Wednesday Writing Prompt (WWP)! is a biweekly writing challenge for you and for me.
Here’s how WWP works: I’ll post a writing prompt on Wednesday morning (that’s today!). Then you can participate by writing a 250 to 500 word scene or story in response to it. I’ll post my story response on Thursday and I’d love it if you share your scene or story (or the link to it!) in the comments of my response post.
Let’s see where this wacky world of writing takes us!
This week’s prompt was:
“I like your hair.” He looked her up and down. “Can I have a piece?”
He’d been following them for twenty-seven minutes. Amelia had started counting when she saw him walk past them and felt his eyes rove her figure from her chest to her toes and back up to the top of her head. She’d heard him breathing, heavily, as he passed, and heard that breathing stick around.
He wasn’t even being subtle about it. He was so close. Only a few strides behind.
She gripped the heavy fabrics of her skirts in her tightly fisted hands. Sometimes wearing a corset was incredibly obnoxious. This might be a man’s world, but that didn’t mean she had to go around letting them eye her like a prime cut of beef.
Benjamin just kept walking, oblivious, while Amelia glanced back out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head as if she was admiring the shops and streetscapes, using the angle to peer with her peripheral vision at the man following them.
His clothing had seen better days. Much better days. Decades, really. His jacket was tatty and his breeches filthy. Mud splatters rose up his legs from his ratty shoes to his torn knees. Grease spots and a myriad of food stains marred his once grey jacket to a blotchy kaleidoscope of murky shades. His hair and beard were no better. Salt and pepper, thinning locks hung limply from his misshapen head. A scraggly beard decorated his pointed chin and hung to the top button of his unbuttoned yellow shirt.
And his eyes…they were what scared Amelia the most. A filmy grey, they stalked her.
Finally, they reached their destination. A tiny shopfront, tucked between a cobblers and a bakery. Benjamin’s old friend was supposed to have supplies for him. Who knew if he’d actually gotten Ben’s letter. But, they were here to see. They couldn’t continue their search without packs, rations, and, apparently, waxed rope. What the rope was for, Amelia didn’t want to think about yet.
Ben stopped at the door and put a hand on Amelia’s shoulder to stop her from walking past. “Don’t speak unless he speaks to you first,” he instructed her, his eyes serious. “He’s stupidly old fashioned and cruel, and is more likely to steal from us than just kick us out if we offend him.”
“Sounds like a gem,” Amelia said, eyeing Ben with a look that said what she really meant.
As they reached for the door handle, something smelling of dead fish and rotten tomatoes bumped into Amelia’s shoulder. She felt the grease leak through the thick wool of her dress.
Ben was immediately between her and the threat, knife out.
“I like your hair.” The man looked past Ben, over his shoulder, to speak to Amelia. It was as if he didn’t even see Ben and the knife.
He looked her up and down. “Can I have a piece?”
Amelia swallowed. Hard. Her hand, with a mind of its own, reached up to grasp at the threads of her waist-length hair. It had never been cut.
“Go away,” Benjamin said. His voice was cold. Something unkind radiated from him. Amelia wasn’t sure what it was, but knew it was bad, barely contained.
“Just one piece? A small one?” the man asked again. Milky eyes looking straight into Amelia’s own hazel ones.
She shook her head. She willed her lips to move, her voice box to project sound. It didn’t work.
Ben blocked her view of the man, his something bad–was it rage, anger, or fear–streaming off him in tangible waves.
“The lady says no. Back away and leave us be.”
The man finally looked at Ben. Finally saw that he was there. His eyes widened when he realized what he was looking at, that Ben was no normal man.
He took one step back, his eyes now focused on Ben and his knife. He took a second step back…then spun and lumbered away, back the way they had come, in an awkward, wobbling cadence of steps.
Ben turned back to Amelia, his eyes calming but still pinning her in place. She realized she was shaking. It was a strange request. Such a strange request. And her body’s reaction to it… It had been physically repulsive to think about cutting her hair. She didn’t know why.
“We need to hurry. He may come back. And he may not be alone.” Ben used his hand on Amelia’s shoulder to guide her to the door to his friend’s shop.
Your turn! Post your response to the writing prompt (or your link to it!) in the comments.