Best Friends Need Your Help

You receive a phone call from your two best friends. “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.” Nervously, you grab your coat and car keys.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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240 thoughts on “Best Friends Need Your Help

  1. sk1996

    I’m sitting here in my study, and I think to myself that the transience of the perception of the object, in the gates, the constructed modality inherent to understand the essence of the epistemological question, “What is I?” As I pondered profoundly to myself in this philosophy, as I always do on every Friday night, I receive a phone call, hindering me from my thoughts. I reached for my glasses and scrutinized the caller ID, discerning that it was my friend Jack calling.
    “Hello?” I ask.
    “Jimmy, Daniel and I have something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place,” and he hung up in a volatile manner.
    I drove to the dark alley in the corner of the motel, desperately wanting to know what was so important. Behind the dumpster, Jack and Daniel appeared to have been deliberately injured.
    “What happened?” I asked in a sense of solicitude.
    “It was all Jack’s fault, Jimmy. I swear. He—”
    “Don’t lie, Danny. It was both of our faults.”
    Both were bent over, with blood profusely exuding down their arms and bodies. With my eyes wide open, I asked once again what had happened to them.
    “We copulated with each other, Jimmy,” answered Daniel in an aberrant tone.
    They bent down on their knees.
    “Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned,” they said concurrently.
    I, being a pastor, forgave them, and told them that the Lord has forgiven them. “You boys may now stand up. Feel no more shame. Now tell me, why are you two covered in blood?”
    They both laughed.
    “Oh, don’t worry about that Father Jimmy. It’s fake blood. We were just role-playing.”

  2. rptbooks

    “Jerri, calm down!” I shouted with irritation as I wiped blood from my calf. I had been shaving when the phone rang. My expression changed to concern when I also heard Gina in the background. These two had been trouble since that day under the bleachers…the day of the three way pact. “It’s terrible Megan…I can’t believe we, we oh my god Gina what have we done. “What!” I shouted. “Meet us at our know the one.” Gina said frantically. As I drove to the now abandoned high school wild thoughts swam through my head. I knew Gina was fighting with Todd again and Jerri was in traffic school for yet another accident. “Was there a fight. Oh god, did Jerri hit someone…?” I rambled aloud as my foot grew heavy on the gas pedal. “Maybe she hit Todd…oh no Todd is dead! My foot slipped on the wet grass as Gina stepped out of the shadows to steady me. “Where are your shoes?” She asked. “I came as fast as I could!” I must have been a sight with my wet pajamas clinging to my every curve., but they looked even more bizzare in the long trench coats and heavy stocking caps in mid August. Together they pulled the beanies from their heads.”We used this stuff …” Jerri began. “It was supposed to thicken our hair. I burst into a fit of belly aching laughter. My two “murderous” friends were bald…that was the big emergency. “I’m going home ladies, I hate you both!”

  3. Calvin

    Okay, a first attempt at the writers prompt. Any and all feedback welcome.

    I have never been a patient man. When the phone call came in the late afternoon, I was almost out the door, headed for my daily Aikido training. With a frustrated pivot, I altered my trajectory toward the phone that was roughly along my path, and picked up the receiver impatiently.


    Although a couple of decades had passed, I would know the voice as if we had just said goodbye last night at dinner. “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.”

    The voice was John’s, and before I could open my mouth to express surprise, I was met with the click of a disconnection. I was inclined to ignore the call, after all, why rush off on the whim of a friend from years ago? It was the urgency in the voice that had my feet moving, and as I grabbed a coat and my car keys.
    “Okay, but this better be important.” I mumbled to myself, as I stepped out the door.

    The ‘Spot’ that John referred to was a columned archway in an unkempt garden behind a mansion that we used to use for our ‘adventures’. When I arrived, John was already there, and as I stepped to the small clearing that we used as our encampment, Paul stepped into the clearing dragging a very large rug, rolled up into a cylinder. At John’s feet, was what appeared to be some drapes, which were also rolled into a kind of flattened cylinder. John’s eyes looked worried, and a little hint of fear squeezed the corners down so that he appeared to be squinting. I opened my mouth to ask what was going on, but stopped at the sound of Paul dropping his carpet to the ground. The dust billowing out from beneath as it landed on the dry ground.

    “I sure hope this can be fixed quickly, John”, Paul said as he came up to join the two of us.

    “I’m here, so what’s this all about? Why did you choose here, and what is in the bundles?”

    John glanced at Paul and nodded. “Bring him closer.”

    As Paul went back to the carpet, John pulled a parchment from his shirt. It was folded up and held a greenish-grey wax seal. My eyes went wide, as I had not seen that parchment since we made the vow, and had forgotten about its existence.


    My voice trailed off as Paul managed to haul the carpet over to us. He to a knee and flipped open the edge, revealing a face, a very dead face. My eyes went wider still as I recognized the face.

    I turned to John, to discover he was kneeling next to the drapes. Without a word, he flipped the corner back and revealed the gem encrusted cross-piece of a broad sword…

    1. oldschool

      I both like and am annoyed that I have to imagine what the pact actually was and who is the dead body, nice word pictures, I could see him walking past the kitchen counter on his way out the door.

      1. Calvin

        Thank you. After I finished writing it, and after I posted it, the usual, OMG, I didn’t rewrite that part well enough set in. That also had Me thinking just which way I would go with this piece. I was initially thinking of concurrent realities, and the three of them made a vow to never utter the keyword that would lift their self-imposed amnesia. Or the hilt of the broadsword would trigger the flashback to the vow. If I do try and follow this up, I’ll post it on the forums.

    2. Frank

      Great job on your 1st submission to a prompt! You have nice “voice” – easy pacing, clear and uncluttered prose, and an ability to build the drama. It was the kind of piece that make you wish for a 2nd installment.

  4. fairlore

    I knew this day would come, shaking my head as I started the car. I knew I should have moved away, far away. I had never told John about the Pact. I am sure he would have divorced me and took the children if he knew my true past.

    I drove just under the speed limit so I could completely calm my thoughts and steady my hands that felt like jitter bugs in a jar. The Pact. Oh, how I wanted to forget the Pact. How I had forgotten for so long, the day conveniently shoved to some far place within my mind.

    I was five minutes away from the spot. The spot that sealed the fate of my life forever. At the time, when I was 12, I really didn’t think that at 43 we would still know where each other lived. I could not have imagined that the acts of that day would forever be a leash around my neck.

    I couldn’t leave Lisor Valley. I would never leave Lisor Valley and neither would they. We would bound to this place because of that Pact, so many years ago.

    I pulled the car up to the Spot and saw Caroline and Kelly sitting on the park bench. It was like we were 12 again. I hadn’t seen them since high school and yet it felt like no time had passed between us.

    Caroline was the strong one and was looking right into my soul through my car window. Kelly had her head down, body small next to Caroline’s big energy. I stayed in the car for a moment wondering what would happen if I just backed up and left. What if I just drove and never looked back at them, my family, my house, my job.

    My shoulders slumped. I knew that was never going to happen. I was in this for life.

    I approached the two silently. Caroline studied me with her unwavering stare.

    “Caroline. Kelly.” I spoke just over a whisper.

    “Jessica. It’s been a long time.” I nodded an agreement.

    That day 31 years ago hung over us like a scene waiting to be acknowledged.

    I heard a horn go off behind me. I turned and saw my husband John. I froze. He walked up to me.

    “Jessica. What is going on?” He asked looking at my hands.

    I looked down. I had bones in my hand. I looked up for Caroline and Kelly. They weren’t there. I had dug her up, that girl from when we were 12. The girl that we had taunted and pushed around until she had fallen onto a rock. She had cracked her skull and bled into the ground. We buried her.

    Behind John, I saw her. Smiling.

  5. lahwrites

    I vowed to give up these silly romance novels once I hit forty, good think that wouldn’t happen for another month. I was sucked away from Armando when my cell phone interrupted a particularly steamy scene. Heidi’s name flashed on the phone while, “Sweet Home Alabama” played.

    “Hey chickie. What’s Up

    “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.” She hung up as quickly as she had spoken. I was tempted to call her back for more details, but I didn’t think she would say anymore then she already had.

    I jumped up from my chair and into the house, franticly looking for my keys and jacket; I locked the front door and hopped into my car. Take a deep breath Cassie, everything is fine. “we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help.” She had to have been talking about Liz when she said “we”. Terribly wrong? They were soccer moms, what could they have possibly done?

    My brain was whirling out of control. Had Heidi killed her mother-in-law, finally? Maybe Liz had accidently poisoned a batch of cupcakes for her latest bake sale fundraiser. OH MY GOD, had Heidi finally given into the cute cashier at the grocery store who was always flirting with her? If David ever found out, that would be the end of their marriage.

    “Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school” Pact? We never made any pact in high school. But I knew the spot at the school she was thinking. Well, I think I did. We always used to go to the big rocks behind the tennis courts when we would sneak a cigarette after lunch. As I pulled into the school parking lot, I saw Liz pacing in front of Heidi’s car and I parked next to her. “Liz, what is going on?” She was wringing her hands and frantic.

    “I shouldn’t say anything without Heidi. Come on.” She pulled me by the wrist around the netted tennis courts and to the rocks beyond. There were tables and chairs and balloons everywhere. A big banner read “Happy Birthday Cassie”. An eruption of Happy Birthdays filled the air I stopped in my tracks. Heidi came running over to me laughing.

    “I knew this was the only way we could get everyone together and surprise you for your birthday.” I was in shock, but so happy to see everyone. “You’re not mad at us are you?”
    “Of course not, this is great. It’s just, I was just thinking the worst when you called.”

    Heidi giggled some more, “Oh please, us soccer moms do something wrong? Really? But, when we get a chance to gossip, I have to tell you about me and the cute cashier from the store. His name really is Armando!”

  6. oldschool

    I will never again think that when the phone rings in the middle of the night.

    Its now quarter after four in the morning and I am sitting in the police station lobby with Sandra waiting for Kellie to be released on the bail I just posted. The events of tonight have a link deep in our past when Mike, the Assistant Police Chiefs son, killed Kellie’s three and a half year old brother, Kyle, who was playing in their front yard not 10 feet from his mom. Mike got off easy despite evidence that it was not his first instance of driving under the influence, (according to the investigation there were as many as 8 times prior but he was protected because of his daddy’s position).

    The three of us sat in our school soft ball teams’ home dugout and made a pact that Mike would pay for what he did. Kellie wanted to go and kill him right than and there but we talked her out of it, promising her that an opportunity would present itself. We promised that we would never talk about it, and there was a condition that two of us had to be present when the chance came.

    Now Kellie has been arrested and Mike is dead. Sandra was in the car also but Kellie was the driver. The called me and I met them in that dugout where they told me what happened earlier that evening. The two of them had been out having dinner and Kellie was driving Sandra back home. The crested a hill and didn’t even have time to react. There was a guy, just walking in the middle of their lane. They hit him and he went up onto the hood, into the windshield and off the passenger side of the car. They got out to check on him, Sandra was dialing 911 until they saw who it was. Sandra hung up and called me. Both of them had had wine with dinner, but their bigger concern was the pact. It the police asked and it was brought up, it might look like they had hit him on purpose.

    Both of the girls told me that it was an accident, just a complete coincidence that they were both in the car at the time, in light of the pact. So they left and met me and I told them there was no need to tell the police anything except the events of tonight. We all came to the police station and they turned themselves in.

    Now I think back on my first thought when the phone rang, “Somebody better be dead.”

    1. penney

      I think I fried my brain, relied on spell check or went back to first grade phonetic spelling. “Impute” was not the word I was looking for. Thank you JR MacBeth. But feedback on this little diddy would be nice from anyone while to waste the time.

        1. rob akers

          Penney, I work nights so I know how tough it is to get the spelling right. In high school, when I went to English class I usually slept so I know your struggles with the proper use of language.

          In the past year since I started writing, I have read several books and the constant theme is that a good story needs conflict. It doesn’t have to be something dramatic like mobsters shooting at your character but there still needs to be something preventing your character from getting what they want.

          In your story I couldn’t really find the conflict which makes it difficult to care about these characters. To be honest, I don’t feel anything for your character at all. Maybe that was your goal for the prompt, if so then you did a great job. I think you did a good job of describing the stoner lifestyle but much like that lifestyle it lacked passion.

          I look forward to reading future works from you and please take my comments with the knowledge that I have just began my journey on this writing path. Good luck.

          1. penney

            Thank you, very enlightening. I guess so many stories had the conflict you speak of that I wanted to try another extreme of a possible non-conflict. I understand the conflict theory. Maybe expressing so how that the conflict was withing the main character living the stagnant life style and being dragged back into it? Thank you again.

  7. penney

    Any impute would be valued, thank you.

    You have to understand, I was pretty much a loner in high school. I could count the number of people I liked on one hand during all three years. What’s worse, three of those were teachers. One of which, I had a “to die for” crush on. The other two were smoking buddies at lunchtime. I don’t even know how they got my number. I swear we all dropped off opposite ends of the planet years ago.

    I got the weirdest call though; it was my smoker buddies. I don’t know why we did it, but we had “An Affair to Remember” moment. Meet somewhere special 10 years later if we have nothing better to do. Now that I think about it, switching Marlboro’s for Mary Jane one afternoon might have done it. Ha, ha, those were the days.

    But wait, there was a little glitch. The high school had been torn down and remodeled; now looking like a state penitentiary. Our spot was gone. No more smoking area. How did I know this? I still lived with my folks, only a few blocks from the school. Looser!

    We had a standby spot. If fire, flood, or volcano eruption, go to the field across the street from the school. To this day, driving past the school you can see kids ditching class and weaving through the bushes. I’d hate to think what they’re smoking nowadays.

    As, I parked in the school lot, memories flooded my mind. What would they look like? What was this trouble they were in that I probably shouldn’t get into? Okay, third light post and straight back to the abandoned wreck; there should be an old newspaper route drop box. I was pretty sure it’d be there, the field hadn’t changed. I heard voices in the distances and closed in on it.

    “What the Frick,” I said with amazement!

    There in the paper box sat Mika and Rickie Snake smiling from ear to ear and what looked like huge piles of Ding-Dongs and Twinkies, a warm campfire crackling in front of them.

    “Dude, how’s it hangin,” Snake slurred out like molasses.

    “We got the munchies and turned over the Hostess Store,” Mika said proudly, “but we need help with the evidence. Want to get stoned?”

    I took my coat off, laid it on the ground next to the fire and sitting Indian style took a huge toke of the best dube ever.

    “Hand me some Twinkies,” I said with a toke and a smile.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hey, Penny. Just came back and wanted to see what you wrote last week. Fun story. There was so much information packed into this 500-word story. I enjoyed their “emergency.” I had to read to more than once to connect their call to their emergency. It would have helped me if in the second paragraph there was some mention about the content of the call, something like, we gott meet and take care of some business, what ever that business might be. Since this story is light and funny, it would be neat if the message was somewhat cryptic, maybe had a double meaning, so that when he finds hid buddies, the second interpretation of the message becomes clear. Just a thought.


  8. HuffmanHanni

    *Caution, a naughty word is in here. First time responding to one of the prompts. Enjoy!*

    Norman arrived at the burnt remains of the church close to midnight. He zipped up his coat and lit a cigarette as he spotted Tony and Mario near the alter.

    “Alright, what the hell is this about? Did you screw Carlo over again? Remember the last time you tried to get out of a deal with him?” Norman said as he blew out a gray trail of smoke.

    “No man. N-N-Not this time. We sorta d-d-did something w-w-worse than squelch on a deal,” stammered Tony as he nervously tugged on his earlobe.

    “I figured as much Einstein. Come on, out with it,” Norman looked at Mario who was the smarter of the two.

    “We killed him. Actually, I killed him. Shot him in the stomach and head,” replied Mario matter-of-factly.

    Norman’s cigarette fell out of his mouth and smoldered on the scarred stone of the alter. Mario and Tony were just two small-time and usually inept criminals. Norman had managed to get them out of plenty of sticky situations by using the inheritance his father had left him plus the connections he had within the District Attorney’s office to avoid jail time for them. Growing up, the three of them had always been the Three Musketeers minus the heroics. One for all and all for one. Except now. How the hell was he supposed to get them out of this?

    “You did what?” he whispered.

    “We killed Carlo.”

    “But…why? How? Where?” A million thoughts rushed through Norman’s mind. What the hell were these two idiots thinking? Obviously nothing since they had just bumped off an up-and-coming crime boss.

    “Carlo wasn’t too happy about the last deal so he called us out on it. We met him at the warehouse on 2nd avenue. He was upset, Norman. Like really upset. Threatened us and shit. Then he pulled out a K-bar knife and grabbed Tony and held it to his throat. He was going to cut him unless we could tell him where the rest of the coke was. You know, that high grade shit out of Mexico? Anyway, Tony managed to elbow him in the gut and get away then I shot him in the stomach,” Mario said.

    “H-h-he didn’t d-d-die right away, Norman,” Tony said.

    “So, I aimed my gun at his head and pulled the trigger,” Mario left out the part where Carlo begged for his life before a bullet pierced his brain.

    “What did you do with the body? You just didn’t leave it there, did you?” Norman asked.

    “How stupid do you think we are? Naw, Carlo’s in the back of the Olds.”

    The three men walked over to Mario’s dark blue late 80s Olds. Mario opened up the trunk. The smell of fresh death hit his nose like a fist as Norman tried to figure out what their next move should be as he stared at the glassy brown eyes of Carlo.

  9. Matt

    The knot in my stomach tightened as I slid the phone back in its cradle. Dave and Mark had done it again, whatever “it” was as Dave couldn’t explain over the phone. I grabbed my coat and car keys and told my secretary Maria to cancel the rest of my day.

    She cringed, “Dave and Mark?”

    I nodded as she brought up my day on her computer and began deleting my meetings.
    “Do you want me to cancel tomorrow just in case?”

    “No. I’ll be in.” But she knew from experience and blocked out the next day too.

    On my way up to Brooks Cabin I tried calling Dave several times but only got that stupid voice mail, “Yea this is Dave who’d you think it was.” Mark didn’t own a cell phone. The cabin was a good hour away and as I raced the engine I tried to image what those two could have possibly done this time. Two years ago they robbed, or should I say, tried to rob a bank. Last year it was a hit and run. Just a month ago it was identity theft.

    I could still feel the icy water numbing my body and sucking the air from my lungs, when I slipped and fell into the river after one of our many failed petty burglaries. Mark jumped in and pulled my lifeless body to the edge of the river. Dave hauled me up the bank by my arms which must have somehow got me breathing again. It was at that moment stretched out in the dirt shaking and coughing up water that I vowed to turn my life around. Nearly thirty years ago I promised them I would do anything whenever they needed it. As governor, though, there was only so much I could do but I owed these guys.

    Brooks Cabin wasn’t really a cabin but an old run down mining building. In high school our friend Brooks discovered the skeletal structure and claimed it as his own. We fixed it up with some scrap wood we stole from a construction site. This is where we always brought our bounty after a heist or we used it as a place to disappear when needed.

    The recent rains had made a quagmire of the dirt road but I was able to navigate the sedan to within a half a mile from the cabin. Loafers were not the best choice of shoe at this point. I slid, slipped and fell a couple of times cussing both of those morons with every step. Mud covered me from head to toe by the time I reached the shack. Mark and Dave, as expected were waiting.

    Mark got right to the point before I could utter a word, “This is for you,” he said as he popped open a brown paper bag filled with hundred dollar bills.
    “We won the lottery. Honest,” chimed in Dave. “We figured we owed you. A hundred million goes a long way.”

  10. Frank

    I’ll start with my name. It’s weird. My first name is Houston and my last is Thom — Houston Thom. It’s the sort of name that sounds better if it’s said backwards, but there are worse names: Vlad The Impaler always impressed me. But I’ll cut the bull — here’s my story: It was late. My flip-top communicator (cell phone-ed.) rang.

    “It’s Kirk.” Kirk was an old pal in high school.
    “Houston, we’ve had a problem.“
    “It’s the Moon,” Kirk said.
    I looked out my window to verify the Moon was there. It was.
    “NASA didn’t land there and Scotty and I can prove it.” Scotty was another friend.
    “Meet us at Tranquility Base in five,” Kirk said. “You’ll remember where.”

    I remembered. Tranquility Base was our code for the town dump. I grabbed the key for my transportation; I call it a LEM — Light Electrical Moped —- powered by a whopping 100 volt rechargeable battery. I was too young for dad’s car. It took me ten minutes to get there; it should have taken five, but I overshot the coordinates. Scotty and Kirk waited for me. Both were nervous. I saw a large bird in the air hovering above them.

    “What’s that?” I asked. “Some kind of hawk?”
    “Naw,” Scotty said, “its an eagle.”
    We watched it for a few minutes, then Kirk said, “Its OK now. The eagle had landed.”
    “It’s in the Armstrong barn.” Kirk again.
    “What?” I asked.
    “A full mock-up of the Moon: craters, mountains, crashed Russian spacecraft, American flags, junk. The works.”
    “And full of video taping equipment,” Scotty added. “The whole Apollo thing’s a scam.”

    We went to the barn to get the proof. It was dark and we approached as if it was the Death Star. I shone my flashlight inside. I saw a mass.

    “Hold this flashlight and beam me up Scotty,” I said.
    “Put the beam up higher,” I sighed.

    Sure enough — there it was. A great heaping edifice, not unlike the lunar surface, intricately designed with the type of topography found on the Moon.

    The barn lights flickered on. “What are you boys up to?” It was Mr. Armstrong.
    We could see the model of the lunar surface in greater detail. It looked and smelled familiar.

    “Sorry, it’s actually manure.” Mr. Armstrong said. “I’m filming the hour-by-hour decaying properties of animal waste. The project could lead to great advances in fertilizer.”
    “Manure?” Kirk said, “But why is it modeled on the Moon?“
    “Boredom,” Mr. Armstrong said. “I just wanted to avoid making it look like a pile of cow dung.”
    “Do you think you can find a better fertilizer?” I asked.
    “Ah,” Mr. Armstrong said, “It’s one small step for man…but you should avoid walking in it if you can.”

    Relieved that we had dispelled the awful rumors about the Apollo program, we went outside into the fresh air. We didn’t see the two men in black.

      1. Frank

        I’m probably in a minority now — the whole family around a TV watching the landings on the Moon, especially Apollo 11. I’ll never forget it. Thanks.

  11. Spidyman

    The dank smell of a filthy service station men’s room violated Greg’s nostrils as he descended the stairway to the subway platform. The walls were littered with graffiti, vandalized advertisements and recent movie posters. He’d never considered Julia Roberts with a villainous moustache but “who am I to judge artistic freedom” he thought. His footsteps echoed off the short ceilinged walls as he considered the phone call from Dave and Alex. At the turnstile he pulled the metro card from his pocket and with a practiced swipe was beeped through.

    There were a couple of cops standing next to a rickety fold up table where they would dutifully search any large bag or backpack he or anyone else was carrying. This was all in the name of safety and security of course and by a useless, completely random selection. It was easy to avoid it if you wanted to because all you had to do was walk up to the next stop and go in there.

    Dave and Alex were always into something even back when they were in high school together. But then it was the three of them. Just like the musketeers. How many times had they skipped school to hang out at Union Square, Greg couldn’t remember. But the square was their spot. They would ride their skate boards there and practice trick moves until the security guard yelled them off. Then waiting patiently they would just loiter for a while until he went away .

    Sometimes when the Green Market was there, one of them would distract a vendor and the others would nab some fruit to snack on. Of course there was the sampler buffet method which was a veritable feast as well. They would just go from booth to booth scarfing up all the samples of goat cheese, bread, cookies, whatever, until they were so full they could hardly move.

    It was there Greg started to get interested in chess. He watched the old dudes scam cash from naïve tourists who thought they had game but they quickly learned they didn’t. For some it took longer, and more cash, than others.

    The wind blew across his face as the train approached displacing the air coming through the tunnel snapping him back into reality. On the tracks below rats scampered to their hiding places. The wheels screeched against the rails like a wild animal caught in a trap as the train rolled to a stop. The steel doors of the rail car clunkered open and he waited as passengers barreled out noticing the faded “watch out for the gap” sticker on the side of the car.

    He sat down on one of the empty double-seaters at the end of the car hoping to be left alone. His typical strategy was that most people would choose another spot rather than get squished next to someone. It usually worked too except for that one time some fat chick sat down practically pressing the air out of his lungs.

    “Stand clear of the closing doors.” The automated voice warned as the doors slid closed.

    The train began to roll and all he could think about was what had Dave and Alex gotten themselves into this time?

    1. Frank

      I though there was a really good sense of atmospherics here: the story spoke with detailed authenticity of several locations & you should know that you are very good at ‘painting the picture’.

  12. Austen

    I found them standing nervously under the pine tree. This was where we stood a week before our graduation fifteen years ago. I never thought I would find myself here again. Ever. This was the spot where we made the pact to never tell a soul of what we did. So far we kept our promise. Until…
    Holly hugged her thin, malnourished body, shivering although the summer sun was burning her porcelain skin. Carlyn refused to look at Holly. Her thin lips pierced with anger.
    “What’s going on?” I asked. I really didn’t want to know.
    “She told,” Carlyn seethed nodding her head toward Holly.
    Holly threw her arms up with anger. “I had to!”
    My stomach twisted and the world spun around me as if I rode a roller coaster the thirteenth time in a row after eating five hotdogs. “Who did you tell?” I managed to ask.
    Holly hesitated. “Chris Jerkins.”
    “Your ex high school boyfriend?” I was shocked. “Why?”
    Holly looked uncomfortable. “
    “We got together the other night and I was drunk and, well, I told him.”
    “Are you stupid?” Carlyn shouted. “He’s going to tell the police.”
    “We will deny it,” Holly said. “Remember he slipped on the wet steps. We didn’t kill the janitor.” But we knew it was a lie.
    The janitor caught us and ran after us up the stairs. Holly turned to push him. For years the scene of the older man topple down the flight of stairs haunted my dreams. just remember his dark eyes widen as he feel to his death. He never screamed. We ran down to the end of the steps to see if he was dead. I touched his lifeless body to feel a pulse. Nothing. I wanted to call the police, but Holly said I would be throwing my life away if I did. One man lost his life because Holly had to break into the school to change her grade all because she wanted to graduate.
    So at this old pine tree we made a pact not to tell. We never spoke of it again. Even the next day when the news broadcasted that the janitor “accidently” fell.
    We accepted our diplomas thinking we preserved our lives by keeping the secret. But the secret actually took our lives. After college I returned back to my hometown to see Holly become the town drunk and Carlyn arrested for petty crimes.
    And me? I thought if I worked at the law firm as much as possible, then I wouldn’t have time to remember. The three of us stayed close. Not because we loved each other, but to make sure none of us would breathe a word.
    But I was tired of holding my breath. I was ready to break the pact. “If Chris doesn’t tell, then I will.”
    “No!” shouted Holly and Carlyn.
    But I just walked away like I should have done fifteen years ago.

  13. Egg

    I glance at the pistol on the passenger seat as I navigate my pick-up down the gravel road. Last time I was at the old war bunker my best friends had broken my heart. “You’ll be the best man, of course,” Carl had said, as if I weren’t madly in love with Sarah myself.

    “Of course,” I’d replied through my anguish. Sarah had squeezed Carl’s arm and looked at me like I was a child about to cry, which, I guess, I was.

    Her love for him has only strengthened over the years, and who could blame her? The guy is a saint, and a brilliant one at that. If I had a dollar for every accolade he’s earned for his medical research, I’d be a millionaire. Besides that, he is the best friend a man could have. He may have ruined my life twenty years ago, but Carl is my hero.

    I spot Sarah’s BMW and I’m taken aback. All those years ago, the three of us had sworn to meet at our high school haunt if ever we were in trouble, but her presence shakes me. I pull up behind the car and scan the undergrowth; the bunker’s crumbling entrance is barely visible amongst the weeds. I pick up the handgun tentatively; I bought it after a break-in six months ago but have never used it. Carl was adamant I bring it, but had refused to say why.

    My boots crunch on the gravel, and when I reach the gap in the cement shell, a raspy voice yells out. “Stop there.”

    I bend down and let my eyes adjust to the darkness as my hand cups my nose and mouth against the musty, acrid smell. “Is that you, Carl? Is Sarah here?”

    “We need your help, John.” Sarah’s voice crackles, and she coughs.

    I peer into the bunker and see my beautiful friends, drawn and pale and riddled with sickness, and I gasp.

    “I finally did it, buddy. I found the HIV antiviral.” Carl chuckles through a coughing fit. There is blood on his sleeve when he lowers it from his mouth. “Unfortunately, one of the duds exploded in my hand and the glass nicked my glove. Bloody careless.”

    Sarah squeezes her man’s arm, just like she did when we were nineteen years old and I wished she were mine. “We’re pretty sure I’m the only one he’s infected.”

    “You don’t have to worry, I’ve documented everything.” Carl’s once-handsome features twist into a gruesome mask. “The pain’s unbearable, mate.” He nods at the gun. “You need to do this. The virus will die with us.”

    I look at Sarah in a desperate, silent plea. She is clutching her stomach and grunting like an animal. “Help me, John. Do it now.”

    I want to throw up at the sight of my friends’ suffering. My hands are shaking, and tears stream down my face as I lift the gun and aim it at Sarah’s heart.

      1. rob akers

        I always love when you post. I love how your stories always flow and how you can say so much with 500 words. I feel like I know all of these people and I can feel the pain that John has had to carry with him all of these years.

        One question. Why did he choose to shot her first?

    1. JR MacBeth

      Brilliant. I can see why Egg has a fan club. Efficient use of word allocation. Admirable description, all five senses engaged. I look forward to more of your posts!

    2. Egg

      Thanks for the kind comments.

      Did he end up shooting her? I struggled with the ending, but after considering your question, the dilemma of ‘who will I shoot first?’ would have been a much better ending. (I can’t believe I built up the character’s adoration and missed that obvious finale). Yay for rewrites – thanks Rob.

      1. rob akers

        That assumption thing always gets me. Another ending would have been for him to leave the gun and let them take care of the ending for you. “Walking away John jumped when he heard the first gun shot…”

        That would relieve John of murder charges and probably allow him to sleep at night.

  14. Zaftig

    Hi all! I’m new here. I’m a non-fiction writer, but am interested in doing a novel, so I really need to hone my storytelling skills. This is my first attempt at creating fiction since I was a kid! I couldn’t keep it under 500 words, sorry. Comments and critiques are most appreciated!

    Susan claimed that being born under a Pisces sun is what made her eyes change color, telegraphing her mood to those who knew how to read her. They were violet now. I could recall only two previous times when my wife’s eyes were that shade: when she heard of her mother’s colon cancer prognosis, and when our two-year-old son had tumbled headfirst onto the tile floor from his high chair. My gaze trailed from her tense face, down her outstretched arm, finally coming to my cell phone nestled in her palm, its screen facing me. The caller ID read “Randy”.

    Randy Lebowitz’s voice confirmed he hadn’t quit smoking in the three years since we last chatted. “Dukey, baby, how ya shakin’?”

    I hesitated. “Fine, Randy, just finishing up dinner.” “Hey, sorry to bother you and yours during suppertime, but me and Rita here have kind of gone and messed up. We’ve done something wrong, Duke. Might even say it’s something terrible.” From the slight slur, it sounded like he hadn’t quit the boozing, either.

    “What kind of wrong, Randy?” I grabbed for my half-empty glass of milk to remedy a sudden case of dry mouth. I missed and knocked it over instead. My son giggled as the milk flooded the dining table.

    “Can’t do this over the phone, man. You know They are always listening. Be at the Dope Moat in twenty.” A digital click signalled that he was gone.

    Susan stared intently at the saturated dishtowel as she sopped up my mess. Clearing my throat and attempting a nonchalant tone, I said “You can say you told me so.” Her mouth pursed. I tried again. “So far your dream last night is spot-on. You should open a psychic hotline. $2.99 a minute sure would help our savings account.” She finally stopped tidying up, straightening her back. Her eyes- still that striking shade of violet- met mine. “Duke, go do whatever it is you have to do.” After we shared an embrace that felt tighter and lasted longer than usual, I grabbed my blue North Face jacket and the keys to our SUV.

    The Dope Moat was the uninspired nickname Rita, Randy, and I had given the small stretch of river runoff where we (and a few dozen of our fellow high school students) went after dark to suck on 40-ouncers of beer and light up a joint. Who knows if the epithet stuck, or even if today’s teenagers did “soft” stuff like booze and pot. I calculated that it had been seventeen years since my last visit out here- how can I only be three years away from my twenty-year reunion? My Ford Explorer’s headlights illuminated a small hatchback as it slowly bounced along the worn trail to the water’s edge. As I drew closer, two figures emerged from the interior, quickly slamming the car’s doors shut. I braked a few yards away.

    Putting it in park, I instinctively reached for the keys to shut off the engine- but paused, choosing instead to leave it running. As I dismounted onto the hard-packed sand, I was surprised to see Randy with a cell phone pressed to his ear, talking into it in hushed tones. He lowered the phone to his side as I approached, but the screen was brightly lit as if a call was still connected. Rita stood partially behind him, mostly obscured by his shadow painted by the headlights.

    We stood there for a few moments, my posture one of awkward confusion, his of the same arrogant prepossession he’d had when we were classmates. I broke the ice. “So what’s up?”

    Randy squinted, then broke into a used-car-salesman grin. “I guess I lied, Dukey. I never did well in English, remember? I shouldn’t have said I ‘did’ something wrong. I guess I meant I was ‘doing’ something wrong. So tell me, Big D, how much is your family worth to you?” He gestured to his cell phone. “Time’s a-wastin’. Need a dollar figure or my friend is going to get bored. Says he’s a little taken with that redhead of yours- something about Liz Taylor eyes.”

    Numbness consumed me.

  15. MsGenuineLady

    I slowly opened my eye lids to allow the bright flashing light of my cell phone to enter. My eyes strained as I tried to focus through the illuminated device and put a name to the caller who so selfishly awoke me from my beauty sleep on the night of my High School Reunion. Finally the name was clear, Mandy.
    Mandy and her twin Miranda are my best friends from high school, two of the smartest blonde women I know, so if Mandy is calling me at 3:00AM, it must be important. I used this thought as my deciding factor to answer her call.
    “Heeellloo?” I answered curiously.
    “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help” sniffed Mandy.
    “Whats wrong Mandy?” I responded promptly.
    “We cant talk about it over the phone!” snapped Miranda’s higher pitched voice.
    “Miranda?” I questioned feeling my heart begin to race. “Whats going on?”
    Miranda continued, “Please Rachel meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.”
    I could hear the plea in her voice and my mind began to race with thoughts “What is go- “ Click.
    I stared at my phone which now only displayed the date and time in front of an old picture of me and the twins.

    I could feel myself shaking as I tried to force myself to my feet. Nervously I grabbed my black leather jacket from behind my bedroom door and my car keys off the dresser and within seconds I was out my front door.

    I began to reminisce that day when we had made our pact on the bleachers by the old baseball diamond. “…for better or worse, till death do us part..” I spoke out loud with a smile. Sure, it sounded like a wedding vow, but to us it was a promise of long lasting friendship.

    I could see Mandy’s scarlet red mustang glistening in the distance underneath the moonlight. The feeling of fear began to make its way throughout my body. I glanced over at Lakeview High. Within several hours we were supposed to be arriving here to celebrate.

    I pulled up turning off my lights and cutting the engine to avoid drawing any unwanted attention our way. “’Til death do us part” I thought again about the pact… but I never meant it literally. I made my way to the bleachers as slow as possible but managing to still move forward with every step. Mandy and Miranda sat side by side with their backs to me and the hoods of their sweaters pulled over their heads. Their bodies were motionless and still.

    “MMM-aaa–ndy? MMM-irrr-anda?” I stuttered as I walked nervously around the front of them. “What is going on??”
    “We should have listened to you…” began Mandy.
    “You told us NEVER to use box dye” finished Miranda as they removed the hoods from their heads displaying the outbursts of color only a Skittles package could describe.

    1. 3boyswritermom

      I would have liked to go into the texture of the dried white out on the wedding gown but couldn’t fit it in 500 words. :} Thank you for reading.

  16. 3boyswritermom

    I arrived to my hometown in Ohio the day before my cousin’s wedding. Following the wedding rehearsal and a dinner with the rest of the bridal party, I returned to my hotel room for much needed sleep. At 2 a.m. I was awoken by my ringing cell phone.

    “Jennifer, It’s Molly. I’m in trouble and I need your help.”

    Other than a brief conversation at dinner that night, I had not spoken to Molly in ten years.

    “I’m at our old hang out. Can you meet me?”

    “I don’t think so, Molly.”

    “Please . . . meet me at the barn. I‘ll explain everything once you arrive.”

    With a reluctant sigh I slid into street clothing and drove to our old hangout. Molly had been my best friend throughout high school. Her mischievous behavior eventually ended our friendship. I couldn’t imagine what she had gotten herself into this time.

    Molly was sitting on the hood of the car when I arrived. I greeted her with a tight smile. She lead the way to the trunk of her car.

    “If there’s a body in the trunk, I’m leaving.”

    “There’s no body.”

    I held my breath as she revealed the contents. Inside the trunk was a wedding dress . . . . Erin’s wedding dress. “Why do you have my cousin’s dress?”

    Molly pointed out a red stain along the hem of the gown. “I spilled nail polish on it. . . . She‘s going to kill me.”

    “Does she know you have her dress?”

    “I slipped something in her drink tonight.” Molly admitted. “By the time the party ended she was out of it. Steven is staying at their house tonight, so we have until morning to fix this.”

    “You ruined Erin’s wedding dress, drugged her, stole the dress and shoved it in your trunk?” I tried to make sense of her story. “You’re crazy and so am I for agreeing to meet you.”

    “Jennifer, fix Erin’s dress . . . please.”

    Reaching for my cell phone, I searched the internet for stain removal tips. Things were not in our favor. I learned satin stains are often permanent.

    Deciding to try anyway, I drove to the supermarket for nail polish remover and laundry detergent. When I returned, I poured a small amount of polish remover on the dress, gently blotting it. The chemical caused the stain to smear. Cursing under my breath, I blotted the dress with laundry detergent. No such luck. The stubborn stain remained. A crazy idea sent me back to the store. I returned with whiteout. It took ten bottles of liquid to cover that stain.

    Had the sedative not left Erin feeling foggy the next morning, she would have noticed the whiteout and the light pink stain bleeding through. When a bridesmaid noticed, we acknowledged the stain then suggested she not ruin Erin‘s day.

    Erin found the stain the next morning. I kept Molly’s secret but I also blocked her calls from my phone.

  17. rob akers

    All comments welcome

    Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait 3:05 AM
    Captain Bill Rimes checked his watch and reclined on the seat in the alert van. “Rick, where are they?”

    “Don’t know Boss.” At that moment Bill’s two loadmasters exited the tent and opened the door to the van.

    “Boss, they screwed our boots into the floor!”

    Bill slowly sat up and looked at the two men. “What are you talking about?”

    “The Nashville boys. We have been playing pranks on them and they got us back by screwing our boots in the floor.”

    “Ok, run over to Matty’s tent. Wake him up, under his bunk is a cordless screwdriver and lets get going!” The two men ran off as Bill and the rest of the crew waited.

    22 Hours later
    Bill entered the Nashville tent and found their Aircraft Commander. “We need to call a truce.”

    “Why do Ya’ll want a truce.”

    “Because this is getting out of hand. Your boys screwed my boy’s boots into the floor. We were sitting Alpha alert and got launched. You know how it is, one hour from call to go and I wasted 15 minutes goofing off. There were some blown up troops in Baghdad, we got them out. But I don’t want that to happen again.”

    “Sounds like ya’ll need to suck it up, no truce!” The cocky country boy leaned back in his bunk and smiled.

    “Okay. Fight’s on and I don’t mess around. I have ten pranks that you have never heard of and I will go nuclear every time.” Bill pivoted and met Rick who was outside the Nashville tent. “Get the crew and meet me at the Chem bags in 30 minutes.”

    30 Minutes later
    Bill finished separating the contents of his Chemical Survival Gear as his crew walked up. “The Nashville boys want a fight and we are going to law down the law.” He explained to the crew how he was always prepared for pranksters. He briefed them on their options and the loadmasters choose the first prank. Bill told them to be nice to the Nashville guys and he would take care of the rest.

    17 days later
    Bill sat in his bunk when the Nashville crew entered the tent. The Rebel spoke for the group. “What did Ya’ll do to us?”

    Bill smiled as his crew gathered around Bill’s bunk to see the results. “Sea Dye marker. I put it in your helmets, gloves, boots, and sprinkled the leftovers in your underwear. You might want to wash before you wear.”

    “How did you get sea dye in the middle of the desert?”

    “Brought it over with me, I have nine more pranks to play. Unless you want that truce?”

    The country boy looked at his crew. Each of them had a florescent yellow shape of a flight helmet on their heads. You bet your ass boy. We’ll take that truce.” Bill extended his hand to shake the bright yellow hand of the Nashville pilot.

    1. Egg

      It’s great that you’re experimenting with form (ie using time tags), and having fun with the prompt. Not sure about the cordless screwdriver but an enjoyable read, nevertheless.

      1. rob akers

        You are right and I did not make that clear. One of my problems is that I thnik somthing is clear may but it may not be when the reader comes across it. That is a good lesson to learn. Thanks.

        I was trying to illustrate that Matty had a set of tools under his bunk. When I deployed to Iraq several folks brought tools to the war. They were helpful in so many different ways. And they were even helpful if you wanted to screw your buddie’s boot to the wood floor in the tent.

        Like many of the Bill Rimes stories, this really happened to some friends of mine. The guy that did it rotated out and never got paid back. Thanks for the kind comments and encouraging me to have fun. Because I really am enjoying these prompts.

    2. Frank

      I think you’re on to something with the military backdrop of your stories, allowing everything from comedy (as here) to tragedy, and also honoring those who serve. Keep up the good writing and, if you haven’t read it, recommend reading O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” Keep shaping you’re writing, because you’ve got definite talent IMHO.

      1. rob akers

        Thank you very much for the encouraging comments. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to write on this forum and even better to read the work of everyone else. I am blessed in so many ways and receiving that wonderful compliment from you has left me speechless. I will check out the book that you recommended.

        I do try to honor those who are constantly putting themselves in harm’s way. It is one of the driving forces in my life. Tonight, some of my friends are arriving in Afghanistan, again. Since 2003, at least some of those men and women have made 15 rotations over there acuminating over 3 years away from their families and lives. They are not active duty military personnel; they are all part time reservists who once again volunteered to do the job I don’t want to do.

        If you feel compelled, please say a prayer or send some positive energy to everyone over there including the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the rest of the Middle East.

  18. iluv2write13

    Bam! I jolted awake and frantically looked around. I wiped the sticky slobber from my cheek and sat up in my chair.
    “I must have left the TV on,” I mumbled. I turned it off and got comfortable again, I was too lazy to go back to my bedroom. Just as I had fallen asleep again the phone rang. Again I jolted awake and half crawled half ran to the phone.
    “Hello?” I asked groggily.
    “Janet…. it’s me. Jenna and I…. well we’ve done something just awful, terrible even. Can’t talk over the phone, it’s just too terrible!” Her voice sounded genuinely worried. Then I heard her yell to someone, “Okay I’ll tell her, stop bugging me about it!”
    “Janet are you still there?”She asked and when I answered yes she continued. “Meet us at the spot where we made the pact. You know where.” Then I heard that annoying tone. She had hung up. I knew exactly where she was talking about and I ran to get my coat and slippers, wondering what trouble they had gotten into this time.
    I quickly got in my car and drove to the grove of woods behind the old swimming pool. I parked, jumped out, and made my way along the path to the old house we had found one day. It was dilapidated, so when I nudged the door with my foot it made a terrible creaking sound and crashed off the hinges. Not a soul to be found. I entered and looked around feeling uneasy. I started to walk upstairs but stopped when I heard a slight rustling. Fear overtook my reason and a million thoughts jumped into my head at once. Someone was up there. Could it be Jenna and Lauren? Or were they being held captive? Had they been murdered and I was the next victim? I shuddered. But I couldn’t leave my friends, could I?
    I slowly climbed the steps, wondering what I would find. When I reached the top I saw a rainbow of color flash by me and heard a roar of shouting. With a scream I tumbled down the stairs. At the bottom I stopped running because I heard I tirade of laughing behind me. I whirled around to find my family, friends, and Jenna and Lauren standing in the very front laughing hysterically.
    “Happy Birthday Janet!” yelled Lauren between giggles. It really was my birthday! I had completely forgotten!
    “Yeah, happy birthday! And that was payback from what you did to us last year! Oh and that scream!” she laughed. “Totally worth all the trouble! Haha!”
    The party was great, one of the best birthday parties I had. I even loved the spooky part, although I swear that was the scariest moment in my entire life. Don’t you just love friends?

  19. catbr

    “Hi Fran, it’s Donna here. Something got screwed up big time! Ralph and I need to speak with you at our old meeting place.” Donna said with a fearful tone in her voice. Thinking back on those days was not pleasant at all. I was stunned.

    “Fran are you there?”

    “Yeah sure. Sorry I was a little distracted. So when do you want to meet.”

    “Can you be there in an hour?”

    “Uh, yeah, I’ll be there. See you soon.” I hung up the phone and seriously considered not showing up. The fear was all coming back. I was trembling and sweating. I hope it’s not what I think. It can’t be, that was so many years ago…this is just crazy. I got changed and grabbed my car keys. And then remembering what my grandmother had given me, I stuffed them in my purse to bring along. I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

    Johnson’s old pool hall still looked the same. Maybe a little more run down and it wasn’t even a pool hall anymore, just another run of the mill all night diner. “Hi guys good to see you two again.” Looking into their faces seeing the sheer terror in their eyes made my knees go weak. I had to sit down.

    “Fran, the other night me and Ralph were out having a few drinks and ran into the grand master of that satanic group that we used to hang out with back in our school days. He said he missed us and wondered if we’d be interested in going to another meeting for old times sake. I said I wasn’t too sure but I was half in the bag and somehow he talked us both into it. He wants you there too.”

    “Forget it. I’m not going. Remember all the weird things that happened back then.” The satanic meetings were out of this world. They would eat small live animals, chant, and levitate. I shuddered at the memories. Our grades at school went down. We couldn’t sleep at night because of the true to life nightmares. It was like Lucifer himself was in our bedrooms with us. When the grand satanic master started talking about virgin child sacrifices that’s when we decided that this had gone way too far and made a promise to each other to stop going. It wasn’t just a teenage curiousity anymore. This was getting into some serious shit, which they swore was only theoretical.

    “Zach told us that if we didn’t show up at the meeting something might happen to us. He just stood there and stared at us with those cold glassy eyes. The meeting is in one hour.” said Ralph.

    “Thanks for the big notice.” I showed them what I had brought in my purse. It was a bottle of holy water, a crucifix and rosary beads. We had a plan and were ready to go the meeting for the final time.

    “Welcome old friends. Come in and get acquainted with everyone. But first, you know the ritual, you have to do your chants and kiss the feet of our master, Lucifer.” Zach, the creep, garbled at us with the worst case of red colored hangover eyes I’d ever seen in my life. You can kiss my ass I thought.

    “We’re not here for the meeting. We’re here to give you a warning.” I took out my religious articles and started sprinkling holy water at them. Zach recoiled in terror. I couldn’t believe how much of a wimp this guy was. Ralph was holding the crucifix out at arm’s length at them making most of them gasp in horror. Donna was holding on tight to the rosary beads with trembling hands.

    “I believe the last meeting we were at, you were talking about virgin child sacrifices. I will not hesitate to go to the police with this information and give them your name and address if you ever bother us again.” Gee this stuff really works I thought as I sprinkled more of the holy water at them watching them all grimace in fear.

    We left the meeting and went back to the all night eatery for a few laughs. The lights at the diner started flickering. With the faint constant rumbling of thunder and lightning flashing in the distance, we knew it was time to go home. Later that night I awoke in a cold sweat, clutching at my throat and gasping for air. Satan had returned to me in a nightmare…or was it real.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Definitely some good description, BUT, we should probably try a bit harder to stay within the 500 word allocation. I don’t know, a few dozen words over is no big deal, but hundreds over? Well, it’s easy to get carried away I suppose, but I have found personally that trying to honestly stay within the limit (or at least the spirit of the limit), presents me with a challenge, and I feel it has been good for me as a writer as well.

  20. hillsworth

    Bruno placed his fork beside the plate and wiped his lips with the napkin while reaching inside his breast pocket to withdraw the ringing cell phone. He checked caller ID and said to the rest of the table, “Excuse me for a moment.” Walking a short distance across the yard from the guests, he flipped the phone open and placed it to his ear. “This better be good, cause you’re cutting into my grandsons birthday cake time. You like cake, Tony? Cause I like cake, and that’s what I was just eating, Tony. Cake.”

    “I’m sorry, Bruno, but this is important. Louis whacked your little brother, Mikey, today.”

    Bruno dropped the phone into the grass. Pain shot through his chest and he started to shake. A huge sob erupted from somewhere deep inside, startling a few of those scattered around the table. His wife, Therese, moved from the table to his side and wrapped her arm through his. “What is it, Bruno?” He let out a deep sigh behind closed eyes.

    From the ground, a tinny voice could be heard. “Bruno, Bruno, you there? Bruno?” Therese picked up the phone and handed it to him. He wiped at his brow and placed the phone back to his ear. “What happened? I want the whole thing.”

    “Bruno, we need your help but I don’t wanna discuss this on the phone. Me and Eddie are heading to the diner where you made your start. Meet us there.” A click and Bruno was holding a dead phone.

    “I gotta go Therese, Mikey’s dead.” Bruno shook his arm free from his wife and walked to where his grandson was still playing in his cake. He kissed him on top of the head, grabbed his keys and jacket and left through the side gate.

    Fifteen minutes later, Bruno parked beside Tony’s Escalade in front of his favorite old haunt. There were no other cars in the lot and the front door was standing wide open. Cautiously, Bruno stepped into the diner to find Tony and Eddie tied to chairs, right in the middle of the room. They had gags in their mouths and each looked like they had taken their share of a beating. Bruno crossed to them in two strides, going for the knots.

    From behind the counter, Mac ‘the Knife’ watched Bruno’s reaction. “Looks like we got us a problem, Bruno. You see, your two friends here, they capped Louis today, and now the family wants blood.” Bruno stood stock still as Mac walked to the opening in the bar, exposing his two trademarks, one in each hand. He slowly drew them across the stainless steel countertop, creating an irritating screech.

    “Why did Louis kill Mikey?” Bruno asked, watching the blades closely.

    “He wanted to retire. Louis threw him a party and Mikey ruined it by letting out a big secret. Something about when Vinny wanted out. Something none of us knew.” he started toward Tony and Eddie. “Now these two gotta pay.”

    To be continued…

  21. Bumblebee83959

    I received a phone call from my two best friends. “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.” Nervously, I grabbed my coat and car keys.

    What the heck did they do wrong? Taylor and Kayla were as innocent as a piece of paper. They never did anything wrong and people constantly “drew” on them. In real life’s case, they were basically trampled on and they didn’t mind. I, on the other hand, was the one that kept all three of us glued together. I was the one that made sure that neither Taylor or Kayla got hurt. We shared everything together and this just made me feel abandoned and forgotten.

    The fact that they had done something wrong and that they never included me in their wrongness that bit me like a venomous poison. At least I wouldn’t be the one getting scolded when they told me what happened.

    I slipped into my car, turned the keys in the ignition and drove towards the spot where we made our pact back in high school. Even as college freshmen, we still met up at that spot and hung out. All three of us discovered the little cafe at the corner of Burner’s Street in our freshmen year of high school. Ever since then, we’ve fallen in love with the quaint little spot. It was the meeting spot for everything and anything, from discussing the latest gossip or confessing a guilty pleasure.

    What happens in the cafe stayed in the cafe; our motto.

    Once I arrived, I pulled into the nearest parking spot and shimmied out of the seat. The wind and cold was furious so I tightened the hood of my coat and marched into the cafe. “Corner Cafe” blazed at the top of the building in bright, neon colors. Their way of getting business, I suppose. I missed the old sign, rickety and just right for my taste.

    Everything was changing around me, from the cafe to the secrecy of my friends. What could be so horrible that they couldn’t just tell me on the phone?

    Inside, I found Taylor and Kayla sitting in our spot, the very back corner of the cafe. Perfect for the privacy we needed. I slipped into the vacant seat, noticing their nervous and agitated expressions. Taylor kept twirling a strand of her blonde locks on her index finger, her nervous habit. Kayla kept chewing the ends of her wildly curly brown hair, her nervous habit.

    “So… What’s so horrible that you couldn’t tell me over the phone?” I demanded. The two of them jerked back, as if they just noticed me sitting there.

    Kayla cleared her throat, shooting a nervous glance at Taylor. “W-Well, y-you see Gabi…” She trailed off, looking once again at Taylor for support.

    “W-We…” Taylor paused. “We broke the pact!”

    Word Count: 500.

    Comments are greatly appreciated~!

  22. HellThane

    Before I could even hang up the phone I was on my way out the door. I picked up my bike in the drive way and moved it, because it was blocking my car. I climbed behind the wheel of the “Bradley Mobile” and hit the road, screaming the whole way. Not because I was scared, but because I was singing along with my favorite Slipknot mixtape, The 666 MixMixMix.

    After stopping at McDonald’s for some cheeseburgers, I pulled up in front of the high school and ran to “the spot,” aka the janitor’s closet. I flung the door open to see Kyle and Frank, my two best friends, standing in their favorite spot near the mops.

    “What happened??” I yelled, cheeseburger bits flying out of my mouth.

    Kyle stepped forward, putting a hand on my shoulder. I looked him in the eye as I took another bite of my delicious McDonald’s burger.

    “Bradley, we did something awful. Terrible even! You could even call it horrible if you wanted!” Kyle never looked more beautiful. I mean serious. He never looked more serious!

    “What did you guys do?” I asked.

    Frank stepped forward, grabbing the cheeseburger from my hand. He took a bite and stared at the ceiling, contemplating. “We raped a dog, Bradley. We. Raped. A dog.”

    I could not believe my ears. My two best friends, who I have known all my life, were now standing in front of me, telling me that they had sexually molested a dog. My fear was completely overcome with anger, and the hunger for more McDonalds.

    “I- I can’t believe…” I was at a loss for words. “I can’t believe you followed through with out pact without me! What the fuck, you guys? We said that once we turn 40, we were all going to rape a dog together, and now you tell me that after 25 years of waiting, you guys did it without me?!”

    I fell to my knees and began to sob, wiping tears and ketchup from my cheeks. I knew from that moment on I would never be able to trust my middle aged friends. And I would never get the satisfaction of raping a dog.

    Just then the bell rang and children began to change classes. We stayed in the janitor’s closet until the halls had cleared, and then left with as much Lysol cans as our coat pockets could carry.

    It was the worst birthday I had ever had.

  23. rich-jolii

    I looked at the clock to see it was 8 pm. What was I going to tell my wife, Jane, who was upstairs giving our son his bath? I went up the stairs, jacket in hand, “Babe, that was Jon on the phone he wanted me to meet him for a beer.” “Would you mind if I went?” I asked. She looked at my jacket, replying, “Seems like you already have your mind made up.” Not wanting to give her any time to stop me I said, “love you Babe” and ran down the stairs.
    My mind raced as I drove out of town into the country. I just couldn’t figure out what the urgency and secrecy could mean. I turned into a private farm lane, this land belonged to Jon’s grandparent’s the woods were private and the three of us had hunted this land since we were old enough to hold a gun. We had also thrown many beer bashes in our high school days, and this is where we had made a pact, in high school, to be there for each other no matter what. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to regret that day, when I say Jon and Brian’s grim faces.
    “What’s up guys,” I asked, getting out of the car. Brian asked me to not freak out on him and just listen to what they told me before I said anything. “Remember the dancer we hired for your bachelor party?” Jon asked. Of course I remembered, it had been 15 years ago, I was furious with them. I had told them I didn’t want a dancer. Jon continued, “She was more than a dancer, she was a prostitute.” I opened my mouth to start yelling; Jon held up a hand and said, “There is more, it was an accident I swear, she fell when the three of us were messing around, her neck broke and she died.”
    Brian spoke, “listen I know we just dumped some major news on you but there’s more and we have to move fast. We buried her out here, but we have to move her body, Jon’s grandparents sold the land to a developer and surveyors are coming tomorrow to start work. “What does this have to do with me?” I asked. Brian said, “You have that hunting land your grandpa left you, if you never sell it no one will ever find the body.” I screamed, “You mean her, she was a person before she became a body.”
    I had to help them, but I knew I wouldn’t be friends with them anymore. They had brought a truck and we couldn’t put the body in the open bed so we put it in my trunk. I was driving down the highway a drunk driver blew through a stop sign and smashed into the back of my car, popping the trunk open. That’s all I can remember until I woke up handcuffed in a hospital bed.

  24. vcp773

    “Give me 30 minutes and I will meet you there” I said. Heath and Lee have been my best friends since grade school. We were basically inseparable and still are 20 years later. My mind was racing at what they had done. Had they killed somebody? Had they robbed a bank? We had done a lot of stupid things together over the years but I cannot even wrap my head around the urgency in Lee’s voice.

    “I need your help. We screwed up big time”, he said.

    All three of us made a pact a long time ago that if we ever got into trouble and were ever separated that we would meet at Hinds Corner at the old covered bridge. The rugged dirt road had been shut down for years and the bridge had been deemed structurally unsafe. Nobody ever came out here anymore except kids seeking a scare from a local urban tale.

    I parked the car at the end of the road and started to walk towards the spot. It was night and all I could see was the 3 foot illuminated spot that was bouncing in front of me from my flashlight. The woods smelled just as I remember: rotten animals with a hint of southern pine.

    The deeper I go I see the faint light of the small fire that we always burned in the pit. As I get closer I see that there are more than 2 people and that there are actually ten to twelve standing around the fire with their backs towards me. There is a man that is talking and I cannot make out what he is saying. It is faint and foreign.

    I get to the clearing and I am hit with a force from my left side. I see flashlight, fire, and tree tops all circling in a kaleidoscope of pain. The men grab me under the arms and drag me towards the group. The shapes are fading in and out as I try to regain clarity. The men are all wearing black robes and have hoods pulled up over their faces.

    I am drug into the middle of the clearing and dropped in front of what seems to be the head man. The stench of rot and incense is subdued by the quiet cold feeling of fear taking me over. I hear the silent chants, oh wait; it’s actually some sort of prayer. My blood crystallizes slowly; crackling sounds are made as I make an effort to move.

    “Calvin, I am so sorry you have to find out this way”, said Heath, “but we have been waiting for this night for a long time. Atrum unus hic est vestri donum of cruor.”

    The men hold me down. I fight and kick trying to free myself. Calvin removes the ancient dagger from the black crushed velvet covering. The cracking of ribs and the splintering of bones is quick and deadly. The spasmic sound of a dying body convulsing in the dry fall leaves is musical preamble to the next deadly prayer.

  25. anomaly

    This had to happen someday. Let’s hope the material is still in good shape. When the time comes, it’s the man’s duty to go do what has been agreed upon. May this garage door be opened, shall this pile of useless junk be removed from the top of the big – rarely opened – box, and let it be allowed for the big box to present the smaller box inside it.

    To be placed in order in the back of the car from left to right:

    – helmet, slightly dated football type model
    – medievil axe, specially sharpened to penetrate bear, other beasts
    – spear, regular
    – page from bible where god mad
    – tissues (blood cleaners)

    Kilometres 0-10 en route to the spot: Recite prayer of blood beast, ten times. Go through your vows to your friends about never letting them down, then say it again. Wait in silence.

    Kilometers 11-13: Stop the car in a deserted spot. Go to the road and ask for help. When someone stops, tell him the car broke down and then take him to the deserted spot. Do not kill him, instead try to start the car with him holding a random nut from under the car’s hood. When it starts, act as if the person has just been a huge help, then continue journey.

    Kilometers 14-destination: listen to the radio, only sing along to the parts about murder. Maybe pretend love is a metaphor for murder.

    Look for two people wearing a helmet and an axe. Remember to ask for password. In the case of an incorrect password, ignore them, they’re not to be trusted, wearing helmets and all.

    When in the company of your proper friends, undertake a discussion as such:

    You: What is the matter, Joe?
    Friend: Joe needs our help.
    Joe: Jack’s right. I do.
    Jack: Everything is not alright at work.
    Joe: That’s right. Our company is facing cutbacks. I could lose my job.
    You: In that case, your employer is trying to find out who’s worth keeping. You need to step up, bring your A-game.
    Joe: How do I do that?
    You: Cook those steaks like no one’s ever cooked them before.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Cuh-Razy in a good way! I read it with a Brit accent, kilometers was enough of a cue, but “medieval” was a good one to get a reader started in that direction. Then, I knew some magic was flowing when I started to picture Dwight Schrutt from The Office, cock his head, and say “Do not kill him.” straight dead-pan.
      Fun stuff, nice job!.

      1. anomaly

        Thanks JR MacBeth and Icabu.

        I didn’t actually think about accents when I wrote it. And now I just noticed I forgot the part of the prompt where the friends did someting wrong.

  26. Initialle

    (I ended up with four people in the pact instead of three. Bear with me.)

    Smoke rose from the city ahead, as my car roared down the long, winding road. I was wearing the mask and long cape that changed me from mild-mannered millionaire Stephanie Simms to the daring superhero named Vindicator.

    A screen popped up on the dashboard. My sidekick Susan’s face appeared, flickering slightly.

    “You have a phone call,” she said. “It’s the police captain.”

    “Put him on,” I said. There was a crackle of static.

    “Vindicator? This is Captain Smith-Jones. We have a problem – we’re massively outgunned by Travesty’s robots and I’m afraid I’ve just done something kind of stupid.”

    “On my way,” I said again, hanging up. I was beginning to massively regret giving the police captain my phone number. Danny Smith-Jones had been annoying and pushy enough in high school. It had been his idea to come up with a secret pact, and my friend Tori had talked me into joining. There was one other guy in the group – Brad Benson – but I’d lost track of him since graduation.

    The screen popped up immediately. Susan looked apologetic. “You have another phone call. From Tori Thomas.”

    “Oh, no!” I groaned.

    “I’d hang up on her, but it sounds rather urgent.”


    “Stephanie?” whimpered an all-too-familiar voice. Tori’s a news photographer now, and she gets more annoying every time I find her snooping my yard with a camera.

    “Tori, how did you get this number?” I demanded.

    “Listen, I’ve done something terribly wrong. I really, really, really need your hel—”

    “I’m a little busy right now.”

    “No, please! Don’t hang up!” she wailed. “I’m trapped! Steffie, please, Idon’twannadieeee!”

    I sighed. “I’m on my way. Where are you?”

    “Downtown! I was just trying to get photos, and I just walked a teensy tiny bit closer to the building, and the roof –”

    “I said I’m on my way.” I reached over to hang up. I settled back in my seat, trying to relax, but stiffened up again at the sight of the towers of smoke above the rooftops, thicker and blacker than ever. I was almost there.

    The screen popped up out of the dashboard again. Susan did not look happy.

    “Another phone call?” I said.

    “Two, actually, but one was a wrong number. The other one – well . . .”

    “Who is it?”


    “What?” I slammed on the brakes and pulled over. “How did a supervillain get my phone number?”

    “I think you should talk to him, Steph.”

    “All right, fine.”

    “Hello?” asked Travesty’s deep voice.

    “What do you want?” I snapped. “Are you calling to gloat about all your hostages? About how much death and destruction you’ve caused?”

    “Actually, I could use your help. I’ve done something horribly wrong and now my robot army’s rebelling against me.”

    “Why on earth would I help you?”

    “We had a pact.”


    “We went to high school together, remember? It’s me, Brad.”

  27. Nia315

    Enjoy everyone!

    The Pact

    Tony was wrapping up the last five minutes of his presentation when his assistant walked in. With a pensive look on her face, she quickly rushed over to his seat and whispered something in his ear. Without missing a beat he continued his monologue, turned the rest of the meeting over to his partner Sidney, and went to his office.

    This had better be important, a $5 million dollar deal was on that table, and if he lost it because these two, pact or no pact, it was over. They were no longer in high school or college, they were adults, and they needed to figure it out. He had worked too hard and long to lose everything because of their lack of maturity.

    “Liza, I’ll be back in 2 hours, cancel my next meeting, have Sidney leave the report on my desk and tell him to meet me in my office in 2 ½ hours.” He barked. She just looked at him and nodded with that same worried look, as if she knew something but wasn’t willing to offer up any information.

    In the fifteen minutes it took for Tony to get to the old neighborhood and find the tree, he shuffled through a myriad of thoughts. Of all the places, what could be so important that they would drag him out here in the middle of the afternoon?

    He pulled into the driveway of the empty house that use to be his childhood home and looked for their cars. Not here yet he thought as a flood of memories came over him like a strong wind. He heard laughter and thought for a moment it was his kid brother. Nope just some neighborhood kid being chased by a Terrier. Where were they, didn’t they know he had a job, a real important job?

    He sat there and reviewed the call, “Tony, we’re in trouble, can you meet us at the tree?” it was Chelsea, the first of the trio. The only girl on the block who could throw a mean left hook, wasn’t afraid of bugs, and was a good actress. He met her first in 7th grade when she moved to the block. Then there was Kris, less outgoing, and in need of friends who could protect him.

    He told her he’d be there in 15 minutes but there was no sight of them; he would wait five more. Since I’m here might as well give the place a look over, it’s been years since I’ve seen my old home.

    Even though the place was empty, or so it seemed, he still knocked, just in case. With no answer he tried the lock and was surprise to find it open. As he stepped through the door and all the old familiar smells and feelings greeted him, along with a loud “Surprise!”

    Everyone, even Liza, rushed to him. It was his birthday, how could he forget his own birthday?!?

  28. Nia315

    Enjoy everyone!

    Tony was wrapping up the last five minutes of his presentation when his assistant walked in. With a pensive look on her face she quickly rushed over to his seat and whispered something in his ear. Without missing a beat he continued his monologue turned the rest of the meeting it over to his partner Sidney, and went to his office.

    This had better be important, a $5 million dollar deal was on that table, and if he lost it because these two, pact or no pact, it was over. They were no longer in high school or college, they were adults, and they needed to figure it out. He had worked too hard and long to lose everything because of their lack of maturity.

    “Liza, I’ll be back in 2 hours, cancel my next meeting, have Sidney leave the report on my desk and tell him to meet me in my office in 2 ½ hours.” He barked. She just looked at him and nodded with that same worried look, as if she knew something but wasn’t willing to offer up any information.

    In the fifteen minutes it took for Tony to get to the old neighborhood and find the tree, he shuffled through a myriad of thoughts. Of all the places, what could be so important that they would drag him out here in the middle of the afternoon?

    He pulled into the driveway of the empty house that use to be his childhood home, and looked for their cars. Not here yet he thought, as a flood of memories came over him like a strong wind. He heard laughter and thought for a moment it was his kid brother. Nope just some neighborhood kid being chased by a Terrier. Where were they, didn’t they know he had a job, a real important job?

    He sat there and reviewed the call, “Tony, we’re in trouble, can you meet us at the tree?” it was Chelsea, the first of the trio. The only girl on the block who could throw a mean left hook, and wasn’t afraid of bugs. He met her first in 7th grade when she moved to the block. Then there was Kris, less outgoing, and in need of friends who could protect him.

    He told her he’d be there in 15 minutes but there was no sight of them. He would wait five more minutes. Oh well might as well give the place a look over, it’s been years since he seen his old home, he had no real reason to come back here since everyone he loved was gone.

    Even though the place was empty, or so it seemed, he still knocked, just in case. With no answer he tried the lock and was surprise to find it open. As he stepped through the door and all the old familiar smells and feelings greeted him, along with a loud “Surprise!”

    Everyone, even Liza, rushed to him. It was his birthday, how could he forget his own birthday?!?

  29. tangerine

    Expiration date: June, 2001. Contents explosive under pressure. Caution! Highly flammable.

    The splintered walls of the chicken coop were plastered with labels, magazine ads and old bumper stickers that my old high school friends and I had collected over the years. Not a whole lot had changed since I had last been here. I sat down, same as before, Indian -style, and reflected on all of the meetings we had held here, complete with pencil, ledger and tin can for collecting weekly dues. Total nerds, for sure, but we didn’t care. Me, Bobby and Andrew were of one mind. Cornier than all heck and proud of it.

    My head was thick with the stress of receiving the 2:00 am phone call-a call that had come out of the blue. “Bobby? Bobby , is that you? Dude, where’ve you been ? I haven’t seen you in ages,” I said, in a fog.

    Bobby told me he couldn’t talk, but to meet him at the old chicken coop Friday at six pm. I got there at five, anxious to see the place after all these years.

    I heard a scuffling, then the quick, three rap signal before entering. “Bobby! “ I exclaimed. “This is awesome! Just like old times! “

    Bobby spoke slowly,“Geoff, it’s Andrew,” he said, shifting from side to side.
    “What are you talking about?” I said. Even though it had been a few years since Andrew and I had talked, I still considered him one of my best friends.

    Another three rap knock and a man with a shock of red hair and navy pea coat stumbled in. The door creaked on its rusty hinges, then swung half-way shut. “Andrew!” I exclaimed.

    “Geoff, my boy. How’ve you been?” Andrew asked. “ I was in the area and found Bobby’s name in the phone book. Thought I’d look you up, too! So cool!” he said, thumping me hard on the back.

    “So,” Bobby began. “Andrew thought this would be a good time to break it to you.”
    “Break what to me?” I asked, puzzled.

    “Geoff,” Andrew stammered. “I’ve wanted to share this with you for so long, but just couldn’t find a way. I’m tired of keeping secrets. I’ve got to get it off my chest.” I braced myself, not knowing what to expect.

    “Geoff,” said Andrew somberly. “I’ve kept something from you. You see, I’m really a woman trapped in a man’s body.” Andrew and Bobby searched my face before breaking into shouts of laughter. They threw back their heads and roared again, tears streaming down their faces.

    “Punked!” they shouted, then knocked me down onto the dirt floor of the musty old chicken coop. Andrew pushed his fist into my chest, just like old times, before gasping, “A woman… trapped…”

    Ah, yes, just like old times.

  30. uniquepanda89

    Stevie rubbed the sweat from her palms on to her jeans. It was almost one in the morning, but Greg’s message had her stumbling out of her apartment and speeding to their “spot”. After eight years of of not seeing Brian and Greg, she wondered what could prompt this urgent meeting. She replayed the message in her head. “Stevie, Greg and I…. We messed up. Badly. And not setting off firecrackers behind the school bad. Please meet us at the spot.”

    Stevie sat on the bench, which was situated next to a fountain in a local park. Stevie, Greg, and Brian claimed the space as their spot since the 7th grade. They made a pact that they would always be a family, closer than blood relatives. It was the place Brian pushed Greg into the fountain because Greg pants him while talking to Hannah Smith. The fountain, where Greg held Stevie as she sobbed over her father’s arrest and her mother’s subsequent breakdown. It was where Stevie convinced Brian that he was more than just the son of the town drunk and to go to State with her and Greg.

    Stevie smiled and pulled her jacket closer to her thin frame. She closed her eyes, exhausted after working a ten hr shift at the grocery store, but jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She adjusted her glasses to get a better look a the figure towering above her.

    “Hey peanut.” Brian smiled, although his voice was strained.

    Stevie hopped off the bench and Brian pulled her into his arms.

    “B Boy! It’s been way to long.” She pulled away from him and looked into his hazel colored eyes. “What’s up with you and Greg? iS everythi.”

    Brian pressed a finger to her lips. “Not now Stevie. Listen, Greg and I..we have something to tell you…but not here it’s too dangerous.”

    Stevie frowned. “Bri, what in Spock’s name is going on?”

    Brian didn’t answer put was staring at something intently behind her. “Stevie.” his voice was rough. “Duck”

    “Wha?” before Stevie could get out another syllabl, her eyes widened as Brian whipped out a gun and aimed it past her.

    “Now!” He barked.

    Stevie hit the ground and the gun shot crackled through the air. She felt herself being hoisted up by the arm and Brian shoved her in front of him.

    “Stevie, Ru! down to Old Oakwood Rd. Greg will be waiting a black honda. Go, now!”

    Stevie ran as another ear piercing “boom” echoed in to air. And this time, it wasn’t just firecrackers.

        1. uniquepanda89

          Thanks for commenting. :). I guess I should of omitted, the “it’s too dangerous” bit. Brian and Greg weren’t supposed to know they were being followed by the baddie. Thanks for pointing that out.

    1. Icabu

      I liked that the ‘spot’ was no longer safe, makes the invasion more personal.
      A little tightening would help – my opinion. The 500 word limit forces the tightness. It’s good practice, please keep posting!

  31. sprattcm

    The air was still and cold. Every breath kindled a bloom of crystalline agony in her chest, as if hoarfrost stretched achingly cold and beautiful fingers from Yuki-onna’s rime-sheathed heart to her lungs. A hand at her brow shielded her eyes from the brilliant but warmthless midday sun as she searched for a familiar, hoary oak tree.

    Possessed of an ancient wisdom gleaned from weathering generations of unnatural winters, what few vermin remained in the wood had taken to deep burrows. Yuki-onna could sense their fiery hearts hammering in the darkness as they lived small brief lives defined by hardship and fear, unraveled by a flash of fang or talon. A blaze of warmth quickened in her veins as an errant thought snuffed the nearest. Its tiny mote of life-energy staved off the all consuming hunger that drove her to ever greater heights of madness.

    Still she searched, never finding. She consumed, never sating. Beneath her feet lay a path of ice, and in her wake stretched a glittering wasteland steeped in silence unbroken save by the whisper of creeping frost.

    Lori picked her way through the undergrowth to an unused path leading deeper into the woods. One hundred and seventeen years had spurred much change to her ancestral home, but the contours were familiar and she had no difficulty finding the rough-hewn schoolhouse of her childhood. Cedar shakes, now gray with antiquity, dangled from the collapsed moss-covered remains of the roof.

    Her best friends stood talking quietly beneath the massive oak where they’d made their pact as girls all those years ago. So much time had passed and the world had moved on for everybody but these women. Their oath and sacrifice secured perpetual youth.

    “So what happened?” Lori asked as she walked up. Melinda looked guiltily at Sharon, but said nothing.

    “It’s Yuki…she might have gotten free,” said Sharon. Melinda fidgeted with the brass clasp of her bracelet.

    “How could she get out? Who slipped up, or do I even have to ask?”

    Melinda spoke up finally, “I’ve never understood how you two could be so strong for so long. I’m so sorry, but a couple months ago this guy moved in next door and I…”

    “Stuff it, Melly. You know what’s at stake! How could you be so careless?” screamed Lori. “You may have let Snow Woman out for the sake of a dalliance with a stranger?”

    The Oath that imprisoned Yuki-onna demanded chastity in exchange for longevity. Lori never figured Melinda would be the one to screw it up. Melinda tended to be bookish and awkward around men. Her long black hair was usually pulled into a severe bun. She always seemed to be about a decade behind the latest style.

    With the Oath broken, Yuki was almost certainly free. A chill wind stirred the trees. Lori shivered and pulled up the collar of her jacket as she thought about the coming winter.

  32. Deankut


    “Shhhh! It’s ringin’ Tone, it’s ringin’!” Vinnie said covering the phone.

    “Oh—yeah, yeah.” Tony mimed a lock and key gesture over his mouth.

    Frankie ran downstairs and picked up on the third ring. “Yeah-low?” He said out of breath.

    “Yo—Frankie. Geez, I’m glad I caught cha. We got a situation Frankie and it ain’t good I tell ya.”

    “What’s goin’ on Vin? Talk to me.” He said concerned.

    “It ain’t for the airways if you knows what I mean.” Vinnie winked at Tony who was wearing a shit—eating grin.

    “Gimme twenty. I’ll meet ya down at Sally’s Go-Go.” Frankie said before he realized the mistake.

    “Airways Frankie—airways. Plus this ain’t no hooter—talk. Remember where we made the pack back in school? Remember Frankie? Where we fixed the last, ah—situation?”

    What was Vinnie up to? Sally’s was a paid off joint. The place was clean—bug free. “Okay Vin—I know the place. In twenty?”

    “Nah—aah, errands ya know? I was thinkin’ six-thirty. That okay?”

    Bingo! Why wait? He was no fool. Those mooks must have ratted him out. He wasn’t going out like that, not Frankie Romano.

    He pulled open the desk drawer and put his hand over the Glock. Then mumbled to himself, “Too noisy.”

    “What’s that Frankie?” Vinnie asked.

    “Huh? Oh—nothing Vin. I’ll be there. Six-thirty.” He said grabbing his keys and the garrote next to the gun.

    Vinnie slammed the phone on the cradle. “We got em! He don’t suspect a thing!”

    “Okay Vin, let’s do this thing. Whew! I’ll pull the car around—”

    “No—no Tone. Go on ahead. If we both show up, he’ll suspect what’s up.”

    “Smart—thinkin’ Lincoln. I got this.” Tony said leaving.

    Frankie glanced at his Rolex as he stood in front of the secluded storage facility that the ‘family’ owned. It was six twenty-nine on the oyster perpetual. Punctual as usual he thought to himself as Vinnie’s Caddy pulled up.

    “Hey Frankie. Sorry to bother you with—aah this situation. Sorry—it had to be handled. Let’s get inside so we can talk.”

    Vinnie fished out the key and turned the lock. Before he could open the door, Frankie wrapped the garrote around his throat and pulled him off his feet. Vinnie struggled—but Frankie was stronger. After a few minutes, a rush of wet air escaped Vinnie’s neck as he went limp.

    “That’ll teach you—you mook! Nobody offs Frankie Romano!” Pushing the door open with his back, he dragged the dead body inside.

    “Surprise!” Roared the crowd.

    The lights snapped on and Frankie let the body flop over, spilling its severed vocal cords on to the floor.

    He turned to face about fifty friends and family. Tony was at the front wearing a yellow party hat, holding a cake. The matching noisemaker dangling from the corner of his mouth fell into the cake candles and caught fire. The huge banner hanging from the ceiling read: Happy 40th Birthday!

    1. Egg

      Great story and I love your original use of dialogue. The only thing I’d suggest (and this is just my opinion, of course), is to place Vinnie and Tony in a setting early on (like you did with Frankie running down the stairs), so that the reader isn’t picturing a cell phone on the street until “Vinnie slammed the phone on the cradle” forces an imagination shift.

  33. Chilo

    “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.”
    The call ended just as soon as it started. I didn’t quite understand what my two best friends were up to. It has always been that way since High School. They would talk behind the teacher’s back and when confronted, they turned to me so I could bail them out on some lame excuse like, “they were discussing the reasons Hitler considered getting rid of the Jews…” or something like that. All I knew now is that I had to go help them in any way I can.
    I grabbed my coat and car keys. I had trouble turning the car ignition and I fumbled through my purse for a tissue to clean the blob of bird poop that just happened to fly down on my window. Not to mention I almost drove over the rose garden in my haste.
    That old building a few blocks from the school is still standing after all these years. That’s where we made our pact to stay true to each other, love the quarterback Andrew Lacey, and be best friends for ever, ‘til the end.
    There it was and there they were, wrapped in their fluffy coats and skinny jeans, wearing knee high boots. Painful is the word for this picture until I got a look at their faces.
    “My goodness! What happened?”
    “Never mind that. Do you still have it?”
    “Have what?”
    “You know: the necklace?”
    “No. I pawned it last year.”
    “You what!?!”
    “I sold it. I never did like the thing…” Their eyes filled with horror. Their heavy makeup covering the bruises made them look like porcelain dolls.
    “We can’t trust you.”
    “What? It was just a trinket Andrew gave us. It had no sentimental value whatsoever.”
    “That’s what you think.”
    My two best friends from High School. My two best friends who would stick with me ‘til the end. My two best friends took hold of my arms and dragged me to the edge of the second story building. My two best friends…

  34. Just B

    They’re standing huddled together. Whispering. Tense. They look up at the sound of your car. Fear. “What took you so long?”

    Their perceptions are skewed. You hung up the phone just ten minutes ago. “What’s going on guys?” They look up and down the road then both push you into the thick brush. “C’mon, guys,” you try to stay calm, “Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”

    “We killed someone.”

    You give a short laugh and scan their faces for the truth, “What?”

    Word waterfall. “A couple years ago, we went in on an apartment complex together and it’s been easy. But then this guy snowed us. He wouldn’t move out. We did everything we could. The cops wouldn’t help us. We didn’t have any choices. It was the only way. We couldn’t pay our bills. The bank was going to foreclose on us. We needed to get him out and a paying person in. Fast.” The words fall on your brain as rain falls on saturated ground. They’re not sinking in. “We didn’t nickname you Ace for nothing. You always know what to do.”

    “Not for murder!”

    The gentle giants you’ve known since second grade leap toward you. One clamps a paw over your mouth. “Keep it down!”

    The brute contact jumpstarts your brain. “Where’s the guy now?”

    “He’s wrapped in a throw rug in the dumpster at the complex but…”

    “You guys put the body at your place?”

    “It was close, and we didn’t want anyone to see us with it. But we know that’s bad. That’s why we called you, Ace. You know what to do about stuff. What should we do?”

    “Who have you told about this?”

    “Just you.”

    “Ok. Good. Keep it that way. Under no circumstances do you want to tell anyone about this. You guys got that?”

    “Yeah, Ace. Sure. But what should we do with the body?”

    “You guys got any construction debris around your place?”

    “Yeah. We got a pile of it. We’re doing rehab and in debt like you wouldn’t believe. Whoever said landlording was a way to get rich never did it before.”

    “Ok. Here’s what you do. Put some construction trash in your work van. Put the body on top of it. Put more construction debris on top. Make sure it’s covered. Take the van to the city incinerator. They can’t afford guys to take the stuff out of vehicles anymore so everyone has to dump their stuff themselves. You guys got that?”

    “That is fantastic! You always come through for us, Ace.”

    “Most important of all, guys. Do Not Tell Anyone. Ok? You sure you didn’t tell anyone about this?”

    “No, Ace. Just you.”

    “I want you both to repeat this after me: I will not tell anyone about this. Ever.”

    As they mumble the phrase, you see a look of dawning in their eyes. The last thing you hear is the sound of your own shrill, “No!” as heavy hands grab your fleeing shirt.

  35. JR MacBeth

    (Profanity Warning)

    “There isn’t anything you can do.  God knows I’ve tried.  Time and time again.”

    “What are you saying Grandpa?  That you’re not going back to save them?”

    “You don’t understand.  The past is the past.  They’re dead, and there isn’t anything that can be done about it.”

    “With all due respect old man, you know damn well we can go back, and no one has to die!”

    “No! Jason, they’re dead!  Yes, we can travel back in time, but we can’t bring them back with us.”

    “That’s bullshit! I don’t know all the details, but goddammit, you travel in time! You don’t have to bring them ‘back’, just make sure that drunken motherfucker doesn’t kill them!”

    “Jason, please listen. It doesn’t work exactly like that…”

    “Shut up! Just shut up! I wish I’d never found out about all your top-secret bullshit!  All you government fucks are heartless assholes!  Well, fuck you!  I don’t ever want to see you again!”

    The unspeakable anguish, was literally that.  At some point, he knew too well, words fail, and there is only pain.  The old man went to the window and watched his grandson disappear into the darkness.  The boy had lost everything, but the real source of his pain was knowing that his wife and child could easily be returned to him.  Ah, if it could only be that simple!

    Tears streamed down the ancient face.  He too knew the bitter torment of that which should be, balanced against that which was.  Four decades and forty years too few, to dull the pain continually meted out upon him by merciless Memory…

    “Hey man, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help.  We can’t talk about it over the phone!  Meet us at the Louis Pasteur statue.  Remember, we’ve got a pact bro!”

    It was like it was yesterday.  He HAD gone back.  Over and over.  And Missy was always dead when he returned.  Nothing ever changed.  Where was the science in that?  How could he explain something he could never understand himself?

    Of course, he did understand, at least the physics of it. There were virtually an infinite number of “timelines”, and their histories actually could be changed.  Yes, the South really did win, he was there! But for all practical purposes, altering OTHER timelines didn’t do a goddamn thing for time-travelling meddlers.

    Lincoln, JFK, Martin Luther King…All were alive and well somewhere by the time science had done enough tinkering! But they were always still dead in the history books, and they had died just the way they were supposed to. Billions of black budget dollars, and not one came back.

    “Missy.  Oh Missy My Love!  No one ever knew, not even the guys.  I’m so sorry! Your accident…” The sobs began to interrupt, as always. “And then our Little ‘Accident’, our child…Oh Missy Missy…!”  The old man’s voice cracked as profound sadness once again engulfed him, choking off all words, leaving only immortal grief.

      1. JR MacBeth

        Thanks for your feedback laurentravian! It was sort of a risky “break” in the middle. I was hoping the “forty years” reference was enough to place the “current” event (the grandson’s tragedy), as far in the “future”, relative to the grandfather’s tragic loss of his pregnant girlfriend all those years before. I was hoping readers might see that the grandfather understood the young man’s pain in a very personal way.

        Ah, but that’s what happens with only 500 words! You’re right, it probably could have used more explanation. That break in the flow was a bit brutal.

        Thanks again, I very much appreciate your feedback!

    1. JJerome

      JR – I responded the most to the emotion of the characters, the pain of their loss. Also, the dialogue is impressive because …1) you don’t burden it with taglines and descriptors 2) you create exposition 3) it’s believable Please join a new discussion. Just click on my name. See you there!

  36. Cren43

    It was a typical day.  I was working my usual Nine to Five.  The phones were ringing off the hook.  Most of the calls were fairly routine, “help me with signing in online,” “how do I pay my bill” and often clients simply needing a copy of a form. 
    It was then that my monotonous day transformed with the familiar voice on the other end of phone.

    “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.”

    Before I could respond there was only the dial tone on the line.  I hadn’t heard her voice in years.  That high pitched voice only belonged to Cheryl, my best friend from high school.  Uncertainty shook me.  Why was she calling me now?  Cheryl and another good friend from school, Mandy, remained close throughout the years, yet, somehow I grew distant.  Panic hit me.  I knew they must be desperate if they were contacting me out of the blue.  Nervously, I reached for my keys and pink trench coat and proceeded quickly out the door.  Any accomplishes I had planned to attain today would have to wait. 

    The winding turns down the small country roads that lead me back to the creek felt impossibly long.  Finally, at the small white cross before the creek I pulled my car over and parked in the gravel on the side of the road. 

    “Breathe in. Breathe out,” I reminded myself, in my weak attempt to brace myself.  I walked down the rocky path toward the rushing creek, stumbling every now and then.  This had been our spot for years.  It was peaceful and beautiful, but it was also where we had lost Michael, a very close friend of ours.  It was for that reason that this place was so dear to us.  It was also for that reason that we had made our pact.

    I rounded the corner with my head down, watching my feet to make sure they didn’t miss a step.  Before I could comprehend the situation I was surrounded.

    Faces from previous decades filled the space beneath the bridge. Frantically I searched for Cheryl’s face, but Mandy grabbed my arm and pulled me to her. Her arms wrapped around me, “It’s been so long! We’ve missed you!”

    “Mandy?,” I questioned, “What’s going on? Is Cheryl okay?”

    “Oh Lord yes! She pulled that stunt to get you here!”

    “I’m confused.”

    Mandy reached over and gave me another hug. “Girl, you are always too busy! You didn’t forget us and you didn’t forget the pact we made years ago? You managed to find your way here so how come you don’t realize what’s going on?”

    “It’s Michael’s birthday?” I asked, ashamed that I didn’t truly remember.

    “Yes and we promised to keep his memory alive, didn’t we? THAT is the meaning of this!”

  37. Imaginalchemy

    In honor of St. Patrick’s Day…


    I’ve come to expect the constant parade of stupidity that T.J. and Zakk have such perverse talents for causing. It wasn’t the first time I had gotten a midnight call on my cell phone, the frazzled voices on the other end pleading for me to bail them out of whatever predicament they had just fallen into. As usual, I would roll half-conscious out of bed, shrug on my coat and lurch out the door to play the valiant best friend that I always did.

    Zakk gave me a sheepish shrug. “I dunno, man. We just had this gold horseshoe…thought we could pawn it for this killer stereo I saw at the Pawn-Mart…”

    “No, you did something. A gold horseshoe by itself doesn’t cause undead wee folk to pop up from the ground,” I said—not fully believing what I was saying. It was hard enough to get me to believe in either leprechauns, or zombies, but the two in combination was too much for me.

    T.J. scratched his neck, looking away. “Well, we might’ve gotten the horseshoe from this shady-looking guy…and he said it was from a treasure of some leprechaun who vowed revenge if anyone took anything from his stash…and he said to never say the words ‘Faith and Begorrah’ while holding it.”

    I sighed. “And you said ‘faith and begorrah’ while holding the horseshoe.”

    Zakk hung his head. “How couldn’t I, dude? That’s like telling me to not think about Susie Parker in her cheerleading skirt, ‘cause then all I’m gonna think about is…”

    “Shut up, Zakk.” I observed the mob of foot-tall ankle-biters (literally, as they were biting the ankles of anyone that they could catch) that were plaguing the streets right outside the Irish Pub on Bradford Street. I’m not sure where they originated from, or why so many had been buried underground in my hometown, but they scurried like frantic roaches, nipping at toes and heels and screeching some Irish tune that I’m sure would have been lovely under normal circumstances but sounded like nails on a chalkboard with these zombified sprites singing it.

    “Look, I don’t care anymore how this happened,” I said. “I don’t want a bunch of leprechauns clawing at my door and demanding to eat my brains, or any other fleshy body part. Did the guy who gave you that horseshoe mention what to do, should you be stupid enough to raise the unholy dead of the Emerald Isle?”

    T.J. squinted wearily. “I can’t remember…I was pretty hammered…”

    Zakk swung the golden horseshoe around on his finger as he thought. “I think he might’ve said to return the horseshoe to it’s rightful place…and something about Shepherd’s Pie and beer…and they don’t like banshee wailing…”

    I grabbed the horseshoe out of Zakk’s hand. “Okay, you go get some beer and Shepherd’s Pie from the Pub to feed all these little imps…T.J., get your Iron Banshee CD and start blasting it from the car. That should slow them down for a while.”

    “What’re you going to do?” T.J. asked.

    “I’m calling in sick to work tomorrow,” I replied. “Apparently, because of you two nimrods, I’ve got to hop the next plane to Ireland…”

  38. thesaturnbull

    I didn’t remember the drive over. Seconds after hanging up, I stood outside the J-hall, in the shadows near the back entrance, shivering in my pajama bottoms and Uggs. At least I remembered to put on a hoodie (and a bra) before coming out in the cold, but after five minutes, the fuzzy turquoise lost all warmth garnered from my abandoned bed sheets. This had better be important.

    Somebody touched my arm, and I freaked. I totally jumped like a foot in the air and screamed.

    “Hey now, calm it down,” Samantha whispered.

    “You bitch. I think I bit my tongue.”

    “Where we’re going we don’t need tongues,” laughed Casey. She looked nervous. Scared.

    “Why am I here?” I demanded, crossing my arms.

    Samantha pointed to the body lying on the wet cement, not five feet from where we stood. Eyes open.
    Mouth too. Gross.

    “What? How?”

    “I dunno,” said Casey. “It just happened.”

    “Who else knows?”

    “Just us,” said Samantha. Her stomach gurgled. Her lower lip drooped.

    I walked over and bent down for a closer look at the deceased. I poked the arm. Rubbery. Cold, like yesterday’s fish from the Farmer’s Market left out on the granite counter. Yup, dead.

    “Fingerprints,” someone muttered.

    “Liked yours aren’t already over everything,” I returned, standing up. I wasn’t poking a dead body. Nope, no way. Not me.

    “What do we do?”

    “We move the body before the sun comes up. But you already knew this. It’s why you called, right?”

    “We could just burn it,” said Casey. “Him, I mean. We could light him up.”

    “Listen, attention whore, flames attract firefights. Firefighters drive bright red whirling trucks of infinite wails and sirens.” I looked around. Windows closed, barred. Doors shut, and presumably locked. No place to hide a corpse. The woods it would be. “Now, come over her and help me lift.”

    Minutes later, as quietly as we could, the three (okay, four) of us were in the wooded area behind the high school.

    “Here’s fine,” I panted, and dropped the legs. A shoe fell off on impact. For some reason I thought of the rubber trainers washing up on the shores of the Canadian coast, the ones with the feet in them. Ugh. I hated feet. “Who has a shovel?”



    “There’s one in my trunk, of course. Casey, go get it.”

    “Why me?”

    “Your legs are longer.”

    “Thank you.” She brightened.

    “Hurry back.” I waited until I could no longer hear the clomping of her Crocs in the underbrush before turning to Samantha. “Who’s fault this time?”

    “Mine. All mine. I tried to stop.” She sighed.

    “I thought you were getting better.”

    “I thought so, too.”

    “This is the last time I come out like this. For you.”

    “No its not.”

    My turn to sigh. “No, I suppose it isn’t.”

  39. Icabu

    I sat in the bleachers of Brave Stadium at Western High School. Row fourteen, seat seventeen was mine because I was the geek-nerd and graduated at age seventeen. Betsy sat in seat eighteen, an average student. Brenda had seat nineteen, held back in third grade, she graduated at age nineteen. It was here, all those years ago, that we made our pact to really stay in touch and be each other’s go-to persons.

    Staying in touch had been easy for us. Letters, cards, and postcards turned into emails and now we text at least thirty times a week. We added phone calls when needing the personal touch, which was why I was in Brave Stadium at eleven at night. Betsy had called, sounding panicked, saying she and Brenda had done something terribly wrong. I couldn’t get her to elaborate on the phone. They wanted to meet here – where we made our pact. I couldn’t imagine what those two had gotten into.

    I pulled my coat tighter around me against the chill of the November night. There would be a football game here on Friday night, like all those we attended in these very seats. I could almost feel the youthful exuberance vibrating from the seats.

    As the minutes ticked by, my nerves began to tingle. What did ‘terribly wrong’ mean and what kind of help did they need from me? I texted Betsy and then Brenda and got no response. After another thirty minutes, I called both, getting voice mail. When my phone buzzed another twenty minutes later my relief was frozen when I saw that it was work calling. Knowing the girls would contact me when they didn’t find me at the stadium, I left, rushing to the street address I was given.

    “Looks like a hit, Captain,” the young patrolman informed me as I walked up to the car in the intersection. “Small caliber to the backs of their heads,” he continued.

    As a large city police captain, I know how to prepare myself for disturbing scenes. When I looked into this car, no amount of experience would help. I staggered against the car’s door and went down on one knee.

    “Captain,” the patrolman called out and stepped toward me. I waved him away.

    Betsy sat slumped against the steering wheel. Her hand still held her phone with my messages and ‘missed call’ bubbles on the screen. Brenda leaned against Betsy, her hand on her door latch. The scene shattered my soul, but I remembered our pact. I couldn’t help them now, but I would find out who did this. That was the only way to help me.

    1. Egg

      I like the succinct detail of the background, and I really liked the impact of the last few paragraphs. Is the football game relevant to the plot? If not, I think para 3 slows the pace a little with repetition of ‘night’ and ‘seat.’ Nice work.

      1. Icabu

        Thanks for the feedback. Para 3 was to add that she had her coat, as listed in the prompt, and to add to the 3 girls close background and time passage as she waited. Now I see the repetitive words…grrr, thanks for catching and mentioning that!

      1. Icabu

        Nope, not Capt. Bill – I don’t own him. Although, he resembles a few that I’ve served with. 🙂
        This is just a large city police captain, now with dead friends.

        1. rob akers

          Captain Bill is a different guy but I would not want to be on the recieving end of justice from this Captain.

          Great story and I would love to see how this Captain hunts down the killers and solves the crime. This has the makings of a opening sceen of a full length novel and movie. I agree the football field distracts from the opening but it could play a huge role in the novel.

          I am assuming the Captain is female. I like that dynamic and I think it adds something to the worldly Captain. I really like this story.

          1. Icabu

            Thanks for the input!
            Who knows, if the prompts align, maybe the Captain will return for her revenge.
            And yes, she is female.
            So much for football creating a ‘homecoming’ feel – must be a female thing…

  40. Vlad_buf

    I was reading a book, when I received a phone call. It was Greg, my friend:

    “Hi Greg, how are you this fine evening ?” I said in a happy tone. Haven’t heard anything from him for weeks now.
    Hey, I’m with Paul and we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help.” His voice was low, like he didn’t want to be heard by anyone.
    Oh my god, wha…
    I can’t talk about it over the phone” he interrupted me “Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.

    Before he closed I could dinstinguish voices on the phone. This is not the first time I save them from trouble, they were always up to no good, he and Paul. I grab my coat and car keys and drive to the city park.

    What was this time ? Saving them from pimps because they had no money ? Bail them out ? I was tempted to stop the car, turn around, go home and forget about this whole bussines, but they are my friends and we knew each other since we were kids.

    I arrived in the park, kids were playing in the grass, dogs were running and old people sitting on benches in the shade of oak trees talked about politics and their golden ages. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and my pals were nowhere to be found.
    Pact, what pact we did back then ?” I was thinking. “It was under that big tree, I remember that well, but all I see now are children running around it. Where are this guys ?
    I waited maybe an hour for them. Oh well, I’m going back home.

    But my car was gone. Those bastards lured me in the park, they knew I usually let my car in the alley behind Old Pop’s barber shop away from sight, they stole my car.

    As I was calling the police I tried and reason why they would do this ? Maybe drugs ? Paul’s wife was also addicted to gambling for some years. Should have trusted my guts and turned back then, when I had a chance. The friendship is gone and all the respect I had for them is gone too.

    Any criticism is welcome, also tell me if you find any grammatical errors, english is not my native language.
    Thank you.

        1. rob akers

          Nice story. You do a great job of telling the story and showing that trust doesn’t always pay off.

          Nice word choices and if Icabu and Egg think you have a great grasp of English who am I to disagree?

    1. JR MacBeth

      I certainly agree that your English is relatively good, but the key word here is “relatively”. I speak a second language as well, and no doubt your command compared to mine, you would win easily. But I think I would be doing you a disservice if I led you to believe that your English was “good enough”. Obviously, that depends upon what your particular goal is.
      Here’s a suggestion Vlad_buf, maybe you can intentionally go for a more “international” feel. For example, if your native tongue is Russian, you could perhaps utilize Russian characters, mostly in dialogue. If I was to guess, even your translated dialogue might “feel” more authentic than one created by a non-Russian speaker. The reader would have less trouble with odd syntax, since they would be imagining accents to begin with. I think I might like to read something like that!
      I salute your courage in tackling English, considered by many to be one of the more difficult languages to master.
      Good job!

  41. mariagavila

    Any comments greatly appreciated!

    I had never heard Mireya so upset. It bothered me to the core to think that my two best friends could be in trouble. From Diana I wasn’t too surprised, she always was the most daring one of us three, but Mireya… she had always been the one to keep us grounded. My stomach growled at me as I drove, but I ignored it. Several times I caught myself driving on the side of the road, I was so distracted. To make matters worse, it was raining and the night was pitch black. When I finally made it to the old abandoned house on Faraway Lane, I killed the car and made a run for the house. When I opened the door fear slapped me in the face and suddenly I was wide awake. Every bone in my body tensed and my eyesight sharpened to take in its surroundings. The old curtains fluttered in the broken windows and I moved towards the middle of the room. There, huddled together where my two friends, my heart sisters.
    They looked at me through their tear streaked eyes and all I saw was their distress. Diana offered me her hand and pulled me down towards them and we embraced, just like the old times. I couldn’t stand the uncertainty any longer.
    “What happened?” I asked, bracing myself for whatever that answer could hold.
    “It’s Jessica. Remember her?”
    Of course I remembered her. During all of our school years she had been the thorn in our sides. Her pranks always hurtful and inconsiderate.
    “What did you guys do?”
    “We didn’t mean to hurt her, all we wanted was revenge. So we decided to pull a prank on her, you know for the sake of old times.”
    “So that’s it? All of this, for a prank?” I stood up and started walking to the window when I felt something move under my foot and a painful moan. I looked down to find Jessica there! I couldn’t believe my eyes.
    “Oh my God! What is she doing here and why is she hurt?”
    “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you. We only wanted to scare her a little and what better place than this house? We drugged her with chloroform and dragged her out here, and when she came to, she was scared. Especially with the rain, the curtains, the sounds from the woods… you know. She panicked and ran outside right into the lake. We can’t take her back, how will we explain this?”
    “So you would rather let her die out here?”
    I went to Jessica and felt her forehead. And just as I suspected, she was on fire.
    “We need to take her to my house,” I said. “I will take care of her. Then she will just have to owe me a favor.” And I knew exactly what that favor would entail. Recently she had been named chief editor of the book publishing company in town, and coincidentally I had just finished writing my memoir.
    I was going to get published!

    1. penney

      I liked the description of the drive to meet the friends, nicely played. With things like this, its also good to here maybe one of the pranks played on the girls to make them go to this extreme. Good job.

    1. mariagavila

      I laughed out loud with the “reading it off a page more than coming up with it himself.” That was clever. I felt I wanted to know more, what did they want? What happened to the man who cut the ropes, and how did you end up cutting the ropes that that man had already cut? Just questions…
      However, with that being said, I did like the suspense.

    2. Egg

      Hey there. I like the pace and suspense, but considering the word limit, perhaps you could try editing for words that state the obvious, eg “set out for the spot,” “my car outside,” “slowed my approach.” Also, look for superfluous phrases like “but somehow it seemed” (try the same sentence without this phrase), and adverbs that could be replaced with a better verb, eg. “pulled off quickly” could be “yanked” or whatever. I hope these comments are useful. Love your efforts – keep it up!

      1. Chilo

        Great story! Love how they just walked out with no worries.
        I wanted to point out that “he said” was used back to back so it seemed repetitive.

    3. Icabu

      Whoa … with friends like these, this guy’s got problems. The familiarity with kidnapping and killing is quite intriguing, making me wish for more.

        1. jmiff328

          Thank everyone for the comments. I’m not sure what these two are yet. I’m thinking of making it into a longer piece and I’m sure it will come out there. Ill let everyone know if I decide to put it on my blog. Thanks!

  42. jmiff328

    The phone rang after I had finally gone to sleep. I wasn’t sure how long I had been out. I glanced at the clock as another ring began, it read 3:42am.

    “Hello?” I was immediately joined by the frantic voice of my best friend Joseph.

    He said, “Hey, we’ve done something terribly wrong and need your help. We can’t talk about it over the phone. Please meet us at the spot where we made our pact back in high school. You know the place.”

    He said it without pausing for a breath but somehow it seemed like he was reading it off a page more than coming up with it himself. He never used words like “terribly”. He also used the word “we” which implies he either has implicated me in this adventure or he has an unknown person with him. I thought all of this while I grabbed my keys and coat, and nervously set out to the spot.

    A homeless man was standing beside my car outside with his hat down over his face. The weather was humid and the hat was to hide his face from onlookers. I slowed my approach and watched for sudden movements from the vagrant.

    It came from the back and it came fast. I was pushed down on the ground with a tazer put to the back of my neck. The world around me dissolved into nothingness.

    I awoke an unknown time later with an awful headache. Everything was completely black and I was terrified that I had been buried alive, until I realized they had a bag over my head. It was pulled off quickly and light flooded my eyes. When I was able to see, I saw the vagrant in front of me. Behind him was Joseph, tied to a chair, and looking like he had been beat almost to death.

    “Who are you?” I said, in my tough guy voice.

    I was hit hard with something from behind. Everything went blurry again, and I almost lost my dinner.

    The vagrant spoke, “Your friend says you have something that belongs to us.”

    I sat quietly waiting for something more but nothing came. Finally I said “What would that be?”

    Quietly he said “That’s not the right answer Max.”

    I thought quickly, “Your right, I’ve got it. It’s in a safe place and only I know where to find it. I’ll take you there but you must let him go.”

    The vagrant grunted and the man who punched me cut the ropes. Joe slowly got to his feet and gave a silent “thank you” as he left the building.

    The knife I had pulled from my shoe finally cut through the last rope behind my back and while the vagrant was watching Joe walk out, I reached up and put it through his skull. Joe made a quick turn and broke the big man’s neck while he watched his boss die.

    “You have to stop getting us into this crap man.” I said to Joseph.

    He nodded thoughtfully and said “I can’t believe they didn’t search you”

    We walked out of the building and headed toward home.

  43. tamsweet

    I stood under Pike’s Bridge shivering in the freezing rain, waiting for Jesse and Lana. It wasn’t bad enough that they dragged me out of my warm bed in the middle of the night, but they had me waiting 20 minutes before they bothered to show up. The smell of urine and beer made my stomach turn and worrying about what stupid scheme they got themselves into this time didn’t help. “What took so long?” I asked with my hands on my hips.
    “Sorry, Kristen, but we had to do some cleaning first.” Jesse said.
    “What did you two do?” I asked as calmly as I could. Lana looked up at me sheepishly. “Well, we killed another one but I swear they deserved it. It was Mike.”
    “The same Mike who dumped me on prom night?”

  44. laurentravian

    Tina called me at 3 am. “Come to the rose garden at Cityview High.” Groggily, I threw on my coat and grabbed my car keys. When I got to the place where we had made out secret pacts, Danielle and Tina were there, both shuffling their feet. “Alyssa…we need your help. We…did something wrong.” Danielle murmured. I got the whole story out of them. They had gambled away their fathers’ fortunes, and their husbands’ fortunes, and they needed money to buy drugs. I was disgusted by them. Drugs! I tried to get back in my car, but Tina blocked my path. I was sorry that I had to do what I did, but I suppose they can no longer say that those judo lessons were a waste of time and money. Now officer, would you think 10-15 years is appropriate?

    1. Imaginalchemy

      I like how you were able to tell a whole story in a small, concise package…and I laughed at how casual it states “they can no longer say those judo lessons were a waste of time and money”–obviously not the closest friends that the narrator has ever had, if she is willing to judo-chop them. Nice job!

    2. David

      As I put the phone down a million thoughts ran through my mind. With Jackie you never knew. And with that nitwit Judy-what’s-her-face lurking close by cheering her on, anything is possible. I put my keys back down on the table and half thought about calling her back and saying, “Not this time, sweety-cakes. You’re on your own.” But, I knew I couldn’t. Despite the shit she puts me through I’d do anything for her. And she knows it. That’s half my god-damn problem.

      I picked the keys back up, grabbed the Heineken from the living room, turned off the TV and headed for the door. Just hearing the words “something terribly wrong” sent a chill up my spine. With Jackie Durant those words strung together meant catastrophe. Considering our last little adventure together (two cracked ribs, three intramedullary nails, the metal rod it took to fix my leg, and not to mention more than six months of recovery) something terribly wrong I could handle. But, this. This was something much worse.

      Tonight, someone was going to die. I could feel it in my bones.

      “Fuck.” I said out loud as I closed the door behind me.

      “What’s up? Everything all right?” my brother-in-law said, holding the garbage lid.

      He’s got this eerie sixth sense about him. He knows what you’re thinking, probably even before you do. And he was the last person I wanted to know who I just got off the phone with. He knew Jackie all too well.

      “Damn it, Mike. You scared the crap out of me.” As if my heart wasn’t pumping fast enough already.

      “Easy princess. What’s got your panties in a bundle?”

      “Nothing”, I said. “I’ll be back in a few.”

      “Alright. Pick me up a pack a smokes, will ya?” he said as he replaced the lid.

      I said I would without looking back, downed the rest of the beer, and tossed the empty into the recycling bin.

      I got in the car and turned the ignition over. I sat there for a minute gripping the steering wheel with both hands. My chest began to hurt. “Breathe”, I thought to myself.

      Sitting there, the distant sound of the engine purring, it seemed unreal to even consider where I was about to go, let alone think about it. But, the memories from that night came flooding back like a tidal wave. In the ruins I thought were long lost, buried in the deepest recesses of my mind, the dark man’s face reappeared staring up at me with cloudy eyes. And I felt a chill.

      No one’s mentioned the abandoned tunnel since the incident – that’s what we called it back then. The incident. We swore never to speak it again. But, those unexpected words came: “Meet us at the spot where we made our pact…you know the place.”

      What the hell was Judy-what’s-her-face doing there? I put the gear in drive, pressed the accelerator, and steered toward what may be my last night alive.


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