The Bottles Clanked

The writer’s group has been running for six weeks now, every week we do two prompts (but I only ever share one here). During the course of those twelve writing sessions this was the first time that everybody who was writing had the same thought. Something about the phrase, the bottles clanked, automatically made all of us think of alcohol. Although in my story (the first one shared) I deliberately stayed away from alcohol it took me some time to get into writing because I kept coming back to that thought.

Story by Genevieve

Sarah fumbled with the keys in her pocket. She struggled to keep her balance, arms laden with grocery bags, mail sandwiched between elbow and ribs. She finally managed to pull out the keys and get the door open. She hustled into the kitchen, dropping the mail along the way.

“Hi mum,” Rachel said from where she sat at the kitchen table.

Sarah looked from her daughter to the kitchen window. “Did you see me coming up the drive?”

“Mm-hmm,” Rachel replied.

“Why didn’t you help me with the door?” Sarah asked irritated as she put the bags down on the table.

Rachel shrugged and pulled a bag closer to herself. The bottles clanked together. Rachel shoved the bag away and went through another one. “Did you buy any juice?”

Sarah took a deep breath. She could feel the fight coming, it was just one of those days. Rachel probably knew it too. “Help me put this stuff away so I can get dinner started.”

Rachel huffed, “I’m busy. Where’s the juice?”

Sarah opened the fridge and started unloading a bag. “Busy doing what? You’re actually just sitting there watching the world go by. You’re not even pretending to do anything.” Sarah grabbed another bag, and put the juice into the fridge.

“I have stuff to do.” Rachel snapped.

“I can see that. Somebody’s got to get my moneys worth from the chair. I really do appreciate it.”


Story by John

We pulled off the road and parked into the overgrown driveway. We had finally found the tavern. Here in the middle of nowhere in the Irish drizzle, we had returned to her family home. It was hard to believe she had lived in this damp stone structure with her father somewhere on the second floor. A faded sign still hung over the front porch, “O’Malley’s Tavern – Finest Pub in Cavan County.”

I tried the front door. It was locked. The windows were boarded up. We walked around to the back through the tall thistles and weeds. Amelia had a faint smile as she peered through a dusty window in the back. “I wish we could get inside. Hard to believe people would drink and dance into the wee hours in here. I bet if you listened long enough, you could hear echoes. My poor Dad. We’d always know he was coming up the basement stairs carrying more than he should have. We knew when the bottles clanked… Ah well, at least he died doing what he loved. More than I can say for a lot of people.”

I looked at Amelia’s smile. I knew she was making one of her oblique remarks. I looked at my shoes now getting muddy and my dress coat, so out of place in this rural setting. It was getting late and time to be getting back to the hotel. I opened my umbrella and gently suggested we should get back inside the BMW. Suddenly she turned away and screamed…


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