Twisted Wire – TRDC Prompt

This week’s assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly – and find the beauty in it.

Word limit is 600.
Tears fell on the back of Sarah’s mud encrusted hands. Fingernails brittle from malnutrition peeled away every time her fingers struck a solid object. Bloodied, bony knees ached from the simple task of supporting her frame in the sinking mud. Smells of bile and the distinct metallic bite of blood hung heavily in the air. It was a smell Sarah was quite familiar with, yet it shocked and sickened her every time. Cramped hands and blinding tears couldn’t stop her search. It had to be here. Somewhere lost in this thick sludge was the only reminder she had left of those she had loved and violently lost.

Sarah could still see her mother lying on the dirt floor covered in human waste. Even though her skeletal hands should not be capable of any fluid movement; they twisted the small piece of coveted wire.  Every manipulation of the wire brought forth stories of every cherished memory that her mother could recall. . Her mother had brought the warm, soothing bowls of Saturday soup back to Sarah’s memory as surely as she had a steaming bowl before her. Her mother’s tales brought back the soft comfort of the family quilt that Sarah’s grandmother tucked around her while reading classic novels by the candlelight to young, eager ears. Recollections of her father with his strong hands that caressed her face with an ironic tenderness that betrayed the hard earned callouses, left a memory trail of heat to her chilled, sunken cheeks.

Another nail ripped away as Sarah’s fingers discovered something metallic pushed deep in the mire. Her heart caught for a moment and then begun to flutter like a trapped, caged bird as she lifted her fingers to her face to reveal the small piece of twisted metal. As her mother fell to the sound of stuttering guns and piercing screams she had clung to the piece as if it were a talisman that could transport her from this place. Sarah clutched it to her breast and felt the faint, delicate touch of her mother’s hand slide across the wind to wipe away her tears. Stories woven into the wire by her mother’s words tumbled with a ferocity in her heart that propelled Sarah back to her cracked feet.

The sharp, barbed wires and smell of death faded away as Sarah stumbled away from her recollections, just as she had stumbled into freedom away from the camp. Looking into her granddaughter’s eyes she knew the role she had played in the story was complete. Sarah pulled the twisted piece of wire from the pocket of her cardigan offering it to her granddaughter in her outstretched hand;  the faded numbers of a tattoo peeked from under her sleeve. Still in silent reverence from the memories that had been spilled, her granddaughter plucked the wire from the gently withered hand and turned it over several times examining the sharp ends and rusted surface. Although crude in shape and harsh in material there was no mistaking the shape of a heart or the transporting beauty of a mother’s love for her child..

Categories: fiction, prison camps, survivor of prison camp, the beauty in ugly

48 replies

  1. To be able to write like this. To create such a picture with your words. It's a gift. This is amazing.

  2. I continue to be in awe of your ability to paint a picture.I'm so glad I discovered TRDC.Amazing.P.S. Your comment on Roar of the Sister cracked me up. So glad to have “met” you.

  3. Such beautiful raw talent … your words, they take us any place you choose.A gift dear friend, a gift.

  4. This piece delivers such an amazing, stunning shock to the system. Love, love, LOVE!

  5. Definitely something ugly made beautiful. What a story!

  6. This is amazingly ugly and beautiful all at the same time. You did it so, so well. You are one talented lady my friend.

  7. You had me captured in that world, and from the first paragraph, I knew. Heart breaking, gut wrenching, a memory that never should have been, but a beauty in it all it's own! Wonderfully written!

  8. That was just stunning. Such beautiful imagery. Amazing writing.

  9. You did an amazing job with the ugly/beautiful prompt! Wow.

  10. Very powerful. I love how you moved through with the imagery “Her heart caught for a moment and then begun to flutter like a trapped, caged bird”.Incidentally, my piece for the RDC also involved a soup bowl, love, war, and a camp.

  11. You did a great job with this. It was very descriptive and so easy to picture. Very nicely done.

  12. This is quite powerful and beautifully done. Your ability to create images and emotions is excellent! The fingernail passages made me cringe (in a good way.) Great job with the prompt.

  13. You are a gifted writer, my friend. I am sobbing.

  14. whoa! That is very powerful! YOu write so well…and enjoyed each word. I kept reading faster and faster. Stopping by from red dress club.

  15. I'm crying. Thank you. This was beautiful. Have you ever read Sarah's Key? It totally made me think of that book and that writing, and that's some incredible writing, so to compare you is a compliment, I promise. (Not just because the character here is Sarah, I promise.)Wow. That made my heart ache and I will need some time to process before I read it again.

  16. Every time I read your writing I am just more astonished than I was the time before. Each time I think this is incredible there can't be anything better, and then I read your next article and think no, this is even better there can't possibly be something better. That is until I read your next article. Truly amazing.

  17. My eyes burned as I read the last line from the tears wanted to well up and spill out. The bond between mother and child, no matter how ugly the situation will forever overpower all. Forever.

  18. Wow, what imagery! You did a great job with this one. Crit wise, I think some of your paragraphs could have been broken up to give them a bit more impact, but even without that, it's still an incredibly powerful piece! Visiting from TRDC

  19. Wow. What a story. My only crit feedback is to avoid adverbs where you can. You do such a good job using strong verbs and painting a picture with facts you don't need them and they over-sell what doesn't need to be over sold. This is just tremendous though, really,Amy

  20. Every week you refuel my writer's crush on you. Seriously. There isn't one thing I would change about this, and I love that the wire is in the shape of heart. I cried. This was horrifying, yet ended in beauty. Perfection. –The Drama Mama

  21. I loved the way you described the moment. It was a little wordy, but you did a great job with the imagery. I could feel the mud in my hands (which need a manicure!)

  22. Wow…I think I held my breath the entire time I was reading. Impressive!

  23. Standing ovation with this one. I was captivated from the very first sentence.

  24. Well you already know how I feel but I will say one more time what amazing talent you have. Amazing.

  25. I was dying to know what she was digging for, where and why. Wow, are you amazing! I knew I had to read this post after all the tweets I saw. I was not disappointed. Beautifully done!

  26. You capture the idea of showing not telling, well done, my friend.Let's talk concrit before the next prompt, shall we?

  27. Oh my God, lady. This was amazingly poignant, emotionally charged and beautifully written.I loved every word. You transported me to a place of pain and ugliness and then offered a soft place to end.Brilliant!

  28. This was wonderful!…”the beauty of a mother's love for her child”…:)JP

  29. I bow down to the master. You are amazing.

  30. breathtaking.horrifyingand beautiful in the

  31. Okay, so I'm speechless. This is truly amazing. Great imagery. You really know how to tell a tale. I clearly saw the ugliness in death and the beauty of that twisted wire symbolizing a mother's love. Great time transition in the last paragraph, which was my favorite in the way Sarah passed on that symbol of love. Strong, beautiful writing. Like Shell, I'm bowing down as well…

  32. Incredible. Even the fingernail being ripped off. Her desperation, frenzy, discovery – all so good.

  33. Wow. This was an amazing piece. You're descriptions are so raw, they made me physically feel a little ill. Which is a true gift. Beautiful, amazing story.

  34. Oh. My. This is beautiful and sad and hopeful and tragic. This is magic.

  35. Wow. I have the attention span of a manic gnat, but I was instantly there and never left until the end. More impressive, I was extremely uncomfortable the entire time in a very powerful way. Very wow.

  36. Ok, ok, I'm reading! I'm reading! I got my crayon and everything! ;)As a history person, of course this caught me immediately. I held my breath hoping she would find the wire. I love the line about her heart. Nice use of the prompt! Loved this!!!

  37. Good job, you! I read this earlier, but it was too deep to grasp. It required my undivided attention! This sounds very personal. If that isn't the case, you definitely have a way with words.The only thing I can tell you has been said earlier… just be careful of wordiness during certain passages. I am also guilty of this, but sometimes it's better to break it up into smaller chunks.Other than that, you grabbed my attention, led me one direction, then jerked the leash the other way. Very impressive!

  38. Absolutely remarkable writing. I felt transported to a different time and place. Very powerful.

  39. Oh, your words can take me anywhere…such beautiful imagery in the midst of ugly…You, are brilliant.

  40. Oh sweet lady! This was gorgeous and heart breaking, beautifully written and tear-jerking. Well done.

  41. Really lovely words despite such an ugly subject. Well done as always!

  42. Such a vivid imagery! Great job!

  43. You paint colorful pictures with your words and take us, your readers on such emtional journeys. Love the satisfying place you've left us to sit at the end of your piece.

  44. Whew. Talk about emotionally draining. Talk about powerful writing. This is incredible.

  45. Fantastic! I loved reading every moment, and promptly reread to get the full scope.Power imagery, powerful detail, masterly writing. A true pleasure!

  46. wow! now that is a gift of a true writer. good job! I'm impressed.

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