So, I have been using prompts quite a bit to give me a push for those days when I fall short of imagination. Today’s prompt is published by Writer’s Write and tells me to write the first page of a novel that’ll include the below 5 words/phrases

1. Tornado         
2. Autumn Shades           
3. ‘You look beautiful’         
4. Berlin       
5. Butter Biscuits

So, here’s my attempt.

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Her body ached from the fall, her knees bloody and burning all over. Bits and pieces of the butter biscuits she had been munching on, stuck to the insides of her palms. All around her, car alarms blared at varied frequencies, distant sirens of fire trucks adding to the cacophony. She pressed her palms to her ears to block out the noise but it had little effect. Gradually she became cognizant of other sounds adding to the din; people coughing, babies wailing, twigs crackling as they caught fire. The air felt thick with smoke and for a minute, she did not realize that she had been coughing hard as well, trying to suck in oxygen. Blinking hard, brushing away involuntary tears, she attempted to get to her feet.

Familiar buildings were now crumbling edifices, everyday travelers now wounded people. A town ravaged by the sheer force of nature. The autumn shades around her had turned a dirty shade of brown, covered in a kind of dusty veneer, a consistent symmetric hue all the way to the end of the street, as far as her eyes could see – rich greens replaced by the colour of the earth. The tornado had ripped her city apart and she knew it was not done yet. Not even close. The damage was just the beginning.

This was not the Berlin she had called home all these years, the one she had sought solace in when she had needed, no not needed – beseeched anonymity. Her mind raced back to the day she had set foot on its land, disembarking from the Eurostar in the darkness, lights from warm yellow street lamps conjuring up magical shadows. Soft music had wafted up to her, homeless musicians playing along the station for a few dollars. It was romantic in the true sense of the word. She had let out her breath in a slow exhale, finally allowing herself to feel the heady rush of freedom. And then, much to the amusement of a cloaked, briefcase-carrying, handsome yet tired traveler who passed her by, she had remarked to no one in particular, a rush of words that could not be stopped.

You look beautiful’.

And the charming city had smiled right back at her, welcoming her into its loving arms.