“Today’s prompt is to write a story about a construction worker who makes a discovery of a lifetime at a construction site. You set the scene, decide the discovery, and figure out how it will impact his/her life.”
Keep the story between 500-1000 words.
Kelly was on site for several weeks. The backhoes were in constant motion. The sounds of rebar being placed, the streaming sound of concrete pouring. The shouts of the foremen and their crews.
Protestors blocked the entrance. Protesting disturbing a historical sight. Protesting the impact on wildlife. Protesting the building of yet another casino. Protesting the “ungreeness” of the site. Police were called. Crowds dispersed. A constant go-round.
A 24/7 site, Kelly did the night shift. She preferred working at night. Usually less hectic and more likely to have an eclectic mix of workers. Women were now a part of the construction landscape. But not necessarily welcomed by all.
Taking a break while the crew prepared another area, Kelly stretched her legs by walking to the darkest corner of the “Pit”. Away from the glare of halogen lights, she could catch a sliver of the night skyscape.
A falling star burnt bright before going below the pit’s horizon. “Star light. Star bright. Wish I may, wish I might. Can I have my wish tonight?” Her great-aunt, Josephina, taught her the star rhyme. Kelly still repeated it when a shooting star blazed. The things wished for had changed. Childish wishes for special dolls and storybooks became teenage wishes involving boys and not failing calculus became adult wishes for a lover and a house. Most were never granted.
Heading back to tonight’s site, a flash of something caught her eye. Mostly buried in the peeled off dirt. She scraped around it. A slightly dented box buried upside down. It was the mechanism that waved at her. Lifting the lid, she heard it play something in jerky speed. “The works must be clogged with dirt. I’ll clean it up when off shift.” She set in on the floor of the cab, and fired up her backhoe again.
Shift over, she put the music box in the passenger seat as she drove home. She always enjoyed the reds and golds of dawn spreading across the horizon. She hummed a tune. The music box hummed back. She sang. The music box mimicked her. She climbed the back servants stairs up to her tiny apartment underneath the eaves of an ancient house. She placed the box carefully on the table, gathered up some tools and soft clothes, and began to clean maybe hundreds of years worth of mud and dirt from the works.
She tended to talk to inanimate objects and wildlife. She had a dialogue with the box, explaining what she was doing at each stage of the cleaning. The box was ticklish, shaking as if laughing hysterically and purred as she polished the gold hinges. “There,” she said. She put the box on top of a low bookshelf just inside the door.
The music box had magical properties. She (as Kelly had dubbed her) knew what music to play depending on Kelly’s mood. How a music box from a couple of centuries ago knew the Indigo Girls or Bob Dylan was a question Kelly often asked herself. The box just knew. Kelly, as she was living alone – no pets allowed – found herself addressing the music box (now named Emily) as she would a friend or a cat. The box, as it had with her hum and sing, mimicked Kelly’s words. “Hello” “Hello” “Having a Windmill pear cider.” “Having a Windmill pear cider.” Kelly wasn’t particularly surprised when after a tiring, hassled shift, she opened the door and Emily chimed out “Hello, Kelly. How was your night?” Then played the Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine.”
Kelly no longer works in construction. Instead, every night she does volunteer work: at a women’s shelter; an all-night soup kitchen; a haven for runaway teens; and whoever needed someone willing to take the night shift. You see, besides playing music and talking, the music box also plopped out gold coins when she was happy, which was most time. Kelly often thought of finding the box buried in the excavated hole. Her wish on the star that night, recalling her childhood dreams, was for something magical to happen to her. It certainly did.