I wrote this at a writers group a few weeks ago. We were given prompts, ten minutes and told to write a 100 word story. Among the prompts were things like ‘the silver teapot’, ‘dry as’ and ‘plum tree’. I chose ‘the man in the yellow cardigan’ and wrote this…
The man in the yellow cardigan was in a hurry. His head was bent as his feet slapped the pavement, shoulders stooped against the rain. His dark hair curled into tendrils in the wet, rain seeped up through the sides of his canvas shows.
They would be waiting, he knew, Deirdre and Aiysha.
‘Did you have to milk the cow?’ Deirdre would say, her cold attempt at humour belying her annoyance.
‘Your shoes are wet, daddy,’ Aiysha would say, more softly than her mother’s harsh tones, her blue eyes wondering.
He could see the red door frame now, and the plastic bottle of milk swung from his slippery fingers, cold and white in the grey gloom.
It happened so quickly that later, if asked about it, he could not quite explain how it had happened, what had slipped.
He saw the sharp flash of the headlights as they swung across the road, heard the screech of the brakes, felt, rather than saw, the locked tyres careening across the wet tarmac.
His body tensed as he realised the car’s path, his heart jumping to his mouth. He saw the young woman against the shop window, the little boy splashing in the shallow puddles, laughing as the water sloshed over his blue gumboots.
The man in the yellow cardigan ran, dropping the milk. It landed in the street, the blue top cracking, the white liquid melding into the rain, washed down the gutter.
The boy squealed as he was grabbed roughly and spun out of the way. A yelp of pain and surprise emitted from the young woman as she was pushed aside, her head knocking the rough wall.
There was an explosion of glass and noise as the car collided with the shop front. Then silence, punctuated only by the wet hissing of the engine, the spattering of the rain on the metal roof.
The man in the yellow cardigan righted the boy and walked away from the scene, brushing off the thanks, the grateful round eyes of the young woman. He reached the red door, broken milk in hand.
‘Did you have to milk the cow?’ Deirdre said.
‘Your shoes are wet, daddy,’ said Aiysha, her blue eyes wondering.