I went to the creative writing club at ASU today. While I'm not sure if I liked it or not, we did a writing exercise: we each came up with a characteristic of a character, and had a prompt. Our prompt was to begin the story with, "The nurse left at five PM". The characteristics were:
-Has a syringe
-Long fire-red hair
-Deep brown eyes that see through lies
-Intense fear of loose change
-Car has a flat tire
-Works in a psych ward
We did not have to use all the characteristics. Here's mine.
The nurse left at five pm. She was frustrated, her fire-red hair blowing about in the wind just outside the psych ward she worked at, giving her normally-tranquil brown eyes a furious tinge. There was a patient, an orphan like her, who had lied about his meds; he had not admitted to lying, but it did not matter, she could see through nearly every lie. Being a bit odd herself gave her that talent, always dealing with the strange looks that contrasted with friendly, unassuming comments she received every time she shrank away from the tip jars filled with loose change at grocery stores and restaurants. Those people pretended to not care, pretended that she was normal, pretended that her fear of loose change was ordinary, and these lies frustrated her further just to think about. The wind whipped her hair around, a storm brewing as the astonishingly tall woman glanced back at her ward. That patient, the orphan, he hadn't taken his meds. And meds were necessary, they helped him be okay again, or at least that's what the other doctors said.
She sighed, reaching her car. It was the closest to the door and she was eager to leave, but as she glanced down she realized her tires were all flat and that frustrated her even more. The storm began to intensify, rain beginning to fall as she stamped her foot in anger.
The patient, the orphan, he hadn't taken his meds like he should have. Meds were important, or so the doctors said; she was a nurse and did as she was told: monitored the patients. A call came from the door, but she ignored it, fumbling with the coathanger in her hand, attempting to jimmy the door open as she panicked. The patient, the orphan, was dead. He hadn't taken his meds. They were supposed to help but he couldn't take them, he wouldn't take them, and that was a bad thing, that he wouldn't listen to his nurse. The calls got closer as the nurse fumbled with the car door, trying to open it yet it wouldn't. The patient disobeyed his nurse, but you need to listen to your nurse and take your meds and-- soon they were on top of her, the all-too-familiar straightjacket hugging her as she struggled. The patient hadn't taken his medicine, so she did what she had to because he didn't take them.
The "nurse" left at five pm. The nurse went back again, back to her job. Back to the psych ward.