Writing Prompt: “Before Redd”

July 28, 2013

_*So I’ve decided that I need to write way more than I have been lately. I’m going to try to do daily (or at least weekly) writing prompt responses so that I’m not so rusty. Today’s prompt (from _http://www.panthermoon.com/generator.php) _was to write a pre-cannon (basically the story before the story) story for fifteen minutes using the word “ripples” for inspiration. I wrote a sort of pre-prologue prologue for my project Redd. Enjoy! _

The rain fell in sheets that smashed so loudly against the ground, nobody could hear the oncoming buzz of the narrow zeppelin in the night sky. Nor could they see its slow creep towards the Bates mansion at the top of the cliffs. 

Roger Bates watched his wife sleep beside him, noting the tired lines at her eyes and the way her body curled up into a rigid ball, red hair spilling over her shoulders and face. Margaret had slept alone in that bed for most of their marriage and was unused to having another body beside her. Hating himself for it, Roger only watched her for a few more moments before slipping out of bed and walking toward the hallway. 

Thick, red drapes lined the eastern wall and closed off the windows so that the lightning wouldn’t get inside. Paintings of scientists and musicians and artists stared on from the other side, lonely and serious in the shadows. Roger’s bare feet padded across the rug and toward the small wooden door leading to his only daughter’s bedroom. He pushed it open. 

There, lying in a heap with her face half-smashed into her pillow, was little Margo Bates, the girl he’d called Red and spelled “Redd” for all of her life because of her hair and because of the way she wrote down her nickname when she was too young to know spelling. 

He wanted to pick her up and embrace her, tell her that he loved her, but he kept his distance. She was fourteen and she hated him for his job, for never being there. He knew it from the long letters Margaret would write him when he was away. 

That night, staring at his daughter, Roger Bates determined that she and his wife would never know what he did when he was away, not because it was suspicious, but because it was dangerous. They would never trust him, they would never love him the way normal people love their fathers and husbands, but they would be safe. 

That’s what he was telling himself with a bizarre amount of gravity when the roof his home collapsed on top of him and a ladder filled with grotesque, gangly shadows snaked its way into his daughter’s room.

10 Totally Ari Things that Happened to Me This Week
I Go By Ari