I went a little nuts on this, but I think that’s the point of these exercises. To really open your creative juices up and put words to paper.
Creative Writing Exercise – After completing a solo camping trip, a woman gets her film developed and discovers that several photos are of her … sleeping.
The door swung open and jingled as Samantha entered the small shop. The air outside was cold, but inside it was warm and dank and smelt of old wood and dust.
“Hello, Sam. Didn’t expect you here so fast.” The small woman behind the counter peered at Sam over her crescent spectacles. “You must be really excited to get those pictures back?”
Sam laughed. “You know I am, Gina. It’s not everyday you can get real film developed, now that everyone has switched to digital.”
Gina smiled and stood up straighter. It added negative inches to her small frame. “Why haven’t you switched, yet?”
“Oh I don’t know. Call me a purist. I love the way the colors are and the way the slick photos feel in my hands. I like the smell of the chemicals as they waft up from those tiny pieces of plastic paper.”
Gina continued to stare at Sam with a look of awe and bewilderment. “Well, whatever the reason, I can’t be too upset. You’re almost single handedly keeping me in business.” She smiled at Sam as she reached underneath the counter and handed her an overly large off white envelope.
“Thanks Gina. Did you see anything good?”
“You know I don’t go snooping through other peoples belongings.” Gina sounded off.
“You know we both know that’s a lie.” Sam’s eyebrow raised and she gave a half grin to the attendant.
Gina laughed a small giggle and patted the counter. “You got me there. I saw a few of the pictures. It looks like you and your boyfriend had a wonderful time camping. I just wish I had gotten to see a picture or two of him.” She wiggled her eyebrows up and down in a manner that would make a cartoon wolf shamed.
Samantha laughed and started walking out of the store before stopping abruptly. “Gina. I didn’t bring anyone with me. I was the only one up there.”
Gina got a look of confusion on her face. “Well, that’s weird, why are there so many pictures of you sleeping, then?”
Sam rushed out of the store, barely hearing the jingle of the bell. She hopped into her jeep and slammed the door behind her, frantically flipping through the pictures as she leaned on the steering wheel. About ten pictures in she saw it. She was lying in her sleeping bag. Eyes closed. Her long dirty blonde hair tussled about her thin face. She looked content, happy, and very much asleep. Panic gripped her as she kept going through the pictures and kept running across the same things. Her asleep in her camping chair, sunglass on, mouth slightly agape, her head tilted to the side. Her taking a nap in her jeep, a hat precariously perched over her face. Samantha felt terror grip the bottom of her stomach. Someone had been following her and she wasn’t safe. She turned the ignition of the jeep and sped out of the parking lot to the only place she knew she would be secure. The sheriff’s station.
She skidded the vehicle to a stop outside of the station and tried to collect her composure. Samantha had begun to shake on the way over and she laughed at herself. “Get it together, Sam.” She looked in the rearview mirror to make sure her makeup was still in place. She grabbed the stack of photos of her sleeping and got out of the jeep and marched into the station, looking all around her as she went.
“Yes ma’am, can I help you?” The gentleman behind the counter was obviously a deputy. His balding light brown hair, thick matching mustache and rather large mid section gave it away, but the badge that said ‘deputy’ on his shirt confirmed it.
“Hi, I do need some help. I think I’m being followed.” Samantha was still visibly shaking.
“Ok, ma’am, just calm down, now what makes you think that?”
“Well, I went on a solo camping trip this past weekend. You know, by myself.” The deputy nodded even though he looked slightly annoyed. “I turned in some film to get developed and I just got them back and, well, you take a look.”
Samantha plopped the pictures in front of the man and started spreading them out so he could get a glance at all of them. The silence lingered as the deputy looked over the photos. He pulled a few to the side and his face scrunched up in confusion a few times. Finally after what seemed like years he spoke.
“Ma’am. Is this some sort of joke?” He looked at Samantha with a serious expression.
“What are you talking about? This is very serious. Someone has been following me and taking pictures of me while I’m sleeping!” Panic crept into her voice and it cracked.
“Ma’am. It looks like you took these pictures yourself. I think it’s what the kids are calling selfies. Look.” He turned the pictures so Samantha could see them right side up. “You can see your arm here holding the camera.” He pointed to the reflection in her glasses. “And here.” He pointed again to the reflection of the arm in the jeep’s side mirror. “I’m no expert, but I think the person following you is you.” He got a big smile on his face as if he had made the best joke known to man. Samantha glared, wide eyed at the reflections in the photos and started picking them all up as fast as she could.
“No, no. This isn’t possible. I would have remembered doing something like this.” She muttered to herself.
“Are you sure you’re okay, ma’am?” The deputy brought her out of her stupor.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Ha-ha. It was a joke. Just making sure the PD is on their feet.” She smiled as best she could and scooped the rest of the photos in her arm and walked as fast as she could out of the station, leaving the deputy there by himself.
Sam drove home erratically, not even paying attention to street signs or other drivers. Her mind was in a fog. There was no way she could have taken those pictures herself. It just didn’t make sense. There had to be someone there with her. The deputy just didn’t care. He was making fun of her. She would get to the bottom of this herself. She pulled into her driveway without realizing she had gotten home. On pure instinct alone she had gotten herself there and it startled her a little bit.
She got out of her jeep and half jogged up to the door to her little house. She jingled the keys in her hand, looking for the one for the door. As she put the keys into the lock, the door swung open and a tall man with dirty blonde hair was staring back at her. Sam screamed.
“Woah, woah. It’s ok Sam.” The man put his arms around her in a simple embrace. “Are you ok?”
Samantha stopped shaking for a few seconds and began breathing normally. “Jeff. What are you doing here?”
He pushed her back and let her walk into the house. “Gina called mom and said you were acting weird, so I came over to check on you.”
Sam nodded and threw the contents in her hands on the table by the door. “That’s sweet, but I’m fine. Really. Go home and take care of that pregnant wife of yours so I can have a healthy niece.” Sam smiled at her brother and immediately he knew that she wasn’t ok.
“Sam. Have you been taking your medicine?”
“What? Yes. Of course I have.”
“I mean, I think so.” She looked down at her feet. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
“Sis, you can’t forget to take your meds. It helps with your memory. With your ‘youknowwhat’.”
Sam looked at her hands and then covered her face. The schizophrenia. It had gotten bad, but the medication helped. She had forgotten to take it on her trip and now it explained everything. She looked up at her brother with tears flowing down her face. “I just don’t know who I am anymore.”