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.

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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.”

    “S…”

    “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.”
    “What?”
    “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.”
    “Why?”
    “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.

    “Susan?”

    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.

    “Jen!”

    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?”
    “Yes.”
    “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

    AM AWAKENING
    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…
    No.
    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?”

    “GO PACK A BAG, ALEXANDRA.”

    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.
    “Dave—“
    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. :)

  41. ThePlotPoint

    I opened the apartment door to Curly’s overly cheerful mop of ginger hair and excited brown eyes. The cool air tickled my knees. Curly, I could see, was toasty warm in his jeans and leather jacket. I tried to quote “Return to Me,” but I couldn’t remember the exact line and the only thing I managed to mumble was, “early late…view.”
    Curly, however, wasn’t bothered. He never was. Not even at two in the morning. “Hi, Tavish. Where’s your bag? We need to go.”
    I pointed at the red knapsack by the door. “Right there. Why? It’s not—” I was interrupted by my own yawn.
    Curly nodded excitedly. “Yes, it is.”
    I grinned at him, now fully awake and snatched up my bag. “What are we waiting for then?”
    He pointed. “You have time for shoes.”
    Right, I thought. Fortunately, I kept a pair of plaid loafers by the door for this occasion. I grabbed a denim jacket from the coat rack and slipped on my shoes.
    “And pants,” Curly said with a straight face, yanking the bag from my hand and hightailing it back to his car.
    Smiling, I shook my head, going back for a pair of jeans.
    Curly was waiting for me in the parking lot in his sports car. I shrugged my jacket over my bowtie-wearing panda shirt on the way down the stairs, breathing in the crisp air like it was candy. Was there a better morning to watch the birth of an alien?

  42. dsprain81gb

    A persistent banging on my apartment door woke me out of a sound sleep. The old wind-up clock said it was four in the morning. I rolled out of bed, grumbling and stumbled through the hall. Peeking through the peep hole, I saw Ryan Mahlbrey. We’d known each other since we were in fourth grade, dated a bit in high school, and settled to being best friends after graduation.

    “Cindy! Open up.” Ryan said, “I know you’re awake.”

    I let him in.

    Ryan was jumpy, looking over his shoulder before he shut the front door. “Cindy, I need you to pack a small bag with clothes and a few essentials. We need to leave, right now.” He looked like he’d slept in his clothes – every piece was wrinkled.

    I didn’t care, I trusted him.

    We tiptoed to the parking lot. He handed me a pair of gloves to wear before I was allowed inside a generic silver 2 door Honda. It wasn’t his normal ride.

    Ryan drove, obeying the traffic laws.
    I wanted to ask what was going on, but Ryan kept looking in the mirrors. I bit back my questions, staring out the window, wondering why so many other people were out this early in the morning. We were on I-80 travelling towards the interchange. Ryan turned towards Berkeley. He took the University off ramp, headed to the Marina.
    Ryan parked close to one of the docks. We each grabbed our bags. I followed him through a gate to a white large boat with the name ‘Mercy’ on the side of the hull. He helped me aboard.
    “Cindy, take the bags down below then come back up. You can watch as I steer her out. Once we’ll safely out of the bay, we’ll talk.”
    “I’m glad I picked athletic shoes.” I quipped as I took a position to watch as Ryan maneuvered the boat out of the Berkeley Marina. Who knew he was a sailor or owned a boat? Thank goodness, the Bay was calm. We made it under the Golden Gate Bridge without any trouble.
    “Come here, Cindy, I can’t leave the wheel.” He wrapped one arm around my waist. “I know Ben was abusing you during your marriage. You killed him as a last resort. My partner is going to the District Attorney with enough evidence today to file charges against you. Cindy, you only acted in self defense.”
    “Ryan, you’d throw your law enforcement career, your life, away for me?”
    “Cynthia McDerren, I love you. I’d do anything for you, including taking you to a place where you would be safe. I have enough cash on hand to give us both a new start. With the clues I left behind, my former co-workers will be chasing shadows north while we sail south.”
    “I love you, Ryan. I always have.”Cindy and Ryan share a passionate kiss. She’d never tell him she’d planned Kiefer’s murder. She had her true love now.

      1. jincomt

        I liked that line too –provided the motivation for her silence with a picture. I also liked how you made me felt their relationship in so few words. I’m a sucker for a knight in shining armor.

  43. ToddJ

    When Candace woke me that morning it was pretty strange. We hadn’t known each other long. But there she’d been, ringing my doorbell at the crack of dawn. When I’d answered though I hadn’t yet know it was her. Despite not know I also hadn’t cared I was wearing the flannel PJs mom had sent me that past Christmas.

    “Candace…,” I’d begun before she interrupted.

    “Close the door,” She’d begged earnestly as she pushed inside.

    For some reason I had.

    “Quick, pack a bag. I’ve gotta go and you’ve gotta come with me.”

    Why I’d went along with her deranged message I don’t know. At the time though, I’d acted like it’d been the most natural thing for her to have said. But here we were. Three hours away at the tiniest little airfield I’d ever seen. Standing before what looked like some rusted Quonset hut that had only barely survived World War II.

    At least I was feeling more myself now. I was finally feeling the need to question what was going on. I dragged her to a halt as she began opening a sliding door into the hut. My actions seemed to startle her. For some reason that gave me more courage to question what was happening.

    “What’s going on,” I demanded.

    She mumbled something. At least I think it was a mumble and not some weird series of hissing chirps. But either way I didn’t understand.

    “What,” I asked forcefully, spinning her to face me. My confusion at why I’d let myself be dragged out here finally boiling to anger.

    “Sorry Don,” she replied brining her eyes up to meet mine, “I’d hoped the effects of my spell would last longer for your sake,” her voice trailing off to a whisper as she slipped my grip.

    Before I could wrap my mind around what I’d heard she’d already made it through the sliding door. For some reason this caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. Then I heard the voices.

    “Your payments outside,” said a female voice that sounded like Candace’s.

    “No tricks now,” said a second voice slowly enunciating each word. I couldn’t tell who or what it was but the voice left me with the mental image of oil sliding against skin.

    “Of course not, I know better than to cross you twice. Take him and leave me alone,” countered the Candace voice.

    “A pleasure to work with you then,” enunciated the other voice.

    The voice was closer now. A shiver ran the length of my spine in response. I tried to move away as some instinctive impetus to run took hold of me. I couldn’t move though. I felt nailed in place. Stuck, staring into the darkness just beyond the open door. A yellow slit eye reflecting the sunlight that otherwise seemed to refuse entry through the doorway.

    “Oh goody,” the voice said as my mind broke, “it even wears my size.”

  44. slayerdan

    (Note: This is a continuation of the entry I started last week with Lipstick. I posted the first part from Lipstick after this story, for those that missed it or need continuity. And so you dont have to check, the newest entry is EXACTLY 500 words. –enjoy)
    It was just a bit before daybreak now. Soon the sun would come up and that gods awful heat would follow. It always made the day seem as if it were going to be a bit more foreboding than the day before.
    Angie sat close to the passenger door, not afraid so much, as she was concerned about what was going on. Vera, her newest friend that she met walking her dog a few weeks back, appeared at her apartment at 5am. She was upset, talking fast about having to “get out of here” and “plans all wrong”. Pajamas still on, she had grabbed her keys and left with her.
    Her purse and cell left by the door.
    For the fourth time in 15 minutes, Angie nervously asked,” whats going on Vera?”. She had asked before and each time Vera just looked at her sideways and kept driving. This time, she slowed down a bit and turned to Angie.
    “ Its my boyfriend, “ she said coldly,” he is seeing someone else and has for a while.” Angie felt the goosebumps on her legs and arms. Vera didn’t have the frantic, scared look she did earlier. “ He knows how I love him. I helped him with other bad relationships, and still he isnt faithful,” she paused ,her head tilting somewhat as her gaze grew distant yet still fixed on Angie.
    Angie knew something was wrong. Vera seemed different. She had missed it earlier, but her hair seemed lighter. And her eyes! Her stunning blue eyes that had been the focus of many conversations—they were brown now!! Color aside, her gaze told Angie something was wrong.
    “So what are we doing Vera? Are we going to spy on him? On her?,” Angie asked, a nervous hesitation more than obvious in her voice.
    “ Oh sweet Angie,” she replied, her voice holding a darker, deeper edge. Vera had driven to the other side of town at this point and was driving slowly. “ Ive already been watching you both.”
    Fear gripped Angie. She felt her chest pound like a million buffalo running. They were near the apartment of Angies boyfriend now. She wondered if she could jump out of the car and run. For an eternity she stared at the door handle.
    She turned slowly to see Vera driving one handed, looking in the mirror and putting lipstick on. Vera half turned to her, winked and flashed a crazy smile. She slammed on the brakes and Angies small frame slid forward, her head striking the dash.
    Angie woke in darkness. Head throbbing and covered in sweat, she found it hard to breathe. Then she realized—her hands were duct taped to her chest. And she in turn taped down. Fear gripped her again. Tape covered her face, allowing only a silent scream.
    She heard a car door slam. And felt that same car start when she realized.
    She was in the trunk.
    Vera had put her in the goddamned trunk!
    (This was from last week).
    It was 120 degrees outside, yet there I had stood frozen in place, unmoving except for my pounding heart and trembling hands. I must have stared at it for 10 minutes before taking the picture with my phone and leaving. Even a roadside dump like that had to have someone else use that fly infested shithole once in a while. I couldn’t have been more than a few minutes behind. It was meant for me. Had to be. The only other person I had seen for 40 miles was the stupid blonde woman waving at me as we passed a couple of miles back.
    The bastard was playing with me. Why else make me drive this far out into nothingness?
    I felt the adrenaline and fear rush leave me as I slumped into the drivers seat. Still bathing in sweat I had stared at my phone, over and over reading those lipstick words— Hot isn’t it Johnny Boy? So close….
    The scrawled message was right-the heat was almost malevolent. Having grabbed week old pastries from the attendant, I sluggishly stuffed one in my mouth and started the car. Then it hit me like a meteor.
    “Johnny Boy!!” I screamed to myself as I hit the steering wheel, the door, and the console several times, pounding out my epiphany as I tried to come to grips with the reality of my discovery. Only one person in my life had ever called me Johnny Boy…only one.
    I hit the gas and aimed the car in the direction I had just came from. The car. The blonde woman waving. I feel so stupid. No one just randomly waves to strangers at 60 mph on desert roads. It was her. It had to be. The bastard playing with me was actually a bitch.
    A bitch that hated me enough to take away that which was close to me.
    She had a good twenty minute lead on me and unless she stopped, I doubt I would catch her. I didn’t see Angie, the true love of my life, in the car with her. She could have been tied up.
    Or worse.
    I let those thoughts go as I pushed the limits of my car. I had to get back to town. Goddamn no cell service in this hot ass hell. I hit the steering wheel again, damning myself for being so slow witted.
    There, on the side of the roadway as I rounded a bend, sat the car of the waving woman. I slowed down as I saw no one behind the wheel. On the door of the car, scrawled in the same lipstick, was one word.
    Trunk.
    I slammed on the brakes and jumped out, running to the trunk of her car. It wasn’t closed all the way. My heart pounding to escape my chest, hands trembling, I lifted the lid, half expecting an explosion.
    Empty but for a folded piece of paper. Frantic, I read the words, again in lipstick.
    Not my trunk Johnny Boy.
    Yours.

    1. jincomt

      I liked how you pulled the two stories together. Now I want more: who is vera, how dirk he get messed up with such a psycho woman? With such a restricted word count you succinctly got the character of vera across to the reader.

  45. jbeauli

    “It’s too much,” shouted Jim as he was awakened from his sleep by the sound of the front door buzzer. It was 4 o’clock and he had just fallen asleep after lying awake since midnight.
    “Who is it?” he asked through the door.
    “It’s Allen. Please open up quickly.” Allen had been Jim’s friend for almost all his life.
    “What’s wrong?” Jim asked once Allen was inside.
    “Never mind now. Pack a bag quickly and bring your passport. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” Jim was intrigued. This was so unlike Allen who had always been quiet and reserved.
    “How long am I packing for?”
    “Not long, a week. Just move quickly!”
    Still curious and knowing that he wouldn’t get more out of Allen, Jim moved quickly and packed.

    Out in the street, a cab waited. Once inside, the cab started moving without directions from Allen.
    Jim started to ask again, “What’s this all about?”
    “You’ll see,” Allen whispered. “You’ll have to be patient.” He was excited and not his usual self. They rode on in silence until the cab came to a stop in front of a tall office building. Flashing a badge, Allen gained them entrance to the building,
    “How come you have a badge to here? You don’t work here do you?”
    “I’ll explain later.” responded Allen as the elevator began a stomach turning ride to the 40th floor. Jim, hungry and tired from lack of sleep felt nauseous.
    Allen led Jim into a large brightly lit office. There were about 20 people sitting around. Mostly, they were in pairs.
    A tall heavyset man arose and extended his hand. “Allen, you’re the last. I’m glad you were able to make it.” Turning to Jim he said, “I’m Fred.” Jim took his hand and shook it feeling more lost than ever..
    “You must feel strange, not knowing why you were asked here.” Turning to Allen, he said, “You can tell him now and find out if he will go along.”
    Allen took Jim aside. “Fred is my boss, He likes to keep us on our toes with all kinds of surprises and rewards, but they usually require some kind of task on our part.” Allen looked at Jim to see if he was understanding what he was saying. Seeing he was dazed, he brought him a cup of coffee and said, “Here. take some of this before I go on.” Jim sipped the hot coffee and when he saw Jim was looking better continued.
    “As I said, there is always a task for us to complete before we can receive the reward. This time, the task was to get someone, in the middle of the night, to go along with us.” He said this smiling.
    Jim stared stupidly then asked, “And what is the reward?”
    “A week in Paris. Will you come with us?”
    Jim stared blankly and finally broke out in a smile exclaiming, “Joyeusement!”

    1. Ishmael

      Good story, good dialogue. I couldn’t really feel the emotion, though. Don’t know why…it’s good, but didn’t draw me in. This line is an example: “‘You’ll see,’ Allen whispered. ‘You’ll have to be patient.’ He was excited and not his usual self.” Allen doesn’t come across as excited here. And there just wasn’t the sense of irritability in Jim’s actions that his words indicated. A few things like that. It felt beige. Good, but beige. :)

  46. WistfulVisionary

    I rolled out of bed and snoozed my alarm clock on the other side of the room, but the loud buzzing noise continued. I stood there, staring at the red numbers, which clearly read 4:23, and it began to dawn on me that the doorbell was ringing. I snatched up the alarm clock and held it closer to my face, verifying to my bleary eyes that it did, indeed, say “am” and not “pm.” That’s right. I didn’t even have to be up for work for almost two more hours!
    Speaking of work, I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see my co-worker, Clair, standing on my doorstep when I looked through the peep-hole in the door. “What’s going on?” I said, ushering her in.
    “Jennifer! There’s no time. Just get dressed and come with me, okay? Oh, and you might need to bring your electrical kit with you. I’ve got to get out of here, and you’re coming with me.”
    I stared. “I know we’re friends and all, but I want a better explanation before I’m jumping into a car with you and speeding off with a bag of pliers, diodes, and LEDs. What’s going on?”
    “It’s EDDY. He got out.” She whispered the words, but it might has well have come through a megaphone. We called him EDDY because that part of his acronym was the easiest to say, and it sounded a lot sweeter than he was.
    I ran into my bedroom and somehow found a clean shirt and jeans in the dark, and put them on the right way. I staggered into the dresser and managed to find my lab keys, my glasses, and the handle to my electrical kit bag. Apparently panic helps my motor skills.
    “When? I mean, how? I turned him off when I left the lab. How do you know he’s out?”
    “Well, I turned him back on, and worked on him and stuff, and…my neighbor’s garage…”
    “Did you forget? I mean, remember when he ate the electron microscope? It got Ned fired!” I shouted as we scrambled down the stairs in my apartment unit.
    “I thought I turned EDDY off. I took the remote home to work on it. The little LED wasn’t lighting…”
    I was in the passenger seat of her car, before she had even reached her door. I picked up the remote–a big, square console meant to steer this government-issue wrecking and composting robot–and saw the problem immediately. “Walmart!” I shouted.
    “What?”
    “Drive us to Walmart. Who else sells batteries at this hour?” I felt the ground tremble a little, rattling the plastic flamingo hanging from her rear-view mirror. “We are so dead, and if we’re not, I’m gonna make you wish you were!”

  47. Ishmael

    Wading Deep in Waters Still

    Blindly fumbling the phone from its cradle to my ear, the endless corkscrew of cord twirled around my arm, weaving its way into my fading dream as the pesky tail of Mrs. Yohana’s cat. She was the most curious shorthaired, long-legged Balinese nuisance there ever was. And she owned a prissy cat. I have no earthly idea why I was dreaming about them.

    I clouded the 2:00 a.m. air with a fogbank of geriatric wheezes and grudgingly raised my pillow-laden, curler-ridden, sinus-infected head. “Hello?” A dial tone. Three more short rings stung the night. Festered and furrowed, I jiggled the handset, puffy eyes blinking with bemusement.

    “Rap, rap, RAP!” jolted my wits to the more familiar strike of the brass knocker, then one last shriek of the doorbell. “This better be good.” Tossing the phone on the bed and popping in my bottom teeth, I creaked down the hall, struggling to find the armholes in my twisted pink housecoat.

    All I saw through the lookout was a leopard scarf protecting its own litter of sponge-curled hair, but there was no mistaking that red dye job. “Zelda??”

    At the slightest sliver of open doorway, my closest friend of fifty-some-odd years barreled in, practically spinning. “Pack an overnighter…I need your help…what you’re wearing is fine…why aren’t you moving…HURRY!” Zelda sometimes treads in the waters of dementia, and although she seemed lucid right now, I wasn’t positive that she didn’t have at least one toe dipped in the baby pool.

    “Lordy! It’s 2:15 in the morning! What’s gotten you so fired up?” She suddenly stopped, breathed a weary sigh, and stared blankly at me, her bottom lids lining with tears. Then I realized tomorrow’s importance; Zelda’s house was being sold. “I want to spend one more night at home,” she whispered, almost inaudibly, “…my real home.”

    Without another word, I threw a few necessities into a tote, grabbed the keys to my Towncar, and by 2:30, Laureldale Senior Bungalows was a shrinking dot in the rearview mirror. Neither of us spoke during the forty minute drive; we didn’t have to. This was Zelda’s night.

    Entering her foyer, I flicked the switch. Nothing. “That’s okay,” she murmured, lighting the kerosene lamp on the side table, “I prefer this.” Sepia hues washed the antique-filled room, and it felt like I had just stepped into an old photograph. Zelda, almost trance-like, turned and seemingly floated up the stairs to her bedroom. “Come read to me, Vivian.”

    She was already crawling in bed when I got there, a first-edition copy of The Great Gatsby waiting for me in the wingback chair. I quietly took my place and began, “In my younger and more vulnerable years…” then spent the next few hours reacquainting her with Nick, Gatsby and the other socialites of West Egg.

    Somewhere in the middle, this grand lady took her leave. I stopped and, reaching over to give her hand one last squeeze, slowly and tearfully closed the book on a wonderful story.

        1. Ishmael

          Well, the two septuagenarian women were just friends, but you can live out the “two-women fantasy” all you like, Rob. :) Thanks for reading! And thanks, jJincomt and Jeanie…I was trying to get away from my usual twists and spins, and felt like going a little deeper.

    1. Jeanie Y

      This really got to me. Being at the point in my life where my parents are quasi-close to this situation, and now feeling it from their point of view, you’ve messed me up. Thanks for messing me up! I really enjoyed this.

  48. Anna M

    Oh, yes, yes, Oh, yes I said as he took me into his arms and swept me across the garden where the coach and 4 were waiting. The coach glowed in the silver moonlight and I felt like a fairy princess, as he tenderly sat me upon the fine Moroccan leather seats and slowly , oh so slowly began to unbutton my blouse. My heart was pounding, pounding and and….I began to realize it wasn’t my heart pounding , pounding it was the front door. “Whoever this is I’m going to kill you, waking me up right at the good part”. I grumbled as I made my way to the front door
    “Quit that pounding I hear you. Crap, a blind person could hear you, Ok, ok, so a blind person can hear. Just quick that pounding you’ve done enough damage as it is. I’ll never pick up that dream again. “
    I opened the door and saw that it was Martha Evans my best friend for almost all my life, all the way back to kindergarten.
    Before I could open my mouth to complain about the rude awaking, she grabbed me by the arm and pushed me further into the kitchen while she used her foot to kick the door shut.
    “Quick pack a bag, we got to get out of here and fast.” She was frantic and scary looking even in my sleepy state.
    “What are you talking about? You been drinking them Jell-O shooters again?”

    “We got trouble, real trouble, so get dressed, I don’t have time to explain, and I’ll tell you about it as we go. Just hurry.”
    “I can’t go anywhere I don’t have any clean underwear. I was planning on washing today. What if we have a wreck and I don’t have clean panties on! Not good, not good at all.”
    “Shut up and get moving we don’t have time for this crap. Listen do you remember that night when we kinda saw something down on Beal Street in the parking lot? Are things getting clearer now? Remember?”
    “YOU mean?” my voice was shaking.
    “Yep I mean. Now get dressed we got to move. I’ve found a place where we can hide out for a few days.”
    With that I jumped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt I found lying on the floor and I said a pray that we didn’t have a wreck or got shot because I was going commando.
    Martha drug me out the door and into the car. Ninety miles an hour and 30 minutes later we pulled up in front of a dark warehouse. “Hurry get out before someone sees us.” With that reminder we ran into the dark building.
    “I can’t see a thing, Turn on some lights Martha” The place was giving me the Willies.
    With that lights flashed on and I was almost blinded, As I stood in the middle of the warehouse I was shocked as 50 people jumped up and shouted, “Surprise Happy Birthday”

    Reply

  49. Anna M

    Oh, yes, yes, Oh, yes I said as he took me into his arms and swept me across the garden where the coach and 4 were waiting. The coach glowed in the silver moonlight and I felt like a fairy princess, as he tenderly sat me upon the fine Moroccan leather seats and slowly , oh so slowly began to unbutton my blouse. My heart was pounding, pounding and and….I began to realize it wasn’t my heart pounding , pounding it was the front door. “Whoever this is I’m going to kill you, waking me up right at the good part”. I grumbled as I made my way to the front door
    “Quit that pounding I hear you. Crap, a blind person could hear you, Ok, ok, so a blind person can hear. Just quick that pounding you’ve done enough damage as it is. I’ll never pick up that dream again. “
    I opened the door and saw that it was Martha Evans my best friend for almost all my life, all the way back to kindergarten.
    Before I could open my mouth to complain about the rude awaking, she grabbed me by the arm and pushed me further into the kitchen while she used her foot to kick the door shut.
    “Quick pack a bag, we got to get out of here and fast.” She was frantic and scary looking even in my sleepy state.
    “What are you talking about? You been drinking them Jell-O shooters again?”

    “We got trouble, real trouble, so get dressed, I don’t have time to explain, and I’ll tell you about it as we go. Just hurry.”
    “I can’t go anywhere I don’t have any clean underwear. I was planning on washing today. What if we have a wreck and I don’t have clean panties on! Not good, not good at all.”
    “Shut up and get moving we don’t have time for this crap. Listen do you remember that night when we kinda saw something down on Beal Street in the parking lot? Are things getting clearer now? Remember?”
    “YOU mean?” my voice was shaking.
    “Yep I mean. Now get dressed we got to move. I’ve found a place where we can hide out for a few days.”
    With that I jumped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt I found lying on the floor and I said a pray that we didn’t have a wreck or got shot because I was going commando.
    Martha drug me out the door and into the car. Ninety miles an hour and 30 minutes later we pulled up in front of a dark warehouse. “Hurry get out before someone sees us.” With that reminder we ran into the dark building.
    “I can’t see a thing, Turn on some lights Martha” The place was giving me the Willies.
    With that lights flashed on and I was almost blinded, As I stood in the middle of the warehouse I was shocked as 50 people jumped up and shouted, “Surprise Happy Birthday”

  50. whynot1956

    The wind was whistling outside my window, but I realized that wasn’t what woke we me up when I heard the doorbell again.

    “What the hell,” I muttered jumping to my feet and headed downstairs to silence the offending doorbell. The clock said it wasn’t even 3 AM yet.

    I threw open the door and Serena launched herself into my arms and said, “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.”

    “Serena,” I pleaded, “Please let me go and I will go pack a bag. You know I would do anything for you.”

    She reluctantly let me loose and I ran up the stairs and started throwing things into my duffel bag. I wondered what she was so excited about, but she had me intrigued and I was willing to help her out. I stepped quickly out of my pajamas and into the clothes I had worn yesterday.

    Surprised she hadn’t followed me upstairs to make sure I didn’t go back to bed, I ran swiftly back down the stairs. She was standing by the door looking at her watch.

    She grabbed my hand and half-dragged me out to her car. I threw my duffel bag into the back seat and jumped into the front seat just as she slammed her door and threw the car into reverse.

    “Serena, what is wrong? ” I said. She practically ignored me as she muttered to herself that we were running out of time. Running out of time for what I wondered aloud, but she still didn’t answer.

    She was driving swiftly and erratically. I was worried more about getting into an accident than getting stopped by a cop. I had never seen her like this. I had finally gotten my seat belt buckled and was holding onto the door handle for dear life. Serena just pressed harder on the gas pedal.

    Suddenly she swerved onto Route 1 and again picked up speed. I was really beginning to wonder what she was doing now since this highway led to the launching pad they used to send the shuttles into space. There was nothing else down here except for woods, beach and ocean.

    As we rushed into the parking lot of the space center I noticed there were no other people moving about. Serena found a space, pulled in, jumped out of the car and grabbed her bag.

    “Come on Ryan,” she shouted excitedly. “Get your bag! We have to hurry!” Baffled I grabbed my bag and followed her toward the launching pad where a shuttle sat.

    Routing through her bag she pulled out an envelope and thrust it into my hands. I opened it, pulled out the card and started reading it. The card said, “ You and a friend have won a trip on the next shuttle provided you are the first one to arrive at the launching gate and present this card.”

  51. mwhite1212

    Paul heard the doorbell and thought that it was just part of his dream. As it grew more persistent, he started to realize that someone was actually ringing his doorbell. He opened his eyes and noticed that it was just before daybreak. He mumbled some choice words to himself and went to see who it was. Not bothering to look through the peephole, he swung his door open and his best friend, John, was standing there with an annoyed look on his face.
    “What the fuck took you so long?”
    “What the fuck are you doing ringing my doorbell at this time in the morning?”
    “We have to get out of here. Pack your bags and let’s go.”
    “What the fuck are you talking about? It’s five o’clock in the morning.”
    “Never mind that right now. We seriously have to go.”
    “Not until you tell me what the hell this is about.”
    “I’ll give you one guess.”
    “Shit.”
    Paul went back inside and came back in five minutes with two full duffle bags. He followed John to his car and they both got inside.
    “How did they find out?”
    “I don’t know man, but we’re totally fucked.”
    “Why would you be fucked? You didn’t have anything to do with it.”
    “I’m your best friend, aren’t I? If I don’t help you, who will?”
    “You don’t have to do this, man. Just drop me off somewhere and I’ll catch a bus or something. You don’t have to get mixed up in this. Seriously, just drop me off, man.”
    “I don’t know, man. Wouldn’t feel right not doin’ nothin’ to help you.”
    “You don’t need to be dragged into my shit. I appreciate you lookin’ out for me, but I’m gonna have to handle this one on my own.”
    “Alright man, at least let me call you a cab and drop you off somewhere to meet it.”
    “Sounds good to me.”
    John took his phone out of his pocket while he drove. He pressed some numbers and told someone on the other end that he needed a cab at an address Paul was unfamiliar with. They drove in silence for a few minutes on the main roads, then John started turning here and there, directing them further from civilization.
    “Where the hell did you tell the cab to meet you?”
    “Right about here.”
    John pulled over over in front of an abandoned factory on an abandoned street. They were parked under the only working street light.
    “Are they gonna be able to find this place? Where the hell are we?”
    “Yeah they’re gonna be able to find us. We’re not that far outside of town.”
    John seemed agitated.
    Paul got out to get his bags out of the back seat. John got out at the same time and came around Paul’s side of the car. Paul saw that John had his hand behind his back and pulled his pistol and fired immediately. The bullet hit John in the chest and he fell to the ground, dropping his own pistol.
    “You fuckin’ snake. How much did they pay you?”
    John said, “I’m sorry,” closed his eyes, and died.

    1. Ishmael

      Fuckin’ nice fuckin’ exchange of dialogue – that part of the story drew me in and kept it real. The cussing fit the characters, and it felt like I was right there watching Paul and John. The transitional, non-dialogue parts didn’t grab me as much. They felt choppy, and less real. I wasn’t there watching, but felt like Paul was just telling me what went down. Watching felt better. :)

  52. Jeanie Y

    “Hurry Up! Open the Goddamn door!” the female voice screeched. Okay, now I knew who it was. Nobody else could reach that decibel, except the neighborhood cats in heat, and I think she even topped them. The real question was, what in the hell did she want?

    My neurotransmitters do not behave at 3:36 am, not to mention my fifty-year old reactions, so I must have looked much like Michael Jackson in his zombie rendition of Thriller. Tripping over my shoes to get to the door probably added to the show. If she screamed at me one more time, so help me. No, so help her.

    I yanked the door open with great effort, more to show her how pissed off I was than to actually get the job done, and she followed inside as if my front door was a portal to a black hole. “Whoa! Who said you could come inside Sweetheart?” of course reverting to the nickname I knew she absolutely could not stand. Never say that I didn’t know how to give back. The vulpine look in her eyes told me immediately that this game had been taken to another level. When she produced the gun out of the waistband of her jeans, and I must add, as gracefully as a pouncing cat, I wasn’t entirely surprised. My arms instinctively rose up as my voice took on the calming tone I had practiced, just for this type of occasion, actually.

    “We’re friends Sammy, aren’t we? You don’t need that. Set it down and let’s talk.”

    “You ratted me out, and now you are coming with me. I can’t believe you actually opened your door, you son of a bitch.” “I was going to have you pack a bag, but I don’t think you will be needing it where you are going.”

    Breathe deeply, that is what they train you to do. A little ice in the veins doesn’t hurt either. I was equipped and well-versed with both those tricks.

    I needed to keep her talking. I didn’t want her focusing on that beautiful, red-polished finger which was settled on the part of the gun that could send me where I didn’t need a packed bag anymore. “Please, Sammy, set it down. You don’t want to go to prison. You can’t buy shoes and nail polish and…”

    Her laugh always had a way of getting to me, and this time was no exception, deep and throaty. “My God Daniel, you can’t even play it through!”

    “No need, Sweetheart, I’m ready, are you?” I asked, as I slipped my arm around her waist and led her down the hallway.

  53. ClosetWriter101

    “Good morning?” I moaned as I whipped open the door at three in the morning, rolling my neck in an attempted to loosen the wad of hair that had stubbornly perched itself on my head.

    I blinked to register Matt, my boyfriend, covered in twigs, leaves and dirt. His eyes shone with pride as she beamed at me. “I have to get out of here now,” he sang. “And you’re coming with me.”

    I was suddenly self-conscious as he extended his hand in the fairytale way. Smoothing down my soda-and-fry covered PJs, I took a step back. “Look, Matt, you know I love you and your Prince Charming act, but I can’t run away with you. My mom would kill me, and–”

    His bright laugh cut through my rambling. “You seriously thought that? Come on, Leyla, am I that stupid? Pack a bag, brush out your hair—you need to–” he frowned with feign disdain, “And come out to the car. See you in an hour.”

    The effects of sleep still lingered on me and I moaned. “Matt, it’s three o’clock in the morning, and you’re-you’re covered in…that…” I turned up my nose at his stench.

    My amazing boyfriend of almost three years only smiled coyly. “I’ll explain when you’re back down here.” he said as he marched back out.

    Sighing as I slammed the door shut, I ran upstairs and showered, pulling on a pair of jeans and a cute new sweater. As I stepped outside, I realized I had forgotten that it only was four o’clock when the cold hit me. “Explain yourself,” I demanded with a laugh.

    “You won’t believe me,” he warned.

    I rolled my eyes. “Shoot,”

    “I have found…drum roll please…” I rapped on the glove box, “Treasure.”

    My eyes grew wide as I grinned mischievously. “What are we doing here? Let’s go get rich?”

    I gaped when I saw the hole in the middle of the county park. “Why are we here? What did you find? Where’s the treasure?”

    Matt smiled softly. “I’m looking at it, and I found this.” he opened his cupped hands to reveal a small box. My heart leapt. “We are here today because 988 days ago, I found the best treasure in the world right here.” He dipped to a knee. No. Way. “Leyla Michaels, will you marry me?”

    My hand rushed to cover my mouth when I felt the tears well in my eyes. Not having words to say, I threw my hands around his neck.

    Getting up at three when someone knocks on your door may not be a classic fairytale opening, but it was definitely mine.

  54. Bridee0809

    A.L.V.I.E. and Z.O.E
    I don’t really sleep, not in the strictest sense of the word, but my friend Zoe tells me I “zone out” occasionally. I can’t slight her for noticing because being observant is her purpose. I did ask her, politely of course, to restrict her observant tendencies to her assigned zone. She laughed at me. Zoe has a pleasant laugh, like tiny bells.

    Zoe and I are the oldest on this outpost. I don’t seek out the others, they are newly created and “too stiff” as Zoe puts it. I couldn’t help pointing out that since they were made of metal they couldn’t help being stiff but she only laughed at me again.

    Me? My name is Alvie. My purpose is the care and preservation of the library. I also answer any questions the humans might have on any subject they desire.

    Tonight before I stepped into my cabinet, I ran a systems check, then oiled myself and put my foot pads on my feet. They were blue and fuzzy. Zoe made them for me after I let her borrow a book on how to knit. I let Zoe borrow a lot of books, even though they’re not supposed to leave the library. Once she overheard some humans talking about “going home” and was curious if I had a book on it. I told her that I thought home was a place that was made and not really a specific location. We talked about that for a long time.

    I hearing ringing, it sounds close to me. Now a pounding sound. Strange.

    Now I hear a grating metallic sound, my cabinet door is…moving.

    The cabinet door flew off and Zoe stood in front of me.

    “Sorry about that, you didn’t answer your bell,” she said.

    “I have a bell?”

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

    “I have a bag?”

    Zoe looked around and grabbed a small tool box. She emptied it on the floor and handed it to me.

    “Pack whatever you need to survive outside,” she said.

    “I can’t, I’ll shut down if I leave the library,” I said.

    “I canceled the protocol,” she smiled.

    “How did you do that?”

    “You loan books to me, I read them. Will you come with me Alvie? Will you help me make a home?” Then she did something she had never done before, she held out her hand.

    I felt a warm sensation spreading through my chest and my hand was reaching for hers before I realized what I was doing. Our fingers intertwined and we stood silent for a few seconds.

    I put my foot pads, oil, and a few carefully chosen books in the tool box then took her hand and we walked out of the library.

    The next morning, all outpost information screens were flashing red:

    ALERT

    A.L.V.I.E. – Autonomous Librarian Vocal Interrogatory Entity – Status: MISSING

    Z.O.E. – Zonal Observant Entity – Status: MISSING
    ####

    1. rob akers

      Nice. I like it. Is robot love like jungle love or muscrat love? I dont know and I dont care. All I know is these two love birds are free of humans and on a adventure. Great job, I could see this being more too. SciFy or YA book.This deserves to be explored!

  55. annefreemanimages

    “Stacking the Deck”
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman

    A loud rapping woke me from a deep summer slumber.

    “Rett, wake up!”

    I turned over, not yet willing to release myself.

    “Come on, Rett! We have to go!” the urgent voice said again, pushing up against the doorway of my dream.

    “Wha? Who is it?” I heard my voice respond.

    “It’s me, Jeremy. I’ve come to pick you up,” he yelled through my open bedroom window.

    “Why?” The night was still dark, I saw through slit eyes.

    “Come on, girl, get up. We’ll miss it!” Jeremy said.

    I reluctantly rolled out of my comfortable bed and opened the front door to let my disrupter in. Jeremy is a good friend and fellow folkie, with whom I perform on occasion.

    “What’s going on, Jeremy? I was just getting to the good part of my dream,” I said, a bit on the churlish side.

    “Don’t worry about that,” he said. “Just get dressed. We don’t want to miss it.”

    “Miss what?”

    “Just GO!” he replied impatiently. “And grab your binoculars while you’re at it.”

    I dressed quickly, brushed everything that needed brushing, found my binoculars, and we were out the door in ten minutes. Jeremy drove quickly on the empty country roads, and we listened to the night sounds. It was well past midnight, and the hot, muggy evening had turned soft and sumptuous.

    At the top of the palisades that overlook the Delaware River, Jeremy pulled off the road, slung a blanket over his shoulder and binoculars over his neck.

    “We’re going to hawk point,” he said, turning on a huge flashlight.

    “OK,” I said, trusting that whatever we were going to do would be fun, as time spent with Jeremy usually was enjoyable.

    We made our way through a wooded path until we arrived at a clearing that overlooked the river. Huge, flat moss-covered rocks created a natural bed, and we spread our blanket across them.

    “How ‘bout you spill the beans as to why we’re here?” I asked, sitting down and taking in a deep breath of the mossy-sweet air.

    “The Perseids,” he said.

    “The Perseids?”

    “Yes, a meteor shower that should be starting right about now. Time to look up,” he said, and we lay back on the blanket. At first, there was one shooting star, then another a minute later. Soon, the meteors peppered the sky.

    “It’s beautiful,” I said, gazing upward. I could feel him turn towards me.

    “As are you,” he said, and slipped his hand around mine.

    “Thank you, Jeremy. But you know I’m taken.”

    “He is all the way across the Atlantic, Rett.”

    “He is also right here,” I replied softly, and placed my other hand over my heart.

    “Ahh,” he replied. “But a man has to try.”

    “Yes, I suppose he does.”

    “Well,” he said, looking back up at the sky, “I guess I’ll just have to wish on a few stars …”

    “And I think you stacked the deck!” I said, pushing at him, and we both laughed as we watched the dark sky dance.
    ###

    1. Icabu

      A lovely story, Anne. Couldn’t help rooting for Jeremy…
      I remember laying out on warm mid-August nights watching the celestial show.
      Wonderful read!

      1. rob akers

        Most excellent! Happy, touching and desperate all at once. I love watching a meteor shower. I cant wait to share them with my kids.

        I agree with Icabu, I was rooting for Jeremy but I admire that Rett is loyal. I would expect nothing else.

        1. Amy

          This brings to mind nights on the river, where the blanket of stars is the only light, and the glow of the fireflies is like falling stars. I admire Rett’s loyalty…she’s lucky to have a friend like Jeremy!

          1. Ishmael

            A nice, leisurely stroll down a good story. Cute play, dialogue, and wonderful end to wrap things up. Isn’t Rett young? I think she should start mixing it up. Jeremy throws a good, romantic show. He’s not one to give up easily. I enjoyed this! :)

          2. annefreemanimages

            Sounds like you had some lovely evenings, Amy. Folks seem to like Jeremy, so I’m thinking that maybe down the line he’ll have a more prominent role in Rett’s life. Thanks for reading and commenting!

            ~Anne

          3. annefreemanimages

            Ishmael – I can’t seem to get the responses to line up with the comments, so I hope you find them. Rett is definitely still in the romance age. I’m seeing a pattern here is folk’s response to Jeremy and their interactions. I’m likely Jeremy, too, and am leaning towards making him more important in Rett’s life at some point. I appreciate the reactions. Thanks!
            ~Anne

      1. annefreemanimages

        Jeanie – because of the 500 word limit, I couldn’t add in her reactions to Jeremy. He definitely was having an impact. I’ll expound on it when I post the story on my blog … we’ll see how she reacts, then. Thanks for reading and commenting.
        ~Anne

    2. jincomt

      Sweet story. I have awakened my husband (and my poor children, bless their hearts) to watch the Perseids shower before (and even wrote an article about it once). A romantic setting that just might sway Rett’s heart yet.

        1. annefreemanimages

          Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for your great comments and for the suggestions about Jeremy and Rett. I felt affirmed, for sure. Now I havce a whole lot of reading and commenting to do, too! Much appreciated.

          ~Anne

  56. DMelde

    Once upon a midnight bleary, while I nodded, drunk and cheery.
    “No, no, no, that’s no good.” Edgar mumbled to himself. He took his quill pen and scratched out what he had just written.
    “Gads—this poem is dreary work. I’m so tired of it. I really should get off to bed.” Hmm…weary…dreary…Edgar pondered. Maybe my poem should be about that.
    Suddenly, there was a tapping at his chamber door.
    “Oh, for the love of—!” Edgar stopped short of swearing. He had promised Lenore he wouldn’t swear anymore. He hastened to straighten his night cap and gown. Lenore was asleep, and he was afraid that whoever it was might get impatient, and rap louder than before.
    Then, he opened wide the door.
    “Edgar! You scoundrel!” Devin said, stepping into the room uninvited, “pack your bag. I’m leaving town and you’re coming with me.”
    Edgar straightened to his full height and looked down at his diminutive friend. “And, pray tell, from whence to hence would you be taking me?”
    “Foulness is afoot Edgar! We go to Bogshire cemetery. And stop acting so dramatically.”
    Edgar stared at his friend and arched one eyebrow. “Let me get my coat.”
    On their way, Devin explained what had happened—
    “It occurred a fortnight ago, at the crypt of the mad Duchess. The groundskeeper heard sound coming from inside of the crypt; scratching, as if someone were trying to get out, and wailing, as if someone were calling for help. But when the groundskeeper opened the crypt, there was no one there. Young Thomas, the village fool, went out that night to hear the sounds for himself. According to some of his friends, those brave enough to go with him, Thomas placed paper and pen inside of the open crypt, and then he rejoined his friends. Thomas asked the crypt, “Who are you?” but there was no reply. He then asked the crypt, “What do you want?” but all they heard was the rattle of the trees in the wind. Thomas again went into the crypt to retrieve paper and pen, but he never came out. They waited and called out his name. He didn’t answer. They waited until daylight to enter the crypt, and when they did, Thomas was gone. They found the paper and pen lying on the floor of the crypt. On it were written the answers to Thomas’s questions.”
    Devin handed the paper to Edgar. On it he read, “I am the Duchess of Bogshire”, and, “I want you to join me.”
    When they arrived at the cemetery the horses grew nervous, and, backing away, they refused to enter. Edgar and Devin walked through the darkness to the crypt. Icy coldness gripped both men.
    “Well Edgar, what do you think?”
    “I think Thomas was a fool to come here. Herein lies evil. Call for a stone mason, Devin. We must wall off this crypt. The mad Duchess of Bogshire will be stopped, once and for all. She will kill again, nevermore.”

    1. Ishmael

      Oooo…the details that transpired the night “The Raven” was penned. Good premise (and one of my favorite poems). Great use of the period’s language. Your clever writing transported me to that dreary midnight, and I was askeered! Good job!!

    2. annefreemanimages

      I never would have thought of writing something like this. What a terrific idea! I especially enjoyed Devin’s and Edgar’s interplay. Convincing. And the opening scene was too funny! What a great idea and so nicely done.

      ~Anne

  57. Hushy

    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.

    “But” I protested, “Why do I have to come? What’s this about?”
    “Julie, I just have to get out of here before he wakes up.” I immediately knew she was referring to Max her drunken fiancé.
    “What’s happened this time?” I asked as I stepped away from the door and headed towards the kitchen, “you know you can always stay here”.
    “I can’t stay here; he will know where I am. I have to leave town and I need you to come with me. You know you’re all I have.” She protested, fear in her voice.
    She began to sob “Oh Julie, I stabbed him”.
    I was astounded “you did what?”
    She began pacing the kitchen back and forth “Stabbed him” she repeated, “he came home drunk like he usually does, more abusive than usual though.” As she spoke she became more upset and hysterically began yelling as she recounted the evening, how he had held her by the neck and began raping her, how she fought him off and ran to the kitchen knife drawer “I stabbed him, Julie, I stabbed him!”
    I could feel adrenalin course through my body as my best friend described the events of the evening.
    “He’s gonna kill me this time Julie I have to leave, you have to come with me. I need you.”
    I ran to my bedroom, she followed me, and began throwing clothes into a small suitcase. I opened a drawer and grabbed my passport. I was still full of questions “are you sure he is still alive?”
    “Yes, yes, he was chasing me with blood gushing out of his wound when he tripped and knocked his head on the corner of the lamp table. He knocked himself out. But I paused enough to see that he was till breathing”.
    With everything in my suitcase, my hand bag over my shoulder and car keys in my hand we left my small apartment and headed out into the cold of the night.
    We were reversing out when his car pulled into the driveway behind us, his lights blinding me in the mirror.
    She went into immediate panic and began screaming “He’s here, it’s him isn’t it?” she fumbled to lock the door of the car. “Oh my god, Julie, hurry!”
    I moved the car out of reverse and it began to move forward back into the safety of the carport. She screamed when he rammed his truck into the back of our car causing me to throw my head backwards. He battered into my car again and again, excruciating pain ran from my neck down into my back and her hysterical screams penetrated my body.
    I heard his door slam and through the side mirror I saw him approaching.
    Our car lurched forward into the carport. I fumbled to grab the remote to shut the roller door behind us, a sense of relief seeing it come down. When the car stalled an eerie silence filled the carport. At last she stopped screaming.
    But it was too late he was in there with us, beside us; he began bashing on the door, yelling profanities.

    1. jincomt

      I was a little confused at first because you went from the “you” point of view to the first person “I” point of view. (Which kind of worked for me since my name is Julie ;)). The pace of this is really good and you did a good job increasing the tension and feeling of terror.

  58. Rebecca

    The banging was persistent; whoever it was shook the windows on either side of the door as they pounded away furiously. Hung over and sleep deprived, Faulk made his way to the steel portal that kept him safely secluded from the outside world and with eyes half open he peered through the peep hole to see who had the balls big enough to disturb him. Recognizing his brother, he not so oddly found himself unsurprised. Hitting the button to disarm the alarm and open the door Faulk resigned himself to a night of trouble because that is all his little brother ever brought him.

    “Bro…man this is some serious shit! I need to get out and here…like right now…and you have to come with me! This is no game…I scared…they are gonna—.” Dillon panted brokenly as he pushed passed Faulk in a panicked frenzy.

    “Dill, what you do this time?” Faulk asked roughly. He took a step out and looked around, seeing nothing that would give credit to his brother’s intrusion. Shutting the door he turned towards Dillon, reminding himself why he shouldn’t get involved.

    “I…there…” Dillon stuttered, obviously looking for the words to cover his ass.

    “Not in the mood for this…going back to bed. Do what you want.” Faulk said, dismissing him and his attachment to trouble.

    “You can’t Faulk!” Dillon blurted, “They will take Jenna!”

    Two seconds after the words were spoken Faulk had Dillon against the wall in a choke hold demanding answers. Jenna was not someone they could toy with, she was off limits and they knew it. He would do just about anything these people wanted but not if they hurt her so whatever Dillon did to disturb that delicate balance was not something Faulk was going to tolerate.

    “Where is she?” He bit out.

    Dillon clawed at his neck, fighting for air but finding no relief in Faulk’s grip. “She’s safe…” he rasped.

    Letting go, Faulk let Dillon fall to the floor. Towering over him he demanded, “What did you do?!” His tone suggesting he was in no mood for lies.

    “I needed money so…I…” Dillon started his voice weak with shame and remorse. “I borrowed against her papers.”

    Fury stormed in Faulk’s mind, whipping up violent thoughts and sadistic actions to cloud his vision in a sea of red. He couldn’t believe what his brother was telling him.

    “And how did you get her papers?” He asked, knowing that his copies were gone without even having to go look. Trust it seems was not something he could even give family.

    Mutely, Dillon dropped his head in admission to his guilt, confirming Faulk’s suspicions. He swore under his breath as the reality of the situation settled in his mind. Dillon’s selfish action has changed everything.

    Moving swiftly, Faulk left his brother on the floor gasping for breath. He didn’t have much time if he wanted to get Jenna out before they came for her. As for Dillon, his time will come.

  59. Rebecca Fisher

    “Who the hell is at the door at this hour?!” you angrily mutter into the air as you trudge down the charcoal stairs in the dark. You glance at the hall clock. 3:45. Whoever is at the door is going to pay for waking you. You barely managed to grab the elusive bastard known as sleep only an hour before. You had been lying awake staring at the ceiling for an hour before that. And before that, you had been trying to escape the paranoid feeling that someone was following you home from the club. Honestly, working there sucked. Late hours. Horrible pay. Horny bastards trying to hit on the hot bartender that just happens to be you. Lucky you.
    “I’m coming!” you shout at the incessant ringing. “Hold your damn horses!” You groan as the ringing increases. How is that possible? It already feels like it’s pounding inside your head. You haul yourself to the door and throw it open, letting the doorknob slam into the wall.
    “What do you want?” You spit the question at the dark figure like venom. You flick on the porch light, getting a slightly annoying yet pleasing surprise when you see who is standing there.
    “Is that any way to answer the door to a friend?” Peter asks, shaking off the rain sliding down his jacket. It looks as if the rain has gotten worse since you got home. A flash of lighting confirms this as Peter smiles at you. “So…can I come in?” he asks.
    “Of course,” you say, moving aside to let him in. “I really should leave you out in the rain for waking me up like that, but I kind of like you so I’ll let it slide this one time.”
    Peter follows you down the hall into your kitchen. He glances over you as you pour yourself a glass of water. An amused smirk arises as he takes in your attire.
    “Nice PJs,” he says. You glare as you self-consciously wrap your arms around you. Not that it helps much.
    “What do you want?” you ask again. You lean against the counter as you wait expectantly. The suddenly sober look on Peter’s face is a little unnerving.
    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me,” he urges.
    “What for?” you demand.
    There is no answer but instead a loud crash as your door goes flying down the hall. A swat team floods through. You hear Peter swear but after that, nothing. You search for him frantically as the men swarm over you.
    “Where is he?” their command barks. Spit flies from his teeth from the force of the question.
    “I don’t know,” you sob.
    “Where is he?” the commander growls through gritted teeth.
    “I don’t-.” You are interrupted by the shock of the butt of a gun against your forehead. You stumble, catch yourself, then fall.
    “Find him.” The last thing you hear as darkness falls.

    1. jincomt

      I’m not usually a big fan of the “you” point of view, but this kind of drew me in. I started picture myself in the scene and it was scary at the end. I think you did a good job with this.

  60. Scott B.

    Martin stumbles over the bottom two steps while clearing the residue from his eyes. He looked over at the mantle clock in the living room. It was just after five a.m. He peeked out the side curtain and saw that it was his wife’s best friend, Amanda.

    “Do you know what time it is Amanda?” Martin opened the door and Amanda stepped past him.

    “I need your help. I need you to get some things together and take me somewhere.” She was flustered, but not quite to tears.

    “Stephanie’s not even here. Are you in trouble? Did you get another DUI? Goddammit Amanda, I swear if you got another one we’re not covering your court costs again, we still haven’t…” He was cut short before he could continue his barrage.

    “It’s not like that Marty! I was in Atlantic City last weekend and made some bets that I can’t cover…for now,” she held up her hand as Martin shrugs in frustrated disbelief. “I just need to get away for a little bit and figure this out.”

    “Whatever, you need money. Does Steph know? You’re her friend, not mine; I just inherited you when I married her.”

    Amanda went on to explain how she lost $80,000, and then two guys from the casino cornered her in the parking lot. They took everything in her purse and told her they were keeping the car as a “sign of good faith.” They gave her two weeks to make good. That left her just seventy-two hours.

    Martin sighs and tells her to give him a minute to think.

    “This is the last time I bail you out. Let me get a bag together and we’ll talk more on the way.” He headed upstairs, but upon his return he saw Amanda flanked by two of the largest men he had ever seen.

    “What’s going on Amanda?”

    “These are the guys I was telling you about.” She didn’t have any fear in her voice, which made Martin more confused. “They’re here to collect.”

    “I don’t…we don’t have that kind of money. And this isn’t my problem, it’s hers.” Martin was frozen on the stairs, even as the two goons moved toward him and took him by the arms. “Who the fuck do you think you are; let go of me! Amanda, tell them I’m not part of this!”

    “I wish I could Marty, but you’re my solution.”

    “What could I possibly do for them that’s worth $80,000? I’m just an office manager…guys, come on!” Martin was struggling in vain to escape the vice-like grip they had on him.

    “Don’t worry Marty; you won’t have to lift a finger. In fact, all you have to do is lie there. Your kidney should cover my debt, what they do with the rest of you is none of my business.”

    Marty started shivering, too afraid to even speak.

    “Oh, and thanks for packing. It will make it even more convincing when Stephanie discovers you left her for another woman.”

  61. jren

    Sally sprang from her bed when the doorbell woke her from a great dream at five a.m. As she donned her robe she mumbled, “This had better be an emergency.”
    When she opened the door, Janie pushed past her saying, “Sally, you got to come with me. I can’t explain it now. Just hurry, get dressed.” Janie was out of breath and looking out the door as though her life depended on Sally coming with her.
    Sally understood the urgency in her voice as she ran upstairs to change. A few minutes later she came down dressed and ready to go. “Janie, what is it?” Sally asked.
    “Let’s go,” Janie said as she shoved Sally out the door towards the driveway. “We have to take your car, Sal. Mine’s almost out of gas.” Janie told her. “Just point the car west towards Lancaster.” She kept looking around as if she thought someone might jump out of the shadows.
    Janie said, “We need to find Lincoln Highway or Route 30.” “Why? What are we doing Janie?” Sally wanted to know. There was no answer. The silence was driving Sally nuts.
    Finally, Sally had enough of this spy routine. She found a restaurant on route 30, Miller’s the sign said. She pulled in and told her, “Janie, I am not driving another inch until you tell me what is going on here. Whatever it is, I will stand by you. But this cloak and dagger routine is just too much.”
    Janie said with a sign as she looked out the window. “OK, let’s go in for a bite to eat and we can talk.” The restaurant was a cute little smorgasbord style. The waitress got their drinks for them as they went to fill their plates. “OK, Janie, spill, what’s going on here?”
    Janie took a deep breath as she looked down at her plate. “Sally, I have to meet someone up the street a ways at a theater. I am afraid to go alone. I’m in trouble. Don’t ask what kind of trouble. I can’t tell you right now.”
    “Are we in danger?” is all Sally wanted to know.
    “No, I don’t think so.” Janie said.
    “I am not as hungry anymore as I thought.” said Sally. “Are you ready to go?”
    Janie just nodded.
    They got back in the car and headed towards the American Music Theater where she was supposed to meet someone.
    Sally was confused when she saw Sue standing near the front door. Sue walked towards them and hugged Janie, then Sally. “Did she figure it out yet?” Sue said to Janie.
    Janie smiled as she looked as Sally, “No, I don’t think so.”
    “OK, someone had better come clean and tell me what’s going on here.” Sally said.
    “Happy birthday friend.” Sue and Janie said as they showed her the tickets they got for the Trace Adkins concert. “We just figured this way would be more fun than just giving you the tickets.” They all smiled as Sally hugged them both.

      1. jren

        I did have a surprise like that very recently except we didn’t do the mystery thing, which would have been kind of neat. I was surprised with those same tickets for my birthday by my fiance.

  62. Icabu

    I waited as patiently as possible as my fiancé opened her apartment door a crack and her sleepy eyes widened in surprised recognition.

    “Luke? You’re not supposed to be here.”

    I had to smile at that. “May I come in anyway?”

    “Oh. Yeah.”

    I stepped into her apartment, hoping to hide the limp. She’d let go of the death grip on the front of her robe and ran her fingers through her sleep-tossed hair.

    “It’s, like, four in the morning.”

    “I know,” I said, kissing her gently.

    “Um, aren’t you supposed to be guarding a senator touring the war zone?”

    “I did. He came back early.” I left out the part about the ambush scaring the senator into a hasty retreat.

    “Oh. You’re hurt.”

    I shrugged. “Less than the other guys.”

    “Luke …”

    “I’m okay. Really.”

    Her watery eyes sent guilty spears into my heart and I pulled her into a tight embrace, ignoring my protesting bruised ribs.

    “Pack a bag, quickly,” I whispered into her ear. “I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.”

    She pulled away slightly and studied me closely. Confusion and curiosity registered in her expressive eyes.

    “Is there trouble?” she asked, gently touching my cheek.

    A nervous laugh escaped. “Likely,” I said.

    “If you need my help,” she said, stepping towards her bedroom, “I’ll go to the ends of the earth with you.”

    I followed her, watching as she filled her overnight bag.

    “How serious is this?” She wiped her thumb across my cheek where a single tear had slipped.

    I took her hand in mine and touched the engagement ring that I’d placed there over a year ago. For some reason, facing armed insurgents was far easier for me than completing my promise to the most wonderful woman in the world. No longer.

    “The most serious job I could ever have.” I smiled and kissed her hand. “I want … no, I need you to be my wife. Now. We’ll fly to Vegas. The company jet is waiting.”

    Fear far surpassing any I’d felt during the ambush I’d survived less than twenty-four hours ago gripped me when she jerked her hand from mine and turned away.

    She grabbed her bag off the rumpled bed and shoved it into my empty hands. “It’s about time you came to your senses.” She brushed past me and held the front door open. “Let’s go,” she barked, “before you change your mind.”

    I settled into a seat on the Lear, still dusty from the desert, and held hands with my wife-to-be, still in her PJs – the perfect ending to a crappy day at work.

    1. Ishmael

      It didn’t take her long to wake up after the proposal, did it? And she already had that bag packed! :)

      Icabu, I pray for the day that I write dialogue as well as you. The conversation felt so real. And this was quite warm and fuzzy (good). Funny how our moods dictate our stories. Some of my characters might go on a murdering streak soon!

      Great job!

      1. Icabu

        It’s one thing to get the ring, another entirely to get the man down the aisle to say ‘I do’!

        Your feedback is encouraging – I’ve studied dialogue for some time (reading all things Elmore Leonard and Robert B Parker), hoping to learn a sliver of their mastery.

        Writing against my moods rarely results in anything readable. I’ll be watching for that murderous mood swing!

    2. annefreemanimages

      Icabu – loved it. I love how he struggled with the transition from fear and near battle to his fiance’s apartment and fear of rejection. I love that she would go to the ends of the earth for him. Very cool. I also like her pissy attitude at the end. Perfect! I agree with Ishmael’s comments about your dialogue. I’ve been reading both authors and they are the best at dialogue, and it shows that you’ve been studying them. There is so much to learn!!

      ~Anne

  63. Amy

    It was intense. He was kissing me, touching me, making my toes curl. I was about to succumb…bells were resounding. Man, this was the stuff of dreams, I thought.

    A heavy pounding sound began, followed by the sound of pebbles striking glass. The languorous heat left me in a rush and I felt bereft and unsatisfied. So it had been a dream after all…

    I sat up in my lonely bed and rubbed sleep-encrusted eyes. Who the hell was knocking on my door at this ungodly hour?

    I stumbled to the door, praying it wasn’t bad news. Turning on the porch light, I opened the door a crack to behold the frightened visage of my best friend, Zoe.

    “What’s up girl?” I asked, throwing the door open wide.

    “We’ve got to leave-now!” she exclaimed. “Pack a bag. I’ll explain on the way.”

    “What?” I was wide awake.

    “Don’t ask questions-just hurry!” The urgency in her voice was all the catalyst I needed. I left her staring through a crack in the blinds. I could smell her fear.

    Ten minutes later, we were speeding down the highway in her Mini. It wasn’t a good fit for my spindly 6-foot frame. My chin rested on my knees.

    I turned to her. “So, what’s going on?”

    “I’ve really done it this time,” she said, her voice shaking.

    “Done what?” I asked.

    “Stuck my nose in where it doesn’t belong. Ohmygod, Connie. He was so sick. I could hear him through the closed door, puking his guts up. I just wanted to make sure he was okay. I figured he had a hangover or something.”

    “Who, Zoe? Where?” I gripped the sides of my seat, tense because she was taking the hairpin curves at a dangerous speed.

    “I was at work today…I mean yesterday. Mark was absolutely green, so I followed him. You know I’ve got a crush on him, right?” Her lips worked at forming a smile, but didn’t quite succeed.

    “Yeah, sure,” I responded.

    “I went in the men’s room. It was like a scene from a horror movie. The poor guy wasn’t just vomiting—blood was spewing from his mouth. It was black and it stank and it made me sick too. Then he just fell over, convulsing. He was gone—just like that. He was gone.” She began to cry, great heaving sobs.

    “Ohmygod, Zoe. What was wrong with him?”

    “I can only come up with one answer.” She was shaking so hard I didn’t know how she was still steering the car.

    My heart was in my throat and dread settled upon me.

    “What’s that?” I whispered, knowing my world was about to change, maybe even come to an end.

    The sun was just breaking on the horizon when she spoke again, sounding breathless.

    “We’ve got a leak,” she whispered. “Nuclear power plants are supposed to be safe, and we’ve got a goddamn leak.”

    I had to take the steering wheel from her trembling hands. Gently I steered the car to the road’s edge. Zoe’s shoulders slumped in defeat.

    “We’re all going to die,” she said, her own skin a sickly shade of green.

        1. rob akers

          Usually not the most encouraging words ever said….”We all going to die!”

          Nice story and Im with the others…what happens next? Unless were all going to die then I will wait to find out on my own.

          Good job!

    1. annefreemanimages

      Hi Amy – that was really good! I like how you were able to drag out the suspense of what was happening until the end. I thought at first he was sick from drugs, and then maybe germ warfare. Never thought it would be nukes. You did a nice job of showing Zoe’s fear, and the progression of her disintegration in the car. And, it was a great switch from her friend’s erotic dream in the beginning! Very tight. Great job!

      ~Anne

  64. leontrade

    I quickly grabbed my bag that is always near the front door. I knew deep inside this would happen. Even before we did the job back in D.C. It was just a matter of time. Walking towards his car I notice scratches and a dent in the bumper of his car.
    “Can you tell me what’s going on??” “Just get in” he replied, looking exhausted and extremely tired. “Looks like you haven’t slept in day’s man, what’s going on” I asked persistently. I closed the passenger door and we speeded off leaving tire marks in my front porch. I quickly notice a very foul odor of a mix between cigarettes, liquor and blood.
    Getting into the highway, Mike finally began to talk. I could not believe what he was saying.
    “Remember the job we did in D.C??” Mike asked
    “Of course I remember….I retired after that….huge payoff but we knew the risk” I said
    “Well……….” He glazed over at me. I knew something was terribly wrong. I saw it in his eyes, I felt it in his words, I saw it in my dreams…..
    “We have to go back to D.C……” He said slowly.
    We moved to L.A after the job. I told myself & the crew we would never go back no matter what. I could not believe what he just said. I could not bear the thought in going back to D.C.
    “NO” I said, loud enough for him to pull over on the side of the road. The sun was barely starting to come up. Mike rapidly got out of the driver’s seat and came to my side. He swung the door open and demanded for me to come out, so I did.
    “Look at me, look at me and listen to me very carefully…..” He put a cigarette in his mouth and took a couple of puffs as if that would help the situation.
    “I’m not going back there man, I can’t…I won’t…and for what?! There is NOTHING for us there, do you understand me?? I’m done, take me back home so I can get back to my retired life, okay????” I said
    “Okay, Okay….but I don’t think that’s a good idea….open the trunk and you’ll see why….”
    What can possibly be in the trunk….It can be ANYTHING I thought…Knowing Mike for years and years from my childhood. I slowly walked towards back of the car. A little afraid of what I may see but wanting to get this over with.
    I cautiously open the trunk slowly and carefully.
    I could not believe what I saw. My jaw dropped. I was dumbfounded. I had no words. I had no emotion. Just still. Just in great awe.
    “Now you know it isn’t B.S, so let’s get the hell outa here okay??” He said
    I took a deep breath while closing the trunk and said “Yea….we going to D.C…..”

    1. jincomt

      What’s in the trunk?!? You had some really great description in here that brings the reader into the scene like the description of the foul smell of the car and the cigarette in his mouth and taking a couple puffs. But I STILL want to know what was in the trunk….

  65. kee-pon

    He told George he needed to use the restroom before they left. George had shown up at three in the morning talking madness about needing to leave and that he wanted Ivan to escort. George said it would be great fun – an ace of a time – but Ivan felt that lump in his throat. Ivan paced in the bathroom, needing time to think about his next move without George’s lurid eyes judging his every move. God forbid he was rude, right. He looked at his aging face in the mirror and scowled. He needed a face scrub, maybe a facelift and definitely a little lipo to remove his man boobs and soft pouch that hung over his waistline. He turned away and returned his thoughts to his not-so-close-buddy George sitting in the hallway, waiting for him to pack a weekend bag. What did this guy want so early in the morning?, he thought. It’s not even light out. I haven’t even taken my morning poop, yet. Damn, what did he say about wanting me to go with him to where…to some island? This guys crazy nuts — a wacko.

    “Hey, you almost ready in there?!”, George called from the hallway stairs.

    “Yeah, yeah, I’m just brushing my teeth.”

    My teeth, god what the “F” am I doing, Ivan thought. Wait, is he really a psycho or a killer or some kind of homophobic who likes to murder gays while they’re still in their Dolche pjs. He searched for anything he could use in the bathroom to defend himself, but he found nothing, unless George was allergic to CK1 or Ginko. Or maybe he could toilet paper him to death. No, it was the expensive stuff, like silk for you
    toosh-y; he wouldn’t waist the money

    “Hey, the plane leaves like now!”, George yelled.

    “OH! Give me a sec!”

    Ivan swung the cabinet open so hard it slammed against his porcelain-tiled walls. He riffled through his medicine cabinet, knowing exactly what was there, but still hoping that maybe he overlooked something — a bowie knife, maybe a glock or a can of mace — anything to use against George, this mad man showing up so early in the morning. Who does that anyway? Ivan thought. Crazy people, that’s who.

    “All right, you don’t come out here now, I’m going in after you,” George called from just outside the door in his playful voice.

    Ivan’s eyes bulged, popped at the prospect, as his hand slowly reached for his open mouth, his breath frozen, his legs stiff.

    “Hey, you still in there?”

    George was at the door, on the other side, scratching and clawing, ready to break, to thrash, to take his life. He swallowed, the lump in his throat a rock.

    The doorknob jiggled.

    “You still in there?”, George said. “Hey, Ivan, you still in there? Ivan?…Ivan?…Ivan?”

    Ivan was lying face down in his own piss, his heart like a water balloon splattered against his ribcage. He had a bad heart. The doctor told him to take it easy. He didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

    1. jincomt

      You know, to be honest, I’m not sure I followed the story line very well. But, there is something very raw in your writing that appealed to me that I can see developed into such a distinct voice. Keep writing.

  66. metaman321

    I was lying in bed, unable to sleep. It had been a hell of a day. Just before quitting time, I had been called into the boss’s office and laid off. I was thinking about how life sucked when the door bell rang. Anne, my wife, was sound asleep next to me. I hadn’t told her about the job. I hurriedly got out of bed, ran downstairs to the front door and looked through the peep hole. It was my old buddy, Red.

    “Hey man, long time no see,” he said with a big grin on his face. “I thought you could use some company; heard about the job.” “Tough break, you didn’t deserve that.”

    I hadn’t seen old Red for about five years, not since my marriage to Anne. He looked good and hadn’t seemed to age a bit.

    “You’re looking good, Red,” I said, “looks like you’ve been catching some sun.”

    “Yeah, you know me, I get around.”

    “So what’re you doing here, at this time of the morning?” I asked.

    “I thought you could use some fun, grab some clothes and let’s go.” “What are you in the mood for, booze, drugs, sex?” “It’ll be just like old times.”

    “What am I supposed to use for money, Red?” I asked.

    “Let me worry about that.”

    I remembered the last time I let him worry about money; I ended up spending sixty days in the tank for petty larceny. He was supposed to be waiting in the car, but when I ran out of the store, he wasn’t there. I never ratted him out though. No one would have believed me.

    Suddenly, the light at the top of the stairs went on and Anne called, “John, are you there?”

    Though I knew Red wouldn’t come in unless asked, I said, “Wait here.” He never enters without being invited.

    I quickly moved to the couch in the small living room and sat down.

    Anne appeared at the top of the stairs, her hair tousled.

    “John, what’s going on?” she said.

    “Nothing.” Then I added, “Anne, I got laid off today.”

    “I know, John, half the guys in town lost their jobs today.” “Come back to bed, we’ll worry about it in the morning.”

    She always knew the right thing to say.

    “I’ll be right up,” I said.

    When she had gone, I went back to tell Red but he must have been listening at the door because he was already walking away down the sidewalk.

    “I always knew you were a loser,” he said angrily, “now I see you’re pussy whipped as well.”

    I tried to think of something witty to say. I thought of the classic ‘Get behind me Satan’, but since my living room was behind me, I figured the old liar would use it as an invitation to come in.

    Instead, I lamely said, “Hey Red, your tail is showing!”

    I shut the door on his curses.

  67. aikawah

    The early morning chill hit me like a punch the moment I opened the door, the slight breeze creeping on my skin like I was naked. Steve stood outside looking panting; probably from all that banging on the door. Another drunken night.

    “It’s three in the morning man.”

    He gripped my shoulder tight, “I need to get out of town.”

    I took a closer look at him; he was shaking, and stone sober.
    “What happened?” I asked.

    Beth moved into view then. She’d been leaning against the outside of my wall next to the door so I hadn’t spotted her. Her face was splotched with bruises and her lip was bleeding from a deep fresh cut. I looked from her back at Steve; there was no mistake. He’d just put his name, and probably mine on top of a biker gang hit list.

    “Get some ice” I told Steve as I helped her to the couch knocking over my aluminum trash can.

    She’d been beaten before but not this badly, I took the Druid vest off her back. There were bruises there too, and on her shoulders and around her neck. Her left wrist was swollen. I got up to let Jerry sit beside her with the ice pack.

    “I’ll change into something and pack some stuff” I said.

    In the bedroom, I threw my laptop, passport, a change of clothes and some cash into my backpack. The van keys were on the dresser already, I’d just grabbed them when Steve walked in.

    “I’m sorry dude” he began.

    “Its fine” I interrupted, “He’d probably have killed her sometime soon.”

    “He was gonna kill her today” Steve said quietly, steel in his voice.

    He was standing in the doorway, all five feet three of him, as if he was trying to fill it, his eyes sparkling.

    “What did you do?”

    “He’ll live” he said, “but he’s never going to ride again.”

    I didn’t want to hear how Steve had done it. Greek was almost seven feet tall; Steve could have passed off for his son. Somehow though she still felt the need to come to Denver to fuck Steve, lately in my house after the gang trashed his place.

    “We can’t use my van, they probably know it by now” I said. “We’ll take Mrs. Colson’s Chevy, she forgets to lock the doors sometimes.”

    When we entered the living room, the Druid vest was in the aluminum trash can. She was holding my stove lighter in her hand smiling. She looked at me, questioning. I nodded and the Druid vest went up in flames. We shut the door on it, running now. Mrs. Colson’s Chevy was almost out the front gate when the fire alarm went off. Two blocks away, I told them to lie low on the back seat. Three Harleys cruised past us headed the way we’d just come. They’d get there just after Mrs. Colson called the cops.

    “Bad timing” Steve observed.

      1. rob akers

        Love It. I never get tired of regular guys beating up a biker gang. Good call to steal a car on the way out. I like how you think and how you write. You have a gift my friend. My only comment is that in the States, most people dont have a passport sitting in a drawer.

        Great Job!

        1. aikawah

          Haha… well maybe one day I’ll visit and find out. Thanks though, appreciate the encouragement. I was writing outside of the zone of my personal experience here, no biker gangs in Kenya. Maybe motor-bike taxis, but they’re not gangs in the way that they are on your side. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Ishmael

      I look forward to your stories…nice, original takes on the prompts. You could easily tell this with a Kenyan slant…”Three Harley mopeds cruised past us…” but I guess that would tone it down a bit. :) Thanks for the read!

    2. DMelde

      Good story. You use words in an original way, at least to me. I won’t say which ones, because I don’t want to jinx you. I look forward to more.

  68. Kae Lee

    I stumbled down the hall as I made my way through the dark to the front door. If that bell rung one more time, I was going to take them out. Very cautiously, I move the curtain back with the tip of my 9mm. I see deep red curly hair and I know exactly who it is, Kerrington. What the hell was she doing here at this time of morning?

    I opened the door slowly. “Kerri? You by yourself?” I said as I scan behind her for movement. My gun still drawn and ready at a moment’s notice. A girl can never be too careful in my line of work.

    “Get a bag together. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” She said as she also scanned the streets.

    “What the hell did you do Kerri?” I ask with nervousness in my voice. “No. No. Please tell me you didn’t take the egg!”

    Her silence is all the confirmation I needed. Still wearing my
    Bugs Bunny PJs and slippers, I didn’t hesitate. I quickly reached inside the broom closet next to the door and crabbed a leather bag containing everything I would need. Passports, new IDs, rolls of hundreds and clothes. Kerrington had done the unspeakable and our escape window was shrinking with every second that ticked by. She had just ripped off our boss for more than three million dollars. She was carrying a pure gold dinosaur egg. We were as good as dead.

    “Let’s hurry. I already bought tickets.” Kerrington said. The drive had taken forever and I was certain at one point we were being followed. Probably Danny’s goons. He was definitely going to hunt us down and kill us.

    “Where are we going? And who’s the buyer?” I asked as we sprinted towards our train.

    “The details aren’t important right now Sammie. We just need to stay focused and make sure none of our former co-workers kill us.” The words were no sooner out her mouth; I see the main asshole of Danny’s thugs, Kevin, spot us.

    I grabbed Kerrington and pulled her with me as we broke out running through the crowd. We were almost to the train when a shot rang out. Most of the crowd dropped to the ground praying they wouldn’t be collateral damage.

    Kevin was holding his gun but now aimed at me. He wasn’t my concern. Kerri had dropped and that meant one thing, she had been hit. I knelt down trying to listen to what she was saying.

    “Take the egg to this address.” She whispered while pushing a balled up piece of paper into my hand. She gurgled and coughed up blood.

    She was dead. I snatched the egg from her bag and jumped on the train seconds before it was ready to leave. Another shot rang out but the bullet missed my head by an inch or so. The train lurched forward and I smiled. I was home free.

  69. Spotmom1320

    By the time I was finally awake enough to know what she was babbling about, Abby grabs my arm, runs upstairs. Immediately, she starts rifling through my closet to find me clothes to take, and throws them in a paper bag. Hurry up and get dressed and let’s get out of here, she says in a panic. They followed me all the way over here. We have to go out the back and down the alley. We should be able to lose them there. I’ll tell you all about it on our way to the airport.
    Once they were on the plane, Abby began telling Kassie about the drug deal she saw go down in the alley behind her apartment. She had been in her room, getting ready for bed, when she heard a lot of commotion and yelling going on. She turned off her light so know one could see her watching what was going on. Apparently, she had been spotted by one of the thugs, as he had pulled a gun and shot the 2 men they were dealing with. When she saw them run away, leaving two bodies laying on the ground, she figured they did not see her.
    She decided she would go to sleep, because she had work early the next morning. About an hour later, she heard glass break, and footsteps downstairs. Quietly, she tiptoed into her closet and crouched in a corner under a pile of clothes. Through the crack in the bottom of the door, she saw feet walking back and forth across the room. She stayed completely silent until she heard them say, “there’s no one in here,” and left.
    Knowing they would return, or at least be watching the place, she knew she had to get away or risk being their next victim. She quickly packed a few things, escaped through a door in the basement and ran 5 blocks to Kassie’s house.

    1. jincomt

      Quotes for some of the she-he says parts would help clarify. It’s fun to think up a story and imagine what might have happened. That’s how this read– like you had fun thinking about how to finish the prompt.

  70. penney

    Lipstick Mystery part 2/ Leaving Town

    Things had been coming to a head. Bonnie could tell there was something wrong. Her friend Jen had been talking about leaving town. She’d been whatiffing, and distracted with some distant thought.

    So it wasn’t a surprise when Bonnie opened her door at 2 a.m. and Jen was standing there, two red eyes to Paris, France in had.

    “I’ve got to get out of here, and I need you to go with me,” she said tickets fanned in had like a deck of cards.

    “Will you come, now,” she asked desperately. “It’s on me, the cabs waiting.”

    Bonnie rubbed her eyes, “Now?”

    Jen crooked her head to on side pleadingly.

    Now, as a mysterious man lead Bonnie out of the Paris café, gun poking at her side, she thought of that moment. How is it that she ends up in these situations? She struggled with her kidnapper, checking her limits.

    “No, no, mon Cheri,” he responded with a French accent.

    His fingers went to his mouth and let out a shrill whistle. A black car skidded to a halt at the curb.

    “Entrée vous, tout de sweet,” he shoved he in and they were gone.

    In the mean time Jen, lost in the dark of the ladies room, was fumbling or all fours for her lightly when the lights flickered on. She ran out of the bathroom swerving through the little tables and chairs, music still playing. Bonnie was definitely gone.

    “Monsieur,” Bonnie stopped the waiter.

    “Ques-que-se mon amie, um, my friend,” she frantically tried her French.

    “The mademoiselle, left with the monsieur,” he continued, “they paid and left.”

    He was no help. She knew she had to go after them but first she had to go to the hotel. The mystery man was after the box in the hotel safe.

    This man had followed Jen home from Paris on 9/11. When she came off the Eiffel Tower and was making her way to the subway, she bumped into a stranger speaking on a cell phone. She apologized while picking up her purse and he his satchel, each combing their belongings into piles.

    ”I’m so sorry,” Jen said.

    He waved her off annoyed at the whole incident, not a word. He quickly put his cell back to his ear, “You still there,” he was English. “Yah, some bitch wasn’t looking where she was going,” he turned and walked away.

    She heard him and swung around. “Hey asshole, I said sorry.”

    He kept walking and she looked at her watch, turned and ran to the train.

    It wasn’t until she was back across the channel and in her London hotel that she realized her cell was missing and she had gained a geek stick. There was no way she’d get either back to its rightful place so she went home with an odd souvenir.

    1. jincomt

      There are so many pieces in this. It was as if you had the whole story in your head and we were getting the highlights, so I had a little bit of a tough time following it all. I would love to see this fleshed out (as I imagine it is for you). I like the French piece — it adds realism and intrigue.

      1. penney

        It’s an attempt at a prequel to the lipstick moving into present time, with a flashback to explain why someone would want to do this to Jen in the first place. It actually turned into a frantic mystery that my brain flooded me with, there is more.

    2. annefreemanimages

      Hi Penny – Bonnie is a great friend to take off to Paris like that. Then again, it would be cool if a friend asked me to do it. But I recall your lipstick story from last week, and this wasn’t a fun situation, for sure. Bummer to grab something that puts you into a fix by mistake. I’ll enjoy reading the entire story when you post it, Penny!

      ~Anne

      1. penney

        I was taking a chance that someone had read my entry from last week about the lipstick message. I snaped in my head, to use this weeks as a continuance. Of course it would only make some sence to anyone who read the other one. I saw the prompt suggestion and I swear I couldnt stop writting. I sat in a mcdonalds parking lot for an hour before i had to get home to make dinner for the kids.There is actually more to this but I have no clue where to put it, even for someone to read and say “oh this is shit.”

  71. cekensinger

    I’ve known Jim for over thirty years, but never has he come to my home at 5:00 in the morning without calling first. “Pack a bag. We are leaving town right now,” he said and offered no explanation. I went to the bedroom to pack, quickly, while Jim waited in the living room. I explained to my wife, Cindy, that Jim needed me to go right then. Of course she wanted to know where we were going and why he needed me to go with him. I kissed her goodbye and told her I would call her with the answers as soon as I could.

    Jim is the kind of friend who is always there when you need him. He never asks for favors unless it is very urgent. Since I’ve been out of work he has asked for my help and even helped me financially. If he says he needs me, I go. No questions asked.

    Sharon, Jim’s wife, was in the van, when I climbed in. “Sorry to get you out of bed so early,” she said. “We were going together, but Christy needs me to stay with Matt.” Matt is their grandson and Christy is their daughter. I knew they were planning a trip to Africa to work with our former pastor and his wife, who are missionaries in Lesotto. I think I may be going to Africa for ten days.

    As Jim backed out of my driveway, he started the explanation. “Mike and Christy have to close on their new business in three days. They need Sharon to watch Matt while they are away. We have non-refundable tickets and you told me last week you had your passport and visa and had talked to the Floras about going in a few months. I knew if you asked Cindy, she would have reasons you couldn’t go. It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.”

    I called Cindy from the Dallas airport as we waited for our international flight. I only had ten minutes before boarding the plane. I said I was sorry, told her I loved her and would be back in ten days. Africa, here we come.
    Sharon, Jim’s wife, was in the van, when I climbed in. “Sorry to get you out of bed so early,” she said. “We were going together, but Christy needs me to stay with Matt.” Matt is their grandson and Christy is their daughter. I knew they were planning a trip to Africa to work with our former pastor and his wife, who are missionaries in Lesotto. I think I may be going to Africa for ten days.

    As Jim backed out of my driveway, he started the explanation. “Mike and Christy have to close on their new business in three days. They need Sharon to watch Matt while they are away. We have non-refundable tickets and you told me last week you had your passport and visa and had talked to the Floras about going in a few months. I knew if you asked Cindy, she would have reasons you couldn’t go. It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.”

    I called Cindy from the Dallas airport as we waited for our international flight. I only had ten minutes before boarding the plane. I said I was sorry, told her I loved her and would be back in ten days. Africa, here we come.

    1. jincomt

      I got a little confused and bogged down by all the people — Christy, Cindy, Jim, Matt and who was watching whom. But I like the premise of the Africa trip and why. With the short word limit, cutting to the essentials, (why did the have to go to Africa, what was going to happen) becomes even more important.

  72. Rickyrickysauce

    Probably a bad story
    By David Grimes

    “I’ve missed you,” my wife said in the most sensuous voice humanly possible, “It has been so long without you.”

    “I know. Ever since the wreck I never knew…”

    “Don’t bring that up now, that doesn’t matter. All that does matter is you, me, and Elizabeth, But now lets forget everything. Forget our identities, our persons, the world, and every trouble and lose ourselves in love.”

    “You’re being overly dramatic again. After 5 years I would do it with anyone:Betty White, Rosie O’ Donnell, Madonna, hell I would be gay and dirty and date Jimmy Carter.”

    “Well, then let’s see how dirty you’ll get”

    “Let’s”

    “BANG, BANG, BANG”

    “What?”

    “BANG, BANG”

    Damn, another dream. Why do these dreams always happen?

    “David, get the fuck up. David! Open this goddamn door!!”

    Groggily I get up, look at my phone, swear under my breathe after I see its 3 AM, march through my house to get the door, while seeing that it’s Matt

    “What do you want,” I half yell as I open the door.

    “No time for that. We need to go, NOW!”

    “What are you rambling about now?”

    “Shut your damn mouth and get in the car. We got to get out of here,” he demands.I realize that he is serious.
    Dumbfounded i answer, “I need clothes.”

    He ignores me. I have wasted too much time for him so now he uses force. “I got some for you” he says while pushing me with his grizzly bear arms, “Just get in.” Then, we take off like mad men
    .
    My mind is racing faster than the speed of sound. I can not grasp it around what is going on. Coherent thought is next to impossible.

    “What the hell is happening, Matt? Why aren’t you in Connecticut?” Then I realize, “Where is Elizabeth?”

    “Someone kidnapped her. They broke into my home shooting up the house, then they took her. And now they are after me.”

    I look at Matt waiting for more, only to see a bullet rip through his skull.

    1. jincomt

      Although the dream had its allure, given the limit of words, I would have liked a little less dream and more of the very intriguing kidnapped Elizabeth and why poor Matt took the bullet through his head!

  73. TshellMichelle

    Half an hour later, Naomi’s heart was still pounding in her chest. She looked over at Devin to make sure the glow from her phone had not alerted him to what was happening. She knew Sophie was dealing with a lot with the pending divorce and deportation, but she had not expected those words: I’m in love with you.

    To calm herself she focused on the streetlight illuminating the room from outside, counted the number of cars that passed on the street, and concentrated on her still pounding heart. It was no use, she couldn’t sleep.

    Sophie had wanted to come over, to talk about her feelings face to face, but Naomi had ignored the confession. “That’s just the stress talking,” she texted. “You have to know everything will be alright.”

    “What does that have to do with what I said, Naomi? I love you.”

    Naomi was good at ignoring confessions. Two years sooner Devin had come in after the ten o’clock news, the pungent scent of liquor and marijuana coating his clothes and skin, and she had not even asked him where he had been.

    “Plate’s in the microwave,” she’d said.

    “I cheated Naomi,” he announced.

    To this she said nothing, felt nothing. She did not ask one question and she slept as sound as ever. Something must have been wrong with her if she could do that, she knew, but she carried on in this way until it became like normal. Her indifference was like a second skin she zipped on each day.

    When Sophie started as a temporary legal assistant at Kearney, Luke and Sterns three months prior, Naomi was just starting to settle in. It was Devin’s idea that they move away from Atlanta and start fresh. Hartford was cold and boring, but the firm paid nearly double what she’d made back home, so she didn’t complain.

    Lying in bed, only two thoughts made her feel alive: the pain she felt knowing she must have hurt Sophie and the remembrance of the sweet and tender kiss they shared hours before. Just as a tear began to roll down her cheek the chattering chime of the doorbell caused her to suck in the air around her. Devin stirred, but did not wake up. Who could it be? Naomi thought.

    Quietly she peeled back the sheets and stepped into pink slippers with dark blue hearts. As she made her way down the dark hallway and staircase, it occurred to her that it may have been Sophie at the door. At that she quickened her step, to avoid a second ring that might wake Devin.

    When she got to the door she opened it just enough to see streams of mascara pouring from Sophie’s fear-struck eyes.

    “I’m sorry–” Naomi started.

    “No, it’s not that. Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” Sophie said, her British accent even thicker than usual.

    “What–?” Naomi attempted, but the words became wedged in her throat.

    “They’re going to come after me eventually, so I thought I should just leave. But we should go to Barbados like we said; as a sort of going away.”

    “I can–”

    “No, don’t you even think about saying you can’t Naomi. You can’t stay trapped in this life you hate forever and I’m offering you one week of escape, of freedom. I’ll wait for you in the car.” she said.

    Sophie left Naomi standing in the foyer, alone with her thoughts like before. She bit her lower lip and glanced up the stairs. She could do it. She could call her boss and say something had come up. And Devin, well she could tell him she was leaving on business, but the thought of lying to him struck a nerve somewhere deep down. Could she really do to him what he had done to her all those times?

    When the engine started on Sophie’s rental Naomi’s eyes began to fill. She knew she could never be as free as Sophie. She knew that freedom like that didn’t come without a price. And with that resolute thought, the calm she had been seeking overtook her. For the first time in as long as she could remember Naomi let out a shameless cry and she shut the door on freedom.

  74. Chilo

    The rasp sound extended from the kitchen door. I wrapped the blanket around my pajamas. 3:30 a.m. The darkness guided me to the first obstacle: the clothes hamper. After some fumbling for a light switch, the rasp turned into a pound until whoever the moron outside went for the doorbell.
    “Aaron, pack a bag.”
    “Jerry!”
    “Quickly,” and she pushed me back inside the house. “I have to get out of here now.”
    “What? Where?”
    Her eyes were so erratic, I wasn’t sure she even heard any of my questions.
    She clasped her tiny hands on my blanket, “I need you to come with me.”
    I yanked her hands free of the blanket, “Now, wait a minute. You don’t think I’m going to just drop everything and leave?”
    “I think you will…but you need to get ready while I explain.”
    “I’m not going to do nothing until- ”
    “Fine,” she brushed her long bangs off her face, “my husband found out. about us.”
    “Us?”
    “He’s coming after me.”
    “Us? I don’t get it.”
    “I told him I was having an affair… with you.”
    “You what!?! You told that maniac you were….why? ” I threw the blanket over the kitchen counter.
    “There’s no time. Get your things together.”
    “His after you. Why should I bother-“
    “If he thinks you were my lover, he’ll be looking for you, too.” She cupped her hands in her face, “I’m sorry. I was trying to give him his own medicine.”
    “Jerry, we need to talk to him,” she lifted her face, now smeared with mascara, “okay, I’ll talk to him…”
    “You don’t understand, he’s got a rifle.”
    A sudden thud was heard from the front door. Every ounce of hope attached itself to me that it was the wind. As I turned to the direction of the sound, a burst of light flashed before my eyes.

  75. Szramiakje

    “Eddie, we gotta go. Now.”

    Through my squinted eyes I could just make out a shape undulating as it moved across the stripes of light that streamed in through the slatted blinds. I let out a half-groan half-sigh that I had been perfecting over the past forty years and ostriched my head back under the tangle of pillows and covers.

    “Come on. We don’t have time for this,” said the voice again. In an instant a draught of cold air hit the parts of my body that my boxers and socks (yes, I sleep in socks) weren’t covering as my sheets were yanked off me, presumably by the owner of the nagging voice. This was the most convincing motivation I had been given yet. I gave in and lifted my head from under the pillow to peek at my bedside clock. It read 4:14am. This was the deadest time of night, a time when it was just too late for mindless partiers to keep mindlessly partying and just too early for mindless farmers to start mindlessly farming.

    I sat up, swung my legs off the bed and slipped my feet into my cotton slippers. Standing up I took the opportunity to finally look at my assaulter. He was a tallish man in his late-twenties or early-thirties, wore brown hair with brown eyes and had a rather good-looking face that could have appeared on a magazine cover. And he was a complete stranger.

    My eyes did not observe the man for very long as all of a sudden a gym bag- my very-seldom-used gym bag- was thrust into my arms. I looked down into it and closed the zipper over the socks and underwear and shirts that had just been stuffed into it. “K, I got all your stuff. Let’s go,” the man said as he started for the bedroom door.

    The urge to resist is not so strong when you’re standing in the cold of your bedroom in nothing but your boxers and socks and cotton slippers as it is when you’re snuggled comfortably in your warm and cozy bed. So all I said was “Alright,” and I followed him out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

    “You remember the old cruiser, don’t you, Eddie?” the man said as he pointed to perhaps the plainest and most boring car I ever saw, a gray ’04 Mercury Marauder. I crossed the threshold of my house after him and as I did I let out a cough, as the sharp February morning air filled my lungs. “Aha! Eddie!” the man had taken this as an affirmative.

    I opened the passenger door of the boring car and flopped into the seat. It didn’t matter at this point that my name wasn’t even Eddie- I just wanted to be somewhere warm again. The man slammed shut his door, revved the engine, and we sped off down the street, away from my cozy house, away from my cozy bed, and straight into another car.

    1. Ishmael

      I appreciate your talent, and could picture this story in my mind from your vivid descriptions; however, it was a bit of a stretch (for me) to fathom what would make him get in the car with a total stranger who just broke into his house. Asleep, barely awake, in boxers, or fully dressed…I would’ve been taking a baseball bat to him and smacking him out. :)

      1. jincomt

        Making note to self: Don’t sneak up on Ishmael I agree, very readable story. I too had a little difficult time suspending reality enough to imagine getting into a car with a stranger! Unless, of course, he was very very good looking.. ;)

    2. Icabu

      ‘Eddie’ must have been doing too much of that mindless partying.
      The story does have a lost and confused feel, maybe ‘Eddie’ was slipped a Mickey …

  76. William Chaz

    A Shadow

    I was startled awake by an obnoxious knock, at my window. It was still dark, so I assumed by the time of night, whoever was at my door, must want a death warrant. Again, the idiot continued to knock, this time almost busting through the glass.
    I walked over and opened the window. Obviously too slowly for the person on the other side, because it was yanked it out of my hands. Then, before I even had time to react I was being pulled through the window by my arms.
    .
    “About time! I tried your doorbell, but that didn’t seem to work.” Bobby said. He has been my best friend since we initially met in first grade.

    “What’s the big idea? It’s freezing out here and all I have on is my pajama bottoms.” I said.

    He didn’t seem right though. He had large, dark bags under his eyes, like he was fatigued, and he seemed to be very anxious. He also had a gash on his forehead, that was leaking blood all over his face.

    “Listen, there’s not much time. Either you can come with me now, or you can die later.” Bobby, was looking me dead in the eyes when he said this, as if to ensure the seriousness of the situation.

    I nodded in agreement, and almost instantly he started leading me by the arm.

    “Wh…where are we going?” I asked.

    “I have to get you to safety. You are the key to unlocking secrets that have been lost for millennia” I was waiting for him to crack a smile, or muffle a laugh, but his facial expression didn’t budge. It occurred to me that he must be playing a joke of some sort.. A very strange, not-funny, joke.

    I dug my heels into the ground and stopped us mid-sprint. “Ok then, I’ll play along. What, or who, are we running from?” I asked.

    He placed his hands on my shoulders. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, especially not so soon. I at least hoped for you to graduate high-school.” He shook his head grievously. “Listen, these, ‘people’ chasing us, aren’t ordinary people. They will kill whoever stands between you and them. They want you, and will do anything to have you. I am your body guard, sent to protect you at a very young age. Now can the rest of your questions wait until I get you somewhere safe?” Before I could reply, he tugged back at my arm, and was leading me off into a completely new life.

    From that point onward, I was a new person. A shell, living a life of fear, and danger; hiding a secret, deeper than the Marianas Trench, and darker than night. Finding shelter in the strangest of places, and living life like a hermit. The only person I was close too anymore, saw me as a liability. I was, from then on, a shadow.

          1. William Chaz

            Ah, well, I’m currently working on something different right now, but who knows. This wasn’t intended to be something big; it was just for the prompt. You never know though. :P

    1. Ishmael

      I like this. He may be living as a hermit right now, but evidently something big lies on the horizon for him. I can’t see anybody wanting to stop someone who’s not a threat – whoever these “people” are. This may have been for the prompt, but I agree with the others. Stash this away for safekeeping, and add to it as you can. It has the makings of a good adventure/thriller, and I’d definitely be interested in reading how it all comes about.

  77. rob akers

    A Captain Bill Rimes Story

    April 2003

    It was a war that showed no signs of slowing down. Feeling like a punch drunk clown, Bill fell into his cot asleep before his body hit the only memory of home, the pillow. His mind automatically recounted the events of the past 26 hours. Nothing was new or exciting any more, it was a perverse lonely Ground Hog Day surrounded by his crew. 2 hours of planning and briefings then a 2 hour flight to Kuwait, a 3 hour wait under the wing where if you were lucky it was 3 AM and the temperature cooled to 100 degrees. When it was time, they carried the beans and bullets to the front line troops while dodging the missiles that randomly flew intent on killing them. Landing at huge airports build under Saddam with names he couldn’t pronounce and really didn’t care to learn, he would get another 2 hour brake waiting for the cargo to be unloaded and then the entire crew would reconfigure the aircraft for the wounded that he prayed would never show.

    At some point they would be cleared to return to Kuwait only to repeat the process two more times before their 20 hour tactical day limit would expire and they could make the return trip to the tent he called home. Each man got a whopping 32 inches each to do anything they wanted with their area. The shy men ran rope across the tent and hung blankets to form a make shift wall. Known as a whack shack; the walls may have provided some privacy but they did not block the noise. Two crews shared a tent and today was their lucky day; the other crew was in the Operations center heading out when Bill’s crew staggered in. The tent would be quiet all day and they were as happy as a death row inmate taking his final steps.

    The aircrews were lucky to have air conditioning and today it was keeping the tent almost 40 degrees cooler than the outside air temperature in the Holy Land of Saudi Arabia. The thermometer in the tent read 99.2 degrees. The dark tent suddenly exploded in a mixture of heat and light. “WE ARE UNDER ATTACK! GET TO YOUR BUNKER NOW!” The unknown voice shouted to the six zombies. Everyone sat up at once hearing explosions in the distance. Bill’s mind quickly calculated the distance and knew the explosions were over a mile away.

    He was about to put his boots on when Rick the Flight Engineer asked the rest. “Did anyone hear the Patriot launch?”

    It was the perfect question; their tent was the closest to the defensive missile system known as the Patriot.

    “What do you think, Boss?” Tracy the Loadmaster asked Bill.

    Bill thought for a second knowing the crew would follow him. “Big camp, little bomb. I will take my chances.”

    Three minutes later, they were all asleep not caring about the source of the explosions.

      1. rob akers

        Wolfgangpoe,

        I am truly sorry that you felt that way. In my submissions, I do take liberties with the prompt. I am one of the people who likes to color outside the lines and live life on my terms. In every prompt that I have submitted a post, I felt that I am honoring the spirit and intent of the prompt. I did not see this one as being any different. It was not my intention on misleading or to disrespect anyone.

        I could take the time to list the reasons I felt I was keeping in the spirit of the prompt but to be honest that bores everyone, it doesn’t make a different and it is disrespectful of you and your feelings. The important thing to me is that I keep the reader happy. That is how I view my job as a writer. In this case I did not do that, please accept my apology. I thank you for taking the time to read my post and more importantly for your honest feedback.

        1. aikawah

          I get Wolfgangpoe and I think he should read the rest of your prompts… Which brings me to the question, do you intend for your entries to be considered separately or in relation to the earlier Captain Bill Rimes entries because I can’t help thinking of the prompts as related. It sort of allows you greater freedom in working different prompt angles or should I say it makes me look at this different from the way Wolfgangpoe probably did…

          1. rob akers

            The Bill Rimes character in general and the themes specifically are all related. In my posts I attempt to accomplish several things and hopefully this will make sense.

            1.Honor the men and women that I was lucky enough to serve in the military with for 13 wonderful years of my life. Honor one of my best friends and the one person who pushed me to start writing; the real Captain Bill Rimes, even though he is a Major and his name isn’t Bill Rimes.

            2.Attempt to create a consistent and compelling character. Additionally I am attempting to weave true real life events and fiction together in a manner that the reader cannot tell which is live and which is Memorex. (That is a reference to a 1985 American Television Commercial) This is because I am working on my first novel which takes elements of real life and twists them into what I hope will be a fun action adventure.

            3. When I send the posts for Bill to review weekly he gives me some great feedback because his view is of someone who was living the event. I combine his comments with the comments I am fortunate enough to receive here and try to judge where I am at in my craft. I view the posts here as a tool where I can apply the techniques I have read about and practice my craft.

            4. Every Bill Rimes story has some element of the truth in it. In case you are wondering this story is about 98% true. Others have been about 2% true. But all of them have something that actually happened and that framed the post for me in my head.

          2. rob akers

            Opps, still sleep. This is the full reply not the other one.

            Ailawah,

            Thanks for joining the conversation. I believe this to be a great opportunity to talk about writing and how the author approaches the subject and craft. I look forward to your comments on this subject as well as anyone else who wants to join. I am a sponge right now when it comes to writing and I eagerly look at the posts of everyone but more importantly I look at the comments. I find that I learn something weekly because of what everyone comments.

            The Bill Rimes character in general and the themes specifically are all related. In my posts I attempt to accomplish several things and hopefully this will make sense.

            1.Honor the men and women that I was lucky enough to serve in the military with for 13 wonderful years of my life. Honor one of my best friends and the one person who pushed me to start writing; the real Captain Bill Rimes, even though he is a Major and his name isn’t Bill Rimes.

            2.Attempt to create a consistent and compelling character. Additionally I am attempting to weave true real life events and fiction together in a manner that the reader cannot tell which is live and which is Memorex. (That is a reference to a 1985 American Television Commercial) This is because I am working on my first novel which takes elements of real life and twists them into what I hope will be a fun action adventure.

            3. When I send the posts for Bill to review weekly he gives me some great feedback because his view is of someone who was living the event. I combine his comments with the comments I am fortunate enough to receive here and try to judge where I am at in my craft. I view the posts here as a tool where I can apply the techniques I have read about and practice my craft.

            4. Every Bill Rimes story has some element of the truth in it. In case you are wondering this story is about 98% true. Others have been about 2% true. But all of them have something that actually happened and that framed the post for me in my head.

        2. Wolfgang Poe

          Like I said, it was interesting, and I understand your reason. Where I’m coming from is when I see something like this “prompt” I like to see how everyone takes the same box and fills it in. Not even saying you’re wrong (heaven forbid), just was surprised that someone colors around the outside of the box instead.

          1. rob akers

            Wolfgang Poe,

            Most of the posts that I write too, I read the assignment on Tuesday and don’t write until Friday or Saturday. I like to let the story peculate in my head for a couple of days until it is ready. This week I do not have the luxury of the time so I was semi forced to post early. That is one reason it didn’t match up better. Secondly, as I started, I fully intended on having Bill and his crew grab their chemical warfare bag, that included his helmet and chem mask and go to the bunker where they would fall asleep. I have pictures of friends sleeping in the bunker wearing the helmet, mask boxers and boots. Very funny and they tell a story that my initial goal was to recreate.

            I have found in my short times as a writer that the characters do things I did not intend on them doing. And this was an example. Because I lived this prompt, I knew what the real Bill Rimes did and trying to be consistent with the character, I knew that he would have stayed in his cot and slept while the mortars rained down on the camp. That was my twist at the end but it got lost in the revision process and due to myself imposed deadline.

    1. Icabu

      So Bill and Co. decide not to pack and go with the others. Cool twist.
      I laughed at the 32″ of ‘personal’ space and the ‘air conditioning’ – surprised that I can actually laugh at it now …
      Enjoyable read.

    2. Imaginalchemy

      I need to go back and re-read some of the Bill Rimes posts…something about the character and the scenarios reminds me of Tim Dorsey’s novels (particularly “Pineapple Grenade”)
      And allow me to propose how I think this connects to the initial prompt…a doorbell ringing is the device that triggers the actions of the characters, just like the explosions being set off (explosion=doorbell). Initially the main character is ordered to leave his current state of normalcy because some event has occured (a friend asking to “pack a bag and let’s get out of town” becomes “get to your bunker now”). The main character reponds…and then the prompt leaves it open to how the character ultimately reacts to this situation. So, when you pick it apart, it follows the basic ideas of the prompt (unless I overthought this one?)

    3. Ishmael

      I’m sitting in my armchair, floor lamp and drink by my side. I turn to your story and start reading. My hair blows back, the drink slides to the rear of the table, and the floor lamp tilts, beginning it’s descent to the ground. I even think I just heard a crystal goblet shatter in the kitchen.

      In other words, I can never tell if your stories are real or Memorex (I remember the commercial well). They all take me to the combat zone. Thanks for another (safe) trip to the Middle East.
      :)

    4. jincomt

      Rob, I hope all these stories pull together in a book for you someday. You are really pulling from some great, personal material and weaving it into very readable, gutsy stuff.

      1. rob akers

        Thank you all for your kind words. For now, The Captain will live without fear here in the prompts. This has become something that I really enjoy and it has allowed me the freedom to experiment with my “voice.” It is a pleasure to have read the other great writers on this board as well.

        By the way, you can thank Anne Freeman of Rett fame for providing the inspriation to create and keep visiting with the Captain.

    5. annefreemanimages

      Rob – SO glad I am not in the sand box. What a tough way to make a living! As always, your districptions make that world so real! (I’m also glad I’m not in the … ahem… “tent.” Yikes!! The story shows so well how people can adjust their perceptions of reality and normalcy under almost any conditions, like Bill calculating the distance of the attack. Not a fun way to be woken up in the middle of their sleep, but an interesting way to process the information and make decisions. An interesting take on the prompt. As always, I enjoy reading Capt stories!

      ~Anne

    6. DRoberts

      Rob,

      Never apologize for your work. Stand by your convictions as a writer. Remember that every person who reads your stories is going to have a subjective opinion. You will not always please every reader. Even James Patterson has his critics. Go figure. The man’s books are always on the New York Best Selling List and he makes millions. You have a genuine passion for the craft and your character Bill Rimes. Stay true to yourself as a writer. It’s okay to color outside the lines of these prompts. The intent of these prompts are to help writers get their creative juices going. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  78. Eliza

    I’m in a comfortable doze when a tentative knock comes. I pull on my bunny slippers and button up my Arthur Dent pyjamas before making the hundred yard trek to my door.

    “Open up!”

    Of course, it’s Bren. I open the door and admit her.

    “All right?”

    “Pack. I’m getting out of here and you’re coming with!”

    “I am?”

    “Yes. Now pack.”

    I look around. I pull out my old school rucksack and pack my copy of ‘the Hobbit’, three biros, a notebook and a pair of socks.

    “Ready.”

    “Okay. Keep it quiet and let’s go.”

    We sneak to my window and check outside. It’s all clear to clamber over the sill onto the ledge, then it’s a matter of ease to drop onto the porch roof.

    We shimmy down the pole onto the drive to start our escape. We hit the pavement and we’re free! We high five each other but we’re a little too early in our celebrations. The spot light reignites and the main door slowly cracks open.

    I grab Bren’s hand and we stoop, running crouched along the back wall. Our jailer is awake. I can hear the click of the door being unchained and then the crunch of shoes on gravel. The early morning resonates with the heavy steps.

    We hurry further down the road and Bren pulls me, breathless, into the hedge. There’s a carved out bit that’s covered by branches. We crouch and hold onto each other, holding our breath.

    The steps draw closer.

    I can see the black shoes pausing beside our hiding place. Bren opens her mouth to speak or scream, I’m not sure which and I don’t wait to find out – I cover her lips to silence her.

    I can feel her hot breath on my palm. The shoes take a single step away, then a single step closer before pausing again.

    “Dempsey. Brenda Tucker.”

    We both freeze. We don’t answer. We don’t even breath. I try not to think about what the punishment will be if we’re caught. Last time it was so awful. The shoes step closer again.

    My heart is beating too loudly I’m sure. I can feel Bren’s against my wrist, a desperate flurry. We’re both gasping silently.

    The shoes are still.

    Suddenly there’s movement and a face appears, Bren screams. Arms reach in and grab us, suddenly shooting at us and I scream too.

    “Boo!”

    “Dad! You scared the crap out of us!”

    He’s laughing, face grinning idiotically at us so I push him backwards. He lands on his bum and me and Bren crawl out. We huff at him, silently demanding an apology. His laughter subsides.

    “All right, back inside. You know you’re not allowed out before eight o’clock, you’ll disturb the neighbours. I’ve warned you about this before, Dempsey. We’ve tried making you two urchins sleep apart, am I going to have to say no more sleep overs at all?”

    1. Ishmael

      Nice job using first person present. Sounds like you’re from across the pond…would love to hear more details of the area and surroundings. Jolly good show, though. I enjoyed it. :)

  79. JRSimmang

    I wear pajamas. My girlfriend makes fun of me for it.

    It all started back before I started school. I would floss, brush my teeth, take a shower, towel off, and I would put on my jammies. My mother would buy me a new pair every Christmas and on my birthday. I had ones for hot weather (a breathable number from Patagonia®), and I had long underwear for the cold winter months. This morning, at around 3:15 a.m. I happen to be wearing my chili pepper pants. My shirt was lost in the midnight tossing and turning.

    I awaken to the sound of the doorbell ringing. And ringing. And ringing.

    I throw off the covers.

    My girlfriend tosses her arm over my chest and makes a sound similar to a lioness in heat. “Hmmrrrgggg. Who that?”
    Her faculties haven’t quite kicked in yet.
    “I don’t know, hun. I’ll check it out.”
    The doorbell rings again, and as I walk from my bedroom and grasp the handle of my Louisville Slugger I hear the urgency in the knocking on the door.
    I hear him first. Winston. He’s muttering something under his breath. When I peer through the eyehole, I can see him, distorted and bloated from the tiny window, with two packs and dressed in black.
    My fingers glide the deadbolt back into its seat and I squeak open the door.
    “Winston?”
    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and you need to come with me.” He speaks quickly and quietly.
    “What?”
    “I thought you might say that. It’s dangerous out here. Here,” he offers me the other bag, “take this.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “Hun? Is that Winston?” Grace has woken up.
    “Hey Grace. I need to borrow your boyfriend. I’ll have him back soon.”
    “Okay.” She yawns. “See you later.” Her faculties have obviously still not kicked in.
    I throw up my hands and Winston snatches my car keys from the bowl by the table and grabs me by the collar, pulling me out the door and into the humid night. “Can we take your car?”
    “Dude. What the hell is going on.”
    Suddenly, Winston’s attention snaps down the street. “Um, no time.” He turns back to me. “We move now.”
    He unlocks the car, making that little unlocking sound, and motions for me to get into the passenger. He tossed his pack into the back seat while I do the same.
    The car starts without hesitation. “You get better mileage.” He notices the fuel dial. “Sweet, almost a full tank.”
    He pops the car into reverse, squeals down the driveway, spins into drive and in 5.3 seconds we’re pulling 60 in a neighborhood.
    “Winston!” I shout. “What the hell is going on!”
    He looks into the rear view mirror. “Take a look behind us.”
    I spin in my chair making the car’s warning bell tone in.
    Behind us, the street lamps blast out. Houses look like they’re being swallowed by the night.
    “You dragged me out of my house, where I was sleeping soundly, attached to my girlfriend, to show me a power outage?”
    “Look closer.”
    I squint. The night is actually swallowing the houses. There is nothing but darkness down my street. Then, a small light, almost insignificant, illuminated the middle of the street. Then, a blue-green explosion.
    “And, did you really sleep well last night?” Winston looks over to me. “Because I certainly didn’t.”
    I sit back in my chair, my car finally placated. “So… what’s next?”

    1. Eliza

      That was kind of cool. I like the last line, the ‘did you really sleep well last night?’ It gives an edge to the sleepiness at the beginning, makes you rethink what you’ve read. Or at least it made me rethink.

      This is pretty tight. The contrast between your first POV character’s sleepy everyday and Winston’s edgy danger works nicely. I like the fact that you have give him a gun he obviously knows how to handle gives that later niggle of ‘did you really sleep well?’ an extra kick.

  80. filmguru86

    The porch light clicked on. It was a motion sensor light, Frank had installed it. He had to run a wire from the original porch light to the corner of the house near the carport. He said that he would find some piping to cover it and make the day glow orange wiring protruding from the house a little less noticeable. Francine didn’t hold him to it. At this point, Frank’s arthritis was so debilitating that she didn’t hold him up to much. He was meticulous about the lawn though, salivating over the zero point turning radius, front loaded mowers at the Home Depot. 

    Francine was closest to the window when it lit up. Ever since the neighbors had gotten their new cat, an old taby with signs of wear, she had gotten used to waking at odd hours. She might have complained but there was a certain joy to the peace at 4 a.m., she would fix a quick herbal tea and go out on the porch for a smoke. Phish, the pot smoking neighbor’s cat, would find his way to her lap and she would look out on her half acre and stroke his fur. 

    That’s when she heard a light tapping at the door.

    There was a slightly worn terry cotton robe hanging on the door to the bathroom, she grabbed it and hurriedly pulled it on as she walked up to the door. They lived so far out, no one could be knocking this late. And yet, a persistent tapping was definitely emanating from the door. She peeped through the curtains of the nearest window. She could make out Sarah’s silhouette, her breathe making small clouds in the early morning cold.

    “Sarah?” her beath fogged the window. She caught Sarah’sattention and shecame over to the window.

    “Franny? It’s cold out here can you let me in?”

    Francine made her way to the door. She made a quick decision, donned her slippers and slid outside. The air was tight and cold for a moment, it was early spring after all. 

    “What are you doing here? Did Derrick–”

    “Shh, no, it’s not that.”

    “Your kids, are they okay?”

    “No no, I don’t want to talk about that. Too much has happened Franny,” she rolled her head around and her dirty blonde hair fell in front of her face, “I’ve seen God.”

    “Are you high?” Francine grabbed her hands. 

    “Do you remember the story of Moses?” 

    Francine thought for a moment. Of course she remembered Moses. They had gone to church together all their lives. She had read the bible several times through. “Lead the Israelites out of Egypt and all that, yeah I know Moses.” 

    “He prayed to God to see his face and remember, do you remember?” Her head lolled back and forth like she was on ecstasy. “His hair turned white”

    “Yes, and?”

    “Well look.” she ran her finger through her hair. It wasn’t the sandy brownish gold that Francine remembered. It was stark white, it was young and healthy hair, not greyed or weathered, simply stark white.

    “Come with me Franny, let’s meet god together.”

  81. Imaginalchemy

    “Falcon, Sun, and Death”

    The last thing I expected to hear, after three minutes of my doorbell’s manic chirping jarred me awake from sleep and had me dragging my feet to the front door, was Horace’s voice saying, “Ray, man, need to borrow your boat.”
    Horace stood on my front porch in an Atlanta Falcon’s jersey and jeans, his eyes fixed on me as I struggled to blink open mine. I yawned widely. “Horace…the sun’s not even up yet. Why do you need my boat?”
    “Found out where that scumbag Seth is hiding. Grab some stuff and let’s get out there now.”
    I glanced down at my boxers and T-shirt that were my excuse for pajamas. Guess I’d have to get dressed.
    About an hour later, Horace and I were skipping over the choppy waves of the lake towards Duat, a small island right off the coast which harbored a seedy underworld of thugs and dealers. It was just the kind of place Seth would hide. Even the cops tried to steer clear of there if they could.
    “Horace, sit down, will ya? You’re rocking the boat,” I called back to him. But he stubbornly stood, his eagle-eye fixed on the strip of land forming out of the fog. He doesn’t say anything, but that look on his face expresses his thoughts clearly: I’m going to kill that son of a bitch.
    I slowed the boat down as we advanced on the island, quieting the motor. I forced Horace to look at me. “Look, don’t get in over your head. I know Seth deserves to pay for what he did to you…”
    “To my father, Ray,” he coldly corrected me. “Chopping him up and tossing his pieces throughout the lake qualifies him for a lot more than just ‘deserving to pay.’”
    “I know, I know. But there’s a reason he’s called ‘Death Seth,’ among other things.”
    Horace leans in until his beak-like nose is touching mine. “I’m not afraid of that pig. I’m not letting him get away again. Tonight, it’s over.”
    I stare into Horace’s eyes. Sometimes I can “see” how things will turn out for somebody, if I look deep enough into them. I can see that determination, that hunger, than unbending will in Horace, and something tells me he could steamroll over every miscreant on Duat.
    “Do what you will,” is all I tell him.
    I stayed behind on the boat, ready for a quick getaway in case all hell broke loose…which it did. The last image I remember is Horace barreling down to the shore, leaping on the boat, and screaming at me to go, and I could see the smoke rising above Duat’s trees, and the orange glow of fire dancing among the fog.
    I glanced at Horace’s blood stained jeans, his gashed-up body, and his crimson-soaked jersey in his lap, something rolled up inside of it. When we were well out onto the lake, he unrolled his jersey and dumped Seth’s severed head overboard into the deadly depths.

    *based on the Egyptian myth of the gods Re and Horus, seeking revenge for the death of Osiris*

    1. Icabu

      Great take on the prompt!
      While preparing for other desert adventures, I toured the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo back in the early 90s. Seeing a life size, fine red granite statue of Horus and Anubis, standing with one arm outstretched and palms touching, haunts me to this day. The abilities of those ancient peoples is amazing. The gaze of all the statues followed you throughout the museum – really!
      Great read!

      1. wolfgangpoe

        LOL – I submitted one yesterday on last weeks prompt also, same character…but I submitted fairly late. I’m referring to these and the photo prompt ones that I’m posting on my facebook as my daily “One Sheeters” BTW this one combines this prompt and todays photo prompt.

        Thank you!

  82. Eli_13

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

    Standing at the door in my pajama’s staring at my closest friend, Heather covered in blood and shaking uncontrollably.

    I don’t hesitate and grab my purse.

    Running to my car Heather says “You have to drive.”

    Heather is hunkered down in the passenger seat.

    “What the hell is going on? What happened?”

    Heather looks at her hands covered in dried rust colored blood. “I don’t know. I think I killed him.”

    ‘Him’ is Heather’s ex John. John stalked Heather for months. He hid cameras in her home, watched her day and night. Restraining orders were just challenges. He found ways around them

    “What’s the plan? Go to the police?”

    Heather staring out the passenger window says “No, no police. Just drive. Please, just drive.”

    Taking her hand in mine, I squeeze. Looking at each, her eyes are empty, void of light, she’s lost.

    “Tell me what happened.”

    Speeding down the highway Heather begins her story.

    “John was hiding in the house. Something seemed off so I looked around, I couldn’t find anything out of place.”

    “Heather, why didn’t you call me?”

    She shook her head.

    “I thought I was being paranoid. Sometime in the middle of the night I woke to find John standing over me. He’d been under the bed. Then he hit me and it went dark.”

    The blood was pounding in my ears.
    Heather kept talking.

    “When I came to I was in the deep freeze in the garage. He put me in the god-damned freezer Liz.”

    “How did you get out?” gripping the steering wheel, knuckles white.

    “There’s a safety latch.” Heather started laughing.

    “He was at the table eating a sandwich. He had tried to kill me and now he was eating!”

    “There was a roll of twine on the counter. I grabbed it and wrapped it around his neck. When he stopped moving, I took off your house.”

    I stopped the car and wrapped my arms around Heather.

    “It’s going to be okay. You’re safe.”

    The sun turned into the moon. Heather had fallen asleep miles ago. I pulled over again, went to the trunk where I kept an emergency bag. I’d been prepared for this moment for a long time.

    I made a U-turn and head to Heathers. I needed to be sure John was dead. I parked up the block out of sight. Slipping through the garage, seeing the new deep freeze. The kitchen door was open. John was not on the floor like I expected. Through the kitchen into the living room, John is sitting in a chair looking at wedding photos. Releasing the safety on the gun and I shoved muzzle into the back of John’s head.

    “You bastard!” I screamed pulling the trigger. John splattered around the living room.

    Back at the car Heather wasn’t there.

    I walk back to the house. I open the lid to the freezer. There she was. Bloody, beaten and blue. He had killed her after all.

    1. annefreemanimages

      Eli:
      Very interesting story. It was well done and convincing. I was sorry that Heather was dead. I’m assuming that Heather reached out to Liz in her dream? I enjoyed how you crafted the ending. Not an easy strategy to pull off.

      ~Anne

  83. wolfgangpoe

    …dong.

    Wha??? Rubbing my eyes, I look at the clock through a layer of sleep glazed cornia.

    DING DONG….

    Who the freaking hell rings my bell before the crack of noon?

    An insistent hand ponds on the front door.

    Someone who wants to be handed their intestines in a sack. That’s who.

    Crawling out of warm loving arms of my bed, I grab my .44 from under the pillow and stumble down the stairs to the foyer.

    “Johnny! Get up! We haven’t got much time!” Came the man’s voice from the other side of the door. Man’s voice…young man…squeaky pitch…Mikey. He should know better. I consider going back to bed.

    I consider shooting him through the glass door.

    Instead, I throw the bolt back and fling open the door just as he’s getting ready to fist it again. Instead he hits me. Looking up into my demon red eyes, he knows I’m not happy.

    “Pack a bag quickly. I have to get out of here now and need you to come with me.” He tries to push past me and get inside. He gets the same reaction as if he had tried to push an oak tree. In other words, I didn’t budge.

    “Now what the hell has got yer panties in a bunch, youngun’,” I asked as I made my way over to the kitchen to make some coffee. Mikey was excitable and I doubted that anything that got him riled up was to much to worry about.

    “Word is out that Burford’s found a way to send the Metal Man at you. You gotta get out.”

    I froze. So much for coffee. “The Vulcan?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t what I was thinking.

    “No. The Metal Man. In the park.”

    Damn. I hate when I’m wrong. Buford is controlling the golom. Twenty feet of scrap metal “art” that some student at the university art department had cobbled together, and then had accidentally animated when they were playing a LARP but using the wrong “spellbook.” That one was a bitch to put down before. After all, what do you do when a big iron statue is trying to Hulk Smash you. You run, that’s what you do. Luckily I had found the crystal the animating demon was using and had managed to force it back inside. The statue had been a decoration in the park ever since.

    “So, Buford has the crystal?,” I asked my street smart, and fidgeting apprentice. With a nod of his head, I moved over to the mantle and grabbed my staff. Headed to the coat tree and shrugged into my black leather combat trench, lovingly referred to as my “battle robe” and grabbed my kit from the closet. Turning to Mikey and said,” Hop into Matilda, Kid. We’re going Buford hunting.” In a few moments my flat black ’65 Charger roared down the street into the still to bright sun towards the Starbucks. After all, a Master Hunter still needs his coffee before whooping demon ass.

    (512 words – I could prob trim it to fit if I needed to)

    1. Wolfgang Poe

      (Part 2 of Jonathan Walker and the Metal Man)
      easypromt wasn’t a photo today – just words

      superficial . unexploded . brisk catnap
      preoccupied . unrepentant biped . childcare
      moustached martian . regenerated . overextended
      growled . wishful thinking . plastic
      —–
      Walking outta the Starbucks a short while later, it actually started to feel like the blood in my caffeine system was starting to un-coagulate… almost like a brisk catnap. Coffee. Great stuff. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t gonna be such a horrid day after all. I knew it was probably wishful thinking, but one can hope. Feeling a bit regenerated, we climb back into Matilda, roar outta the parking lot, and turn down 20th street headed to the Empire Building.

      Parking in the alley, we get outta the car and approached the oh so convenient fire escape stairs on the back of the building. Mikey, as oblivious as ever, started ahead, but I grabbed his shoulder. “Uh uh, Kid.” I growled. “Look at that line on the ground.” Childcare can be so daunting sometimes. Mikey saw the faintly drawn chalk line, reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic lunch baggie of sparkly white powder. Taking a big pinch he flings it into the air in front of us and grins at the electric blue sparks that filled the air.

      “They got wards, Whiskey”

      I grimaced at the nickname. I gotta have the cheekiest apprentice of any Hunter I know. Closing my eyes and concentrating for a second, I called on my magesight. Sure enough when I opened my eyes the whole building was encapsulated in a pulsing blue aura. Great. “He knows we’re coming, Kid.” Luckily the wards were just superficial warning wards, not protection wards or anything nasty. But I bet he’s not expecting me to come in from the Undercity. “Ok, so here’s what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna waltz right in the front door and head for the elevator. More than likely some rent-a-cops are gonna try and stop you. Let them.”

      “but…” I held up my hand silencing him.

      “You’re job is to keep them preoccupied while I go upstairs and deal with Buford. See, you’ll set off the wards and he’ll be lookin AT you instead of lookin FOR me.” Reaching into my kit, I pulled out a medallion on a silver chain. “That’s where this little doo-dad comes in, Kid. It’s a doppleganger charm. You put it on and for an hour or so, you’re me!” Pulling my atheme, I poked my finger and spread a drop of blood on the carved silver medallion. “Put it on.” I say while handing it over. He slips it over his head. Centering my thoughts for a moment, I place a finger on the amulet and intone “Assumere forma!” There’s a shimmer of light around Mikey, and then I’m looking into my own deep red eyes. With a chuckle, I hand him my cheaters and say, “Put these on. We haven’t got time to learn the glamour to change your eyes.” In truth though, I didn’t want either of our magic abilities to be overextended. I wasn’t sure what unrepentant biped rent-a-cops he might run into, and I didn’t want his abilities taxed in any way if he (or I) needed them.

      “Ok, Kid,”jerking my thumb. “Do your thing.” With a lopsided grin, I watched myself stride around the corner like I owned the place. I counted to three, then slipped down the alley to a grate that led to the Undercity. Pulling the grate off I slide down the ladder as silent as an unexploded bomb. “All right you mustachioed martian,” I muttered, “I hope my mini-me keeps you preoccupied, cuz your about to have a bad day.” Gripping my staff, I splashed down the tunnel into darkness.

        1. Wolfgang Poe

          Thank you! Hopefully I will develop the character into a couple of full length novels after I get to know him better. For now, just serialized daily short shorts. Please keep in mind, these are pretty much first drafts, so forgive the errors.

    2. Wolfgang Poe

      Jonathon Walker and the Metal Man (part 3)

      The guard looked up as the tall man in the black leather trenchcoat and sunglasses, came sauntering in the lobby and headed toward the elevators. Nothing to worry about, he thought. Then the red light flashed on his desk.

      “Sir, You’ll need to sign in.” he said in his “Official Voice.” The tall man pause, and turned with a lopsided grin.

      “Oh, really?” he said. “and why would I need to do that…um…Officer Thompson?”

      “I’m sorry, sir. It’s the rules.”

      The tall man came over and removed his sunglasses and at that point Officer Thompson saw why the desklight told him to slow this visitor down. This was no ordinary visitor and he hoped backup would get down here fast.

      The elevator door opened and 3 other men in security uniforms came out. “Mr. Walker! You need to come with us, please.” The lead officer ordered. “Mr. Buford would like to talk to you.”

      (I hope Whiskey gets up there soon. That way he can see me handle these doughnut munchers.) Mikey thought as he entered the elevator.

      I’m not as familiar with this part of the Undercity, but luckily I don’t have to go very far. As I round the corner in the wet brick tunnel, I come face to face with a poorly lettered sign. In the dim light I make out “No Trespas…Privite Proberty” it says. Articulate. Well I got places to be, so I trespass all over the tunnel beyond. For about 100 feet. Then hear the scream of rusted metal on metal. Oh hell. Not down here. Not now.

      Coming out of the dark on all fours was the Metal Man. Damn. Thrusting out my palm I shout “Obdurare caeli!” and with a pulse the air thickened into a barrier between us. I knew it wouldn’t hold long, but it gave me time to pull a Oral Roberts and get the hell out.

      I heard the grinding pile of junk behind me slow as it fought through the thickened air shield, which gave me just enough time to run back up the ladder into the alley above. Grabbing the grate I dropped it over the opening and pulled my wand out of the pocket it lives in. Pointing it at the edge of the grate I touched the ruby and said “Solaris ardere.” A white hot point of plasma made short work of welding the grate in two spots followed by a blast of winter after a slid my finger over to the sapphire and said “glacies flamine” Just in time to, the Metal Man appeared below the grate and ineffectually began beating on it. Just like last time, big and dumb, but strong so I didn’t hang out to watch. The grate should hold it for a while. Besides, the plans blown to hell and I gotta go get the Kid and deal with Buford. Pausing for only 2 seconds at the chalk line marking the warning wards, I thought “What the hell.” Crossed it and began pounding up stairs on the back of the building.

      (525 words)
      (c)2012 Wolfgang Poe

    3. annefreemanimages

      WolfgangPoe – Loved Johnny’s swagger. He is definitely cool. The opening scene was terrific – loved the line about shooting the apprentice through the glass door. That was great. I can tell that this is going to be a great character!

      ~Anne

      1. Wolfgang Poe

        Thank you…I’ve actually edited that a bit. It now reads

        “Johnny! Get up! We haven’t got much time!” Came the man’s voice from the other side of the door. Man’s voice…young man…squeaky pitch…Mikey. He should know better. I consider going back to bed.

        The bell rings again….

        I consider shooting him through the door.

        Instead, I throw the bolt back and open the door just as he’s getting ready to fist it again. Instead he hits me. Looking up into my demon red eyes, he knows I’m not happy.

    4. Wolfgang Poe

      Jonathon Walker and the Metal Man (part 4) – sorry – been delayed.

      It took a few more minutes to get up to the top than I would have liked. I really need to contact Alister about that short distance teleport spell. Reaching the top I slowed my breathing and brought up my magesite. Nothing. Hmmmm. I woulda thought that there would be some sorta protection on the door. Reaching out and gently turning the knob, I was again surprised that the door wasn’t locked. The hair on the base of my neck started to get all prickly and I got that little gut clench. Something was wrong. Way wrong. Buford is a bit paranoid and this just ain’t his style.

      Light lanced down the dark hallway as I cracked the door and took a peek. Nothing. No guards. I pulled my wand and gentle as your mommas voice stepped past the door and let it close behind me. Creeping down the hall toward the back door of Buford’s office, with every alarm bell I had going off, I still was caught flat footed by the metaphysical two ton truck that musta been dropped on my head. In other words, there was a pressure inside my skull and the world said “Say goodnight, Gracie.”

      When I quit with the staring at the darkness routine, I realized that I was tied to a chair. Cracking open an eye, I quickly assertained that I was in Buford’s office. Great. I got caught like a fresh green apprentice. Hopefully, the Kid didn’t. The groan beside me dashed that hope like a melon dropped on the sidewalk from the 13th floor. Opening my eyes and raising my head, I looked right into the eyes of Buford. Deep, all black eyes. I noticed other things, his glamour was off, so in addition to his pencil thin mustache, I saw his blue skin, and the greenish blue blood around the hole in his chest where his heart used to be. Yep, just keeps getting better. Wonder what’s next. Lucky for me, it didn’t take long to find out.

      “Walker.” whispered the voice through the room. The shadows in the corners deepened and began to move. Oh, hell.

      “Hello, Alex.” I said. “I see you’re into redecorating now. What beef have you got against Buford?”

      The shadows thickened and Alex brought himself together on the far side of the desk. “Oh, I have nothing against him Walker. He just had something I wanted.” He held up a silver chain with a large crystal that pulsed like a heartbeat. The Metal Man’s crystal. “I take it, you were looking for this too. Well, I’m sorry, but I got to it first.”

      Before I could open my smart mouth, I heard a voice shout “Subtus pressio!” The ring on my third left finger vibrated in harmony, but I didn’t cast the spell. That would be the kid. Alexander howled in pain before he exploded into shadow and faded from sight. Mikey was immediately behind me untying the ropes that held me to the chair. “He jumped me, Whiskey.” he said. “As soon as the elevator opened, the lights went out and I woke up in here tied to a chair. Good thing he didn’t know I used to be an escape artist!” The kid grinned and I shook my head. Here come the questions. “Where’d he go? Who was that? Do we need to scat?” The questions threatened to keep coming, but I held up my hand. First, you scattered him with that little surprise you pulled. It’ll take him a minute to get himself together.” Once I was loose from the chair, I scooted behind Buford’s desk and pulled open the curtains flooding the office with the afternoon sun. “That’ll make it harder for him to sneak up on us.” Spotting my kit, I hurried over to it and flipped it open digging around inside. “That was Alexander, he’s a Shadow Mage.” I said as I was digging.

      “Wha…” was all Mikey got out before I shouted “Ha! Found it!” Hurrying back over to Buford’s desk, I put down the little leather case I keep my potions in and flipped the latch open.

      “What’s a ShadowMage?” he asked. “Shouldn’t we be getting out before he comes back?”
      Knocking over a picture that showed some kid in a homemade martian costume, I leaned over the desk and uncorked a vial. Dumping the contents into Bufords open wound, I was gratified that the blue flesh began to fill in the missing pieces. “You are SO about to owe me one. On second thought, two.” The kid just stared at the healing taking place.

      “I thought he was dead!”

      “Naw, Bufords a demon. He’s immortal. It takes more than that to take him out.”

      There was a gasp and a harsh cough and Buford jerked back to to this reality. His black eyes stared into my red ones. “I’m going to KILL that bastard!”

      I held up my hand. “First we’re gonna have a little talk.”

      (853 words – WAY over)
      (c) 2012 Wolfgang Poe

    5. Wolfgang Poe

      Jonathan Walker and the Metal Man (pt 5)

      Buford sttod up, and shook himself, his features melting back into the slightly greying, impeccibly dressed business man facade that he favored. He then strode across his office, brushing us aside with all the subtlty of a powerful man thats holding all the cards at the table. He stopped at what was apparently a blank paneled wall and made a buzzing sound. Kinda reminded be of an angry beehive, but since I had heard demon language before, I figured this one was his. Sure enough, there was a clicking sound and a panel swung open revealing a room beyond. Not wanting him to give me the slip, I was right behind him.

      There was a slight tingle as I passed over the threshold, and the kid hit a solid wall and couldn’t cross. “Whisky!” he hollared. “I can’t get in!” Knocking his fist into the solid ward that was excluding him. Buford turned to look at him. “Sorry, youngster. Blood Wards.” He adopted a cheesy Chinese accent. “No demoney….no entree.”

      I looked at my disappointed apprentice. “It’s ok, kid. Just keep an eye out for Alexander. I’ll be right back.”

      Buford, meanwhile walked over to a bar and poured a couple of glasses of something. Handing one to me he threw his back like a pro. I gave mine the ol’ stinky eye. “What is it?”

      Buford looked at the bottle, then looked at me. “It’s green.” Then burst out laughing at his own joke. “I suppose I owe you thanks for the healing. So what can I do for you, Mr. Walker?”

      I sniffed and then drank the Martianian Whiskey, set the glass down and looked him right in the eye. “You know why I’m here. The Metal Man.”

      “The Metal Man?”

      “Yeah, The Metal Man. And since I don’t exactly live on Drury Lane, I wanna know why you sent him at me?”

      “I’m afraid you seem to have gotten you facts wrong, Mr, Walker. I did not send the Metal Man at you. I was engaged to send it at your apprentice.
      “What?” yelped the kid.

      Slamming my glass down on the table. “Why? Why the kid? You know that contracts on apprentices automatically draw in the Masters!”

      “Exactly,” stated Buford, calmly pouring himself another glass. “that’s why I put the word out on the street that the Metal Man was coming for you. I knew you would come.”

      I raised a finger to argue. Then put it down. Grabbed the booze and poured myself another glass too.

      “And I supposed that Alex was your client?”

      “No, Mr. Walker, I don’t believe he was.” He raised a finger, cutting me off before I could say anything. “But he was obviously the agent for whoever wanted the Harrath Crystal.”

      I threw back the drink in my hand. It just keeps getting better.

      (495 words)
      (c) Wolfgang poe 2012

  84. jincomt

    I like to ease into my mornings. So when the pounding at the front door started, I wasn’t very happy. Like the troll under the bridge of the Billy Goats Gruff fame, I wondered who dared cross my bridge of peace so early.

    I opened the door to my friend Daphne. Her auburn hair usually a mess of curls was even wilder than usual. She wore a colorful gypsy blouse and a long peasant skirt. Opening the door to her was like opening a door to a typhoon.

    “This better be good, Daph.”

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

    I looked past her to her lipstick red convertible parked in my driveway. “Seriously, girl?”

    Daphne pushed in my door, which I hadn’t quite opened wide enough for her, and shoved me up the stairs. “Go, there’s no time to waste. I’ve got to get out of here.”

    I stumbled up the steps. “Fine, fine. Go get yourself some coffee. On second thought, don’t. You don’t need it, but pour me some.”

    Truthfully, I was a little concerned. I mean Daphne is impulsive and God-love-her a bit wacked out, but this was a bit extreme, even for her. “How many nights?” I shouted down, already calculating the doozy of an excuse I’d have to come up with for my boss.

    “Oh Piper, I’m not sure yet. Coupla days. Just please, hurry.”

    “Should I be alarmed?” I shouted down again as I quickly threw in a couple of things from my closet, including my bathing suit, of all things.

    “Yes!”

    Now I really was nervous. Whatever had her worked up was scaring me. I sped up my process and ran down the steps practically tripping over my purse, which I snatched, as I hit the last step.

    “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go. You better start explaining,” I said as we headed out the door to her car.

    I was barely in the car before she started the engine and threw it into reverse. “Whoa! Daphne, what gives?” If I wasn’t before, I was certainly wide awake now.

    She drove in silence, pushing the boundaries of the speed limit—although honestly, that wasn’t that unusual for Daphne. She pulled onto the freeway with a fury of speed. My pony tail was flying behind me, her gypsy top flapping like a flag against her.

    Finally, she set the cruise control, heaved a big sigh and relaxed shoulders for the first time. Then she leaned forward and turned on her Ipod. Unbelievably, “Born To Be Wild” poured out of the speakers competing for airtime with the wind in my eardrums.

    “What the hell, Daphne?” I looked at her, incredulous.

    “Road trip!” she bellowed as she sang at deafening decibels.

    Rage bubbled up inside me. I had been frightened! “I could kill you, Daphne!”

    Daphne laughed. “Set the GPS for pools, hot men and martinis!”

    Now that piqued my interest. What the hell. I joined Steppenwolf, “Like a true nature’s child, we were born, born to be wild…”

    1. Ishmael

      ROAD TRIP! How many times have I heard those two words? Enough to know that this story read just like it happens! I loved a few choice lines…”Opening the door to her was like opening a door to a typhoon,” and, “Go get yourself some coffee. On second thought, don’t. You don’t need it, but pour me some.” Sounds like something I’ve said. You really know dialogue. Great story for (what I consider to be) a so-so prompt!

      Now aren’t you glad you packed a bathing suit? :)

        1. Ishmael

          Yeah, but even your wishy-washy isn’t a wash-out. I could sorta feel your heart wasn’t in this one, but even a half-hearted you still makes for a very fun read. Yes, you’re that talented, even when you don’t feel it! :)

    2. annefreemanimages

      Nice job, jincomt! You did a good job with Piper’s internal dialogue to keep upping the stakes in the story. Loved how she started out throwing in her bathing suit, although I would reconsider saying, “of all things.” That statement took me out of the moment, and made me think she was actually looking back, rather than the story being in the moment. Loved how you used “Born to be Wild” as the transition to the real motive for the event. Daphne’s line, about setting the GPS for pools, hot men and martinis is perfect. Fun story!

      ~Anne

  85. sprattcm

    “But…Coff…I haven’t had coffee. Jeff, I can’t go anywhere without coffee!”

    “I’ll throw together a pot of coffee – go, go!”

    “Oh for Pete’s sake, this had better be good,” I said as I shambled zombie-style upstairs. I threw together a weekend bag with the practiced efficiency of somebody who’d done this before, impaired by sleep deprivation and caffeine withdrawals.

    Two years ago, it was to catch a flight to Vegas on tickets he’d gotten ridiculously cheap the night before. Six months ago, it was pounding on my door at 2 AM because some once-in-a-lifetime celestial event was going down and he needed help moving his telescope. I had no idea what it would be this morning, but it was usually worthwhile.

    Another 7 minutes and 47 seconds passed, and I stood at the door with a duffel bag in one hand and a travel mug in the other. Jeff threw open the door as he dug for his keys. Any other day, a pirate standing on my doorstep with a deck of cards might have thrown me off my game, but today, Jeff was at my house.

    “Aw crap,” Jeff said.

    The pirate flipped a card and handed it to Jeff without a word.

    “Three of Clubs…isn’t this supposed to be an Ace of Spades or something?” Jeff asked.

    The pirate smiled, “Isn’t it?”

    Jeff and I both looked back down at the card which did in fact seem to be an ace of spades.

    “So it is,” Jeff cocked an eyebrow and looked back to the pirate, “Really? Really?”

    “I do birthdays too.”

    The pirate smiled and swept his hat from his head in a grandiose bow. As the pirate walked away, I turned to Jeff expectantly.

    “Let’s go. Change of plans,” he said. Moments later, the car was loaded and we were backing out of my driveway.

    “I normally wouldn’t ask, because it’s depressingly common to find pirates on my doorstep,” I ventured, “but this one seems personally distressing to you. You wanna let me in on the joke?”
    “Phil in marketing is trying to get me back,” he explained as he drove. I managed to nod both sagaciously and expectantly at once.

    “This week, the downtown Hilton is hosting YarrCon. I convinced Phil’s wife not only to attend the convention, but to go dressed as a…umm,” he squirmed uncomfortably, “…as a whore. Do you remember the significance of the ace of spades or the Black Spot?”

    I nodded as if I did.

    “In addition to costumes, panels, dealers and filking, there is a themed role play event that you and I have just been swept up in. The Black Spot means we’re marked men, my friend.”

    “Well, I guess I shall have to clear my calendar – hey stop at that Starbucks, will ya? I wouldn’t want to die tired.”

    1. annefreemanimages

      Spracttcm; Loved the line about pirates being depressingly common on my doorstep. Too funny! This story sounds like the beginning of what could be a blend of very funny and possibly dangerous happenings. So sorry it had to end!

      ~Anne

  86. WriterInHiding

    It’s 3:15 in the morning. Who in the world could be at the door at this hour?

    I grab the door knob and open the door with a quick tug.

    “Amelia? What are you doing here?”

    “Cory, quick we don’t have any time!” I stare at her there in her night clothes, covered in blood. Blood? What the . . .? It was at this moment I realize I’m wearing nothing but my boxers. I sense a twinge of embarrassment before remembering Amelia is similarly dressed; not to mention we’ve seen each other in less . . . a lot less. “Quick, pack a bag! Don’t wake Angelique.” But I must let my wife know I’m leaving. Even with all of our issues, it isn’t right to just leave her so abruptly without an explanation.

    “Could I just ask a few questions, Song Bird?” I stroke her shoulder trying to calm her.

    “No! Too many questions and it will be too late. It’s time. You and I have waited for this moment, now we have to make our move.”

    I stride to my room and rip my maroon knapsack from the top closet shelf. Could it be? Has the second round of population measures begun? Who will be eliminated this time? I rub the scar under my hair in the back of my head. Certainly not me? I slip into my favorite t-shirt and shorts, smashing items into my sack as I do so. I reach for my wallet, and realize it is no use. I won’t be able to reveal who I am, not to anyone. I step toward my bedroom door. It is at this moment I realize waking my wife won’t even be an option. Her pillow and our sheets are covered in blood. She has been selected.

    In the morning they will begin the pairing. I decide I want to make my own pairing, and I head out the front door into the waiting arms of Angelique.

    ”Let’s go, or we won’t last long,” I say. “The government won’t take kindly to us wanting to be together purely out of love . . . especially out of love.” We get into my car and race down the road, not knowing how long we will be able to live and love.

    1. annefreemanimages

      I hope that you won’t be a writer in hiding for long. Such an interesting take on the prompt. The story promises many things in a short time. You were able to communicate many concept quickly. Nicely done.

      ~Anne

  87. Rebecca

    The dream had its claws in me, unwilling to release me back to the land of the living. I could hear the chimes as the grandfather clock in the den rang over and over as if time had taken a leave of absence right on the midnight hour. I felt sluggish as I moved toward the mirror over the mini bar, drained of energy and might, making each step an excruciating reason to stay still. Eventually I made it but my reflection was not my own just as the chime of the clock was not the marking of a passing hour. My dream fought for continuity but the incessant peal of my alarm clock eroded the dream world as surely as the waves on a beach.

    Morning had come way too swiftly but even as I tagged the snooze button on the alarm something trigged in my mind that things were not what they seem. As I forced my eyes open I realized it was still dark even as my mind registered the time of 2:53 am. The dinging in my head got louder as reality crashed in on the last remnants of sleep awakening me to the fact that it was the doorbell sounding out the troublesome alarm and unfortunately there was no snooze button for it.

    Bleary eyed and in my Hello Kitty pjs, I went downstairs to answer bad news’s impatient signal, wondering all the while who it was in my life that could be on the other side bringing me the unwanted misgivings. I was shocked to find my best friend but it was the words that ran from her mouth like a runaway train that had my attention, if not my cooperation.

    “We need to go! Get a bag and some things! Hurry we don’t have much time.” She urged as she pushed me backwards inside so she could slam the door closed behind her.

    “What—“

    “No time…trust me!” She said as she made her way up the stairs two at time effectively leaving me in the foyer with nothing but fog in my head and questions in my mouth.

    I followed her up the stairs and within five minutes of me answering the door we were on our way down the road in her little Mini coup. Seizing the chance to get answers I again asked her what is going on.

    She shook her head as tears poured from her eyes and fear ran rampant across her face and just when I thought I couldn’t take the suspense any longer she finally spoke.

    “Something was released in the lab tonight.” Her softly spoken words fell in the silence of the car.

    When I didn’t respond she turned to look at me.

    “Correction,” I said, “it was released a week ago.”

    Sometime later as I cuddled in my comfy Hello Kitty pjs in the safety of my bed it was the echo of her screams that lulled me back to sleep.

        1. Shane_44

          As I made my way to the front door I noticed the sprinkler system had just kicked on. Through the French doors I could see the rotating heads sling the water on the desperately awaiting grass this June morning. This a occurrence that I rarely see since the system starts its cycle around 5:30 am, but do to the incessant ringing of the doorbell I was compelled to lift myself from my warm sheets to answer the door.
          I swung open to the door to reveal Cliff standing there with a certain amount of craziness in his eyes. The craziness was always present but this morning it appeared to be ramped up a couple of notches. “Grab a bag with clothes for 2 days!” he blurted out. We have to pulling out of here in the next 15 minutes or we are going to miss the boat departure in Savannah at 10:00am
          Cliff dropping by at odd times was nothing new but it usually came late in the evening when he was fueled up on Kettle One Vodka. This was a first for an early morning wake up call.
          “ Damn Cliff, what in tha hell is so important?”
          My Keurig coffee maker churned out its last drops before I swiped the cup from it grasp.
          “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what is going on and I finish this first cup of coffee.”
          Cliff began to answer, “All I can say is that I cannot do this without you, you know that you are my good luck charm.”
          “Is this about your gambling?” I asked knowing the answer all along.
          By the awkward shrug of Cliff’s shoulders I knew I was correct. We had grown up in the same neighborhood and I knew his affection for late night card games.
          The next thing I knew we were headed down I-16 to Savannah with less than hour to go before the boat departed. As we rolled into town and turned on to Victory Drive, the live oaks seem to be reaching out to grab the top of my car with Spanish moss dangling like tentacles. Cliff was shouting directions to the Marina.
          “Mary, you had to come because I would not win without you. Remember our trip to Caesars’s Palace last year? I was down 5 thousand until you came slinking across the room and whispered in my ear, that was when the night turned around. Within the next 45 minutes I had 15 thousand dollars in chips stacked in front of us.”
          Cliff yammered on about how this was a high stakes poker game onboard an exclusive yacht that was going to head out overnight.
          Although he was a pain in my ass we have had many great times together over the years.
          “Here it is, Here it is!” he squealed.
          We grabbed our stuff and sprinted for the dock. The boat was beautiful and I actually began to get excited. As we boarded the boat, a very good-looking man handed a flute of Champagne.
          “Senor Cliff, so very nice to see you again”
          He directed us down into the main cabin room. Cliff was starting to shake and become nervous as we entered the belly of the boat. As I turned, someone grabbed my throat and the room went dark.
          “Senor Cliff your debt has now been paid, you are free to go.”

    1. Anna M

      Short Story
      Oh, yes, yes, Oh, yes I said as he took me into his arms and swept me across the garden where the coach and 4 were waiting. The coach glowed in the silver moonlight and I felt like a fairy princess, As he tenderly sat me upon the fine Moroccan leather seats and slowly , oh so slowly began to unbutton my blouse. My heart was pounding, pounding and and….I began to realize it wasn’t my heart pounding , pounding it was the front door. “Whoever this is I’m going to kill you, waking me up right at the good part”. I grumbled as I made my way to the front door
      “Quit that pounding I hear you. Crap, a blind person could hear you, Ok, ok, so a blind person can hear. Just quick that pounding you’ve done enough damage as it is. I’ll never pick up that dream again. “
      I opened the door and saw that it was Martha Evans my best friend for almost all my life, all the way back to kindergarten.
      Before I could open my mouth to complain about the rude awaking, she grabbed me by the arm and pushed me further into the kitchen while she used her foot to kick the door shut.
      “Quick pack a bag, we got to get out of here and fast.” She was frantic and scary looking even in my sleepy state.
      “What are you talking about. You been drinking them Jell-O shooters again?”
      “We got trouble, real trouble, so get dressed, I don’t have time to explain, I’ll tell you about it as go. Just hurry.”
      “I can’t go anywhere I don’t have any clean underwear. I was planning on washing today . What if we have a wreck and I don’t have clean panties on! Not good, not good at all.”
      “Shut up and get moving we don’ t have time for this crap. Listen do you remember that night when we kinda saw something down on Beal Street in the parking lot? Are things getting clearer now? Remember?”
      “YOU mean ?” my voice was shaking.
      “Yep I mean. Now get dressed we got to move. I’ve found a place where we can hide out for a few days.”
      With that I jumped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt I found lyng on the floor and I said a pray that we didn’t have a wreck or got shot because I was going commando.
      Martha drug me out the door and into the car. Ninety miles an hour and 30 minutes later we pulled up in front of a dark warehouse. “Hurry get out before someone sees us.” With that reminder we ran into the dark building.
      “I cant see a thing, Turn on some lights Martha” The place was giving me the Willies.
      With that lights flashed on and I was almost blinded, As I stood in the middle of the warehouse I was shocked as 50 people jumped up and shouted, “Surprise Happy Birthday”

    2. annefreemanimages

      Nice job, Rebecca! Consider shortening the opening scene with the dream. It was nearly half the story – I would have liked more interaction between her friend and more at the end. Although, you did a really good job with the opening scene. It’s such a balancing act with these stories. I definitely wanted to know more about what had been released at the lab. Enjoyed the ending, too. Nice work.

      ~Anne

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