For today’s post I decided to do something a bit different. I used a random picture generator to find an image, then randomly generated a number up to a maximum of 1000. My idea was to try and write a story(/creative piece) based on or inspired by the picture with a set word limit (no higher, no lower) of the generated number.
So, the picture for this post is the one you see above. The word count is 571. My attempt at this challenge I’ve set myself is below, and I’d love to hear what you think!
The girl steadied the bowl on her head as she turned to face her brother.
“I told you to wait at home.” She said impatiently.
Mali took hold of his wrist. “I don’t have time to play. Go home.”
Ngai’s lip trembled. “Can’t I come with you?” Seeing that Mali was going to deny him again Ngai dipped his head and said quietly, “I don’t like being at home. Not since maemae…”
A tear rolled down his cheek. Mali shook her head. Bending, she wiped the tear away with the turquoise fabric of her skirt. “Don’t let them see you cry.” She looked into his eyes, so like their mother’s.
“I miss her too.” She said after a moment, then straightening added, “Come on then. We have to be back before dark.”
Ngai’s dark eyes widened. “I can come with you? Really?”
“Really.” Mali smiled. She turned, straightening the pot again and stepping between the bamboos to enter the forest. “Come, before I change my mind.”
With a grin the boy’s sorrows were forgotten and he darted into the forest behind his sister.
“Stay on the path.” She called back.
Ngai dutifully followed the well-trodden track, though his gaze wandered. Every step seemed to bring something new to see. An interesting leaf, an unusual insect. The more that caught his eye the further behind his sister he fell.
A jewel-green snake basked on a rock in the dappled sunlight. Ngai jumped as its tongue darted out, tasting the air. Fascinated the boy stopped and edged towards rock and snake. Sensing his presence it raised its head, staring at him with beady eyes.
As it rose the snake opened its hood making itself seem larger. Ngai stared as the snake began to sway backwards and forwards, seemingly dancing. He’d never seen a snake behave in such a way before. The rattle of its tail bought him to his senses. The snake struck and Ngai gasped, stumbling backwards. The serpent’s bite missed, but barely. Its cool hood had brushed against Ngai’s skin. He turned and ran.
The path that he’d previously thought so reliable was transformed. It twisted and turned like the serpent he was certain was chasing him. Rocks and roots seemed to jump from the ground to unsteady him. He stumbled and tripped repeatedly before he finally saw his sister ahead of him.
“Run, Mali! Run!” Ngai cried breathlessly.
Mali turned in surprise, staring at her brother. “What – Ngai, what’s wrong?”
“Snake!” He darted around, taking shelter behind Mali’s skirt and peering back fearfully.
“What snake?” Mali asked, holding the pot on her head with one hand as she peered down at her brother.
“I…” Ngai frowned. “It was chasing me. It was right… there. Didn’t you see it?”
Mali shook her head. “I haven’t seen any snakes today.”
“It, it was on the rock.” Ngai said uncertainly. “A green snake.”
“I saw none.” Mali insisted.
“I felt it.” Ngai said, remembering. “It tried to bite me.”
Mali’s gaze turned sharp. “Where?”
He held out his arm. Mali gently took hold of his wrist as she had done before they entered the forest. Her fingers skipped along his skin, checking for wounds.
“Nothing.” She said. She turned, shaking her head. “You shouldn’t tell tales, Ngai.”
Ngai’s mouth dropped open in surprise. He tried to think of a response, a defence, but the words wouldn’t come.
“Keep up, Ngai.”
That took me longer to write than I expected…