In response to Writing 101 Day 12 prompt Dark Clouds on the Horizon:
Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.
We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.
I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
– Ernest Hemingway
Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.
At its most basic, foreshadowing gives readers a roadmap to what will happen later in your post — a subtle detail planted in the back of a reader’s mind, like a telling piece of dialogue or a strategic mention of an object that hints at what’s to come. When an author tells us there are dark clouds on the horizon, we know something negative will happen soon.
She hadn’t slept much, adrenaline shooting through her body like some poisonous venom. The warm shower hadn’t helped either. When she finally closed her eyes somewhere around 5am, nightmares plagued her sleep. Faceless people grabbing her arms, preventing her to get away. She’d woken up nauseous. She was sick, twice. A cold shower and a few pots of bland coffee later, she still hadn’t shaken off the night, nor the wariness she felt.
So when she left the house and found a bird with a broken wing on her porch, it was in a perverse and weird way, welcome. The bird was in a worse shape than she; at the risk of being late to work, she brought bird inside and put it in the cage her previous roommate had left. Celia had a parrot – an annoying creature to say the least – but wrung its neck one day she was high on crack. She left the cage when she left the house. This one was a nightingale. At least Mia thought it was. She put some grain and water after she bandaged its wing. It probably wasn’t good enough but she didn’t have the time to go to a vet. Then she left for the restaurant.
She liked the job and she knew she was lucky to have got it. It was a classy place where waiters sung throughout lunch and dinner. Different styles as each employee was different. She rarely sung, only for special occasions – Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s day when everybody had to sing – and today she didn’t feel like it at all. So instead she played for the others. She was edgy and tired but it wasn’t anyone’s fault. At a few of the tables she served, there were some regulars. One of them asked her if she would sing today. She told him no prompting him to ask if the nightingale of La Tour d’Ivoire had lost her voice. Smiling she told Mr. Farrell that for tonight she had.
There were a few new faces, as always on a Friday evening, one quite handsome with a lovely navy blue suit. Nicely tailored, it wouldn’t look out of place at a gala. The man probably was going to an evening at the orchestra – the local symphony was playing Beethoven’s number 7 tonight and his Concerto for piano #2 – and was waiting for his girlfriend. She approached the table.
“Good evening sir, welcome to the Tour d’Ivoire, I’m Mia and I’ll be your waitress tonight. Will you be having some wine for two?”
“No. I’m eating alone. And I don’t want to drink tonight. Just sparkling water please.”
“What are the day special?”
“The specials tonight are the salmon a l’echalotte with fagot de haricots verts, specialty of the chef. If you prefer meat we have a steak tartare with french fries and salad.”
“The salmon sounds good. Please.”
“Should I put down an order of snails for starter?” She added as he looked at the menu again.
“No. Definitely not snails but your lobster’s bisque sounds delicious.”
“Of course. Anything else I can help you with.”
“That’ll be it for now, but later for sure.”
It turned out the gentleman wasn’t going to the concert after all. He took his time to savour his bisque. After she retrieved his emptied plate, she sat at the piano and played for Sarah, who sang Foolish Games by Jewel, then Mike who performed Dance me to the end of Love. Both were successes as people enjoyed their presentation very much. When she brought the salmon to her client, he looked at her quizzically.
“You haven’t sung yet.”
“No, not tonight.”
“I heard you were good. That’s why I came.”
“Oh!” That was surprising. Nobody ever came to hear her sing. “I’m sorry.”
While people were having their entrees, she played some more. Duets, classical and pop for Melanie and Thomas. When Sean approached her and told her it was her turn, she shook her head.
“Special request. You can’t say no.”
“But,” she whispered. But Sean was the boss and she owed him big. Only she didn’t feel like singing; she was tired. And then some.
“Wishing you were somehow here again.”
Sean’s interrogative look would require an answer but not tonight. Maybe not ever. She stood in front of the microphone and sang. When she was done, the mood in the room was subdued. Most of the women had tears in their eyes; some of the men too. Then everyone stood up. Biting her lips, she bowed before returning to her service. A couple of people stopped her to tell her it was beautiful. The smile plastered on her face was fake but she couldn’t do anything else. Until the end of the shift when the restaurant emptied and only the man in the navy blue suit remained. When she brought him the bill for his 5 course meal he spoke to her again.
“There was a lot of anger on top of the sadness Mia.” She looked sharply at him. He’d heard that. It wasn’t good. Or maybe it was. There was anger. After all, she had reasons to be angry and “Fear too. What are you afraid of Mia?”
She froze. What could this man know? She stepped back but he took her hand, grabbing her and not letting go. She pulled lightly and meant to call for help when he flashed a badge. Now, she truly was frightened.
She looked behind her but Sean didn’t seem at all concerned so she did. She didn’t really want to but he was holding her hand, almost like the faceless man in her nightmare, not quite. She sat down in front of him.
“I’m going to arrest you Mia. Or at least bring you to the police station. Can you account for your whereabouts last night between 11pm and 2am?”
She remained silent. She had the right to remain silent.
“Let me tell you what happened. Or rather what I think happened. Someone in this restaurant yesterday did something very bad to you. At the very least they tried to. But you defended yourself. You killed them.”
She didn’t say a word.
“You have the right to remain silent Mia but I want you to know that it may not be in your best interest.”
When she didn’t answer, he shook his head.
“Fine, as you wish. Mia Rossignol, you’re under arrest for the murder of Harry Junior Grind. You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used in a court of law. I will do you a courtesy and not put the manacles here. But try and escape, I won’t be this nice.”
“Can I tell Sean I need to go?”
“I told him that you are needed as a witness.”
Why would he do that?
She followed him outside where he did put the manacles on and helped her inside the back of the car. It had bars; like the nightingale she found this morning she was now in a cage, her wings clipped.