Visiting the Madeleine L’ Engle Room (F2K): Optional Prompt #1

My 3rd try at this prompt. Interesting outcome.

Picture yourself sitting in a car in a department store parking lot. You’re waiting for your friend, windows rolled down and music playing from the car radio. Suddenly, a man runs past your car, tosses a package on the seat beside you and keeps on running. In 500 words or less, what is in the package and what do you do with it?


You jump at the thud when the package lands on the seat beside you. Your right hand flies to your chest and true enough, your heart is racing.

“Fishsticks!” You exclaim. One of your resolutions is No More Swearing. Or otherwise known as Replace Swear Words with Non-swear Words When There is Occasion to Swear. This is one of those occasions.

Satisfied that your vitals are back to normal, you turn your attention to the nearly heart-attack inducing package.

Brown paper. Twine. No card. The size of a paperback. Curious.

You contemplate ignoring it. Nothing good ever comes from opening a mysterious package. In your experience, anyway. But then again, you’re the one who rips open a gift the moment it’s handed to you, even though it isn’t time to open gifts.

You open the glove apartment, remove a bottle of sanitiser and spray the liquid all over your hands. You drop the bottle onto your lap and rub your hands together, making sure you remember the spaces between your fingers too. You start to return the bottle back to the glove apartment then decide for safe measure to spray the package. You do this until the colour of the brown paper darkens.

You untie the string and fold it neatly beside the package on the seat. Then you turn the package over to find the edges of the paper held together with cellophane. You remove each tape carefully, not ripping them. You line up the six pieces of tape beside the twine. Then you gingerly remove the brown paper to reveal its content.

You see the back of a picture frame.

A picture frame?

“What the pickles!” All that carefulness for a fishsticks picture frame? How anti-climactic, you think.

Shoulders slumping forward, you turn it around and instead of a picture; you see the words LOOK BEHIND YOU.

Goosebumps erupt all over your body and you feel the hair at the back of your neck lift. With the frame still in your hand, you slowly rotate your body until you are looking out of the back window of your car.

Your eyes meet a mostly empty parking lot. You search for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing.

A deep breath you didn’t realise you are holding whooshes out of you. Your body starts to relax.

You start to turn back around when out of nowhere your friends and family jump up and surround your car and shout “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

Your eyes widen, your heart beat quadruples and a numbness creeps up your left arm. You are getting a heart attack after all.

(WC 434)


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