Today’s post includes the draft of what I came up with for the daily writing prompt, And then a siren goes off, posted last week. Did you check it out yet? It also includes tips to get you started writing.

And then a siren goes off…

The grass we’re sitting on is short and itchy. The band we’re listening to as our legs are sprawled across the grass– sans blanket because Dan doesn’t really ever make plans, especially during the summer– is decent, not great. (They have a fiddler in their ranks, and a sporadic bass guitarist.) And the beer cans we’re drinking from have been lukewarm for a while now in our sticky grips. At least, mine is. In my right periphery, I see sweat beading on Dan’s tan forehead. I also see my shoulder and notice the sun is beginning to affect my skin too, turning it an intense pink color. But somehow, I’m as happy as I’ve been in a long time, at this moment.

Dan notices me glancing at him and leans over and kisses my right temple gently. His lips linger there for a moment before he softly chuckles near my ear and says, “My God. This band is horrible.” I chuckle too. And just as I’m about to say something clever in return to make him smile–I’ve learned that I love doing this now, making him smile–a siren goes off.

Dan and I remain still but our heads are on a swivel. He looks to the right. I look left. Then we rotate. The crowd around us in the small city park is thick today. It’s as if we’ve all been packaged in here with outdated industrial-grade assembly-line equipment– all tight and neat in scattered rows, with concrete sidewalks keeping us contained. It’s hard to see through the bodies, some of which are rising to see what the noise is all about. An older couple with scrunched brows, now standing next to their striped lawn chairs, look up into the sky bemused. A baby in the arms of a petite woman in a lemon sundress diagonal to us starts wailing, keeping cadence with the blasting siren. Wait. No. I see the baby’s mouth open as if it’s screaming. But I only hear the siren. It’s piercing, invasive, and growing louder.

Dan clutches my right forearm and pulls me up, calmly but with firm intention. I hadn’t even noticed that he had already stood up. Less than a second after I’m fully upright, we start elbowing our way through the dense crowd. Well, Dan does the elbowing on our behalf. He’s larger and taller than me. He’s still clutching my arm, a little tighter now. Most of the expressions in the crowd are more annoyed or confused than concerned. No one is moving that quickly or at all, except us. I don’t know Dan that well. But as he guides us with his subtle yet steady movements, I begin to wonder: Is he trained for moments like this?

As we reach the concrete sidewalk perimeter, I stare at Dan as he releases my arm gingerly. He’s looking straight ahead. I turn. Now I see it. It’s cloudy yet vivid, on the not-so-distant horizon. A growing dark funnel is twisting its way toward where we’re standing.

The alarm amps up.

My notes on writing this writing prompt

I ultimately wanted to incorporate the element of surprise into this piece of writing. But I also wanted to keep it realistic. Although there is a siren going off, would people in a crowd really know or understand what it was for, or what they were supposed to do right away?

If you completed this writing prompt too, comment below or tag @kecreighton on WordPress or Facebook.

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