sheet of paper, the purity of its smooth surface marred only by the black scrawl of his words.   Puffing out his cheeks he sighed and looked up again, his gaze wandering around the room.  At the far end old Wilkie was beavering away, scrawling the word Pythagoras in large letters on the whiteboard.   Tommy snorted. 
 Geometry - who needs it?   
 He thought about the English Lit writing competition.  There was a cracker of a first prize; two tickets to the circus.   He wondered who to take with him - perhaps his Mum?   He’d already sounded her out.
‘Doing anything next Wednesday evening, Mum?’  He’d done his best to sound nonchalant.
She’d blinked at the unexpected question.  Then with an irritated toss of her head, she’d dismissed him and his query.
‘Since when do I go out in the evenings?’
Yeah, he’d take her.  Might cheer her up a bit, she’d been so crabby recently.  He remembered the other evening when he’d burned her saucepan making popcorn.  She’d gone on and on, he thought he’d never hear the last of it.   No wonder Dad had left home.   His throat constricted and he swallowed trying to ignore the sudden pain around his heart.   He’d never thought the old man had it in him.   Fancy him running off with Mrs Harris from next door?  A sudden image flashed before his eyes, a woman with shiny blonde hair, narrow waist, and a curvy bum that jiggled when she walked.   He swallowed again, trying to ignore a pain of a different sort - he’d fancied her himself.  
Tearing his thoughts away, he screwed up his face and dragged himself back to the job in hand.   What had his English teacher advised?   ‘Be meticulous in your description….’  
Suddenly, he was there.   His body was bent double as he felt the full force of the gale and his face streamed from the lash of rain being catapulted from the sky.  He licked his lips, tasting the salt laden wind as he forced himself on through the narrow, cobbled streets following the dim shadows of his companions as they snaked towards the shore.   They were almost there when, with a tremendous crash, a bolt of lightening split the heavens illuminating the scene with a lurid glow.  Tommy gasped.  He could clearly see the stricken ship.   Listing heavily to port, it was battling valiantly against the boiling sea, the white tipped waves thrashing the sides of the ship and foaming across its decks.   His feet crunched over the sand and now he could clearly hear the groaning of the vessel as it laboured towards them and, as the calm face of the moon appeared through gaps in the racing clouds, he fancied he caught a glimpse of pale faces staring desperately landwards.
There was no time to lose if they were to succeed.   Silently, the group of men separated and ran towards the ocean.   Working swiftly, despite hands numbed with cold, they placed colza lamps amongst the jagged rocks until their deadly surfaces gleamed with a beckoning yellow glow.   Now, there was nothing to do but wait.
Soon the moan of the wind was lost in a grinding crash as the ship foundered and screams rent the air as bodies plummeted into the surf.   The waiting men raced into the swell rescuing bobbing casks and wooden trunks, working desperately against the tide threatening to sweep their booty out to sea.   The waves rolled in and soon bodies were littering the beach.  These were ignored, save any showing any signs of life, when an upraised cudgel sliced through the air and silenced them for ever.
His muscles aching, Tommy was heaving free a heavy spar when out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a young woman with blonde hair and swelling hips staggering towards him.    Her wet dress was plastered to her shape, clinging to every voluptuous curve and around her slim neck was a heavy necklace of large and lustrous emeralds.   Tommy’s mouth watered as he reached for…..
There was an excruciating pain in his neck as his head was suddenly jerked backwards.   His eyes flew open and he gasped.   An inch from his nose loomed the red and furious face of Mr Wilkinson.   With horrified fascination, Tommy studied every open pore and whiskery bristle as the maths teacher leaned closer.
‘Back from the Land of Nod, are we Thompson?  I suppose it would be too much to hope for if you actually knew the answer to the question I just asked?’  He raised his eyebrows.
Tommy blinked and looked desperately around the room.   He was the centre of attention.  All his mates had turned in their seats and were staring at him, their faces registering either pity or jubilation, depending on how close a friend they were.
‘I thought not.’   Abruptly letting go of Tommy’s hair, Mr Wilkinson straightened.    Then he stilled as the piece of paper caught his eye.
‘And, what have we here?’   With a delicate pincer movement of his fingers, he picked it up and a sarcastic smirk wreathed his face.   He turned towards the class and in a deep and melodramatic voice, intoned the immortal words.
‘Then there was the bad weather….’.
          ‘What utter tosh!’
He crumpled Tommy’s masterpiece into a ball and with a flick of his wrist sent it hurtling towards the nearest wastepaper basket.
‘Detention.  My room.  Six o’clock.  Wednesday evening.’  Each crisp word shook Tommy to the core.
Sadly, Tommy drooped behind his desk as, one by one, the multicoloured lights lining the circumference of the big top, flickered and died.

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Comments by other Members

V`yonne at 18:29 on 08 April 2017  Report this post
Awe poor kid. We've all be caught like that by some teacher or other.
Two things to look out if you don't mind me saying devil

1 He could clearly see the stricken ship.   Listing heavily to port, it was battling valiantly against the boiling sea, the white tipped waves thrashing the sides of the ship and foaming across its decks.   His feet crunched over the sand and now he could clearly hear the groaning

just the second time drop the adjective?

and the phrasing

Listing heavily to port, it
Puffing out his cheeks he
Working swiftly, despite hands numbed with cold, they
His muscles aching, Tommy

It is quite common to begin a sentence in this way these days but in flash fiction it tends to stand out. It's mostly best to convert to shorter sentences I find -- though you're free to disagree of course.

I loved the teacher's sarcasm and the sticatto detention!

Chestersmummy at 19:43 on 08 April 2017  Report this post
Thanks for your comments and have taken them on board.smiley

Bazz at 21:19 on 08 April 2017  Report this post
Quite a layered piece Janet, i like the way pieces of reality filter into his daydream, and the lurch as he's dragged abruptly out of it. you really capture that disorientating feeling. There's a nicely sour melancholy note to the humour at the end as well.

scriever at 17:18 on 09 April 2017  Report this post
A daydream in a maths class! A situation I remember all too well. I like the sudden jolf to the moonlit beach, and the fact that the pale faces looking landward were ignored when the wreck ran aground, a slightly unexpected twist, then the physical jolt back into the classroom. If it were me I would have made the hair grabbing a new para, to accentuate the shock, but it was still effective. I wonder if he ever finished his story?

michwo at 07:21 on 19 May 2017  Report this post
Yet again you've put me in mind of something - Daphne du Maurier's Jamaica Inn in this case with the wreckers luring ships and their cargoes and crews onto rocks.  A deft sting in the tail too.  Well done as always.
Just one point, however.  I think in the description of the storm it should be 'a bolt of lightning' rather than 'a bolt of lightening'.

Chestersmummy at 18:21 on 20 May 2017  Report this post
Hi Michwo,  Thanks for your comments on three of my bits of nonsense - glad they reminded you of other (better) authors.  I think lightening must have been a typo but thanks for drawing it to my attention.  

Haven't heard from you recently.  Have you been away?  Anyway, I am glad you are back.

Best wishes


michwo at 22:00 on 20 May 2017  Report this post
I moved house at the end of March and have only just been set up with an internet connection and new router.
How did I manage without the Internet?  I went to my local library to access it basically, but it's much better when you can do it in the privacy of your own home.
I'm just about to post my most recent effort, a translation from the German of a lady who went from being a Protestant to being a Catholic and wrote quite a lot of stories with biblical or religious connotations including the one I chose to translate which is entitled "Our Lady of the Carnival".  I hope you'll like it as much as you liked "The Owl" though it's nothing like as matter of fact as that story is.  The Baroque I associate with the 18th century in music, e.g. Bach and Handel, and ornate architecture and painting.  Bellini and Vivarini, mentioned in passing, must have been around during that period too if not earlier.  Enjoy.

michwo at 22:14 on 20 May 2017  Report this post
P.S. I've submitted this story to Critique Central.  Let me know what you think of it.

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