#Blogbattle : The Rope That Binds

This week’s #blogbattle word prompt is rope. This is run by Racheal Ritchey over on her blog Writing Rachael Ritchey. I encourage you to check out her blog, and this challenge.

The rules:
1. 1000 words max
2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly! (this week will be difficult, I know. That’s a somewhat violent word! Remember, use your imagination. 🙂 )
4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
5. Go for the entertainment value!
6. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this post, and/or include a link to this post in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)7. Have fun!
As I said I would do in a comment to a reader, I have added an option to the menu above to a page that lists all the Winter #blogbattle story.

(Just a sidenote: I was incredibly tired when I wrote this, so if there are any major gaffs, that’s why.)

Here’s my entry for this week:


The Rope That Binds

Every bite was a struggle. Layla had been hungry and she’d stupidly agreed to Emily buying her lunch.

Now she felt a sense of obligation.

Emily nursed a cup of coffee. She stared into it more than she drank from it. “I don’t know how else to say I’m sorry.”

Layla speared a cherry tomato with a little more force than necessary. “Saying it isn’t the point. I don’t know how to forget. I know I didn’t handle it well but you put your job above me. That hurt.”

“I know. And I know I shouldn’t have just left the way I did.” She lifted her cup, as if to take a sip, then changed her mind, and lowered it again. “I want to make this right. I want us to be friends again.”

Friends. Just friends? Or something more? Layla’s stomach turned over. She put her knife and fork down. “I don’t know,” she said.

“I can understand that.” Emily finally took a sip of her coffee.

Layla regarded the remains of her tuna salad. It sat between them. Emily’s gift.
Or bribe?

***

Winter grabbed onto the towel and in the next moment Cilla picked up the other end with her beak.

It was heavy, but between them the lifted it off the oven door handle.

Their eyes met. Winter’s palms started to sweat. She was afraid that she would drop the towel, but she gripped harder. “I can do this,” she whispered.

Then hoped the bees hadn’t heard her.

She and Cilla moved forward, trying to get behind the swarm.

They were almost lined up when one noticed. It turned, spotted them, and the swarm lifted from the jar, the buzzing crescendoing.

Winter swallowed the lump in her throat. “Now,” she said. She and Cilla moved forward.

The was hard to hold on to, it wanted to fall all the time.

The bees moved back, just a bit. Just enough to give Winter confidence to keep going.

***

“Ice cream?” Emily offered. “Or cake maybe?”

Layla hesitated, then spoke her mind, “You can’t bribe me, you know.” Then immediately regretted it.

Emily looked upset and a bit offended. “I’m not. I just thought we could enjoy some dessert together.” A pause. “Like we used to.”

Layla put down the napkin she had twisted into a rope throughout lunch. “Sorry. But I don’t really know how I’m supposed to be feeling.” She drew her bag to her and fished out her purse. “Let me pay half. I need to.”

Emily looked disappointed, but nodded. “Do you think you’ll ever want me back in your life?”

A heart-aching question. “Truthfully, I don’t know.” She dropped some money on the table and stood up. “I’d best get going, I think.”

Emily looked up at her. “If I give you my number, would you call?”

This was like her heart was being torn apart, savagely, by lots of angry birds. “I don’t know.”

“I’ll text you. Then, it’s there if you want, and if not…”

The word ‘delete’ hung in the air between them, heavier than a word ever had the right to be. Layla gave an awkward smile that she wished had more cheer behind it, more good will, then turned from the cafe, and from Emily.

Life wasn’t fair.

***

The bees kept moving back, but slowly. Winter and Cilla waved the towel at them as they advanced. The swarm eyed them, as if considering their options.

Winter’s grip was growing ever looser. Her hands were sweating, and it was becoming painful to hold on to the towel. So, it was now or never.

“Go!” she shouted, and rushed forward.

Cilla lagged behind a little, surprised by Winter’s sudden charge, but she caught up, and together they rushed at the bees.

The buzzing shot up louder, the bees also surprised. They moved faster toward the window.

Nutkin dived out of the way as they rushed through the gap. Winter and Cilla stopped, the towel hanging in front of the window. Winter’s fingers gave up and the towel dropped to the sill. She floated down in relief, landing gently on the cotton. “We did it!” Cilla said, landing beside Winter, and flapping her wings in celebration.

Nutkin came back to the window. “Well done both of you. You were brilliant.” He smiled.

Winter looked back at the jam jar on the table. It was safe now. “I can’t believe I did that.” She looked at Cilla, and then Nutkin. “Did that really just happen?”

Cilla nodded her head sharply. “Yes it did.” Then speared Nutkin with her sharp gaze. “Now, where are those berries?”

Nutkin gave Winter a knowing glance, then said to Cilla, “Okay, you earned them. Come with-”

A sharp buzz cut him off.

Winter’s heart stabbed at her. The swarm hovered in the air behind Nutkin, larger, louder, and angrier than before.

“Oh no…”

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14 thoughts on “#Blogbattle : The Rope That Binds

  1. Great narration Phoenix! I loved the dialogues as well 🙂
    Though I guess the last time I read your post it was the first one with winter in it, so now I have a lot of catching up to do…

    It’s been quite some time now that I last visited your blog! It’s great to be back and reading your lovely stories… and BTW, the new look is really nice. I’ve always loved Penscratch theme and I’m glad that you chose it. Your blog looks new now 🙂

    I hope you’re having a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked the story It’s nice to see you back here. I thought the blog could use a bit of a change, and this theme seemed nice, so I figured i@d try it out for while. I’mg lad you like it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh. Wasps are terrible. Sorry to hear wasps are attracted to you. Ugh.
        I lived in a 3rd story apartment in summer and there was no screen on my bedroom window. One moonlit night, I awoke to a pained arm, which woke me to see a dark spot where it hurt. I flipped out of bed and turned on the light. The wasp was drunk and half dead after having it’s way with me. The next day, I was in trouble and had to get medical attention–even after all those bee stings.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I am so sorry you had that experience. I was first stung by a wasp in the middle of a school assembly. I screamed, in front of everyone, and ended up being comforted by the headteacher. I was about 6 at the time. The boy sat beside me killed it. He was rather proud of himself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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