mandag den 29. marts 2010

X for Xenophobia


A contribution to Kerrie´s alphabet meme, written by a not very famous writer.

She stretches out her hand towards the tomatoes. Her sleeve brushes gaudy, tropical fruit and her nose twitches at the exotic scents. She checks her shopping list. Baked beans and toast. That was it. She sighs with relief.

She steers towards the shortest queue until she sees the black scarf behind the counter. She changes her direction and aims for a fat, British-looking check-out assistant in a bulging smock.

Then she sees the next one. Right behind her, emitting wafts of strange spices. But a man this time. Brown eyes and dark hands with those weird, white palms. For a second the thought hits her, what would it be like to be touched by those hands?

She almost runs towards the exit with her fruit and veggies. Why did she go shopping so late? Her heels clacking on the pavement, she walks home as fast as she can without looking desperate.

A few minutes later she turns into the gateway back home. Finally safe! The bulb has fused again so it is pitch dark, but never mind, she knows the last steps like the back of her own hand. Her feet tread confidently on the cobblestones until he jumps out of the shadows and puts a strong arm around her neck.

A drunken voice hisses in her ear, “where´s your money?”

Her knees buckle and a taste of blood and bile rises in her throat.

“Let her go.”

“Wha´?”

In a daze of nausea she realizes there are two of them! And then comes the muted whisper which will haunt her for the rest of her life.

“Can´t you see it´s your sister. Let her go.”

11 kommentarer:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams sagde ...

Chilling! Good one....

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Wow! This is really well-done! I love the creepy twist at the end. And what a very creative and clever contribution for the letter "X." I am so, so impressed. If I were wearing a hat, it would be off to you : )

Maxine sagde ...

Ha ha, very good Dorte!

R. T. sagde ...

Very well done!
However, permit me to engage in a bit of off-the-topic meandering. Your iconic image of the Heinz can provoked a flashback as I remember being an elementary schoolboy on field trips (seemingly every other year) to the Heinz factory in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). Our reward for touring the soup, ketchup, and pickle factory (and not becoming holy terrors while on the site) was a small, green pickle shaped lapel pin emblazoned with the Heinz logo. I long ago lost the pins that I collected over the years, and I nearly lost the memory. Until you posted the image with your story, I had almost completely forgotten about those field trips. Thank you for reminding me of those more innocent and wonder-filled days from more than half a century ago. That may not have been your intent, but my encounter with nostalgia is a wonderful unintended consequence of your story. You see, you never know how writing will affect people.

Dorte H sagde ...

Thank you very much for your praise and encouragement!

I could see that this would be the easiest way for me to write about the letter X as I had nothing suitable on any of my numerous shelves. Not surprisingly, perhaps, as we only use the letter in foreign words.

R.T.: thank you for sharing your Heintz memory. It is fascinating indeed what we remember decades later. I used the tin because it struck me as something that must be familiar to most English-speaking readers.

Bibliophile sagde ...

Very well done, and a nice, creepy twist at the end.

Bernadette in Australia sagde ...

Excellent way to foil the dastardly letter X, Dorte. And yes a familiar image indeed - have several cans in my pantry right now :)

Kelly sagde ...

Oooo... that one IS rather creepy!! I'm really enjoying all your stories!

Kerrie sagde ...

Well done Dorte. As you said over on my blog, it is interesting to see the lengths people will go to..

....Petty Witter sagde ...

X - Such a difficult letter to work with and yet you did so brilliantly. Another great story, keep them going.

Dorte H sagde ...

Bibliophile: I am glad you liked it.

Bernadette: I knew there would be readers who appreciated the beans :D

Kelly: it is amazing how few words it takes to change everything, isn´t it?

Kerrie: I rarely go to any lengths, I go to very shorts ;D

Tracy: well, if you know the requirements, it is not more difficult to write an X-story than any other story, I´d say. I had two or three other X ideas (though I can´t remember them right now).