The Iron Writer Challenge #67
2014 Summer Solstice Challenge #3
A Bunsen burner
A ski lodge
I, Cassidy Lynn Faraday, now knew complete and total humiliation. My face in the pillow, I shifted awkwardly on the bed and considered the comedy of errors that resulted in this trip to the school infirmary.
On my way to the lab this morning, my thoughts were a little more melancholy than usual as I contemplated my lack of “a life.” College was supposed to be this great adventure and, although I loved learning, the rest of my life was so mind-numbingly boring I found it hard to cope.
My one enjoyment was chem lab. Not because of a devotion to science but rather a devotion to one Colin Carmichael.
His thick dark hair filled my vision every Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 but filled my thoughts 24/7 since the beginning of the semester four weeks ago. If only he would acknowledge my existence!
Not that I was his type, I thought frowning as I took my seat behind him that morning. He was showing a picture to his friend Eric of some ski lodge with some blonde haired bimbo in a bikini. Who wears a bikini at a ski lodge? I glared at the back of his head.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to my best friend Monica.
“Oh. Hi.” My shoulders slumped in defeat as I waved slightly towards Colin.
She took in the situation before her and leaned forward a little to get a glimpse. She shook her head. “She looks too much like him and they’re not even touching.”
I daydreamed about our life together until it was time to break up for the lab portion and I followed Monica to our station which happened to be right by Colin’s.
I pretended to be interested in what she was saying as she droned on….Maybe I could secretly take a picture….I reached for my phone.
“Cassidy!” Monica yelled seconds before I felt the burn of flame on my finger.
I yelped and pulled my hand back quickly.
“I told you I turned the Bunsen burner on! Are you ok?”
“Hey are you ok Cassidy?” I froze and turned at the sound of his voice.
“Are you ok?” He repeated.
“I…I…My hand,” I stammered before all of a sudden whispering, “I love you.”
We stared at each other for a minute before what I said registered in my head.
“Oh my god.” I backed away from him quickly, my face burning, before I made an even bigger freak of myself when I was viciously stabbed. “Oh my god!” I screamed. I turned around quickly only to realize I’d backed into Professor Clark’s cactus. My derrière looked like a porcupine!
My face burned with humiliation as I ran out of the room to the infirmary where my head was now buried in the pillow waiting for the nurse. There was a knock on the door before Monica stepped in.
“Here you forgot this,” she smiled as she held out a small piece of paper.
On it was a phone number and “I like you too. Call me.”
The shadows swallowed the strangers face.
A cowboy hat to hide disgrace,
A long ago battle that led to shame.
The ski lodge remains to house the pain.
Like a cactus instead of a mattress at night,
The pain is constant like a never ending rain.
The prickling remains even after the thorns are taken away.
The stranger, as he came to be known, posed a certain danger.
The kids would run away
in fear of what he did that day.
The man once named Turner
was very fond of his Bunsen Burner.
So much so, that everywhere he went
the burner was sure to go.
It happened one night when he was goofing off,
the trail turned bright, in the dead of night.
The animals ran off, in fear of the bright.
He ran too, for he knew of nothing else to do.
As he ran he heard the sound
that his nightmares echo from the ground.
For one small girl, in the dead of night, snuck out to see about the strange light.
Her scream was heard a mile away,
though her body was never found that day.
They looked around every inch but all they found
was a bikini laying on a mound.
The legend goes that every night her ghost appears
seeking the light that trapped her here.
In search of the stranger who sealed her fate.
In the lodge she awaits until the date, that comes to set her soul at peace.
Riptides, Barnacles, and Family Tides
Leslie VanNess (Dras)
Florida was so steaming hot that year that my cactus was begging for relief. And yet, Kyle thought this was an appropriate time to teach Daniel about Bunsen burners. Who teaches a ten year old about Bunsen burners when it’s a hundred and two degrees outside?
“Time for some relief, lets head for the beach. You have 5 minutes to get what you need and be in the car.” I chirped out of nowhere. Everyone jumped into action without a word. I grabbed supplies and Amy changed Chad. I had to pause to laugh, he was the big chunky baby with the cutest little bikini trunks. Kyle and Daniel were at the car before we could even get to the door.
The drive took twenty minutes in the smoldering heat. We took the first available parking space. While Kyle was fiddling with our stuff, Amy took Chad and headed for the water’s edge. Freeing Daniel and I to grab our rafts and proceed out to the deep. The water was warm, but cool enough to provide us with needed relief.
It didn’t take long to realize we were in trouble. A riptide was taking us out and we couldn’t get back in. I screamed at Amy, “Go back.” A look of panic came over her, she understood. She anchored herself to a large rock, but with a baby on her hip, how long would she be able to hold on?
Once we spotted Kyle, Daniel and I screamed until he realized we were in trouble. Kyle got to Amy in a flash. He snatched Chad from her and they were able to work their way out of the water quickly. Daniel and I were not as lucky. I decided to let go of my raft to see if I could swim. I clearly instructed Daniel,” Hold on to your raft. Don’t let go!” When I let go of my raft it was gone in the blink of an eye. I was getting nowhere fast, and when I turned back to Daniel, he had let go of his raft; it too was gone.
We had to fight our way across to a nearby pier. Exhausted, Daniel and I climbed to the top of the pier where Kyle was anxiously waiting. He looked pale as we popped up over the top. All he said was, “your face”. The barnacles on the rocks we climbed had sliced my hands and I had been touching my face.
He was sick over the whole ordeal and thinking I had sliced my face put him over the top. He had to swim out to concur the riptide. His explanation, “I have to know that I could have helped you both had I needed to.”
The trip home was quiet. Adults and kids alike, crashed as soon as we left the beach. Driving home, my mind wondered. What would it be like at a ski lodge? Being cold, snuggling up to a roaring fire, lounging in a hot tub, making snow angels. Now that would be great adventure.
And The World Spins Round and Round
Mathew W. Weaver
The gravel crunched audibly as I pulled into the parking space. Max leaned forward to peer through the windshield at the rickety, imposing structure just ahead.
“Is this the place?”
“The Pine and Cactus Ski Lodge,” I read aloud, “This is it.”
I stepped out onto soft, silky sand, and for a second, I was confused.
“Whooo-eeey,” Max stretched, “Look at those dunes! No wonder this place gets skiers from the uppity top every spring.”
“Uh, I guess,” I said, “We… we have a job to do.”
The doors to the ski lodge were wide open, and a tall, bald man was right at the doorstep, staring down at us. He was, without a doubt, a butler.
He raised his nose at us as we entered.
“Uh…” I began, but a short, round woman in overalls interrupted by waddled up to us, smiling widely.
“Thank you for coming over, Officers,” she said, “Terrible business this, terrible. We just found her like that last night.”
“Good evening, Ma’am,” Max said, smoothly, “I’m Officer Maxwell and this is my partner, Matt. Tell us what you know.”
“I’m Lucy, the manager,” she said, ushering us into the spacious hallway, “We found her on the bar this morning.”
“Didn’t you say you found her last night just a second ago?” I asked, “And… what do you mean ‘on’ the bar?”
She ignored me, and turned to the butler, “Lucius?”
He nodded, and started to follow us silently. I glanced at him, and he returned my gaze unblinkingly, sending an involuntarily shudder down my spine.
All along the walls down the long corridor, colorful items were on display, each one on an individual shelf. I saw a trumpet, a brass monkey, a Bunsen burner, and a pair of designer flip-flops.
“Interesting décor,” I commented.
“They add to the feel of the place,” Lucy called back.
“Who else was staying here at the time of the incident?” I asked, pulling out my phone.
“Well, Lucius was here. And so was I. And the maids, Lucy and Lucy. And Lucille, the cook, and Lucia the telephone operator.”
“Wait… did you say tele…”
She turned the corner, and we were at the liquor counter. And on the bar lay the girl, clad in nothing but a blue and red bikini, face blue and blood down her torso. Max whistled.
“Two to the chest, slash on the throat and she was definitely drowned,” he assessed.
I shot him a look, and he shrugged, “I watch Sherlock.”
I tapped at my phone, “And her name was…?”
“Lucy,” the owner replied.
“Of course,” I threw Max another look, but he didn’t bat an eyelid.
“Who would have had motive?” I asked.
“Well, there was Lucillain, her ex-boyfriend,” Lucy mused, “And the cat, Lucifer, always hissed when she passed by…”
“We’d like to talk to that cat,” Max said.
None of this was making any sense to me, and I was getting one heck of a headache. Something was wrong here. Something…
My partner nudged me, “Relax, champ, we solved this one.”
“Wake up, Matt,” he said, “It’s a Lucy Nation,”
And so it was.