Thursday Thriller – Rumors

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“Come on!  Let’s go in!”  Andrew tugged on her arm painfully, but her feet were planted on the ground.  She looked at the brown weeds sprouting up through the cracks in the sidewalk, the vast parking lot, sprawling and expanding around them like a gray, concrete ocean.  The empty mall had been sitting there, an abandoned eyesore, for years, since Mona was a little girl.  The town had no idea what to do with the space and no investor would touch it.  So it sat, and the stories began to swirl.  The murders that had supposedly taken place there, the girls who’d slowly started going missing in the years since the mall had been abandoned, the body found buried in a shallow grave, the madman that supposedly lived there in one of the desolate anchor stores.  It made for great scary stories at sleepovers when she and her friends were little, but Mona had never taken the rumors seriously.  It was just a hiding place for homeless people and a spot for losers to  get high.

Andrew tugged on her arm again, flashing that lopsided smile, and she remembered why her mother had warned her about him.  He took her hand and she squeezed it as tightly as she could as she followed him inside, crawling through a gaping hole in a wall that faced a deserted side alley.

The lights were still on.  She could hear the hum of the electricity all around her, despite the fact that the floor was littered with shattered glass, dirty sleeping bags, and trash.  Every fixture had been ripped from the walls and ceiling, signs hung crookedly around them.  “Welcome Back!” A banner screamed, brushing her arm as she walked past trepidatiously.

“This place is super creepy, Drew.  Let’s just go,” Mona pleaded, trying to pull him back.  He didn’t stop, just kept dragging her forward.

“I have something I want to show you.  It’s just around the corner.”

They ducked into one of the abandoned stores.  It was dark and Mona found herself longing for the well-lit corridor, spooky as it was.  There was a shadowy figure curled up in the corner, laying against the wall.  He stood as they approached.  As they grew closer, she could see the strange look in his eyes, the knife gleaming slightly in the sparse light that escaped from the hallway.  Andrew’s grip on her arm tightened; it was no longer safe, reassuring.  He was restraining her.

The stories were true.

 

I have a strange obsession with creepy abandoned malls, which sadly there are many of in certain parts of the U.S.   Enjoy the video if you’re interested!

Memory

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“No!” Izzy screamed, running to hide behind Rebecca’s legs. Rebecca ruffled her daughter’s hair as her great-uncle, Otto, continued to demand a kiss.

“Leave my daughter alone!” Rebecca growled.

“Brat!” Otto spat as he left the room.  Rebecca scooped Izzy into her arms, nearly knocked over by a long-forgotten memory.  Another uncle, another family gathering, another girl.

Give your uncle a hug!

She felt his wet lips against her cheek, his hands hidden from view. Her stomach flipped, her anger turning to sorrow.

“I don’t like kisses,” Izzy tearfully whispered into her hair.

Neither do I.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is WHEN YOUR BLOOD IS BOILING, SPEND AN EVENING IN THE COOLER.

Formalities

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He rode up on a dark horse.  So dramatic. I was sitting under an old oak tree on a blanket, sipping sweet tea and reading, my hair falling into my eyes. My parents stepped onto the porch.

“Mr. Powell – I have a question for you, but Mrs. Powell, I want you to hear this too. I love your daughter more than anything. I’d like to ask you for her hand.”

I choked on my tea as Dad shook his hand.

“Helloooooo!” I shouted. “Sean! We broke up MONTHS ago. Before I moved away.”

“But…I thought…if I asked your father…”

“So my dad is the one that gets to decide who I marry?  Not me?

Mom began to wail. “Savannah Elizabeth Powell!!  Do you want to die alone???!!!”

“You people are insane,” I declared, rising from the blanket. “I’m going inside.”

I watched my parents console Sean through the window and rolled my eyes.  I looked to the sky, reminding myself that soon I’d be on a plane, far, far away.

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

It Girl

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Marnie and Allyson hung out every single Saturday afternoon. They’d never cancelled, even when they were ill.  They’d just share candy and alphabet soup and watch movies under a blanket.

But that Saturday, Aria Franklin, the It Girl, asked Marnie to hang out. Marnie told Allyson that she was sick, so contagious she couldn’t have any guests. How was Marnie to know that she and Aria would run into Allyson at the store with alphabet soup and M&M’s in her basket?

“Marnie?”

Allyson blinked back tears as Marnie stood between her two friends, trying to resist the urge to run.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is – DON’T STRADDLE THE FENCE

Strange Boys

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This would be CeCe’s and Ricky’s last date.  She’d been infatuated with him for so long, actually becoming his girlfriend had been thrilling, surreal.  She’d felt like Molly Ringwald at the end of Pretty in Pink.  And the first kiss…a warm shock of excitement shot through her still when she thought of it.  It always would.  But they just weren’t compatible.

They stood in front of the scarecrow at the edge of her family’s property, CeCe knowing that they were in full view of her mother’s reproachful gaze.  She told Ricky she thought they’d be better off as friends and Ricky seemed genuinely surprised.

“I thought things were good,” he protested.

If you only had a brain.

Alone in her room that night, CeCe’s disappointment faded.  Ricky would spend his life in this town, as his family had done for generations.  There was nothing wrong with that, of course.  She just wanted a different life.  There were places she wanted to explore, strange boys she wanted to kiss.

She started packing her suitcase.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Hierarchy

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The tour guide continued to drone on as Nikki stifled a yawn.  She was only on the Historic Homes tour because of Denise.  She had no interest in this sort of thing, but Denise seemed to be drinking it all in with an intense, almost religious-like, fervor.  She didn’t think Denise had many other friends, poor thing.

Thankfully, the tour guide wrapped things up right on time so Nikki could rush to her next engagement, lunch and shopping with her bestie, Shana.  She felt such pride in herself as she drove away, staring at Denise waving goodbye in the rear-view mirror.

*

“Do you think this works with my coloring?”  Nikki asked Shana after a long lunch at their favorite bistro.  She held a blush pink dress up to her neck.  “Should I try it on?”

Shana nodded and smiled politely.  As Nikki ducked into a changing room Shana checked the time, hoping Nikki wouldn’t try on ten different ensembles before making a choice as she had on their last shopping trip.  She was meeting a group of her best girlfriends for drinks in less than an hour.

 

Written for Sunday Photo Fiction, and also inspired by this scientific study, which says that only 50% of the people we consider friends actually consider us a friend as well.  Interesting read, if you have time. 

 

Glass

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“You were supposed to be here an hour ago!”

Kacey put the phone on speaker so her sister, Kenna, could hear.”We’re almost there, Mom!” Kacey zipped around the corner in the luxury car her parents had just given her.

“Go have a Xanax,” Kenna added.

“Byeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” Kacey yelled as she ended the call, tossing the phone in her Gucci handbag.

“The same crap every Sunday.  I’d rather eat glass.”

They rushed inside as their mother emerged from the kitchen carrying two plates, each covered with tiny, broken shards.

“Your purse called me back,” Mom said with a tiny smile.

 

For Moral Mondays – The prompt this week is Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.

Tequila

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This restaurant isn’t my style.  I would prefer someplace with peanut shells on the floor, a karaoke machine, shots of tequila lined up on the bar.  Dancing.  But there will be time for all of that later.  

Still, it’s sweet that Renee wants to take me to dinner to celebrate my college graduation.  We’ve been friends since we were five, when most of my friendships were determined by geography.  She’d been my next-door neighbor.  If we met today, I don’t know if we would even see each other, much less become best friends.

There’s a busboy clearing the table next to ours.  He notices my stare and winks at me.  Cheesy, I know, but I still blush.  Renee does not approve. “Joss, seriously?  You’re an educated woman now. Don’t sell yourself short.”

I watch as he carries something outside and follow him, mumbling an excuse to Renee. As I duck into the alley, he grabs me and pulls me close and I can’t think about anything else, other than the faint smell of tequila on his breath.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Thursday Thriller – Truth

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Everyone lies, right?  That’s what I tell myself at least so I can sleep at night.  Ten years have passed but I can still remember that night so well.  It plays over and over during those torturous moments before the sleeping pills finally kick in and I fall gratefully into a black, dreamless abyss.

We were all drinking.  All honor students.  All supposedly good kids.  All college-bound.  And we were completely wasted.  I was driving.  All of my mother’s warnings, all of her promises, Call me anytime and I’ll come get you, no questions asked, were forgotten.  I was young and immortal, a newly-acquired driver’s license burning a hole in my pocket, in love with the feeling of speeding down a dark straightaway in my very own car with the windows down, screaming the lyrics to a song I can no longer hear without vomiting, warm, moist wind blasting my hair and face.

We hit someone.  I hit someone.  A woman whose car had broken down, who was walking to a neighbor’s to get help.   I never saw her.

Back then, it made sense to leave Olivia in the car.  She was the newest to our tight-knit group of friends, and she was the most messed up out of all of us.  Completely passed out.  She wouldn’t remember.  No one really liked her all that much.  We let her go around with us because her family was loaded.   Her dad was a rich lawyer, he’d get her off with a smack on the wrist.  So, we moved her over to the driver’s seat, wiped my prints from the wheel and put her hands all over it – a trick I’d learned from my mom’s favorite cop shows, and ran home in separate directions.  We were shocked when the judge threw the book at Olivia, wanting to send a message about underage drinking and drunk driving.  She’d gotten ten years.

She’ll be out soon.  She really believes she’s guilty.  I called my old friends, the ones who were there that night, and told them the news, saying we should get together and welcome her home, do something to make her transition easier.  None of them were interested, wanting to leave the past in the past.  One even said that Olivia had gotten what she deserved.

So I will be there, alone, when the gates open and Olivia takes her first steps as a free woman.  It’s the least I can do.  It’s one thing to tell a lie, another when you start to believe it’s the truth.

 

Written for the Story A Day prompt – The Lie

 

 

 

 

Girlfight

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The storm had been brewing a while.  It all started a month or so ago.  Madeline said something unforgivable about Karina to Chloe, something about Karina and a boy, which Chloe repeated to Riley, not knowing that Riley and Karina had made up after their fight the week before and were talking again.  Had she known, she would have never said anything to Riley, of course, but it was too late now. Riley sent a mass text to EVERYONE, including Karina, about the horrible thing Madeline said.  Then the insults started flying, profanity-laden texts, whispered conversations in dark corridors, glares across the cafeteria, escalating nastiness.

Then it happened.  Madeline and Chloe were walking down the hallway between classes, when Madeline tripped and accidentally bumped Chloe, which caused Chloe to bump into Karina, who was standing next to Riley.

“Skank!”  Karina shouted at Madeline, who responded with a sucker punch to Karina’s nose.  Soon fists, hair, and insults were flying, with a growing crowd around them spurring them on.  It took four teachers to separate the girls.  There was no clear winner or loser.  Both girls emerged with ripped clothing, disheveled hair and scratched, bloody faces.

That night at home, after receiving lengthy school suspensions, both girls turned off their phones, which were practically exploding with texts, and crawled into bed early.  Karina reached under her pillow for her favorite book as Madeline was pulling the same book from the bag lying next to her bed.   Elle King, another shared favorite, sang softly into the girls’ ears as they fell asleep, both wishing for a friend that would understand them.

For Sunday Photo Fiction