Short Story Exercise: Gilles Is Sick

(using The Storymatic, I pulled four random cards, set the timer for ten minutes, and wrote a short story, lightly edited)

Gilles paced back and forth in his studio apartment waiting for the delivery boy from the pharmacy. He pulled his cardigan tight across his chest and heard the awful, unmistakeable sound of fabric ripping. Gilles groaned and slid his hands along the sweater. The seam in the armpit had torn open. He pulled off the sweater and threw it across the room.

No one in the shops would sell the clothing he created. The owners told him it was poorly made, poorly designed, and made from cheap fabric.

Gilles would argue, “I am a blind man! I make beautiful creations! You need only to feel them in your hands to know they are beautiful! Do not judge me with your eyes!”

And now he sits alone, sick and penniless. No one cares for him here. He has to pay people to help him, and the money is running out.

Gilles sank to the floor and hugged his knees to his chest. Rocking back and forth, tears gathered in his clouded eyes. He debated returning to France. His parents would provide for him. He could live the rest of his days in material comfort. But that would also mean he had failed to realize his dream.

The door buzzed and Gilles rushed to answer it. He opened the front door and pulled out his wallet to tip the delivery boy.

“Hello, are you Mr. LaPierre?” a female voice asked.

Gilles snapped his head up. “Who are you?”

“I’m from the pharmacy. I have your medicine.” The woman gently took Gilles’ hand and placed the paper bag in it. “My, your skin is clammy. May I?”

Gilles listened as the footsteps moved past him into his apartment. He shut the door behind her and weakly slid down to the floor. He listened as the kind woman cooked soup for him. He thanked her for helping him into bed and covering him with blankets. And when she raved about the beautifully textured dresses he had hanging around his apartment, Gilles knew that everything would be okay.storymatic-gilles-is-sick