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Clarion Call #10: Seven Minutes in Mexico?

March 12, 2011

When Noel Gallagher wrote this seven-minute composition, he was thinking of the pyramids of Teotihuacan.  When I hear it, I see something else entirely.  But what do you see?

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Lynda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Mishell Baker permalink*
    March 12, 2011 7:11 am

    Heather held tight to her mum’s hand as they crowded against the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Helion Cosmoport. Rain drummed against the glass, but through the silvery ribbons of streaming water, Heather could see the vast concrete plain on which a dozen rockets prepared for departure.

    “What’s the matter, Mum?” Heather looked up at her mother’s white face, alarmed by the way the petite woman sagged against the glass. Heather was only eleven, and already almost eye to eye with her.

    Mum just shook her head, her eyes fixed on the crowds that bustled past, their eyes dull and focused, shoulders knocking one another. Brown human flesh and gray carapaces and pinkish scales and more, passing by in a cacaphony of boots on linoleum and the smells of seawater and cabbage and oniony armpit. Behind them all rose the tremendous gleaming chrome of the cosmoport’s central sculpture, a three-story stylized strand of DNA torn apart halfway up. Heather thought it was beautiful, but Mum wasn’t even looking at it.

    “Let’s just wait here a moment,” Mum said in a shaky voice. “Let’s just rest.” Her eyes were wet, and her grip on Heather’s hand was just short of punishing.

    Heather sighed and let her eyes travel over the crowd, counting species. If Mum couldn’t even handle the cosmoport, how was she going to handle the flight?

    • Kari T permalink
      March 12, 2011 9:45 am

      Ooh Michelle, this was so good!!!! I really like how you effortlessly blend in description with dialogue and action, this is one of my weak points. Loved it!

  2. Kari T permalink
    March 12, 2011 9:42 am

    My feeling from this piece was ‘a controlled response to an encroaching disaster’.

    Ellie swept into the room in a form fitting red dress. At the age of forty four she could still rock a plunging neckline, and demurely looked away at each appreciative male glance.
    But Ellie was not at the party for admiration; she was there to squelch a growing threat to her family’s survival. As she moved through the crowd shaking hands, every cell of her being was focused on the lipsticked faces before her.
    She would not recognize the threat by sight, but by scent. A scent that first appeared three months earlier on her husband’s discarded shirt. As the weeks went by the scent appeared more frequently, and her fear of losing her lifestyle overtook her sense of pride.
    The scent presented itself one hour after her arrival. She was so taken aback that she couldn’t hide her look of surprise; the woman was not young and beautiful, as she had imaged, but as old as herself.
    She was standing in mixed company, and her expression did not change as Ellie was introduced. She even had the courtesy to say hello before returning to the topic of conversation, about the prolonged drought. Ellie lingered, occasionally adding comments and biding her time.
    “It would just be our luck,” the woman commented, “that a storm will wipe out everything barely clinging to life.”
    It was the opportunity Ellie had been waiting for. “Yes,” she said as she locked eyes with the woman, “When lightning strikes it does so with no warning, and the consequences can indeed be devastating.”

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      March 12, 2011 9:45 am

      Welcome back, Kari! I have to say, responses to the musical prompts are always my favorite to read. Always so surprising.

  3. March 12, 2011 5:12 pm

    Jezzrae slapped the spanner into her tool belt while the thunder cracked the sky overhead. She frowned as rain spattered from the sky, puddling on the launchpad, water slicked with rainbows of oil and fuel. She shrugged as she stepped from the maintenance shed. At least the rain was warm. She pushed her short hair from her eyes, already dripping. Sweat mingled with rain as she wrestled the thrusters from their mountings, her thin tank top glued to hre body by the moisture. The raiders were coming. This ship provided their only means of escape, but only if she could get it flying. Captain Flynn would bring the refugees before dawn. Rain or no rain, the engineer had to get the ship moving. Jezzrae pulled the spanner from her belt before crawling beneath the air ship to thread the drive chains through the proper slots. Grease slicked her skin, traced by the rain water gathering in growing streams as the storm continued through the night.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      March 13, 2011 7:45 am

      Good to have you back, Jaleta! Looks like a lot of us are seeing rain in this piece, hm? Fascinating stuff.

      • March 13, 2011 1:56 pm

        It was the thunder and rain in the very beginning that set the mood for me. This paragraph is getting expanded into a steampunk airship pirate story. I’m excited about it. I’ve been looking for the inspiration for a pirate story and you provided it. Thanks!

      • Mishell Baker permalink*
        March 13, 2011 3:07 pm

        Best news I’ve heard all day. Keep us posted on how it goes.

      • March 13, 2011 6:21 pm

        I’m planning on working on it tomorrow while the kids are home from school. I love it when a story blooms for me.

  4. March 13, 2011 5:02 am

    Rain.

    It falls in a cybernetic cacophony of twisted metal and silicon warfare. The droplets descend down past the crawling pipes of cold metal buildings, bereft of human touch and heart.

    A young girl is dying.

    A pool of water beneath her, flowing out, a ripple of waves clear and spreading crimson with each tiny droplet from the yellow sulphur and carbon choked clouds.

    The city looks down, uncaring.

    Windows a grimy and soot stained, through a dark window a couple argue threats of abandonment and murder. Behind, the vintage television flickers in salt and pepper static garbled with lost songs of the heart that make no more sense. A knife is pulled and red is added to the greys.

    The city looks on feeling nothing.

    In opium and crack dens the smoke filters through like a haze of lost dreams and ritualistically sacrificed hopes. The glassy stares of the people there reflect the dull phosphor light of computer screen portals to more potent and important personas in the virtual world. They ride the dragon with him, sliding through fantasies in hypodermic lust and hate.

    The city bears it all, this lifeblood of apathy.

    She wanted nothing but the lukewarm touch of human companionship in the frigid waters of this new urban ocean. Years of walking the streets showed it couldn’t exist, but she clung to it like a sixty year old wino fights to protect the last droplets of his liquid sanity and companionship. It was over now, she would leave him, start over, it shouldn’t be like this. It mustn’t.

    And still the city cares nothing.

    They’ve fought, and adrenaline flows away like the memories of yesterday’s news drowning in the gutters of the tear-stained asphalt veins that make up the city’s network of commerce and trade. Cold realization strikes in stark contrast with the fiery passion he felt. There’s nothing for it but out the window.

    Still nothing. The city watches the plummeting figure in abject uncaring.

    The pavement is cold. The rain pattering on her face makes it no warmer but comforts her in a strange way. Like the final bits of a caress meant to tell her that it would all be fine when she woke up. Up in the distance, she can see what she hopes are stars. You can wish upon a star, and the wish comes true. But stars too fade, like hope she once had, stars… too… fade…

    My but I wish I could write something happy once in a while, hehe. And to think, I’m often the joker in my circle of friends. This little tidbit though looks like it could be fun to expand into a longer cyberpunk short story or something. But considering the tone, it just might depress me, hehe.

    • Mishell Baker permalink*
      March 13, 2011 7:43 am

      Looks like we have ourselves another regular! Welcome back!

      And remember, it’s all about letting your mind run free. Do not question the dark recesses of your wandering mind! Nurture them! Free-range brain is the tastiest brain!

      • March 13, 2011 7:53 am

        Aye, I rather enjoy following this, allows for great creative output and practice🙂

        And indeedy, free-range brain is rather tasty, hehe.

        *insert zombie moans and shuffling here*

      • Mishell Baker permalink*
        March 13, 2011 8:05 am

        D’oh! I just Tweeted something about zombies and free-range brains mere moments before reading your comment!

        Incidentally, this is one reason there is the rule about not reading the comments section before posting. By the nature of prompts, many people’s gut responses will turn out to be similar, and people would tend to self-censor out of fear of not seeming “original.” Self-censoring leads to less tasty, non free-range brains.

        Great minds think alike, and that’s okay when you’re just goofing around. 🙂

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