A Search for Serenity

Another Tuesday, another five word challenge!

Today’s words are: coconut, poodle, daisy, essay and slide.


I pull my hatchback into one of the few spaces at the edge of the park. For some reason this has become my place – the place, of all places, I come to when the stresses of assignments, classes and study get too much. I can’t remember why I chose it.

Ten minutes ago, I was sitting at my desk just about pulling my hair out. I have a literature essay due tomorrow, and I am supposed to write three and a half thousand words about the gothic genre with reference to, and comparison of, Dracula and Wuthering Heights.

I live on campus, and my housemates have decided to start happy hour at eleven in the morning. Don’t ask me why, but they’re drinking a stubby every ten minutes and playing Twister. Their laughter and yelling were making me loopy – I couldn’t concentrate at all- so I came here.

I set up my laptop, and place my notes, on a picnic bench in the shade. The leaves on the branches over head rustle in the gentle breeze travelling throughout the park. Already, this is a much better writing environment.

I begin to type, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula has more literal ties to the gothic genre than Brontë‘s Wuthering Heights because …’ Why does it have more literal ties? What am I even trying to say?

I push my head into my hands and rub at my eyes. Why is this so difficult? Why can’t I focus?

All of a sudden a white poodle strides over to me, apparently intently interested in the smell of jeans.

‘Hey, there fella.’ I smile at her, ‘who do you belong to?’

After a few seconds, a red faced woman clutching a bottle of coconut water jogs over to the dog and me.

‘I’m so sorry,’ she puffs, ‘Khaleesi likes to investigate people. She’s always running off before I can put a lead on her. I’ve been chasing her around the park for the last ten minutes.’

Whilst the woman is talking, Khaleesi trots off again to roll in a patch of daisies a few metres away.

‘Khaleesi, come here!’ she calls after the dog who, sensing impending entrapment, shoots off again.

I shake my head. Obviously Khaleesi is the boss of that relationship.

Alone again, I return my focus to my essay. Gothic literature. Dracula. Wuthering Heights. Kate Bush. No, not Kate Bush. Book. Right. Okay. I crack my knuckles and type a couple of words.

A child on the nearby playground starts to cry. The wailing is one of the most grating and irritating sounds I have ever heard. The boy, who looks to be about three years old, is sitting in the woodchips at the bottom of a bright yellow slide. His mother comes racing over to investigate.

‘It’s okay!’ I hear her console the crying child, ‘Mummy’s here. It’s just a scratch. You’ll be okay. Let me kiss it better.’

The boy does not let up crying and, if anything, gets louder.

‘How about,’ the mother continues, ‘we get you a nice big chocolate ice-cream?’

That shuts the kid up. He nods his head like an aggravated bobble head doll as his mother picks him up and places him on her hip. They set off toward the kiosk on the other side of the park.

Finally surrounded by quiet, I poise my fingers over my laptop keyboard.

That’s when my phone begins to ring.

‘Hi Katy, it’s your mum. How’s uni going?’


That’s it! What story would you have come up with if you were given these five words?

See you Saturday!

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