Tag Archives: fiction

Shelter [flash 202]

“As you can see, there are many wonderful upgraded features in this gorgeous home!” Grace smiled and swept her arm through the air like the TV models she remembered watching on game shows.

She slowly pirouetted and walked toward the doorway of the smaller adjoining room. “And the owners painted the study a vibrant yellow to complement the lovely morning light. It’s the perfect place to have your coffee and read the newspaper.”

Grace’s voice ricocheted around the unfurnished area. There hadn’t been time to fix everything up properly. “But that’s not a problem,” she said to her clients. “We can easily imagine how fabulous this place will look with your own special touches!”

Her clients didn’t respond. In fact, one toppled off the chair. “Drat,” Grace said, and rearranged the dolls to her liking.

“Good morning, Grace,” her father said, tapping at her door. “Are you playing real estate agent again?”

“Yes, just like when Mommy took me with her.” Grace went silent and rearranged the dolls again.

Her father waited quietly.

“Are we leaving the bomb shelter today, Daddy?” Grace checked her calendar. “It’s been two years, ten months, and eighteen days.”

“Not today, honey.” He turned away. “Maybe tomorrow.”

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Checkmate [flash 745]

Michael North exited his Bentley as the valet held the door. “Careful with my sleigh,” he told the elf. “It’s brand new.”

Chuckling at his own wit, Michael strode across the parking area and adjusted his crown. He was pleased to see the BMWs and Mercedes in attendance. His “sleigh” would be in good company tonight.

“Hey, your highness!”

Michael turned to see his lawyer dressed like a vampire. “Great costume, Tom!”

“Thanks and backatcha. This fireman here is my tax accountant and golf buddy, Jerry.”

Michael shook hands with Jerry, and the three men ambled down the spookily decorated path, ready for Halloween.

“Mike, congrats on your spectacular success,” Jerry said. “My kids loved your movie. We saw it twice, in fact.”

“See it again!” Michael laughed and swept his purple cape up the marble steps toward the double doors.

“Welcome to Jack’s Haunted House!” chimed two scantily clad “kittens” as the men entered the foyer. “I’m Ashley and this is Olivia. We hope you have a shockingly good time tonight!”

“Meow!” Olivia purred. “Let us know if you need anything.”

Michael ogled both kittens for a few seconds, but now that he’d come up in the world, he wouldn’t bother with them. Far more interesting women would be here tonight, and they would be better suited for him. He smiled as he glanced around the opulent house–nice, but he’d buy a fancier one soon. It was good to be the king!

“Isn’t this fabulous?” Jerry said. “Let’s get a drink!”

Ashley escorted them to the bar where they met up with their host and accepted glasses of champagne.

“To our star writer!” toasted Jack, the host and director of Michael’s hit movie.

“Any new million dollar screenplays in the works?” Tom asked Michael. “Pitch ’em here. We’re all friends!”

He shrugged. “I’m kicking around a few ideas. Waiting for the muse to kiss me again. Can’t rush these things, ya know.”

“Well, The Dragon Princess was incredible,” Jerry said. “Sales are still phenomenal overseas too. Just do a sequel. People love sequels!”

“Fantastic idea.” Michael nodded.

Jack rolled his eyes. “Like he hasn’t already thought of that. Right?”

“Of course!” Michael grinned. “Excuse me a mo.”

He gazed at himself in the bathroom mirror, fixing the golden collar of his robe and making sure his hair was just so. To his left, the frosted shower door slid open.

Out stepped the angel of death.

“Haha,” Michael said. “Jack sure spared no expense for this party.”

“I’m not here for the party,” came a vaguely familiar female voice behind the garish makeup. “I’m here for you, Michael.”

She walked slowly toward him. “Remember me? Heather Sand? We lived together for three years and you stole my screenplay, The Dragon Princess. Then you dumped me after you sold it. Now you have a mega hit and I have nothing. Oh wait. That’s not true. I have this.” She reached into her costume and pulled out a knife.

Michael began to sweat. “Um… Heather? This all a huge misunderstanding. I lost your number. Can you believe it? I wanted to share my success with you, honey.”

The angel laughed. But not a happy laugh. No, Michael was sure it was a mean and mocking laugh. He babbled on. “Look, they want a sequel and you should write it. We could make tens of millions. I mean, you could! It would be all yours!”

As the angel came closer, Michael ran out of words. But he never really had that many since he was never a real writer, only a rotten, lying, cheating thief. But it was too late now to apologize as the knife plunged into his throat.

Ashley and Olivia scampered down the hall toward the bathroom. “So annoyed that this tail keeps coming loose,” Ashley said. “How much longer do we have to stay at this ridiculous party anyway?”

“Only two hours till midnight,” Olivia said. “And a grand each! That’ll sure help us out for the rest of the semester.”

Ashley opened the door. “I can’t wait until we have our degrees and don’t have to do these stupid… oh, gosh. Sorry! The door was unlocked.”

“Great addition to your costume, Mr. North!” Olivia said. “It looks so realistic.”

The kittens glanced at each other. “Maybe he needs help up,” Ashley whispered. “He is a bit tubby.”

They bent down next to the fallen king. “Is he breathing?” Olivia asked.

Then they screamed.

~*~

Thirty in One

I found this at Sparks and I’m a fan of getting things over with, not dragging them out for 30 days. I’m too lazy for that. So brace yourselves for an onslaught of grats, 30 to be exact, right here, right meow 🐱.

I’m grateful for…

Cinnamon and running water;

Turquoise blue and peanut butter;

The sound of silence and

The majestic ocean; memories of

My children 💕 playing at the beach.

Welcome to Temptation by Jen Crusie

Encouraged my own narrative voice;

A shout out to the OC Animal Shelter,

Where I found my sweet kitty cat boy.

I love the taste of pumpkin spice,

Especially on Halloween night; 🎃

The texture of towels warm from the dryer.

I’m grateful I can read and write;

My cat is always a welcome sight!

My migraines are less annoying in fall;

I’m glad I’m in between short and tall

And that I know not to vote for monsters.

Love Starry Night ✨ and the touch

Of my kitty’s soft nose or paw;

I’m grateful for my daughters every day;

And for the best song ever:

Hotel Californ-i-a. 🎶

I like the story of the blue wave 🌊

And the tradition of anger motivating votes 🙄;

I’m grateful for the challenge of trying to not go stark screaming bonkers every second;

THIS FUCKING WEEK ARE YOU MAD??? I mean um… peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. Really yummy.

Most thankful for writing to express myself, otherwise I would be in a straitjacket.

Drugs. I mean, Rx meds of course. In the immortal words of Matt Damon: WHAT?

Today my daughter’s dog stuck her face through her toy donut 🍩 and it was really cute.

I’m grateful for my friend Jenny who is taking excellent care of my kitty while I’m gone. ❤️

Well, I would be thankful for my small skill at turning this boring thing into a semi-cute pome, but I got all into the weeds there when I was reminded about GRRRR again, and now everything is fucked. But I’m just leaving it now and not deleting it because we are doing Messy Blogs… yes, it’s a thing. And I’m here for it.

Messy Bloggers Unite! Who can make us a cool graphic? Someone plz get on that. TIA!

Storylines

I’m not a fan of the comeback, the do-over, the replay, the second chance. It’s a stale plot device for the same old romance. If it was fate, why didn’t it work the first time? If he’s so great, why’d he leave, or why did she? People don’t change: remember this. A kiss is just a kiss.

When I read a replay romance storyline on the jacket, the book goes back on the shelf. Exes are forced to work together to save the world. Or to solve a kidnapping. Yawn. No other agent will do, gotta be double-oh-you. Or a supermodel returns to her small town to care for her dying grandma, and look who’s now Sheriff… it’s the prom date she ditched, Brick McHardwick.

No thanks. I want someone new for our heroine, not a grimy old dude from the recycling bin.😝

Two for Tuesday: Book Reviews

1. The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan. This is a classic romance novel, so we know how it ends; the fun is (supposed to be) in getting there. The novel begins well enough with Marcus (the Duke) awakening in a horse stall with only a vague memory of what happened the night before. I thought maybe some sort of mistaken identity puzzle or murder mystery would need to be untangled along the way to the happily ever after. No.

Marcus finds Alyse being “auctioned” in the town square by a husband who no longer wants her, and in an impulsive act, Marcus “buys” her. Even though the Duke is an educated gentleman who knows you can’t buy a person (well, there in England anyway), he feels responsible for Alyse now because she has nothing and nowhere to go. Of course, being a Duke, he acts like a jerk about it. Alyse knows he’s a jerk, but she has no choice at the moment except to accept his help.

That’s it. That’s the plot. Alyse and Marcus travel north to his estate in Scotland, and they fall in love, despite Marcus being a jerk and Alyse being a commoner he can’t possibly marry, ha ha ha.

I gave it two stars, which was generous.

2. Strangers on a Bridge by Louise Mangos. Now this first-person suspense novel has a unique twist: what if you save someone from suicide and then wish you hadn’t? The concept grabbed me, which is why I chose this book from my October Kindle first pile. And it is a good hook. The problem is that Alice (you remember Alice) is so annoying. She does the dumbest things one after another. I don’t like her husband either, and they have a terrible marriage ~ hard to believe it was good before she saved Manfred, with the crappy way they communicate, or don’t rather. Yet, I had to keep reading to see what happened, so there’s that.

And it’s fun to see how frustrated she gets with the Swiss police, so ploddingly slow and skeptical with her stalking complaints, until of course they suspect her of something, and then suddenly they’re super competent and on the ball.

As stupid as Alice is, the stuff she does near the end is unfathomably bizarre, so I have to conclude she is just a nutcase all along.

Three stars.

Halloween Party [flash 285]

The ship skimmed the treetops and spun into the glade, landing silently on a bed of grass. The captain exited first, sniffing the cool October air like a hunter sensing prey nearby.

“What are we looking for, Captain?” The science officer joined her superior on the steps.

They were both dressed in the spartan one-piece grey uniform befitting their mission, but neither Captain nor officer shivered in the waning daylight. The material would keep them warm or cool, as circumstances required.

“We’re to collect the last specimen and bring it to base,” Captain said. “Then we’ll be at the limit for this expedition.”

The officer frowned. “We harvested all the items on the list this morning. Nothing is missing.”

“Supreme Commander added one more item an hour ago.” Captain clicked his viewer and showed the officer a live image one quarter mile away. “He wants one of these.”

The officer peered at a yard full of creatures. Some wore bright clothing and had odd-colored puffy hair. Others seemed to be trying to look like skeletons or lions. “What are they? Do they exemplify their species?”

“Not one of those. They aren’t ripe yet.” Captain adjusted the viewer. “One of these full-grown ones. Go get one and bring it back.”

The officer stared at the viewer where a group of creatures sat at a table. They held rectangles in their hands and periodically moved small circles to the center of the table. “What are they doing?”

“Playing poker. Supreme Commander wants to learn so he can play in a star tournament.” Captain shrugged. “So, we have to bring him a creature and download its brain.”

The science officer saluted and sprinted off to fulfill her duty.

~*~

Word of the Day Challenge: Glade
Scott’s Daily Prompt: Prey
Ragtag prompt: Spartan
Fandango prompt: Limit
One Daily Prompt: Harvest
Daily Addictions prompt: Exemplify

The Meeting [flash 245]

They called themselves “the Alliance” and met informally at the golden spiral. All meetings and discussions were verbal and electronically scrambled. Danger lurked in every corner now. Perhaps, eventually, one of the Alliance would betray them all.

The Last Hrtedyp trusted no one. How could she? The rest of her family had been destroyed by the Zvop, and a Zvop cousin belonged to the Alliance. Yet, the Hrtedyp was desperately eager for any scrap of information that might lead her to the nest of assassins. Who better to possess intel than one of them?

Orsh kicked off today’s meeting with a surprise announcement. “I have changed my mind,” he stated. “I think we should adopt the measures Zvopii put forth at our last meeting.”

Hrtedyp watched Zvopii’s face for a sign of sly satisfaction, which could signal a trap. But Zvopii simply nodded and said, “That will help us achieve a true peace more efficiently.”

Peace? What did a Zvop know of peace? They were a tribe of vipers. The Last Hrtedyp despaired of finding the intel she needed. “Maybe I should just go off and take a vacation in a cave by myself,” she muttered.

“‘What?” Orsh said. “I missed that. Are you with us on the plan, or what?”

“Sure, fine.” The Last Hrtedyp faked a smile and reached into her bag. “Does anyone want a gzalk? They’re gluten-free.”

“Ooh me!” Zvopii said. “Yummy!”

Orsh took a treat. “Thanks! We’ll destroy Earth after snacks.”

*

Thanks to MindLoveMisery for the picture story prompt. 🙂

The Conversation

“Max, we need to talk,” Rachel said. “And I think you know why.”

Max sighed. “Seriously? I couldn’t even begin to guess.”

“Just like a guy.” Rachel rolled her eyes. “Everything is deteriorating and you don’t even have a clue.”

“Come on. Isn’t that a bit dramatic? I thought you were happy. Just last week you said you had so much fun.” Max smiled as he tried to cajole her back to her normal good mood.

Rachel wasn’t having it. “That was before I realized things were falling apart to the point of danger and possible harm if we continue on.”

“Oh Rachel. For heaven’s sake!” Then Max saw where she was pointing and gasped in alarm.

He took her hand. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea the foundation was rotted out. We don’t have to spend Friday night in a silly old treehouse ever again. Let’s go to the movies!”

The Art Student [group story]

I have been tagged for this challenge by Kristian – thank you.

Welcome to Finish the Story

I start a story, then another has to pick up the story and add to it, then hand it off to another person, etc. until the story is complete. This has proven to be quite fun in a blogging situation since we all have different approaches.

Rules–

1 Copy the story below as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please).

2 Add somehow to the story in whichever style and length you choose.

3 Tag only 1 person.

4 If you choose to not participate or finish the story, please comment/tag this post so that I know.

The Art Student

The Haunted Wordsmith

Amy checked herself in the rear-view mirror one last time before heading to C101 in Hawthorne Hall. Just a year ago, she walked those halls as a student, and now she was teaching her very own class.

The door was unassuming, but behind it, magic happened. The class was exactly as it was when she was a freshman. Easels and stools filled the center of the room while cabinets were filled with paints, sponges, canvases, and everything anyone needed to learn how to become an artist.

Students started filing in. Right at 10:00, Amy started her first lesson.

“Hey everyone,” she said, “thanks for signing up for The Human Form. This class is an introduction to drawing the human body.”

The students groaned. That surprised her because this had been her favorite class, but she carried on anyway.

“For our first lesson, I have requested a model who,” she paused and looked at the clock, “should be here any minute. Today –”

A knock on the door interrupted her. Fifteen students gasped and Amy looked stunned when …..

To be continued

Kristian:

An enormous guy with the weirdest skin came into the room. He was so large, he had to duck to get under the door frame and had to step sideways so his shoulders could get through the opening.

He had no hair on his head and his skin looked like a melted wax candle.

Amy took a breath then asked the man. “Excuse me. Are you from the agency? The Model agency?”

The man’s voice was deep yet soft. “Yes, they told me you asked for something different. I must admit I was surprised when they said you wanted me to pose for students. I’m usually sent to horror movies to be an extra or jobs like that. Halloween is my busiest time of year.” He sounded sad about it but resigned to his fate.

Amy replied “Well, I did ask for someone who looked a bit different, not a conventional beauty. Can you stand on that platform and remain as still as you can.

The man removed all his clothes. It was clear that the melted skin was pretty much all over and not a hair grew out of it. Standing on the platform his head brushed the ceiling tiles.

Amy couldn’t resist asking him “Your skin, were you born like that or….” She couldn’t finish the question, but he answered anyway, it’s what most people asked him.

“No, I was a firefighter, at 9/11. I was caught in a fireball.” He could say it now, seventeen years later, without breaking down.

Amy turned to the class with tears in her eyes “Class, take out your pads and pencils, I want you to draw what you see.”

After twenty minutes, Amy began to walk around the class to look at what people were drawing. She couldn’t believe it that…..

My part…

…one of her students wasn’t drawing the model, but instead seemed to be sketching a scene out of Dante’s Inferno.

“Excuse me,” Amy whispered. “But we’re drawing the human form in this class.”

The young woman looked up, a frown ridged between her brown eyes. “I am drawing him,” she said. She went back to her work, her hand moving swiftly across the page.

Amy decided to move on. If a student didn’t want to learn, that wasn’t Amy’s problem. She got paid regardless. She stared down at a man’s drawing. “What’s that?” she blurted.

He looked up, clearly confused. “I… what? Do you have suggestions?”

“Draw the man!” she hissed. Amy was growing frustrated with these students. Why were they depicting hellscapes? She touched the man’s drawing to point out what was wrong and scorched her finger.

“It’s ruined,” he said. “Thanks a lot. You have charcoal on your hands.”

Amy glanced at her hands which were burnt, blistered, and sooty. “I’ll be right back!” She dashed out of the room and down to the health center.

“Good lord!” the receptionist said. “What happened to you?”

:::to be continued:::

I nominate Singledust!

Triple Shots

Questions from The Haunted Wordsmith

1. Name three people who are better suited to be President than Trump.

-Any
-Freakin’
-Democrat

2. Name three places you want to visit before you die.

-Boston
-Nashville
-Santa Fe

3. Top three favorite Halloween stories.

-The Headless Horseman
-The Raven
-The Tell-Tale Heart

4. Three favorite movies.

-Dr. Zhivago
-Young Frankenstein
-Goodfellas

5. Top three TV shows.

-Game of Thrones
-Sopranos
-Breaking Bad

6. Name three foods you cannot live without.

-Eggs
-Clif bars
-Avocados

7. What three items would be essential if you were stranded on an island that already had sources of food and fresh water.

-Plane
-Pilot
-Gas

8. Name three animals you would like to be for a day.

-Owl
-Dolphin
-Tiger

9. Top three favorite actors/actresses.

-Robert DeNiro
-Meg Ryan
-Meryl Streep

10. What three fictional worlds/locations would you love to visit.

-Dragonstone (Game of Thrones)
-Wedding guest in Crazy Rich Asians
-The original Starship Enterprise