Short Fiction: Senses

After my last writing post received a decent reception I thought I’d post another short piece today.

I looked back through some of my writing exercises from first year and came across ‘Senses’.  As the title suggests, the aim of this piece was to create a short work of fiction that makes use of all of the senses, rather than the one people mainly focus on – sight.

As a writer starting out in the practice, this was definitely an exercise that I needed to work on, because I had never really put enough effort into creating a scene that felt real in every sense.  My writing definitely placed too much emphasis on the visual factors.

I feel with this piece that I’ve posted below that maybe I tried too hard to make use of all the senses, although in saying that the exercise was intended to make the writer become more accustomed to concentrating on a wider range of sensory elements.  I do believe that the piece works as a complete story, and says a lot without any action really happening.

I suppose that’s up to you to decide if that’s true or not.


I sit turning the dial on my watch, the rough metal cold in my fingers.  If I turn the time back fifteen minutes then he won’t be late, he could still show up.  He’s never made a habit of being late before.

My watch reads eleven fifty-four.

There is a need to distract myself, focus on what’s around me to avoid the empty chair ahead.  My senses feel overwhelmed by the surroundings, smells upon sights upon sounds.  The chatter of students is almost like a hum, every word blending into one sound that seems distant.  A scream, high-pitched but devoid of terror makes itself known, cuts through the buzz the same way it does my eardrums.  A quick glance around tells me that not many paid attention to it.  Everyone continues their own conversations, lips moving without rhythm but all seeming to make the same endless noise.

A soft breeze tickles the hair on my arms.  No windows are open, not close-by anyways, but it’s a gentle relief.  It reminds me of the heat, the sweat sticking my shirt to my armpits.  I tug on the neckline and waft it several times, creating a gentle chill against my chest.  It does little to cool me down, but brings back thoughts of hot summer nights where today’s heat is no comparison.

He was with me then, those nights.  His hands were clasped around mine, the soothing stroke of his thumb soft against the back of my hand.  There was almost nothing to the touch, his fingers ghosting over my skin and filling me with a chill.  I remember feeling my eyelids slowly start to droop.

We couldn’t be close, not in that heat, but his presence brought about a warmth, one that didn’t leave beads of sweat on my forehead.  It was a warmth that still rested with me now, as my watch ticked twelve o’clock.

I take another sip of coffee, calm myself, say that this is very much unlike him.  A scolding at the back of my throat reminds me that the drink is still fresh and I can’t help but wince, the taste strong, bitter, and hanging at the back of my throat.  The flavour feels so alive, refuses to leave my tongue lest I forget the taste.  I never used to drink it so strong, but his influence changed me.

I’ve found myself saying that a lot recently.  He’s changed me, but I still don’t know if it’s for the better.

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