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Monthly Short Story Contest > June - Escape

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message 1: by Rejoice (last edited May 30, 2017 03:08PM) (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments Theme: Escape - June 2017 Contest

Examples could be - escape from:

Life
Routine
Prison
Family pressures

Highlights:
* An item of personal value
* An antagonizer


Random first sentences:

* She placed it in her pocket, turned and ran.
* He pulled the rope slowly, not sure what would happen next.
* The man had seen better days that was for sure. His nose was bent, his eyes bore old bruises and he had forgotten how to smile.
* It wasn’t far now. She had walked for hours.
* It might take a while to finish the task but she knew it had to be done. Unpleasant tasks always have to be done.
* The sea was the darkest blue and so was the boat. He didn’t want to get in but he had no choice.

Setting – any

Plot – your choice.

Length: 500 to 1000 Words

Deadline: Monday June 26 at 11:59 pm EST.


message 2: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 537 comments Mod
Random first sentences: Do the stories have to begin with one of these sentences?


message 3: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments No Terry, they don't. Prompts are just to help with ideas.


message 4: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 537 comments Mod
Rejoice wrote: "No Terry, they don't. Prompts are just to help with ideas."

Thanks Rejoice for clarifying.


message 5: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Aquiesce or Confute

David Russell
580 Words

Amelia awoke to hear the familiar sound of the Brahms Violin Concerto playing softly on the speaker over her cot. Her legs remained in restraints; the front page of the morning paper was beside her on the end-table. The headline in bold print read:

US State Department Official Abducted By Terrorist Cell

It was her first day as an abducted citizen, and she had a slight headache from the drug she had received that put her out for several hours. Whether administration was oral or intravenous, she could not recall.

She knew the headline spoke of her, and now she knew who her captors were. A terrorist cell. How they knew her taste in music was intriguing. As to location, that question had not come to the periphery of her mind just yet. The game in front of her was exhibit strength and some degree of courtesy and cooperation. The ultimate choice was between acquiesce or confute.

Just then, a tall 30-something middle-eastern gentleman came into her quarters.

"Amelia, I hope you rested comfortably. Before our session, I would like you to get dressed and then you will meet with me and the chief psychiatrist. I am Dr. Mizole."

"Thank you sir. Who is your team partner?"

"His name is Dr. Mordant. I will be back for you in twenty minutes." Amelia acknowledged with a nod. She considered their names and the meanings that could reflect personality. Mordant may be sarcastic and unpolished, lacking tact, quite direct. Mizole might be like a gentle rain, a sprinkle or mist. Perhaps annoying but not overly bothersome.

*****
"Amelia, there is little reason for small talk. We plan to make you one of us. The sooner you cooperate - the better. Would you agree?"

"Of course the bitch would agree," said Dr. Mordant. Dr. Mordant was tall, casually dressed, over-weight, gray hair, had a peculiar aroma about him when close in proximity.
Mordant continued,
"We will move you to our center in Chicago. We will set you up as a music critic with the Chicago Tribune, and you will monitor inside investigative reporting on terrorist cells. Failure to cooperate will result in you being banished to Afghanistan. There, you will be matched to a Muslim man and become his wife and live according to Afghan rule and law. Got that babe?"

Amelia was strong internally. She had been through brash training, so cursing and aggressive gestures were familiar territory. She did not feel bullied. She did act passive to perhaps mislead their interpretation.

"Just so you don't mess with us, we are going to give you shock treatment. You will be a sweet little quiescent prototype when we're done with you, you you, you, woman," said Dr. Mizole.

*****
Just then the sound of helicopters could be heard faintly in the background. The room they were in had no windows but a roof that could be opened with the right type of remote sensor.

"Oh my goodness. They found us. Our plan, our sweet plan is going to...."

Just then the roof retracted, and within minutes eight federal officials stormed the facility and arrested both Dr. Mordant and Dr. Mizole for abduction of Amelia. She was found and identified from the chip that had been implanted as a tooth filling when she had recent orthodontic work done. Federal service employees were required to have the chip installation and had a choice of implantation.

Mordant and Mizole were served a proper course of justice. Amelia was debriefed, and moved to the Kansas City area where she pursued a life-long dream to open an independent bookstore.
End


message 6: by TERRY (last edited May 30, 2017 08:16AM) (new)

TERRY | 537 comments Mod
Interesting story. Well written - well worded. June contest - you work fast David.


message 7: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Terry and others,
Thanks for your comment and words. I know some minor changes could be made: The period of time for being held hostage could be extended; the "session" or search and rescue could be drawn out a bit more. I use this format to get the story down and then tweak it on my own time. Besides, glad Ree posted this early; the coming month is going to be busy for me. See you in the group feed!
Cheers,
David Russell


message 8: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Why less words this month?


message 9: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments Hi everyone - re number of words this month - I think I was still in "anthology" mode. I will amend that to make it up to 1000 words. Well spotted David.


message 10: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments David wrote: "Aquiesce or Confute

David Russell
580 Words

Amelia awoke to hear the familiar sound of the Brahms Violin Concerto playing softly on the speaker over her cot. Her legs remained in restraints; the ..."


I see you're off to an early start and challenging the rest of us. :-) I loved your story David.


message 11: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Goody - escape from the witch.
by David Brown
938 words

My eyes popped open and I know immediately something is wrong. Nothing is familiar. As the first faint tugs of reality prodded my consciousness, I fought against them, not quite ready to relinquish the dream world that kept me safe. Then like the slow trickle of a muddy stream, I began to remember. I sat there in the dark and cold, arms haphazardly askance, my head pressed against the table’s surface, lying in my own spittle. I raised my head and wiped my mouth with my arm and hand. Feeling along the mirrored impressions now embossed in my skin from the cracked and porous table. My throat was dry, and It was still dark in the house, but I could see light working its way through the window’s thick glass. The rain had stopped. Morning.

The candle directly in front of me dancing in the dark from my movements, it’s light flickering in brief and uncharitable blooms. Then I saw something shining wetly in the diseased candlelight, stretching from the darkness of the rafters above, down, down to the table in front of me. Thin. Gossamer. It was the web of a spider. Following it, I saw it formed a large webbed platform at its base between a candle and a bowl enveloping a large portion of my side of the table. Sitting on its outer edge were two black spiders. One dramatically larger than the other. The female I would guess. Their abdomens were wed, and I watched as she began to devour the smaller male inexplicably. No escape. I hate spiders, creepy things, yet surprisingly, I was drawn to them. I think we are all ultimately drawn to what we each fear. Perhaps it is some internal instinct to test ourselves?

As I watched her dine on her mate, the urge arose to fling the webbing to the floor, step on them and squash them all to paste. But, alas I knew I couldn't move. And there would be no great victory at their demise. No real sense of satisfaction, for you see, insects can’t scream. And in that, is the satisfaction. I gazed around, my eyes gravitating to something across the room. Huge and shapeless, like a heap of quarry stones covered in burlap.

It was Goody.

In the darkness she stirred, then again was still. My skin went cold all over, and I swallowed hard, causing my ears to pop like I was in a higher elevation, startling me in the process. She lay there in front of the fire, huddled into her coat. Asleep, her face pale and calm, her head turned slightly toward the door. Ash from the fire drifted through the emaciated air, staking claims throughout the room. The ash stood out like white confetti in the Goody’s hair aging her even more moment by moment. I rose stiffly in the dark still of the cabin, standing out of habit, only then excitedly realizing, that I was free from the witch’s charm. I moved toward the window with protests from the floorboards, and I stopped. What might be a minute passes. I pressed my forehead to the windowpane. It is morning. Confirmation that I had made it through the night. I peer out into the thistles off to the left, and they seemed to move just a bit. I sense something recently settled there, something ghastly, something that might come alive if I poked it to much. I turned back to the room.

Nimbly I eased myself across to the door, my eyes never leaving her form. I removed my jacket from the wallpeg beside it, and reached out and took the knob in my hand, twisting, putting my weight against the frame in an attempt to silence the hinges and in that last moment of vulnerability the door slowly slid from the threshold. I pulled the door behind me listening as it settled in its jamb without a sound, and the cold air rushed at me once more. I stepped out onto the porch, as dawn sifted in. Thin sunlight pried at the morning entombed within the arborescent gloom, and fog curled up from the rotted leaves like departing souls. The grass was white with frost and looked like it would shatter if I were to walk on it. Face to the sun, eyes closed, striving to empty my mind of all thought, to calm myself, I stood there. I looked up at the porch ceiling, where the open four-by-six joists were festooned with spider architecture. A fat spider danced from string to string, plucking from its silken harp a music beyond human hearing.

For the first time, I took in a deep breath. Then I quietly made my way down the steps and into the clearing. Looking back at the house, now in the daylight, it was still isolated, shapeless, trapped in wood, grotesque, it drooped over the yard like the brim of an old hat. I sighed. Everything was very still as I stood with my jacket rolled under my arm. I looked up at the old hickory now standing mute and unimposing in the morning air. Then lIke an animal released from its captor, I circled in an awkward cautious lope, uncertain of which direction to take. I could see by my breath how the wind lay and I watched my breath appear and vanish constantly before me in the cold. It was cold, but I was free. Finally, I was free. I threw my jacket on and moved out into the trees with the wind. Freedom, It was as if you could hear the earth breathe.


message 12: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Well, the two Davids have their stories in. Where are the rest of you? lol.


message 13: by David (last edited Jun 01, 2017 11:54AM) (new)

David Brown | 139 comments David Russell, Really good word usage. My only comment is and I can only assume it has to do with it being under 1000 words but it seemed they were quick to lay out their plans for her when they just captured her. Good story though sounds like a great idea for a novel.


message 14: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments Hum... Escape, An item of personal value, and An antagonizer

should be interesting.


message 15: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments "Escape" that's a nice challenge this month Rejoice...will throw all of the suggested ingredients into a bowl and see what comes out.


message 16: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Just checking, It wasn’t required to use an item of personal value, was it? Since it said Examples and it had an asterisk by them just like the random first sentence ideas. correct? Just want to make sure I did it correctly.


message 17: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hello Writers,
David, Yes, your observations of my intent are astute ones. I have learned for short stories: Keep the character number limited, keep the subject matter confined, get to the conflict and the resolution ASAP. Easier said than done most times. I just read your story, and liked the word imagery throughout. Shy on dialogue, that probably demands the style you presented.

Christene, just use a medium-sized bowl for your ideas and go for it, I have confidence in you!

Shae, come on, you spun a great tail of ... and dashes before, surely you, or someone you know want to escape something or someone. Just change the names to protect the ...

- I hope we can have at least ten stories by June 25.
Cheers,
David Russell


message 18: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Please, everyone, check out some of my books on here. I go by DB Martin. Just copy and paste this above or type in DB Martin.
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show....
Thank you all.


message 19: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments David wrote: "Please, everyone, check out some of my books on here. I go by DB Martin. Just copy and paste this above or type in DB Martin.
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show......"

I am looking for a book, yours sounds good.Liked your story. your imagery is outstanding. Just wish you would shorter your paragraphs


message 20: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments David wrote: "Hi Terry and others,
Thanks for your comment and words. I know some minor changes could be made: The period of time for being held hostage could be extended; the "session" or search and rescue coul..."


Your story has all the elements of a great short but it needs to be drawn out the Drs were filling out nicely good job


message 21: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments David wrote: "Just checking, It wasn’t required to use an item of personal value, was it? Since it said Examples and it had an asterisk by them just like the random first sentence ideas. correct? Just want to ma..."
Hi David
The examples were of situations that the character could escape from. Highlights should be included in the story.


message 22: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Switcheroo
By Shelly Heskett Harris
858 words 6/17


The man had seen better days, that was for sure. His nose was bent, his body scarred and he had forgotten how to smile. The man standing next to him was cut of the same cloth, except for an unlit cigar clamped in his teeth. They faced an impeccably dressed man and all three were standing on a fire escape. Actually, they were on a small landing, three floors up on ihe fire escape.

“Yes, sir,” said the man without a cigar. “We be ready whenever you say. I’m Jack and this here’s my cousin Mack.” Mack grinned around the cigar and stuck out his hand.

“You will call me, Mr. Smith,” the man said ignoring the outstretched hand.

Mack’s eyes narrowed and his body tensed. Aware of his cousin’s short temper Jack stepped in and asked Mr. Smith to go over the plan one last time. Smith ignored him and pulled a gold cigarette case out of his jacket pocket and began searching his other pockets. Mack frowned, watching him, a puzzled look on his face.

Jack watched the fellow pat himself and dig in his pockets oblivious of Mack’s clenched fists. Finally, Smith turned to Mack and asked for a match. Mack looked at him like the scorpion looked at the frog. “Arggg.” he said.

Jack jumped between the two, lit Smith’s cigarette, caught the unmistakable fumes of marijuana, glanced at Mack, who was holding his nose and making a face behind Smith’s back. Jack shook his head, looked skyward in supplication and turned back to Smith.

Unaware of anything except his smoke, Smith cleared his throat and said, “My wife and I will go to the opera on Thursday. We will leave early for cocktails with friends. You will arrive at 8:00 pm sharp, by this firescape and this window, which will remain open until 8:15 when the custodian makes his rounds. discovers it open and locks it.

“”What if we are seen?’

“There are no other windows on the third floor, It’s one of only a few openings in either this buildings or that one across the alley.” Smith indicated with a flick of his wrist
“What if we don’t make it out in time?”


“You will be caught in the apartment, arrested, it will be your word against mine.” Smith turned around so he could see Mack, who was standing three steps up.

“Or you will have completed your task, have $5,000 in your pocket and I have a work of art in my office safe,” Smith finished.speaking and leaned down, threw one leg over the window sill and hopped his way into the room pulling his other leg behind him.

Mack and Jack were not as graceful. For one thing they were bigger and they tried to get in at the same time, got wedged, cussed at one another till Jack elbowed his way through first.

They were in a small pantry. Smith led them through the kitchen into the dining room and pointed to a watercolor on the wall.

“This is it.” Smith said. “Cut the painting out, roll it up and drop it in the tube No need to go any further into the apartment.”

Mack heard the words and poked Jack. Later when they were on their way to the Eight Ball, their favorite pool hall, Mack was shaking his head.

“I don’t trust that s. o. b. He’s tryin’ to screw the insurance company and using us to do it.”

“Yep, and the way he told us to stay outta the rest of the apt, like we’re going to rob him”. Jack wrinkled his nose. ‘“Something’s smelling, cousin, and it ain’t your feet.”

Thursday, 8:05

The setting sun allowed scarce light into the apartment. A heavy scent hung in the air wafting up from the body of Mrs. Smith laying on the study floor, a knife protruding from her back. Lamps were on the floor, a small table turned over.

Albert Higgins had been watchman for this building for over 30 years. The very minute he opened the apt. door he knew something was wrong. He checked the back first, found the pantry window open, locked it and forgot it. Finally, he found Mrs Smith

“Oh, pretty lady, why’d ya’ go and get yourself killed?”

Mr. Smith was quietly reentering his club by the side entrance. So far, so good. He loudly picked up the conversion he’d been having with the oldest member. Alibi established. He was thinking about Mack and Jack caught in the apartment and wondering how much trouble they were in. Wonder if the police are there yet? He just couldn’t believe how dumb those guys were.

However, at that moment, Mack and Jack were at the Black Ball and had just finished hustling a couple of high-rollers from California and were scooping up over $10,000, Jack pulled back the shade, “It’s light.” he said and looked around the bar. It was beginning to fill up.

“”It ain’t 9:00 AM, cuz, it’s PM and we missed that apartment job”

“I think we escaped that job,” Mack said. “‘There was something wrong with that guy.”


message 23: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments I began with one of the suggested sentences .that was fun. OK guys you owe me at least one critique apiece.


message 24: by Rejoice (new)

Rejoice Denhere | 200 comments Shelly wrote: "I began with one of the suggested sentences .that was fun. OK guys you owe me at least one critique apiece."

Excellent plot development Shelly. Your story kept me engaged right till the end. The ending was a complete surprise as I was expecting something completely different. Switcheroo has all the elements of a gripping suspense thriller. Well done!


message 25: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments David wrote: "Aquiesce or Confute

David Russell
580 Words

Amelia awoke to hear the familiar sound of the Brahms Violin Concerto playing softly on the speaker over her cot. Her legs remained in restraints; the ..."


Interesting story, David. Fun characters. I laughed very hard at the last line. So, isn't that just about every writer's dream job (besides being best sellers, of course)?


message 26: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments David wrote: "Goody - escape from the witch.
by David Brown
938 words

My eyes popped open and I know immediately something is wrong. Nothing is familiar. As the first faint tugs of reality prodded my conscious..."


Loved your descriptions. Your writing made me nervous for the MC. Some typos and tense changes. (Don't we all have those?) Maybe the item of personal value could be the jacket, against the cold weather? (lol)


message 27: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments Shelly wrote: "Switcheroo
By Shelly Heskett Harris
858 words 6/17


The man had seen better days, that was for sure. His nose was bent, his body scarred and he had forgotten how to smile. The man standing next ..."


Nice job, Shelly. Good descriptions, and great tension between the characters. Loved your title which lay unsuspecting in the back of my readers mind until the ending; made me smile.


message 28: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments And now...since I missed last month, I can't wait to get a start on my own story with this wonderful new-to-me and inspirational group of talent.


message 29: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Thank you Rejoice for the specific comments, I tried humor in the Donald Westlake style Just fun. That way may have gone out of favor. Do you still read detectives? shelly


message 30: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Sandy (S.L.) wrote: "And now...since I missed last month, I can't wait to get a start on my own story with this wonderful new-to-me and inspirational group of talent."
Thanks for the helpful words. Are detective stories still in?


message 31: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments The Chase
Author: Patricia Fuqua Lovett
Word Count: 736

Ouch! She felt the bruise on her knee while trying to kneel. The gesture showed gratitude to the man who’d helped her as she chased the thief who threw a stone at her in an attempt to slow the chase. They both watched as the thief placed the owner’s treasure in his oversized coat pocket, turned, grinned, and resumed running.

“Thank you, sir.”

“I felt compelled to help. Your yelling caught my attention, and I dare catch you before you fell into the nearly frozen fountain.”

“I’m ok, but the thief is escaping with my box!” He heard her say as he resumed the chase.

He watched as the man plowed into others, jangled knobs on several shop doors. Locked. Locked. Locked. The thief found success at last and charged lightning fast through Belinda’s Pastry Shop. The kind gentleman was within hands reach before he heard the back door slam leaving behind the tinny sound of bells anchored on the door.

The aroma of freshly baked bread intermingled with cinnamon and roasted nuts momentarily averted his attention and reminded him that his rumbling stomach needed immediate attention. Belinda’s screams quickly brought him back to his senses. Oddly enough she seemed more perturbed about the commotion than injured.

“Why are you chasing Jimmy Daughterly?”

“Oh! You know him?

“He’s the son of widow Emily Daughterly. She worked for me before failing health.

“Daughterly. That name sounds familiar.”

“It should. The boy favors petty theft over work, so his reputation is widely known.” With that, the gentleman turned to exit.

“Here, she said. Take this bag with you. I put the family’s address in there, and it’s got a few goodies inside.”

Grinning with pleasure, he accepted the delicious smelling gift and left without uttering another word.

****

From the glass office wall, he saw widow Daughterly walk up to the postal clerk’s window. “How may I help you, Madam?” but before Mrs. Daughterly could answer. Mr. Charles Winslow interrupted. “I’ll help Madam in my office. This way please.” He said, and she obliged him with a half-smile.

As she was about to sit in the modest size office chair Mr. Winslow said in a calm yet firm voice, “no need to sit madam; tell Jimmy to bring the box to me before the closing of business today or the police will be at your house before sunset. And this time he will not escape. Now please, continue with your reason for today’s visit.”

Without a word, she handed him cash in exchange for postage stamps, and then quietly exited the Lake Street Post Office.

****
He left the office for a short time later that day and returned within two hours. A smile escaped his face immediately once he saw the white satin box sitting on his desk.

“Secure the building promptly at 5 p.m. he instructed the guard as he walked briskly away from the building and I’ll see you in the morning. I have important business to attend.

His hurried pace didn’t tire him as he passed 2nd hand shops, fresh fruit, and vegetable carts, shoe shine stands, delivery men, beggars, shoppers and a few school age children. None of them or their activities broke his stride or shifted him away from his mission. Finally, he arrived on Third Street, House #9. Smoke was billowing out of every chimney except for House #9. Reluctantly he knocked on the door all the while fearing no one was inside. Finally, she opened the door. Her head, wrapped in a bright woolen scarf, and a long skirt overlaid with a tattered woolen coat. Before he could hand her the box, she reached for it with tears streaming down her face.

“Madam, what is in this box that is so important that you almost lost your life?”

Her glove clad hands struggled a bit as she untied the white satin ribbon and lifted the lid.

I see, Madam,” was all he could say.

“My baby is big now. No need to keep his first shoes. We need the money for food and warmth.”

“I see.”

“Thank you again, Mr.”

He smiled and bobbed his head in acceptance of the gratitude, but before she closed the door, he emptied his pockets of every dollar bill and coin and placed it in the box alongside the pair of tiny white leather shoes.


message 32: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Cute story, sweet ending. I especially like the way you develop your setting. so your reader can vision the action.


message 33: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Thanks, Shelly. I'm focused on adding more action to my stories.


message 34: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Shelly, great story! You moved the plot along at a great pace. It was fun to read.


message 35: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments well, we seem off to a great start....

I've been thinking though and thought I would ask...

I'm thinking about doing a second volume of our 31 Days of October Stories.

This will be primarily broken into the same three categories: cute stories, scary, and terrifying. The theme will be Halloween and October frights, so either Halloween or October must be in the story as a setting piece.

Stories will need to be submitted before July 31st.

I'm also wanting to do one on dragons, but I will post that later.

So what do you think? Anyone interested? If so, check out the discussion under Anthologies.


message 36: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Writers,
- Shae, answered your question on the 31 Days thread.
- Sandy and Patricia, entertaining stories by each of you.
- Shelly, Switcheroo: Glad Mack and Jack were somewhere else and scored big in their own right. Good ending, liked it!
Crits:
First, referencing Mr. Smith near end of story:
"He loudly picked up the conversion (conversation)"

Second, near beginning
I would change the three men standing to something like this:
"Actually, all three stood (you choose the action) gazing at their surroundings on a small landing next to the fire escape.."

Finally, a couple sentences later,
Consider this:
Mack grinned while shaking hands with Jack and Mr.
Smith. He retained the unlit cigar in the corner of his mouth.

Cheers,
David Russell


message 37: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments I have written another one. Since I didn't understand the meaning of the asterisks in the instructions.

Released
by David Brown
999 words


Twenty-two years, Twenty-two damn years and it finally came, Derik thought to himself. Derik Johnson now forty years old had been remanded to the Gardendale correctional facility in nineteen ninety-two. Tried and convicted at the young age of eighteen for the rape and murder of twenty-five-year-old Emily Myers, a student at nearby Fischer College. The evidence was so overwhelming that the jury had taken less than an hour to convict him. The judge had been cold and cruel. The only thing keeping him going was the photo of his precious daughter. He had remained all this time though adamant about his innocence, but he had never even been able to get a retrial and now completely out of the blue he received his release papers., “Why? Who the hell cares why, he thought, he wasn’t going to question it, hell no his daddy didn’t raise no fool. The guard had brought it to him just after lunch earlier that Monday and told him it wouldn’t go into effect until Wednesday. Well by god it was Wednesday now, and he was ready. Derik was up and ready long before sunrise that morning waiting impatiently next to the front bars of his cell. Ted Grundel, the guard in his sector, came by and told Derik that they would need to see him before breakfast for his physical before his release.

“Physical why the hell do I need a physical,” he asked?

“Hey don’t look at me Ted replied I just work here I don’t make the rules.”

“I don’t want no damn physical; I just wanna get the hell out of this dump.”

“I understand that, but hey if it were me Derik and I was getting out today I would just go along with whatever the hell they wanted me to do and do it smiling.”

He had a point why rock the boat this close to the shoreline. He gather his bundle up that he had made of the things he held most precious, an old picture of his mother who died less than a year after he was locked up. A death he still has never been able to get a straight answer on, some trinkets he had made in metal shop, the newspaper clippings of his trial and sixteen worn quarters all solid silver that he had collected from his change and traded for over the years all wrapped neatly in his cleanest worker blue shirt. As soon as he vacated his cell, the chanting began from the nearby cells working across the grid to the farthest cells in his sector.

“Go get’um Derik” one man hollered out.

“Wanna Trade” another screamed?

“God bless you man, don’t come back” another chanted. The cheers and jeers rained down from everywhere as he walked across the grid with Ted at his side.

Derik waved and smiled; he just couldn’t believe this day had come. They walked through the inner door lock then through the other two and Derik stopped to place his hands behind him. Ted looked at him and smiled.

“No more of that buddy, you’re on your way out.”

This was really happening Derik, thought, thank God. He moved through to a door opening where and man had him sign for the items he had in his pockets and the clothes he was wearing when he came. A pair of Levis jeans, size 34, a blue jets shirt, two socks, an old pair of Nike sneakers, a disposable bic lighter and fourteen dollar and twelve cents. Derik signed the form and gather the rest of his belongings together, then followed Ted on down to the doctor’s office. They went inside, and he met a doctor Loehman.

“You can set your stuff over there in that chair,” the doctor said.

“Yes sir,” Derik said trying to be cordial just until he could get out of here.

“Getting released today huh?”

“Yes sir, I’ve been here for twenty-two years.”

“Jesus twenty-two years.”

“Alright let take your shirt and shoes off and have you sit up here on the table.”

Derik slid his shirt off and threw it on top of the items he brought in then took his shoes and set them neatly on top of the shirt then climbed onto the table.

“Why do I have to have a physical he asked?”

“This is just part of the release procedures; they want to make sure you’re in good health before we release you.”

“Whatever it takes Doc.”

The doctor came over and pulled his socks off and had him lay back on the table. He began hooking a series of cable to him with sticky cups on his chest back and arms.

“What the hell is all this” Derik asked.

“It’s a heart monitor to check your heart rate and pulse. See the monitor, that little jumping symbol that’s your heart.”

“No shit, huh, Ok doc.”

Then he came over to him with a needle began slapping his inner arm.

“What the hell is that for doc?”

“Are you going to ask questions through this entire physical?”

“Sorry doc,” Derik said with a little bit of sarcasm in his tone.

“No, it’s ok, it just to relax you before we take blood.”

The needle slid into his arm with a rush of burning pain.

“Damn it that hurts, man, what the hell,” Derik said raising up on the table.

“Now damn it the doctor said you are going to have to stay still.”

Derik lay back down on the table as the doctor finished administering the shot. In just a few seconds Derik became so sleepy then drifted completely, his heart rate slowed on the monitor, then he flatlined and died.

Well, that was another death row inmate released. Take the paperwork out for the next one.

“It seems kind cruel doesn’t doc?” Ted asked.

“No, personally I think it was more humane, he was happy when he went, he had no idea, and he wasn’t scared.”


message 38: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments David wrote: "Hi Writers,
- Shae, answered your question on the 31 Days thread.
- Sandy and Patricia, entertaining stories by each of you.
- Shelly, Switcheroo: Glad Mack and Jack were somewhere else and scored ..."


David, I'm so glad you found my story entertaining...before I even posted it here. LOL. Mine will come. I have been working on it. And I assume your second story is the one we are to do the judging on, correct? ~Sandy


message 39: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Glad you like my story David. My aim was to have fun with this month's challenge.


message 40: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments Released
by David Brown
999 words


Twenty-two years, Twenty-two damn years and it finally c..."

David, You out did yourself on this one. I have not been so taken by a mystery story in years. It is original thought, well plotted, and written. I just wish you had edited better. E very time they have to stop and go back to figure something out, the story looses a little This story deserves better.


message 41: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Shelly,
Thank you for the compliment. Yes, re-reading I agree. Thanks, I will try to check myself better.


message 42: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Oh, my! Talking about a story with a twist. Great story David. David wrote: "I have written another one. Since I didn't understand the meaning of the asterisks in the instructions.

Released
by David Brown
999 words


Twenty-two years, Twenty-two damn years and it finally c..."



message 43: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Patricia, Thank you so much. I am so glad you liked it.


message 44: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Heskett | 181 comments David wrote: "Hi Writers,

- Shelly, Switcheroo: Glad Mack and Jack were somewhere else and scored ..."

Thanks David for really reading my story and taking the time to critique it.
The spelling, I'll correct, I admit I don't know much about fire escapes. but this is one of those that go up steps to a landing and they were on the third floor. gain thanks


message 45: by David (new)

David Brown | 139 comments Sandy (S.L.) wrote: "David wrote: "Hi Writers,
- Shae, answered your question on the 31 Days thread.
- Sandy and Patricia, entertaining stories by each of you.
- Shelly, Switcheroo: Glad Mack and Jack were somewhere el..."


Yes, the second one.


message 46: by Leo (new)

Leo Borgelin | 1 comments We Were Once Gods

We were once Gods,
living high in the mountain tops
Free of order, roaming the free land,
The day was young, but it had yet to grow,
Giving time the opening to run aimlessly

But then the day grew old,
Time limited itself, order became my captor
holding me with its bare hands as time marks my new boundaries,
I now sit on a flat land with no ups and downs
Restricted to travel a day's worth abroad my new land,
Never again are we to reach our beloved land

The mountains were high
And the Greenland was low,
Never again we were to access our beloved land,
Foreign to us as we now know it,
But still strong in our roots
To only serve as a reminder to what kind of life we once lived,
As our only option we helped these new Gods grow,
Nurturing the Gods because they remind us of what was once ours,

For we too were once in their land,
As we had fallen from the mountain tops,
They will do accordingly,
Side by side in the land where time age,
No longer in the Mountains where youth persist
For this is the life of us Gods


message 47: by TERRY (new)

TERRY | 537 comments Mod
David wrote: "Goody - escape from the witch.
by David Brown
938 words

You have a way with words David. Interesting read.



message 48: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lovett | 341 comments Great poem Terry. Leo wrote: "We Were Once Gods

We were once Gods,
living high in the mountain tops
Free of order, roaming the free land,
The day was young, but it had yet to grow,
Giving time the opening to run aimlessly

Bu..."



message 49: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments Leo wrote: "We Were Once Gods

We were once Gods,
living high in the mountain tops
Free of order, roaming the free land,
The day was young, but it had yet to grow,
Giving time the opening to run aimlessly

Bu..."


Leo, you had me thinking and wondering with your poem. Very nice.


message 50: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Carlson (sandycarl) | 89 comments Company left yesterday; others coming in a week. Now's a good time for writing...or cleaning. Guess which one won? Here's my June short story on Escape:

The Witch’s Eye by Sandy Carlson, w/c 888

Leah pressed her cheek against the cold pillar, straining to hear the conversation below.
"Where is he?" the witch demanded of the king. "Where’s my stone?"
Leah couldn't hear her father's response, but she didn't think he would give up her friend. He wouldn't.
She clutched the ebony rock and slowly peered around the pillar. As the witch's look slowly rose in her direction, Leah ducked behind the column. She pressed her eyes shut, hoping to make herself invisible, and prayed that witches couldn't see through stone. Finally, the clickity-clack-click of footsteps leaving the dais area let Leah know the witch was leaving.
Leah rushed down the back steps, glancing at the guards who appeared to be waking up. She paused just before reaching her father. The short encounter with the witch seemed to have aged the king several years. Seeing him like this, Leah fell at his feet and lay her head in his lap. She tried hard not to cry.
"I told her nothing," he whispered at last. She looked up to him. He stoked her hair and faintly smiled. "Of all my treasures," he added, with it seemingly difficult to form his words, "you are my most precious. Stay away from her son. Promise me."
Leah nodded. But without a verbal agreement, it wasn't really a promise, was it? She rose and made like she was heading to her chambers. As soon as she was out of sight of her father she picked up her skirts and ran to the stables.
"Tristan," she whispered as loudly as she dared. The boy emerged from one of the stalls. She rushed to him. She stopped before reaching him and stilled her quivering hands behind her. "Your mother was here."
"I know."
"She wants the stone." Leah opened her hand and looked at it. It shone even here inside the dark building.
Tristan nodded. A horse nickered and pawed at the floor.
"Why? Why is this so important to her?" Leah rubbed it between her thumb and finger.
"It's her Eye," he answered.
"Ew." Leah dropped the stone onto the straw-covered floor.
Tristan snatched it up and slipped it into his pocket. He glanced quickly around. Leah looked, too, imagining his mother capable of suddenly appearing anywhere from thin air.
“She sees things with it,” he added.
Leah put her hands to her cheeks, wondering what sort of things. She shuddered. She didn’t want to know.
"I'm afraid she knows you've been to the castle," she told him, “even without that thing.” She shook her head. "You're not safe here."
He looked at the stable door, then lowered his gaze. "Escape is hopeless, Leah. She knows I took it. She'll find me no matter where I go. But I must destroy it. Crush it with the strongest hammer blow. She'll be searching every blacksmith shop for several days distance from the city until she finds it…and me. Starting with the closest one, so I must flee the city. Look for one far away. And hope…”
Leah shivered again. She clasped her hands together and tapped her lips with her fingers, looking at the spider webs on the ceiling. Then grinned at her friend. She knew her eyes twinkled with her brilliant idea.
"The trolls," she said, sounding so casual. "I hear they live seven days to the west. That's far away. Right?"
"I've never met a troll."
"Me neither. This should be fun."
Leah grabbed for her tack. Tristan took hold of her wrist. "You're staying," he said. She wondered if he’d inherited some of the convincing voice commands from his mother. She shook the thought away.
"But who's going to protect you?"
He leaned in and kissed her. Her first kiss. She suddenly felt warm and feared her legs would collapse beneath her.
"Your trolls should protect me," he answered as he pulled away. "Now. Which horse may I borrow?"
Leah opened her mouth, but no words came out. She pointed. Tristan took the gelding from the stall and slipped on the bridle. He leapt up, opting to ride with no saddle.
"I'll return," he said smiling down at her. He winked, and once more she felt a warm sensation surge through her. But how could he just leave? At least without her? Tristan squeezed his knees to move the horse forward, and he exited the building.
She followed him out. You'd better return, she thought to him, moving her finger to her lips where he'd kissed her. She lingered there long after he’d disappeared into the night. She blew out heavily and turned to go home. From her peripheral vision she spotted a black shadow move ever so slightly within the night shadows. An adult-sized black-within-black shadow.
It couldn’t be. How could his mother have found them so quickly?
Leah tried and failed to swallow. Found them without her Eye? Leah shivered once more. She looked back into the stables, forced a smile and waved hard at no one. She took a deep breath and sauntered off in the opposite direction of Tristin. She tried to whistle a joyful song at the sky, but only blew out air. She forced each intentionally slow step, hoping the witch would follow after her and not her friend.
Ride hard, Tristan. Find the trolls. And please. Please be safe.


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