Sunday Scribblings, Fluent

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “fluent.”

“What are you fluent in? What interests you? Can you be fluent in anything other than a language? What is your take on fluency?”

Touched
She’s speaking in tongues, a mish-mash of gibberish that makes others who occupy the same stretch of sidewalk drop down off the curb to give her a wide enough berth.
The woman wears the weariness of middle-age. Her eyes are rolled up into the back of her head, her hands are curled into claws. Spit exits her mouth, as what sounds like nonsense escapes with the rise and fall of her chest, past ragged breaths. He lips twist and curl with the clucks and clicks of her tongue.
A child watches in silence from behind a lamppost, while her mother waits with a foot in the street, hailing a cab. The mother watches the street, watches the girl, aware of the rapid-fire sounds coming from the crazy lady in the tan housecoat and dirty sheepskin slippers.
“Mommy, why is that woman talking funny,” the child says, which comes out a faint whisper.
“She’s just fluent in crazy, that’s all. Come here, take mommy’s hand.”
But something’s happening to the child. Pink-cast nails begin to scrape along the metal post; her small chest begins to convulse, matching her now ragged breaths.
Tiny hands curl into claws. Like pulling a shade, her pale blue eyes go white as her irises roll back into her head.
Spittle forms on her lips as a language escapes her throat, guttural and ancient.
The woman in the housecoat breaks trance, swallows hard. Her eyes come back into focus on the little girl, golden pigtails resting on slim shoulders.
The woman licks her lips, smiles.
The mother screams.

19 comments:

Nara Malone said...

your style grabs me by the throat and drags me right into the scene

Thomma Lyn said...

Wow -- fabulous. Pulled me right in, and your twist is masterfully executed. What a delightfully shiversome take on "fluent!"

keiths ramblings said...

My goodness, what a great piece! Fantastic bit of writing.

Richard Godwin said...

A rollercoaster of a lean story. No spare flesh here Thom, nice job.

Lilibeth said...

yecch! I wanted to snatch her right up out of there and give your pen a good thump.

Stan Ski said...

This reminds me of someone we used to know when we were younger. Apart from the end bit.

peggy said...

Thom, this is really good. (Sorry for my lack of eloquence, but sometimes, a reader just wants to be entertained, and you delivered.)

Carrie said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. :)

mazzz in Leeds said...

Oh I like this, this is all kinds of evil :-D

shannon said...

"Just fluent in crazy" lol, love that line. Nice twist, I forgot to breathe!

Tony Noland said...

Freaky piece, Thom. I think the mother is right about the language, but mistaken with respect to the particular dialect. Not just "crazy"... "bat shit crazy".

Marisa Birns said...

Wow. Your creativity was certainly spurred into quite interesting waters with that prompt!

Really enjoyed this.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Youch!! I am officially frightened and wondering when you saw these people... lol.

Skycycler said...

I know this place! Yes-good honest scary stuff! Reminds me of Snow Crash.


Simon.

Sulci Collective said...

I think you did an amazing job with the prompt. The description of the old woman is wonderfully true, I can imagine her fully rendered.

The only slight crit I have is the last line. It feels a little cliched. Could you perhaps come up with something that encapsulates the mother's loss of fluency of both language and emotions? Screams just doesn't quite do it justice.

Bests

marc nash

Paula Ray said...

Scary - how the transference occured - some withcraft or demon. The scream at the end - made me shiver. Your language and descriptions are poetic and original - top notch work, my friend.

ThomG said...

Thanks, everyone for the comments. And Marc, I did go back and forth on screams. It's something to look at, as I will probably develop this more.

Leah Saylor-Abney said...

Oh I liked it. I just knew there was a reason my mama raised me not to stare at people. You did so much in so few words, wow. I wanted to smack the mother for letting her kid continue to watch the crazy woman. Keep on writing!

Dee Martin said...

Well I could have sworn I commented on this but I guess it got lost in the web somewhere. This was very creepy and I mean that in the best way. I was sucked in just like the child. I wonder if that demon let loose of the old woman?