Thousand

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She’d been writing the same book since college.  The story was a beautiful one that had come to her in a dream.  She’d sprung from bed in her tiny dorm room, startling her roommate, and run to jot the idea down before she forgot it.

Today, the girl with the eager smile and a head full of dreams was gone.  She was a mother.  A wife.

A thousand words.  I need a thousand words.

“Coming to bed, babe?” Dean asked as he passed her office in the hall.

“Not yet.”  She blew him a kiss, then opened her laptop.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is FINISH WHAT YOU START.

 

 

Ocean

 

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Source

I’ll never forget my first trip to Costa Rica.  The rain forest.  The lush landscape.  The gorgeous tropical birds, dashes of bright color weaving through the trees.  I’d been there to volunteer, to help others, but ended up falling in love with a beautiful local boy, Marco.  How handsome he was – coppery skin darkened by the sun, dark curls falling into his oversized deep brown eyes.  We spent that summer together, but my home city, work, responsibility, all the trappings of adulthood, called me back.  I never saw him again.

I’m standing next to my husband in an ornate restaurant, surrounded by our family and closest friends.  It’s our 25th wedding anniversary.  My daughter, visiting from college, beams at me from her table.  My husband is giving a speech about how blessed we both are to have found our perfect match.  “We never do anything halfway,” he says, as our friends chuckle. I smile and nod and laugh at the appropriate parts, but I’m not really there. I’m hearing the call of the birds, feeling the balmy breeze in my hair, as Marco slips his rough hand in mine and leads me to the ocean.

 For Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner

Reversal

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Another chapter in the neverending saga of Paul and Alexandra, Katie thought as a perfectly good wine glass shattered against the far wall, red wine streaming down the stark white paint like blood.  Alexandra, the glass-thrower, screamed at Paul that he’d never loved her, that no one wanted him there because he was an awful person.  Paul retorted that Alexandra was over-the-hill, desperately, pathetically, trying to hold on to her youth and failing miserably.  Katie stood, throwing her hands in the air.

“ENOUGH!”  Katie shrieked, rattling the windows.

Alexandra and Paul immediately quieted, turning to face Katie in shock.

“Haven’t the two of you ruined enough family gatherings?”  In the preceding years, Katie and her siblings had gone to ridiculous lengths to keep their bickering parents separated, and she was fed up.  She turned to her mother.

“I invited dad here. I’m getting married tomorrow.  He has as much right to be here as you do.”  She faced them both sternly.  “Both of you should be ashamed. Your children are embarrassed of you.  If you behave this way tomorrow I’m having the both of you thrown out on your butts and you can argue in the back alley like a couple of hillbillies.  This nonsense,” she swirled her finger between the two of them, “is over.  Do you understand?”

Her parents stared back at her in stunned silence.  She stepped closer.  “I said – DO…YOU…UNDERSTAND?”

Paul and Alexandra looked at each other, then responded in unison.  “Yes, ma’am.”

For Sunday Photo Fiction

 

After

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The first 22 years of my life have been a frantic race for this day.  I dreamed of it as a girl, talked about it endlessly it as an adolescent, and after I met him, started planning it in secret.

The car stops in front of our new address, a gorgeous showstopper of a home.  I stand in our mostly empty living room, my heart slowly falling into my belly as my new husband tromps up the stairs. The decades in front us stretch endlessly into the unknown as I slide to the floor.  What happens now?

The six sentence story prompt this week is Address.

Wanderer

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Willa is gone. Her side of the bed is chilly this morning when I roll away from the sound of the alarm. I expected her to tiptoe in sometime late in the night, returning to me as she does after all of her wanderings. She’s always back before morning. Something is wrong.

Outside, our street is quiet and empty. Her car is gone. I speed toward the center of town, searching the sidewalks for a glimpse of her. I see a woman, her hair pulled to the crown of her head in a tall, curly bun, as Willa’s worn hers nearly everyday for the past year. She has on one of those wispy, ankle-length dresses that fill Willa’s closet. I stop in the middle of the road and the car behind me barrels into my bumper. I leap from the car, ignoring the other driver’s profanity-laced protests.

I look into every storefront, down every alley, inside every passing car, but she is gone. I see a police officer on patrol, and I practically accost him, telling him all about Willa, that she’s missing, that I think I just saw her but lost her again. He listens, but in an impatient, condescending way, and tells me that I can go to the station to make a report, but it sounds like Willa left of her own accord and will come back when she’s ready. I wander through downtown for hours, hoping to see her again, but she’s vanished.

When it’s dark, I walk home, knowing that my car is probably impounded. Willa has never had many friends, but I will call everyone, anyone with whom she’s ever conversed, if needed, until I find her.

Her car is in the driveway, parked at a strange angle. I rush inside to see her sitting on the floor in our hallway, a baby with my eyes and her dark, curly hair on her lap. She is cooing at the child, a detached smile on her face.

She looks up at me as though nothing unusual has transpired. “I’ve found her,” she says to me in an elated whisper. “I found our baby.”

“Willa,” I say, taking a tentative step closer, putting my hand on her shoulder. “We lost the baby.  Remember?”

For the Story a Day prompt – tell a story using the Hansel & Gretel story structure.

Fog

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The click of his keys in the front door.  What’s for dinner?

“What’s for dinner?”

“Pasta,” she says, slicing vegetables.

Yummy.

“Yummy!”

She looks out of the window at the car they painted together during the heady early days of their marriage.  Their road trip car.

“Let’s drive to San Francisco!”

He laughs.

“I’m serious.”

“Now isn’t a good time.”

“Why not?  We have savings.  We’re still young.  No…kids…tying us down….”

“We have work tomorrow…responsibilities….”

She begins to fade, thinking about the ugly house she hates that will probably be her coffin, the same restaurant they visit every week for date night, all of the trips not taken and the babies that never came and the stink of garbage and dirty dishes and musty, closed-in guest rooms and there’s an explosion.  Screams and flashes of red. She emerges from the fog to see him at her feet, bleeding and unmoving.  She drops the knife, shivering with fear and disgust and grief, yet grateful that finally, something was different.

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Ex

A continuation of last week’s story.

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He was waiting for her when she got home, leaning against his car like the handsome male lead in some teen fantasy.  She averted her eyes, ignoring him as he began to follow her.

“Did you tell them I was with you?”

She turned, summoning all of her strength, her expression icy.  “Give my regards to your wife, Stephen.”

She left him on the step, his eyes as large as saucers, and went into her apartment alone.

 

The six sentence story prompt this week is Ex.

Memory

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My brain is filled with useless information.  I giggle to myself as I realize I’m humming the theme song of my favorite childhood cartoon, a show I haven’t watched since sometime in the 1980’s.

Jem is my name/no one else is the same/Jem is my name/Jem! 

I still remember the combination of the first locker I was ever assigned in middle school.  11-1-11.  The full name of the first boy I kissed in sixth grade.  Allen Richard Thornton.  The first thing I ever stole.  A faux leather wallet with a picture of the Spice Girls.

I marvel at my good fortune for the 100th time as I settle into a lawn chair in my secluded, newly-renovated, backyard.  The sun is bright.  It’s a good day to tan.  I chuckle as I think of all those losers fighting for space on the highways and expressways on their way to jobs that are slowly killing them inside.

As I close my eyes, my most important memory plays for me.  My neighbor is standing in his driveway in the middle of the night, dumping a human-shaped bundle in his trunk.  His wife hadn’t been seen for days.  I snapped a photo for good measure, but there really was no need.  Like I said, I remember things.

Even though my eyes are closed, I notice the light above me has changed.  I open them to see my neighbor’s shadow falling over me like a dark blanket, and I shiver.  He is blocking my sun.  I wonder what he wants.

For Sunday Photo Fiction

Green Eyes

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The cows did her in.  All through dinner with her daughter, her ex and his new wife, she’d been internally patting herself, and her ex, on the backs.  What mature parents they were, still getting along years after their divorce.

Now that Sean had remarried, to a girl 10 years younger than she no less, everyone asked Sonya if she was angry, or jealous.  Her answer always was the same – she was thrilled for him.  Madison made Sean happy, and she was a wonderful stepmother to their daughter.

They moved to the living room, Sean’s and Madison’s living room, for dessert and there they were, sitting on the mantle.  The pair of psychedelic ceramic cows, the ones she’d found in a flea market on their honeymoon.  She loved those cows.  They’d gone missing during the last years of their marriage, and at some point she’d just stopped looking for them.  But now they were here, on Madison’s mantle.  Her heart caught fire as she blinked back tears, staring at Sean’s hand on Madison’s slim thigh.

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers  and inspired by one of my favorite songs about heartbreak, Green Eyes.