I have a prompt to write on. But the story has to be a dialogue between two characters. It can have intermittent description but the majority of it should be a dialogue, preferably a disagreement of some kind between two persons (more is allowed). The prompt just needs to appear somewhere in the dialogue.
Prompt: the audacity to pretend
Next possible prompt : anything this photography will inspire you.
I admit I’m not very good at writing stories
and this may end up very corny and cliche but I’ll give it a shot.
The Song from Our Memories
This birthday party was a disaster.
His forty-fifty birthday was a complete and utter disaster until it was not.
Amelia, his younger sister, insisted that, “Alfred, don’t you remember that we used to have not even enough money for a cake."
The days of begging and wandering around looking for scraps of food, anything they could find was a blessing. Asking strangers for money only to distrustful eyes and even more disdainful glares as they ran away. Days when they only had the clothes on their backs and the warmth of their parents to take comfort in. When the entire world was against them, they at least had each other. Huddled under a blanket with hushed whispers of an imagined birthday party gorging on whatever food they could find while Amelia played the imaginary piano and sang happy birthday for each of us. She never forgot to sing and play for every single one of us every year. This year was different, Amelia had a real piano, but the warmth was not there anymore. It left along with momma and poppa. Momma and poppa died a few months back, and Amelia was never the same again.
We promised to celebrate our birthday happily each year when we had the money. The cakes, the party hats, the streamers were things we dreamed about. We are going to have a birthday party today no matter what!
And that was when the nightmare called his birthday started.
Amelia went and prepared everything like a fearsome bridezilla on her wedding day. God bless whom ever she may marry. She went about baking a chocolate cake with real candles lit with flames. She bought loads and loads of party decorations brimming with color sticking them everywhere from the living room to the bathroom and sent out the invitations to anyone in our small social circle she could think of.
She was so happy planning the entire thing.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen her smile.
A genuine and radiant smile beaming from cheek to cheek
as if nothing wrong could ever touch us again,
until a loud crack of thunder bough along with a pouring shower of rain.
The smile slipped off her face as she practically runs out the door.
I grabbed her arm before she can exit out the door and ask her
“Amelia, what’s wrong?”
She explains everything in a panic. “Your birthday party! The cake! The presents! I left everything outside.”
She nearly barrels out the door before I stand up and block her way.
“It raining outside. You’re going to get soaked. I don’t need those.”
“Yes, you do. You need cakes and streamers and present and- you NEED those for a birthday party.”
No, I don’t-
I NEED THEM THEN !!!
Tears that started streaming down her cheeks turn into loud sobs, tears dropping like raindrops on the windowsill.
“I need them.”
It is a quiet and hushed admission in the middle of a loud storm.
“We already lost momma and poppa. We at least need a birthday party. They would’ve wanted that. I wanted that. I wanted you to have a happy birthday. There nothing and no momma and papa. Her words broke off into another fit of sobs.
"This birthday party was a disaster and I’m sorry.”
“No, this is not a disaster.” My voice rings out confidently, surprising even myself admist the silence.
“H-How is this not a disaster”
You could practically hear the absurdity of it in her muffled and tear strained voice.
“We didn’t open the birthday presents yet”.
“There are no presents.”
“I would like a birthday present”.
The request quiets her tears.
I picked up the cone hats from the ground and put one on her and me.
“I want a song as my birthday present.”
“Play the piano just like you used to.”
A small smile graces her flushed streaked face as stands back up on unstable legs and hobbles to the piano.
“What song would you like?“
“The usual it is”
With a nod of her head she touches a piano for the first time and plays a song.
A horrifying mishmashed tune vaguely resembling happy birthday rings out from the keys she smashes. She never really did truly learn to play the piano even when we no longer lived on the streets. She claimed that the best songs are the ones that we shared from our memories and none of her other song can ever live up to its wonder and magnificence. Amidst the honestly horrifying tune an unstable but joyous voice rings out.
“Haa~ppy Birthday toooo~ you
Haaa~ ppy Birthday toooo~ you
Happy Birthday ~ to Alfred
Happy Birthday to you.
Why thank you!That was very good, actually ! Tender and witty, I just love how funny your dialogues are and how you movingly describe the sibling relationship.
Haha I love those ideas. Particularly n°2.Why thank you!
This prompt could have took an entirely different turn because I had too many possibilities around in my head. With the dark tone and setting I was either going to write one of three things:
1. A weary husband and a bossy wife on the brink of divorce and actually divorcing over a failed birthday party.
2. A possible dark birthday mystery because of the third pair extra of foot steps and nobody being there
3. Retired musicians (from the piano) celebrating the birthday of a deceased friend who came back to celebrate with them (after death).
It turned out to be neither of these things and somehow turned a bit more lighthearted then I thought which is a good thing because sometime I write stories that get a bit convoluted and dark.
“Annalee Michaels, will you marry me?”
Frank’s eyes were glistening moistly, his slightly upturned nose pink and quivering ever so slightly.
“Oh my God, yes! Yes!”
I squealed in delight as he adjusted the white gold diamond(?) ring onto my ring finger. The photographer snapped our photo – me ecstatic on my feet, Frank nearly crying on bended knee.
Frank stood back up and wrapped his arms around my waist. “I love you,” he whispered in my ear.
“I love you, too,” I said, but my words were drowned out in a deafening cacophony.
Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries” was blasting from the rooftop restaurant’s speakers. From every set of speakers in town, in fact.
“What… the… frick?” I saw Frank’s mouth forming the words, but I didn’t hear a single syllable.
The patrons around us were screaming, covering their ears. Luckily, Frank and I were super into dubstep, and immune to further auditory damage.
As if on cue, the speakers all cut out at first. There was a blissful silence, at first.
Then, the buzzing.
The beating of a hundred thousand wings from a swarm of biblical proportions.
The swarm of flying insects grew from a fist-sized blot in the distance to an enormous sheet blanketing the entire horizon.
“RUN!” Frank screamed at me, pushing me toward the exit.
The exit was already being mobbed by dozens of restaurant staff and diners, all desperately trying to flee. I saw a man headbutt another to get ahead.
Frank screamed out in existential agony.
I grabbed his arm and ran toward the emergency staircase, where a group of diners were already booking it down to the ground. We descended the stairs in blind panic, a writhing mass of fear on legs.
By the time we made it down the three flights the streets were in pandemonium. Display windows had been smashed, car alarms were ringing, and several buildings were on fire. Crowds of people were running down the boulevard and forcing their way into shelter they could find.
All this we observed through a thickening haze of beating wings and infernal buzzing, as the swarm came for us all. I could feel the crawling of hundreds of tiny feet on my face, hands, and wrists, and pain where the razor-like wings left tiny cuts on my skin.
Frank pushed me in the direction of the clamoring crowd. His eyes were wet with tears, his gaze fixed on mine.
“I can’t leave without you!”
“Yes, you can! I love you! I’ll never forget you!”
“Frank, this is insane! Come with me!”
“Save yourself, I’ll hold them back!”
I punched him in the face and dragged him with me back inside the restaurant. There were already half a dozen people clustered inside, shuttering the windows and smacking at wandering locusts with menus.
The grasshoppers were mostly gone in an hour. Some lingered, congregating on open surfaces and hopping in a leisurely fashion.
Frank and I made our way home, to our little two-bedroom bungalow on Peach Tree Avenue. We got cleaned up and disinfected each other’s wounds with soft cotton balls to the sound of Billie Holiday playing from the living room stereo.
We cuddled in close that night, gazing soulfully into each other’s eyes.
“Baby,” Frank whispered, his eyes alight with love. “I’ll always put you first.”
“I know, baby,” I said. “And I’ll always be there for you.”
“Even if I’m…”
He turned into a grasshopper.