The Deadline

Rufus could barely keep his eyes open, but unhealthy levels of caffeine and sugar were just about preventing him from falling asleep at his desk.

He took another gulp of his coffee. It was cold. Did he have time to make another?

He looked at the screen. He felt like he had been staring at the monitor for a long time now without actually writing anything. He glanced at the clock in the bottom right hand corner.

2.32 am.

Technically he had just less than five hours until he needed to print the document. If he left then, he could make it to the office in time.

Just about.

It would be preferable, though if he could finish now. Not least because he could do with a few hours sleep.

He checked the word count. Five hundred more and he would at least be there in terms of quantity. Quality may be a luxury he couldn’t afford.

Rufus knew he could churn out five hundred words in thirty minutes. If he wasn’t so tired…

His eyes closed fully for a moment. He could feel himself drifting off.

Shaking himself, he stood up and walked towards the window. Opening it, he let in the cool night air. It helped, but he needed another coffee. He slipped out of his bedroom and tiptoed through the flat into the tiny kitchen. Not wanting to make too much noise, he opted, reluctantly, for the kettle over the coffee maker. Instant would have to do.

The kettle may have been quieter, but it was not quiet enough. He heard the sound he’d been dreading all night.

“Daddy, I can’t sleep.”

Looking down he saw his little girl, stuffed purple elephant in hand, gazing up at him.

“Go back to bed sweetheart,” he said.

“I can’t sleep, will you read me a story?”

Rufus could feel the grip of blind panic. The deadline! Everything he’d worked for!

“Not now sweetheart,” he pleaded,” “Go back to bed and Sarah will be here when you wake up to make you breakfast.”

“Please read me a story,” she asked again.

“Not now!” Rufus snapped.

She didn’t move, she just stood, looking at him, tears forming in those big brown eyes.

Eyes that were so reminiscent of her mother.

That was the moment that he knew he was going to miss his deadline.


Written in response to the Literary Lion Prompt – Eye

  25 comments for “The Deadline

  1. August 14, 2015 at 3:45 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  2. August 14, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    But he could have written 500 words and told the story in five hours. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 14, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      He may have succeeded, he may not, it’s up to the reader what happens next 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. August 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Good set up, you can see the girl standing there with her toy. And every parent has experienced that sense of surrender at one time or another. Also good narrative throughout.

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks so much 🙂


  4. August 14, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Lovely story

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks 🙂


  5. August 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Recognisable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Thanks 🙂


  6. August 15, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    This is very sweet, quite unlike your usual style, you seem to have a natural leaning towards the sarcastic (!), it reminded me of me and my Dad 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 15, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      I do have a natural leaning towards the sarcastic but occasionally I indulge my sentimental side. Glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. August 15, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    The hephalump picture is perfect for this. I see so much sadness and love in this. Man, those conflicting emotions he’s going through are a killer! 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 16, 2015 at 12:42 am

      I forgot it was called a hephalump! The little fella was staring at me while I was writing this and somehow made it into the story…


  8. August 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Awww, great story! Touching and sweet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks 🙂


  9. August 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Kids ruin everything. Jusssst kidding! Rufus clearly made the right decision. Yet another intriguing story though – I am wondering what happened to the mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I can’t clear it up, I hadn’t really thought much more than ‘she’s not around anymore’. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. August 18, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Do you have kids? Curious about your perspective. He should have made her hot chocolate and given her something to do. She’d happily keep herself busy if she could stay up- whoops, I started to finish your story. Sorry…

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 18, 2015 at 9:36 am

      It is a work of fiction so pertains to my life in no way at all, although I may have some shared experiences with the character he isn’t necessarily doing what I would do. How you interpret the story is entirely up to you. 🙂


  11. August 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    That’s a sweet story. I was waiting for your comedy to emerge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Every now and again I like to change it up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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