September’s Writing Challenge

I’ve decided to try to post a little story between 100-500 words every weekday for the month of September.  Because I have little kids, I won’t really be able to do this during the weekends, but during the week, I will do this.

I will randomly choose a picture or a word and write whatever that prompt inspires me to write.

I hope you’ll stick with me for this little self-imposed exercise.  Of course constructive criticism is always welcome – and heck, if you feel like writing your own story based on the prompt, add it to the comment section of that story & I’ll post my favorites at the end of the day.

My first four prompts:

Tuesday, September 4 

Wednesday, September 5

Thursday, September 6

Friday, September 7

In honor of being a part of Sydney Logan’s blog stop for the launch of her book, Lessons Learned on this day, I’ve decided to use her book title as inspiration for the prompt.

Word prompt: Life Lesson

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Flash Fiction – Weekly Roundup

Here are my flash fiction stories of the week.  I wish I had more time to participate regularly, but this will have to do for now.

This week I participated in: #TuesdayTales, #55WordChallenge and #FridayPictureShow

Tuesday Tales

Prompt: Confluence

“Did you know that Pittsburg is one of the few cities in the world that are tri-fluvial?”

Turning, I looked at my date quizzically. I had no clue what he was talking about.

“You know… the confluence of rivers? Technically I guess since the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers form the Ohio, perhaps it’s only bi-fluvial?” he pondered.

I stared blankly at the extremely handsome man across from me, baffled as to why he thought I might need this bit of trivia. Discouraged, I turned my focus back towards the sunset, trying to hide my disappointment in tonight’s choice of hook-ups.

 

55 Word Challenge

Prompt:

He’d been guarding the entrance to the crypt for nearly a thousand years. Those who didn’t heed his warning perished an unfathomable death filled with pain and emotional anguish. The curse outside was written in the blood of the chosen one, the person who was destined to return this year.

And he was waiting.

Friday Picture Show

Prompt:

He waited, watching as she picked only the ripest of blueberries to take home.

Her meticulous inspection of every berry was almost comical had he only been a casual observer. Something he wouldn’t classify himself as. After following her for a week, he’d been trying to get close enough to strike, yet she was hardly ever alone. Her mother would hover only a few yards away, ears constantly perked in case trouble arose.

Today he’d found his chance, when her mother had walked away.

Stalking forward, he tapped her shoulder.

She spun, eyes wide before letting out a blood-curdling scream.

#DailyPicsperation – RUN!

Here is my story for this week’s Daily Picsperation. 

You should really check out the site.  There are some AMAZING authors who write some fantastic stories on this blog. I urge you to follow along with us.

The picture below is the prompt I used.

RUN

Chaos. 

The streets were filled with the acrid smell of tear gas and the sound of screams from the protesters I was here to support. Police had descended upon our group like a swarm of killer bees, looking menacing in riot gear and armed with shields and nightsticks. It was supposed to be a peaceful rally. We only wanted the world to hear our side of the story. Unfortunately, one trigger-happy cop forcefully nudged an easily riled-up protester, which led to our streets now being overrun with terror.

I could hear my heart thumping wildly in my ears as I darted down alleys, trying to avoid the masses and the police, and doing my best to not get trampled in the process. When my legs could run no more, I rested wearily against the wall of an old warehouse on the outskirts of town. I had no idea where I was standing, but needing to get my bearings came a distant second to catching my breath.

Leaning over, I let my hands rest on my knees, sucking in ragged gasps of air while keeping my ears trained on the street I’d come from–hoping I’d found some solace, even if it was only momentary. From my hidden position, I could hear the whimpers and cries for help from my friends and fellow supporters. How would I be able to look at myself in the mirror if I stayed cowered here in the shelter of this dingy alley? My mind was conflicted, though: going out there was to sign my own arrest warrant, but staying here felt like a cowardly act of self-preservation.

Deciding it was better to keep myself safe, I pushed off the wall, intending on going home to call the police station to see if I could bail out as many friends as possible. I had only taken two steps toward the mouth of the alleyway when I heard a deafening war cry.

“Thought you’d come steal my spot, did ya?” sneered a homeless man charging at me.

I had no time to react before the man’s dull knife pierced my chest. He gazed vacantly down at me through his piercing blue eyes, only made more striking by his grimy appearance. He scowled, yanking the silver object out before turning back to his shopping cart of belongings, leaving me to bleed out on the street where I thought I’d be safe.

As my eyes drifted shut for what would be the last time in my life, I heard the man rolling his cart away, softly singing, “I did a bad, bad thing…”

Thanks to Marly580 for betaing this for me.  Much appreciated!!

#TuesdayTales – The Dare

It was a spooky prompt this week from @theglitterlady Tuesday Tales flash fiction.

Here’s my 297 word story to go along with the prompt: Crypt

The Dare

“I triple dog dare you,” sneered Brad, the resident bully on my street.

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the lumbering boy’s lame coercion attempt.

“Fine, I’ll go in and prove to you all that there isn’t anything to be scared of. The Flannigan curse is nothing more than an old wives tale,” I replied as assuredly as I could. In reality, I was terrified, but when you were the only girl to hang out with six guys, if you wanted to fit in, fear and tears were things you never showed.

Steeling my shoulders back, I confidently made my way down the steps to the old crypt we’d already picked the lock on. Since I drew the short stick, I was the one who now had to go sit on old man Flannigan’s casket for five minutes. This normally wouldn’t have frightened me, but there’d been stories going around my whole life about his ghost guarding the tomb. It was said that if you dared to enter, you never returned.

Pulling the heavy door open, I stepped inside. Breathing deeply, I tried to calm the quaking of my knees as I took two steps into the cold, dark space. Clicking on my flashlight, I surveyed the room. Among the carved crosses and ornamental religious renderings was a solitary stone coffin set beneath a domed roof. My fear diminished quickly as I ran my hand across the cool, smooth lid, not sensing any paranormal activity.

Hearing the squeak of the door, I spun around and was met by a menacing, translucent face.

I tried to scream, but couldn’t get any air into my lungs.

“I’ve been waiting too long for another curious explorer. Welcome to forever,” the ghost screeched just as my world went dark.

Hidden Amongst the Ruins – #Dailypicsperation

Here is my bittersweet tale from this Thursday’s Daily Picsperation.  You should follow the blog, it has some amazing short stories by some really fantastic authors.

 My inspiration for this week:

Hidden Amongst the Ruins

Wiping an errant tear away, Jill turned to her oldest friend and asked Peter if he wanted to take a walk. She needed to get away from all the grief and condolences that should have made her feel comforted in the wake of her mother’s death. Instead she felt stifled, choked with the painful memories of childhood. Stepping out into the cool spring evening, she took a much needed breath of crisp air.

Sliding a comforting arm around her, Peter walked beside her in silence. He always knew when Jill needed reassurance and when she just needed a shoulder to lean on. Today, she’d been swarmed with people from her past, all wanting to get a glimpse of the woman she’d become. None of them really knew her or her family, at least not who they really were behind closed doors. They’d only seen the picture perfect facade her mother had carefully constructed, not the cutting words and harsh punishments. After her father had died, her mother had become a brutal tyrant in the house while appearing to be the doting mother to everyone on the outside.

No, no one really understood Jill’s rush to leave Chippewa Falls. The quiet village was filled with generations of people, who once they came, never left. High school sweethearts got married and had babies, who then got married and had their own children.

But not Jill. Once high school was finished, she left the small town behind and never looked back. Which included leaving behind her best friend. She hadn’t seen him in almost ten years, but their reunion yesterday at the airport made it clear that no time had passed on their friendship. Peter was essentially the same person he was all those years ago. The one that could get her to not take herself so seriously and the same one who dared her to push herself further than she would have ever imagined.

He was the one to encourage her to attend Yale’s school of drama when people in town thought her desire to create beautiful costumes was a silly hobby and not something she’d ever be able to make money from. He was the one who called her up out of the blue the day she received her Tony nomination to congratulate her. Not her mother, but her best friend. A friend she sometimes longed for in the dark of night, lonely and wishing for a love that could never be.

She missed his friendship more than anything in the world, but he had been taking care of his dad’s hardware store since he got out of college and couldn’t get away to visit. She on the other hand had vowed to never return. Of course her mother would have a say in that too, dying unexpectedly of a heart attack. Being the only child, Jill needed to make the necessary arrangements for a woman she hadn’t even spoken to since her college graduation. Jill had moved to New York the very next day, never telling her mother where she’d moved to. The only reason she was here now was because Peter had begged her to return, if for nothing else than to spend a few days with him, and to give the town the burial it was expecting.

Wandering down the sidewalk Jill blurted, “Do you remember our secret hideout?” Suddenly longing to visit the place where they would go to escape her mother’s violent episodes.

Turning to face her, Peter nodded his head, astonished that she even recalled the place. “I do, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find it.” They hadn’t been there since they’d gotten caught by his dad who’d told them they’d both get the switch if they returned to the crumbling site. Of course his father was more concerned for their safety than the fact that his thirteen year old son was sneaking off into the woods with a girl.

Peter grabbed her hand and tugged her in the opposite direction they’d been going in, his mind reaching into its depths to recall how to get there. They walked together, each lost in their own thoughts about the place that brought them so much comfort in their youth when Jill stopped abruptly.

“There.” She pointed towards the old Gas and Go sign that swung on the rusted post. “Remember, we had to walk through the field in the back.” She was rushing now, towing Peter behind her while reciting the directions she used when she was young. “We need to take a right at the willow tree that was split by lightning.” Turning to face Peter, she breathlessly added, “Remember? It used to scare the crap out of me. It always reminded me of some demon crawling out of the ground.” Jill laughed, feeling alive and revitalized for the first time since returning to the tiny hamlet.

Peter kept up easily with Jill’s hurried steps, his memory returning more and more the closer they got to the old rundown church. Of course he remembered that old willow tree. She would cling to his chest in fear, making him carry her past it until it was out of sight. The thought of her doing that now, caused his pulse to quicken, and his mind to go to a decidedly more adult place.

Strolling along beside her now, his mind stilled, quietly wondering why he’d never tried to kiss her. She was the person who he called when he needed advice, who he turned to when he felt lost and alone, yet all this time, he’d never wanted to kiss her like he did right now.

After the short walk, they both stood in awe of the magnificent structure that lay before them.

“How did I not realize how beautiful this was?” she asked, letting go of Peter’s hand, leaving him feeling empty in its absence. Jill lazily dragged her fingertips over the crumbling stone, walking along the perimeter, admiring the flowers that pushed themselves through the tiniest of cracks and crevices. Amazed at their perseverance in finding what little sunlight radiated down through the ruins.

Peter hung back, watching her as she moved gracefully around the fallen rocks, entering the hallowed site. She’d grown into such a remarkable woman, he felt the urge to tell her, fearing she may never come back again.

Coming up behind her, Peter wrapped his arms protectively around the girl who’d always owned him. “This place isn’t nearly as beautiful as the woman you’ve become,” he whispered, nuzzling her neck affectionately – a move she was comfortable with. They were always touching and hugging when they were in high school, driving the people they were dating insane, never understanding their tight platonic bond. “I’m so proud of you,” he continued, and allowed his lips to press a gentle kiss into the side of her cheek, wishing she’d turn around and see him for the man that he’d grown into. As much as he valued their longstanding friendship, he felt the urge to swing her around and kiss the ever-living crap out of her, consequences be damned.

“Have you ever wondered why we never dated?” Peter asked instead of following through with his body’s desire.

Turning around in his arms, she ran her fingertips across his cheek, cupping it gently into her palm. “You’re so much better than a date. You’re the only person I’ve loved my entire life. Why would I mess that up now? After all this time?” Jill’s voice sounded wistful, but it was like a sucker punch into Peter’s gut. He smiled sadly down at his best friend, realizing that they would never be more, and he would have to push aside this new found attraction to her.

“You’re right. We are better than that,” he replied, knowing he was lying through his teeth, but had lost all courage to tell her so.

Standing side by side they stayed inside their old hideout until the sun began to set, both lost in thought over a love that would never be. Neither knowing the other would move heaven and earth to be with them. A love unrequited would continue to be so.

A Wish for Help – #55WordChallenge #FlashFiction

Here is my entry for this past Wednesday’s 55 word challenge.

It won an honorable mention.

A wish, she thought. Just what I need.

Seeing the plump fuzz on top of the lone dandelion in her yard, she plucked it from the ground.

Closing her eyes like she did when she was young, she asked for help.

Before all the seeds could fly away, he yanked her back towards the house.