Promises

Champagne bubblesThe conversation did not go as she had planned.

“You are leaving again.” It was not a question.

Hand on the doorknob, Seonid turned and smiled, radiating as much reassurance as she could muster. “No, no. I will return soon.” She stepped closer to him and murmured, “You know that I am yours completely, my love. I swear it.” The words sounded false to her ears.

“That and fivepence’d get me a fumble in a back alley.” He met her shocked eyes. “Promises are cheap liquor, Seonid. Drink and have done, if that is what you desire, but don’t expect me to pay for honey wine when you’re pouring vinegar.”

She blanched. She had not expected resistance from him, her gentle guardian, much less such courseness.

“Why do you go out?” His voice grated. His hands closed around her upper arms. “What is it you are looking for?”

“Peace,” she whispered, not bothering to struggle against his grasp, then more harshly, “To be left alone.”

He shook his head. “What is it you want?” He punctuated each word with a firm shake.

This time she pulled away. “To forget. To feel clean!”

The words rang out between them, pure and resounding. They lingered in the air like perfume. She could feel them rub and scrape against her flesh, where memory stained her skin.

“Ah. Now there’s an honest vintage.”

She ignored him, pushed past him on her way out the door. The gold of her gown swirled around her ankles as she fled, like bubbles in a glass.


This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge  prompt. I suppose you could argue that this time around I used the word more in its first meaning than its third, but in my mind it’s meant more as “lacking in redeemable quality” than “inexpensive.”

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

cheap adj \ˈchēp\

1 a : purchasable below the going price or the real value
b : charging or obtainable at a low price
c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation)

2 : gained or done with little effort

3 a : of inferior quality or worth : tawdry, sleazy 
b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities 

This story is part of the Sable Mark Series. Read more >>

10 responses to “Promises

  1. Thick imagery in this scene! I have yet to write my own Trifecta…I’m sure I will soon.

  2. I like your entry….especially this line : “don’t expect me to pay for honey wine when you’re pouring vinegar.”

  3. I think part of what you’re struggling with here is the dissonance between the characters you’ve set up and the way they’re talking. The formal language structure isn’t working with your choice of metaphor and colloquialism (“That and fivepence’d get me a fumble in a back alley” doesn’t work (for me) coming from the same character as “drink and have done”). What if you rewrote it and let the dissonance stay between the rich images you’re drawing outside the conversation, and then the cheaper talk of the characters themselves? I hate to say “check Dickens for language structure” for characters, but… um… anyway, jsut a thought.

    • That’s a good point. The way I was hearing it in my head was as if he were using the low-brow colloquialism to shock her. But if it didn’t come across that way to you, the reader, then that’s an issue. I’ll have to see if I can make that more clear.

    • Ha! I totally didn’t pay attention to who this comment was coming from at first. 🙂 Thanks for reading, and for the criticism!

  4. Lots of nice images. Impressive style you’ve taken on here.

  5. Thanks for linking up this week. I find your writing thick and complex, rewarding and rich. I know, from Twitter, that you had some reservations about this, but I must say that I rather enjoyed it. Having read the comments above, I can see where Tekla is coming from, but I don’t think the overall effect is. . .cheapened. . .a bit.

    Hope to see you back again soon.

  6. Oooh! clean AND cheap!!! Two for the price of one!!

  7. Great imagery. You can really feel the emotions she’s experiencing, even without knowing quite why she is feeling that way. And the barbs the guy shoots at her are pretty accurate. The vinegar line is perfect.

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