Day 3: Cloudland

cloudland

noun

  1. the sky.
  2. a region of unreality, imagination, etc.; dreamland.

Let’s see…

It was raining steadily, and thunder cracked high in the overcast sky; there was a war in cloudland tonight.  Red and blue lights lit up the street when the lightening didn’t.

I was barefoot, standing in the middle of the road in a too-thin nightgown.  My hair hung to my hips, damp and stringy.

“You see, ma’am,” said the police officer for the millionth time.  “There was a murder next door to you, and I need to know if you heard a gunshot an hour ago.”

I sighed.  “I know,” I said.  “I understand what you need to know, but there is a very violent thunderstorm currently occurring, and it’s been loud enough that I haven’t heard much of anything.”

“But you were home an hour ago?” he asked again.

It is three in the morning, I wanted to say.  Of course I was home.  I forced a smile onto my face.  “Yes, sir,” I said.

He nodded briskly.  “But you didn’t hear anything?”

“Just the thunder, sir.”

“Could you have mistaken the gunshot for thunder?”

“Anything’s possible, sir,” I said.  This was a lie: I had heard gunshots before.  There was never any mistaking them for thunder.

“So you did hear the gunshot?”

“Not to my knowledge, sir.”

He drew breath to ask another question, but another police officer ran up beside the first.  “We’ve just discovered something,” he said.  “He was killed with a knife.”

I don’t know what this is.  Please note that I generally find police officers to be competent, respectable individuals…just not in this story, I guess.  Just go with it.

Cara Kennaway

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6 thoughts on “Day 3: Cloudland

  1. So… maybe not your best work. But it’ll do. Particularly considering that these are just fun, for-practice writing prompts.

  2. Cloudland is ever elusive. Even on the nights of deep exhaustion, even after long days of activity and stress, it can prove a tricky place to get to. But on the nights of worry, of grief, of dread anticipation… then it becomes as unreachable for mortals as the dome of the sky itself.

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Clench the pillowcase. Burrow farther under the covers. Picture somewhere peaceful. Imagine a conversation with a longed-for friend.

    Sometimes this all doesn’t work. Some nights, help must be sought from other sources. Hypnotic, bromidic, narcotic.

    ***

    But is cloudland really worth seeking?

    When the mind’s landscape is formed of fear and loss, when the clouds take the shape of missing faces and bloody premonitions, it becomes a question difficult to grapple with whether the sleeping nightmares are truly preferable to the waking ones.

    Yet sleep is, ultimately, inevitable. No matter how far away it often seems, cloudland comes to take us all in the end.

    I shift my weight. Flip my pillow over again. Try to straighten the blankets a bit. Sigh.

    You know, I don’t think these ruminations are actually helping me fall asleep.

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