If you read my previous blog, I gave an example of how stories just come from the most mundane things in life. Like fruit falling from a tree outside my office. The example was a few lines of a story that came to me from that thought (go back and read the blog "Growing the Fruit of a Story" if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)
Not knowing if there was really a story in those lines and in that fruit, yesterday I began to see where it took me. What follows is a short story entitled “Falling Apples.” It could probably use two or three rewrites, but I want to show you what can result from just writing about anything.
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by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden (c) 2010
by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden (c) 2010
Sharon Little lay back in her bed to rest and think. Actually she didn’t want to think. She wanted to put the world away from her and not have to think about the events of the day. Today she had officially broken up with her boyfriend, and had the restraining order to prove it.
Jack had been wonderful on the first few dates they went out on. His only flaw was that he tended to drink a little too much. But then in later dates he began to expect more from her. She wasn’t ready to have sex, but he was insistent. It was okay, but nothing earth shattering like she expected it should have been. Then when he drank he all but raped her.
The hitting began when she refused his advances. Sharon wanted to believe that it was the alcohol that acting and not Jack. But in the morning he was just as mad at her, this time claiming that she had embarrassed him in front of his friends at the bar.
She put up with it for another month, but she was determined not to be one of those women that always went back to their man no matter how dangerous it was. It was after a black eye and broken tooth that Sharon went to the police.
It took another week before the courts would give her the restraining order, and she wondered if there was anything this piece of paper could really restrain. While she was leaving the courts, Jack shouted at her that she was his, and that he’d have her or no one would.
There were many lawyers and police officers that had heard him shout the threat but there wasn’t anything they could do. He’d have to break the restraining order for it to actually do any good.
Now evening had come and she was lying atop her bed. Not ready for sleep yet, but she was exhausted all the same.
As Sharon closed her eyes there was a sudden ‘thump’ on the roof of the house, directly over her bedroom. It was followed by a whisper like rumble and then a ‘thud’ just outside her window.
She jumped at the sound, but quickly relaxed knowing what it was. Just outside the house was a large old apple tree. There was good crop of bright red fruit. Every so often an apple would drop from the higher branches and strike the roof of the house and then roll down over the tapered rafters.
It was almost a relaxing sound, so familiar and safe. Almost a funny sound and she smile at it. Sharon closed her eyes once more.
A few minutes went by and another apple hit the roof and rolled down and struck front lawn with a wet thud. Most of the apples in the tree were over ripe, she had already harvested far more then she could eat. A third hit the ground seconds later, and she was certain some animal was up in the tree getting a late dinner.
Then another struck the roof, then another, and another. A minute late it sounded like a hale storm hitting the house. Sitting up, she could see them falling past her window, like meteors falling toward earth.
With a sense of fear Sharon wondered what could possibly be shaking the tree so hard. She got out of bed, slipped on a pair of sandals and found the flashlight that was plugged into the kitchen outlet.
Flipping on the back porch light she slid open the glass door and stepped outside. With the beam of light ahead of her she cautiously made were way around to the side of the house. It was much darker. She could hear the rustle of the tree up ahead, and more apples hitting the ground.
Nervous to even contemplate the though, she had to speak the words, “Jack, is that you? You’re not allowed to come around here any more.”
There was no response, except that the tree shook once more and apples fell.
“Don’t make me call the cops on you.”
More apples fell.
Getting closer, Sharon raised the light upward into the tree and saw movement.
A family of raccoons was running around the branches of the tree. They were playing and eating apples. They may have also been a little drunk on the fermented fruit.
A smile came to Sharon’s lips and she let out a breath of air.
Maybe things weren’t as bad as she feared.
“Don’t eat too much,” she playfully scolded the little animals, and turned to go back inside.
As she turned, her sandal covered foot struck one of the rotting apples on the ground. It squished and her foot slid forward. The flashlight flew through the air as Sharon fell backwards.
Sharon’s head struck the corner of a brick planter, cracking her skull open.
Apples fell upon her body.
It was the next afternoon when Sharon’s ex-boyfriend Jack was arrested for her murder.
After all, there were more than a dozen witnesses to his threat.
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Well, if you’ve read this far it must not be all that bad, so thank you for sticking with me.
When I wrote the original lines last week I knew this was going to be a suspense story, but knew nothing more about it. So the story was as surprising to me as I wrote it as I hope it was while you read it.
Now the suspense continues, as I have to figure out what to write for next week’s blog.
Thanks for reading and for all your support.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden