Writers Retreat 9: James Ninness: Nostalgia

Today we look at the final short story from yours truly.

As before, writers were required to select a previously written theme, word or concept out of a bag before working on these stories.  We had 45 to write the story and no time to edit.  What you see below is the raw result.

Leave your thoughts below!


James Ninness

Word(s): Nostalgia

Vincent woke up in his mother’s room some time after the moon’s light had fallen through the window along the northwestern wall.  It was late.

His mother was sleeping, her heavy inhalations and followed by equally dense exhalations were the sole accompaniment to the sharp harmony of crickets in the yard.  It was good that she finally found a moment of peace and Vincent tried to preserve it by closing the window, shielding her from the gentle breeze of the evening.

Shutting her door as quietly as possible, Vincent exited the room, stepping along the nails of the floorboards to limit the complaining moans of an old home – a trick he’d learned years before when sneaking into his parents room to sleep with his father.  His mother had hated it.  “There isn’t enough room for three,” she’d complain, but his father would lift the covers without fail every night, making room for Vincent.

He made his was down the hall, glancing at the photographs.  Most of them were of he and his mother, with only two of the many featuring his father.  For years he had thought that his father hated being photographed but now, for the first time, he thought that perhaps it was because someone needed to hold the camera.

At the end of the hall Vincent made his way down the stairs, once again placing his feet along the outer edge of the steps to limit sound.

Downstairs he made his way through the living room towards the kitchen.  The thick brown carpet was flattened by the masses that had been there earlier in the day.  A couple cups were still strewn upon the end tables.  Obviously people had tried to clean but Vincent could see immediately that things were not where they should have been.

He picked up the glasses, moved the magazines to the center of the coffee table and placed the vase back onto the end of the mantle where it belonged.

Bringing the glasses back into the kitchen, Vincent loaded them into the dishwasher and pulled a fresh cup from the cupboard.  He removed the milk and chocolate syrup from the fridge and began to mix them in the cup.  Once he had finished stirring the beverage with a spoon from the drawer, he raised the cup to his mouth and drank it almost entirely in one gulp.  He placed the cup and spoon in the dishwasher and put the milk in the fridge on the second shelf, next to his mother’s soy.

For a moment he stood there, his hands and hips resting on the counter, looking over the kitchen and allowing the memories of 20 years to flow over him.  He thought he heard his mother’s laugh and his father’s comforting groan – dad never laughed.

Vincent got through the door in the kitchen to the front yard, careful to lock it behind him, when he thought for the first time that perhaps he should have stayed.  Maybe his mother would appreciate waking up with someone else in the house, allowing her a shield from loneliness for one more day.

He tried the door despite what he knew… It was locked.

Vincent sighed to himself and began the walk to his car in front of the house.  He leaned against the hood and stared at the 1965 Mustang.  They had found her abandoned in a junkyard ten years ago, rusted and, according to the yard owner, beyond repair.  His father had smiled at the man and noted that if it was such a piece of shit, it should be priced accordingly.  They got the frame for $250.  Obviously the junkyard owner had been wrong.

Vincent put a Lucky Strike in his mouth and lit it as he relaxed against the car.  The smoke wafted up his nostrils and smelled of his father’s clothes.  He hadn’t known that his father was a smoker until he was almost ten.  His mother had forbidden it around the house to protect Vincent from the second hand.  Vincent chuckled, that plan had obviously failed.

When the laugh escaped his throat, Vincent scared himself, breaking the silence of the street at night.  He realized that the crickets had stopped conducting their nocturnal symphony and the wind had slowed to a standstill.  The moonlight seemed to dim, just slightly and the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up.

It was as if somebody was laughing with him.

Vincent opened the door to his car and couldn’t help but think of his father opening the sheets of his bed.  He shut the door and felt the blankets resting down on top of him.  The engine purred alive and Vincent imagined his father’s arms wrapping over him.

Vincent rolled down the window began to drive away.  The crickets sang and the wind picked up once more.  For the first time in as long as he could remember, Vincent cried and smiled.


That’s it!

Thanks for checking out our warm-ups from the Writers Retreat a couple weeks ago.  If you liked it, here’s the good news: We finished our book and are currently seeking out publication for a 160 page Thriller graphic novel.  If you didn’t like it, well… I still love you.