Story :: A measure of voice

This one is for Jacky Hillary, because it’s been too long.

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A measure of voice (284 words)

“Are you sitting comfortably?”

Cello exhales gently, and listens to a long indrawn breath on the other end. Rust clears her throat and continues.

It was not the first time they had had such a conversation, and the room grew warm as their voices heated it.”

Cello closes her eyes and sags back in her chair. She has already drawn her knees up, elbows pulled in, ready to be rocked gently by the low waves of Rust’s quavering voice. With her eyes shut, she can hear every flicker of hesitation in the recital, every pause for breath or to swallow, the faint tick of the watch underneath the sound of voice.

Her limbs grow heavy as the story rolls over her, more words than she has heard all day, and she presses the phone close to her ear to catch every vibration.

“… took off their clothes and moved forward, slow and wavering like tree lizards, towards the water, a dull penny under the milk-puddle sky.”

Her own watch drones with the barely-perceptible hum of electrical fields that she feels, rather than hears. At midnight she will wind it, ready for tomorrow, but for now it shivers with four last words. Cello is paid well to spend her voice all day, but she always makes sure to reserve a little for this.

“Another chapter tomorrow,” Rust says at last, after what seems no time at all. She must have read longer than she meant to; they never leave each other so brusquely. “Goodnight.”

Cello takes a deep breath. “Goodnightloveyou,” she says all in one gasp, as if saying it fast enough could fool the watch. It doesn’t, and her watch ticks down to one.

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Written for the CAKE.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-in.  Read my other free stories here.

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About sarahgracelogan

Sarah Grace is an itinerant scribbler and general layabout. She runs a writing group called CAKE.shortandsweet, because any form of procrastination from actual writing is always attractive to the serious author of refined taste. When not distracted by laser pens, Sarah Grace writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, poetry, stage scripts and screenplays. She has performed her work at Stirred Poetry, Bad Language and Tongue in Cheek Manchester. Her first publication, Humping the Boonies is a self-published chapbook available directly from the author, or from Travelling Man, Manchester. You can find more details about her ongoing projects, not to mention a selection of free stories up for grabs right here on her blog. https://sarahgracelogan.wordpress.com/about/ She also likes to talk about theatre, film, books, photography, and especially games and other things that involve collaborative storytelling. Sarah Grace likes feedback, in whatever form it comes.

9 comments

  1. Oh, I love the last few sentences. So powerful, and poignant. What an intriguing and delicate piece. Well done!

  2. I sense a lot of yearning in this. And a wish to have more control.
    Is there a story within this story?

    • Thank you, Patrick. I’m absolutely certain there is, though I’m not sure what yet. I’ve been trying to edit this down to 100 words all day, but perhaps I should also have a go at expanding it to 1000!

  3. Elaine Peters

    Quite sad that this is Cello’s one ‘contact’ in the day that means so much. I love the description of the water.

  4. This is lovely. Intense, emotional and Intriguing. I’d love to read more so I suggest trying 1000 words!

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