Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sarah Aisling Week 13: The Workshop

Picture 1

Picture 2

Sarah Aisling’s Picture Choice: Both

Title: The Workshop

Rasp . . . Rasp . . .

A thin curl of wood flutters to the workbench. Another, then another.

Whittling calms me like nothing else ever has. Steadies the hands. Quiets the voices in between. Gives me a place to pour my creativity while I wait for the next soul to speak to me.

I glance around my workshop. It’s too neat and tidy, really, but I need things this way. A place for everything and everything in its place. The small, square shack has windows overlooking the woods. The glass is divided into many panes, like the many facets of a personality—each shows a slightly different view of what makes up the whole. My supplies are neatly stored inside cabinets and drawers, and after I finish whittling, I’ll clean up the bits of offending wood marring the top of my pristine work surface.

The more I caress the wood with my knife, chipping away at the roughness until it transforms into something beautiful, the steadier my hands become. Finishing the carving of a friendly little woodchuck—incredibly life-like if I do say so myself—I swipe the filings into the garbage pail then soak a soft rag with Murphy’s Oil and swirl it over the top of my workbench until it gleams. I clean the blade of my knife and set it down in the top drawer, all the way to the right.

After washing my hands thoroughly, I move to the stainless steel table in the corner. My heart beats faster as I approach.

A soft rustle distracts me. The newspaper sitting on the counter—it has an article I must save or it wouldn’t be here at all—shifts, popping up in the center. The small gray head of Mitzy peeks out from beneath the tented periodical, her slightly crossed eyes wide with surprise. She puts her disturbed nap behind her, slinking out from beneath her paper blanket and prancing along the counter with her tail a’twitch, mewing her demand for sustenance.

“Are you hungry, Miss Mitzy? Well, let’s remedy that.” A rare smile crosses my face as I change trajectory and open her cabinet to get a can of food.

A few weeks ago, Mitzy was waiting by the door when I arrived. She sat stoically on the concrete pad outside the door with her tail swishing to and fro. When I approached, she rubbed against my legs, weaving her way in, out, and around. The moment I unlocked the door, she darted inside and has been with me ever since. I never considered getting rid of her; no living being has ever willingly shown me affection.

Once my pushy little tabby is devouring her food, I wash my hands again and return to the corner. Glossy dark hair pours over the edge of the stainless table creating an intriguing nightfall. The dips and waves beckon to my fingers, begging them to comb through the silken strands. Perfect pale skin cries out for my touch, in competition. I slide my fingers through the slick darkness and press my lips to her brow, silently apologizing because I know once her lids rise and her mouth opens and she gives me all the wrong answers . . . well, let’s just say, I’ll have to return to my quest for the perfect woman.

Her eyelids flutter. Excitement courses through my veins. Who needs drugs to get high?


Sarah Aisling hails from New Jersey and loves living by the ocean with her incredibly indulgent husband and awesomely precocious daughter. She’s currently putting the finishing touches on her upcoming novel, The Weight of Roses. When Sarah isn’t being enslaved by her characters, she can be found with her nose in a book, biking, hiking, camping, and spending time with friends and family. Twitter: @SarahAisling Facebook:



  1. Very creepy ending there, Sarah. Love the detail and the patiently ominous feeling you build throughout.

  2. Wow- completely creepy and unexpected ending there. I loved the build up and the MC's dichotomy of his kindness towards the cat & then preying on the woman on his table. Well done.

  3. I love how it takes you maybe five words to draw the reader into your world, take them for a ride, and then spin them around 180 degrees with a fantastic twist. Very nice.

    1. You always know just what to say to a girl, Jeff. *blushes*


  4. Such a great job with the two sides of this man (assuming the narrator is a man, he feels mannish) ... the one that is sweet and affectionate to his cat and the other that would torture a woman all in the pursuit of perfection.

  5. The meticulous nature of your character...puts me in a bind. I am both terrified and in admiration. It's the perfect dilemma and I love every author that does it to me. Wonderful, creepy piece.