Class Assignment

I'm in an Experimental Fiction class at Concordia. Our first assignment was to write a lipogram - a story in which you can't use a certain vowel (often 'e') or more than one vowel (I couldn't use 'i' or 'u'.)

This is the story I came up with (2 hours before class, while sitting in a different class.) I'm not the biggest fan of how I wrote it, but I really like the idea and I'm kinda looking forward to trying it again without the limitation. It is certainly a cool thing to do (emjayne, I expect to see one of these from you in the next couple days.) It is fun to see what comes out of the limitation, or if you can even notice it.

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"There are no tales, Emma." he sobs openly.

"Please, James. Please calm down," she soothes. "Why not try..."

Her words fade away. James looks at her and does not speak for a few moments. Emma also does not move to speak.

"That's all?" James asks. "That's the Emma comfort for me? My son has begged and screamed for a story before bed and my head holds none! He can't even look at me anymore."

"He can't be that bad," Emma places her hand on James' head. "He loves to spend the day-"

"Yes, Emma, exactly. The Day. How many days are there for me? The weekend and no more. We can play at the park or the beach one or two days a week, at best. Seven days of seven, he begs me for a story."

"Why not read a story?"

"He won't accept a book. He has read them all over and over. He wants the words from me, from my dreams."

"Why not-" Emma falters.

"Emma stop." James stands and looks at her. "There are no paths left open. Every attempt has fallen short. He won't accept books, or a story from anywhere else. He wants access to my head and that's all."

"James, that's mad!"

"Really? Emma, the boy wants to open my head and play. He always has. He has already stolen every story from me, and now there are none left. My head wasn't always empty."

"That can't be correct..."

"Emma, stop. Remember all of my tales when we were at college? Remember them all?"

"They were so lovely..." Emma breathes. "Each one more lovely than the last... The last story was so long ago..."

"Seven years, next month. The day before he was born."

"No..."

"What else happened? There are no other reasons. The boy-"

"Mommy?" The boy stands at the door.

"Oh!" Emma leaps to the boy. "My dear."

James looks down, face red. He attempts to be stern, "Go to bed, son. Mommy and daddy need to be alone."

"Can't sleep," says the boy as he looks to Emma. "Scared. Need story."

Emma strokes the boy's face. "Oh honey. Mommy'll read a story. Go get one from the shelf."

"No! From daddy!"

"Daddy can't, he's too sleepy," Emma says. The boy looks at James, eyes cold and dark. Then he looks down.

"From mommy?" he asks. The boy's hand warm on Emma's cheek.

"Yes, dear, from mommy. Now go, mommy needs a moment."

The boy walks to the door and looks back, face lost to shadows. "Bye daddy."

James does not respond. The boy leaves. James barely hears Emma's tears fall to the floor. He steps close, "Emma..."

She looks to James. He does not speak for a moment. Then, he says only what he can, "He has taken all he can from me. My dreams are lost to me... At least, they are lost here."

"No." Emma stands and throws herself to James. "Please, don't leave. There has to be another way."

James steps away. "He has made me empty, a hollow shell." He walks to the door. "Be well, Emma, my love. Maybe some day we can be together once more. Maybe some day..." James swallows hard. "...won't be so hollow. Take care. The boy can be a danger." James leaves.

Emma falls to the floor and loses all control of herself. Tears stream heedlessly as she shakes and moans.

Soon, the boy blocks the glow of the doorway. "Mommy?" he asks.

Emma composes herself and looks at her son. "Oh, honey... ah... Daddy has to... erm... Daddy won't be-"

"Mommy?" the boy breaks off her ramble. "Story now?"