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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 289 (December 6-12). Stories. Topic: Paris.

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 5330 comments You have until the 12th of December to post a story, and December 13-14, we’ll vote for which one we thought was best.

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: Paris

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject but it must relate to the topic somehow.

Have fun!


message 2: by M (new)

M | 11352 comments Great topic!


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Shorrocks | 17 comments Hey guys here's my go with something a bit different from the usual drivel I come out with. Critiques welcome.

Title: Welcome to the National Heritage Society
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Words: 1287

They'd got him. They claimed to be doing nothing more than serving their community but deep down they were nothing more than terrorists on the other side of the fence. He was naive to think their influence wouldn't stretch across the English Channel. The National Heritage Society had got him.

He was too loud. Too outspoken. Too foreign.

He'd come to Paris to rejoin his wife to escape the troubles, yet they seemed to have followed him.

It was funny what a glance could tell you. They told him people feared him, they looked at him suspiciously, wordlessly telling him he didn't belong here. When people feared you enough, basic human rights often took a backseat in the name of "security".

The smartly dressed man by the side of him beamed that sickeningly false smile, eyes watching his every move.

"It's going to be okay Mr Shindar, you're just going to take a little trip in the car with me"

Not an optional trip of course. They'd made that quite clear the way they had restrained him and pushed his head into the car. Still he'd seen enough to know when to do as he was told.

Otherwise his wife wouldn't be alive when he got home.

A whimper almost escaped from his lips. No, he was not going to think about that. Definitely not going to think about that. Nethra was alive and well and would remain so. He would do whatever they said. If they locked him up for a hundred years so be it. As long as his wife was allowed her freedom that was a sacrifice he was willing to pay.

He had already missed the first call to prayer after being captured this morning so he sat silently, closed his eyes and prayed.

He almost felt slightly guilty over the fact that he enjoyed taking those few minutes where he mentally spoke the words of prayer in his head. It was a few minutes where he wasn't worrying that he might not speak to her again.

There was no point to his worrying. It wouldn't affect the outcome. They would question him on her whereabouts though he wouldn't tell them anything. He didn't even know exactly where she was himself.

"Would you like some water, Mr Shindar?"

He nodded at the man. He hadn't drunk anything since being chased in the early hours. After being stuck in traffic for the past twenty minutes, they were starting to leave Paris behind now. He would always have good memories of this place though it wasn't the vast array of monuments, the food, people or culture of the place that he would remember it by. It was the gardens, the moment so many years ago ending with her saying yes.

It had always seemed odd to some of his colleagues when he told them just before, that he had never properly seen much of his bride-to-be's face as she wore a niqab. And yet he was quite happy with that. Sure, he might not know her face, but he knew her laugh, what made her happy, what made her sad and what made her the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The physical didn't matter at all. He loved her for what made her truly her, not her reflection in the mirror.

He took a sip from the bottle the man handed him. Then stopped. It was so bitter. He immediately spat it out without thinking.

"Hey now, it's just a bit of water Mr Shindar. We don't want you getting dehydrated on the way back."

"I am not drinking that."

"Come on now just have a couple of sips. You need to drink something it's quite a way back to England."

"I am not drinking that."

"That's fine but-"

The big guy went to pat him on the shoulder and he immediately jerked away

"DON'T touch me"

He agitatedly shuffled toward the door and then the heavy set man grabbed him by the shoulder and held him with his face down across the seats. The car pulled to a stop and the driver got out. He felt a sharp pain and saw the man pull a needle out of his arm.

After that everything became hazy and he fell into a deep sleep where all his worries left him alone.

***

He woke up to find he was back in his old cell. Everything exactly back to how it was before. Even his old photo's were still on the wall. It was a nice cell considering. The floor was carpeted, there were fresh linens on the sheets and there were no bars across the window, but then again they didn't need to have bars to be to remain impregnable. And appearances were everything to these people. As long as they appeared to treat people nice they would no doubt be considered perfectly acceptable to society.

There was a knock on the door and a turning of the key.

"Hello Mr Shindar"

The same thickset man from the car poked his head in.

"There's a man who would like to have a chat with you"

"Of course there is. I take it I have no say in the matter?"

There was a silence for a moment while the big man searched for the right words.

"I would strongly advise yo-"

"That's fine. I'll go. You can keep your damn needles to yourself."

He walked with the man through the corridors of the building. He recognised a couple of the usual psychopaths that counted for people in this building. At last they entered a room with a bald bespectacled man sat across a desk he didn't recognise. The most surprising thing was that judging from his appearance he was from middle eastern descent. An odd addition to the National Heritage Society's ranks. The man gestured towards the chair opposite him.

"Hello Omar, how are you feeling?"

"After being drugged and kidnapped? Fine, just fine thanks."

"Why don't you tell me about why you went to Paris?"

He said nothing. He was not going to give this guy anything that could be used against him.

"It was to see your wife wasn't it?"

A period of silence followed.

"Okay, that's fine we don't have to talk about that if you don't want to. Still I expect to be spending quite a bit of time with you the next few weeks so we might as well talk about something. Tell me do you like Paris, Omar?"

After a brief hesitation he answered

"Some of it."

"What do you like about it?"

"I like the gardens. It's where I proposed to my wife a few years ago"

"Where exactly was that?"

"In the Jardins du Luxembourg. In a corner far away from everyone else. It was kind of hidden away past this giant bush. It used to be our secret little meeting place when we were younger."

"How beautiful. Were you nervous proposing to her? I know I was when I proposed to my wife."

"I was terrified. Our families didn't get on and were pressuring us."

"But she said yes! Then what did you do? Did you go out somewhere to celebrate?"

"Yes, we-"

Glass. There was glass everywhere when he woke. But there was no blood. Definitely no blood.

"-went to a-"

Because that would mean people had go hurt. NO ONE got hurt. Some people were lying down on the floor unmoving, but that didn't mean anyone got hurt.

"-Cafe. Then there ... was a loud noise-"

Her face. He had never seen her full face. She was lying on her side away from him, completely motionless, but that did NOT mean she was dead. He crawled towards her then stopped. He couldn't look at her face.

He looked back at the man with his NHS badge attached to his chest.

Otherwise his wife wouldn't be alive when he got home.


message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments I have to be honest with you guys for a minute. I was hesitant to post my synopsis for this prompt because I was afraid my story would be in bad taste. I've written unpopular stories for this group before and the backlash is never easy to deal with. I'm going to go ahead and post the synopsis and if the admins of this group think it'll be too offensive, then I'll drop out of the contest. It's called "Dark Prophecy" and it goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

Charlie Marks, Insensitive Student
Rebecca Waters, Art Teacher

PROMPT CONFORMITY: The ISIS massacre in Paris is referenced in this conversation.

SYNOPSIS: Rebecca calls Charlie into her office after she finds a drawing he did depicting The Prophet Muhammad as a Special Olympian in a soiled diaper. The art teacher scolds him for the offensive drawing, but tempers really start to flare when she asks Charlie if he posted the drawing to any of his social media accounts. Charlie answers with just a childish smile and Rebecca lectures him on the importance of taking that picture down. She tries her best to explain that the “funny cartoon” is not only offensive to the Muslim students at the high school, but it might also attract unwanted attention from extremists.


message 5: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "I have to be honest with you guys for a minute. I was hesitant to post my synopsis for this prompt because I was afraid my story would be in bad taste. I've written unpopular stories for this group..."

I remember reading this in your prompts. I think everyone is mature enough to not take offence. Olivia Wilde never complained to her ex about any of his books. :D


message 6: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments I appreciate you backing me up on this, Edward. I do want to get multiple opinions, though, before I get started writing it.


message 7: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : You’ll Always Have Paris
Author : Edward Davies
Genre : Fantasy
Word Count :1180
Rating : PG

“So, this is it?”

Ned smiled down at Izzy. They’d been together for seventy years, but now Izzy was close to death.

Ned was a vampire, and as such was destined to live forever. He’d always wanted to call himself Edward, and he had for a number of years, but those Twilight movies had put an end to that. It was just too cliché, and he worried that if he were to run into any other vampires they would take the Mickey out of him and ask him if he sparkled.

Likewise Izzy had been called Bella, but for the same reasons as Ned she had resorted to Izzy. Those books had a lot to answer for, not least of all the bad reputation they gave to vampires and those that loved them.

In the books, Edward had been forced to turn Bella into a vampire because she was dying, but the underlying truth was that Bella was a moron. She would happily give up her life to be with a boy, something that Ned would never wish on anyone. He’d had his life stolen away from him when he was very young and, though he did manage to meet the love of his life in the form of Izzy, they’d never been able to have children together to pass on their legacy. In spite of what some writers say, vampires can’t have children.

There’s another lie from Ms Meyer.

Ned took Izzy’s hand as she lay in her bed in their hotel room. They’d planned this trip because this was where they had first met.

Paris.

Their hotel room window looked out at the Eiffel Tower, and the curtains were open so that Izzy could still see the sights, with the tower lit up for New Years Eve.

“This is it,” Ned replied to the love of his life.

“Do you think,” Izzy began, then licked her lips to try and moisten her mouth, “do you think things could have been different if we’d have met when you were still human?”

Ned smiled, “I wouldn’t have wanted anything to be different, Izzy,”

Izzy smiled, “But if we could have led a traditional life,” she continued, “a life where we could have gone out during the day, both held down jobs. Hell, a life where I could have told people about you and not have them thinking I’m some decrepit old spinster.”

Ned stroked Izzy’s hand, “It might have been nice,” he said, “but what we had together was just as good, wasn’t it?”

Izzy blinked slowly, “I’ve enjoyed our time together,” she admitted.

“But?” Ned added tentatively.

Izzy shook her head, “There’s no but.”

Ned lowered his eyes, “You mean you wouldn’t have preferred it if we never met?” he asked, “If you’d have never been stuck with a vampire for the rest of your life?”

“I was never stuck with you, Ned,” Izzy told him, “If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have had a life. I wouldn’t have lived such a rich and fulfilling existence, even though you had to watch me age over the years while you didn’t change a bit. The looks people have given us lately when we’ve gone out for dinner – they must wonder what you see in me.”

“Or they think I’m your care worker,” Ned laughed.

Izzy groaned, “Always the joker,” she said, “even when it isn’t appropriate.”

“Sorry,” Ned apologised.

“Don’t be,” Izzy said, “I’ve loved your jokes over the years.”

“Even the inappropriate ones?” Ned asked.

Izzy nodded, “Especially the inappropriate ones.”

Ned looked into the eyes of the woman he’d spent the past seventy years with, a tear welling at the corner of his own, “So how long do you think you have?” he asked.

“Not long,” said Izzy, “I can feel my chest tightening even as we speak.”

Ned wiped his sleeve across his eyes, trying not to let Izzy see the tears that were appearing. She saw them, but knew not to comment.

“Does it...” Ned began, “...does it hurt?”

“No more than you’d think,” Izzy said slowly, “no more than you’d think.”

“Do you want to go to the window?” Ned asked.

Izzy nodded, “I think I’d like that.”

Ned picked Izzy up in his arms, something that had always come easy to him but was considerably easier now that she’d lost so much weight. The cancer had seen to that. The two of them moved closer to the window, looking out at the display of lights wrapping the tower in a display of beauty.

“It’s stunning, isn’t it?” Izzy said.

Ned smiled, “It really is.”

“Do you-” Izzy coughed loudly, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth, “-do you remember the first time we came here?”

Ned nodded, “It was 1958,” he remembered, “we’d been together for thirteen years.”

“I remember,” Izzy smiled, “it was just after World War II when we met. God I was so young.”

“You were seventeen,” Ned said, “and I was-“

“-Ageless,” Izzy finished. The two of them laughed.

“Do you think,” Izzy breathed deeply, “do you think I’ll make it to midnight?”

“Of course you will,” Ned stroked Izzy’s hair as he took a seat by the window, Izzy nestling in his lap, “and far beyond as well.”

“Is this some rubbish about living on in your heart,” Izzy rolled her half-blind eyes, “because you know that’s not the same as actually living on.”

“I know,” Ned paused, then asked, “do you ever think about what it would have been like if you had have changed?”

“You mean become a vampire?”

Ned nodded.

Izzy shook her head, “I know you never wanted that,” she said, “and I just wanted you to be happy.”

“Maybe I could change you now,” Ned offered.

Izzy laughed; a raucous belly-laugh Ned hadn’t heard in decades, “I don’t want that,” she said, “I just want things to be how they are. My time has come, Ned, I’m ready to meet whatever comes next.”

“What if nothing comes next?” Ned asked.

Izzy closed her eyes, then slowly opened them again, “Then I’m ready for that too.”

Ned stroked Izzy’s hair as the two of them stared out of the window at their view of Paris, waiting for the clocks to chime twelve.

They didn’t hear the clocks, but they saw the fireworks taking off into the sky, indicating what must have been the start of New Years Day. The start of a new year.

“Happy New Year, Izzy,” Ned whispered into his lover’s ear, “you’ll always have Paris.”

Izzy turned her head slightly to look up at Ned, “Don’t you mean ‘We’ll always have Paris’?” she corrected.

Ned shook his head, “Paris won’t be the same for me once you’re gone, but at least in the next life you can remember Paris with fondness.”

He looked down at Izzy, who was staring back up at him, but there was no life left in her eyes. Slowly he ran his hand over her face, her eyes closing under his palm.

And he wept.


message 8: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "I appreciate you backing me up on this, Edward. I do want to get multiple opinions, though, before I get started writing it."

Hey, I did a story about being trapped in a lift on September 11th, so why not? As long as you tell it in a tasteful way and not just for shock value.


message 9: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Have I told you lately how awesome you are, Edward? :)


message 10: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Not often enough. :D


message 11: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments It's official: I'm definitely writing "Dark Prophecy"! But not tonight. Today is a day for relaxing and taking it easy. Tomorrow, just before WWE Raw? That might be different. :)


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Ryan! :)


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Shorrocks | 17 comments Garrison wrote: "Have I told you lately how awesome you are, Edward? :)"

Get a room you two lol.

Garrison, I think whatever the topic as long as you make it clear you do not share certain characters views and are not trying to piss people off from the start I think in general you are going to be ok.

That said I would still be very very careful with this one. Nothing's quite as easily to get offended by as religion.

It still amazes me some religious schools are against Harry Potter because "it encourages witchcraft".


message 14: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Ian wrote: "It still amazes me some religious schools are against Harry Potter because "it encourages witchcraft"."

All of the sudden I'm reminded of the scene in Jesus Camp where the head preacher goes on and on about how Harry Potter would have been killed in the real world for being a "sinner". It's all the more reason to heed your warning about being "very very careful". Still, I'm going to give the story a try tomorrow night.


message 15: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Ian wrote: "Get a room you two lol."

I'm highly offended!

Just kidding. :D


message 16: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Ian wrote: "Hey guys here's my go with something a bit different from the usual drivel I come out with. Critiques welcome.

Title: Welcome to the National Heritage Society
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Words: 1287..."


Ian, I enjoyed the story. It was well written and you did a good job of catching me off-guard with the ending. Thanks for sharing with us!


message 17: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Edward wrote: "Title : You’ll Always Have Paris
Author : Edward Davies
Genre : Fantasy
Word Count :1180
Rating : PG

“So, this is it?”

Ned smiled down at Izzy. They’d been together for seventy years, but now Izz..."


Thanks for sharing the story Edward. The dialogue of the characters was really good and the emotions expressed in the story were vivid. And I definitely appreciated the jab at the Twilight books!


message 18: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Okay, just for the fun of it, I decided to go a completely different way than everyone else with this prompt. I hope it is still enjoyable.

Title: The First Mother of Paris
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 1398
Rating: PG

A queen owes a responsibility to her people and her family. She must protect them against all threats, especially when enemies encircle her kingdom on all sides like rabid wolves, sniffing the air for the slightest trace of blood to pounce upon. Any vulnerability, weakness, or opening which might provide her foes the slightest edge became a beacon of dark light hailing the doom of her kingdom and those who dwelt within its walls; all of whom will die should those walls fall.

She knew it. And she knew she needed to act. But some actions were easier spoken than taken.

Hecuba stood staring at the face of the small baby lying in the cradle before her. Beautiful blue eyes looked back, gleaming sapphires surrounded in a milky white ocean whose mesmerizing depths drew her in until she could hardly bare to remove her gaze from them. With an effort, she wrenched her face away from the innocent stare of the little child and turned her eyes instead to the knife clutched tight in her hands as though it were the only cord binding her to reality in this otherwise surreal situation. She took another look back at the little one. Hecuba knew it must die. Still, how could she kill her own son?

Darkness settled upon the room as the fire in the distant hearth momentarily dwindled. She glanced into the open flames. A collection of long wooden logs provided the fuel for the only source of warmth penetrating the cold night air flowing through the open windows. There was nothing particularly unique or impressive about the logs. Yet, somehow, as she watched, they seemed to alter in shape, taking the form of tall stone battlements and houses, all burning beneath the fiery torches of rival armies.

One of the logs, roasted by the flames building within its interior, broke apart, releasing a fresh burst of heat. The fire rose again, growing taller as its flickering strands swept over the embers, greedily consuming every trace of life which once lingered within its shattered hull. The snaps and pops mingled with the sound of distant human screams and cries which, though muffled, seemed to reach her ears from the depths of the flaming inferno. She knew it was all in her imagination. Still the visions refused to let her be. They were dying. Everyone was dying.

Hecuba spun away from the fire and toward the window on the opposite side of the room. Tears blossomed in her eyes as she gazed at the quiet homes of the city beyond. Were they all destined to be destroyed? Was every one of her subjects, friend and foe, adult and child, master and slave, noble and pauper, all destined to die because she didn’t have the strength to save them?

She gave another look at the baby. Its eyes were beginning to close as it drifted into a quiet slumber within the shelter of its crib and the warm blankets around it. It was so small, so helpless, so sweet and beautiful.

The knife rose in her hands as her footsteps carried her closer and closer to the wooden bed. She could kill it while it slept. It would never even know that something was happening. One swift, well aimed strike could forever end the danger he posed to the kingdom and ensure the safety and welfare of her people for generations to come. This was the moment to strike. This was the time. This was the moment of truth for which all the successive generations throughout all of history would judge her. The knife rose. It didn’t fall.

For nine months she had carried this baby snug within the warmth of her womb. For nine hours she had labored through the day and well into the night to grant the first sweet breathe of glorious life to the lungs of the tiny infant who relied upon her for the protection, love, and affection which every child is supposed to receive from its mother.

How could she betray the trust and faith of motherhood? How could she destroy the gift given to her by the gods and forsake the responsibility to nurture, provide and adore the little one placed into her care? At the same time, how could she betray the trust, faith, and responsibility she owed to the hundreds of children and babies not belonging to her, which has also been placed into her care by the gods, who had made her the daughter of one king and the bride to another?

She had to protect her people! Still, the knife did not fall. Hecuba spun around in frustration and humiliation. A tray covered with apples rested on the table beside her and she swatted it with all her might, releasing her rage and self-loathing upon the helpless fruit with the furious scream of a tortured soul, unable to endure its suffering for another minute.

Apples flew into the air, scattering in all directions, as they bounced against wall, table, and floor, propelled into a chaotic retreat from her violent outburst. One of the apples, the largest, roundest, and easily most beautiful prize of the bunch, struck the top railing of the crib, bouncing inside where it landed within reach of the tiny babe, whose precious little fingers stretched out unconsciously to grip the small brown stem and cling tightly to it like the comforting hand of a beloved friend.

Her head drooped against her chest in defeat. She lifted it again to stare out the window. A small light shining in the distant temple revealed that the priest Aesacus was still awake and milling about its halls. She had gone to see him early the previous day, prior to going into labor. She had sought his advice regarding a series of bizarre nightmares which had haunted her sleep. He had told her the dreams were a prophecy, foretelling the doom of all of her people and her kingdom, a fate which would be brought upon them by this child. The kingdom could only be spared if her baby were to die.

The peaceful hum of the baby’s snores interrupted her reflections. Maybe the priest was wrong. True, he was the greatest prophet in the whole kingdom. And, true, he had never been wrong before. But maybe this time; perhaps this once, if only this once, he was wrong. The gods often revealed their secrets in riddles, and it was possible, however improbable, that the meaning of their message was confusing and the insights misunderstood.

Even as she reflected upon this seemingly reasonable argument, she knew there was no truth to it. The prophecy wasn’t wrong. The words weren’t confused. Her vision wasn’t a lie. She knew all of it was true. She also knew, she couldn’t do it.

The door to the chamber creaked open and the queen’s most loyal confidant, the priestess Herophile entered the room.

“Is it done?” She asked.

“No, it isn’t done,” Hecuba snapped. She threw the knife with all her might against the floor, where the point buried itself into the wood. “And if you want it done so badly, you can do it yourself. Otherwise go tell his father that I couldn’t do it, either. We’ll just have to find some other way to fix this mess.”

Though the priestess gave Hecuba a derisive look, Hecuba noticed the priestess made no attempt of her own to harm the baby. Instead, she turned around and hurried from the doorway. Hecuba turned her eyes back toward her baby, fresh tears blooming as she struggled with the horrible curse overshadowing what should have been a joyous occasion for the whole kingdom.

She reached out to pet the head of the sleeping baby, then, quickly withdrew her hand. She feared growing too attached to the beautiful boy. It was torture not to touch the one thing every atom in her body wanted, more than anything else in the world, to hold tight to her bosom and never let go. Instead she turned her back to him and crossed to the door. She took one last look over her shoulder at the crib and wiped away a tear.

“Good night, my sweet Paris,” she said. With these words, the queen of Troy left the room, the apple, and the baby behind in the warm glow of the firelight.


message 19: by Edward (last edited Dec 07, 2015 06:03PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Ian wrote: "Hey guys here's my go with something a bit different from the usual drivel I come out with. Critiques welcome.

Title: Welcome to the National Heritage Society
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Words: 1287..."


I didn't get it. :D Sorry, I'm sometimes a bit thick. Did the NHS (chuckle) think that Omar was a terrorist? That's my guess, and that this is a reference to the Paris attacks. One thing I would point out is that those Muslims that believe in wearing the niqab are actually permitted to remove it when someone is proposing to them, though they wouldn't be allowed to do this in public nor in a secluded area. They would need a chaperone. Apparently the future husband is allowed to see their future brides hand and face, to judge if they're good looking (from their face) and - you'll like this - if they are fat (from their hands). I did enjoy your way of writing, but I wasn't sure where the story was going. Sorry dude.


message 20: by Ian (last edited Dec 07, 2015 05:44PM) (new)

Ian Shorrocks | 17 comments Damn. Nah if you didn't get it that means I didn't explain it well enough as that's the writers job. The idea of it was supposed to be Omar mentally could not come to terms with his wife's death. So he convinced himself she was alive and the NHS imprison him (in reality keeping him in a psychiatric ward) so he escaped to meet her. The NHS don't think he's a terrorist, just a significant danger to himself and the people around him. At the start of the story he has been recaptured after escaping to Paris to see his wife all the while trying to avoid the "evil" NHS.

I was kind of trying to do something weird (and failing) with people's expectations in this one. I was trying to trick the reader into thinking the story was somehow going to be about terrorism. Given current events, by casting a muslim in Paris it kind of jumps out at you.

I also purposefully kept what actually happened ambiguous the end where I mentioned a loud noise, glass and bodies, I didn't actually mention it had anything to do with terrorism. And ok maybe this is kind of cheating but when you think about it there were actually many more reasons why that situation could have occurred. A lot of which would be much much more statistically likely. Makes you think.

In short I was trying to make everything seem to be all about terrorism, religion and society, when in reality what the story was really about was a man who'd gone crazy from losing someone he loved.

I did also enjoy the writing challenge of trying to write from the perspective of someone from a different cultural background but to be honest all it did was highlight how difficult that actually is and how little I actually knew of their cultural background.

That is really interesting what you said about the niqab. If that's true that does seem to kind of ruin the entire idea behind it lol.

Ironically the bit I kind of worried about was whether our overseas friends would get the NHS reference although obviously being a fellow brit I thought you would.

Btw I really liked your story this week although did maybe make me think you have a personal vendetta against Miss Meyers for using your name in her quest to make glittery vampires lol.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Shorrocks | 17 comments James wrote: "Okay, just for the fun of it, I decided to go a completely different way than everyone else with this prompt. I hope it is still enjoyable.

Title: The First Mother of Paris
Genre: Fantasy
Word Cou..."


You definitely surprised me on your ending as well. I know quite a bit of greek mythology but still didn't get it until the end and the apples were a nice touch. It was a good story. I think I could do with taking a leaf out of your book and adding much more description to my scenes.


message 22: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Ian wrote: "Damn. Nah if you didn't get it that means I didn't explain it well enough as that's the writers job. The idea of it was supposed to be Omar mentally could not come to terms with his wife's death. S..."

It's a learning curve, buddy, but like I said, I don't always get it. Don't judge your story by what I say. :D


message 23: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Prophecy
GENRE: High School Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,692
RATING: PG for politics and swearing


“You wanted to see me?” said Charlie Marks, a leather jacket and jeans wearing high schooler who was too cool for school. Judging from his lackadaisical posture and bored facial expression, he felt he was too cool to be in the same office as his art teacher.

“Yes, Charlie, I did want to see you. Have a seat. Don’t get too comfortable, because this has suspension written all over it,” said Rebecca Waters, a brown dress wearing blonde who sat cross-legged in her office’s computer chair with the posture of a judge presiding over a criminal court case.

When Charlie took a seat on the wooden stool and twiddled his thumbs nonchalantly, Rebecca pored through her file folder until she found the piece of “art” that brought the two of them together that day. It was a cartoon of a distorted faced Special Olympian dressed in a bicycle helmet and a dirty diaper. If that wasn’t offensive enough, the caption of the drawing said, “The Prophet Muhammad” in big bold letters.

Charlie took the drawing from Rebecca’s hands and stared at it uncaringly. “Yeah, so?”

“What do you mean, yeah, so? You know full well why that’s unacceptable. Not only is it disparaging to the mentally disabled, but it’s extremely disparaging to the Muslim community. There are over five hundred Muslim students who attend this high school. What do you think they’re going to do if they see this drawing?” said Rebecca in an authoritative voice.

The “artist” pretended to look at his drawing from multiple angles, but he was really just turning his paper upside down and sideways to stall for time. When Rebecca asked an impatient, “Well?”, Charlie responded with, “They’re probably going to strap bombs to their bodies and blow me into pieces. Is that the answer you were looking for? Are you actually worried about this kind of crap going on? You say there’s five hundred Muslims going to school here? I bet not one of them has the balls to take me on over a stupid drawing. Ever heard of Freedom of Speech, Miss Waters?”

Rebecca shook her head no, cleared her throat, and said, “Listen, Charlie. There’ve been plenty of awful things going on in the news lately with terrorism and general ignorance toward certain people. Remember hearing about the ISIS attacks in Paris a few weeks ago? Of course you don’t, because you’re not smart enough to pay attention to world politics. If you were, you would know that this ‘funny’ cartoon is the highest form of prejudice toward the Muslim community. I’m not worried about what the students will do to you. Because let’s face it, none of our students act anywhere near as badly as the ISIS terrorists who committed that awful attack in Paris.”

“Well then, what are you worried about, Miss Waters? What, is ISIS going to raid our stupid little school and start shooting everyone in sight because I drew a cartoon? Don’t they have better things to do with their lives? Newsflash: those crazies halfway around the world don’t give a shit about Paulson City kids like me!” said Charlie Marks in a more animated voice complete with frantic hand gestures.

Rebecca hunched forward as if she was in a secretive conversation with her student and asked, “You didn’t post this drawing to your social media accounts, did you?” No answer, just a stupefied look on Charlie’s face. “Well, did you?!” The student gave a cheeky half smile and it was obvious at that point what his answer was.

“You idiot!” screamed Rebecca Waters. She stood over Charlie like a giant ready to breathe fire on some helpless villagers. “Do you realize what the hell you’ve done?! Are you so thickheaded that you don’t realize the gravity of what’s going on here?! Yeah, it may be a stupid cartoon to you, but it’s much more to the people online and around the world! It’d be the same thing if you posted a drawing of a black guy eating watermelon or a gay guy in tight-fitting bicycle shorts! You don’t do that! There are certain lines you just don’t fucking cross!”

Charlie looked into his teacher’s furious eyes with five second fear and then smiled his idiotic smile again when he said, “You swore, Miss Waters! Naughty, naughty!”

The art teacher fluffed her hair in frustration, let out a pissed off grunt, and plopped back down into her computer chair. She sat there for a minute taking deep breaths to calm herself down while Charlie was smiling and chuckling at her.

“What are you laughing at, you moron?” asked Rebecca. “You think bigotry is funny? Well, I don’t. This school doesn’t. The whole point of school is to teach you the ways of the world and how to coexist with the people you share that world with.” She snatched the picture from Charlie’s hand and presented it with disdain. “I’m not letting you get away with this. This kind of sick, demented garbage is punishable by suspension, maybe even expulsion if we feel you’re not learning anything from this.”

The smile slowly disappeared from Charlie’s face. “You can’t do that,” he said in a defeated tone.

“Oh, but we can. And we will! But you know what, Charlie? I don’t want you to be expelled from here. I want you to be punished, but not in that way. Maybe a cartoon doesn’t warrant that kind of extreme punishment. But you’re saying depicting the Prophet Muhammad in that way doesn’t mean anything. I’m saying it does and many will agree with me, including the Principal.”

Charlie’s eyes darted from side to side before he asked, “So…what do you want me to do? I mean…there is a catch to me not being expelled, right?”

“For starters, I want you to log onto my computer, go to your social media accounts, and take down the picture before anybody sees it. Ah, who am I kidding? It’s probably spreading across the internet right now. But I’d still appreciate it if you’d take it down before anybody gets hurt.”

Mr. Marks stared at his teacher like what she was asking him was too much to handle. After a while of stalling, Rebecca sighed and said, “Listen. I told you I didn’t want to expel you from here. You know why? Because up until this point, you’ve been doing A and B-worthy work in my classroom. You are a talented artist in many ways. But this drawing crosses so many lines on so many levels. So instead of putting you on the chopping block, I’d like you to meet somebody.”

Using her smart phone, Rebecca signaled her special guest to enter the office. He was a giant of a man with dark skin, a bald head, and a scraggly beard. He stood over Charlie Marks like the offensive artist was merely a worm on the sidewalk ready to be stepped on. He was introduced by Rebecca as Kamal Sadollah, one of the five hundred Muslim students she referenced earlier in the conversation.

“Relax, Charlie. I’m not here to hurt you. Allah wouldn’t forgive me if I did such a thing to you. But I have seen your drawing on Face Book and Twitter. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” He placed his thick palm on Charlie’s quivering shoulder and said, “I know my religion and my culture doesn’t mean much to you. But it means something to me. I turned to Islam because I needed direction in my life. And guess what? I haven’t gotten in one fight since. I am a member of the high school wrestling team and any battle I have will be on the mat and nowhere else.”

“Okay, I get it,” said Charlie in a nervous tone. “You’re pissed off about my drawing. But you have to understand something. I didn’t do it because I wanted to piss you off personally. I did it as a joke. I thought it would be hilarious and I still think it is. Am I right?” he said with a half-hearted chuckle. Neither Rebecca nor Kamal was laughing. They were staring holes through him with their sniper scope vision.

“Here’s the deal,” said Kamal as he put his face closer to Charlie’s. “Either you take down that picture from Face Book and Twitter and anywhere else you have it posted, or I’m going to do something you’ve always wanted to do with your narcissistic pictures. I’m going to share that drawing. I’m going to share it with every Muslim friend and family member I know. And then I’ll share it with atheists, Christians, Jews, and anyone else who will listen. By the time I’m done distributing it, the entire world will know how much of an asshole Charlie Marks is. I won’t hurt you. I never will. But I can’t say the same for anyone else who sees that picture.”

“Charlie…listen to me,” said Rebecca. “You’re too young in your life to play the role of a villain. If that many people know about what you’ve done today, then your life will be ruined. I don’t want to see you end up that way. So please…do the right thing. Take down the picture.”

Kamal handed Charlie his smart phone and said, “Here, you can use this if you want. Don’t worry, it’s not hardwired to an IED. We’re not all stereotypes here, Charlie. We’re real people with real desires and real dreams. Do you have desires of your own that you want to see through? Then keep the world from seeing your worst side.”

Charlie Marks had tears in his eyes after being dressed down by Kamal Sadollah and Rebecca Waters. They broke him without ever once laying a finger on him. All they had to do was something every religion preached: talk to their enemy. After wiping his tears with his jacket sleeve, Charlie put Kamal’s smart phone to use and began the process of taking the offensive drawing down from the internet. It would be a huge weight off of his shoulders afterwards and that felt good.


message 24: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Title: The Honeymoon
Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 1530

Gracie twiddled her fingers around her long blonde ponytail as she sat at her future in-laws' kitchen table. The spotless décor always impressed her. Crisp white linen tablecloths embroidered with flowers. A blue porcelain pitcher filled with daisies sat in the center of the kitchen table. White crocheted doilies covered the big, fat, stuffed armchairs in the living room and needlepoint pillows graced the sofa. Hand-painted landscapes hung on the walls. Decorative hand-woven baskets sat proudly atop small tables and bookcases. It smelled of honey, furniture wax, and fresh baked bread. Not only was Agnes a scrupulous housekeeper, she also liked to create beautiful objects d'arte, often giving them away as gifts.

As she waited for Greg, Gracie crossed her jeaned legs and chatted about the wedding with Agnes. Although Gracie was making many of the arrangements, the families were pooling their limited resources for an only son and only daughter. Agnes, a short, slim woman with graying brown hair that was always pulled back in a bun, removed the white apron from her blue print dress, and placed two cups of steaming mint tea in front of them as she sat down across from Gracie.

“I think we have everything lined up – er- taken care of, arranged, settled.”

Gracie amended her statement at Agnes' look of intense concentration. She had to remind herself that Agnes tended to take much of the English language literally. When a neighbor talked about “airing dirty laundry,” Agnes had such a horrified look on her face, Grace burst out laughing until tears rolled down her cheeks. Agnes had been born in rural Poland with a mild hearing defect that made it hard to learn even her native language. As a result, her parents, in misguided sympathy, took her out of school after 5th grade. Then, coming to America in her 30's with a 10 year old son didn't make it easy to learn English. Although she had since undergone ear surgery to treat her hearing problem and understood English much better, she still had some trouble with idioms, jargon and slang. Reading and writing were still a challenge.

“Here's the guest list RSVP's – there'll be about 100 people,” Gracie pushed the paper across the table.

“And we're using the Polish band you recommended.” Gracie sighed inside as she thought of the polka-filled evening she would have to endure. With enough champagne it might even be fun. Right now it was the cost that was most important. She didn't want the wedding to be a financial burden on either family. The Polish band was fairly cheap – the accordion player was a third cousin of Rudy's.

“I bake cookies...for cookie tray,” Agnes announced in her strong accent. It was a proud family tradition Gracie wouldn't dream of refusing. Besides, Agnes' cookies were awesome.

“You have dress, yes?”

“Yes, it's beautiful, Agnes. A sheath,” Gracie stood and gestured with her hands as Grace glowed with pleasure. “Beaded lace trim around the bodice and skirt. I got a good deal on it.” Gracie didn't tell Agnes it was second-hand. Really, it looked like new.

“I make you shawl, yes?”

“No, no, Agnes, really, I don't need a shawl.” Gracie felt guilty accepting Agnes' “favors.” Agnes delighted in being helpful; sometimes too much so.


To change the subject, Gracie said, “Did Greg tell you about our honeymoon plans? He's keeping it a secret from me.”

Agnes' face looked like it might burst as she clapped her hands together and laughed, “Secret, yes, it should be secret. You wait and see.” Then she shook her finger at Gracie as if to admonish her for asking.

“Do you know then?” Gracie's mouth dropped open in disbelief.

“Greg tell me, he tell me your favorite wish for honey moon.” Agnes said it as if it was two words and laughed every time she said or heard “honeymoon.” She thought it was the oddest term for a post wedding get-away.

Gracie scrambled around in her brain, trying to remember what she and Greg had talked about. There were so many places they wanted to go. But Paris? The one place she'd love to see more than any other? Reality clashed with fantasy at the expense. Unfortunately, Venice, her second favorite place, wasn't any more realistic. She picked through some of their affordable compromises. What had he told Agnes?

“Well, I'm guessing it'll be either a cabin in the Ozark Mountains or a motel at the Wisconsin Dells...Maybe the Poconos, but that's a little far. We only have a week for our honeymoon, you know.”

“What's this about a honeymoon? More wedding talk?” a masculine voice interrupted them.

Gracie leapt up as Greg walked in and greeted him with a hug and a kiss. “I'm pumping your mom because you've been so close-mouthed about it,” she scolded.

Then she teased, “The wedding's less than a month away and I need to get my trousseau together for my fantasy honeymoon.”

Her grin faltered as she took note of his somber glance at his mother. And his hesitation. He pulled her out of the room.

“Look, Gracie, I didn't want to tell you for sure until I knew more. And I didn't know what she was planning when she asked me, but my parents want to foot the bill for the honeymoon.”

He ran one hand nervously through his thick black hair as his black eyes pierced her blue ones. His other hand played with the zipper of his black leather jacket.

“Meaning what, exactly?” Gracie's eyes narrowed as she considered what he hadn't said. “What did you tell her, Greg?”

“Just because I told her doesn't mean she's going to do it,” he hedged.
Gracie waited, her eyes boring into his.

“I did happen to mention you'd always wanted to see the Eiffel tower. And that we'd decided we would do it as soon as we had enough money... and before we started our family.”

Gracie groaned. “How could you tell her that? There's nothing she wants more than to hear I'm pregnant three months after the wedding. What can we do to talk her out of it? And what will your father say?”

“I'm not talking to my dad about this. That's between the two of them. I told her she doesn't have to do this.”

“But she wants to.” Gracie appeared more decisive. “Okay, Greg, we'll just roll with it. Maybe we can find a way to pay some of it back.”

“They'll never accept it. Mom has too much pride.”

They looked at each other and sighed, Family.

“Okay, let's tell your mom we need to get the details from her so we can prepare. She can't spring this on us at the last minute.”

They returned to the kitchen and sat down on either side of Agnes, who sat sipping her tea and munching on kolachkes in their absence.

“You talk, yes? You okay with honey moon, yes?” She gave a short laugh, her twinkling eyes setting first on Greg, then on Gracie.

“Yes, mom, we decided it's okay. We'll accept your honeymoon. But it would help if you told us now. Are you really sending us to Paris?”

Agnes wiped her mouth and looked a little puzzled. “Paris? You go to Eiffel tower, no?”

Gracie and Greg now were the ones that looked confused. “The Eiffel tower is in Paris, mom.”

Agnes got up and motioned them to wait while she went to the large desk in the corner of the dining room. She brought a large envelope back and laid it in front of them.

“Everything here. Plane tickets, hotel, you go see Arc d' Triumph. Cabaret.” At this she wiggled her hips in mock salute to cabaret dancers, bringing a hearty grin to all three.

“Plus bonus. You see Rialto, too. Gondola ride.”

“No, ma,” Greg breathed. “Venice, too? No, that's too much.” He and Gracie exchanged another worried look.

“Let's look inside,” Gracie whispered as her trembling hand opened the envelope and spilled out the contents.

“You did this yourself?” Gracie couldn't help asking as she prepared to pick up the Expedia confirmation.

“No,” Agnes scoffed. “My friend Johanna, she help me. We look at Internet together. She explain. I think this work good for you.” Agnes looked as proud as if she had done it all by herself.

Gracie and Greg bent their heads over the forms, and after reading the first line, threw their heads back and howled as one. Gracie felt the hysteria bloom up inside and Greg was rocking back and forth with glee.

Together they got up and hugged Agnes.

“Is good? Is what you want?” Agnes beamed.

“It's perfect, mom. It's just right. We'll get to see the Eiffel Tower and the Rialto bridge and take a gondola ride,” Greg was nearly blubbering. He gave Gracie an apologetic look over Agnes' head that promised Someday...

The tickets Agnes had gotten would take them to the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.


message 25: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Prophecy
GENRE: High School Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,692
RATING: PG for politics and swearing


“You wanted to see me?” said Charlie Marks, a leather jacket and jeans ..."


I really enjoyed your story Garrison. I liked the way your introduced the intimidating and yet peaceful Kamal as a stark contrast to the stereotype which Charlie obviously held in his head. And, I liked the way that you were able to demonstrate getting a person to change without having to resort to harsh discipline, punishments or violence but rather merely through speaking to him. Thanks for sharing the story!


message 26: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Anne wrote: "Title: The Honeymoon
Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 1530

Gracie twiddled her fingers around her long blonde ponytail as she sat at her future in-laws' kitchen table. The spotless décor always impresse..."


Anne, that was a fun story. It hits especially home for me since I am currently in the middle of planning my wedding for February. So I can relate to all the planning and family fun that goes into it. The ending had a really good twist to it! Funnily enough, my fiance and I are going to Las Vegas for our honeymoon! Thanks for sharing the story with us!


message 27: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments James wrote: "Okay, just for the fun of it, I decided to go a completely different way than everyone else with this prompt. I hope it is still enjoyable.

Title: The First Mother of Paris
Genre: Fantasy
Word Cou..."


Very clever use of the prompt. I do love myths and legends, hell I'm writing a novel that focuses on them, and this is a well told tale of legend brought to life by your intriguing prose.


message 28: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments James wrote: "I really enjoyed your story Garrison. I liked the way your introduced the intimidating and yet peaceful Kamal as a stark contrast to the stereotype which Charlie obviously held in his head. And, I liked the way that you were able to demonstrate getting a person to change without having to resort to harsh discipline, punishments or violence but rather merely through speaking to him. Thanks for sharing the story!"

Thank you so much for the insightful feedback! You're right: sometimes all a person needs to be set straight is a good old fashioned heart-to-heart talk.


message 29: by Edward (last edited Dec 09, 2015 04:08PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Prophecy
GENRE: High School Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,692
RATING: PG for politics and swearing


“You wanted to see me?” said Charlie Marks, a leather jacket and jeans ..."


I'm not convinced Charlie would learn from this - he came across as a Trump level moron. Maybe he could go into politics. :D That aside, this wasn't offensive to me at all. Much like your current President, people often think I'm Islamic because my middle name is Hussein (yep, like Saddam) but I'm not. I feel sorry for people who mock religions whilst simultaneously don't understand the people that seriously over-react to such cartoons. This was an interesting tale and if anyone gets too offended, then they probably didn't understand the point of the story.


message 30: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Edward wrote: "Title : You’ll Always Have Paris
Author : Edward Davies
Genre : Fantasy
Word Count :1180
Rating : PG

“So, this is it?”

Ned smiled down at Izzy. They’d been together for seventy years, but now Izz..."


Twilight the way it should have been written, eh, Edward? The beginning brought a big smile to my face (reminded me of our e-chat some weeks ago:)). bittersweet, but well done.


message 31: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Ian wrote: "Hey guys here's my go with something a bit different from the usual drivel I come out with. Critiques welcome.

Title: Welcome to the National Heritage Society
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Words: 1287..."


A sad and unfortunately painful reminder of reality and what many face each day. Well written, timely topic. I just wasn't sure where it was going at the end; I would have liked to know whether he had a chance to get out of this alive.


message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments James wrote: "Okay, just for the fun of it, I decided to go a completely different way than everyone else with this prompt. I hope it is still enjoyable.

Title: The First Mother of Paris
Genre: Fantasy
Word Cou..."


I enjoyed it. I thought it was a good take on the Greek story. Well done.


message 33: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments James wrote: "Anne wrote: "Title: The Honeymoon
Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 1530

Gracie twiddled her fingers around her long blonde ponytail as she sat at her future in-laws' kitchen table. The spotless décor al..."


Thanks James and congrats on your upcoming wedding. How ironic -- think of me if you pass by the "Eiffel Tower!" :)


message 34: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Dark Prophecy
GENRE: High School Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,692
RATING: PG for politics and swearing


“You wanted to see me?” said Charlie Marks, a leather jacket and jeans ..."


Nothing to worry about here, Garrison. I think your approach to the story was very appropriate. You showed how some people use very poor judgement, but in this case, perhaps he learned something from those that stood up to him.


message 35: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Anne wrote: "Title: The Honeymoon
Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 1530

Gracie twiddled her fingers around her long blonde ponytail as she sat at her future in-laws' kitchen table. The spotless décor always impresse..."


Even though I guessed where this was going, I still enjoyed the punch line. Funny stuff.


message 36: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Edward wrote: "I'm not convinced Charlie would learn from this - he came across as a Trump level moron. Maybe he could go into politics. :D That aside, this wasn't offensive to me at all. Much like your current President, people often think I'm Islamic because my middle name is Hussein (yep, like Saddam) but I'm not. I feel sorry for people who mock religions whilst simultaneously don't understand the people that seriously over-react to such cartoons. This was an interesting tale and if anyone gets too offended, then they probably didn't understand the point of the story."

Edward Hussein Davies? That has a nice ring to it. Hehe! Thanks for the honest and thoughtful feedback, my friend. You know what they say about Trump-like people: "There are none so blind as those who will Nazi." You can thank Betty Bowers for that line. :)


message 37: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Edward JOHN Hussein Davies. Two middle names, oh the joy! :D


message 38: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Anne wrote: "Nothing to worry about here, Garrison. I think your approach to the story was very appropriate. You showed how some people use very poor judgement, but in this case, perhaps he learned something from those that stood up to him."

When it comes to Charlie's future, there's definitely a difference in opinion between you and Edward. I appreciate all analyses of this short story, including your kind comments, Anne, so thank you for taking the time to give feedback. :)


message 39: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments I thought he'd learned that there could be repercussions for his actions, but only through fear. He didn't in my opinion learn to embrace other cultures. Just my opinion, though.


message 40: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Edward wrote: "I thought he'd learned that there could be repercussions for his actions, but only through fear. He didn't in my opinion learn to embrace other cultures. Just my opinion, though."

I'm definitely taking that into consideration when the time comes to edit it, which won't be for a while since I have other stories that take priority. There truly is a difference between avoiding consequences and being a good person.


message 41: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments I'm going to try and read everybody's stories tomorrow. These past few days weren't good days to get it done since I've been sleepy as hell. It's hard to get any reading done when your own brain is screaming at you to take a nap and relax. Tomorrow's going to be different. I hope.


message 42: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments Ian, after reading through your short story this week, I have more questions than answers. Unlike the ending scene, these questions won’t come in the form of an interrogation, but they do tickle my curiosity. First question: what exactly was Omar’s crime? Who are the National Heritage Society? Did they just pick him up off the streets for being Middle Eastern? If so, then what was the point of the conversation between the suspect Omar and the Middle Eastern gentleman with the NHS badge? Why did this group of people care so much about the man’s wife? If this story was a long piece, maybe there would be enough room to answer these burning questions. They don’t ALL have to be answered, but I’d like a basic idea of what this story is truly about.

Edward, a progressive thinker like me always likes it when stereotypes are shattered. So thank you for shattering vampire stereotypes and making a story that is believable and romantic at the same time. This right here is true romance: being with the one you love throughout everything whether good, bad, or indifferent. I admired the fact that you made Izzy into an old lady while Ned was still young-looking. Things seemed more real and genuine that way instead of shallow and crude like the Twilight novels you were bashing in the beginning. Thank you for writing this beautiful short story of a lovely, yet heartbreaking evening in Paris. Death is never easy to face, but living life with regrets is even harder. I just have one question about this whole story. If Edward was called Ned and Bella was called Izzy, what does that make Jacob? Jack? Jake? Or we could go for Brazilian flavor and call him Tiago since that’s a form of Jacob. Hehe!

James, I get the feeling that your story is playing off of a medieval legend already in existence, but only because of the references to Paris, Troy, and the conveniently placed knife and apples. If that’s the case, then I’d love to know what the priest was thinking when he told the mother about the baby’s evil future. I’d also be nice to know what exactly goes on in that future that dooms the entire kingdom. Is the baby transforming into a hideous creature? Is he a tyrannical ruler? Will he grow up to manipulate people during his rise to power? These questions could be answered with only a few strategically placed sentences, perhaps near the end so that the dramatic action doesn’t get interrupted with details. Just some thoughts for you should you decide to revise this story.

Anne, this was a lighthearted story in every sense of the word. A couple going on a honeymoon is always a fun topic to write about. However, if I was a character in that story, I wouldn’t have been so hesitant about my parents paying for a vacation to what would eventually be Las Vegas. In my mind, if the gift giver can pay for something without it being a heavy burden on his or her financial situation, there’s nothing to fuss over. Maybe the parents were in a sticky situation, maybe they weren’t. I didn’t get the entirety of that feeling for some reason. But in any event, no matter how it was paid for, I’m still stoked that Greg and Gracie are going to Las Vegas (even if it’s not the original Paris they were hoping for). I’ve never been there myself, but I keep hearing fun stories about it. Bless that Polish mother and her broken English skills. ^_^


message 43: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Garrison wrote: "Ian, after reading through your short story this week, I have more questions than answers. Unlike the ending scene, these questions won’t come in the form of an interrogation, but they do tickle my..."

Hey Garrison. Thanks for the advice. The story is based upon the Illiad and the stories of Trojan War. When I was in school it was required reading, so I guess I thought everyone was familiar with it.
That is one of my weaknesses at times is that I'm a lot like the writers from the 1800's. Back then, most authors referred to the great works or literature or classic stories freely in their works because most everyone who could read back then, had read the classics, as more or less mandatory reading. I sometimes forget that I can't do that these days.


message 44: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9467 comments The same thing happens to me whenever I quote WWE television, which is by no means "classical". Hehe!


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