May 5, 2012

Trifecta: Trifextra, Weekend Fifteen -- Along the Rails

Despite the fact that I want to be at the mall at 7 am tomorrow -- A Lego store has finally opened in Vancouver and I want the special premium that comes with purchase to the first customers -- I have persevered past the midnight hour to get my Trifextra in beforehand. All things come at a cost, right?

The Trifextra Challenge for this weekend is to write three truths and a lie in 33 to 333 words.

I'm so glad that Terry has decided to appear again this weekend. Who knew I had a fictional story lying in wait? And as promised, I've compiled a list of the parts of this story to date. It appears at the bottom of this page.

Along the Rails -- Foraging for Food

The shelves were crammed with big-box stock, but the store was different than ones she knew. This was hodgepodge: cereals piled high against toiletries, soup alongside dog food.

She wrinkled her nose.

“Shop the edges,” her dad said on weekly trips. “Fresh foods are priced cheap to attract the suckers. Like flies to honey, most believe the lies on the packaging.”

Here the greens were wilted, cucumbers and apples wrinkled, onions softer than her sister’s chubby arms.

Red basket in hand, she dubiously plucked products from shelves, each coated in grime.

She didn’t even look at prices; for the first time ever, money didn’t matter.

As the basket filled, her arms ached. She swallowed hard the hopelessness she’d been fighting since the raid, ducking around a corner when a woman started down her aisle.

As she approached the till, the nine year old consulted a paper pulled from her pocket.

“‘Cheryl”, she whispered to the sloe-eyed checkout woman.

“I’m Cheryl,” she repeated, louder now, “My grandmother, Ma Eaton, has an account.”

Terry mustered a tiny, sweet smile, exactly as her mom demonstrated. The woman’s face brightened.
“You’re Caro’s granddaughter? How’s that poor thing?”

Terry steeled herself to deliver her last line. “Grama said to put this on her account.” She pushed that smile out again; carefully, not too much. Showing too much teeth, her mom said, was worse than no smile at all.

“No problem, hon. I’m meaning to look in on her. Tell her Babs will come soon, ‘kay?”

Walking back was brutal. No one way of carrying full bags was easier than another.

Terry was glad for her bangs as tears flowed. Exhaustion, worry and sadness engulfed her as her body recognised opportunity.

Finally she arrived at her destination. She climbed onto a rotting porch and silently put one bag beneath an overturned crate.

She stepped off the porch, lifted the remaining sacks, and slipped around the house and down a path half-hidden in the bramble-filled backyard.


Links to the other pieces of Along the Rails, in the order in which they were written:

Along the Rails (Trifecta: Week Sixteen)
Meet Terry (Trifecta: Week Seventeen)
The Arrival (Trifextra: Weekend Fourteen)
Foraging for Food (Trifextra: Weekend Fifteen)


  1. I loved the description, "onions softer than her sister’s chubby arms." Vivid, but also very true to the way a child would think.

    1. Thanks. It was weird looking for a metaphor for the soft onions ... and now I want to squeeze me some baby fat.

  2. I love this so, so much. You are balls out at fiction, no matter what you say.

    1. I only said I was surprised. I try never to denigrate myself. It was a habit I gave up at 20, after I realised others could do it for me at no charge. xox

      Thank you! xox

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks. I have a nine year old. I believe they are much more capable than we give them credit for being. Thanks for reading and saying stuff.

  4. This was great! I didn't even pick up on the 3 truths and the lie woven into the story.

    1. Oh, they are there! I'll post them Sunday, like some others. =) Thanks ...

  5. Thanks for linking up with Trifextra this weekend. I love the way you embedded the prompt into the story--nice job! I also love the details you gave us of the shop--the dog food next to the soup. I feel like I've been in that store before. . .

    Hope to see you back again soon, Karen.

    1. Thank you for the details that worked for you. I am very surprised where this story is taking me. I'd heard writers say that they didn't necessarily know the story until it was revealed to them as they wrote and I'm so surprised to understand how true that is! I can't wait to share some of the new details that have emerged after last night's midnight writing session ...

  6. And the real lie is that this is Terry, yes? I loved the story, loved the way she left a bag of the groceries with the real Babs at the end if I'm reading that right. (And I'm loving following these characters through their dystopia.)

    1. It is Terry, yes. Actually that was not the intended lie. I'm working on so little sleep that I missed that part when I was editing. And I had 600 words, so I edited a lot. My more subtle lie was the grocery store lady telling her she'd visit soon. But the Cheryl/Terry lie is going to have to stand ... Just goes to show.

      Believe it or not the grandma is not the real Babs, that part is coming out soon ...

  7. Well done! Such powerful details!