Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to use the following words or images in a story: whirlwind of leaves, wizened old man, lonely call of an owl, crackling fire.
Today’s post is written by Phil Yeats. Last December, Phil (using his Alan Kemister pen name) published his most recent novel. Tilting at Windmills, the second in the Barrettsport Mysteries series of soft-boiled police detective stories set in an imaginary Nova Scotia coastal community is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Tilting-Windmills-Barrettsport-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07L5WR948/
The wizened old man gazed, as he did most mornings, at the world outside his woodland cabin. A whirlwind of colourful autumn leaves swirled past his window, and his trusty friend, an old owl, stared as immobile as a statue from a nearby tree limb.
He’d learned when only thirteen that he would never be normal. Stunted growth, arthritis, and cataracts already dominated his life. Operations to replace the cataracts with plastic lenses improved his vision, but the other signs of aging marched on relentlessly. His life expectancy at thirty-two was measured in years, not decades.
After breakfast, he split logs for his evening fire. His only strenuous activity; he had to accomplish it in the morning when his strength was greatest.
Half an hour later, he set the chunks of split firewood and kindling beside his hearth and positioned his easel in the brightest part of his woodland cabin. Drawing was his life, his only solace from the cruel fate nature bestowed on him.
He spent the morning generating illustrations for a children’s book. At noon, he set them aside and turned his attention to his private drawings, therapeutic ones that kept him sane.
The young woman from the publishing house arrived in mid-afternoon. She studied each of the drawings he’d set aside. “Perfect,” she said when she arrived at the last one. “We never reject any. You wouldn’t believe the fights we have with our other illustrators.”
He picked up the manuscript she’d given him when he received the commission. “Don’t see what’s so difficult. You read the book and draw the images it generates.”
She smiled as she strolled to his easel. “What have we here?”
“Images from my imaginary life.”
She shook her head. “A naked woman like a model from a figure drawing class and two tykes dressed like they could be from that book.”
He took the sheet, tore it from top to bottom, and handed her the pieces. “There you go, two separate drawings.”
She handed them back. “I must go, get your drawings to the office before quitting time. New manuscript that’ll be perfect for you arrived this week. I’ll get it to you once the editor decides.” She smiled, nodding toward the drawings in his hand. “In the meantime, I’d pay for a drawing of me in a pose like that one.”
“I’d need photos to work from.”
She skipped out. “Watch your inbox. I might do it.”
Darkness fell upon his woodland glade as he prepared his evening meal. Afterwards, he lit the fire he’d laid that morning. When it was crackling nicely, the lonely call of an owl, perhaps the one he’d seen perched in his tree, pierced the quiet night. He shredded his therapeutic drawings and fed the fragments into the fire.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/