Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 314 (June 5-13). Stories. Topic: Dark Truth.

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

You have until the 13th of June to post a story and on June 14-17, 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. Only one submission per person is allowed.

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: Dark Truth

*The topic was inspired by Courtney's poem for Week 313.

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

Have fun!

message 2: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments ------

Interesting and fascinating. Great pick, Leslie (and Courtney)!

message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Great pick indeed! It just so happens I have a synopsis ready to go this week! It's for a story called "The Cryomancer" (notice a theme here?) and it goes like this:


Julian Kane, Human Screenwriter
Olivia Snow, Elf Cryomancer

PROMPT CONFORMITY: After being exhausted by his relentless work schedule, Julian’s fried brain doesn’t now what the dark truth is anymore.

SYNOPSIS: Julian’s latest movie script features Olivia as a fictional character as she does battle with an army of orcs. In the middle of writing, Olivia starts talking to Julian as if she was a real person. The exhausted screenwriter figures that it’s just his mind playing tricks on him, but when it starts hailing outside and his apartment becomes unexplainably cold, he begins to think that maybe Olivia’s requests for a lighter battle schedule seem reasonable.

message 4: by Gisele (last edited Jun 06, 2016 07:24AM) (new)

Gisele Walko | 9 comments Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always figured out what was happening after a few moments and pled for their lives and their parents. Not this one. She sat calm, looking out of the window. He told himself that that was fine. That he wasn’t disappointed by her lack of a struggle, or even interest in the situation. Maybe this one would be a good girl. Her light brown skin and head full of tiny black curls reminded him of his own child. The one the bitch took, despite how hard he tried not to think of her that way. Boy, he had tried. Put a pebble in his shoe to remember not to touch her. Had a string tied around his wrist to recall that she was a child and not yet a woman. Used his teeth to draw blood from his tongue when he would start to look at her that way again. Nothing worked.
“What are you girl? Black and white with maybe some oriental thrown in?” He looked back at her pretty face in the rearview mirror. Her eyes scanned right to meet his. Hers seemed unusually dark and perfectly almond shaped. Not just dark brown. Unusually dark. One might say black. It was getting darker out. A trick of the lighting perhaps. A small smile quirked the corner of her full lips. For a moment he had thought maybe she had not spoken to him or cried because she was autistic or mentally handicapped, but no. She responded just fine to the sound of his voice. Diverting her attention from the trees and skyline at the sound of his baritone voice. His first thought about the girl had been that she was a beautiful mulatto doll, that looked so similar to his own child. One of his later thoughts about the girl had been: Who the hell let’s an autistic toddler go alone to a bathroom at a movie theater on a Saturday night. Feeling emboldened and desperate for contact with the girl, he had just claimed her wrist and dragged her out of the rear door. He and the child were the only two people in the area. It was meant to be.
“You are such a good girl. Keep that up, you’ll be mine forever. I’ll buy you McDonald’s every night. A puppy on Christmas. Maybe one day we can even find you a brother.” Another small grateful smile. His penis responded, but he remembered this time. She was just a child. An alert, but possibly mute child.
“We’re home princess.” He said as they neared the tiny secluded cabin. I’ll come unbuckle you and show you around your new home.
He opened her door enthusiastically and unfastened the restrictive barrier between them. She felt cold and stiff in his arms, but she was light. A thin girl. He held her tight, and smelled her coconut scented hair. Unlike the others, who had met their end in his cabin, this one seemed to come from money. Smelled like heaven. Wore an expensive looking dress with shiny black Mary Janes. An honest to God, doll. He’d practice restraint. He wouldn’t touch her tonight. He’d draw out their encounter.
He gasped. Sharp pain unlike any he’d ever felt. Had he lost his footing? Fallen and banged his head on the hard earth. He was now looking at a starry sky. Head throbbing, and in his neck? A knife? The little bitch had stabbed him! Had a weapon the whole time! Who gives a toddler a knife? She couldn’t be more than five. Savages. Then he saw her face. A monster. Almond shaped black eyes. Whites, irises and pupils all completely black. Skin gone a shade paler, and those fangs! Sharp elongated thick tusks really. Dripping with blood. His blood. He weakly moved his hand to his throat to find the crimson liquid still flowing, and that face. The face of the devil would be the last one he sees.
He was not the first she had taken, but his lust and broken mind made him the easiest by far. He was the first she had taken without the assistance of her parents. A black human woman from Louisiana, and a 214 year old white and Japanese vampire from California.

message 5: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments I think one of the stories I started last week would fit this topic really well. Maybe I'll try to finish it this week!

message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 06, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough year. Daddy had lost his job at the factory almost six months before; he was still having trouble finding work. The arguments I heard late at night, lying in bed, my stomach grumbling, stuck in my head.

“You need to get up off the couch and do something, Alden.” Mom would beg. “The kids need shoes. There’s barely any food in the fridge. I can’t take care of all six of us by myself.”

Other than a grunting sound, I never heard a real response from the man. I loved my Dad because, well, because he was my Dad but I grew to hate him at the same time. How could he just sit there like a big lump of nothing, day after day? Didn’t he care about us; about what happened to us?

I tugged on my little brother’s hand, pulling him back into the line. “Josiah, behave. Remember, Mommy said we’d go for ice cream after the bank if we all behaved?” I knew it was a lie but he didn’t; neither did the twins.

Declan started to cry. Cora’s arms flailed as she tried to extricate herself from the stroller. Mom shushed and cooed, waiting patiently.

I wondered. How could she be so calm? Why wasn’t she crying? Yelling? Screaming? She had struggled so much; tried so hard. I had watched. I had prayed but I guess God got tired of listening because He never answered.

Yesterday Mom told me the truth. “This is my last check.” She had held up the piece of paper.” The diner closed down. The owner is an old man now and he’s retiring. Business wasn’t so good anyway. He could’ve let me go a long time ago but I’ve been there fifteen years. He had pity on me.”

I stared up into her bloodshot eyes, trying to think of something to say.

“I know you’ve noticed, Ella, but things aren’t going so well around here and now …” She turned her back and looked out the window. “Things are gonna get worse.”

I nodded my head even though she couldn’t see it.

“We got an eviction notice. The landlord wants us out by the end of the month.”

Out at the end of the month? The end of the month was in just ten days.

“Can’t you pay him with that last check?”

She turned and patted my cheek. “Oh, honey, how I wish I could. How I wish that would make everything all better. We’re three months behind in our rent and when we were paying we were always late. The electricity’s gonna be cut off in a couple of days too.”

I stood in silence for a moment. “Don’t worry Mom, you’ll get another job. Daddy will too.”

She smiled and tucked a long errant strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re so brave, Ella.” Clasping my shoulders, Mom squeezed tight. “No matter what, you stay brave, you hear?”

I nodded again.

“Promise me.”

“I promise.”

Looking around the room I saw men in business suits, women in pretty dresses, hair coiffed and curled. Professional painted-on smiles soon melted into looks of terror.

I pivoted on my heel to find a person in the doorway dressed in dark clothing. Black slacks, a black turtleneck and a black ski mask. He was pointing a big black gun at the security guard.

Mom gasped and shoved me and Josiah to the floor. All the others in the room hit the hard tile as well.

The man weaved through the conglomeration of people, walking straight to the teller counter. Without a word he stuck a gunny sack in the young girl’s direction.

My throat began to close, my palms moistened. I could barely breathe.

She filled the sack with cash. Piles and piles of cash. If she slowed, just for an instant, he waved the big black gun under her nose. Her echoing whimpers reverberated off the walls.

When his desire for cash was satiated, the darkly dressed man cinched the sack and threw it over his left shoulder. I watched as he stepped over a trembling woman. I watched as he stepped over a gray-headed man, a wooden cane at his side.

He was coming closer. Closer. Closer.

I squeezed my eyes shut. Tight.

Mom’s hand was atop my own. She clinched my fingers and then the pressure ceased.

I opened my eyes again. Mom was standing, the dark man clutching her elbow. My eyes shut quickly again as I braced myself for the gunshot blast.

But, no gunshot ever came.

Murmurs filtered throughout the bank.

The twins started to cry again.

“Ella, Ella, where’s Mommy? Where did she go?” Josiah hollered.

My head was spinning. What? What had just happened?

“Why was Daddy dressed like that and what was he doing with my toy gun?”

The dark truth hit me in the chest with, ironically, a gunshot force. My parents had set this up. Both Mom and Dad. Steal money from the bank and escape into a potentially better life, leaving their four children behind. Leaving them to the system, to foster homes, to people who were better equipped.

I didn’t know whether to smile or cry.

message 7: by James (last edited Jun 06, 2016 08:28PM) (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Hello everyone, this story went a little far from where I initially planned but I think it might make a good opening for a longer book. I'd love to get any feedback on whether it sounds promising or not. Thanks!

Title: Harbinger of the New Age
Author: James J Meadows III
Rating: PG
Words: 2800

Even the darkest tale of depravity, corruption, and power begins somewhere. Mine, I suppose, began as I crossed the hallway to my seventh grade reading class.

“Hey!” I shouted, as my books were batted from my hands and scattered across the crowded hallway.

“Oops, sorry,” snickered a large, robust black-haired boy holding a soda in this hand.

His name was Broderick. He and the three friends flanking him were four of the school’s best athletes, biggest bullies, and most arrogant jerks. Not that they were alone in most of those traits. Since moving to Huntington, I had gotten the rather distinct impression that the last two categories covered about 90% of the students, all of whom could get away with it if they happened to fall into the first category.

I, on the other hand, being one of the shortest and scrawniest kids in the entire class, only about four and a half-feet tall, was far from falling into any of those categories. As such, I was a perfect target to be picked on by all of those who did.

Intent upon not giving them additional reasons or opportunities to abuse me and eager to get to my next class, I bent down to collect my books, which were being not-so-helpfully, kicked around by the passers-by rushing back and forth down the hall. No sooner did my hand touch the first book, then my efforts were awarded by a large spray of coke splattering across the back of my shirt, showering my head and neck.

“Oops,” Broderick snickered again, to the guffaws of his entourage. “Someone bumped into me.”

I tried not to let my anger show on my face. That was exactly what they wanted: to see me react and get upset at their childish antics. Still, I found myself unable to resist the natural urge to shoot a dirty look at them while they laughed. This only caused them to laugh harder. I was about to look away when Broderick’s cell phone rang. A surprised look passed over Broderick’s face.

“I thought I turned the volume off,” he muttered, yanking the phone from his pocket. I saw him swipe the phone, most likely entering his unlock pattern, and press a button with the words, “Some stupid text.”

There was a brief pause. I didn’t know what he was reading. What I did know was I had never seen the color drain from someone’s face so quickly in my life. His jaw dropped, his eyes went wide, and I saw him start glancing back and forth down the hallway, as though trying to spot something. What he could be hoping to see amid the ocean of people swarming past was beyond my guess, and from the lost look on his face, he obviously didn’t see it.

His friends were looking at him puzzled. He just shook his head, staring back at the phone with a look of abject terror. Slowly, he lowered the phone and slid it back into his pocket, looking both nervous and uncomfortable.

“Here, let me help you pick up your books,” he said in a dazed voice, very foreign to his usual manner.

Broderick’s friends stared at him in utter disbelief as he bent down and picked up the books. Soon, he and I had collected all of my materials. He even extended a hand to help me off the floor, offering to get me napkins for my hair and face, the latter of which I declined.

Without another word or look at me, he darted off toward his next class, his puzzled friends following, demanding to know what had just happened. I stared after them, equally perplexed.

“You alright?” I heard a voice behind me ask.

I turned to find myself face-to-face with a young woman I had never met before. She was short, about my own height and very skinny, to the point of looking emaciated. She wore thick glasses and had a severe case of acme, which blended with the divots and freckles already lining her face. If this wasn’t enough to make her stand out, she was wearing a baseball cap, without the slightest hair visible underneath, only smooth skin extending up the length of her head and neck, like the cancer patients one sees on TV.

More important, though, she had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Just as beautiful, were her eyes. The emerald green orbs sparkled in the light filling the hallway, leaving me breathless as I gazed back into them. For a moment, I just stared at her, completely lost for words. Finally, I managed an embarrassed.

“Yes, thank you for asking.”

She continued smiling at me.

“I don’t think we’ve met before,” she said. “My name is Clarise, though most people tend to call me Claire.”

“I’m Scott,” I said.

“Nice to meet you,” she replied. “I just moved here last weekend, but I’ve seen you walking on the way to school in the morning. Someone said you are new here too!”

“I am,” I said. “Apparently, that gives people a free right to pick on me, although I’m still a bit confused on why Broderick acted the way he did at the end.”

“He did it because of me,” she said. I looked at her surprised. She was still smiling at me. “I sent him a text on his phone warning him that he better be nice to you or else…well, let’s just say…I made it clear he’d regret it.”

I wanted to laugh at the idea of a skinny young girl intimidating a big jerk like Broderick. The way she said the words, though, made it clear, they weren’t a joke.

“Why would he be afraid of you?” I asked.

“Oh, he didn’t know it was me,” she said. “I just made the message pop-up on his phone, and I turned the volume on to max so he’d hear it.”

“How did you do that?” I asked, intrigued.

“Easy,” she said. “He left his Bluetooth on. I used an app on my phone to find his signal and was able to connect to it. I imagine the pure randomness of receiving an unknown message like that and having someone mess with his phone was enough to throw him off.”

“That is pretty cool,” I said.

And I meant it. I am something of a nerd when it comes to technology and this trick was something I had never heard of before. She seemed flattered by my interest.

“I can show you how I did it,” she said, excitement evident in her voice.

At that moment, the warning bell sounded, signaling one minute until the start of class. Claire looked around in alarm. The hall was practically empty.

“Oh no, we better go,” she said. “Hey, want to meet at lunch?”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll spot for you!”

“Great, see you then,” she flashed me another smile, turned and darted down the hall.

When lunch came, I spotted her sitting in the back corner of the cafeteria, several seats away from everyone, except for another boy and girl seated with her. She spotted me as I entered and waved excitedly at me, her face beaming.

Sack lunch in hand, I crossed the cafeteria toward the group. She signaled for me to take the chair next to her, which I did gladly, once again finding myself admiring the beauty of her smile.

I recognized the two other kids in her group. The overweight and somewhat geeky-looking boy, as if I had a lot of room to talk, was Roger. The girl, a rather shy brunette, with a bit of an underbite, which had messed up some of her teeth such that a few were pointed at odd angels and others had large gaps between them, was Samantha. Both of them were a lot like me, kids that were teased more often than not by the bigger and more popular clichés at the school.

Taking a seat, I joined the conversation, discussing various things such as what to do in town, favorite movies, and recent homework. As lunch dragged on, however, the talk turned toward more sober topics.

“I know I’m new here but I think I’m pretty safe in saying, from what I’ve seen so far, that something needs to be done about the problems of bullying inside this school,” she said. “I mean, look around. Look at the way so many of the people here are treated. The popular kids and the jocks bully around anyone they choose, pick on whomever they want, and treat anyone below them as scum. And, because they’re cool or great athletes, the teachers and administrators turn a blind eye. Am I right?”

“Well, yes,” said Samantha. Her voice was rather high pitched, which I supposed explained why so many people called her ‘Squeakers’ - I only wished I could say they did so behind her back. “Unfortunately, there isn’t much anyone can do about it.”

“Actually, there is,” Claire said. “If you’ll help me, I can show you how to protect yourselves and all the other kids like you from the bullies.”

“You mean like stand up and fight back?” Roger asked. “No offense, but they are all a lot bigger than us, and I’ve already gotten my face shoved in enough toilets for not doing something they tell me. I’m not eager to invite it.”

“I don’t mean physical force,” Claire said. “I mean, handle them like I handled them today when they were picking on you, or you, or you!”

She pointed at each of us in turn.

“One doesn’t need to use muscles when they can use technology,” she explained. “Look around, the age of brute force is over. There is a new age coming, and it won’t be ruled by people like them. It will be ruled by people like us!”

She paused for a moment. We all stared at her, somewhat caught off-guard by the direction this conversation was taking, yet at the same time somewhat inspired by her enthusiasm, which was quite a contrast to the drab and hopeless experience of our school year so far.

“Look, I know I probably sound nuts,” she said. “And I know what I’m saying may be ridiculous on the face of things. But this is a new day. The Bible says, ‘the meek will inherit the earth’ and, I’m here to tell you: that time is now. Technology is opening a new world and those who cling to the old one will be destroyed with it. I’m not trying to be all dark and forbidding, but the truth is: the world is changing. The strong, the athletic, the good-looking, the popular, all who rely upon their little games to get ahead are going to fall by the wayside. It is people who know the secrets of technology who will rule the world.”

“Think about it,” she continued. “In the old days, assassins had to infiltrate places with their guns and find ways to kill their victims. Just last month, a politician was assassinated when a hacker took control of their car over its wifi connection and drove them off a bridge. Then, there was the recent death at a hospital where an attacker killed someone by hacking into their medicine dispensing device to administer an overdose.”

“Wait a minute,” Samantha said. “I will not be involved in killing someone!”

“I’m not asking you to kill anyone,” Claire said. “Sorry, that speech came out all wrong. I’m just trying to say…all I mean, is that we’ve entered an age where wealth, physical fitness, popularity or good looks are no longer the source to power. Knowledge is the new power. And, with it, we can defend ourselves, our friends, and the others at the school, who are just like us, from having to be bullied, beaten, and mistreated. I can teach you tricks that will allow you to protect yourselves the way I protected you from the people who were picking on you earlier. We can be a team.”

“Like the Avengers?” Roger asked. “You mean like heroes using technology to defend people from bad guys and bullies?”

“Exactly,” Claire said. “What do you think?”

“I like the idea,” said Roger. “It would be pretty cool to be a hero and defeat the bullies.”

“Great,” Claire beamed. She turned toward me and Samantha.

(to be cont...)

message 8: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments (cont...)

“I don’t know,” Samantha said. “I really don’t want to be part of something illegal.”

“You’re saving yourself and other kids from years of being treated like dirt scum,” Claire argued. “Isn’t making the world a better place worth a few risks? Think of how many kids commit suicide each year as a result of being bullied! Wouldn’t it be worth it to know you might be saving a life?”

“Maybe,” Samantha replied uncertain. “I don’t know. Let me think about it. I’m gonna go get a snack from the machine. Anyone want anything?”

No one else did. She got up and left the table, leaving her tray behind.

“What about you, Scott?” Claire asked. “I can show all of the cool things you can do with technology. I know we’re both new here. This is a chance for us to hang out together, get to know each other, and maybe make some new friends like Roger here.”

The thought was tempting. True, I didn’t really want to be involved in anything illegal, but I did like the idea of actually having friends, for a change, and maybe making a positive difference in the school. Truth be told, though, I think the idea of hanging out with her and getting to spend more time gazing into those eyes appealed to me the most.

“Well, I mean, yeah, I’ll give it a try,” I said. “I mean, we can see where things go. I’m always up for learning new things.”

“Good, I’m glad,” she said.

She rested her hand on mine for the briefest moment, giving me a smile, before pulling it back with a nervous gesture, as though she felt she had done something wrong. Thankfully, the awkwardness of the moment was broken by a loud crash. We looked up to see Samantha fall on the floor about halfway down the tables, a bag of chips slipping from her hand and sliding a short distance away.

Cruel laughter rang out from everywhere across the cafeteria. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that someone had intentionally tripped her. Now the crowd was enjoying the moment. One of the boys rose from his chair.

“Are you alright?” He asked, in a not very genuine sounding voice. “Here let me give you a hand up.”

He took a step toward her, his large foot coming down directly on top of the bag of chips, which crunched and exploded, sending shattered pieces of Lays across the floor.

“Oops,” the boy said, with a nasty laugh. “Here, let me get them for you.”

Samantha had picked herself off the ground, looking furious. The boy handed her the crunched bag of chips with a smirk. She snatched them from his hands, marching away at a brisk pace while everyone behind her laughed. She reached our spot at the table, slammed down the chips and leaned over the table at us, her eyes blazing.

“I’m in,” she said. “And I want them to be the first people we fix!”

“You got it,” Claire said, her smile taking on a more malicious tone as I watched her eyes drift toward the crowd, still laughing at their prank.

About that moment, the bell rang and everyone began collecting their stuff to go to class.

“Let’s meet here tomorrow and we can start discussing our next move,” Claire said.

Everyone agreed to this plan and we all grabbed our stuff. Roger and Samantha continued toward their classes but Claire grabbed my arm.

“Hey, I wanted to ask you a question,” she said. I noticed she was blushing slightly and she seemed a touch nervous. “I was wondering…I mean, it’s okay if you don’t…if you do, though…I mean, want to meet after school and walk home together.”

She fidgeted slightly from her nerves and her smile wavered momentarily as she gazed anxiously into my face. I smiled.

“I would like that very much,” I said.

Her face broke into a relieved grin.

“Great!” She said excitedly. “See you after school.”

She blushed, looking away, then turned and hurried from the hall, looking back only briefly to give me a small, nervous wave. I watched her go then started toward my class.

For the rest of the day, I found myself thinking of her non-stop, so much so I could hardly concentrate in class. Yet I also found myself thinking about the statements she made, regarding the new age and how the world was changing. There was something dark about the prophesy, though its full impact didn’t strike me at the time. It would, though. Soon, I would understand it only too well.

message 9: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Gisele wrote: "Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always figured out what w..."

That was an interesting story! I thought you did a nice job of showing the disjointed thoughts and weak mental state of the deranged man. You also had me curious to see what type of creature the girl would turn out to be.
Thanks for sharing with us!

message 10: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Melissa wrote: "Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough year. Daddy had los..."

The story was really well done. You hint that something is up when the mother tells her daughter to "stay strong" and makes her promise that she will. At first, I thought CPS was going to come for them, but when the robbery started taking place, I had a suspicion what was going on. It was very well done, however, so I still wasn't sure until the very end.
Thanks for sharing!

message 11: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 39 comments I haven't posted in a while. My story hopefully will be out tomorrow.

message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Gisele wrote: "Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always figured out what w..."

I enjoyed your story, Gisele, especially the unexpected twist at the end!

message 13: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Melissa wrote: "Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough year. Daddy had los..."

Wow, Melissa! This is some story! Surprising, touchingly sad - I really ached for the kids, especially the narrator. Well done.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

James wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough yea..."

Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed my story. I really liked your story as well. I think it would be worth it to continue as I would like to find out what happens. You had me sucked in front the very first few lines. You dialogue was extremely well done too. Great job!

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Melissa wrote: "Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough yea..."

Thank you, Anne! I am glad that I can provoke some emotion with this one. Sometimes parents can make wrong decisions but those wrong decisions, in the long run can benefit their children and produce a better life. At least that's what I was trying to portray anyway.

message 16: by Trinity (last edited Jun 08, 2016 03:33PM) (new)

Trinity | 39 comments Author: Trinity T
Title: Audition
Word Count: 1271 (Around that)
Doors burst open, and students pour out, like little ants. Groups are congregating into clumps, and are chatting up storms. Loners are pulling up their headphones, and block out the world. But one particular person is hastily gathering her papers together, and trying to leave the buzz of the hallway. Marissa Bounder is bumping into people left, and right in the cramned hallway. The world seems to be moving in slow motion, as Marissa is speedily trying to escape it.
She grabs for her last binder, and heaves it into her backpack, with a shove. Satisfied Marissa slams her locker shut and awkwardly disturbs the rhythm of the cycle. As she passes people and clumsily knocking over people’s books, and papers most every-one she sees gives her a thumbs up, or a wave. Some even reach out to her saying;
“Good luck at the auditions,” Marissa waves them off with a smug smile. Audition. The word had brought so many hopes and fears to Marissa. She’d been counting down the minutes til she would sing her heart’s content out in front of her competitors, and her judges.
When Marissa reach the auditorium she placed her back down, and sat down in the middle. About twenty other people were worriedly scattered about. She scoffed at them, and smoothed out her skirt. Today was her day, and she knew it, every-one knew it. People she knew and didn’t know would talk about her, and her singing voice. Marissa had the voice of an angel, and wasn’t afraid to show it.
5 judges sat in a row, all with cross faces, and clipboards. The first auditioneer appeared on stage, and the judges dove into ridiculous questions, as though she was to be interviewed for a job. Finally, beaten down the timid girl walked up to the microphone. She began to sing. At first her ordinary voice seemed to burst into life, like a dance, but then slowly the judges would mark her off, and thank her for her time.
Marissa could tell when the judges disapproved, just by the way they held their pens, and pencils. She smirked to herself. Maybe this’ll be easier then I anticipated. She thought mischievously.
“You know Ella?” A hushed voice echoed into Marissa’s ear, “Yeah well her Mom’s judging it’s so unfair,” another voice spoke up.
“You’re just jealous because you don’t have a chance,” the voice giggles slightly.
“No I am not, Her Mom is a perfectionist, Ella will make the cut just wait,” Marissa rolls her eyes at this comment. Actually sweetie I’ll be making the cut. Piss off.
Slowly students go onto stage, get slathered in pointless questions, sing a tune or two, and leave. The boy in front of Marissa stands up, with his chest puffed. His dark curly hair bobs up and down, as he saunters to the stage. When he finally starts to sing, it’s more like a booming voice screaming at them. Marissa plugs her ears, and cringes as he continues. When Marissa opens her eyes, and unplugs her ringing ears, the boy is gone. Her stomach ties in a knot, and she stands up. Left and right people point, as she makes her way to the stage. The judges loom before her.
“Name, Grade,” The man on the left looks up from his notes.
“Marissa Bounder, and I’m a Freshman,” she flicks her hair back.
“What role are you auditioning for honey?” a tall woman with jet black hair smiles at her, Marissa liked the sing-song way she talked.
“The lead,” In all honesty the confident freshman hadn’t any idea of what the production was about, only that it was a musical.
“Ahh you want to be the girl or the boy? Of course you know they’re two lead roles no?” this had to be Ella’s Mom. She was thinner than paper, her green eyes darted into Marissa’s own. She looked high-strung, and overly-cautious. Than Marissa was bombarded with a million questions concerning her schedule, and talents in the art.
“Alright Miss Marissa you may sing ‘Peace’ by Corina Harklen,” the man cued her with his pen. She stepped out towards the end of the stage, light blinded her as she neared the microphone. Suddenly music began to play, and Marissa closed her eyes, and breathed.
Focus. Focus. Focus. Focus.
She opened her eyes, and a heavenly, harmonic honey glazed sound filled the auditorium. Words poured freely off her lips, her voice modulated the judges ears, bringing a grin to the tall jet black haired woman. Marissa couldn’t hold back a smile, her melodic powerful voice hit the hearts of so many.
Bridge. Bridge. Up next; the bridge.
Marissa had prepared, and conditioned her voice for the bridge, her voice would need to escalate to extreme high-pitched heights for her to pull it off. When it came time no-one was let down, her voice seemed to pour into their ears, just getting higher, and higher. She glanced over at the judges, they frantically scribbled away.
The music died down al well as Marissa’s angelic voice.
“Peace, to meeeeeeeeee,” she ended. An uproar so mighty caught the young singer off guard, students cheered a grand cheer, and a goofy uncontainable smile appeared on Marissa’s rosie cheeks. Even the judges gave her a hand, save for Ella’s Mom who looked royally ticked off. The kind judge with dark hair rushed up to her and shook her hand. Marissa found a business card in her own.
She dashed off stage delighted, and squealed. The audition had gone better than she had expected. She sat back down and was showered in praise, and amazement. When she looked up, Ella was about to sing. At first she sounded nasally, but soon when the beat picked up so did she. Her voice sounded good, but couldn’t compare to Marissa’s. When she ended Marissa could have sworn her Mom clapped once, but backed off when no-one else joined in.
Mrs. Realand sat at her computer with her e-mail pulled up. She counted up the tally’s, and votes for the audition. Many people got what they asked for. Starting with the smaller roles, Mrs. Realand punched in names, and numbers. Her fingers twiddled away, and she finally got to the lead roles. She paused a moment, staring at her cursor on the screen. Marissa had won it with four votes for her. Mrs. Realand voted for her daughter with high hopes. But Ella simply didn’t have it in her to compete with Marissa, even her mother knew that.
The woman typed: Lead role girl (Veronica Coby): Ella Realand Lead role boy (Silvester Myrr): Antonio Blake
As quickly as she could she hit send and shut of the computer. She knew it was wrong, her stomach tightened at the thought of Marissa’s disappointment. But soon her worries seized as she thought of how delighted her little Ella would be. Even if it wasn’t the truth
The next morning twenty or so hopeful students logged onto their e-mails. Some were angry, and perplexed, others seemed to be on cloud 9. Marissa typed in her password and punched enter. She clenched her teeth as she scrolled through the newest message.
Lead role girl (Veronica Coby): Ella Realand the words hit her in the heart, like a million needles, puncturing her. She had been so confident that she’d make it, now she was furious. She banged her head against the table. Her body was an explosive time bomb, lava boiling inside her. But deep inside she knew that what lay on her screen was the truth, and it was the dark truth.

message 17: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments -----------------
Maybe I will post early this time.

Here's to hoping....!!!!!


message 18: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments Trinity wrote: "Author: Trinity T
Title: Audition
Word Count: 1271 (Around that)
Doors burst open, and students pour out, like little ants. Groups are congregating into clumps, and are chatting up storms. Loners ..."

This was a fun read. There were a few issues with shifting tense (going from present to past and back again) but the story itself was very enjoyable. I feel bad for Marissa at the end (especially since I have been in that position myself). Thanks for sharing the story with us!

message 19: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 39 comments James wrote: "Trinity wrote: "Author: Trinity T
Title: Audition
Word Count: 1271 (Around that)
Doors burst open, and students pour out, like little ants. Groups are congregating into clumps, and are chatting up..."

Thanks for the feed back about the tenses, I do struggle with that as I like to write in first person.

message 20: by James (new)

James Meadows | 146 comments A wrote:

A, why did you remove the "Muse" story.

message 21: by Gisele (new)

Gisele Walko | 9 comments Anne wrote: "Gisele wrote: "Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always fig..."

Thank you so much Anne.

message 22: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Look Into My Eyes (3) The Scarlet Slate Road
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 1582
Rating : PG

Kate Travers shook her head, looking around at her new surroundings. The mirrored entryway had vanished behind her, and she couldn’t see her half-brother Damian anywhere. She looked up at the sky, which was a reddish-pink in colour, then looked down at the ground she was sat on. It looked like grass, but it was a very dark violet colour. She was in a clearing surrounded by trees, and even the trees didn’t look quite right.

Kate stood up, shaking her head again, trying to rid herself of the headache that was brewing. It felt like she was being bombarded by the thoughts of millions of people all at the same time and for once she couldn’t hold them back.

She began to walk towards the trees and into a forest of sorts. She could hear what the assumed were birds chirping, and through the trees she could see the light of a strange sun.

This definitely wasn’t her world anymore.

Trudging further into the woods, Kate couldn’t help noticing that the pain in her head was subsiding, but so were the sounds of tweeting birds and humming insects. Looking around, Kate could feel the trees closing in on her, and she began to run.

“Don’t run.”

A voice spoke in her head. Kate came to a complete stop, looking around her, “Who is that?” she asked, “What do you want?”

“We need your help,” the voice spoke again, “the Evil King needs to be stopped. He is taking out land from us.”

Evil King? Kate didn’t like the sound of that, but she decided to play along with the voice for now.

“What can I do to help?” she asked.

“You need to go to his castle and find a way to stop him from moving us from our homes,” the voice spoke again, “You must follow the Scarlet Slate Road.”

“Scarlet Slate Road -- are you kidding with me right now?”

The voice didn’t reply.

As Kate thought how crazy this whole world was, she noticed something glowing beneath her feet. The violet grass was parting before her and a red walkway was materializing.

“This is silly,” Kate shook her hand, “like a cross between Wonderland and Oz.”

Seeing that there wasn’t much else she could do, and hoping that perhaps this Evil King had a means of getting her home, Kate began to walk along the path and further into the woods.

After about twenty minutes, Kate came across an open field, full of large black birds. They must have been the size of a large dog, and some of them started to swoop towards her.

Kate screamed out, raising her hands above her head as the birds swooped close by, then she heard another different voice.

“It’s okay,” the voice spoke, “we’re here to help.”

Kate looked at the black birds, the closest of which came in to land in front of her, “We can take you to the Evil King,” the black bird said, “The road comes to an end soon but we can take you the rest of the way.”

Kate wasn’t sure if she could trust these birds, but what did she really have to lose? If all else failed she might be able to strike up some kind of a deal with the Evil King – perhaps he wasn’t even evil, or a king.

The large black bird landed beside Kate and spread its wings, proving itself to be even bigger than she’d imagined.

“Climb on my back,” the black bird said, and Kate quickly agreed to do so, climbing between the birds wings and its neck. She wrapped her arms around the bird’s thick neck, and the bird quickly took off into the sky.

The view from the air was both curious and breathtaking, as Kate found herself travelling faster than she ever dreamed. Below she could see mile after mile of open land, where entire villages appeared to have been recently vacated. The constant fear that she might fall contradicted her other thought that she wanted the bird to climb even higher, and after a five minute journey the bird came in to land in the courtyard of a large castle.

“This is where the Evil King lives,” the black bird spoke again in Kate’s head, “I must fly’ if he catches me here he will have me cooked for his supper.”

“How do I get out of the castle once I’ve dealt with the king?” she asked, “and what exactly am I supposed to be doing? Do you expect me to kill him? Talk to him? What?”

But the bird was gone.

Kate looked around the enclosed courtyard, wondering what she should do next. She’d hoped that finding this so-called Evil King might find her a way out of this weird place, but so far it seemed to have sent her further in and further from home.

“So you finally got here, then?”

Kate looked around, trying to figure out where the voice had come from. It seemed to have been projected into her head again, and the voice sounded oddly familiar.

“Who is that?” Kate asked out loud, “Show yourself.”

“Honestly,” the voice spoke again, but this time Kate hears it with her ears, “you’d think you’d recognise the voice of your own dear brother.”

Kate soon round to see a man in metal armour and a long cloak walking down a flight of stairs towards her. He smiled as he drew close, and Kate widened her eyes in recognition.


It was indeed Damian, yet he seemed much older. His hair was thin and grey beneath a tainted golden crown. His eyes, though sunken, were every bit as clever and cunning as they’d ever been, and the skin around his mouth crinkled and folded over itself as his face broke into a smile.

“That’s right, sister,” he spoke, “and I must say the years have been far kinder to you than they have to myself. You must teach me your trick someday.”

“Years?” Kate shook her head, “You’ve been gone less than an hour.”

Damian sighed, “Perhaps for you,” he told Kate, “but for me it has been a little over four decades since last I saw you.”

Kate couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Four decades? Forty years? No wonder he looked so old!

“What happened?” Kate asked, flabbergasted, “Why did so much time pass?”

Damian shrugged, “The best I can guess from years of trying to find out is that, simply put, time moves differently on this side of the mirror. A second in our world is a year or two here. I guess you took your time deciding whether or not to risk the whirlwinds in the Grand Wizards house.”

“I guess,” admitted Kate.

“So, what happens now?” Damian asked, crossing his arms, “Have the local wildlife been filling your head with the awful dark truth that I’m a tyrannical madman who has enslaved this land for my own ends?”

“They said you have to be stopped,” Kate admitted.

“And how, pray, did they suggest you do that?”

“They didn’t,” Kate shrugged, “they seem to think I can figure that one out for myself.”

“So, are you going to kill me?” Damian asked, “Because if you are, there’s something you should probably know first.”

Kate’s expression took on a puzzled caste as Damian led her into the castle. They came upon a locked room, and Damian reached under his cloak, producing a key which he hastily fitted into the lock and turned. The door creaked open slowly, and Kate looked past Damian and inside.

There was very little in the room, save for a large mirror which stood in the centre. Kate stared at the mirror, which didn’t produce a reflection but instead looked upon another world.

Her world.

“What happened?” Kate asked, “What happened to our world?”

“The whirlwinds happened,” Damian told her, “they destroyed everything, sucking the very fabric of our reality into this weird place.”

But that doesn’t make sense,” Kate said, “if that happened, then where is everything?”

“For us, here, it hasn’t happened yet,” Damian explained, “I know, it takes some very complicated thinking to get your head round it. Like time moving faster on this side, the resultant devastation hasn’t all come through the mirrors yet. Less than a minute between you and I passing through was almost half a century over here – believe me, the destruction will come through eventually, and I’ve been trying to prevent too much damage already.”


“There were corpses littering the place when I first came through,” Damian explained, “all of the Grand Wizard’s followers that died before us, some of them nothing but bone. I’ve been tracking where the worst damage will be and forcing those living there to move away.”

Kate shook her head, “But they called you the Evil King.”

“Because I’ve been forcing people from their land in preparation for the onslaught,” Damian explained, “I thought that coming across as evil and forcing people off their land would be far more effective than simply asking. A little mind control goes a long way, too.”

“So you’re not evil?” Kate asked.

“Not anymore,” Damian smiled, “I’ve turned over a new leaf to prevent the destruction that my thoughtlessness brought on our world. Perhaps...” Damian paused, “Perhaps you could help?”

He held out his hand to his sister, who took it firmly in her own.

Kate smiled, “I’d be glad to,” she said.

message 23: by Angie (last edited Jun 13, 2016 03:05PM) (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Title: Prince Charming
Author: Angie Pangan
Words: 2,190
Feedback always welcome. Trigger warning: rape and child abuse.

Part 1 of 2

The dingy motel bathtub felt like a tomb closing in around Eloise, suffocating her slowly. It took all of her concentration to keep breathing as she watched the blood swirl endlessly into the drain. God, there was so much of it. Why was there always so much of it? Even though this wasn’t the first time, she felt a stab of fear that after all she’d gone through to survive she would bleed to death, naked and lone in the grimy bathroom of a seedy hotel. Breathe, she thought. Just keep breathing. The hot water had long run out, but the cold water that washed over her bare skin was strangely calming, like it could numb her to what had happened, what she had had to do. She counted the bruises on her arms, legs, and ribs to distract her mind. When the injuries became too painful to relive, she counted the cracks in the plaster ceiling and faux-porcelain tiles surrounding the tub.

Finally gathering the strength to climb out of the tub, she recoiled in disgust as her foot came in contact with the bloody coat hanger she had discarded on the floor. More than anything, she just wanted to throw the vile piece of evidence away. But there was no way to dispose of it so that it would go unnoticed. Ray would ask questions. And she didn’t want to have to face his anger when she refused to answer them. Or his rage if he knew the truth.

So she took a deep breath and scrubbed the metal hanger until her hands were raw, until all traces of her blood were washed away. Glancing at the wall clock she’d brought into the bathroom with her, Eloise felt a stab of panic. 5:30 pm. Ray could come back at any moment. She needed to hurry.

Having now successfully performed three abortions on herself, her body knew the routine for cleanup. In the fleeting moments when her sanity returned to her, despite the mounting horror she felt, Eloise admired her handy work. No traces of blood could be seen. With all of her experience, she could probably clean up a murder scene without any concern. Maybe one day, she could strangle Ray in his sleep and finally be free of him.

But she knew she wouldn’t.

She needed him. After more than fifteen years, the people who’d murdered her parents might still be after her. Ray had saved her on that nightmarish night, so long ago, when she’d suddenly become an orphan. Regardless of how horrible he could be, she owed him. And she always would. Surely, her body, her dignity, even her virginity, were a small price to pay for her life? For all he had done on her behalf? He’d basically devoted her life to keeping her safe, to making sure her parents’ killers never found her.

Eloise could still remember jerking awake up in the dead of night, eight years old, a scream perched on her lips as a firm hand closed over her mouth. Ray had stood over her princess-castle bed, a finger to his lips. “Shhh…” he’d whispered. His American accent had been jarring. What was he doing in Paris? “You must be very quiet. Russian spies have murdered your parents, and if we do not hurry, they will come for you, too.”

“Qui êtes-vous?” her child’s voice had whimpered. When he didn’t respond, she asked again in in broken English. “What——who you are—are you?”

“I am friend of your parents. An ambassador like them. I worked with them at the embassy. They received warning that they were in danger, and they called me to help take you somewhere safe, separate from them and away from danger. But I came too late to save them, and for that I am very sorry. But I must keep my promise to them and get you to safety. Please come with me.”

Shell-shocked, she could do nothing but obey.

“You must be quiet, Eloise,” he had said emphatically. “They cannot know we are up here.”

They’d escaped out of her window, slipped down the fire escape, and fled into a waiting car, where she had finally burst into tears and watched as her childhood disappeared through the rear window.

The months following her parents’ deaths had been a blur as they had moved from hotel to hotel, boarding trains and making circuitous connections until they were many miles from France. Eventually, Eloise found herself on a boat to America, feeling utterly alone.

Ray was incredibly gentle with her during that time, comforting her in her grief and doing his best to translate the rapid fire English she struggled to understand. With his bright blue eyes, sleek golden hair, and smooth smile, Eloise had imagined him to be her personal prince charming and was grateful for his companionship. She’d even developed a bit of a crush on him.

It wasn’t until at least a year later, when they were passing a hot summer afternoon in a poorly ventilated motel room, that things changed.

Ray had begun drinking. Eloise had barely recognized the smell of the cheap beer (it was very different from the wine her parents had after meals), but she watched in amusement as it slurred his speech and made his movements jerky. Most of all, she enjoyed the way he became much more affectionate towards her when he was drunk. The way he stroked her hair and face, and wrapped his arms around her. After losing her parents, the attention was well appreciated. It made her feel like a princess.

But she’d been surprised when he’d drunkenly kissed her mouth and pushed her down onto the creaky mattress. Her nine-year-old mind was uncomprehending as his hands had roved over her and peeled off her clothing. She became more confused and alarmed as his knees had forced her legs apart and she began to cry. Ray had shushed her drunkenly and held her down as she tried to break free.

Of course, he had apologized to her afterward.

He was lonely, he had said. He spent so much time keeping Eloise safe and making sure she had everything she needed that he had been deprived of female companionship. He needed affection, too. And she was just so beautiful. He couldn’t help it. After all he’d done for her, he’d reasoned, wasn’t it the least she could do? He seemed so sincere, so fervent, that Eloise hadn’t been able to deny him.

After all, he was her prince charming, wasn’t he? Shouldn’t she do whatever was necessary to keep him happy?

Initially, he’d only demanded it of her once every few months. But then months became weeks, then weeks to days. As Eloise had grown older, developed curves, and overall, looked more like a woman, Ray’s advances had become more frequent, until it was almost a nightly occurrence when they weren’t on the road. She learned to engage him before he became too drunk, because Ray was angrier, rougher when he was drunk. He couldn’t always stop himself from bruising her arms or legs when he’d had too much to drink.

But Eloise had gotten used to it by now. Accepted it as a face of life. It was the cost of Ray’s service. While his friendship with her parents might have warranted helping her escape from their killers, giving up his life and career to go on the run with her was far beyond what he owed them. So Eloise paid him in what currency she did have. And she no longer felt that lurch of terror in her gut when she felt Ray above her. Now that she wasn’t so much smaller than him, the injuries had lessened in magnitude and it felt less like she would be crushed beneath her prince’s passion. Over the years, she had even found ways to make it more enjoyable for him, methods to keep his rages in check. A broken arm had testified to the suffering Ray’s disappointment brought on her when she displeased him.

Yet, even as she learned to cope with her lot in life, she knew she’d never want to bring a child into the situation. Beyond the fact that Russian spies could descend upon them at any moment and kill them all, Ray was too volatile, too prone to displays of wrath. She knew how to handle her prince charming, but she dreaded what would happen to an infant should it ever have to weather the full force of one of her prince’s fury.

Eloise appraised herself in the cracked motel mirror and did her best to make herself presentable. 5:45. Ray would be back soon. She heard the motel room door slam open and cringed. Her prince was angry today. Hastily, but cautiously, she stepped out of the bathroom and into the main room. “Ray? Is everything all ri——”

Eloise screamed.

Men with guns and bullet proof vests reached for her as she tried to run to the window. She kicked and clawed, but to no avail. Steel hard arms wrapped around her waist and dragged her bodily out the door. She screamed obscenities at them, switching rapidly between English and French. As the motel disappeared from view, she began to weep. She didn’t want to die. “Ray!” she shrieked. Where was her prince when she needed him?

message 24: by Angie (new)

Angie Pangan | 4795 comments Part 2 of 2: Prince Charming:

Eloise was in a dark, cold room without windows. She’d broken four noses after her captors kidnapped her, and they’d been forced to handcuff her wrists to the metal bed. She wondered why the Russians hadn’t killed her yet. She wondered why her prince hadn’t come to rescue her again. She wondered if she would ever be able to live a normal life.

The door swung open on creaking hinges and Eloise fought the urge to vomit.

She was going to die.

A balding man, about Ray’s age, stepped into the room with a clipboard. He pulled a chair close to the bed. He smiled at her gently and her stomach recoiled. She was mildly surprised that the man spoke to her with an American accent instead of a Russian one, but she supposed that they must have operatives hidden around the world.

“My name is Detective Reynolds. Is your name Eloise Thénadier?”

She didn’t answer.

“Are you twenty-three-years old?”

The silence hung heavily in the room.

“Were you born in Saint-Étienne, France on July 17th?”

Eloise stared at him blankly.

“Are your parents Evangeline and Jacques Thénadier?”

Eloise felt sick. How dare this man even speak their names? How dare he defile their memory? She imagined him standing over their beds in the middle of the night, a gun held in his vile hands.

The man’s face became stern. “Please answer at least this question. It is very important.” He sighed. “I would hate for Monsieur and Madame Thénadier to have to fly all the way here from Switzerland only to discover that you’re not actually their daughter.”

Eloise recoiled momentarily before she launched herself at the monster of a man, quivering with rage. She probably would have strangled the man if she hadn’t been restrained.

“How dare you?” she screamed. “How dare you act as if they live when their blood stains that hands of your kind?” She flailed her legs in the hopes of connecting with something——anything, really——and was rewarded with a sickening crack as her heel slammed into the his knee. “I hope you have nightmares of their murder,” she spat at him.

The detective stared at her in shock. “Miss Thénadier, I can assure you that your parents are alive and well. They’ve been looking for you.”


The venom in her voice seemed to scare him and he took a step back. “I promise you that the Thénadiers are alive,” he repeated.

“No. Ray said——”

“Do you know who he is?” the detective interrupted.

“Ray is——Ray, well he’s——Ray is from——Ray is—” Eloise sputtered to a halt as she realized she didn’t really know anything concrete about Ray.

The detective laid out a folder on the floor in front of her. Her heart caught in her throat as she saw her prince charming in the photographs. Only, they weren’t normal pictures. They were mugshots.

“Raymond Philip Buchanan, age forty-one” the detective read aloud. “Known sex offender. Six counts of child pornography. Eight counts of assault. Six counts of rape. Two attempted murders. And——here’s an interesting one——three known kidnappings attempted.”

Eloise felt her entire world shift beneath her. This couldn’t be happening. What they were saying about her prince couldn’t be true. He was her savior. Sure, he wasn’t perfect. But he always wanted the best for her. Didn’t he?

The longer she stared at the file, the more sickened she felt. The room began to spin as despicable truth began to dawn on her. Ray had never been her prince charming. Her parents weren’t really dead. Ray hadn’t saved her.

Eloise began to cry. She felt like a child again.

“Can I——May I talk to my parents?”

message 25: by Gashbeen (new)

Gashbeen | 167 comments The Light

By Gashbeen Saeed

I sat astride my stallion as we ambled along the shadowed trail. As my horse snorted uneasily, the dark beauty of the looming forest seemed to devour us whole. The shroud of mist surrounded us, eager yet hesitant to swallow the pitiful pair we made.

Storm clouds watched our miserable journey through the dense bush, and thunder shook the heavens above with an overwhelming strength that filled our hearts with awe. A violent gust of wind battered us and threatened to tear my three-cornered hat from my head.

My stallion slowed his pace, and his muscles grew tense as the moon vanished behind the ravaged trees. I clutched the reins tightly as unease hovered over me, and the icy cold clawed at me as we ventured deeper into the wild tangles of the forest.

Then, an eerie wail lashed out against the pressing darkness.

The stallion blundered through the undergrowth as panic took hold, his eyes rolling wildly. I clung to the reins as he bucked, desperate to hold on. A light shone ahead, and a strange sense of calm settled over me. The horse, too, seemed to lose his sense of encompassing hysteria.

The eerie wail was a young woman's warm voice, calling to me gently. I reached a hand out to the light, and then I knew it.

I was dead.

message 26: by Jane (last edited Jun 10, 2016 03:03PM) (new)


By Jane Jago

In the master bedroom, a woman shut the door between her and the scores of well-meaning friends and relations who filled the house with their hustle and bustle. She sat down in front of her mirror and began making herself ready to face the hardest day of her life. She worked carefully, taking each step of the ritual slowly, and attempting to brace herself with the simple fact of its familiarity. It was a routine in which each item on her dressing table had its allotted place, and was to be used at its allotted time.

She noticed dispassionately how sorrow and lack of sleep had wreaked havoc with her face, and dabbled random snatches of grey into her cap of mouse-brown hair. Even the softly flattering antique mirror she had inherited from her mother's grandmother couldn't make her seem anything but old, and sad, and somehow diminished on this particular morning. 'You look a proper hag' she said to her reflection, before gently putting her hairbrush in its accustomed place. She picked up her rings from the little glass bowl beside her, where they always lived when she wasn't wearing them. After sliding them onto her fingers, she closed her eyes while she threaded gold hoops into the holes in her earlobes.

Feeling the warm weight of two hands on her shoulders, she opened her eyes and managed a half smile for the man who stood behind her.
'You all right?'
'No. But I will be.'
'Good girl.'
She looked down at the rings on her left hand for a moment before saying what was at the very front of her mind.
'It occurs to me that if I believed in the resurrection and the light, and the possibility of eternal life in the hands of a loving God, today might be a comfort to me...'
'It might indeed. But as you don't, not even a little bit, it will be just one more thing to be endured.'
Being so completely understood was like balm to her shredded nerve endings and she put the hand she had been so carefully studying on top of the big square one on her left shoulder.
'Oh I do love you' she said with almost childlike simplicity 'I just don't tell you enough.'
'That's all right' he replied, in the deep imperturbable voice that had been her lodestone for more than forty years 'I know. I've always known.'
She allowed herself the luxury of leaning back and resting her head against the solid wall of his chest. Closing her eyes she let the tears run unchecked down her cheeks.
'Don't cry, love.'
'Am not. Much.'
Then she felt him bend and rest his cheek against her hair. They stayed like that for a long time, each drawing courage from the other as they had done so many times before. When he finally lifted his head, their eyes met in the silvery depths of the mirror.
'I just wish...'

But she was never to hear what he wished as there came a tap on the door and her sister's worried face peeped around the panels.
'Are you ready? It's just that the cars are here.'
She stood up and squared her shoulders. 'Yes. Coming now.'

So she left that place of sanctuary, and went downstairs. Down to where people wore black clothes and sombre faces, and where the hearse bearing her husband's coffin waited in the street.

message 27: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: The Cryomancer
GENRE: Magic Realism
RATING: PG-13 for fantasy violence and frequent swearing

Olivia Snow could feel the frozen energy surging through her body. A cool breeze blew past her and little snowflakes were descending upon her. To this elf wizard dressed in black ninja gear, this form of magic was known as cryomancy. She had spent tireless years perfecting this beautiful, yet deadly art. With the eight-foot tall fat-ass obnoxious ogre standing in front of her with a bloody smile on his face, Olivia knew she had to be ready to use it at a moment’s notice.

The ogre swung its mighty club down upon Olivia, but the elf cartwheeled out of the way and allowed the heavy weapon to create a spider web crack in the stone ground. The ogre continued to swing with wild rage and unquenchable bloodlust, smashing down trees all in the name of trying to hit this swift ice maiden. She flipped and flopped away from every powerful strike.

When it was her turn to strike, she extended her fingertips and blasted the gigantic weapon with an icy mist. The weapon went from being a gigantic popsicle to diamond dust as it shattered after the ogre dropped it. The monstrous warrior flexed his muscles and roared to the sky in his loudest voice.

Olivia shook her head no at the raving beast and blasted him with a gigantic glacial spike, piercing him through his black heart. Even then the ogre was able to rip out the spike and scream in fury some more. Even though he was bleeding profusely from his chest, he yelled out, “Is that the best you’ve got, woman?! You’re a dead bitch!”

The ogre stampeded his way toward the now vulnerable cryomancer, creating impressions and craters in the ground with every thunderous step. Olivia flipped backwards onto a treetop and rained down smaller glacial spikes upon her opponent. This time he bled even more profusely and his tough guy mentality couldn’t save him from becoming a limp and lifeless corpse on the ground. Once the ogre hit the floor and his blood splattered everywhere, his body crumbled into snowflakes and the wind blew him away.

Olivia Snow sat down on the tree branch and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. She was so exhausted that she could have fallen asleep in that tree. And then the familiar pounding footsteps rang out across the forest and the elf wizard opened her dreary eyes to see at least five more of these hideous ogres lusting for her death. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” she said to herself. She even stood up on the tree branch and yelled to the sky, “Julian, what the hell is wrong with you! Give me a goddamn break!”

In a small apartment in Hollywood, California, Julian Kane took a break from writing his epic screenplay at the computer and asked, “Did that bitch really just talk to me?” He tried to shake off the tiredness in his eyes and even slapped his own face for good measure. The harder the screenwriter tried to wake up, the more he slacked backwards and snored.

After letting out a ferocious yawn, the scraggly haired and pajama-dressed Julian dragged himself out of his seat and headed toward the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. He looked blurrily at the clock on the stove and said, “No fucking way” when he realized he had been writing and editing that script from the early morning to the dark of night.

He would have gladly gone to bed if it wasn’t for the fact that this movie script was due tomorrow morning at the director’s office. Instead he made his pot of coffee like he set out to do. When he poured it in a cup and tried to drink it however, it was colder than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. It even triggered sensitivities in his teeth. “Goddamn, man, I need to get to bed,” Julian said to himself. He absentmindedly threw the cold coffee into the sink and shattered his mug.

Mr. Kane got to his bedroom doorway and sobbed to himself when he realized he couldn’t go to bed until his movie script was finished. What broke him out of his sobbing spell was looking out the window and seeing a snowstorm outside. That’s right: a snowstorm in Hollywood, California in June. “What the fuck is going on here?” he said.

Julian trudged back to his computer to put the finishing touches on his masterpiece. He heard a familiar feminine voice ask him, “Do you really think pitting that many ogres against me will make me the strong feminine hero everybody wants to see? There’s a difference between paying your dues and being screwed over. Nobody will want to watch this movie.”

“Jesus, lady, what the fuck do you know about screenwriting? It’s an art form. Besides, if you beat all those ogres, I’m sure…” Julian’s dialogue was cut off by him chattering his teeth. “Goddamn, it’s cold in here.”

“Yes, Julian, I agree. I am after all a cryomancer. That is what your movie will eventually be called, right? How do you think it’s going to do at the box office if I somehow get a fluke victory in an fight a clearly can’t win? All the ice magic in the world isn’t going to save me from getting stepped on or pounded into the ground. Then again, what kind of a hero would I be if I could just the entire world’s population into ice cream sandwiches?”

Julian formed a confused look on his face and asked, “Wait a minute, why am I talking to my own character? You’re not even real. Besides, you don’t get to question me and my decision making. You’re a character. You do what you’re told and that’s it!”

One of the windows in his apartment shattered and snow began covering his carpeted floor. Julian Kane looked on with saucer-like eyes and a trembling jaw. “No! This isn’t real! There’s no such thing as cryomancy! It’s all bullshit! You hear that, Olivia? You’re no different from Pinocchio or the Three Little Pigs! You’re a cartoon and nothing more!”

His front door was the next thing to burst open and the snowstorm followed, turning the entire apartment into a winter wonderland. Standing in the doorway with glowing blue eyes, black ninja garb, and blue energy forming at her fingertips was none other than Olivia Snow. She pointed at the convulsing Julian and said, “You’re no screenwriter and you will not be the author to my pain!”

From her fingertips, she shot a tightly-packed snowball and pinged Julian in his stomach, causing him to double over and clutch his wound. Another snowball flew his direction and hit him in the shoulder. Another came and hit him in the leg. The final blow was smack dab in the middle of his forehead, which caused him to flip around and land flat on his back. His breathing was shallow and his vision was fading.

Olivia knelt down beside his victim and whispered in his ear, “You’re the hero of my screenplay now. If you can get through this, you can get through anything. So what are you going to do about all of this? Are you going to pay your dues or are you going to break like a little bitch?” The elf bit down hard on Julian’s earlobe and drew blood.

That was the sharp pain that awakened the screenwriter from his dream while hunched over his keyboard. Julian’s neck and back were sore from the awkward sleeping position and his eyes were blurry as he tried to read his computer screen. “Screw the director. I’m going to bed. This is bullshit.”

Julian stood up and fished around in his pajama pocket for his smart phone. As soon as his eyes adjusted, he speed dialed the number for his director. He wasn’t picking up, so the screenwriter left a zombie-like message. “Hey. It’s Julian Kane. Listen, I’m not going to be able to get you the script for The Cryomancer tomorrow. I’ve been exhausted lately trying to figure out my own plot holes and shit. Well, that and doing all of these media tours you keep booking me for. I’m going to bed for the evening. You’ll get your movie script in a couple of days, maybe even a week. If you don’t like the timetable, then quit exhausting the shit out of me. Bye!”

Mr. Kane tossed his smart phone on the couch and did his zombie walk back to his bedroom. He didn’t bother brushing his teeth or taking his medication. He just plopped on the bed and covered himself up.

He felt an icy hand on his shoulder and a gentle whisper in his ear from a familiar feminine voice. “You made the right decision, honey.”

“You’re damn right I did. Wait a minute, what?” said Julian as he flipped over to see who was in his bed. It was nobody. His mind was playing tricks on him again even when he agreed to go to sleep. He tiredly laughed it off and covered up his head. He snored and drooled like a tranquilized animal, though he kept wondering why his ear was scarring over and why there was blood on his pillow.

The snow continued to fall over the magical city of Hollywood. Magic? What kind of magic? It wouldn’t happen to be cryomancy, would it?

message 28: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 39 comments Angie wrote: "
Part 2 of 2: Prince Charming:

Eloise was in a dark, cold room without windows. She’d broken four noses after her captors kidnapped her, and they’d been forced to handcuff her wrists to the met..."

This was really good. and unique.

message 29: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Angie wrote: "
Part 2 of 2: Prince Charming:

Eloise was in a dark, cold room without windows. She’d broken four noses after her captors kidnapped her, and they’d been forced to handcuff her wrists to the met..."

This was so very touching, Angie, and unfortunately, all too realistic. A good story well done.

message 30: by Anne (last edited Jun 11, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments A wrote: "The Abandoned Muse

He knew she walked this street many times before, multiple times a week just to have a cup of coffee, something sweet, a mocha or something she called a blarney just to get s..."

An interesting perspective on muse-ing. :)

message 31: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Gisele wrote: "Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always figured out what w..."

Gisele, with all of these stories about rape being published in the news today, it’s refreshing to see one of those rapists getting stabbed an eaten by a vicious monster. I was genuinely scared for the little toddler, especially since she hadn’t said anything since being kidnapped. As someone with autism myself, I can relate to her troubles with speaking up. But then it was all a rouse. She slashed that pervert to pieces and enjoyed every minute of it. I can think of a few serial rapists who deserve the same fate, but that’s a story for another day. Thank you, Gisele, for bringing this awesome story to the WSS. Welcome to the group!

I’ll comment on the other stories later today. But for now, this will do.

message 32: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Jun 11, 2016 08:22PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments ---------------------------------------

I am so glad I took a break from work, speaking of "dark," I have had to much stuff happen lately with people that are close to me. A lot of church members have been going through terrible stuff and some have nearly died. There was a couple of car accidents unrelated to each other... and I have almost come undone from all of it.

Soon I will go to a child's memorial. I was crying hard when I found out. I am happy she's in heaven but the family was so close and grew up within our church almost their entire lives. I have to prepare my heart before I go or else I will start bawling uncontrollably again like when I first found out.


message 33: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments I will post soon. If I can adjust to everything and feel sane enough to, writing is tough work once it gets to the "doing" part. Have the first part but have to get it to the end. My goal is to make it two parts at least 700 words each all posted in one or two on this thread. Here's to hoping.

message 34: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Sometimes, getting those tears out is the best way to heal your soul. I'm sorry for what you and your church-mates are going through right now. You guys deserve all of the happiness in the world and it'll one day happen. Until then, stay strong and never look back. (hugs)

message 35: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments CJ wrote: "---------------------------------------

I am so glad I took a break from work, speaking of "dark," I have had to much stuff happen lately with people that a..."

CJ, I'm so sorry for the grief and heartache you're going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you and hope you and the others you are close to find the comfort you need.

message 36: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Gisele wrote: "Dark Truth
Aprrox. 700 words

She was not the first one he had taken, but she was the most agreeable by far. Usually they struggled. Those who went willingly always cried. Always figured out what w..."

Great use of tension to build up the atmosphere in this horror tale. The ending worked perfectly, and left me googling Japanese legends. :D

message 37: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Melissa wrote: "Escape by: Melissa Andres
Approximately 900 words
Feedback Welcome!

I stood in the long bank line with Mom. She needed to deposit her check. Her last check. It had been a rough year. Daddy had los..."

I could see part of what was going to happen in this story, but the ultimate ending came as a surprise. Well played, Ms Andres, well played. ;-)

message 38: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments James wrote: "(cont...)

“I don’t know,” Samantha said. “I really don’t want to be part of something illegal.”

“You’re saving yourself and other kids from years of being treated like dirt scum,” Claire argued. ..."

This is a great opening to a story. I think this would work well as a children's book. I like where it's going and look forward to reading more about Scott and his new friends. One correction - you say cliché instead of clique at one point - I blame spell check!

message 39: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Trinity wrote: "Author: Trinity T
Title: Audition
Word Count: 1271 (Around that)
Doors burst open, and students pour out, like little ants. Groups are congregating into clumps, and are chatting up storms. Loners ..."

Ooh, what a horrible story. Such disappointment for poor Marissa because of one sneaky judge, Surely they'll figure out the truth though when the other judges say "Hey, that's not who we voted for". :D

message 40: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Angie wrote: "
Part 2 of 2: Prince Charming:

Eloise was in a dark, cold room without windows. She’d broken four noses after her captors kidnapped her, and they’d been forced to handcuff her wrists to the met..."

This story was awesome, and quite the change from your usual SF. I knew what was coming but loved how you dragged it out until the very end. Good work.

message 41: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments A wrote: "The Abandoned Muse

He knew she walked this street many times before, multiple times a week just to have a cup of coffee, something sweet, a mocha or something she called a blarney just to get s..."

Interesting short tale - how very sad, to be an abandoned muse and left with no-one to inspire. :-(

message 42: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Gashbeen wrote: "The Light

By Gashbeen Saeed

I sat astride my stallion as we ambled along the shadowed trail. As my horse snorted uneasily, the dark beauty of the looming forest seemed to devour us whole. The shr..."

There's some strong imagery in this, but I'd very much like to see you write something longer with a bit more character development...

message 43: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Jane wrote: "IN THE MIRROR

By Jane Jago

In the master bedroom, a woman shut the door between her and the scores of well-meaning friends and relations who filled the house with their hustle and bustle. She sat..."

Eerily sad. This worked quite well, and the ending came as something of a surprise.

message 44: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: The Cryomancer
GENRE: Magic Realism
RATING: PG-13 for fantasy violence and frequent swearing

Olivia Snow could feel the frozen energy surging thro..."

This was great fun. I suspect you were inspired by Arun's recent writing, but that might just be in my head. You should collect all your -mancer stories together into a collection. Call it "Mancer". You'd probably need about fifty though, so I hope you have plenty of prefixes to hand. :-P

message 45: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Hehehehehe! That's a great idea, Edward! Trust me, when it comes to the "mancer" suffix, I've got more prefixes than hairs on my head. In fact, you've given me an idea for a post in my "Garrison's Writing" folder. Thanks for the awesome feedback, buddy!

message 46: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Actually, now that I think about it, I could post my fifty "mancers" right here! Why not? Hehe!

1. Aeromancer (Wind)
2. Anthropomancer (Humans)
3. Arachnomancer (Spiders)
4. Astromancer (Space)
5. Audiomancer (Sound)
6. Automancer (Cars)
7. Bibliomancer (Books)
8. Biomancer (Life)
9. Chemomancer (Radiation)
10. Chiromancer (Bones)
11. Choreomancer (Dancing)
12. Chronomancer (Time)
13. Cryomancer (Ice)
14. Demonomancer (Demons)
15. Dermatomancer (Skin)
16. Duomancer (Duality)
17. Ecomancer (Environment)
18. Economancer (Money)
19. Egyptomancer (Egypt)
20. Electromancer (Lightning)
21. Etymomancer (Names)
22. Francomancer (France)
23. Geomancer (Earth)
24. Gynecomancer (Women)
25. Gyromancer (Circles)
26. Hemomancer (Blood)
27. Heteromancer (Differences)
28. Hydromancer (Water)
29. Kleptomancer (Thievery)
30. Legomancer (Legos)
31. Lunamancer (The Moon)
32. Macromancer (Largeness)
33. Micromancer (Smallness)
34. Necromancer (Death)
35. Nyctomancer (Darkness)
36. Ophidiomancer (Snakes)
37. Pedomancer (Children)
38. Pharmacomancer (Drugs)
39. Photomancer (Light)
40. Psychomancer (Mind)
41. Pyromancer (Fire)
42. Scatomancer (Feces)
43. Stereomancer (Similarities)
44. Technomancer (Machines)
45. Theomancer (Gods)
46. Toximancer (Poison)
47. Uromancer (Piss)
48. Videomancer (Imagery)
49. Xenomancer (Strangers)
50. Zoomancer (Animals)

message 47: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments --------------
Title: The Famous Dave

Author: CJ

Word Count: 2998

His name was “Dave” which I had heard as we walked along the many streets. In these areas he was spoken about as if there were a statue of bronze in his honor behind the next corner.

“Oh man, Dave is great.”
“Yeah, around here, he’s like the queen of England.”
“Well, maybe not that famous…”
“Shut up! He is in this town.”

I was curious about this so-called famous Dave. My girlfriend chatted about him constantly and wanted to know if the legend was really true or my non-stop talkative friend was only shooting hot air.

“I think you’d love him really. If you love rock you will like this guy, ma’am, you’d---

“Whoops. I’m sorry, err... what’s your name again?”

I spoke up. “Karen.”

“Okay, yeah... he’s great Karen.”

Some technical guy the people around him had called Techtite suddenly started shouting stats.

“Yeah word is last year he made over 500 thousand dollars. That is amazing for an indie musician. The fact that he only plays music and makes that kind of dough is impressive at all!”

“Yeah, indies make little if they’re lucky.” A girl with wild blue and green hair had said that last phrase. Wasn’t too sure what she had spouted after her interesting fact. Because all I could daydream at the moment staring at her was the ocean; I would love a vacation some time months from now after the spring.

I snapped my neck to the sudden sound. “What...?”

“I said do you like indie music?”

“Indie music, is that like Indian stuff?”

A few erupted in laughter and I went silent, face bearing red from what I could feel.

“No… it means independent. Indie music means that they don’t have a music contract, live however they want but depend mostly on themselves. Or I guess it matters person to person. I swear, if there were independents in the sixties they probably scratched records of their latest albums with a sewing needle.”

“Haha, you’re too much!” said the sea lady (ironically).

Sorry, I’m sidetracking. I’ll get back to it, I promise…

Making this kind of journal is kind of emotionally tough. Bringing some stuff out makes me relive everything so before I start off again I must tell you about my friend.

This one my best friend was seemingly the most wonderful person in my life. Aside from my husband she was really close with me.

And on a strange side-note she gave me the idea to leave that thing at the musician’s house. It was not her fault, I tell ya, but she did put the suggestion into my head (sorry I know I said that out of nowhere. But you already got what I mean by that) and before that happened, I was hanging out with this girl.

Walking side to side with Jocelyn, the famous, groupie type who follows and seemingly worships every band, still seemed with stars in her eyes even then.

“But ‘Joss’ it’s not like they’re One Direction or something.”
“Please, if you think that’s music you haven’t hung around me long enough.”

“I know but I was just trying to--”

She grabbed my hand. It was as if she was insuring me I would only find the good music as long as I walked her path. Was she according to her guiding me through real music? The last CD I listened to was the Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked soundtrack.

“Have you ever listened to Mumford & Sons?”
“No, but I’ve heard of them.”
“How about U2?”
“I heard that they are not too great.”
“Don’t give in to what other people claim. Fuel? That is like the lifeline of this state. They’re from here in PA, don’t you know?”
“Nah. Oh... I mean no, I haven’t heard of them before.”
“Did you know they are from here?”
“No… I haven’t heard of them before. Come on...”

“Well, sorry, missy.”

We went to the record store on Lansdowne. Why it looked like a movie theater I hadn’t understood at all.

“Did you know this used to be a movie theater?”

Oh. That was why. I had forgotten. Again.

Joss and I walked right in before I got the chance to look at the sign up front. I didn’t even know what in the world the store was even called. Joss was kind of pushy like that in ways. She could be sweet-natured but she was an only child too.

They act like they are the only ones in the world it seemed sometimes.

I had two brothers so we never made a big deal about things, even birthdays.

But anyway, the woman there who looked like she was thirty or older started chatting up with my friend. “Started” as in had Joss initiated it, just like she always did everywhere she went.

“Do you have the song ‘Cool for Cats?’”
“Um, hmm… which album is that?”
“I don’t know. Can you help me?”
“Let’s see, I’ll check my phone…”

Then she spoke to me out of the blue that made me uncomfortable.

“Some places don’t know how to help you…”
“Umm. Joss… this place is nice though.”
“No I’m not talking about that… but some places are just terrible and don’t know how to do anything.”

The woman’s smile faded and then it caressed her face again, this time looking like a feigned image. “Yes, this song is by Squeeze. Song is Cool for Cats.”
“What album is it?”
“Cool for Cats.”
“No, what album is it?!”

There was a sudden silence. I was now beyond uncomfortable. The few people in the store turned to us, my self-consciousness nearly “squeezing” me.

She took off. A guy then showed up. I thought with horror we were going to get thrown right out of the store! But he just spoke to us.

“Listen. What is your name?”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“This person is trying her best to help you.”
“I know but---”
“What was the album called, hon?”

It was her husband. Co-owner with her.

“‘Cool for Cats.’” she said sheepishly.

“Oh. Well she could have just told me that...!”

I rolled my eyes. It was yet another Joss moment. If I had a lifetime of them I’d have been dead in the ground three times.

“Joss.” she knew me a little long enough where I could name call her or insult her. “Shut up for a moment and look at this.”

Us two then focused our eyes on a CD.

“Wow, he even plays here?”

The poor woman probably nearly scared out of her mind kind of squeaked. “Yes. He played here just two months back...”

I piped up. “His name is…. David Warrington?”

“Yes. He is awesome. Such a talented guy.”

“How long has he been playing?”

“What you mean music or making albums?”

“Uh… I guess albums.”

“You didn’t really understand what you were saying huh? Haha.”

“Just talking.”

“Well… he has three albums. His first album was right after college I heard. Then about six years later… so this must be his latest.”

“Wow, it just came out?”

“Last year.”

“Well… that’s not very exciting.”

She looked offended. She glared at me. “Says you.”

After the woman finally got her bearings us, the foursome talked about all music until they were near closing.


The next day I took another walk. My husband gave me some money. He didn’t really have to. In fact, it takes very little to please me as my shopping is minimal and I care about saving over what is the “best” kind of clothes or necessities.

Anyway, I had tucked away in my purse twenty whole dollars. I was a little thrilled. To me it was a lot and not asked for. I took my husband as “graceful.” I know that sounds weird but I did and I love him to death.

That was when my friend said something that out and out shocked me. It was that time I said about before, earlier.

“You know I have found out where Dave lives. We should go and hang out at his house some time.”
“I don’t know. You are that close with him?”
“No not at all.”
“You stalker!” Then I laughed.

“No I mean we should check this guy out. I really like him.”
“Um… newsflash girl. You are engaged.”
“Hey, I’m not married yet.”
My mouth dropped.

“Are you serious?”
“He is so handsome. Okay… I think he’s hot.”
“Stop it.”
“But if you did something like leave your panties at his house he’d definitely feel wanted.”
“What are you saying? Are you possessed or something?”
She looked at me. She looked borderline clueless. “What?”
I put my hand on her cheek. I gave it a playful tap. “Don’t make me slap you.”
After a pause she laughed. “I guess that’s not a good idea…”
“Hey, you are not perfect yourself there missy…”
“I know that. You think I have never known that?”
“But you should do something for him… leave something at that house.”

And that thought stuck with me.


The next week was full of fans, craziness, and haziness because there was a lot of weed in the air where she and I went.

It was at a small open mic. No charge to get in, drinks were cheap. All I cared was to see music.

It turned out after all we went through to be there he was going to a different open mic.

Of course though Joss was pissed. I tried to console her and let her know it wasn’t really the end of the world.

“But he is still playing out there, it’s not like you missed it!”
“But they are jerks, I don’t care.”
“You didn’t have to yell at the people there.”
“But I didn’t know they were not going to have them…”
“They had announced all the bands at the beginning.”
“I was still hoping.”
“Come on, Joss, now you’re getting ridiculous!”

There was a pause. For a moment I though in that statement of truth I had just undone our friendship. Then she spoke up.

“Karen, just be concerned about me for just one minute. That’s all I ask!”

She sounded like she was going to cry. Well I am sure the many drinks she had didn’t help her feelings get any less mellower either.

“I … I just think you should be realistic.”
“Yeah but I love music. It’s a place of belonging of getting to know people too by listening to what they sing about. It’s like having an extra person in your life. You have people in your life so you wouldn’t understand. Who do I have?”
“You have me.”
“But I mean a place of belonging. I mean family. What the heck do you think I mean? My parents had children many times. So many miscarried babies. Then they tried one last time and had me. You have two brothers. You have a mom and dad. My mom is dying and is all I have left now...”

After a while I realized how kind of mean I was had just been. Perspective hit me hard.
“I’m--I’m sorry…”

She sobbed for a bit and I leaned on her shoulder. We stood there awkwardly laying on shoulders and waiting for comfort or a feeling that would mean things would be okay.

“In life there are things we might not understand I guess.”
“Do you have any regrets, Karen?”
“Any regrets in life? Sometimes I think I am the only one in the world who has them…”
“But everyone has them.”
“Being alone for so many years has made me feel like I’m the only one sometimes.”
“Regrets are tough. They are things we can’t undo.”
“Well it sounds like you do have them. Am I right, Karen?”
“Yes. You know you have a future with your fiance. I have a beautiful husband but no children to share it with. Sure I have my brothers’ kids at times and I love being an aunt but… a month before we got married I made mistakes I wish I never did.”
She stared at me waiting.

“I decided to have my tubes tied. To this day I kick myself wishing I hadn’t made a decision we both agreed on so early before we even really thought about it. To this day I think ‘I can never have children… a kid that looks just like me and like him.’”

“Oh. I didn’t know you couldn’t…. I just thought you used a ….

“Nevermind. I’m sorry.”

“And I never will. Even if I reversed it I might endanger my life.”

“And no one wants that. Right, babe? I love you Karen.”
“Thank you. I love you too, girl.”

Everyone wants to be loved and wanted. Everyone which I learned too late.

message 48: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Jun 12, 2016 10:16PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments Author: CJ
Title: The Famous Dave-part 2


The big gig was at the open mic at Bob & Barbara’s in South Street. It was exciting to finally get to see Dave in person. The Famous Dave. The guy everyone loved or thought they had anyway.

When we got there Dave was nowhere to be found. Some people got mad. I and Joss got worried.

People sung a lot of tunes. I never laughed so hard. People sung “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” “Lean on Me.” even other songs. Many corny love songs that we all connected to so much.

Because I learned we all wanted love but also to be wanted. Whether that was friendship, companionship, we all desired the same thing as if it was a universal truth.

I saw sea girl which caught me off guard.

“I think Dave is friends with somebody!”
“Yeah there’s a guy that sees him and walks with him every time he goes out the door.”
“He’s not a jerk is he?”
“Who Dave or the guy who sees him?”
“The guy.”
“I hope not.”

Joss as usual had a crazy idea.

“Hey that handkerchief your husband got you… you should give it to Dave.”
“It was just a gift right?”
“Yeah … I guess. It was a small gift too. I like the color.”
“Maybe Dave will like it…”

Somehow I snuck the kerchief into his pocket after he played. The songs were great. Just wonderful. Never had I heard something so alive! I guess it was because I had never seen a person made for music just pour it all out if front of me before.

“Did Techtite tell you this year Dave’s making a lot more money?”
This time a person was chatting directly to me. “Really?”
“Yeah according to his err-- ‘stats’--- I know he’s crazy right?... he will make about 650 thousand this year.”
“Wow. He is a trooper! Dave is so talented.”
“And he can get anything he wants.”
“I hope I could hang out with him sometime.”
“Just talk to him.”

So that was why I never spoke to him that day. I was still shy and felt if I talked face to face with a guy I could risk something big against my husband so I took a small idea from Joss to just slip the hanky into his pocket. That was risky in itself but it worked!

But Joss wanted to come by his house.

“Stalker!” I joked again.
“Seriously we should see him.”
“We’re not staying over-night!”
“I know. What do you think I am?”
I glared at her. Really?

“Hey you are judgemental.”
“Come on.”
“Okay, I know I said some crazy stuff and I don’t think I’d ever do that.”
“That’s my girl…!”


Now is the horrible night.

Joss and I went crazy and out of our way through Septa. Fortunately it wasn’t too late, near eleven PM by the time we found the street Joss said he lived on.

We saw the “guy” the other person was talking about. The friend. He chatted with him and we saw the famous Dave slip something to him. Then they continued chatting and he went inside.

“Hey, are you friends with Dave?”
The guy’s eyes darted back and forth at us. Startled like he was caught.
“What’s he like??” I said.
“Uhh… I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“I chat with him and stuff but that’s it.”
“Yeah? What do you talk about.”
“Mind your business!”
“Hey we are just fans of the famous Dave.”
“Yeah he’s famous… and rich too!”
We looked at each other. We felt uncomfortable like we were going to dread what this man would say next.

“Yeah he makes a lot.”
“How long have you been … chatting with him?”
“Since I heard about him. About a year now.”
“Every day this week I talked with him, I borrow 200 bucks from him and then chat with him until he goes to bed.”
“Oh. A loan?”
“What do you mean?”
“You pay it back?”
“No… ‘loan’ is just a … loose word.”

“We thought this guy was your friend.”
He shrugged.

The worst truth then came out. There was a firing in the house. We jumped and Joss screamed at the sound. It was so loud. It was inside yet it was like an explosion!

After the cops and other people showed up we realized the worst truth. This man was famous but the one thing he desired he never received.

People liked him for his “fame” but he never found what he truly desired which was simply a friend.


So officer, please believe me! I did not kill him. That handkerchief that was in his house was because of Joss. Please. I wrote out my statement. Please let me leave!

I … I can’t stand Joss anymore. Can’t believe she ditched me. What are friends for anyway?

Did she really disappear? Did she get therapy? What happened? I don’t think I’ll ever know what happened there… just what happened to her? But poor Dave… oh God help him.


message 49: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4216 comments Finally posted. Yay!!!

message 50: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9094 comments Congratulations, CJ! I'm happy for you! I'm going to read everybody's stories tomorrow. I know I reneged on my word to read them Saturday night, but we've got one more day in the contest and I'll be a busy man Monday night. Reading WSS stories, editing the hell out of Occupy Wrestling, and watching WWE Monday Night Raw. What a day.

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