Tag Archives: fiction

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.

Miko’s Plan [fiction 610]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Liana had been declared a guest of the island Queen. She’d been spending her days in luxury after a harrowing ordeal at sea. But now a ship has been captured and she must pretend to celebrate with the others.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest

Shark

Miko stood in the shadows of the royal hall and watched Liana delicately nibble on fruit from a tray held by her servant girl Sura. He remembered carrying Liana when she’d fainted on the sand, months ago, after the storm, after she’d killed his men. She’d been skinny as a stick back then. Ugly as a lizard.

But look at her now. She glowed, her long black hair was silky and lustrous. Her body was as plump as a sweet summer berry. And somehow, she was with child, halfway along. The Queen had declared it was another gift from the gods, but Miko didn’t believe that. He figured Liana had become pregnant the usual way and then gotten lost at sea. Though how she’d managed to kill his men, seasoned warriors both, was a a mystery.

“You said you know that girl?” he said to the man beside him.

Terrified, his hands bound with rope, and his body bruised and bleeding, the prisoner managed a nod.

Miko pushed him forward to the center of the room. Everyone grew quiet as Miko announced, “My men captured a second ship fishing in our territory, near the southern coast. Unfortunately most died except this one. He says he recognizes Liana.”

There was a collective gasp. A low murmur began. “Silence!” shouted the Queen. “What is the meaning of this, Commander Miko? How dare you offend our honored guest, a gift from the Storm God himself?”

Miko watched Liana shrink back in fear and knew he was right about her. She wasn’t special, just an ordinary girl, though a beautiful one now. And he meant to have her. It was the least the Queen could do after Liana had killed his men.

“I am but your humble servant.” Miko bowed deeply to the Queen in the fawning manner that he knew she liked. “But this wretched prisoner insists he knows your guest. He gives me no peace. I beg your pardon to allow him to speak.”

The Queen turned her wrath on the trembling man. “Speak, fool! What do you know of our Liana? She came to us from the storm, after the murmuration and the rainbow, as was foretold. We have had great fortune since!”

Treasure

The prisoner cleared his throat. “Liana is from our sister island, dear Queen. We traded with them before the great volcano destroyed them all. She is the daughter of Benji, who was their blind oracle. Twenty-one years ago, a trading party visited and one of our daughters stayed behind for a summer to learn from him. She returned home with much knowledge and a baby.”

Miko kept his eyes on Liana as the prisoner rattled on. The others were enraptured by his story, but Miko was more interested in Liana’s reactions. Tears glistened in her eyes, but then she caught him staring at her and smiled. She whispered to her maid and they giggled. She then gazed at the fruit tray, seemingly bored with the story. As she selected a piece of mango, her gaze flicked back to his and she began to play with her shark’s tooth necklace.

“…fever. Then Liana came to live with a family on Benji’s island. She was still so small she probably never remembered her real mother.” The prisoner sagged as he finished speaking. No one offered him food or drink.

“Liana,” the Queen said. “Is there any truth to this idiot’s babbling? Have you ever met a blind oracle?”

Liana smiled. “No.”

“Kill him and then roast him,” the Queen commanded, and her warriors dragged the prisoner away as he began shrieking. “Where are my royal musicians?”

Fire

[to be continued]

~*~

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

Trust Issues [fiction 801]

[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 Dan, the brother of Lexi’s deceased husband, has discovered where Lexi lives and is raging angry about what he believes has transpired.

Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies
The Angry Brother]

Chocolate chip cookies

Lexi didn’t hear her phone buzz with Vicky’s message warning her about Dan because she was in the middle of a Very Serious Task and had her favorite Taylor Swift CD blasting.

Yep, Lexi was baking her famous peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and she wanted the first tray done and cooled by the time Kevin was due here in about an hour. She creamed the butter and sugar, smiling at the memory of how kind he’d been to her last week at the festival. She’d put the cute otter beanie baby on her dresser upstairs, right next to her jewelry box.

Maybe once they got to know each other a little better she could confide in him. Tell him about what happened in the city, Jim’s depression, their separation, his crazy anger. That horrible day. It would be nice to have a strong, comforting shoulder to lean on. But not yet. She needed more time. Attraction happened in a second, but trust had to bake. Like these delicious cookies, it couldn’t be rushed.

*

Kevin left the hotel early, deciding he needed a beach run before showering and going over to Lexi’s place. So many thoughts whirled through his head. He wanted them to settle down before he saw her again. He knew who she was now, and he understood why she hadn’t said anything.

Being a curious guy with a good memory, Kevin knew he’d seen Lexi’s face before. Spending time with her at the otter festival had made him even more certain of it. Yet, he was sure they hadn’t met before the day he’d helped her after she’d fallen off her bike. He wouldn’t have forgotten a woman as pretty as Lexi Brown. He must have seen her online. So, he did a search. It didn’t take long to find her picture, since the news orgs had uploaded so many versions of it last spring. Wow. He felt so bad for her when he read the story of her crazy ex coming into her store and threatening people. She could have been killed!

The idea of Lexi lying on the floor in a pool of blood left Kevin shaken. He pounded his way down the packed sand in hopes of dislodging the awful mental image. It didn’t happen; she was safe! Her brother-in-law had negotiated her rescue, along with her coworker, and then another cop had shot and killed her ex. Kevin wondered if Lexi blamed herself for that.

Kevin’s ex-girlfriend Emily had been tangled up in guilt over her parents’ death in a car accident she thought she caused, and it had affected their relationship to the point that Kevin had broken off their engagement. He’d felt terrible about it, but when Emily had repeatedly declared she’d never have children because something bad might happen to them, he couldn’t deal with her any longer. She’d refused to see a counselor, telling him there was nothing wrong with not wanting kids. There wasn’t. But he wanted them.

He had also escaped, like Lexi, taking this job in a remote town to avoid the censuring eyes of all their mutual friends, along with his own family. Everyone thought he’d been “mean” and should have given Emily more time. And, ironically, she was now married to someone else… and had a baby. Oh life!

Kevin kept running, then abruptly turned around. He loved how deserted this place was. The sun was setting ~ it was a perfect evening for a jog ~ and yet he was alone on this stretch of sand. He slowed to cool down. Took deep breaths of the fresh, salty air. Even though it had been a couple years since Emily, he still felt a bit raw. And Lexi was certainly still grieving. Much too soon for either of them to get involved.

But… she was so pretty. And she had such wonderful sparkling brown eyes. It was so sweet of her to invite him over for dessert tonight when he’d stopped by her gift shop yesterday. He didn’t even know why he went in there… he never went to souvenir row. But he had convinced himself he was hungry for a vegan sandwich from the place next door to her. Yeah right.

They could just be good friends though. Kindred spirits. Have smoothies together. Pick each other up when they fell off their bikes. And if they weren’t doing anything special for Thanksgiving, maybe they could spend the day together. No biggie.

Kevin showered, changed, walked over to Lexi’s place. Knocked three times.

She opened the door and the scrumptious odor of something baking wafted out. “Hi, Kevin. Come in.”

“Hey.” He immediately noticed that her eyes weren’t sparkling and her face was paler than the dusting of flour across her chin. “What’s wrong?”

[to be continued]

~*~

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

Questions from Carol Anne

Autumn leaves

My lovely friend Carol Anne has given me some questions. They’re associated with her Liebster Award. Congrats on your award, Carol Anne, and thanks for thinking of me! 💖

My 11 questions to you my nominees are:

1. Can you swim?

I know the basics, but I’m not a strong swimmer, and frankly I prefer to stay on land and gaze out at the beautiful waves.

2. Pepsi or coke?

Coke, please.

3. Snail mail or email?

Email is less wasteful.

4. Do you enjoy traveling?

No. Shocking, I realize. Everyone loves to travel, right? Well, I do enjoy experiencing new sights, attractions, nature, etc., but the expense and inconvenience make it a net negative for me. Travel is very costly unless you go by car, split the cost of gas, have people to put you up at your destination, yada. Or go camping, lol. Then there are all the migraine triggers for me that happen from noise, light, discomfort, etc. Also, there is my ongoing back/neck pain. Not to mention I don’t like leaving my kitty for more than a couple nights because I miss him too much! 🐱❤️

5. Snow or rain?

I’m from the East and honestly I miss the idea of snow but not the reality of it. Snow is beautiful and fun, if you don’t have to be anywhere and can bundle up and take a lovely walk. Rain can be romantic if you’re snuggled indoors with your sweetie, or a kitty and a good book, but again not if you have to drive in it. Since I’m in California, land of perpetual drought, I welcome any and all precipitation! Of course, we always get the “wrong” kind, in the “wrong” place, so they tell us the drought goes on…

6. What is one of your favourite quotes?

Life is short; eat dessert first. 🧁

7. Are you a glass half full or glass half empty sorta person?

Depends on the day.

8. What is your favourite flower?

Sunflower. Or tulips!🌷

9. If you could give your younger self some advice what would you say?

Go to Northwestern (in high school)! Stop dating insane men (in the 1980s). Buy tech stocks (in the 1990s)! Sell the tech stocks (before the crash). STOP DATING INSANE MEN. 🙄

10. If you had one superpower what would it be?

Repelling insane men.

11. Favourite book?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Tied for second place: Where I’m Calling From (short stories by Raymond Carver) and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (short stories by Haruki Murakami).

~*~

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

El Camino [review with spoilers]

Eating popcorn in movie seat

I was super stoked for El Camino, the Breaking Bad movie. In fact, I rewatched BB in its entirety during the last few weeks, all 62 episodes, to prepare for the movie. God, that was one fantastic show, perhaps the best series ever written.

This review contains spoilers. Get out now! 👻

I watched El Camino last night and was disappointed, maybe because of all the Twitter hype. That happens. The actors were all great, of course, nothing against them, but you know what? Breaking Bad was Walter White (Bryan Cranston), not Jesse. Now, I love Aaron Paul. He could totally star in his own show, and I would watch it, but BB was Walt’s show. Without Walt, I was like, meh, who cares?

This is a different criticism from the one I have about Better Call Saul, which is that the slick, wisecracking, one-dimensional character of Saul Goodman was perfect for BB, and reimagining him as street punk “Slippin’ Jimmy” and then as an idealistic young lawyer who gets shafted by his own brother, was just all too JTS. The Goodman character was not made for this much baggage. I don’t think I made it through S2.

But with all the crazy stuff that happened on BB, I never once went okay that’s it… the show has jumped the shark. Even with the Nazis. Nope. It was still solid. Start to finish. It left a few minor threads hanging, such as what was the deal that Gus had come out of Chile with a fake name? They mentioned that twice, but left the gun on the table.

Back to El Camino. There wasn’t much of a plot. There were some historical revisionist convos, a couple of which looked odd on screen because the actors appear their current age. Jesse is fine because he’s young anyway. Walt in the diner looked sick as he was supposed to, but I thought Jesse was talking to Mike’s ghost for a minute, lol. That was bizarre. And Todd looks older and heavier now than he did during the original filming, so when they shovel in this new scene, right after I just watched the old eps, um… Weird.

The writing was great. All the characters were in top form. Jesse natch, Badger, Skinny Pete, Jesse’s clueless parents, etc. But without Walt… I just didn’t care. I knew Jesse would end up escaping this time. You could just tell that the whole point of the movie was to give fans of Jesse a reason to cheer. Yay, he got to start a new life! He’ll meet a cute Alaskan girl in about 5 minutes after the credits roll as he does…

Anyway. This reinforces my idea not to watch either the prequel series to Game of Thrones or The Many Saints of Newark. The appeal of GOT to me hinged on the specific characters played by the specific actors and their relationships. I dgaf about Martin’s pretend world, except for the dragons. The dragons are cool. And The Sopranos was Tony Soprano. (RIP Jim G) That’s it. I’m not interested in his lookalike son playing a younger Tony. Why should I care what made Tony into Tony via not-Tony when I already had all that real Tony?

Okay, so yeah… I’m behind on all the blogadoo things. Regular prompts, picture fiction, my continuing chapters with Lexi and Liana and whoever else (are there more?)… and now a new week relentlessly begins with Laura’s music and Fandango’s flashing and omg I’ve missed like a million days of the October challenge already… AUUGGGHHHH!!!

Overwhelmed and falling

~*~

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

The Angry Brother [fiction 780]

[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. Her sister Vicky still lives back in the city. Here are the posts in order so far:

Falling
Sisterly Chat
Smoothies]

Man staring at computer screen

Dan opened his news app as he nursed his third cup of coffee. It had been another sleepless night and he couldn’t focus on work. He hadn’t been able to focus on much of anything lately since Jim had been killed six months ago by that trigger-happy cop. They should have known his brother wasn’t going to hurt anyone; he was sick, and he’d needed help. His wife had run out on him instead of trying to help, but that was women for ya. Dan shook his head and clicked from one article to the next.

He found himself scrolling in the event section. Bunch of crap. Ren faires. Concerts. Festivals up and down the coast. Dan was about to close the app when a photo caught his eye. Happy couple, heads close together, smiling… wait a damn minute!

“That’s Alexandra!”

He scanned the article, but she wasn’t named. It was about a project way up in Otter Village to benefit the animals. Whatever. He’d know his sister-in-law anywhere, even if she’d chopped off her long brunette locks and dyed them red. Those eyes! That smile! And she was with a new man already, just six months after her husband had died? Women, right.

Pacing back and forth in the office hallway, Dan cursed under his breath. He wanted justice! He wanted his brother back! It wasn’t fair! That cop who killed Jim didn’t even have charges filed against him. So what if Jim had a gun? He only fired it because he was scared. Nick had already talked him into setting the women free, and the only reason Nick got wounded was because the other cop was a hothead. Now Jim was dead, Dan had no family, and Alexandra had a new guy plus her all the love and support of her big, happy family.

Well, she might be 500 miles away in some remote village, but Vicky wasn’t…

*

Puppy in the grass

“Leave it, Ginger,” Vicky said to her puppy, who was trying to sniff something gross. It was a beautiful afternoon and Vicky was thankful for her lack of appointments so she could enjoy the cooler weather. So nice to have the park almost all to herself on a weekday. She’d make up the work later.

“Vicky,” a male voice behind her. “I need to speak to you.”

She whirled around, suddenly nervous. Oh, it was only Dan, Lexi’s brother-in-law. “Hi, Dan. How are you?”

“Not good.” He raked a hand through his hair. “Not good.”

“Sorry to hear that. It’s understandable.”

“Don’t patronize me!” he shouted. “You still have your whole family!”

Ginger woofed, but she was just a little puppy. Vicky backed up. “Okay. Right. I see you’re pretty upset. Maybe we should talk about this later. Did you follow me here?”

Dan shrugged. “I’m sure not gonna come knocking on your door when you’ve got a cop in the house.”

Vicky backed up another step. “I see. Well, maybe we can chat more tonight. I have a few errands I need to–”

Man and woman arguing outdoors

Dan shook his head and stepped in front of her. “It’s always later with you people, isn’t it? You and your sister. Always avoiding problems. Never able to deal with reality when it’s not pretty and prefect.”

“Dan, hey. I’m really sorry about Jim. But it’s not my fault. Or Lexi’s. You know she tried really hard to save that marriage, to save him. But he wouldn’t go to a doctor. He refused counseling. He–”

“Lexi!” Dan laughed. “So, that’s what she’s calling herself now? Typical. Run away and change your name. God forbid you deal with your responsibilities.”

Vicky took a deep breath. She saw that Dan was in a rage, out of control, unable to listen to reason. Just like his brother.

“I found her, you know.” Dan gave Vicky a smug smile. “Yep. Otter Village? I tracked her down, and I have a thing or two to say to her. You bet.”

“Leave her alone!” Vicky yelled, pulling her phone out of her pocket to call Nick. “Just stay away from my sister! She’s been through enough.”

“Put your phone away, you coward.” Dan stepped back. “I’m not doing anything but talking to you in a public park. I haven’t threatened anyone.”

Vicky watched him storm away, knowing this wasn’t the last she’d be hearing from him. After she picked up Ginger’s latest offering and put it in the doggy trash, she pulled out her phone again.

“Lexi, it’s Vic. Sorry to leave a bummer of a message but Dan just confronted me in the park and apparently knows where you are. Stay alert. He seems really upset.”

[to be continued]

~*~

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

PFF19: Dribbles

Time

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! These are a couple dribbles I posted on October 12, 2006 on a flash fiction site. Dribbles are 50 words; drabbles are 100. Titles don’t count.

Firewords

You brought me here so you could drop your bombs. Sparkling words fly out your mouth, twisting into hissing sentences to explode over my head. Look, you say! Look at that one! How complex, how perfect, how beautiful. Soon there’s nothing left but cold grey smoke, and I walk away.

Bouquet

She ran, laughing, plucking flowers at random until her arms overflowed. This one, she cried! And this one and this. Each time she had found the most glorious blossom ever, another flower even more vibrant beckoned. Soon, reaching for the next would mean dropping them all. I watched, and waited.

~*~

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

Smoothies [fiction 745]

[This is a multi-part story about Lexi Brown adjusting to her new life in Otter Village. Here are the chapters in order.

Falling
Sisterly Chat]

Fruit smoothies in glass jars

Lexi hadn’t realized how much work was involved in helping to organize the juice bar for her landlord at the Otter Days Festival. She’d assumed it would be a simple lemonade stand, but nope! Carolyn had decided she wanted a fancy smoothie bar with colorful fruit selections, and she’d roped the tenants into contributing time. She’d given Lexi and two others money for shopping, while a couple of the guys had been tasked to persuade a big box store to donate glassware and straws.

The week passed in a blur of work for Lexi. Between her new job at the souvenir shop and helping Carolyn, she didn’t have much time to worry about Kevin. She was bound to run into him again sooner or later in a town this small, but hopefully by then he’d have forgotten that he’d seen her picture before. Lexi’s photo had been splashed in the news six months earlier when her estranged husband, in a drug-fueled frenzy, had robbed the store Lexi had managed. He’d taken Lexi and a coworker hostage, and Nick, her brother-in-law had rescued them. But now she’d moved 500 miles north of all that…

Impulsively, Friday night after work, Lexi dashed into the salon on the way home and had her long hair cut short. She wanted more of a change, plus she hoped it would further distance her new self from her old one.

Sexy redhead

Suits you!” Carolyn said as they set up the smoothie stand at dawn Saturday morning. “Super chic and sets off your pretty eyes.”

Lexi blushed. “Thanks so much.”

She covered her eyes with large sunglasses though and stuck a baseball cap on her head, feeling more secure with an extra “disguise.” This was a big charity cause for otter rehabilitation and already people were clicking away with their phone cameras. Lexi took a few as the high school band marched past followed by creatively costumed characters. She forwarded them to Vicky and got a thumbs-up in reply.

The first customers began trickling in at 8:30 in the morning, after they finished the 5K race. After that, business stayed constant throughout the morning. They were raking in the dough and Carolyn was thrilled. “Maybe I’ll get honored at the Chamber of Commerce dinner!” she said to her helpers. “I’ve been contributing for years, but I’ve never received a plaque.”

Lexi took a break mid-afternoon to use the restroom and get a sandwich. She took the opportunity to wander around and check out the other concession stands. A man was playing a mini-basketball game trying to win an otter. Lexi removed her sunglasses and stood in the shade, watching him hand over five more bucks. She smirked as she finished her sandwich, sure the game was rigged, but then he won. As the vendor gave him the otter and he turned around, she saw it was Kevin.

Seaweed the otter beanie baby

Crap, it was too late to leave. Lexi was trapped right in his line of sight. All she could do was smile and act like it was cool. “Hey,” she said. “Congrats!”

“Lexi?” Kevin grinned. “Great to see you again! How are your injuries?”

“Oh, no biggie,” she said. “I’m fine. Thanks again for your help that day.”

Kevin handed her the otter he had won. “For you. Obviously your presence here brought me luck.”

She took the soft little toy. “Oh, a beanie baby. It’s adorable! Thank you. How much did you actually spend to win this?”

“Don’t ask.” He laughed. “I like your new haircut, by the way, but I hardly recognized you there in the shadows. Trying to stay incognito?”

“Something like that.” Lexi smiled mysteriously. “A girl can’t be too careful.”

“Well, it’s nice to see you enjoying the beautiful day anyway.” He gazed at her. “Look, if you’re running away from some trouble, or an ex, I totally understand. You don’t have to worry about me–”

“Yes, it’s a gorgeous day!” she cut him off, not wanting to get into that discussion. “I’m actually helping at a smoothie stand. Are you hungry? I should get back.”

Kevin walked with her. “Can you make me a banana split?”

“I can make you a banana smoothie with frozen yogurt and strawberries and blueberries and coconut, topped with chocolate sprinkles.”

“Close enough!”

As they chatted and smiled, a reporter for the local newspaper snapped their photo and uploaded it with a story about the Otter Village Festival.

[to be continued]

~*~

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

Chill Factor

Pale girl in creepy dark room

I’m not talking about the wind chill factor, but what gives me the creeps in books and film. Mostly, I avoid horror because I don’t find it interesting, nor do I need an extra surge of adrenaline after driving in SoCal traffic. Horror show in and of itself. 😱

But over the decades there have been some works that grabbed me. So to speak. I love Stephen King’s writing. He knows how to tell a story, create compelling characters, set the scene, and build suspense. The Shining is a perfect example. For a while, I enjoyed some of Dean Koontz’s novels too, but his writing became repetitive.

I prefer horror stories that focus on the madness of human beings, which is all too believable unfortunately, rather than layering on supernatural elements like vampires and demons. That said, I loved Frank Langella as Dracula in the 1979 film. I also adored Johnny Depp in 2012’s Dark Shadows. But those are exceptions; most vampire things are silly.

Recently, I watched a few supernatural romances on Prime (with witches) and they were terrible. I wouldn’t even classify them as romances since they didn’t have happy endings, but they were definitely in the horror genre. Campy horror. The witches were incredibly beautiful, natch, in order to seduce unsuspecting men to the Dark Side. Isn’t that always how it is? 😈

I did enjoy Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock though. That was different. But it wasn’t scary. (I’ve never disliked a movie starring Sandra Bullock.)

As a kid, the Candyman movie terrified me, maybe because I was told I was allergic to bees. I’m not even sure if that’s true. I was also told I was allergic to penicillin, and that turned out to be false. 🐝

I think a lot of what makes a movie scary is visual shock value. If there’s too much early on, it can dissipate, so it needs to be doled out carefully. Books are different, a psychological buildup that stays with the reader, in the best case. Hard to forget even after you turn the last page.

Game of Thrones could be classified in the horror genre. It had zombies, witches, and all sorts of gory, shocking deaths. I mainly thought of it as an adventure romance type of show though, since (to me) the focus was more on characters than action. I wouldn’t argue this point however, if you’d rather plunk it in the horror box.

Movies used to have more subtlety. Take Psycho, forex. Don’t you still think about the shower scene sometimes when you’re in a strange bathroom… 🔪

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Laura’s October Challenge (Day 9)

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

Halloween Costumes [flash 299]

Tin Man

The three friends scrambled over the fence and climbed through the broken window. “Score!” chortled Jeff, wiping a spiderweb off his face.

As their eyes adjusted to the dim light of the abandoned movie studio warehouse, Andy saw a shape scuttle past his foot. “Maybe we should reconsider this plan…”

“Don’t be a chicken,” Jeff said. “We’ll get primo costumes here and impress all the girls.”

“For free!” Vince added, switching on his flashlight. “C’mon, Andy. Let’s at least look around. No one will even notice these are gone.”

“Whoa, check it out. Wizard of Oz!” Jeff held up a lion head. “Perfect for you, Andy. Cowardly lion, ha ha.”

Andy walked over to the box Jeff had found. “These are awesome,” he admitted, putting on the head. “RAWR!”

Jeff pulled out a shiny suit. “Dibs on the Tin Man. Vince, help me zip this thing up.”

“Okay,” Vince said. “I’m definitely going for the Wizard, being the smart one here.”

The friends helped each other adjust their costumes and then left the warehouse for their school party. They were a big hit and received many compliments from the girls.

At the end of the night, Jeff walked home and tried to take off his costume but couldn’t find the zipper. It seemed much tighter than before, almost molded to his skin. “Mom!” he yelled. “Help!”

His mother came upstairs. “There is no zipper. How did you get into this? Where did you buy it?”

“Um… a friend gave it to me.”

She tried to cut it off and the scissors broke. Jeff ran down the street and banged on Vince’s door. Vince came out, still dressed as the Wizard.

“I can’t take the costume off!” Vince cried.

Just then Andy came galumping up the driveway and ate them.

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Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 35

Laura’s October Challenge (Day 8)

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