One Love, Forever.

“But Now I must sleep.”

“In the cemetery?” Cara shuttered, whether from the chill in the air or fear she couldn’t tell. Either way she did not want to stop here for any reason.

“It’s as good a place as any.” Peter sighed as he lowered his weary body to the soft earth.

“You can’t rest there. That’s someone’s grave.”

Peter ignored her and stretched out his limbs, lying on his back. Cara looked at the man in front of her, this man she barely knew. The day he walked into her small town was the day nothing else mattered. He was perfect in every way. His long dark hair, his tall stature. His skin seemed to glow in the sun.

Cara jumped from a sudden surge in her toes. Peter’s cool skin brushed hers as he slowly traced his hand over the delicate bones of her foot.

“This is what I want to remember, these moments with you. Uninterrupted by the world and its cruel ways.”

He always seemed to talk as if he was saying goodbye. Was he going to leave her? She sat beside him wanting to close the gap between them. As if reading her mind he pulled her down so that their bodies were as close as they possibly could be. The energy was undeniable, raging yet sad all at once. Why did it feel like an ending every time they were together?

“I will always love you,” He whispered in her ear. She closed her eyes and drifted to sleep with his hands still stroking her hair.

As the sun rose from behind the hill peter rose from his resting place, grimacing as his joints groaned in agony.

“Until later, my Love.”

Peter hobbled away, turning to look at the grave again.

Cara Moreau

1936-1960

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This story got an honorable mention over at Microcosms. A big thanks goes out to the judge, Geoff Holme.

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First Publication in Print!

This morning I received an email letting me know that my entries were accepted for a local literary arts journal to be published in my home town!

The Bridge Literary Center is dedicated to the prosperity of the literary arts in Franklin and the greater Western PA region.”( copied from their site.) This will be their second journal (I believe).  This time I get to be a part of it!! So exciting!

Now to go write my mini bio. Ugh, I’m not the greatest at those.

The Tea Party

CFFC Trophy

 

I woke up this morning to find out that my story WON over at Cracked Flash! Exciting!

Our story had to start with the following sentence:

Sometimes, people really are just useless.

I’ll put the judges comments at the end of the story. I must say, one thing that sets them apart from other competitions is that they are not afraid to point out things that need improvement. They had some very helpful critiques. I appreciate that. While I like hearing that my story was good, I also want to improve as a writer and if there is something I can do to make the story great, I want to know about it.

I must confess I really struggled with the 300 word limit. I had to make some deep cuts which did affect the desperation of the piece as Si pointed out.

So, here is the original story. I will work on it and post the revised version when I am satisfied. (That could take a while.)

*****

The Tea Party

“Sometimes, people really are just useless. Cheese?”

“I’m sorry, what?” Clara stared at the strange man in front of her. A moment ago she was having tea with her boyfriend and listening to him talk about work. But this man was definitely not her boyfriend.

She closed her eyes for a moment.

“Would you like some cheese? It pairs well with your tea.” Reluctantly, she opened her eyes to see a big grin stretch across the stranger’s face farther than a grin should. A large hat dipped over his crazed eyes as they darted from her to the other guests at the table.

“Who are you? The Hatter?”

“Of course not, dear. The Hatter is a copyrighted name. You can call me Mr. Chapeau.”

“I’ll take some cheese,” Clara turned to see a rabbit sitting upright in a white gown.

“Where is Jason?”

“Who?”

“Jason, my boyfriend. Tall, dark hair, dorky tortoise shell glasses.”

“Doesn’t ring a bell. It’s my birthday you know,” the man with the hat said.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Clara jumped at the exclamation that rang out from a tiny mouse in a tea pot.

Did I fall down a rabbit hole? Where was Jason? He was just here.

“HEY!” She shouted over the loud singing that had commenced around her. “Please! Where is Jason!”

They all stopped and stared. She realized, now, that she was standing with a cheese knife held over her head. A small pinch in her shoulder made her go limp, falling into the arms of a strong woman.

“Take her to the holding cell.” A nurse said as she took a pencil from Clara’s fingers and walked out behind them. “Poor girl just can’t get over his death. Best keep her out of the common room for a while.”

 

 

******

Judges Comments:

Si: I loved the rambling, unexplained craziness of this story. No info dump, just bewildering weirdness until it’s all explained in the end. Of course she’s crazy!
Good clean dialogue and I liked the personalities of all the strange characters we come across. The disjointedness of the dialogue: “Doesn’t ring a bell. It’s my birthday you know,” works very well for setting the atmosphere of confusion that Clara finds herself in. One thing I would recommend is increasing the tension of the story just a little–make us feel not only Clara’s confusion, but also desperation. I liked the Alice in Wonderland references–good connection there!–familiar to the reader, but we don’t know where you’re going with it until the twist ending. Great job giving us just enough dialogue from the Nurse to get what’s going on, quickly setting the REAL scene. Favorite line: “Of course not, dear. The Hatter is a copyrighted name. You can call me Mr. Chapeau.”, very funny. We can really feel Clara’s bewilderment throughout the story! Excellent job!
Mars: “The Hatter is a copyrighted name,” got a chuckle out of me! The Alice-is-insane has been done before (though it’s Clara in this instance), but it’s usually not done with any sort of levity like this piece is. I appreciate the allusion to Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (though I’m going to have “Merry Merry Unbirthday” stuck in my head now); I am very fond of references.
Watch out for how names are juxtaposed next to dialogue–“‘I’ll take some cheese,’ Clara turned to see a rabbit” could infer that either Clara or the rabbit were speaking, particularly with the comma there that runs into her name. The problem occurs once more later, when the mouse yells from the tea pot.
The beginning of the piece was a nice touch; it utilized the prompt in a unique fashion by making it sound like idle small talk, then drew the reader’s (and Clara’s) attention with the question, “Cheese?” Nice job!

And She Does

On Friday everything changed. I was no longer the little girl my father adored. I was a bargaining chip, a promise for a deal.

My view of this world had finally been unveiled, reveling many shades of greed.

I looked at the man smiling in front of me. I could see his plans written in the corners of his mouth, reflected in the dark chocolate windows to his rotting soul.

As I said my vows in the room of silent witnesses, I made a secret one of my own.

One day I would kill this man, setting free the world.

 

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This is the second (read first one here) story I submitted for the Flashverary contest over at Flash! Friday.

Our story requirements:

Must be exactly 100 words

Must start with “On Friday everything changed

A Tribute to Flash! Friday Fiction Competition

Flash!Friday had their Flashversary Competition this past Friday but it was also the very last FF contest…ever. I stumbled upon this site through another Flash Fiction Site  about ten months ago. Once I started competing I was hooked! These weekly competitions have helped me gain confidence in my writing and find my voice. I will be forever grateful.

Our story requirements:

Must be exactly 100 words

Must start with “On Friday everything changed

 

This is one of two ( read the second one here) stories I submitted.

On Friday everything changed. The last notes of a song rang out, beautiful words from stories past floated by in memories so strong that hearts swelled and eyes blurred.

This is not an ending but a transition. One that can be embraced with gusto. Courage was born here. Those who hid behind their words emerged and flourished, finding their true voices.

This is a place that will be forever in our hearts, a stepping stone that got us where we are today. And as we continue to move forward, we know that the friends we’ve gained will come with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micro Bookends FIVE FAMILIES

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

For last week’s Micro Bookends I was inspired twice! That almost never happens. The bookends were FIVE and FAMILIES/FAMILY. Here are my two stories.

 

Less Than One Percent

 

“Five days? But it’s not possible, is it? I had a vasectomy.”

“Hold on…. Google says there is a less than one percent chance. Oh my goodness! Look at all these stories of pregnancies after vasectomies!”

“Did you take a test?”

“No, but I have one in my purse.”

“Well, what are you waiting for?”

“I’m not going to take a pregnancy test in a restaurant bathroom!”

“Why not? Aren’t you dying to know?”

“But knowing will make it real. Six kids, Brett! I do not want six!”

“It could just be stress from moving.”

“Stress. Yes, maybe. I can’t believe I ever wanted a big family.”

 

Mia’s Job

 

“Five, six, seven, eight.”

Wait, that’s not good enough. Go back and start over.

“Again?”

You paused on seven.

“No I didn’t.”

Are you sure?

“Yes…. I think.”

If you didn’t do it right, your sister will die.

“That doesn’t make sense. You’re lying”

Want to chance it? If she dies, it will be your fault. Now start over and DON”T step on a crack.

“But I’ve recounted 6 times, I’m already late, and people are watching.”

It doesn’t feel right though, does it? She will die; deep down you know it.

“You’re right. Ok. One, two, three…”

That’s it. Remember, it’s your job to save your family.

 

 

 

Mother’s Pitch

Photo Credit: Nano Anderson via CC.

Photo Credit: Nano Anderson via CC.

“Perfect, just perfect.”

Sarah could hear the sarcastic undertone in her mother’s voice. The clapping that echoed around the white-washed walls couldn’t hide the disappointment radiating from her skin.

Britany bowed in gratitude toward her audience but the quiver in her legs betrayed her nervousness. She knew their mother noticed the missing note in the ninth measure.

Sarah gave here sister a compassionate look as they passed each other on the stage. Britany’s eyes pleaded for help. Sarah couldn’t let her suffer for being less gifted.

As she poised the bow on the strings she made the decision to test her mother’s perfect pitch.

 

 

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Written for Micro Bookends 1.50

Bookends: Perfect, Pitch

 

 

Queen of the Cyber Wars – #sixwordstory

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Her little lie spread like wildfire.

 

 

I was CRAZY busy last weekend but I wanted to write something, since my participation in flash contests has been lacking as of late. So I stopped by The angry Hourglass, only for a moment, and submitted a quick little story. Well, I guess sometimes less is more because I got an honorable mention from our wonderful judge Brett Milam. His comments were very kind and made my day!

Nietzsche said it was his ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book. There’s something palpable to brevity when done right, especially in the context of an already limited-word genre, like flash fiction. In this case, you’ve said in six words what others utilized another 354 words to accomplish. But I like it because it’s apropos of the prompt and it says everything in those six words. And now I’ve already gone on over 12 times longer than the story, so I’ll stop.

Home At Last

Pilgrim’s Progress. “Thus, they got over.” Public domain illustration by Frederick Barnard 1889.

Pilgrim’s Progress. “Thus, they got over.” Public domain illustration by Frederick Barnard 1889.

 

 

I have waited for you.

I have watched you.

I’ve seen your battle with Darkness itself.

I’ve seen you through the waves he crashed upon you.

I’ve held you in those moments you thought I was gone.

I’ve heard your praises.

I’ve heard your doubts.

I’ve seen you laugh…

I’ve seen you cry.

I’ve seen you bear witness, whether it be through words or actions.

Your smile could light up a room and brighten anyone’s day, no matter who they were.

You have traveled the narrow path, difficult as it was.

I welcome you home, my good and faithful servant.

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Submitted for Warmup Wednesday!

This week’s Warmup Wednesday challenge: include the end of a long journey.