"Cold Shoulder" and "The Prisoner"
In the autumn of 2017 I took a writing course from Faber Academy in London, which ended up being a lovely experience. Our first assignment was to write a scene in no more 50 words. Later in the course we had a slightly longer assignment (150 words), and I decided to revisit that scene from a different angle.
Without a glance my direction, the woman in midnight blue skirt and jacket click-clacked past me, her demeanor as chilly and gray as the hazy morning light into which her chunky heels sounded time down the pavement. I fingered my collar tighter at the cool breeze billowing in her wake.
The ghost of a laugh slithered through Alex’s head as she swept by a man on the corner of Quentin and Alcatraz, and she saw him flip up his jacket collar. Alex’s own hand rose to adjust strands of dark hair that had fallen across her eyes, the motion sickening her. She hadn’t commanded her arm to move, and yet it was her arm. She felt frigid air prickling her skin and saw skeletal trees bordering the path, but she couldn’t control where she looked. Peering through her own eyes was as nausea-inducing as watching her brother play those third-person shooter games, only much, much worse.
Alex wanted so badly to speak to the man disappearing into the dull morning behind her. Yell out. Scream. But words wouldn’t come. He looked kind, but “kind” couldn’t help her. Alex was trapped, and that malicious laugh was all she had for company.