Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt

The Passage of Time

June 08, 2021 Susan Quilty Season 1 Episode 16
Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt
The Passage of Time
Chapters
Freely Written: Short Stories From a Simple Prompt
The Passage of Time
Jun 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 16
Susan Quilty

In this week's story, The Passage of Time,  a mysteriously glowing corridor has appeared in Aoife's kitchen pantry.

Suggestions for writing prompts are always welcome! Otherwise, prompts are chosen in random ways. This week's prompt came from the literal passing of time as the calendar continues to progress through 2021. 

More about Susan Quilty

Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society.  Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.

Website:  SusanQuilty.com
Patreon: Patreon.com/SusanQuilty

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/SusanQuilty)

Show Notes Transcript

In this week's story, The Passage of Time,  a mysteriously glowing corridor has appeared in Aoife's kitchen pantry.

Suggestions for writing prompts are always welcome! Otherwise, prompts are chosen in random ways. This week's prompt came from the literal passing of time as the calendar continues to progress through 2021. 

More about Susan Quilty

Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society.  Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.

Website:  SusanQuilty.com
Patreon: Patreon.com/SusanQuilty

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/SusanQuilty)

Below is the transcript for Season 1, Episode 16 of Freely Written, a podcast by author Susan Quilty:  

Welcome to Freely Written where a simple prompt leads to a little unplanned fiction.

[Light piano music] 

Hi, friends! I’m Susan Quilty and today’s prompt is The Passage of Time

Thanks for joining me today. As a reminder, here’s how this podcast works: I use a writing prompt to inspire a quick story, with no planning and very little editing, and then I share that story with you.

The story today is one I wrote for my Patreon page back in December. It was inspired by the passage of time as we slipped from 2020 into 2021. I decided to share it here today because we’re nearly halfway through 2021, and it still feels to me like we’re living in some kind of wacky time warp. 

Here’s how that strange feeling played out in a quickly written story:

 

The Passage of Time

Aoife stared down the corridor in awe. Its walls swirled with eddies of blues and green, dashed through with splashes of violet and mauve. The ground was a polished white stone that gently reflected the light from those glowing blue-green walls. And the ceiling…

Aoife’s breath caught as she lifted her eyes to the canopy of stars above. 

As her eyes darted across the sky, she took in clusters of shining stars—galaxies of light—that varied in subtle shades of pearl, diamond, and gold. Behind those stars, the sky was inky blue in places and pale pink in others. Colors that meandered together in shifting rivulets, feathering into each other in soft, reaching tendrils. 

Shaking her head, Aoife pulled her mind back from the magnetic draw of this stunning corridor. She blinked three times, then closed her eyes. After a deep breath, she fluttered her eyes open, pleased—and concerned—to see that this strange hall of color and light was still here. Still stretching into the depths of what had been—only moments before—her rather cluttered kitchen pantry.

Still gripping the edge of the pantry door, Aoife considered simply closing the mystical closet and going on with her day. 

But that didn’t seem like a very good option. 

The hall of light was gaping before her, and her plans for baking a three-layer cake would have to be put on hold. Particularly because the flour, sugar, and vanilla had all disappeared into this unfathomable improbability.

When Sasha joined Aoife in the kitchen, she cut right to the point.

“What did you do?”

“Me?” Aoife glanced her way, afraid to turn her attention from the corridor for long. “I didn’t do anything. I opened the pantry to get the flour and it was like… this.”

“Flour?” Sasha turned to her friend with a pleased grin. “Were you making me a cake?”

“What?” Aoife, who had been mesmerized by a shooting star, needed a moment to make sense of her friend’s question. 

“Well, yes,” she confirmed at last. “It’s your birthday, and I was making you a cake.”

“That’s so sweet,” Sasha sighed. “I love your baking. Were you making a vanilla cake?”

“With strawberry frosting,” Aoife agreed distractedly.

“That’s lovely,” Sasha smiled, then frowned at the glowing hallway. “Shame you weren’t able to make it.”

“I’ll make one later,” Aoife promised. “But, uh, first can we focus on the, uh, shining, swirling, hallway to…” 

She trailed off, the icy truth of the situation washing over her.

“Where is it a hallway to?” Aoife whispered shakily.

They stared down the corridor soberly. Beyond the shimmering walls and dazzling sky, it was hard to see anything else. The far end of the corridor was shadowed and too distant to have discernable details. What slight movements they could see could be from the swirling lights or from shifting, unnamed creatures. It was impossible to tell.

“Have you tried stepping inside?”

“What? No!” Aoife was startled by the suggestion and perplexed to realize that she hadn’t even considered such a thing. 

Aoife’s stomach trembled as she watched Sasha extend her arm over the pantry threshold. 

“What does it feel like?” she whispered in awe. 

“Nothing,” Sasha answered with a hint of disappointment. 

Her arm was bathed in blue-green light but otherwise seemed unaffected. She lifted one foot, preparing to step into the corridor, when Aoife gripped her arm in fear.

“What are you doing?”

Aoife could hear her heartbeat thundering in her ears, but Sasha only shrugged.

“Seeing where it leads,” Sasha shrugged nonchalantly. “Are you coming?”

Aoife turned back toward the kitchen. She let her gaze drift over the familiar surroundings lovingly, wondering if she would ever see them again. Her mixing bowls and baking supplies were on the center island. The wall oven’s display showed that it had been successfully pre-heated long ago. The coffee pot was filled and ready to brew at the touch of a button, as she’d been getting ready for Sasha’s birthday visit. 

“I don’t know…” she hedged, turning back to face the glowing hall.

“Well, I do,” Sasha responded saucily. “And it’s my birthday, so you’re coming with me. That can be my present, since you didn’t bake my cake.”

“Your cake…” Aoife muttered. She’d been thinking about Sasha’s cake when she’d opened the pantry. Not just thinking about it but worrying about it. Worrying about having enough time to bake and frost it before Sasha arrived. There never seemed to be enough time. 

“On the count of three,” Sasha commanded, firmly taking Aoife’s hand. “One… two…”

On her count of three, they both stepped forward, crossing the threshold into the otherworldly glow of the fantastic corridor. As they did, their wonder fell away. The walls ceased to hold their attention. The starry sky lifted away. There was no temperature in the space. No sensation in the space. It was a space that simply existed and in it, Aoife and Sasha also simply existed. 

Without care. Without conscious thought. 

Sometime later, in what could have been a blink of the eye or a full calendar year, Aoife and Sasha found themselves sitting at Aoife’s cozy kitchen island. The vanilla cake with strawberry icing sat on the island beside a steaming pot of coffee and two ceramic mugs.

“You baked me a cake,” Sasha observed, pleased but strangely uneasy. 

“Of course,” Aoife smiled, feeling similarly unsettled. “It’s your birthday.”

“Where do you find the time?” Sasha grinned, swiping a bit of icing with her fingertip.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Aoife laughed, setting aside the odd sensation of having no concrete memory of baking this cake. “I just go about my day like anyone else.”

“Well, I appreciate it,” Sasha beamed, hiding her unease at not remembering the last half of her drive to Aoife’s house. “There’s no one I’d rather spend my birthday with!”

“Make a wish!” Aoife cried, delighted at how the day had turned out.

The End

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s strange story, and I hope time begins to feel a bit more normal for us all in the near future. If you have suggestions for future writing prompts, please let me know. I’d love to turn them into some quick fiction.  

If you’d like to learn more about me and my books, you can visit my website, SusanQuilty.com. You can also follow me on social media or support me through my Patreon page. Until next time, try a little free writing of your own. Let go of any planning and see where your imagination takes you. 

[Light piano music]