Leaving Town Abruptly

A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued.

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

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334 thoughts on “Leaving Town Abruptly

  1. jujubear07

    The ringing of doorbell is what brought me out of my nightmare this time.
    There was a good and bad side to that.
    The good side was that- well I wouldn’t be traumatizing myself and screaming in my sleep.
    The bad side-
    There was someone at my door at three in the morning.
    I slid out of bed groggily, not bothering to cover myself up- only putting on a large jacket my boyfriend had left his last visit here.
    The doorbell rand once again as I yelled at them to wait.

    I rubbed the crust from my eyes, looking in the mirror before turning to open the door.

    “Look it’s way to fucking early-”

    The words died on my lips as my eyes met with those familiar brown ones.

    He smiled at me. “Hey Val, long time no see.”


    “Can’t talk? Cat got your tongue? That’s okay.”

    I broke myself out of my shock, turning to glare at him. “What are you doing here Sarki?”

    “I came here to get you. Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.”

    “Wait what? What do you mean?”

    “I have to go. I need you with me. Now hurry up and go pack a bag. We need to be out of this state in three hours.”

    “Whoa, wait a second. I have things to do. What about my job? What about my boyfriend?”

    I noticed the way he grit his teeth at the mention of my boyfriend.

    “I’ve already handled your job. Besides you took off the whole week so it’s not like they’re looking for you. And your dear Darren will be fine with you gone.”

    “How did you know I took off?” I asked.

    He blushed slightly, pouting angrily. “Stop interrogating me. Just go pack.”

    “But I don’t want to leave. What’s going on? This is just idiotic-”

    “Mike, Lilo, and Anna are in trouble. Not just them, everyone is.” He cut me off, looking serious.

    Fear washed over me. What happened to Mike and Anna? They were practically my parents. And Lilo, my baby girl.
    What bout James? I hadn’t from him from about two weeks. It was odd not to hear from my brother. Not after finding each other just a few years ago.

    I didn’t like this at all.

    I stared at him for a few seconds. “What happened?”

    “I’ll explain everything in the car we just- we have to go now.”

    I nodded, determination washing over me. “Give me ten minutes.”

  2. thebaseballman2003

    The doorbell rings suddenly and I’m quickly jerked from my slumber. I turn to look at the clock and it says 2:45 am. What kind of asshole rings someone’s doorbell that early in the morning. I’m not even going to get up. As soon as I put my head down on the pillow, the doorbell rings again. Just keep ignoring it, James. Just keep ignoring it. Then it rings again…and again…and again. That’s it. I took the covers off me, put on my robe and went downstairs. I was almost at the door when I banged my knee on one of the nearby tables. I probably should’ve turned on the light first. When I reached the door, I turn on the outside light and yell…
    “Who the hell is it?”
    “It’s Sarah.”
    “Sarah, you’re my friend and I like you but what the hell are you doing here? It’s close to 3 am and I have an early morning doctor’s appointment. This better be good.”
    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.”
    “I said…”
    “I heard what you said. Why are leaving and why do I need to come with you?”
    “Something happened. Something very bad happened.”
    “I shot someone. I didn’t mean to but I it happened.”
    “Oh my God. Sarah who did you shoot?”
    “Erica Gold. I didn’t want to but it just happened.”
    “How does something like that just happen? What in God’s name were you thinking? Whatever happened, you need to go to the police. Was it an accident?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “You don’t know.”
    “She was embezzling money from the company. When I went to confront her about it, she pulled a gun on me. I fought her for it and then the gun just went off. I wasn’t trying to do it but it just happened.”
    “Go to the cops. Tell them what happened. You don’t need to leave town and you don’t need me to come with you.”
    “There’s more, James.”
    “How much more could there possibly be?”
    “Sarah was not the only person embezzling from the company.”
    “I never stole a dime from the company.”
    “I know you didn’t.”
    The next thing I heard was a click. I looked down and saw a gun in her hand. I didn’t know what to say or think.
    “You see, James, Erica and I were in it together until I found out that she was planning on turning me in and running off with the money. You just can’t trust anyone anymore. Anyway, I need you to get into the car with me.”
    “The police are probably going to assume it was me and I need to leave the country asap. They’re going to be looking for someone traveling alone and I have to change that. Besides, I couldn’t imagine going to a non-extradition country with anyone but my best friend. Now, get your fine sexy little ass into my car.”
    “If I refuse?”
    “Well you can you go to a tropical resort with me or to hell with that bitch. You’re call.”
    “I’ll just get a bag ready.”

  3. laurentravian

    I awoke blearily to my alarm going off at 4:55 am. What the-? I glanced over at my husband. He was still asleep. Dare I wake him? Nah. Let the poor guy sleep. I checked on my daughters as they slept. They were still asleep too. Billie, the dog, was curled up on Annie’s bed. I checked my son’s room. Chris was still sleeping as well. Why me? The house was as quiet as Christmas Eve in the Night Before Christmas. I tiptoed down to the kitchen to make some coffee. I had a fresh pot when I saw Melissa sitting there. I almost dropped the coffee. “What the- Melissa, what are you doing in my house at” I glanced quickly at the clock. “5:03 am?” Melissa sipped her tea. Where did that come from? “Darling, I’m paying a social call. Now pack your bags. Our plane leaves at eight.” In my younger days, I had been an international jet-setting trend-setter. All that was behind me. “I can’t go. Melissa, I have a family.” I poured the coffee, and mixed in cinnamon and cream. Melissa pouted. “The cute guy, the nine year old, the teenage boy, the dog and the toddler? Please. You were never the type for the out-crowd.” I sipped my coffee and muttered, “Chris is only twelve. And Bonnie is five.” Melissa waved her hand. “Details, details. And anyway, this isn’t shopping in Milan. God, Lauren, if I wanted you to go shopping with me, I would have called before. You aren’t really in-crowd anymore darling.” I gritted my teeth. “What do you want, Melissa? You usurped my beauty sleep enough with your little trick with the alarm.” Melissa snorted, then said, “We need you back on the force.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I gulped down coffee. Melissa looked at my tacky coffee mug distastefully. “Honey. If your kid is five, she should have had the sense God gave creatures of that age not to make so tacky a mug.” I glared at her. “This is a poor way of re-recruiting me. Why not just reassemble the entire team?” I flashed her perfect teeth at me. “I already did. You’re the last.” I sipped my coffee. “Great. Let’s have a post-college reunion.” Melissa laughed. “Oh Lauren. You always were the funny one. No, this is for something much more serious than catching up over…” she looked at my mug again. “trivialities. He’s got them.” She leaned back, and sipped her tea. I stared at her in shock. “Him? The one we sent to the best prison on Earth?” She smiled. “Who else?” I shuddered. “How did he escape?”I asked. She shrugged. “It only matters that he did. We need you to track him down.” I leaned back. “Any leads?” She nodded, and handed me a file. Now where did THAT come from?! I glanced at it, then said, “Fine. I’ll do it. On one condition.” Melissa’s smile became forced. “The kids get to come with me.” Melissa frowned. “You want to risk your kids-on an uncertain?” I glared at her. “They deserve to know why they were all masters of judo by 4, and why Annie has just graduated college. They deserve to know what they’ve been trained for. Besides, all the candy in the world won’t get me back in their good graces if they miss out on something this cool. And let’s be honest. You expected this. And you know they’d be useful.” Melissa sighed, and nodded, handing me 4 boarding passes for the flight- first class. “Welcome Back, Commander Bookworm.” She said, referring to my code name and the fact that I once led the team. “I’ll go wake up the kids and write a note for my husband. I take it you’ve already packed my clothes, Annie’s clothes, Chris’s clothes and Jean’s clothes?” Melissa nodded. I just knew her too well.

  4. DcTTre

    Prompt 2

    A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued.

    I was very confused and tired, so I just stood there half asleep. He didn’t have any patience so he pushed me up stairs to my bedroom and starting lacking everything for me. SLAM!!! He dropped my tv in the ground, now I was awake and I was angry. My face was going as red as a furious fire. I had to start asking questions, he didn’t want to answer them so I picked all my bags and rushed downstairs. As soon as I opened the door right in front of my lawn was the Batmobile! I pinched myself just to se if I was dreaming but I wasn’t.

    I jaw dropped so low it was touching the ground I ran to the mobile as fast as I could and when I jumped in, OMG if seemed as if I w the actuall batman. My friend jumped in and told me directly in the eyes ” I am Batman and you can’t tell anyone else” I was in shock, only now I realised that all the nights that he wasn’t able to come over is because he was saving the city. ZOOM his car bolted off. I asked him where we were going and he said to the Bermuda Triangle. I thought he was joking  but after 10 or so minutes we were right on the coast of Miami which was right by the Bermuda triangle.

    I was about to wet my pants. I looked at my friend no he was in his batman suit. I don’t even know how that was possible. He hopped out of his car and right in front of the car was the a sea monster that looked exactly like a human. Just after I blinked they were fighting. About 1 hour later batman had won and boy was I happy about that he hopped in the with lots of cuts and it looked nasty. He explained that thousands of those were going to invade your area and that he didnt want to lose me as a friend so he came and saved me.

    This is when I got excited he told me that to kill the rest of them he was going to call the Avengers.

  5. Caitlin

    For a person with a normal and functioning brain, they don’t understand what she goes through. They don’t understand how hard it is to shift your brain back into place. They never think its too serious.

    Well they weren’t there that morning Dakota burst into my living room, violently shaking me awake from my pathetic drunken sleep. They weren’t there when she pulled me off the couch and told me it was urgent, told me we needed to leave immeadiately. They didn’t witness the unforgettable image of fear in her eyes and they way she jumped at the tinniest movements.

    The consistent pounding in my left temple made it hard to process everything she was saying. Some one was doing what? We had to run? From who or what and why were my only questions, both hastily ignored. But Dakota was my sister, and I would do anything for her.

    After slight hesitation I ran to my room to change and collect some things in record time. By the time I got downstairs she was pacing the room, thick tears pouring down her face interrupted by the occasional hiccup.

    “Dakota! You have to tell me now, what is going on?” I was holding her tightly by the shoulders my nose inches from hers. She shrugged me off and sprinted out the door.

    “Get in the car!” She was yelling. Yelling with such a shaken fear I couldn’t do anything but follow her orders.

    I grabbed my bad and headed to the old green station wagon Dakota was given on her 18th birthday just a short time ago. The minute I closed the door, her foot hit the pedal with a fierce determination. She pulled out of my little driveway and continued onto the main road, breaking too many laws for comfort as she speeded down the intersection.

    “Dakota! Listen to me!” I was screaming now, I couldn’t take it anymore. What was happening to her?

    “Dani, stop!” She shouted back, her voice rough from the sobbing. “I have to do this, okay? I don’t want to. He’ll kill me if I don’t!”

    She stopped outside the entrance of a large field, and commanded me to get out.

    “I’m so sorry, Dani. I love you, but I don’t have a choice. Nicholas told me to.” While her sobs becoming more powerful and disturbing, she dug in her trunk and pulled out a tiny gun.

    Nicholas. Nicholas was the voice inside Dakota’s head that told her what to do. She must have stopped taking her medication.

    “Honey, Datota, listen to me. Nick isn’t real.” I put my hands up to show peace.

    “He gets very angry when you say that, Dani.” She loaded the gun.

    “Dakota, please lis-”

  6. mamanoah

    “Whatever are you talking about, Susan? It’s 4:00 in the morning, for heaven’s sake.

    “It’s Mr. Perriwinker. The one with the old house with the suspicious going’s on. I’ve told you about it. Oh my, we don’t have much time.” Susan pushed her way through my front door, carting an old carpetbag. “Hurry, I’ll explain as you pack.”

    She had that look I had learned to recognize over the course of our friendship—complete and total determination. It would be useless to try to dissuade her so I grabbed an old suitcase from the hall closet, took it to my bedroom and flung it on my rumpled bed. I opened the case and started stuffing my intimates from my drawer into the suitcase, followed by socks and sensible shoes. I found my travel cosmetic bag–stocked with sample sizes of everything from toothpaste to hemorrhoid cream and placed it beside my intimates. I stopped packing. I had no idea what type of clothes I should pack. Rather than explaining, Susan was looking out the bedroom window, peeking through the blinds like some clandestine spy.


    She jumped at the sound of my voice and dropped her carpetbag. “Oh my, you aren’t ready yet?”

    “You haven’t told me what to pack, nor have you given a clue as to what this is all about.”

    “Yes, yes of course. Bring slacks, some sturdy blouses, a skirt, and oh a ballroom dress.”

    “A ballroom dress!”

    “Yes dear, what else would you wear to a formal reception? Please hurry. There is not much time.”

    I stuffed the articles of clothing she listed in the suitcase, including one of my formal dresses I wore at the local Eastern Star meetings. I grabbed up a pair of shoes that would go with the dress, stuffed them in and shut the suitcase knowing everything would be terribly wrinkled when I unpacked. I heaved the suitcase off the bed and on to the hardwood floor.

    “Okay, Susan. Where are we going?” I asked crossing my arms over my chest. My heart beat triple-time in expectation.

    “To New Orleans.” She looked at me. Her eyes widened behind her red-rimmed glasses. “You can’t go like that, dear. And don’t forget a coat.” Susan picked up her carpetbag and headed to the back door.

    I was still in my long flannel nightgown. I quickly put on a pair of slacks and a short-sleeved blouse. I grabbed my suitcase and headed after Susan, stopping at my closet to get my tan peacoat.

    “Is Mr Perriwinker in danger?”

    “Of course, dear. Why else would we be catching a train in the middle of the night? Such a nice man, though he sadly neglects his roses. You will have to drive us to the train station.”

    I was not find out the cause of Susan’s behavior until we were on the train headed for New Orleans.
    (dang…ran out of words.)

  7. smallPencil

    How do you pack when you don’t know where you’re going?

    Jeans, blouses, bras; a small mountain of cloth and glass and plastic settled in my boyfriend’s hockey bag at my feet. A poorly aimed tube of mascara lay nearby. “Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker” hung heavily in the warm air. I held a shoe box; staring, transfixed. Knowing what lay within, I checked anyway; in that moment I needed the assurance. Tucked neatly in a cranberry colored cloth next to a small box and flashlight sat my boyfriend’s really big handgun.

    I opened the door to my apartment complex wearing pajamas under jeans and a coat. Jenary stood inches away, exactly where I’d left her. Her big eyes stared past me vacantly. Normally a pretty shade of green, they seemed almost… black. Before I could look closer, she ducked into a defensive posture lightning quick, her head snapping back. She scanned the predawn sky with wide eyes.

    When she left I followed, but my overflowing bag stuck in the doorway.


    She turned back without preamble and passed me like a shadow. My hair blew in my face. I lurched forward as my bag was ripped away. With the night air spinning around me I heard it whiz through the air and land with a bang. Jenary grabbed my wrist with a steel grip and dragged me stumbling along. Her hand was ice.
    When we made it to her car, more than fifty feet from the door, I saw my bag leaning on the rear bumper.

    As we sped along the village streets Jenary leaned over the windshield, scanning the sky feverishly. Overhead, unheeded red lights flew past. We careened onto the main drag. My stomach settled; vision stopped spinning. I spoke at last, “Jen, what’s going on?”

    She gave me the most unsettling look. It was long, primal. The look a predator gave prey. “Haven’t you figured it out?”

    I looked straight ahead, unwilling to meet her gaze. Suddenly I wanted to be anywhere else. “So-” I choked on my words.

    “So,” she replied. I could feel her smile, “so you’re going to-” Right then, right in that moment, a part of me made a choice. My mind had not begun to wrap itself around the concept of who, of what sat next to me in the body of my friend, yet from somewhere in its primal recesses something screamed, grab the wheel!

  8. moxiemoo2006

    The door pounded hard at 4 o’clock in the morning. Half sleeping she came to the door. “Who is it?”
    “Open the door Jen. I have to talk to you. Its important.” Came the reply.
    “Chet? What are you doing here?”
    ‘Open up, we have to talk.” He persisted.
    The chain pulled back the door opened just a little to see that it was indeed Chet before she opened the door. “What’s going on Chet?”
    “I have to leave town right now. I need you to come with me. We must leave right now.”
    “Something’s wrong Chet. Tell me.”
    “I’ll explain later. Hurry. We must go now.” He turned her toward the door to her room gave a push to get started. She stopped.
    “Not until you tell me what’s going on.”
    Chet went to her bedroom pulled a bag from the closet opened it on the bed. “Something’s happened Jen. I have to leave and I need you to come with me.” He tossed some things into the bag.
    Jen dressed “I don’t understand? Why?”
    Chet paused. “Someone came into the store I haven’t seen since I left my home.”
    “Someone? Who?”
    Chet grabbed her arm rushed to the door. “I can’t let him find me. Let’s go.”
    “Chet please. Who are you afraid of?”
    He tossed the bag in back started the engine. Pulled out fast. He stopped at the corner abruptly. “I can’t face him. Can’t let him find me.” His hand shook gripped the wheel like a vice. He couldn’t let go.
    Jen reached for his hands. “It’s alright Chet. Take it easy. Tell me what’s wrong?”
    “I can’t.”
    “It can’t be that bad Chet. You’re a good person. It can’t be that bad. God will forgive you anything. Can you forgive yourself?
    Chet shook his head. Her words reached him. “Forgive- myself? What are you talking about?”
    “Forgive yourself by asking Jesus to take away this burden from you. He can then give you the courage to face your fear. You can go set things right between you.”
    “You know I don’t believe in the stuff Jen. He won’t forgive what I’ve done.”
    “Yes He will. Just ask.” She squeezed his hand. “Ask you’ll see.”
    “I can’t.”
    “You can’t run the rest of your life. Live in fear. Is that what you want?”
    Chet sighed deeply. “No. I can’t do that either. Will you help me?”
    Jen wrapped her hand over his. “Of course.” Lending him her strength they prayed. “Lord Jesus forgive me for the wrong I’ve done. Lift this burden from me so I can go back to face him and make it right.”
    Chet met her eyes. “I do feel better Jen. I can go back talk to him again. He may not accept me-“
    “But you have taken the first step. The rest we’ll face together.”

  9. TCFox

    A friend rings your doorbell way too early in the morning to be ringing doorbells. You answer the door in your PJs, and the friend says, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” You are intrigued.
    “Slow down man! What are you talking about?” I said as Leo rushed into the hall, locking the door behind him.
    “I did it, I got the tapes.” Leo replied in a whisper, looking around with such nervousness and paranoia that I began to get a little scared.
    “What? You got them?”
    “Every last one of them.”
    “Wait, how? How did you get close enough to take them? Where are they?”
    “Just hurry up and pack a bag of whatever you cannot live without. We have to leave now! You are the only one who knows how to turn these jewels into cash”
    Leo led me upstairs to hasten my bag packing. I had no need to pack because I always kept a bag packed the essentials and shoes for a long weekend.
    “Look you got to calm down and tell me what’s going on! Where are we going?” I asked in an irritated tone.
    “It doesn’t matter really, just somewhere out of the country low key until this blows over. Then you can take us to the money.”
    I got dressed in some jeans and a cropped tee, pulled my hair back in a bun and grabbed my bag from the closet. We hopped in Leo’s black BMW and headed for the freeway towards the airport.
    “Okay baby, I already got our tickets. We are flying out to Rio for a little r and r. “Leo said
    “Seems like you really had this planned out better than I thought.
    I must admit I never thought you would get them. All those tapes are worth maybe millions.”
    “Those freaks need to be exposed. We can blackmail these rich assholes one by one”
    “We can start with Governor Stowowitz, he has the most to lose. Especially with the election coming up. We should be able to squeeze a pretty penny from him.”

  10. CharleneTurner

    I was running, from what I wasn’t sure, but I was running hard. I panted, sweat pouring down my forehead, soaking my shirt. Suddenly, there was a loud ding. I stopped, confused. It came again. And again. Slowly, I pealed my eyes open, almost relieved from the relief from my nightmare. But it was still dark. I heard the ding again, followed by a loud pounding. What the? I pulled myself reluctantly out of bed and to the front door. I heard the clock chime form the living room, much too loud for my liking. Two o’clock. I slowly unbolted the door, my eyes still half closed. All the while, the doorbell went crazy drilling into my skull. I blinked hard trying in vain to clear the haze of sleep from my eyes. I pulled open the door. As soon as I did, my friend Kat swept into my tiny apartment, instantly filling what little space there was with a crazy, manic energy. She didn’t pause, heading straight for my bedroom.
    “You need to pack. We need to get out of town. NOW.” I followed her down the hall, dragging my feet.
    “Kat, what the Hell?” She grabbed my suitcase and started emptying the contents of my dresser into it. She didn’t stop. I peppered her with questions. She had a shady history and this wasn’t my first experience with one of her midnight escapades. We still weren’t allowed in New Jersey. She was like a hurricane, constantly leaving a trail of destruction in her wake. She snapped my case closed and rushed out of the room. I followed her, still wearing only an oversized T-shirt. “Kat…” I started but she was out the door already. I jogged to catch up, stopping only to slip on a pair of shoes. She was half-way across the communal garden when I made it out the door, not even bothering to lock the door. I had the felling I wouldn’t be seeing this apartment again. I caught up to her as she was slipping into a highlighter yellow convertible, “borrowed,” no doubt. She pushed my suitcase into the back seat, where her’s already resided. She still hadn’t explained herself. She got into the drivers seat and started the car. I had barely closed the door when she took off. She drove nearly twice the speed limit, probably the least of her crimes today. “Kat, what the bloody Hell is going on?” She glanced over at me apologetically.
    “Do you remember that painting I told you I really wanted?” I groaned. She gave a hesitant smile. “I managed to acquire it,” she explained sheepishly. I looked into the back seat, the eyes of a Van Gogh sporadically illuminated by the streetlights speeding by us.

    1. CharleneTurner

      Sorry! At the end that should be “the eyes of a Van Gogh staring at me, sporadically illuminated by the streetlights speeding by us.” Oops!

  11. pamperedtammy

    Cameron raced through the hallway hastily stuffing her arms into the sleeve of her robe then with a huff pulled it back out. Her arm had gone in the wrong side.
    Robe hanging half on and half off her body; she glanced into the peep hole of the front door as the bell rang for the 10th time.
    Cameron muttered an oath, turned the deadbolt then yanked the door open.
    “What in the world are you doing, Trisha?” Cameron burst at her friend as she pushed the screen door open.
    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” Trish didn’t look panicked or like she was joking.
    Cameron was intrigued. “Why? Where? Are you in trouble?”
    Cameron’s friend since elementary school stepped past her and whisked up the stairs behind Cameron. “Where do you keep your carry on suitcase? Or maybe a duffle bag might be better.”
    Cameron stood in the open doorway dumbfounded as she watched Trish take the stairs two at a time.
    “Come on, Cam!” Trish shot her a glorious grin and winked at her.
    This was the equivalent of a slap to Cameron’s face. She slammed the door and raced up the stairs behind Trish.
    “What is going on? Where are we going? How will I know what to pack?” Cameron was almost running to catch up with her friend as they headed straight to her bedroom.
    Trish snatched open the closet and started sifting through the clothes hanging there. Efficiently she pulled this shirt, bypassed that dress, chose those shorts and picked up a pair of Cameron’s most comfy tennis shoes.
    “Where is your bag, Cam?”
    Cameron folded her arms across her chest and glared straight at her lifelong friend.
    “I am not moving until you give me more information! RIGHT NOW!” Cameron almost yelled.
    Trish just grinned at her friend’s ire. “We are going somewhere…unplanned. And no, I am not in trouble. Trust me Cam.”
    Cameron looked into Trish’s eyes for a brief moment.
    Both girls, now 26 years old, were successful and healthy and pretty in their own ways. Cameron was blonde and fair with a small amount of freckles scattered over her nose. Trisha was red headed and fair with not a freckle to be seen. The most striking feature about the best friends was their eyes. They both had the brightest green eyes anyone had ever seen. Many had speculated that this common feature was what probably drew them together in the first place.
    “Fine! Cameron sighed, turned around and dove under the bed for her bag. She started throwing all her unmentionables in and quickly grabbed a few pieces of jewelry to match the clothes Trish had picked out.”
    Trish grabbed her friends hand and raced her down the stairs, through the hall and to the front door.
    “Lock it up good, Cam.”
    Cameron groaned and locked the deadbolt as Trish jumped in her car and started the engine.

  12. tchalla74

    “Where’s the fire, chief? The sun isn’t even up yet?” Stacy replied. She stood in the door way watching her leery friend check the street and fidget on her porch, with one eye open.
    “Dude, seriously what’s going on?” Stacy asked taking the sarcasm out of her tone and assessing her friend Anna. They have known each other for twelve years. Anna works for a pharmaceutical company and has climbed the corporate ladder steadily. She has no kids and some nice booty calls when the situation requires a stress reliever. But, this lady in front of me was panicked.
    “LOOK!” Anna screamed. The sound of her voice startled her. She breathed deep and slow and said, “I really need you to just come with me now. Get some stuff for one night and let’s roll. I’ll give you the details when we get in the car. Now let me in, and turn off the porch light.” Anna pressed her way through my door and gently closed it behind her. She whispered, “Get going.” and moved my body to the steps. I’m still kinda out of it, my sleep was intoxicating and I was just about to kiss The Rock.
    “You know you a dream crusher right? I just wanna share that with you. If I beat you in the head with a pillow for no obvious reason, don’t be offended.” When I said that, she managed a small grin. But there were still hints of fear in her eyes. Not too certain of what we were in for I grabbed jeans, my favorite screen tee that said ‘I love my ninjas’, and my converse. Man, I hope this isn’t going to be like it was five years ago when I ended up in jail in New Mexico for five days.

  13. rachela1214

    The first thing I noticed was the heat. My sheets clung to my sweaty skin and the humid air was bloated with tension. A pounding noise sliced through the sleepy fog that clouded my thoughts and I kicked off the tangle of cotton entwined around my legs. Stumbling towards my front door, I dared a glance at the clock in the hall- it read 4:06 A.M.

    More thuds, there was most definitely someone at the door. Silently cursing whoever was standing outside, I reluctantly pulled the door open a few inches, peeking around the edge to assess my unwelcome visitor.

    “Jesus Sam, took you long enough. Get your shit, we’re going on a road trip!” A doe eyed blond stared at me expectantly from outside and I yanked the door open in surprise.

    “Molly? You are aware it’s four in the morning, right?” I glared at my best friend, hoping against hope that this was just an incredibly realistic dream.

    Molly pushed her way past me, tripping over the threshold and falling into my arms. I stared at her incredulously, “Are you drunk?” Ignoring my question, she pushed stumbled into my bedroom, and then abruptly turned to face me with a serious look on her face.

    “Sam…you’re wearing Spongebob boxers.” Molly broke down into a fit of giggles, her curly hair bouncing as her shoulders shook with a manic kind of laughter.

    I glanced down at myself and was surprised to see she was right, in my tired stupor the night before I had donned an old boyfriend’s jersey and a pair of boxers that indeed sported the yellow cartoon character.

    “Pack up. We’re getting out of this place, Sam!” I frowned uncertainly, but something in her voice compelled me to start shoving essentials into a worn backpack while she watched from her perch on my bed, hiccuping occasionally. After a few minutes of frantic scrambling, I finally zipped up my now stuffed bag and headed out the door towards my beat up truck.

    Molly had her head leaned against the window, glancing nervously at me when she thought I wasn’t looking. Gritting my teeth, I swerved out of the road onto a patch of grass and turned towards the passenger seat. My friend’s face had gone white, and she was clutching the edge of her seat tightly.

    “What the hell is going on?” I yanked up her sleeve to reveal a bluish bruise, “Did Eddie do this to you?” She pulled her arm away from me, tugging her shirt back into place. I saw tears well in her bright blue eyes.

    “Just drop it, Samantha.” I punched the side of the wheel hard, clenching my jaw against the blinding pain that followed.

    “I’m gonna kill him! I swear to God, Molly, this is the last time he hurts you, I’ll kill the bastard-“

    “He’s already dead.” Molly looked up at me from under her dark lashes; hot tears spilling down her pale face. She made a sound like an injured animal and started to rock in her seat.

    “I didn’t mean to, I didn’t, Sam. You have to believe me!” Molly clutched at my arm, digging her nails in to my flesh. Realization dawned on me, and suddenly the air in the car seemed suffocating, and I had to gasp for breath. Soft sobs emanated from the passenger seat, and the sharp feeling of Molly’s nails disappeared.

    “Tell me what happened.” The fury that had overwhelmed me just moments ago disappeared as fast as it had arrived, replaced by a cold and clammy dread.

    “Eddie was drunk, he hit me, I pushed him…It was an accident.” Her voice sounded small, pleading.

    “Shit, Molly.”

    “I know.”

    Clouds the color of Molly’s bruise had gathered over the lightening horizon, a sure sign of a storm. A drop of sweat trickled down the back of my neck as seconds, then minutes ticked by.

    “Guess I’ve always wanted to visit Vegas.” I gave Molly a grim smile and pulled back onto the road.

  14. Cynthia

    When I saw who it was, I stood there for a second, wondering if I should even open the door as I tried to wipe old makeup from under my eyes.
    “Robby, it’s two o’ clock in the morning. What do you want?”
    “Emmalyn, we need to go.”
    Shoving his way through the doorway, he quickly searches around the living room and kitchen before moving upstairs, ignoring any questions.
    “We need to hurry,” he calls out to me.
    I go upstairs and find him throwing some clothes in a bag for me.
    “What the hell are you doing?” I ask him.
    “Look, we don’t have any time. I’ll explain later. We have to go.” I could see the seriousness in his eyes and hear the urgency in his tone. But I was still mad at him from the other night. I reached over and grabbed my things from him.
    “Robby, I’m not going anywhere! I don’t know if you remember but I have a fucking presentation to give tomorrow!” I yelled.
    He stops and moves over to me, touching my face, “Em, there’s a lot of things that I haven’t told you. But now is not the time.” I can feel my whole body beginning to tremble; I have to look away. I start to form words, when I hear a loud crash in the kitchen.
    “They’re here. Em, we need to leave now.”
    He grabs my hand and leads me to the window. In one smooth motion he takes me in his arms and leaps out of the window landing with his feet firmly on the ground.
    He looks around, “Okay this way,” he says, pointing towards the alley.
    I hadn’t fully registered what was happening when I heard a gunshot. “Robby!” I screamed. I see him grab his arm and I run to him but he pushes me away. He charges the man and with his other arm grabs him by the throat and tosses him against my neighbor’s fence. He kneels down to take his gun. And that’s when I see his wound; shiny metal and exposed wires.
    “Robby, what the hell are you?”

  15. gregovic79

    “I can’t do this. Not like this. . .” I pulled my hands out of his grasp and stumbled back into the house. The winter air was still and heavy around us, piercing through my thin chiffon gown. Peter fell into the foyer after me, grasping for my fingers, my elbows, wrapping his long fingers around my waist and drawing me to him eager and desperate.
    “Please Erin! I cannot stay. But I can’t be without you. Not for a minute.” Peter’s sapphire eyes twinkled in the dim light that poured in from the street.
    “You’re ridiculous!” I couldn’t help but laugh as his warm fingers pressed into my side. He smelled like white snow.
    “I’m in love with you.” The words slipped from his lips and stabbed into me, halting all movement. Silence followed. Silence that held us, frozen. Captive. Bound by those words that pierced and prickled like electricity between us. “And I have to go. And I need you. To be with me. Please, Erin.” His eyes pleaded. His voice, low and passionate, resonated inside of me.
    “Peter.” It was not the emphatic confirmation that he was yearning for, but he sealed it with a kiss and let me go to change. How would I explain this to my mother? What would I tell my job? How would Catherine and Melanie react when I called them from a pay phone outside a roadside convenience store somewhere in New Mexico and shouted “I’m fine!” over and over as dust swirled around me? All I could think of as I shoved socks and underwear and my orange cashmere sweater into an overnight bag was how I was about to leave everything that I was comfortable knowing for someone that made me more comfortable than I was alone. Peter was worth buying a new toothbrush over.
    As we drove down the interstate and the sun began to creep up over the horizon, peach and lavender, erasing the stars – it hit me. Rolling over me. Barreling through me so that I held my breath until I could hear my heartbeat pulsing in my brain.
    “Peter?” It was almost a whisper that slipped from my lips. I was almost ashamed. How could I have been so . . . foolish?
    “Yeah Babe?” He didn’t take his eyes off the pavement ahead. I noticed his hands grip the wheel white knuckled. Viens in his arms pressed from his tanned skin as he tensed up. I felt sick.
    “Why? Did you have to leave? I didn’t ask you why?” I looked over at his profile. Stone faced.
    The roar of tires on the road beneath us was the only sound.

  16. Makoshark55

    I snap to awareness, flail for the MP7 on the counter next to my bunk, and fall out of bed, all before figuring out what woke me up. Again, someone starts banging on the door of my travel-trailer hard enough to knock the blinds loose.
    “Damn it Mako, open up! It’s time to go”, a voice shouts from outside. A familiar voice. Suddenly, my brain kicks in and I can think.
    “Raiden? Is that you”, I ask as I stand up and put my glasses on.
    “Yes, it’s me. Grab your bag and let’s get out of here,” he shouts. Czar, my wolf, wakes up and looks about, confused as I am. I throw on a shirt and tighten the belt in my cargoes before I walk over to my door and pull the latch, a blast of cold air ripping into the trailer. The voice is actually who it said it was, a change from the norm. Raiden jumps slightly in surprise as I open the door, looking like he hasn’t slept for more than the three hours it takes to get to my house from his. His bull terrier Mika runs in past him and immediately curls up by Czar.
    “Raiden, come in and explain,” I say. He steps across the threshold and lets the door close behind him.
    “It’s time to leave”, he says simply.
    “Where”, I ask.
    “Don’t know yet.”
    “You’ve already done your place?”
    “Burned to the ground.”
    “Good. We don’t need to leave a trail”, I say, opening a cupboard under my sofa and pulling out a black duffle bag. I sling the duffel over my shoulder.
    “I’m driving”, I say, slipping my foreign legion cap on. I grab my wallet, keys, lighter, and the extra clips I have for my MP7, slipping everything into the appropriate pockets.
    “My truck or your car”, I ask as I grab my SMG.
    “You still have that F150?”
    “Take that”, Raiden says as he picks up Mika. I clip a leash onto Czar’s collar.
    “Come on boy. We’re going for a drive”, I say handing Raiden the leash. “The truck’s unlocked; I’ll handle the trailer and your car.” Raiden nods. We walk out onto my porch, Raiden going to my Ford, while I lock my door. I grab a box sitting on my porch and open it, revealing a single Molotov cocktail. I carry it down with me off the porch and light the wick. I throw the bottle through my sole front window, watching the flames spread. I then go over to Raiden’s Mustang and open the passenger’s door, throwing the lit Zippo into the foot well and turning to walk away, flames already spreading through the car. I enter my truck and fire the diesel engine, looking over to Raiden.
    “You ready”, I ask. He nods. I press the accelerator, only looking ahead as I drive into the dim beginnings of a sunrise.

  17. Missy

    My story’s been “awaiting moderation” for a good four hours, so let’s see if it’ll let me post it this time:

    I found myself awake, though barely, without knowing what had called me from the land of dreams. Someone rapped at the door, once, twice, thrice, quietly but urgently; my heart echoed the sound with a flutter of its own. I tried to remember if I was expecting someone and who it might be, until it slowly dawned on me that the night was still well underway and that it was, in fact, much too early to be expecting anyone.
    I rolled over laboriously, lamenting the waste of a perfectly comfortable sleeping position, and blearily peered at the face of my digital alarm clock in the darkness. The sharp blue glow of the blocky numbers momentarily blinded me, and when that passed, though I could read the numbers on the clock, my grogginess prevented me from understanding their significance.
    Again I rolled over and sat up, my feet searching for my slippers on the floor as I listened once more in utter puzzlement as the knocking recommenced.
    My feet met fleece, and triumphantly I slipped on my slippers and bumbled my way toward the sound, nearly meeting the door with my face.
    “Who is it?” I called as I scrutinized the individual’s garbled image through the glasswork on the front door.
    “Linda, it’s me! Helen!” the voice asserted insistently. However, like the knocking at the door had been, Helen’s voice was hushed.
    “Helen? What are you doing here? Do you have any idea what time it is? Because I don’t. I can hardly read the—”
    “Listen, Linda, it’s really important that you open the door. I’m—ah—we need to leave right now,” Helen explained, voice trembling.
    “We need to what?” I asked, fumbling with the deadbolt. “Helen, are you okay?”
    The door swung open, and standing before me was not Helen, but a man. A wide shouldered, squinty-eyed man with a receding hairline, wearing worn jeans and a black windbreaker. A recorder peeped out of the pocket of his jacket.The man lunged forward to meet me with his grimy rag before I could retreat.
    Frantically, I fought against the hairy, broad, muscled arms with not more than a scratch to show for my efforts. I inhaled sharply, preparing to scream just as the cloth came into contact with my face. My feet failed me and I fell against the man as the tape recorder in his pocket played back a small, tinny scream and everything faded into blackness.

    1. massagemom84

      I love this story, it was very suspenseful and I like the description you had in the beginning.It is interesting how somemany people can have different stories in them.

      1. Missy

        It really is astonishing how different all these stories are, isn’t it? Thanks for taking a minute to read this through. It’s great to get feedback.

  18. Jaybo

    Last time I let that cat sleep in my bed! Dang purring in my ear goes on and on and on! Uh- Oh, Cat not in bed, wife is! She doesn’t purr…not while sleeping anyway. What is this noise…? Gotta to shake my head a bit and awaken. Opps! My cell phone is on buzz! Text Message… time: 2: 30. Huh? She’s awake. “No, Honey, I am ok, just go back to sleep. Someone texted me, probably some drug dealer got the wrong phone number again. You know how I used to get those “missed call” notices, “Hey Man, don’t call back on this number any more” when I punch call back. No, I know you had a head ache when you went to bed; is it better? No, dear, I am not in that mood, either. I gotta pee. Be right back. Dummy’s don’t ever figure I wouldn’t give their drug numbers to the cops.”
    So what’s this message? “Message received: 2:30am. From: Glenda.” “M @ dr. Cum.”
    Text reply: “Huggy- Watz L abt”
    (Sound of Flush.)
    “Message received: 2:48am. From: Glenda.” “Opn th dr. Wil xplan.”
    “Hey, Glenda, Are you alright? Your car break down?”
    “No, pack and come away with me.”
    “Now you ask me this… after I am married!”
    “It’s not what you think. I need you to check something out for me. Remember I’ve been having those strange dreams, like someone’s trying to speak to me… a voice?”
    “Yea, and you never said you’re sorry those voices are not mine in your dreams. So what gives; you getting messages from Heaven or something?”
    “Stop making fun of me. This is so real. I snuck out of the apartment to chapel, like you said I should, when I am troubled by a spirit I cannot identify as good. When I got there, I heard someone speak to me as if she, well it sounded like a young woman, said “Come, and get the man, J.” Here I am. We’ve have got to go now!”
    “Hold on. You hear voices in Chapel and you don’t call the priest?”
    “At 2:30 in the morning? Can you imagine what he’d think of me? Besides, the women said to get you.”
    “Let me get my jacket and some decent pants on. Not going before the Tabernacle wearing PJ’s … I don’t know why you just can’t be normal like every other saint and get these things all quiet like. Want me to drive?”
    “No, I can. You say a prayer of deliverance… just in case”
    (Ten minutes later)
    “Here, use the Holy water font… ‘Wash us clean, Oh Lord, that we may come into your presence without shame.’ ”
    “The voice! She’s says, Thank you from bringing him. Now, kindly ask him to make an act of contrition.
    “ Okay, Oh my God, I am heartedly sorry…Oh!…Uggh!
    J..!J…! are you alright? J, wake up….! God what have you done to him?”
    “He’s with me now, my child,”

  19. SarahT

    It was a restless sleep for Jane, for she had been in trouble at work for the third time since this year began. She knew she would soon lose that job and not having a plan for the future beyond that made peaceful sleep uneasy.
    A sounding of the doorbell startled Jane and as she glanced at the clock, realized it was nearly one in the morning. Sliding her feet into the fuzzy slippers at the foot of the bed, Jane began downstairs.
    The doorbell rang again, irritating Jane more than prompting any faster movement, she loudly yelled, “I’m coming”.
    Jane peered through the side window after pushing the curtain aside and was about to tell the invader to shove off, but what she saw made her catch her breath.
    “Sam,” she whispered. It was dear, sweet, lovely and engaged, Sam.
    She slowly pulled open the door, for Jane was sure this was a dream and like any beautiful dream, it would be over too soon.
    “Sam, what are you doing here?”
    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me…I’ve always needed you with me…”
    Jane thought for a moment, she realized she wasn’t dreaming, that Sam was really here, Sam was her best friend and Sam had broken her heart into so many fragments that nothing had been right since then.
    “Tell me why you’re here, Sam.” Jane tried to sound suspicious and irritated as she spoke but she knew he could see through her, he had always been good like that.
    “I can’t say I’m sorry as many times in a lifetime as it would take for you to know the regret I feel. I’ve made a terrible, miserable mess, but I want to fix it. Starting with this, you and me. Go pack, and we’ll talk about it on the way.”
    “What makes you think I’ll go anywhere with you?” Jane stared straight into Sam’s eyes, remembering how they had met in college and from the first hello had that inseparable friendship of kindred spirits.
    “Because you still wear my shirts to bed,” Sam said, pointing at faded t-shirt Jane had never had the heart to get rid of.
    “Where are we going?”
    “At eighteen I asked you where you would go if you had only one day to live, and could be in any place in the world for that 24 hours…do you remember what you said?”
    “Santorini, Greece,” they answered in unison.
    “Where my mother met my father, but you know that story. Why do you remember that…” Jane’s voice caught in her throat. This was insane but she felt for the first time in such a long time, that amazing feeling created by close proximity to this man. He had lied once, and that had been enough for her to feel a betrayal tantamount to losing her identity, a soulful pain like no other person could have caused in her.
    “We imagined so many lives together, versions of how we would be living five, ten, sixty years after college. In the city, in Aruba and the French countryside and so many other places, doing so many things, but the only thing common in those dreams was that you and I were there together. Let’s please, please just go. I have found no absolution, no justice in this life without you or any pleasure close to what we were and unless you have, come with me now”.
    Jane took two steps back…

    1. JR MacBeth

      Ah, l’amour! SarahT, it looks like romance is one of your gifts. I admire how easy you make it look! Romance is one of those things I am working on at present, and I still have a long ways to go. Thanks for your inspiration!

  20. jim

    Thanks Rob, coming from you that’s an honor and yes feel free to use the idea. It would be cool to read your novel one day and see something in it that I may have helped create. Thanks for your comment, I totally agree with the telling, it was too much. Keep up your great work I am an admirer, Jim.

  21. massagemom84

    I am groggy from being pulled out of a deep sleep, which doesn’t happen very often. As I stare at Robin’s big green eyes, the fear inside them is evident. I walk outside to join her, and dread hits me hard in the stomach and grows. I know this it, how could I be so stupid? After all the running I fall into a trap they have found me.
    My suspicions are confirmed as a big goon dressed in black step next to Robin. He hands her an envelope and thanks her for her service. I wonder how much it cost to sell out her friend. She can’t seem to look me in the eye, as she turns around, and two more goons appear next to her.
    They must clone these guys, I think to myself and a hysterical giggle almost passes through my lips. I suppress my fit of crazy laughter by biting the inside of my cheek.
    I walk past goon number one, and walk to the black SUV parked across the street.
    How could I have not noticed that, one slip up and I am caught almost after a year and a half of running.
    I sigh, and slide into the back seat of the SUV.
    A pulse of adrenaline, and excitement hit me as I see him sitting in the drivers seat alone. I have been dreaming of him since I have left and here he is tangible enough for me to touch him. He is still has beautiful as the day I left him. Guilt slices through me almost doubling me over, a say a small prayer for the seat belt I had just secured across me.
    We pull into the street, and another SUV starts to follow.
    “Are you Ok?” He asks tension is palpable in his voice.
    I nod my head unable to place words into sentences at this moment. Everyone that knows me even a short time knows that I need my coffee in the morning before I will mutter a word. Although I have been running, and keeping my distance from people my coffee addiction becomes evident quickly.
    Robins face flashes through my head; so much for keeping people at a distance I really liked her.
    As if reading my mind he hands me, a paper cup with the green goddess staring serenely at me. I take a sip, and go through what has already happened today. A take a moment to morn my Batman blanket still on my bed waiting for me.
    He pulls over, and tells me to get in the front seat and I comply.
    He scrubs his hands over his face wearily
    “You have to come back, you know? We let you go for as long as we could, but the company needs you back.”
    I am not shocked that they knew where I was this whole time.
    “I know” I reply I do
    Before the running I was a CEO of a huge vitamin company. I was going to change the world.
    We created a vitamin that didn’t pass inspection as it should have; I gave the go ahead to manufacture it anyway. The side effects were detrimental to people on depression medication. One of my office girls used it against my advice, and it threw her chemistry off. She blamed me, and killed herself in my office so I could find her first thing in the morning.
    The memory is still fresh walking into my office her blood saturating my white carpet completely. At that point I just turned around, and walked out.
    I close my eyes reliving it all. He grabs me and pulls me onto his lap while I cry. After a while he lets me go sets me back in my seat, and drives me back to where this all started.

    1. Missy

      Your story has me hooked, but it is a little vague in the beginning. Where was she sleeping? Did the “goons” make her get into the SUV, or did they just watch her leave? Why is she comfortable around the man in the SUV?

      1. massagemom84

        This was the first time I have done anything like this. I had the whole story figured out, but I didn’t know how stringent the 500 word limit was and I had went over it by 160 someodd words. It was extremely fun I wasn’t able to read over it to edit it because my son only slept for 45 min. that day. I truely appreciate your interest you don’t know how happy that makes me, and I am actually thinking about expanding this story for myself, because I feel I left so much out with the word limit.

        1. Missy

          Well, I’m glad to hear I was of some help. :) The word limits are tough, but that’s what writing prompts are for, right? To inspire you to write more! Best of luck with your story.

  22. Missy

    I found myself awake, though barely, without knowing what had called me from the land of dreams. Someone rapped at the door, once, twice, thrice, quietly but urgently; my heart echoed the sound with a flutter of its own. I tried to remember if I was expecting someone and who it might be, until it slowly dawned on me that the night was still well underway and that it was, in fact, much too early to be expecting anyone.
    I rolled over laboriously, lamenting the waste of a perfectly comfortable sleeping position, and blearily peered at the face of my digital alarm clock in the darkness. The sharp blue glow of the blocky numbers momentarily blinded me, and when that passed, though I could read the numbers on the clock, my grogginess prevented me from understanding their significance.
    Again I rolled over and sat up, my feet searching for my slippers on the floor as I listened once more in utter puzzlement as the knocking recommenced.
    My feet met fleece, and triumphantly I slipped on my slippers and bumbled my way toward the sound, nearly meeting the door with my face.
    “Who is it?” I called as I scrutinized the individual’s garbled image through the glasswork on the front door.
    “Linda, it’s me! Helen!” the voice asserted insistently. However, like the knocking at the door had been, Helen’s voice was hushed.
    “Helen? What are you doing here? Do you have any idea what time it is? Because I don’t. I can hardly read the—”
    “Listen, Linda, it’s really important that you open the door. I’m—ah—we need to leave right now,” Helen explained, voice trembling.
    “We need to what?” I asked, fumbling with the deadbolt. “Helen, are you okay?”
    The door swung open, and standing before me was not Helen, but a man. A wide shouldered, squinty-eyed man with a receding hairline, wearing worn jeans and a black windbreaker. A recorder peeped out of the pocket of his jacket.The man lunged forward to meet me with his grimy rag before I could retreat.
    Frantically, I fought against the hairy, broad, muscled arms with not more than a scratch to show for my efforts. I inhaled sharply, preparing to scream just as the cloth came into contact with my face. My feet failed me and I fell against the man as the tape recorder in his pocket played back a small, tinny scream and everything faded into blackness.

      1. Missy

        I’m so glad you think so! Thanks for taking a minute to read this through. The ending surprised me, actually–I had planned out an entirely different scenario.

  23. creativemetaphor

    I grabbed her arm and pulled her inside.

    “Ten minutes,” I said, both of us knowing I would take twenty. I stood in the middle of the living room for a moment, my body trying to move in three directions at once as my brain moved in twelve. Finally they both settled on one at the same time and I ran up the stairs, two at a time.

    Fortunately I had not put away my travel bags from my weekend trip to the islands so I did not have to dig them back out of the closet. Unfortunately, I also had not yet done laundry. I pulled my drawers open and stared at their contents.

    “Okay, Micky,” I called down the stairs. “I need input. What am I packing?”

    “Warm weather, um… four days?” She paused a moment, then added, “We can do laundry there.”

    I grabbed a handful of underwear, three summer shirts, a pair of shorts, and one sweater – just in case. Then I shuffled out of my PJs and stuffed those in as well. Half of what I put in was dirty but the promise of laundry invigorated me to take my favorite shirt from the hamper.

    Hesitating beside the bed for a moment, I grabbed my teddy bear and stuffed him in as well. I might need the moral support.

    Back in the living room, I left my bag on the couch as I counted off my fingers of what needed to be done.

    “Feed the cats, grab overnight stuff, call my mother- Once we’re gone,” I added as she made to object. I looked around again for anything I might be overlooking.

    “What about food?”

    “What about clothes?”

    I pointed to the bag; she pointed to me. I looked down.

    “Oh, that. Yeah, I suppose I could get dressed.”

    “Well hurry,” she said, barely concealing her laughter. “It’s been ten minutes already!”

    “Alright, alright! You get the cooler from the back porch and raid the fridge, I’ll be back down in a minute.”

    Armed at last with pants and a proper shirt, I grabbed my purse, shoved a camera into the side-pocket of my travel bag, decided there was nothing to be done about my hair anyway and conceded I was done. We loaded my things into the trunk beside hers and then got in.

    “This is what I love about you, Liz,” she said as she put the car in gear and pulled out of the driveway.

    “What’s that?”

    “You never ask.”

    We both grinned.

    1. Missy

      This sounds like it’s the beginning to a short story! I thought the line, “Finally they both settled on one at the same time and I ran up the stairs, two at a time,” and the one leading up to it were especially clever.

      1. creativemetaphor

        Thank you :) I might continue to write it, actually. In just these short paragraphs I found I quite liked the story and characters already. I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to comment, my friend commented on those same lines as well.

  24. JR MacBeth

    “Come on, we both knew it could be any time.”

    “Linda. I had feelings for her. I swear, I was even starting to think about — a child maybe…”

    “Well, there you go. A baby that isn’t quite like any other. And then how long would it be before they found us?”

    “I don’t know Mel! We just assume they will always find us. We assume they secretly control this planet too, but come on! These people are naturally viscious, they don’t need anyone pulling their strings from behind the screen, it’s just who they are.”

    “Sure. They’re just naturally this way. Look, we know Els were here thousands of years ago. It’s likely these people got changed, just like ours were. All our similarities go back to the Els, for better or worse.”

    “Yeah. So I’m going to use an Earth word here, forgive me, but how the FUCK are you so sure this time that they found us?”

    “Neal, you even sound like them.” Mel shook his head. “Listen, I figured it out a while ago.”

    “More fucking secrets!” Neal shouted into the ceiling of the small car, pounding his fists down on his lap.

    “There you go again with their favorite word. Listen, ASSHOLE, yeah, you like their words? 1945. Get it? Nineteen-fucking-forty-five!”

    “Oh my gods,” Neal gasped. “The outpost at Alderamin. Wait. Sorry, living with these people has dulled my math. Forty, no, I remember: 48.8 light years…”

    “Your math seems just fine. I almost thought you were going to say Deneb.”

    “No! Well, yes. But they’re all…dead. Thanks to us.” Neal’s face was flushed redder than usual. No time to do his usual makeup.

    “Well, it worked for a while. They thought we were dead too. Nothing could have survived.”

    Tears rolled down Neal’s face; a painful memory had been resurrected. Now his imprudence would leave his Linda dead, just like all the rest.

    “We’re cursed. The gods hate us!”

    Mel smiled. “That’s three now. Three times, shall I say, you fucked it up for the two of us.”

    “OK, let me think. Alderamin would have detected the atomic bombs dropped, uh, 67 years ago.”

    “Not quite,” Mel said. “As our luck would have it, only one was facing it that direction at the time. Not that it mattered, these dumb, uh, fucks, detonated plenty more afterwards, as we well know. We were going to get noticed eventually.”

    “Alderamin would have passed that on to Central. Doing the math…”

    “Just shut up! They’re here. Now! I got to your door with maybe 10 minutes to spare!”

    “No!” Neal screamed. “Linda! Oh gods, Linda…”

    “It’s too late for her. It’s too late for all of them.”

    “And it’s my fault. Again. I was sure it would be OK! Their man Einstien, he would have figured it out without my help, right?”

    “Sure Neal. In due time.”

    “Stop it! If they hadn’t hurt my Rachel, I would have let it go. But that — asshole! He had to be stopped!”

    “And now what Neal?”

    “We run. Like always. We run.”

    1. Ishmael

      Lot of great dialogue. I like the premise of the two aliens, one in love with an earthling, but I felt like I was sitting here eavesdropping on a conversation in the dark, just hearing words.

      1. JR MacBeth

        Thank you Ishmael, I appreciate your feedback very much. I’m still experimenting with trying not to overdo the explanatory. It is indeed a fine line between “respecting the reader’s intelligence”, letting them fill-in the blanks, and failing to provide “just” enough to make sure they don’t feel lost. A subtle thing, and one that almost requires outside input, which sadly, I have virtually none of at this time. So again, much appreciated!

        1. Ishmael

          ‘Tis a fine line, isn’t it? An excellent example of a dialogue-driven story line on the board for this prompt (in my opinion) is about halfway up, in Icabu’s story. Enough description inserted here and there to set the atmosphere of the situation and the tender relationship between the two characters. It’s worth a look.

          You did a very good job, though – just a titch too much ambiguity. :)

  25. jim

    Sitting up suddenly and pulling my nine millimeter I realized what had awakened me. Chris, my team member at NSIA, had been tapping on my beadroom window.
    “C seven twenty eight “, came his muffled voice through the window. His call sign.
    ” Ball and four,” I replied, acknowledging him.
    Out of bed and more relaxed now I moved to the door and let him in. By Chris tapping my window instead of calling I knew something had come straight down from National Security and Intelligence, our employer, and that, despite my only three hours of sleep, we would now be out for who knows how long.
    ” John, I know the past week was tough but this is from the top ” he said. His face looked tired reflecting the way I felt and I knew his body ached like mine from our narrow escape last night. I also saw something else in his face I did not share. Intent.
    Then he said, ” This one’s gonna be different, John, no rub outs, we get to insert “.
    To have the rare chance to insert was exciting to me. Most assignments were physical and in the end lethal but in addition to our physical skills we were both trained in a rare intellectual skill: Stealth Polymorphic Code Injection. SPCI to Chris and I had come to be called insertion, which was code between us for this highly specific task of infecting target computer language systems of foreign country’s intelligence files.
    My body felt like it had an IV push of caffeine, my thoughts went immediately to orderly construction of what came next and I replied to Chris, ” I’ll grab my short pack from the closet and be ready “.
    After carefully pulling my SPCI kit from a panel in my apartment I checked to make shure it remained sealed and we were on our way to the pickup point in five minutes.
    When I knew it was safe to ask I said, ” What’s the target ? “.
    ” Wood Eater ” replied Chris.
    Wood Eater was code name for a spy ring who had recently been operating in South America posing as call girls in order to target Secret Service members. In its operation the spy ring gained sufficient information to access monies held in reserve for covert US operations world wide. Our briefing on this particular issue took place two weeks ago so the code words Wood Eater revealed our intended target and also the mission itself.
    After being picked up and helicoptered to the target we were operating unofficial, off protocol and radar. Dressed in black-out uniforms which rendered us undetectable to visual and sound servellence systems, ( working much like that in modern day noise-cancellation technology except that it had been ingenuosly engineered to include light waves as well, and that is all I am at liberty to devulge ), we were soon inside an underground concrete cavern. Inside was the largest assembly of super computers I had ever seen. The coupled hum of fans and electronics was deafening.
    Soon we were busy with our insertion kits, Chris was reading a small screen that had a series of letters and I gazed at numbers that appeared on my tiny screen after each series. Three minutes passed and two hundred million or so characters later we reached the gateway that had not been breached. After the insertion of a unique counter- virus we would be able to identify the perpetrator and back-infect all systems. This would make it easy to target and surgically erase each and every player thus maintaining our national security. This ‘erasure’ would later be acheived by our Counter Biological Warfare section of the NSIA. By selective genetic engineering of a biological virus, it could be designed to recognize the mitochondrial DNA of the target only thereby rendering the target completely inoperable; in most cases by death.
    We agreed the insertion was complete, secured our kits then made a precipitous retreat to safety.
    Two days later I awoke from a near thirty six hour sleep to the TV blaring a news story about Sercret Service and call girls in South America.
    With real caffeine running through my veins I later recalled the news story with a smile of satisfaction across my face. Man, what a bitch it must be, I thought, to be a regular joe and listen to all this shit and wonder, ” What the f…? “.

    Comments welcomed, thanks, Jim

    1. rob akers

      I like this. Nice job with creating the technology. I really like the suits they wear, in fact I would like to borrow the idea of noise-cancellation technology for my unpublished novel.

      For me I felt you did a little too much with the abreviations and telling instead of allowing the characters to drive the action, but I am being very picky. You dont good!

      1. jim

        Thanks Rob, coming from you I am honored and yes please feel free to use the idea. It would be so cool to one day read your novel and see something in there that I might have helped create. Keep up your great work, I am an admirer. Jim

      1. jim

        Thank you very much. This is so cool to be able to write and get feedback, you all are so very helpful; one can’t, unfortunately, simply read his own work with the purity of his audience’s viewpoint which is priceless. Once again, thank you so very much, Ishael, your input is priceless, Jim.

  26. Lena

    I hadn’t slept all night; the thunderstorm that had unleashed on the city left me awake and tossing and turning until I moved to the couch. So when someone knocked once on the door, I was up on my feet before my parents had the opportunity to wake up. When I saw Claudius standing in the doorway, mixed emotions built up in my stomach.

    “Marshall,” He grabbed my hand and attempted to pull me outside with one hand. With the other, he pushed the hair that stuck to his face away. “Come on. You have to see this.”

    “You’re supposed to be in the hospital, Claudius,” I tried to break free. “I can’t run off with you this time. You have to go back.”

    “That’s not what I’m talking about.” His eyes were alive with mischief; I knew that he wasn’t on medication by the way that his hands quivered. Dark circles had appeared underneath his eyes. “I mean, I do have to get out of town, but I want you to come see something.” Though I was skeptical, he nodded for me to follow and I wearily allowed him to pull me through the rain. He in turn dashed down the porch steps, leading me down the main road until the town center was in sight. The air was thick with smoke: screams filled the night air: cars rushed in the opposite direction and I followed them with my eyes. It was easier to watch those fleeing than to turn towards the disaster in front of me.

    “Don’t turn away!” Claudius grabbed my chin. With all of the strength in his scrawny arms, he turned my head towards the scene. I watched Town Hall crumble to the ground beneath the flames. An officer spotted us and shouted something, but I could not hear him over the roar of the flame.

    “What is this?” Claudius hummed a nursery rhyme louder than I spoke. He swayed from one side to the other.

    He released my chin, throwing his arms out. He took a few steps forward. “I drew this, and it happened.” He broke out into a small fit of laughter. “I can control it, Marshall. I don’t need medication. I wanted this to happen, and it did.” He turned away from me again. I could see him tremble. Whether it was from excitement or medication-induced withdrawal, I had no idea. “And if I want it to stop, it will.”

    I stepped towards him and grabbed his shoulder. “Then stop it! Do you know how many people you’ve probably hurt?”

    “It won’t matter when I’m gone,” He shook his head. Every time he moved, I caught a whiff of the disinfectant that they cleaned the patients with at the mental hospital. “There’s no point in anything existing past my field of vision.”

    He continued to sway and shake. But I just stood there, stupefied by what Claudius could do and what he had become.

  27. jim

    BANG BANG BANG !!! Came wrapping on my bedroom window. Sitting strait up in bed I pulled my cold nine millimeter. My head still foggy from lack of sleep I came to my senses as quickly as trained to and rolled out of bed and onto the floor.
    ” C seven twenty eight ” came mumbled through the window. My tense body relaxed, it was Chris, my team mate from NSI.
    ” Ball and four” I replied, acknowledging I knew him.
    I moved out of my bedroom more relaxed now but weary from no rest the past fourty eight hours reawakened with only three under my belt. I opened the door not wanting to because I knew something came straight down to Chris from NISA which meant we would be out again for who knows how long.
    After moving inside our safehouse making sure the door closed before he spoke Chris said, ” Sorry I had to wake you with as little down time as you’ve gotten but this on me”, meaning, we would be working unofficially and off protocol. It also meant that my senior team mate needed me and me only and that my ready-bag duffle needed to be retrieved right away.
    Intrigued as always when we worked ” On Him” my body felt like I had an instant infusion of caffiene. Pulling my ready-bag out of the closet I fished out the appropriate garment and we were on the road in less than five.
    Nearing the pickup point knowing it was now clear to ask I said, ” What’s our target Chris? “.
    His gaze straight ahead he hesitated before replying, ” Wood Eater “.
    My heart rate increased at the sound of these words because I knew now just how far we were operating off protocol. “Wood Eater” was an unofficial term he and I developed off record because if the opportunity ever came we would eliminate this target. In the past this “unofficial” target “officially” became a target between he and I. In a country in South America a female spy ring operated as high-priced prostitutes to which some “loose tongues” of the secret service had divulged certain sensitive information endagering the security of one of our own secretive operatives in an upcoming mission of high priority. Giving the whole complex process the code name “Wood Eater” was, in our minds, somewhat vulger but also to the point.
    We had to act fast because the loose actions of the secret service were still yet a secret but we had knowledge that it would be leaked to the press.
    After being helicoptered to a remote location we were on the ground and at ground zero of our target. We had, by now, both changed into black-out uniforms which made our foot-print invisible to visible and infrared light. Our uniforms were also equipped with counter-sonic sound-eliminating our precense. We were virtually non-exsistent, perfect for our mission. After entering the domain of the target I inserted the pre-programmed virus into the main-frame which would systematically erase the sensitve information both any device or hard drive it might hit. By methods to which I cannot describe, we were able to insert biological viruses where they would infect individuals and selectively erase any stored information which was divulged to them.
    Two days later I awoke from a near thirtysix strait hours of uninterrupted sleep to the TV with real caffiene coarsing my veins and listening to a news story about the secret service and call girls in South America. A smile of satisfaction stretched across my face.
    Man, what a bitch it must be, I thought, to be a regular joe having to listen to all this shit and wonder, “What the f…”.

    Sorry this is so long, I have a hard time trying to fit my thoughts into 500 words. Comments welcome, thanks, Jim.

    1. Ishmael

      Good premise and interesting story line. Many structural problems made it difficult for me to understand sometimes. Also, I wasn’t sure if he was a cop, military, FBI, or what…explaining the acronyms at the beginning would clarify.

      When using onomatopoeic words, (like “BANG!”) I try to make the verb match the sound. Bang and rap are different. To me, Bang indicates a pounding, whereas Rap (another onomatopoeic word) is sharp and light, or a higher-pitched sound. Therefore, I’d rework the first sentence or two, describing it with choicer verbs to fit the moment, e.g.; “cocking” for “sitting.”

      The last sentence was a good way to wrap it up. :)

      1. jim

        Thanks for the comments Ishmael. I wrote this last night quickly as ideas came to mind and without editing. I have been thinking about this prompt and felt I needed to write something when it came. I agree, many structural issues. It really is great to be able to write in this forum and get a chance for other writers to critique!

        1. Ishmael

          YW! Yeah, I write down ideas and thoughts quickly – they come at me like gangbusters! But the editing…with the editing, I have to purposefully sloooowww down. Otherwise, too many errors slip by. They slip by even when I think there’s no more left!

          I’m glad to have the opportunity to read your work. :)

  28. amygh

    Andi and I always left town on short notice. It was usually after a couple of days of brainstorming that started over a few beers or a tumbler of wine. Last time we drove out to the Sand Hills, into the canyon, to meet up with a rafting guide that she met while hiking the Hill Country and join a small group testing the spring whitewater at No Name Rock.

    This time was different. There was no guy in her life at the moment. That I knew of; that she had not acquired since we struck off in different directions after lunch yesterday afternoon.

    An urgent tone filled her voice. “He’s back,” came out in a rushed whisper.

    She was short of breath and threw her duffel on my kitchen table. She headed into my room and swung open the closet door, grabbing my mid-weight pack.

    “What the hell is going on? Who’s back?” I said.

    My heart was beginning to race. I saw a fear in her that I had never seen before. Even during the time she spent with the ranger who I worried would hurt her when he found out she was spending the winter in Hawaii. Without him.

    “Who’s back,” I demanded.

    “Terry. It’s a long story.”

    “Who is Terry?” She did not answer. This scared me. Missy was never at a loss for words, especially when it came to men.

    I looked at the mid-weight pack that she had tossed on my bed. We had been on plenty of spontaneous trips together. She was not looking to be away for a night or two, or to relocate temporarily. She would have grabbed my day pack or the larger expedition pack for those situations. She chose that bag so that we could stay on the move for a while.

  29. Faire Penny

    There was someone pounding on my door. “Come on, Penny! It’s time!” Jared shouted.

    Instantly, I was wide awake. Throwing back the blankets, I jumped out of bed. No, no, no. I’m not ready! My blonde hair laid in a tangled mess against my scalp, and my Hello Kitty footie pajamas were crumbled from the late night tossing and turning. However, there was no time. Slipping and sliding, I ran down the hall and threw the door open.

    I was about to object and say that he had to be wrong. But, Jared was never wrong.

    “Come on, there’s no time, we need to leave town. Now.”

    With that happy thought in mind, I raced to his 1967 Chevy Impala, and slid into the passengers’ seat as he slammed his door shut, slammed into reverse, and booked it. I quickly buckled up and looked over at him, my green eyes wide.

    “Penny,” he sighed, “Hello Kitty, really?”

    “I’m eighteen, I’m old enough to make my own decisions, thanks.” I sighed. “Where are we going?”

    “I was thinking Corvallis sounded good.” He looked over at me as he shifter gears and continued racing down the bumpy roads.

    “Corvallis?” I repeated dejectedly.

    “Yeah, if you’d stop sticking your nose where it didn’t belong, we wouldn’t have to keep roaming the country side.”

    I just shook my head.

    1. Faire Penny

      I’m sorry that this isn’t the greatest. I’m kind of a beginner. Some helpful hints and tips would be great, if you wouldn’t mind giving them in any case! Thanks. Hugs & Kisses.

    2. Missy

      Hello, Penny. I’m new, too!

      This is good! It makes me want to read more. I think a backstory in the form of a flashback or something would be useful to explain what Jared meant by “sticking your nose where it didn’t belong,” if you’re interested in extending it.

      Also, you’ve got a good start on adding details, particularly in the beginning, but a story can always use more. Think about the 5 senses while you’re writing–did the engine sound loud? Could you smell a car freshener, or taste the exhaust in the air? Did you feel like you were being tossed around at that speed? Was Jared’s hair unkempt, too?

  30. Jbrezinski1

    I step out of bed while it is still dark. It’s lovely to have the illusion of having the world to myself, no one to bother me, because it is so early. I walk to the kitchen to start my morning pot of coffee, and on the counter is my lighter and pack of cigarettes. Nothing like a good cup of coffee and a cigarette at five in the morning. I stuff the items in the pocket of my pajama pants. I only wear men’s PJs, ‘cause they actually have pockets. Feminine sleepwear is so uncomfortable and impractical. Besides, who am I supposed to impress when I live by myself.
    The smell is delicious. Sometimes just the scent of coffee is enough to wake me up. When it’s ready, I prepare my usual. Black, with two spoons of sugar. Coffee in hand, cigarette in mouth poised to light, I step outside through the backdoor.
    Standing outside, leaning against my house, I take it all in. This is every morning for me, this moment to enjoy the peace and solitude of the dark. It gives me a moment, allows me a rare chance to clear my head from the clamor of the daytime, and I always revel in it.
    Then I hear my doorbell ring, ruining this moment. Crap, who is that? It is so early, who would be here so early? No one knows I am awake now, I have made sure of it so that I always have this time.
    “Jen?” Someone calls, and I know who it is. He sounds a little…frantic. Nervous or something. And this guy is never any of those things. I walk to the front to meet David. I gasp to see that his face is bleeding. One red line tracing from his right brown eye, the fluorescent street light revealing the glossy sheen of it.
    “Jen,” he starts. “We gotta go. Now. Outta here. Pack a bag, necessities only. “ I stare at him.
    “Wha ..” I begin.
    “Just go in and get your shit, c’mon I’ll explain later.”
    I take one drag of my barely smoked cigarette, toss it, down my coffee in one gulp, and go back inside. David walks into my living room, pacing back and forth, his red polo clinging with sweat to him. I run to my room, and do a quick survey to guess what I need. My blackberry, my keys, wallet, I feel the smokes in my pocket, and I take my small notebook and a pen. I could never go anywhere without something to write on…and I grab the smallest pair of underwear I can stuff away in my canvas knapsack. On a second thought, I stuff an extra t- shirt in there, and run to the bathroom to grab toothpaste and soap. I hear David knocking on the door.
    “One sec!” I call out to him. I shimmy out of my man-jams and into my favorite jeans, throw on some deodorant before stuffing that in my bag, and declare myself ready to go…wherever it is we are going, that is.
    David comes barreling through the door, almost screaming. “Jen we need to go now! This can’t wait, there is not much time!” And he grabs me and plants a big fat one on my lips.
    Whoa. It’s wanted, reciprocal, charged, and completely unexpected. What the hell did he do that for? I start to think, but before I can even start to make sense of this weird morning, he is grabbing my hand and next thing I know we are running down the empty sidewalk, he is shoving me onto his black Harley, almost throwing a helmet at me as he straps his own on.
    I throw my arms around his waist because I know he ain’t waiting for anything, and I’m right, because next the street is whirling past us in a black starry fluorescent blur that has my head spinning, and the wind is lapping fiercely at my hair sticking out under the helmet.
    This is so fast. He must be doing what, seventy? Eighty? I’ve never even been on a freaking motorcycle before, and I’m frightened for my life even though I trust David with almost everything. I shut my eyes and grab harder at his waist.
    When I open them again, we are turning off a highway and heading towards a large building, and I recognize the red lettering as Costco. He stops the bike, and wheels it to the auto center, into its garage. There are a few other bikes there, and some cars parked outside. A lot of cars actually, even though Costco is surely closed at this hour.
    “Are you sure you can park in here?” I ask. He took me on an emergency to get his bike checked out? I am so confused.
    “Yeah, c’mon.” He grabs my hand yet again, and then we are inside Costco, which is filled with what seems thousands of people. Some are sitting on the floor, some at the food court, some on the registers. Children are crying, and I’m bewildered to see there are some pets here too. What is this?
    Suddenly, an alarm sounds and the store seems to lock in on itself, the security locks coming down in front. It seems we are trapped here. There is a voice on the store’s intercom, and it is a man, sounding calm when everyone around me seems anything but.
    “Ladies and gentlemen. The store is now closed, full to capacity. We can no longer take in any more survivors, and the sun is rising. Do not worry. If your loved ones are not here, there are other shelters that have been taking in survivors.
    “My friends, this is a troubled time for us. We will survive and thrive, and our children will look at us as heroes, and they too will be heroes. These monsters may have taken many lives, many homes, and for many, our joy. But they will not take our will!”
    I glance at David. His mouth is set in a hard line, and my mind is muddled with thoughts. Monsters, the kiss, survivors, shelter, monsters, the kiss. I don’t know which to try to decipher first. “Are you going to explain anything to me now?” I ask him.
    “Jen.” He turns his gaze on me. The blood has caked on his face. “This is so insane. Just hear me out, and I will tell you everything I know, okay?”
    I nod.
    “Look. I’m not sure of everything yet. I don’t even know if I have all the facts right. But the general consensus is that extraterrestrial creatures have escaped the government’s control. People who have seen them give a terrifying description. The witnesses of these creatures have all died, or become monsters themselves.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “Jen, they are like vampires.” I swallow. Not for the first time, I consider that I actually did not get up at five this morning, just stayed in bed and had a really, really bad and crazy dream.
    “Jen, stay with me. They are like vampires, but the difference is that they don’t sleep when the sun comes up. They don’t sleep at all. They just keep getting stronger, especially when the sun comes up.”
    “How do you know all that?” I ask.
    “It’s been broadcast on the radio since three a.m.” he says. “The people from the site, the government site, that are still alive made sure they could broadcast that to have as many survivors as possible.”
    I stare dumbstruck at all of this. And suddenly I am grateful and hugging him. If he had not come by when he did, if he did not think to save me, I would be encountering those horrors right now. I might even be dead already. I start crying, even though I never cry, but this is all so much. I want to tell myself that I am dreaming, but deep down I know that I am not. This is happening. This is it, the end.
    Suddenly, there is a crash and people are screaming. Huge shelves are falling, and David has put his arms around me and stood me up. We both freeze. There is a moment of complete silence.
    In the middle of the room, there is a dark green, slimy, bloody, thing. His face, is covered with sharp, white, pointed things. After a moment, I realize, these are teeth. There are no eyes, but I know he sees me. He sees everyone in this room.
    And he is in my head. There is this presence in my freaking head, and a voice that is not my own is talking to me in my head!
    Yes, it says. This is the end.

  31. ldilley2010

    I was jolted awake this morning due to the reoccuring nightmare that I couldn’t seem to shake. Even after 3 years, the terror was still fresh as the images of my abusive ex-husband filed through my brain. I attempted to calm myself down as I took deep breaths and uttered the words that my shrink goes over with me frequently. ”

    He can’t find me. I’m safe here.”

    Flipping my legs off the side of the bed, they found their way right into the cheetah print slippers that I keep by my bed. I glanced at the clock and then at the window only to come to the conclusion that it really was 3:45am. I cursed under my breath as I thought of the excrutiating day of work ahead of me. I shuffled to the bathroom and barely had the door shut before I heard the rapping of the brass knocker at my door. I stood there, frozen in fear as all of the blood drained my face. Quickly maneuvering to the left side of my bed, I reached into the bed side table and felt my fingertips meet the cold metal of my Glock 27. I wrapped my hands around the gun the way my father had taught me, and descended down the stairs as the knockinggot louder. But just then, I heard the sound of a familiar voice.

    “Raymie, open up the damn door!”

    The sound of my best friend, Avalee at the door sent my nerves back into check as I unloaded the firearm and threw it on the sofa table. I wrenched the door forcing the broken lock to unstick. She was standing in the middle of my living room before I could collect my thoughts.

    “I need you to get a bag together. Only necessities. GO NOW!” She uttered.

    My mind started racing and my mouth was full of questions as Avalee latched her bony fingers into my arms and drug me up the stairs.

    “I saw him, Ray. I saw Jim. And I don’t think its a coincident.”

    Unable to respond, my mind went into survival mode. I thought I was done escaping the man that tried to kill me three years prior. Apparently not. I raced upstairs skipping two steps at a time and grabbed the large duffle bag that I have packed at all times that sits in the trunk at the foot of my bed. I raced back down the stairs with panic setting in. Avalee grabbed my arm again and forced me out the door and into her blue Toyota FJ cruiser. She ripped the gear shift into reverse and then sped off down the street, leaving me to myself to ponder the next series of events that were about to take place. Just then I saw the familiar grey Acura pull into my driveway as we turned the corner.

  32. Frostie

    I blinked, taking a deep, exaggerated breath and stared for a long minute before responding.
    “Maddy…” I started slowly. “It is four in the morning.”
    She shoved her way through the door and flicked on the overhead light, causing me to recoil back against the door, blinded.
    “What the hell Mad?” I groaned, squinting through my fingers at her.
    Before I could say more, she shoved a steaming cup of cappuccino into my hands. “We’re getting the hell out of here. Now.” She pursed her lips defiantly.
    I stared, confounded. She couldn’t be serious.
    “Madeline,” I sighed. “We can’t.”
    She wouldn’t have it. She latched onto my arm and pulled me up the stairs. “We can and we are!” She struggled to hold back tears. I was afraid to break her heart, but she had to understand: we absolutely could not just leave! She knows that.
    I watched as she quickly folded my clothes and shoved them into my luggage bag.
    “Drink your caffeine. I am not driving several hundred miles with your crabbiness.”
    I sat my cup on the dresser, sitting on the edge of the bed beside her. I looked over at the picture of my husband that rested on my nightstand. My heart pounded. My stomach fluttered. My head spun. And not in the way you dream of as a child.
    I gulped. “They’ll find us…” I whispered. “You know they will. Just like they did last time.”
    She jerked her head, her eyes wide and wild. “They won’t.” She shook her head roughly. “They won’t.” She stared at me. “Because we have a plan.”
    We had a plan last time, too. And it failed. They found us. It took them a few months, but they found us. And they beat us. Who was to say it wouldn’t happen again?
    She grabbed my cheeks and gazed into my eyes. “Emily, quit worrying. This. Will. Work. We just didn’t know how to cover our trail last time. But what do you think I’ve been doing these last few months? We’re driving your car to Texas and leaving it there. Then we’re taking a cab to Colorado. Then we’re taking a plane to Arizona. Then to Florida. Texas. And then to California. And from there, we’re leaving the country. We’re never going to see these assholes again. You have my word.”
    The promise in her eyes was enough to stand me up, grab my things and lead the way to my car. Our plan failed last time… And the pain we endured for months after our unfortunate coercion back home was forever embedded in our hearts. But maybe this time…
    This time, we were going to be free.

  33. jasonallanbarnett

    I awoke to pounding on my door. I could faintly make out a muffled cry.
    “Come on Jae, wake up! Open the door!”
    I glanced at the clock as I rose from bed. 4:13 in the morning and I recognized the voice, this wasn’t going to be good. Putting my palm to the side of the door allowed the latch to snick open and before I could reach the knob to pull it open, he burst in knocking me back a step.
    “Pack a bag man, we gotta go. Now”
    “What’s wrong?” I asked afraid to know the answer.
    “Jae man, they found me. I have to get gone and I need your help.”
    “What? I mean how? I thought the new chip would keep you safe for awhile until we figured things out”
    “Me too. Now let’s go”
    So I grabbed a bag from the closet and tossed something’s I’d need in there and turned to go. He was waiting by the door ready to go. We exited my door into the hallway and made our way to the elevator. We ran out of the elevator onto the sky roof where all the skimmers were parked and I stopped dead. At the last pad on the northeast corner sat a police skimmer with the lights going and the left side door up.
    “Oh crap. They are here already”
    “No no dude, that’s our ride”
    “You stole a police skimmer? Are you out of your mind?
    He looked at me and kinda grinned and said, “What better way to slip out then in a police vehicle? Let’s go!”

  34. mcw2112

    “I’m coming, I’m coming!” I yelled, even knowing that someone at the front door could never hear me from here. I zipped my fly and flushed. I hit the hand sanitizer and went to the door. The doorbell rang once more just as I reached for the knob. It was Artie and he looked like hell. He was breathing in quick, labored gasps.
    “We gotta go and I mean now!” Artie’s eyes were dancing and noticeably moist.
    “Go? Go where?” I asked. I have things to do and…”
    Artie cut me off, “Just pack a bag, as fast as you can, and let’s move! I have to get out of here and you need to come with me!” His face was pleading but insistent.
    “Okay. Come in and give me a minute.” I held the door open and let Artie in, the smell of his perspiration mixed with stale cigarette smoke assaulting me as he squeezed past.
    Once inside, he spun around I saw that he was pointing a pistol at me. I had known Artie for seven years but he had never even owned a firearm, as far as I knew. My empty stomach managed a flip or two.
    “Don’t give me that look, Steven, just grab a change of clothes and let’s go. I have no time for explanations. You’ll have to just come along and see for yourself.”
    “Okay, Artie, don’t do anything stupid. I’ll just grab a shirt or two and some shorts.”
    I grabbed a few shirts and some shorts, content that where ever we were going I could find a way to wash the jeans I was wearing…or buy some more, if it came down to that. We made it to Artie’s car and he threw me the keys. He still had the gun out but he was trying to conceal it juts inside his jacket.
    “Just drive and I’ll tell you where.” Artie was looking around like thought that someone might be watching us. And he was right.
    I started the car and I drove according to Artie’s direction for close to half an hour and he then instructed me to take the on-ramp to the highway heading south. We were just crossing the state line when suddenly the sky turned an odd shade of florescent orange. My hearing began to fade and the highway started to dissolve and turn into something else…it was difficult to see. It looked like a …a hallway! The steering wheel and dashboard were gone and I was sitting in a chair. A big overstuffed chair. I was alone and in some sort of clinical-looking place – maybe a hospital. Reality was drifting in and out –

    Dr. Allen moved the electrode and touched it to another part of Steven’s brain. Steven’s eyes darted around underneath the lids and he made a “hmmph” sound and his right hand twitched slightly…

  35. Ghost Girl

    Fantasia on Greensleeves over the speakers. The scratch of a pencil on paper as I wrote, the entirety of my thought and attention focused on my words. The slight squeak of the floorboards as Maximillian rolled over on the rug in front of my chair. The soft rolling purrs of the kittens on the couch. All was shattered suddenly and harshly by the doorbell. The lead of my pencil broke against my notebook as I jumped at the sound. I checked the face of the watch on the underside of my wrist and found myself cursing the interruption.

    My knees cracking and my back straining, I set my work aside as I stood from the recliner. Max raised his head and dragged his body off the ground to follow me as I walked out of the parlour and into the foyer. The door opened and I prepared to rattle off my string of curses at whoever was standing there. Whoever was standing there had different plans.

    “It is three in the fucking morni—“ was all I could manage before Robert pushed me back into the house and stepped inside after me.

    “I’m sorry, Alex, you’ll have to save your anger for later. We have to leave. I’ve put us both in danger, and I am so sorry.” His voice was rough and his words were rushed and he was overall quite haggard and out of breath.

    I hadn’t seen him since we’d decided once and for all that a relationship between us couldn’t work… five years ago.

    “I… what are you talking about?”

    “I’ll tell you on the way. We’ll take my car. You’re living with Halley still, right?”

    “Well, yes, I-“ My voice broke as he pushed me up the stairs toward my room.

    “Good. I was hoping so. They won’t come looking for her.”

    “Who won’t?”


    Worried, fretting, chewing my nails, I ran upstairs, Max’s huge paws thudding on the hardwood behind me. I pulled a duffel bag out of my closet and threw in a pair of jeans, some shirts, and other necessities. Still dressed, at 3 AM, I didn’t need to worry about changing, so I pulled on my high tops and grabbed my fedora, tightened Max’s collar around his neck and clipped on his leash. I wasn’t about to leave him behind. Pulling on my peacoat as I went, Maxi pulling his leash after him and carrying my bag for me, we headed back downstairs and into the parlor where Robert waited, pacing back and forth impatiently.

    “Are you ready? Is he coming?” Robert asked, handing me my notebook and pencils. Even after all these years, he still knew me like the back of his hand.

    “Where are we going? What are we running from? Yes, Maximillian comes.”

    “I really screwed up. There are some… people after us… who want what we saw seven years ago…” Robert started as we walked out the door, the bull mastiff trotting after us, dragging his leash on the ground.

    507 words. It could probably be cut down.

  36. DMelde

    I stood in the living room of my house at two in the morning. Across the room from me, two men were crouched with knives drawn. The first man faked a lunge, held up short, and flicked a side kick towards my chest. I cupped his foot in my hand, and drove my elbow down, breaking the small bones in his foot. He collapsed in pain, and I moved to my left, as the other attacker came at me from the right. He held his knife pro-style, with the blade sticking backwards, and he made a slicing motion at my eyes. I sacrificed my arm, and blocked his blade with the skin of my forearm. He wasn’t expecting that, and the fear in his eyes made me smile a little, as I delivered the finishing blow. I stood there, bleeding and victorious, but the anger was still inside of me.
    I opened one eye. The dream was gone. Bill stood over me.
    “Dave, can you help me?”
    “What’s up?” I asked as I glanced at the clock. Six o’clock on a Sunday morning.
    “I need to take that old fridge to the dump. Can you help me do it?”
    “Sure, I suppose.”
    “Oh, and you gotta drive.”
    I sat on the edge of the bed and shook my head in resignation. Bill laughed and promised me a beer later.
    I drove over to Bill’s house, thirty miles away, stopping once, to make him buy me coffee.
    “We gotta get it into my truck and get to the dump before anybody knows we’re there.” Bill said. “I don’t live in that county, so I can’t technically dump there. That’s why we’re going before the good church people get done with service.”
    I helped Bill wrestle the fridge into the back of his truck. The truck, I might add, was halfway buried in a snow bank. The thing was heavy. It was an old, gas-fired fridge, the only one I’ve ever seen. Tell me, who would make a fridge to keep stuff cold, and then power it with heat? The sucker weighed a ton, but we got it in, and we got it to the dump.
    At the dump we drove slowly over the compressed garbage. Even in the cold morning air the place reeked. When we got close to the shed a guy stepped out, eyeing us. I wasn’t expecting anybody would be there. He was rail thin, with knee high rubber boots, and a dirty orange vest. What really stood out were his eyes. They were yellow with jaundice.
    We stopped, and Bill asked, “We’ve got an old fridge. Where should we put it?”
    The guy looked around and surveyed his domain. His yellow eyes finally fixed on a line of appliances.
    “Put it over there,” he said, pointing.
    Afterwards, we climbed back into the truck to leave, but it wouldn’t start. Bill talked up the trash man, while I called a buddy to come pick us up.

    1. ToddJ

      I liked this DMelde. It had a nice, easy feel when I read it. Like it rolled off your fingers as easily as it would have happened early on a Sunday morning.

  37. katie89999

    Friends are always welcomed graciously when they come to my door…they always come at all hours..crazy hours…..they don’t expect to go but I am always expecting them. My door bell rings and it’s exposed wires hum and crackle sparking in the box on the wall.Used to ring the flower waltz from the nutcrackers suite not anymore.I open the lumpy grey side door.It grates and drags open on rusty hinges. Its like having a creaky alarm, I think its pleasing. No one comes in without me hearing them first.There he is the one who rang it,standing, impatient, wanting to go in with one foot in front of the other like he’s at a starting line, fast twitch muscles poised.This is not an interloper he’s a friend.Kindly with long disheveled hair and crumpled clothes, crumpled like him.I know him too well we’ve done this before. My place is a small a sort of shack really.Weather bleached boards and ochre tin roof in the green grasses grown up around.It smells nice…It’s spring and wild things are blooming.A sudden shift, groundless and unsteady had wrapped itself around his sense of composure…a squeezing causing the essence of what was rational in him to ooze out.He had a curious crooked left sided smile.Hiiiiiii I said, he looked down around at the ground ,his feet, my face, hi he said.There’s little time“Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.”No questions asked? Right he said. I had him wait while I changed into street clothes.Then we start walking straight ahead,clearly on a mission I follow him to downtown to a wrought iron fence. There is a gate with a hook latch. I open it and go through.He pauses and won’t follow.He turns shaking his head with fury and starts sweating, running, sprinting, panting. I watch as he disappears into oblivion with five others running after him.They don’t notice me.I latch the gate. I don’t run from anything anymore.I melt into the grass and find myself home. Then the doorbell rings again.

  38. Icabu

    This one is for Rob Akers and the uncountable miles logged in the web seats in a Herc that always ended with a safe landing.


    Owed to the Herc

    The pounding would have woken the dead. Stumbling in the dark, I jerked open the door. The previously impatient airman stared mutely.

    “What?” I tried to ignore the fact that I was in a t-shirt and underwear.

    “Uh, get your bag, ma’am … Sarge. We gotta go.”

    Concerned that he hadn’t blinked since I’d opened the door, I said, “In five, at my truck.” I slammed the door before the kid’s eyes dried up.

    I jumped into a uniform, stuffed essentials in my pre-packed duffle, and jogged out to the dorm parking lot. Seeing only four others in the back of my truck strongly indicated that this was not an exercise. We were needed somewhere to do something.

    At the hangar, we lined up, took roll, and passed out the orders. I didn’t bother reading the orders – anything of consequence was blacked out. We palletized our bags and boarded the Herc at the load master’s signal. The drone of the engines and sway of a ride in web seating lulled me into slumber.

    The air was warm and moist at a remote layover, indicating we were traveling significantly south. Having slept most of the trip thus far, our group of five checked out the collection of Quonsets. The Watering Hole was a bar made from two up-turned large wire spools with a door lying across them. In the knob hole was a cup marked ‘Tips’. The stools were empty crates.

    We played poker with a group of Marines. I won enough to buy a round for everyone. One of the Marines pulled a guitar from behind the bar and went outside as the sun set in a blaze of color. Another of the Marines took a shine to me. I shone a little back. We danced to the music.

    With hasty farewells, we raced back to the Herc as the runway lights blinked on. The takeoff was quick and on we droned.

    Daylight greeted us as we landed again. Transferred into the middle of a three truck convoy of M35s, we rode into the jungle. The road was rough, if non-existent. The Deuce and a Halfs labored through floorboard deep mud, tilting and tipping precariously.

    Arriving deep into a steaming hot jungle, we set about re-constructing a blown up foot bridge across a deep ravine – after bomb dogs cleared the area. Security forces from the other trucks spread out into the hills around us. The occasional pop-pop-pops of echoing M16 fire kept our pace swift. Rank held little significance – getting the task completed and out alive was everyone’s top priorities.

    Sweaty, muddy, and bug bitten, we loaded into the trucks and ground our way back to the clearing where the Herc sat ready to take us home. Liftoff brought smiles to our weary souls.

    1. rob akers

      I am honored and humbled. Sometimes I miss the time machine. You know how it is; jump into the plane sit for 10 hours and get out in another world and sometimes in it is 100 years in the past or the future depending on where you have been.

      Thanks Icabu

      1. Icabu

        My pleasure. Voices from the jump seats. Rarely knowing where or why was an added bonus. Just get out and deal with whatever you were thrown into … and get back. This is a 99% true story. Salute.

  39. rob akers

    I have read it like 172 times and I still cant figure out how you did it. Two seperate posts, not related and one that you did not know was comming but you still made them fit together perfectly. I am impressed to say the least. Great work your mind must be steven hawking size to get it all to fit.

    Unless of course you can time travel, then I would simply say great story!

    1. slayerdan

      Thanks Rob. (Side note: I am unaware how many rob akers in the world there are, but I saw a rob akers post on a comment in my FB thread. It was either a star trek thread or a tattoo thread….I honestly cant recall now. Just thought “what are the chances?” in this big multiverse of web interactions.)

      1. rob akers

        That wasnt me althought I am not opposed to star teck or tattoos. I have been told that I have a evil twin brother somewhere out there. ..small world

        May be my evil twin brother and Mr. Spock who was transported from a parallel universe each wearing a Washington Redskin tattoo…

        On this side of the continium, I am a really nice guy who lies Kirk better and if I had a tattoo it would be the star of Dallas..

  40. tinaward

    Tony was a bit older than me but just as lost. I was wandering through life with no plan, no ambition. So when he rang my bell early Sunday morning and told me he had to leave town now and I needed to go with him, I only had to think about it for a moment.

    I threw assorted t-shirts, underwear, and toiletries in my tattered duffel bag. I put on my favorite jeans and packed my second favorite. I stepped into my sneakers without tying them and tied the sleeves of a heavy sweatshirt around my neck. I looked around at the dump I was living in with no sentiment, closed the door and headed downstairs with Tony. It occurred to me that I should call work and make some excuse but with every step I was farther from the phone and to hell with them anyway. I was not completely irresponsible; I told the desk clerk on my way out that I was vacating my room and yes, I was all paid up. I’m pretty sure he was awake.

    It was a cold morning and the sun was still too low in the sky to help. Tony’s car was parked right in front of the Seedy Arms Motel, my home for the past 2 months. I threw my duffel in the back seat and opened the passenger door when Tony said,

    “Do you mind driving for a while? I’m dead tired.”

    “No problemo, as long as you entertain me with the details of your predicament.”

    “Of course, my dear.”

    I pulled away from the curb and asked,

    “Which way?”

    Tony thought for a second and said, “What do you think? South? It’ll be warmer, we could get lost in LA or even keep going into Mexico.”

    I looked at him briefly and said, “You said we needed to leave town, not the country! Just what is the deal here?”

    Tony chuckled, “Relax, sweetheart, I was just making suggestions. LA is fine.

    I let a few minutes go by as I got us on the freeway out of San Francisco. I hoped Tony wouldn’t fall asleep before he could fill me in.

    Finally I asked, “So…feel like sharing? You’re not in big trouble, are you?”

    Tony let out a sigh. “You remember Rebecca? My neighbor?”

    I said, “Oh yeah, I met her once or twice. She seemed nice.”

    “She was nice, is nice, but her husband’s a galoot with a bad temper and he was demonstrating it on her face last night. I was just trying to get him off her…who knew such a big guy would be so fragile. He hit his head on the coffee table…it didn’t help he was stone drunk…he just stopped breathing…”

    “Tony, it sounds like you were a hero. Why run? The cops will understand.”

    Tony snorted. “Right. The pot dealer neighbor snuffs the ex-Marine. Even Rebecca said I should run. That is, after she thanked me.”

    I sighed. “I suppose you’re right. But why did you say I needed to go, too?”

    “Because I’m in love with you and if I need to start a new life, I want you in it. Is that OK?”

    I smiled into the rising sun. “Yeah, it’s OK.”

    1. Ishmael

      I loved your first line, “Tony was a bit older than me but just as lost.” Says volumes! Your dialogue was great, and filled the story well. The second paragraph read as more of a to-do list, though. I did this, I did that, I did the other. That might be something to consider. :)