Thursday, July 12, 2012

Running the Sky

Here we are dearies - the studio and an illness (or 3) have kept me away from sharing the writing exercises with you. This exercise came in the form of a visual prompt. It is an elevated walkway in the rainforest canopy of Borneo. I'm not posting the actual photo because I want it to be clear it isn't mine. Click here if you'd like to see it. Now, here's my story.

It was running day. She hated running day. Hated it. She was the best from her village though, so every running day she was picked to do it. Run the letters between villages. She pulled on her shoes, putting each toe into it's little glove-like sleeve, and cinching them tight. She did love the little details of her run. The way she felt every little thing through her skin-thick shoes. The way the air moved through her hair when she ran. The monkeys squealing to their mates about her coming through the canopy. The chatter of bugs running away from the vibrations as she made her way along the trail.

She stopped by the ministry to pick up the satchel with all the precious missives that needed to make their way to people of other villages. She had never received a letter herself. She wondered what it must be like, opening a small parcel, turning over a small card. She didn't get to stay long enough to find out. She just dropped the bundles and continued on to the next stage. Mail ran early in the day or late in the afternoon, depending on what came in to the central depot and how urgent the request was. Fortunately, if she ran one mail stop, then someone else would be selected to run the second. But she mostly ran the route every day.

She peeked into the satchel, and saw only 3 bundles. Maybe she would be back in time to go diving with her friends. She pulled each bundle out. The first was the next village down the road, the second went to the fourth village, but the last package was the very last stop. No chance she would be back in time to play. That was just her luck. Darn. She picked up a skin of water, a packet of nuts and two bananas. That was one perk of running the mail. She got extra food this way. It was really important, she knew, because there seemed to never be enough to ration around to all the hungry mouths. She tipped back a cup of coffee, enjoying the almost hot burn as it went down her throat. She stepped out into the cool morning air, adjusting the band on the satchel and stretching her legs and arms gathering in every last morsel of oxygen her body could hold.
She took a few tentative steps, then started to trot. Soon she was flying along the wooden boards, her hair streaming out behind her. The nearest monkeys called to their neighbors, as if saying "The time has come!" She ran, enjoying the feel of the muscles and the comfortable whoosh of air in and out of her lungs. This was made just for her. She never felt bad about delivering the mail, even in the worst of weather. Yet she always found it so hard to get going.

Her mind drifted, images of her friends, and her family waiting below. She knew they would still be snuggled in their beds in the cool morning air. She came to the first rounder, and took the right hand side. Each tree was different, and so the rounder path was longer on one side or the other. She knew them by heart. She could run this in her sleep.

There was only the lightest of dew today. Her feet felt the grooves in the planks of the trail. She knew when she stepped on a knot, or a nail or even just a leaf. Her shoes had cost her father a month's pay, so she treasured them. She imagined that the shoes knew how important and vital they were to her, and seemed to help her get the most out of her senses.

The path was sturdy. She knew some of the village kids had trouble coming up to the canopy, but it was the only safe way to travel between villages now. The local drug lords fought turf wars between the village borders, so the only safe way to go was by canopy paths. She spent most of her days up here - watching the birds, following the paths of the monkeys swinging from branch to branch, talking to the security guards and getting news from all around their mountain and valleys. It was very stimulating - much more so than working on baskets or cooking if she stayed down in the village all day. She was too old to go to school now, but didn't have a job, either.
I'd love to hear what you think of this. Remember, it's a writing exercise - we only had 13 minutes to complete it with no prep time. It's incomplete, but one day it may evoke a full novel. 

Try your hand at it - if you want to share, link me to it in the comments. I'd love to see what you come up with!


No comments:

Post a Comment