My good friend over at The Ship of Dreams came over for a coffee afternoon and we took the opportunity to work on writing prompts. Since she wasn’t able to attend our first W.A.F.F.L.E. meeting, she took the opportunity to write her own short story starter, which you can read here:
I continued my original story, still not knowing exactly where I’m going, and developing the story further.
She sat as still as ever, clutching her knees to her chest.
“Deidre, if you would, please fetch a towel and…” Constance had a mind to call for the Governor, but she knew the circumstances were extremely suspicious. After all, the few cities that had survived and built upon the waters were few, but their lust for power didn’t lessen. Instead, it evolved. Instead of battling for land, they now fought over water rights and borders. It was possible this woman was a spy, but something in Constance’s heart said the woman could be trusted.
“And?” Deidre asked. The elderly woman was concerned until she spotted the woman on the steps, and then she was entirely bewildered. “Who is that, Constance?”
“I don’t know. Would you-“
“You don’t know?” Deidre wasn’t prone to paranoia, but perhaps anyone would be suspicious of a stranger on the water steps of the governor’s mansion.
“Please, would you…would you get my brother and ask him to come to me?” Constance asked, settling on the name she thought would be most trustworthy. Although her brother, Cedrych, was a soldier and always followed protocol, his heart was compassionate and wise. He would know exactly what to do.
“Of course. I’ll be quick,” Deidre responded, nodding her head and eyeing the woman before turning to scurry down the hall. Constance picked up the glass of water and walked carefully to the water steps, which had been moistened by the constant, gentle tide that lapped against the palace.
“Here you go,” Constance said, holding out the glass. The woman flinched, but when she saw Constance, she calmed and took the glass. She held it to her nose, almost as if she was checking for poison, but her thirst overcame her distrust and she drank quickly. “What’s your name?” Constance asked. “Where are you from?”
The woman paused, her eyes searching the horizon. “I…I’m not from here,” she simply said.
“From the palace? Did you perhaps fall off the docks?” Constance questioned, hoping something she said would trigger the woman’s memory. It would be good if she had at least a little something to tell Cedrych when he arrived. She looked behind her to see if he was coming down the hall yet, but it was still empty.
“No, from this place. I don’t know where this place even is,” the woman gasped, and Constance could hear the pitch in her voice change. No doubt there were tears in the woman’s eyes, but her gaze remained constant on the waters.
“How did you get here?” Constance said, keeping an eye on the hallway. No answer. Was the amnesia just a ruse? But the woman’s fear and confusion seemed absolutely genuine. Of course, most spies were excellent actors. “What’s your name?”
“I remember…” the woman began, but then her voice trailed off.
“Constance!” Cedrych called out.
“I’ll be right back. Stay here,” Constance instructed. The woman was lost in her thoughts once more. She hesitated a moment, but then quickly hurried up the steps to her brother, who was sprinting towards her.
“Who is that?” he asked, his voice full of concern and his brown eyes narrow as he analyzed what he could see of the woman.
“I’ve yet to get a name from her,” Constance answered, hugging herself and joining him to stare. “She came up out of the water – no diving equipment or anything – just up out of the water. I threw her a ring and pulled her to the steps, but she’s has amnesia. Doesn’t remember a thing as far as I can tell.”
“Certainly sounds like a spy. But we’ve learned how to break them quickly. I’ll find out why she is here,” Cedrych said, starting towards the steps. But Constance grabbed is arm, pulling at his military uniform.
“Cedrych, I don’t think she’s a spy,” she told him. He paused, respecting her enough to at least listen. “I don’t know what she is, but she seems genuinely afraid. Let’s not jump to any conclusions.”
He sighed. “We’ll see,” was the only promise Cedrych could give her. It was good enough for Constance and she released his arm, following him to the water.
“Hello there,” Cedrych said, feigning friendliness as he squatted down beside the woman. Constance stood just behind him, arms still crossed.
“This is my brother, Cedrych,” Constance introduced plainly, wondering if the woman even understood the concept of a name.
“And you are?” Cedrych asked. The woman turned to look at him, her eyes were red. Constance wasn’t sure if she had just finished crying or if she had yet to begin, but she knew that her face – blushed, tearful blue eyes, frowning mouth – would pull at her brother’s heartstrings.
“I remember…” the woman began again.
Be sure to follow my blog to see what happens next in this story starter exercise.