Signs of Life (Imagining writing spaces)

When he was a boy, he liked kicking a football along the sidewalk as he made his way to school…

The writer looked up from his notebook, gazing beyond the geraniums hanging on the bars of his window. He closed his eyes, and through the breeze and the rustling leaves, he could make out the sound of a ball rhythmically skidding along the nearest sidewalk. It made for an odd beat against the chatter of a couple of youngsters.

His mother had always warned him to stop doing that, to just carry the ball instead. But it was a habit he had a hard time breaking.

His pen glided effortlessly on the pages, a meditative motion as his imagination yielded, the images in his mind brought to life through words and paper —

A loud noise and a sudden commotion interrupted his work — skidding breaks, a crash, followed by alarmed voices and the pained cry of a young child. He got up from his seat and leaned out of his window to see what the ruckus was about. His blood felt like ice at what he saw.

But all it took was that one time — an unfortunate twist of things falling into place: a wrong kick, brakes engaging too late, an unwise judgment to cross the street without looking.

The boy could have been a star footballer, if he had not chased after that ball, and if the motorcyclist had checked his brakes that morning.


This drabble was written for FutureLearn‘s Start Writing Fiction course, in which we were to describe our ideal and our worst writing spaces. As alluded to in my previous post, I find complete silence completely unnerving.

I like having subtle noises — the rustling of leaves, noises of children playing in the distance, the sound of rain, some non-intrusive instrumental music — to get me to sleep, or to help keep my concentration. I find that my writing becomes quite effective when I supplement my inspiration and work with some kind of noise. Thankfully, my output isn’t as morbid.

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About Cielo

I am a paper-pusher by day, a log by night, an aspiring singer-dancer and a wannabe artist in-between. I am also a Professional Space Cadet.
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