Writing Prompt: A new scar, a new friend, and a change of heart

WRITING PROMPT: Change of Heart

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Reveal how your character got a new scar, a new friend, and a change of heart.

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5 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: A new scar, a new friend, and a change of heart

  1. nizhuce

    tampa bay buccaneers

  2. Mark James

    Wow, Martha. . . when’s the rematch?

    “You’re not mommy.”

    Langley couldn’t believe he’d picked a car with a kid in it. “You always sneak up on people bigger than you?”

    “I know how to dial 911.”

    He checked the rear view mirror, saw her pressed against the back door. “Hard to do without a phone, isn’t it?”

    “I can scream.”

    “Me too,” Langley said. “Go on. Let’s see who’s louder.”

    He watched her face in the mirror. Good. She was off balance. He’d taken the SUV from the far edge of the mall parking lot. In mid-August, in Houston, he didn’t figure on a kid hiding out.

    “You won’t,” she said. “You’ll get in trouble.”

    “Kind of like you?” He turned onto the ramp of the interstate, slid smoothly into traffic. “Bet your mom didn’t know you were back there, did she?”

    “Yes she did.”

    Some kids were good liars. She wasn’t one of them. “What’s your name?”

    “What’s yours?”

    “You should answer my questions.”

    “You shouldn’t steal cars.”

    “I’m Langley. How come you’re hiding back there?”

    A quick glance in the mirror showed her eyes down, her face close to tears. “I only took the jewelry she doesn’t wear anymore,” she said. “But when she found them in my doll house, she said she’d take all my dolls. So we ran away.”

    Langley did his best to keep a straight face. “Your dolls okay?”

    When she disappeared from the mirror, and he heard her reaching under the back seat, Langley nearly pulled his gun. A kid, he told himself, just a kid.

    “Katie’s a little hot,” she said from behind him, “and Joli’s hair is melted looking.”

    He put the missing pieces together. She’d gotten into the garage, into the car, and when mom took off for the mall, she’d tried to tough it out. He checked the digital clock in the dashboard. In a little more than two hours his target would be out of the country; and some extremely nasty people would be on Langley’s trail. Not to mention the cops.

    “Let me see,” he said. “Bring them up here.”

    “They don’t make noise or anything.” Her voice was strained, and Langley saw her struggling to gather dolls into her short arms. “Mommy doesn’t like that kind,” she said.

    He bet mom didn’t like any noise at all, unless it was the sound of sucking cash out of dad’s bank account. “I like all kinds,” Langley said. “Just bring a couple.”

    Climbing over the seats, her arms full of dolls, she scratched his arm pretty good with the clasp of a doll’s diamond necklace. Langley had seen banks worth less than the collection of molded plastic in her lap. Thirty eight miles later, he knew the names and faces of all nine runaways; the talking one, the noisy one, was Nikki.

    “I have to do something,” Langley said. “But I need your help.”

    Nikki bent over a doll, Katie, he thought, and looked like she was listening hard. “She says it’s okay if you’re our friend. You’re not mean like Mommy.”

    Langley had been called a lot of things in his life; ‘not mean’ was probably the best. He got Nikki to call mom and explain that she and her dolls were out for a ride, and Mr. Langley said calling the cops was a bad plan, and that he’d bring her back when he was done with the car.

    Most people said Langley didn’t have a heart; on most days, they were right.

  3. Elizabeth Johnson

    "Help! Somebody help me!" Stella gasped for breath as she broke into a flat-out run down the sidewalk. She could hear feet pounding behind her, so steady that she never dared to look back at him. A cold line of sweat trickled down her face, blurring her vision, and making patterns on her brand new striped cotton blouse. She ran past Rosina’s deli, past the Pergello’s bakery, past the five-and-dime store.

    And then the unthinkable happened; she was crossing the intersection with Mead Avenue and saw someone out of the corner of her eye. Without thinking, she turned onto Mead and headed straight for the man on the sidewalk.

    "Help! Please! Help me!"

    The man turned, and his eyes grew wide as he saw her. He sprang towards her, his hand reaching out to catch her. Stella stumbled against the brick wall next to him as she fell against his arm, scraping her forehead and smearing blood with sweat. He inadvertently pushed her further against the wall, deeply cutting his own hand in the process, as he put out his other hand to stop the pursuer.

    "Freeport Police! Stop right there!"

    The pursuer, a surprised expression on his face, stopped himself an inch from the officer’s outstretched hand.

    "Turn around and put your hands behind your back."

    "But sir – "

    "Do it!"

    Stella stared hard at her pursuer. Was he – did she recognize him? As he turned she saw a familiar white scar along the base of his ear. She hesitated for a second then ventured a guess.

    "Randy? Randy, is that you?"

    The man named Randy twisted his neck around to look at her, and she knew.

    "Randy! Wwhat in the world are you doing here? I thought – I thought you were dead!"

    "Stella, honey, relax. I wanted to surprise you! I’m back. I’m back for you. I’m done over there, I promise. I’m yours."

    Stella inhaled sharply. She had been holding out hope for months now that Randy would come back, but doubts had begun to creep in as weeks went by and she heard nothing. She looked at him with a question in her eyes.

    "I have the paperwork to prove it, Stella. I’m out for good. We can get married tomorrow, if you’d like."

    The officer was still there, waiting for an excuse to put Randy in handcuffs. Now he realized he recognized the man as the soldier who had been missing for almost thirteen months, the soldier he’d doubted would ever return. And now – the man was here, right here, standing in front of him. He wanted to give the couple a chance to reconnect, but not before he introduced himself as a new friend. He would start believing now, knowing that there was hope for every missing soldier, hope for families everywhere, that their loved ones would return someday.

  4. Martha W

    Loved this one…


    Adrian waited until his roommate was buried in the tiny dorm closet. He slammed the phone down. "Jerk."

    Pete leaned around the closet door. "Your latest toy?"

    "Shut up."

    Pete buried his head back in the mess of clothes. "I can’t find my Tigers shirt."

    "I’m wearing it."

    Pete peeked again. "Why’re you wearing my shirt?"

    Adrian shrugged. "I’m going to the game today."

    "You didn’t tell me that." His friend pulled another tee from the closet and shoved the doors closed. "Who with?"

    "Supposed to have been Jim." A little pout for good measure.

    "Ah. Not answering, is he?" Pete slapped Adrian on the back. "Maybe if you looked somewhere besides the bar, you’d find a better man."

    Adrian rolled his eyes. He’d heard this lecture a hundred times. "Yeah, but then he’d want to date."

    Pete’s face hardened before he glanced away. "Yeah. What’re you going to do with the extra ticket?"

    "You wanna go?"

    For one long moment, Adrian thought he’d refuse. "Sure."

    "Grab your stuff." Adrian picked up his glove and slid his baseball hat on his head. He hissed as the webbing of the glove caught the stiches in his arm.

    Instantly, Pete was there, pulling his arm out to look. "What did you do?"

    Adrian fought to focus on his answer. He needed a plan. "It’s nothing."

    "Nothing?" Pete’s voice rose. His blue eyes were grey with worry. "Ten stitches isn’t nothing. What happened?"

    "I caught it on a piece of glass. That’s all." Adrian added a wince. "Let’s go."

    "No." Pete braced his feet apart, crossed his arms. Adrian almost moaned. The man was magnificent. "Tell me. Right now."

    Adrian drew back. "What’s the big deal?" The low rumble from Pete’s chest told Adrian he’d pushed his limit. He held his hands up between them. "I helped one of the new freshmen move some furniture and he broke a picture frame. I got in the way."

    "He." Pete spit the word like venom.

    Adrian refused to tell him the guy had talked non-stop about Pete. By the time they’d gotten the stuff inside, he’d been ready to drop the couch on the guy’s foot. Every two minutes the idiot was going on about Pete’s butt or Pete’s eyes. Like Adrian was blind, or something. He’d walked away with jealousy eating a hole in his stomach.

    "You know," Pete began in his slow southern drawl, "I think it’s time I reigned this in."

    Adrian ran through his thoughts, tried to determine if he’d said one of them out loud. He looked back at Pete, who now stood towering over him. "What?"


    Adrian swallowed. "Me?"

    Pete slid his hand over Adrian’s neck, cradled Adrian’s chin in his large palm. "My patience has run out."

    No sense pretending he didn’t understand. He’d been taunting the dominant for weeks. "What about the game?"

    "Which game?"

    Adrian let out a sigh as Pete’s mouth finally settled on his.

    Thank God for clutzy newbies.

  5. John F. Murray


    I never liked dogs. There used to be a pack of them running wild through my neighborhood when I was a kid and they chased me every chance they got. From dusk until dawn, they menaced me.

    Now I was a divorced father trying to get my kids to forget about how their mother had left us. I had a six year old daughter, Emily, and two sons, Sean, eleven, and Tommy, nine. It broke my heart to see their three hearts broken, so I had become somewhat of push over. I gave them everything they wanted. Except a dog.

    The three of them had been begging for a dog since the start of summer. It’s not that I didn’t want them to be happy but I was afraid of these things! I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing there was a dog in the house.

    One October afternoon I was out in the garage changing the oil in the pickup when I heard the kids come scurrying in. I looked at the legs standing by my back bumper. There were ten legs and four of them had paws attached.

    “Oh, no,” I shouted. “Get it out of here!”

    “But, dad, he’s perfect!”

    “No! Get it out!”

    I slid out from under the car and the dog ran straight for me. I tried to jump to my feet but I slipped and fell backwards, slamming my hand on the edge of my workbench. I laid there holding my hand as it bled from a gash on the back of it. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the beast coming for me. Surely it smelled the blood and was coming in for the kill. I closed my eyes and made peace with my maker.

    The children began to laugh as the dog licked my face and ear until even I had to giggle. I got up and wrapped one rag around my hand and wiped the saliva from my face with another. I stood there trying to remember the last time they had all looked so happy. I couldn’t.

    We made a deal that we had to first try to find his owner before we could keep him. We put up fliers and called shelters and vets to see if anyone had called about him but no one had. After a month I decided to call off the search. He was here for good.

    Sean declared, “We have to give him a name!”

    “Cheese,” Emily said.

    “Why Cheese,” Tommy asked.

    “Because I love cheese!”

    That was ten years ago and Cheese has seen Sean and Tommy off to college and he’s always there for Emily as she deals with the drama that is high school. And at night I still can’t sleep knowing there is a dog in the house. If he’s not at the foot of my bed, that is.

    John F. Murray


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