The mission is to write a new piece that includes at least five nouns from one of the following sources. This post used all of Bradbury’s sample list and Word Press list with five of my list.
- Bradbury’s sample noun list: lake, night, crickets, attic, basement, trapdoor, baby, crowd, night train, fog horn, scythe, carnival, carousel, dwarf, mirror maze, skeleton.
- My noun list: face, laughter, stomach, fun, paradise.
- Noun list suggested by Word Press: thunderstorm, Peking duck, airplane, mouse, red rose, French pastry, wedding, tombstone, camper van, bee, caltrops
The couple next door, Guy and Jen, were coming home with their month old baby on Friday and P was at the railway station to receive them. They had been away from their city home for more than a month. Quite unusual for P, he had reached the station well before the arrival of the train and had even bought some flowers for the couple. All because he was suffering from a guilty conscience…..
The baby was born in a hospital near Jen’s parental home by the side of a lake in a scenic countryside. They had opted to have their little one relish the freshness and goodness of country air on his arrival rather than expose the baby to the city’s smog.
Things had been good for the first few days. The sky was blue, the birds sang their sweet little songs, the flowers smiled in the breeze, the bees hummed and the butterflies flitted or did whatever they were supposed to do….
This was the first time that Guy was staying over for more than a week-end at his in laws’ place after the wedding and he thought it was good fun. In fact Guy was so thoroughly enjoying the relaxed atmosphere that he had made the major decision of having his tombstone engraved with “He loved the countryside” instead of his earlier choice of “He loved Peking duck”.
As the days moved on to weeks, however, things had started to change in paradise….
It all started when Guy on one of his “relieving one’s boredom” expeditions found a scythe in the attic of the house and a locked cupboard in the basement. With so much time on his hands and not much to do in the rural setting, he had given free rein to his imagination and had come up with several theories linking the locked cupboard, the scythe and his father in law who spent long hours in the basement. One day when he was feeling overwhelmed with affection for his wife he aired his misgivings to her. Jen only burst out in laughter but unfortunately for Guy, his loud whispers were overheard by the mother in law.
Within a few minutes, the father in law appeared on the scene with a grim look and asked Guy if he could follow him down to the basement. Guy followed the parent with a thumping heart and nearly jumped out of his skin as the trap door banged shut behind them. Without a word, the father in law walked to the cupboard and opened it with a key. It was full of old clothes. “No skeletons here, lad! Just clothes waiting to be taken to the Salvos. I keep it locked because I have seen an occasional mouse in here”, he muttered as he locked the door back again. More enlightenment awaited him as his father in law walked him through what looked like a mirror maze of old furniture and bric-a-brac to the other end of the basement. He opened the door there and beyond it was a well set workshop.
“My hobby area”, he said. “This is where I spend most of my time when I come down to the basement.”
“And scythes, you know” he continued as he locked the door and they walked back and up the stairs from the basement, “can be commonly found in old houses like this in the country. They do have their agricultural purposes apart from what roles weird minds can ascribe to them.” He paused and glanced at Guy sideways before continuing “I also learned that you were wondering why I had the sculpture of a scary looking dwarf in the garden. For your information, that is a garden gnome”.
Guy nearly died of embarrassment as it dug into him like a thousand caltrops.
Even after this incident, they had continued to stay with Jen’s parents for a month before they decided to return back to their own home. It came to a point when they could not any more bear how the chirp of the crickets drowned (or was it added to) the noise of their baby’s cries and gurgles and how the baby’s wail, as it woke up in fright, outdid the foghorn that often worked as the trigger.
The decision was speed railed into action one day when they noticed that the little one was growing up all too soon, especially on one side of the face. The doctor said that they had brought the baby to him just in time as bee stings could be fatal. Countryside had plenty of flowers and of course birds and bees, and can you blame them if they really wanted their offspring to live and grow up so they could talk to their young about the birds and the bees?….
They originally had planned to take the airplane back to the city but because some flights were cancelled due to a brewing thunderstorm, they decided to take the night train. It was a harrying journey right from the start. The in-laws had taken them out for a send-off lunch to the one and only restaurant there before they had embarked on the drive to catch the train.
The winding drive through the side of a ravine to get to the train station almost felt like being on a spinning carousel and a few minutes into the drive, the Peking duck inside Guy’s stomach decided it had enough and decided to come out through the car window. The sight and smell did faintly tickle the French pastry inside Jen’s entrails, but it was stoically kept down till they finally reached the train station. With their gastric problems settled, they had found their seats in the train with difficulty and tried to stretch out and relax as the train chugged out from the station. The ordeal was sufficient to put them off Peking duck and French pastry for life. They also had enough of the rustic life and were craving for city comforts. When finally they reached the city station, jostling through the crowd that seemed to be in a frenzy, they hastened out to find P.
P greeted them at the railway station. He gave the bunch of red roses to Jen, the proud mother.
“Just be a bit careful with those flowers,” he said as he handed them over.” I saw a bee fly out of one of them”. He did not see the flowers drop from Jen’s hands as P hurriedly walked them to his car. “I know you guys must be in need of a holiday, you know, with the baby and all…” P chattered on. “So I have arranged a camper-van for you to go to a very scenic spot just a few kilometres away. I must confess I have been so very busy with the carnival, I haven’t managed to get the cleaners to your house yet. You can spend the week-end at the camp and everything will be sorted out for you when you return. ”
“And to atone for my slip-up, dinner is on me” he continued with a huge smile. “I have take- home dinner packs of Peking Duck and some French pastry for you”…
The Ray Bradbury Noun List Twist