Tag Archives: 3TC

The Magical Garden of Immortality [fiction 587]

Beautiful garden

The diner looked like any other, and Mitch was skeptical he’d come to the right place. He opened the door a crack and peered inside, expecting to see a dimly lit room full of candles and woo, but instead the light was bright and people were drinking their coffees and eating sandwiches.

A gruff voice behind him said, “You going in, buddy, or what?”

Mitch stepped inside. A waitress told him to take any seat, so he found a small booth for two and sat facing the door. A menu stood in a silver holder with a picture of a lush fruit bowl in the South Seas on the cover, and he picked it up. There were the usual salads and burgers, shakes and pies, on offer.

“You ready?” the waitress said, appearing in front of the booth with pencil and pad.

“I, um, heard that this place was a portal,” Mitch said. “But all I see on the menu is lunch.”

She rolled her eyes. “Check the back.”

Mitch turned the menu over. On the back was a list titled “Infinity Realms.” It was a double column and his eyes began to glaze over reading through the small curly font.

“Usually people know the one they want before they get here,” the waitress said. “And they just tell me the code. We’re kinda busy today and portals close at one.”

“Okay okay.” Mitch had made his decision this morning, after months of agonizing, and he wanted it done. “I found it. The code is XB8720A75.”

“A popular one.” She smiled. “Do you want fries with that?”

“No thanks. Just coffee, black.”

She returned in a minute with his coffee. “I’ll let you know when your portal is ready. You can pay now though.”

He handed her a cashier’s check. It was all he had; that was the deal.

As he waited, he imagined his realm. It would be full of natural beauty… leafy trees, a riot of vivid blooming flowers, butterflies and birds, a sparkling waterfall, lovely warm sunshine… a meadow to lie in, woods to wander in… but also people to admire his works, unlike here. They’d read his poetry and appreciate it. Women would respect his intelligence and deep thoughts instead of brushing him off as an oddball. They’d all compete to date him, but he’d only spend his time with the nicest ones who had tender temperaments.

“Okay.” The waitress reappeared. “Go to the men’s room.”

Mitch walked to the back of the diner and opened the door to the men’s restroom.

Swirling colors

It worked!

Mitch was no longer in the diner, but in a gorgeous garden where he’d live forever and be loved and appreciated. He bent down to sniff a fat yellow rose, but was disappointed when he couldn’t pick up a scent.

“Hi honey, welcome home!”

Mitch turned to find a naked redheaded woman slinking toward him. She reminded him of his third grade teacher. “Hi,” he said, embarrassed. “Would you like to hear some of my poetry?”

She wrinkled her nose. “Poetry? Ew. I want to devour you in a wild frenzy of lust! How does that sound for your last moment of consciousness ?”

“Not great.” Mitch backed away. “I don’t want to be devoured. This is the Garden of Immortality, remember?”

“Oh honey!” She laughed. “You must have put in the wrong code. This is the Garden of Immorality, and I’m the chief cannibal. Meet my friends…”

Mitch stared in horror as hungry naked women emerged from the trees.

~*~

Written for MLM’s Magical Garden Prompt.

Written for Teresa’s Immortality Prompt.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Christmas Eve Morning [flash 278]

Santa and Christmas cookies

“Mom, Bryce and I cleaned the fireplace so Santa won’t get all dirty when he comes down the chimney tonight,” Brianna announced.

Kim nodded. “Great work. Now can you pick up your rooms so your cousins don’t have to sleep on top of books and clothes and bags of chips?”

Brianna rolled her eyes. “Fine, but they won’t care! All they do is play some dumb flower game on their phones anyway.”

“I care,” Kim said as she resumed looking through the fridge for expired food to toss in the trash before her sister arrived to judge her.

“Honey,” her husband said as he brewed up some coffee at the counter, “why are you throwing away my favorite pickles?”

“Because I don’t want to listen to Karen lecture us all on the evil effect of salt again.” Kim began going through the cabinets. “I’m dumping these cookies too.”

“Not the pecan sandies!” Tom looked aghast. “Don’t you think you should dial it down a notch? What are we having for Christmas dinner anyway?”

Kim shrugged. “Karen said she was taking care of everything so we could relax. Isn’t that nice of her?”

“Oh, my God.” Tom passed his wife a cup of coffee. “We’ll all starve to death!”

“Don’t be silly.” Kim smiled at her husband. “Our perceptive neighbors next door are keeping emergency rations warm for us. We’ll just have to find excuses to sneak away at different times. The kids are already coordinating their exits.”

“Brilliant! But let’s have these pecan sandies to fortify ourselves with.” Tom opened the bag and handed a cookie to Kim.

Bryce and Brianna entered the kitchen. “Cookies for breakfast! Yay!”

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

My Visitor [flash 300]

Bare trees in fog

The first time he visited I immediately recognized him. I was here because of him, and yet I had done him worse. The area surrounding me was vacant, so I figured he’d strayed too far on his dog walk. But the next morning he appeared again, strolling around as if this were a park instead of barren land at the end of an ancient railroad line.

When he came the third time, I knew it was not a coincidence. He walked past the leafless trees to where the crumbled stones rested.

“Hello, friend,” he said.

I of course said nothing. I waited.

His dog seemed disinclined to explore and stood by the man as he spoke again. “I’m sorry I did not come before. I wasn’t sure where you were. But I know you’re here. I can feel it. A kind of… electricity.”

He pulled a penlight from his pocket and directed it at the stones, but none had names. He switched off the light. The dog made an anxious whimper.

“It doesn’t matter. I know you’re here,” he repeated. “And I wanted to tell you, if it makes any difference now, that I forgive you. That’s my purpose in tracking you down.”

I didn’t do anything, not that there was much I could do.

He made a noise, possibly a laugh or a sob. “Anyway, I just wanted to say that, odd as it may sound with me still alive and you… well, whatever. If you need that to be free or something, you have it.”

Maybe I did need it. I felt even lighter as he walked away, the dog trotting briskly ahead. My last ties to this place felt as if they were dissolving in a pool of mist and I could float up to the stars…

~*~

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 44

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Treasure [flash 200]

Canoe into the blue

“Lou, are you sure this is the right way,” Sandy asked her husband. “The air smells weird. Didn’t the treasure map say we were supposed to pass a short fat tree with crimson flowers?”

Lou checked his compass. “I calculate that we will reach the crescent rock in fifteen minutes. Besides, that tree back there had crimson flowers.”

Sandy shook her head. “No, they were just pink.”

“Kind of a dark pink though, right?”

“Not really, Lou. Candy pink, like the sweater I wore last Valentine’s Day when we went to that steak place. We indulged in the decadent triple chocolate mousse after. Mmm…”

“What steak place? The one on Oak or the one off Westport?”

“Oh my God!” Sandy yelled. “You don’t remember where we went on Valentine’s Day?”

“Shhhh, Sandy!” Lou hissed. “Don’t give away our location. There are other treasure hunters looking for His Flagrant Mistress.”

“That’s a dumb name for a ship anyway,” Sandy said. “We’ll probably just find a giant chest full of romance novels.”

They both erupted in laughter until they shushed each other simultaneously. “Even if we don’t find treasure,” Lou said, “this sure has been a super fun day.”

“Yes, it has.”

~*~

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See 7.

Image credit to Pinterest.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

A New Life [flash 201]

When she was a child, she played in a magic garden with a sparkling unicorn and a rainbow of butterflies. One day, she jumped in a glittering aqua pool and was pulled out by rough hands. Scared, she stared into an unfamiliar face.

“Foolish girl,” the old man said. “That river is dirty. Don’t go in there again.”

“What about my white horse?” she cried.

He laughed but not unkindly and returned her to the orphanage, where they punished her for escaping again. A few years later, they sent her out to work for a wealthy family to earn her keep. She cleaned their floors and sometimes was allowed to help in the kitchen, where she might stir a pot of sauce or cut up vegetables.

One day, she was in the driveway helping the chauffeur wax the white limo when the old man appeared, the one who pulled her from the river. He didn’t seem to recognize her however.

But when he walked past he commented, “When you’re eighteen you can get your license and learn to drive my limo. Maybe a car can replace the white horse you left behind and you can create a new life for yourself.”

~*~

BrewNSpew Cafe

Image credit to lovethispic.com

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Glow [flash 341]

Golden glowing sunrise with a pink and lavender sky

“Let’s use the darker shades now to layer our sky,” Anita instructed. “We want to get a sense of the deep lavender hues of the waning night, and then we’ll put the bright light of the golden sun last.”

She stood back to admire her painting in progress–her best one yet. She was really nailing this Glow series. But then she glanced over at Michael, who seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty. Poor guy. He didn’t seem to be focused. She walked over to help him.

“Hey, honey. That’s a really good start.” Anita swirled her own brush through his pink mixture. “Let’s just brighten up your sky a bit here and here, okay?”

He was so non-responsive. But that was the trouble with guys like Michael. You gave and you gave and they didn’t care at all. They acted like you should worship them or something. The hell with that!

“Now look, sweetie. You’ve got way too much chocolate brown there for the tree. For heaven’s sake!” Anita began painting over Michael’s tree with conviction. “I’ll fix it. It’s always my job to fix things, isn’t it?”

She stepped back to view his canvas. Much better. “What do you think?” She nudged his shoulder and he toppled off the chair and onto the floor.

“Dammit!” Anita was annoyed. Now she’d have to take time away from painting to get Michael situated properly in the chair again, which wasn’t easy given how stiff he’d become already. She bent down to pull him up and noticed that he’d begun to smell.

Painting class was officially over. Anita picked up her finished canvas and her unused paints and put them in her truck. She doused the studio with gasoline and tossed a flaming rag through the window before driving away. As she headed for the freeway, she saw the glow of the burning building bathe the early morning sky.

She really didn’t cope well with rejection. Hopefully the next man wouldn’t be such a jerk.

~*~

The Daily Echo

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Who Needs Drama? [fiction 725]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Kevin and Lexi took a romantic stroll and she told him about her past, after which they shared their first kiss.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know
Moonlight]

Man in blue suit talking at meeting

Kevin had a busy morning, which was a good thing because he didn’t want to spend time thinking about Lexi. His afternoon passed similarly, in a crush of meetings and reports, since it was third quarter end, and he needed everyone in sync for a great year-end. Just because he’d downsized from Chicago to Otter Village didn’t mean he’d lost his drive to produce the bottom line results for his superiors. A hotel was a hotel after all.

But eventually he ran out of energy, even after copious amounts of coffee, and called it a day at 9pm. Now there was a difference between this sleepy town and the big city: he had pulled all nighters at quarter-end back there as general manager. Part of that could have been due to his ongoing anxiety to impress the Chairman of the Board, aka Dad, he finally admitted to himself as he headed out the door into the refreshing evening air.

“Hey, Kev.” The afternoon chef greeted him as he headed toward the beach. “Going for a run tonight?”

Kevin had changed into casual clothes a few hours ago. “Actually I’m headed home to zone out in front of the tube. I’m beat. Tomorrow?”

“Sure thing!”

Unfortunately, without work or exercise to direct his thoughts, they immediately wandered back to Lexi… and that kiss.

Kiss in the moonlight

What had happened to his plan to go a year without getting involved with anyone? It hadn’t even been four months since he’d relocated! He had thought he’d ended things sensibly and amicably with Emily, but she’d badmouthed him to family and friends, while he’d said nothing, trying to be a gentleman. They’d all relentlessly criticized him, telling him what a terrible mistake he was making. Yet, he stayed in Chicago, where he’d grown up, gone to school and college, knew everyone in the neighborhood.

But then Emily slept with his best friend, got pregnant, married him, had the baby. Kevin felt forced to attend the wedding and fake happiness, with his parents and sisters gloating “told you!” every chance they got. Spiraling into a black mood, Kevin began hitting the downtown bars every weekend and hooking up with whichever random woman caught his eye. One of the women was a employment recruiter, in Chicago for a convention, and had stuck her card in his pocket before they’d parted. Disgusted with his life, Kevin impulsively called her when he found the card. Not for a date, but to send her his resume.

She had a job for him–this one, 3,500 miles from Chicago. Perfect!

Kevin unlocked the front door of his rented condo. He liked it here. Liked his simple life consisting of work, exercise, friends, TV. Once every couple weeks, he called his mother to say hello and “liked” one of his sisters’ Facebook photos. If they texted, he’d give a short, cheery reply. No drama. That was the key.

Relationships were drama. And Lexi? Kevin laughed as he peered in the fridge. Lexi was the freaking epitome of drama. She escaped here, supposedly incognito, after being the victim of a violent crime, with her crazy husband as the perp. A cop killed her mister, and the dead dude’s brother blamed Lexi. Even though Lexi had been using a fake name (more drama), brother dearest, likely another psycho, found her, and he’d probably eventually hotfoot it up here for a dramatic showdown.

Kevin pulled out a container of leftover Chinese food and smelled it. Seemed fine. He dumped it in a bowl with the leftover rice and nuked it in the microwave. As the oven ticked away, Kevin stared out into the darkness of his patio. Just last night he had been with Lexi, in the warm kitchen of her rooming house, filled with the delicious scent of freshly baked cookies. It was nice having Lexi fluttering around him, making sure he was happy and fed. A man could get used to that. Not to mention her soft curves, fitting so well in his arms…

The microwave dinged. As Kevin ate dinner by himself, he thought maybe he could be a little bit flexible on that one year dating moratorium he’d given himself. It had been four months. What if he said six months, not a year, and took things really slowly for the next two? That could work…

Redhead with brown eyes

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Current Events

Mosaic fish

Swirling under a butter sun,
Languidly I become
One with the current,
Ever circling
This luminous pool,
Looping through my lazy reverie.
Vaguely aware I am losing
Some essential identity,
A separateness
That makes me, me;
I vow to forsake this place.
Yet the heady siren’s call
To blend into the cool blue thrall,
The glassy-eyed sameness,
Knowing a belonging
Even while longing
To stand alone and free,
Breathing, thinking, feeling…
Without worrying whom to please,
Recaptures my peace.

[Inspired by Rory’s sheeple post.]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon

Moonlight [695]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Kevin told Lexi he had discovered her true identity, and Lexi told Kevin she’d received disturbing news about Dan.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues
Something You Don’t Know]

Cookies

Lexi took a deep breath. “Dan is my brother-in-law. Technically the brother of my deceased estranged husband. Not sure there’s a term for that.”

“Not sure either,” Kevin said. “Okay. I see. I’m sorry to have brought all that up again. Has he been contacting you?”

“He contacted my sister Vicky.” Lexi stepped closer to Kevin, and he embraced her again. She liked how easily the physical affection had materialized tonight… and also she needed to speak softly. “He found me on an internet newsfeed. He knows where I am. He, um, actually saw a photo of us together at the Otter Festival and is freaking out over the idea I’m having fun so soon. It was a nice photo of us. I’ll send it to you.”

“Great, but geez, I’m sorry. Now I feel even more like a jerk for stalking you online. I know! This isn’t about me.” Kevin hugged her. “But I’m a self-centered gorilla.”

She laughed. “No, you’re not! You’re very kind. Stop fishing for compliments. Dan is scary, especially now… after we know Jim cracked up. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe Dan is about to lose touch with reality like his brother did.”

Kevin held her shoulders and gazed into her eyes. “This is a lot to deal with. Are you okay? Do you still feel comfortable here in this house? Maybe we could alert the local police–”

“Vicky’s husband Nick is a cop,” Lexi put in. “And he says Dan hasn’t done anything or made any threats. He wants to talk to me though. I have nothing to say. I already–”

One of the other tenants came into the kitchen and opened the fridge. “Help yourself to some cookies,” Lexi offered.

“Hey thanks!” After he extracted a Coke and put a dollar in the jar, he grabbed a cookie from the plate.

Lexi was about to explain to Kevin what she discussed with Dan at Jim’s funeral, but then another tenant came in and began to heat up a can of chicken noodle soup.

“Maybe we could take a little walk in the moonlight?” Kevin whispered in Lexi’s ear, and she shivered from his nearness and the romantic idea.

“I’ll get a jacket.” She dashed up to her room and back down again. Kevin waited by the front door. “Do you have your cookies?” she asked him.

“In my backpack,” he reassured her. “I’d never forget my care package.”

“Aww.” She held his hand as they stepped off the porch onto the sidewalk and then strolled down to the beach path. “I really like my landlady and all the tenants, but I avoid telling them anything too personal.”

“That’s smart,” Kevin said. “I also keep the personal discussions out of my workplace as well. In the hotel biz, it’s easy for things to get overshared, and I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable on the job.”

She nodded. “Makes sense. I haven’t really come up with a cover story other than a bad relationship I don’t want to talk about, and since I’m not great at lying, I figure it’s best just to avoid people.”

He squeezed her hand. “But eventually you have to make friends!”

“Yeah. I know.” Or more than friends. A warm glow surrounded her even though the wind off the water was chilly.

Beach at night

“What did you do about Facebook and all that stuff?” Kevin wrapped an arm around her, keeping her warmer, as they stepped onto the sand.

Lexi laughed. “Deleted all of it! And I don’t miss it either. Most of those friends are fake anyway. They don’t care about what you’re doing. I have Vicky to keep me up to date.”

“And to freak you out.” He pulled her close. “Kidding. I’m glad she warned you. I hope Dan doesn’t contact you in any way. You’ve been through enough.”

“Thank you.” The waves softly splashed against the sand as they continued their stroll. “You’re right though… I do need a friend up here. And thanks for being one.”

“Maybe we can be more… than friends,” he said. And as a billion stars glittered their approval, he kissed her in the moonlight.

Kiss under a full moon

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Something You Don’t Know [fiction 888]

[This is a multi-part story. Lexi Brown is trying to escape her past and create a new life for herself in Otter Village, 500 miles from where a traumatic event occurred 6 months ago. In our last episode, we read that Lexi and Kevin both have baggage and trust issues that will make a relationship challenging.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother
Trust Issues]

Welcome mat

Lexi felt so relieved to see Kevin at the door. She didn’t want to be alone tonight! Vicky had left several anxious voicemails, asking if Lexi had heard from Dan and to please call ASAP. They’d just gotten off the phone, and Vicky sounded totally freaked out by her encounter with Dan at the park. Nick was concerned too, jumping in at the end and warning Lexi to be extra careful, which was ominous coming from a cop.

“Hi!” Lexi greeted Kevin brightly with a quick hug. “I’m so happy to see you! Come on in. The first tray of cookies is ready!”

Kevin looked bemused. “Great, thanks. For a second there, you seemed upset.”

“Me? Ha ha. Not at all!” She motioned for him to follow her down the hall, past the great room where a couple other tenants were watching sports on TV, back to the kitchen/dining area. “Just making sure my cookies don’t get burnt. No one likes burnt cookies!”

Chocolate chip cookies

She fussed over him like a silly girl, trying to distract herself, making sure he had a plateful of perfect cookies and exactly what he wanted to drink. “Are you sure you don’t want coffee? It’s no trouble to make a pot.”

Kevin smiled. “I’m sure. This iced tea is fine, thanks. But you’re acting like you swallowed a few caffeine pills yourself. Sit down and relax!”

“I guess I am a bit wired,” she admitted, trying for some honesty. “I was talking to my sister right before you got here and we always get each other’s energy levels up.”

She noticed that Kevin’s smile faded when she mentioned Vicky, and she wondered if he could tell she wasn’t being straight. Though they hadn’t known each long, she had a sense he was trustworthy; besides that, she needed to confide in someone after Vicky had made her feel so nervous for her safety again. She didn’t know anyone else in Otter Village well enough to tell her secrets to.

“This crazy thing happened last spring,” Lexi whispered across the table. “I try not to talk about it. I came here to escape from it really. But today I found out that–”

“I can barely hear you over the fan,” Kevin said. “But… if you’re trying to tell me that you’re Alexandra Mitchell, I already know.”

Full moon in night sky

Feeling a confusing mixture of relief, anger, and fear, Lexi arose from her seat at the table and walked over to the patio doors. She stared out at the darkness, wondering if Dan was going to storm up here, as Vicky feared, and continue harassing her about how she was responsible for Jim’s death.

But how did Kevin know her real name? Stalking her on the internet probably. She felt betrayed that she wasn’t allowed to keep anything private. Couldn’t start over. Couldn’t stay anonymous. Coming up here was all for nothing. Except…

“Full moon,” Kevin remarked, coming up behind her.

Lexi shrugged.

“Look, I’m sorry I didn’t wait until you told me.” Kevin touched her shoulder. “But I was curious if my mind was playing tricks on me. I could have sworn I saw you before and–”

She held up a hand to stop him. “I get it. My face was everywhere. It was a huge story. And now Dan can’t let it go.”

“Dan?” Kevin frowned. “Who’s Dan?”

“Oh, so there’s something you don’t know,” she snapped at him.

“I guess I should go,” he said, stepping away from the patio doors. “Thank you for the cookies, Lexi. They were really delicious.”

“Stop!” she said as he reached the doorway, and he turned around abruptly. “You have to take some with you.”

“Okay,” he said and leaned against the doorframe.

“I don’t have any Tupperware,” she said as tears formed in her eyes. “These are all Carolyn’s. I should get some…” sniffle… “Tupperware. But I have some baggies and you can rinse them out and reuse them.” She wiped her eyes on a napkin. “You really should, Kevin. Else it’s so wasteful.” Her shoulders shook as she tried not to cry.

He came over and hugged her. “If it means this much to you, I promise to wash and reuse the damn baggies. I’ll take pics.”

Silhouette couple

“Thank you,” she said into his chest. He was solidly warm. “I’m sorry for snapping at you. It’s okay to know things.”

Kevin continued to hug her and stroke her hair, which felt absurdly comforting after being alone this whole month with no one to talk to except Vicky on the phone, since she’d deleted all her social media and was trying to be nobody. Also, Kevin was so cute and yummy, so there was that…

“Here’s something you don’t know,” he said, “which might make it easier to talk to me from now on, if you want to.”

She lifted her head and stared at him. “Are you a cop too? That would be convenient!”

“Sorry to disappoint you.” He laughed. “But no. I’m just totally smitten with you, is what I was going to say. But I can see how having an armed guard might be more helpful.”

She wrapped her arms around him. “I’m good with this.”

He gazed into her eyes, and just when she thought he was going to kiss her, he said, “Now, who’s Dan?”

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.