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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by JerseyGirl3030 on January 6, 2010
"Another writing prompt"

The Prize in Cereal

Inside the box of stale breakfast cereal, nestled amongst the oat puffs and marshmallows, inside a plastic wrapper was a plastic treasure. It tumbled into her breakfast bowl on a rainy Tuesday morning before the sun rose. She stared at the trinket interrupting her typically bland breakfast before she plucked it from its nest of morning grains to examine the dusty packaging. She ran her thumb along edge and tried to figure out exactly what the prize in her hand was. Her daughter had begged her for the cereal because it advertised a prize on the front of the box. It seemed anticlimactic now that the prize had arrived in her breakfast. Her daughter had asked several mornings to dig through the cereal to get the prize or to pour a large bowl until the prize fell out. She had always denied her, saying that when the time was right, when she least expected it; the prize would find itself in her bowl.

A tear slid down her cheek as her hand fell flat on the table clutching the plastic toy. Her free arm pushed the cereal in the bowl aside then folded in front of her as her head fell onto it. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she sobbed into the table. Her chest heaved as she released the toy to clench her fist then slammed it down on the table. She raised her head, sniffled, and brought her hands to her face to wipe her tears away. She looked to the clock on her microwave to discover that she had five minutes before she had to leave to make it on time. She placed her palms flat on the table and pushed herself up from the chair. She tossed the trinket back into the box of cereal and covered it with the cereal she had poured into her bowl. She rolled the bag inside the box down then folded the flaps of the box top over to close the box. She tucked the box away in the cabinet for her daughter to find on a later date. She ran a boney hand through her hair to tousle it. She stopped at the mirror on her way out the door to ensure her makeup had not been ruined by her tears. She flashed the mirror a quick smile before passing it on her way out the door.

She walked down the fluorescent hallway hearing the clacking sound of her own heels. She wondered if it was as loud to everyone else as it was in her head. She stopped at the doorway closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She reached out to the silver handle with the intention of opening the door when Jack came up behind her, “They took her down for tests.” She nodded in response. She pulled her hand back and wrapped her arms around her mid section. He held out a Styrofoam cup with steam coming from it. Without making eye contact she took the cup from him and thanked him. He reached in front of her and opened the door for her. She entered the room with the open space where her bed had been the day before. She sat in a chair that appeared to be a comfortable recliner, but was in reality the most uncomfortable chair she had ever sat in. It was near the window and faced the empty area intended for the bed. Jack sat across from her in an equally uncomfortable chair. The two sipped their coffee in silence waiting for their daughter to return.

Chelsea’s bed rolled in being pushed by a male patient technician. Chelsea’s frail body was covered with several blankets. A white tube up her nose connected to a half filled white bag. A clear plastic bag dripped liquid into her hand. Chelsea’s face was sunken in and her eyes appeared to be bulging beneath their lids. Chelsea had been refusing to eat which forced the doctors to insert a feeding tube. The blanket slid slightly down while the transporter locked the bed so that it wouldn’t roll after it was in place between the two people sitting in the chairs, revealing the tan restraints holding Chelsea in the bed and preventing her from removing her feeding tube. She reached over to pull the blanket over the restraint which caused her daughter’s eyes to flutter and open slightly. Chelsea squinted her disdain filled eyes and she quickly turned her head toward Jack.

It was then that she wished that she had allowed Chelsea to fill her bowl with cereal for the plastic trinket. Perhaps if she had done that Chelsea would have eaten the cereal three years ago and not wound up in the hospital bed being fed by a tube.

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