The Scrivener’s Forge 1 Writing Exercise – The Power of a Child’s Laughter

Did you know there is a new kid on the block? It is Scrivener’s Forge a once a month exercise that focuses on different writing skills. If you would like more information on Scrivener’s Forge, which is hosted by Neil McDonald, click HERE.

To read the stories that have been submitted click HERE.

Now down to business here is my 495 word story.

The Power of a Child’s Laughter

At the airport, I joined the crush of people weaving their way in longs lines through the security checkpoints and headed towards my gate. Once there, I dropped into a utilitarian seat for the hour wait before my plane was to depart.

I am not a good flier. I am terrified by the prospect of hurtling through the air at 550 mph trapped in a small metal tube. The cherry on top of what I knew would be a long, frustrating day was the snowstorm that had settled in overnight. I nervously glanced at the snow piling up outside the window expecting that any minute I would hear the garbled voice that would pronounce my flight canceled. To ease my fraying nerves, I pulled out my e-reader. My escape was short-lived. From the depth of my book, I heard the strained voice of an exasperated young mother. I looked up to observe her trying to corral a spunky two-year-old hell-bent on exploring the strange world around her. The bewildered mother stood clasping the hood of an empty jacket while her toddler made her way over to me. Inexperienced in running with bulky boots, the child’s forward momentum came to a crashing stop at my knees.

The frustrated mother was shrieking “Jessica, stop, Jessica get back here.” It was a mantra she repeated until she managed to swoop in and pick up an unsuspecting Jessica. With a whispered “I’m sorry,” the twosome rejoined their abandoned luggage.

The mother’s scolding continued, rising in pitch as the minutes ticked by.

“Jessica, don’t do that.” An unrepentant Jessica persisted in removing her boots.

“Jessica sit still.” Without a backward glance, Jessica twirled down the aisle performing a ballet for all to see, before once more nabbed by her mother.

“Jessica, I said sit down.” I glanced up to see Jessica climbing over the back of her seat.

On and on it went as the wait stretched to two hours, then to three. Finally, we were herded aboard the plane. Buckled securely in my seat, I watched the frazzled mother drag a curious Jessica down the narrow aisle. At each empty seat, the little girl veered off and attempted to sit down. A chorus of “No Jessica” followed them as the pair passed by me.

The plane took off while I blocked out all thoughts of the world receding below me. Suddenly, without warning, there was a terrifying feeling of floating then one of falling. A sensation similar to riding an elevator that was hurtling down its shaft. I stared at my e-reader as it floated in front of me. Fear filled the plane with expressions of shock and cursing. Just as quick as it started, the sensation of falling stopped. My e-reader settled into my lap once more.

Then I heard it. A small bubbling voice exclaiming “Whee!”

Over the giggles from many of the plane’s occupants the familiar mother’s voice cooed “Jessica, you are such a treat.”

This story is a mashup of what I observed while flying from Phoenix to Toronto, for the holidays, and a story my son recounted about his flight from Halifax to Toronto . Thanks for reading. Please give me some feed back.

Cindy

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3 thoughts on “The Scrivener’s Forge 1 Writing Exercise – The Power of a Child’s Laughter

  1. Hi Cindy,
    thanks for joining the exercise. That story took me completely by surprise. I was expecting a love story and I got … a love story. Of course! I love it that you didn’t read the prompt as an invitation to write romance. The ending was a surprise too and you built up to it well – the child’s pleasure conquering the adults’ fear. You described that terrible feeling of the plane dropping so well. Perhaps the build-up could be shortened. There may have been a few too many repeats of “no Jessica”. I think the reader gets the idea, so you could tighten the narrative without losing any of the finale’s punch.
    I’m not completely sure whether the story fits the brief. You gave us a great observed scene, but not so much overheard dialogue. But, since the story is lovely, I don’t think it mattes. .
    Just one editing catch: ” From the depth of my book, I heard the strained voice of an exasperated young mother” sounds as though the mother was speaking from the depth of the book,.
    Great work!

    Like

    1. Thanks for all you comments, I do appreciate them. I was concerned that I did not follow the brief of overhearing a dialogue. You are right the story is based on a one-sided conversation not a dialogue.

      Like

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