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Love Letter From the Future?

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You are 15 years old and, while still living with your parents, you discover a secret room in your house. It is filled with all sorts of strange things, but one thing in particular catches your eye: It’s a love letter to your mom from someone who isn’t your dad. What’s more peculiar is that it is dated five years into the future. Write a scene where you confront your mom about the letter.

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

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219 Responses to Love Letter From the Future?

  1. kaitlynalexis11 says:

    No one knows what love is anymore, it was bred out of the human race through the eons. It got in the way of progress. Love does not exist anymore to help alleviate anger and revenge, and not to mention rebellion. But every once in a while, a mutation occurs and a human child is born with the capacity to love. This child is very alone in the world and has to pretend that they are not different to survive.
    My name is Blaze, and that child would be me.
    Our silver ship, The Progeny, slices through the blackness of space as easy as a knife through soft butter. She left the confines of earth twenty years ago when The Dark Divide was almost upon the it and there was no choice but to leave. Only so many could fit on the ships and no one knows what has become of those that were left behind. Picked by lottery, they said. I have reason to believe differently; actually I am holding that reason in my hand right now. If I get caught, well, let’s just say, the airlocks don’t always work right and people tend to…disappear.
    I was born on this ship fifteen earth years ago. Children grow up fast and are born for one purpose, to breed. We don’t know who our fathers are; no one cares to ask, but I am positive that I know who mine is. There is only one male-mate that shares my bright blue eyes. This is the only thing we have in common though, but I know it must be him. He is the Keeper of the Peace, strict enforcer of the Living Code, doled out in physical punishment. The monstrous battle scar across his forehead tells all.
    My mother goes about her tasks dutifully, as all good female-mates do. I will become an official female-mate on my sixteenth birthday. I am expected to fulfill my duties, populating the ship in preparation for our destination, Planet G463, Zarabeth Base.
    I never thought life could be any different, until I read the love letter sent to my mother. Attached to this letter is a roster of the original five hundred people picked for the Progeny’s voyage, and why. This was no lottery like they said. My mother has never been careless, ever, yet leaving this letter in her sleep pod, tucked inside a copy of the forbidden book “Rom and Jul” was as careless as can get. The Living Code demands I turn her in.
    How can I turn in my own mother?
    Careless of me to take her book and letter, mother now knows that I know. I left my own secret writings in the hidden compartment I found on the engine deck. Maybe someday someone will find them and know that I existed. Whoever finds them might even get a chance to read in my point of view of what love is.
    They come for me now, I hear them. The bells on the boots of the Keeper of the Peace signal his arrival. “For Whom the Bells Toll,” I think, my face twisting, as I never understood that saying before now. There is nowhere to hide, or run, so I turn to face my fate.
    “Pull yourself together and come with us,” mother says, roughly pulling me alongside her and the Keeper.
    “You’ve passed the test, but we can’t talk here. Hush. I’ll tell you everything soon. Your destiny is not what you may think.”

  2. Echo_ave says:

    I didn’t mean to snoop. Really, it wasn’t my fault that an old key appeared on the table. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know it would unlock a cramped, hidden room under the stairs. What I uncovered would quickly unravel a mystery that had been put into motion twenty years before my birth, changing who I thought I was forever. Strangely, it all began quietly, like any other day. At fifteen, I was just beginning to realize that life was not like the movies.
    Real life is much stranger.

    Megan Kingsley drew her breath. Around her lay the clutter of passing years, locked inside a secret room underneath the staircase. There were tiny glass orbs, empty snow globes, and other curious things. It was as if another life had been stored away, kept out of sight where it would never be discovered.
    But why? Who brought all these things here?
    Perhaps it was the man who had written a letter, a love declaration to her mother. Did her parents have a secret life? Perhaps it was her mother who… her mother!
    Megan gasped as if caught inside a secret, hearing the front door jingle just feet away. Her mother was home from work. Quickly, Megan climbed out of the small closet-sized room, holding the letter tightly. As Mrs. Kingsley entered the large mansion, Megan lifted the worn paper, desperate to know more.
    “Mom, what is this?”
    Mrs. Kingsley’s eyes seemed to crumple at the sight of the letter. “I’m sorry, dear, you were never supposed to know. Did he contact you? Is he back?”
    “Who?” Megan’s eyebrows jolted higher.
    “Your father.”
    Megan blinked. “Dad’s—”
    “Sweetie, I did what I had to do to — to protect you. I should have known he would have returned. I knew your birth father wanted to visit you. It — it’s in his blood. I was so afraid you would get it too.”
    Megan sat down, still clutching the letter. She had been about to say that her father was upstairs, asleep. “What?”
    Mrs. Kingsley gasped, a shudder shaking her shoulders. “He — he said it was something in his family line, messed up DNA or something. One day he was there, and then he simply wasn’t. He isn’t like others, Sweetie. There isn’t something… normal about that family. Your family. They’ve always been able to — to shift.” She dabbed her eyes.
    “Shift what?” Megan asked, hardly believing what she was hearing.
    “Time, dear. The Ciel family has always been able to shift through time.”

  3. Adry says:

    “NO! JUST GO AWAY!” She shouted at her mother, before running off blindly. She ran upstairs and past her father’s room, and into the attic…her sanctuary. She threw herself down on her silk adorned bed. She was horrified by what she had found.
    The room was beautiful, its rich browns, reds and golds inviting her in. It was warm and filled with secrets just waiting to be discovered, but there was one in particular she didn’t want to find. One she didn’t understand.
    The room was filled with dust covered books, and scattered papers, book shelves covered the walls, except one, where a fire crackled in the hearth. A slick wooden desk was placed in front of two leather couches, and upon it was a single letter and rose that lay in waiting. She had walked over there, curiosity getting the best of her as she picked up the letter and read the elegant writing. She knew it was wrong to open it; it was not addressed to her, but rather to her mother. Nevertheless she slid her finger under the slip and torn it open, pulling out the thick parchment.
    “I know I should not be writing this to you my sweet, but I feel like this maybe the last. We both know what we feel should never be spoken of and Victoria is becoming more and more suspicious of my late-night arrives to bed. I fear we may be caught. I do not wish harm upon you or your beloved family, and I know I should have stopped days ago, but I simply wish to express to you, for the last time, my everlasting…” she paused not wanting to read on, not wanting to see that one word that seemed to linger in the fridged air, despite the fire. Love. Another man, most definitely not her father, was writing of love to her mother. With a shuddering breath she looked down at the letter again, now shaking in her trembling hands. She scanned it in search for a date, hoping…wishing it was not recent. With a shocked gasp the letter slipped out of her hands, floating down like a feather back on the desk. The letter couldn’t have been sent then! It was impossible, for it was not even 1861 yet, but merely 1856! And-and for it to be sent by the prince! She looked down at it again and again read the name. Albert. Prince Albert.
    “Elizabeth? Elizabeth where are you?” Her mother had called out to her, but she was too shocked to answer. Her mother walked in, and froze at the sight of her daughter and the incriminating letter.
    Her door opened with a soft squeak, snapping her out of her reeling thoughts. She turned to see her father standing there, confusion clear on his face, and when he spotted her tear streaked face he went rushing over to her.
    “What has happened my dear?” He whispered. Nodding her head, she decided to tell him.

  4. CLKone says:

    “Jeremy, Are you going to write it?”
    “Yeah.” I blink moisture and start tapping keys.
    …You really wanna know what brings a 15 year old track star and academic ace to tears? Suit yourself. But holding me hostage in this cubicle until I “sort my feelings” on paper is real nasty. I’ll do Mr. Z proud, though, even if he never sees me in English class again.
    That day I ran out of the house, crazy with confusion. The crumpled letter in my jeans pocket scraped my thigh. Questions clawed my brain. Nothing made sense. Not the attic space, not the chrome gadgets, not the psycho-babble book, or the gibberish charts on the floor. Not the metal container with Captain Kirk’s wardrobe miniaturized. Ridiculous.
    By the time I got home I was planning a supper showdown at the O’Connell corral. Mr. Z would like that one. The attic had to be a joke. My run had restored my balance, I thought.
    At supper, I tugged the letter out of my pocket and tossed it onto the table right between the chicken casserole and the Ceasar salad. I expected Mom to harp me about my table manners, or maybe wink because I had discovered the joke, but she froze. Even crumpled the sheen of the envelope caught the light and sparkled. That alone should have got some response.
    I gulped a swig of my milk and felt my cheeks heat up like a radiator. Mr. Z would like those words too. Dad looked like a granite statue. His past words echoed in my head. “Jeremy, be direct and honest. No good comes from avoiding difficulties.” I wondered what he would think about this letter.
    Mom cleared her throat and looked me in the eye. “What’s that Jeremy?”
    She was asking ME? “A letter, Mom.”
    Her lips attempted a smile, “From a girl? One of your classmates?”
    My head ached. My ears pounded like the drum line at assembly.
    “No.”
    Dad turned. “Don’t keep your Mother in suspense.”
    I breathed deep and exhaled, “It’s a letter to Mom from some guy named Hector dated on my 20th birthday. I read it. All. I found it. In the attic. Is it true? What it says?” “Mom?”
    Dad didn’t even flinch. Mom didn’t either for that matter. I don’t remember anything but the look. Their eyes really did say it all, no joke. Sorry Mr. Z for the cliche. And now I’m supposed to start calling Dad Mr. Paris? This is ridiculous ….
    “How you doing, son? Finished with your sorting?”
    “Don’t call me that.”
    Dr. Hamlyn nodded. He almost seemed sorry, but I doubt he makes mistakes with words.
    “You know, your real father is still alive. When you are ready, your Mother and Mr. Paris will explain everything.”
    Great, more moisture to blink.

  5. smiles2much says:

    Excellent! What Jeanie said. I would love to read more.

  6. jenahaidar says:

    This room is impossible! A secret room? Why did my parents keep this from me? I suppose they might be waiting for a special time. Maybe I shouldn’t be here. Guilt began to overwhelm me but my curiosity was far to strong to turn back. The room spinned around me, I didn’t know where to start! There was a particular set up about this room that I could not quite understand. Things stood together beautifully arranged seperatly from many other arrangements. It almost looked like a museum. I walked over to my first choice. It had a lovely romantic look to it. This particular set up lit with red lighting. The glimmering crystal table centered under the light was covered with rose petals. Beneath the table was a flawless red velvet carpet just big enough for the table to lay perfectly on top. I was mesmerized by the sight, slightly doubtful that my mother and father could have pulled this off. When I finished taking it all in I focused my attention on the main display. Framed in the center of it all was a letter. Feeling the excitement rise inside of me I realized that this letter could hold the answers. I leaned forward and began to read the letter. To my surprise it was a letter written to my mother. They are behind all of this! I continued reading. A love letter? To my mother? As i reached the end i began to panic. My thoughts scattered so fast, I could grab ahold of even one. This letter is not from my father! And even more puzzling, it has been dated 5 years into the future. How could this be? I took the letter out of the frame and folded it into my pocket. I had to go find out the meaning of this… I must confront my mother. I crawled out of the small space that led me into the secret room and went up the stairs in search for some answers. My mom was standing at the sink looking out of the window, smiling at my younger sister and father playing together out back. “Mom?” I asked in a shaky voice. “What is it hunny” she looked at me with concern. “I have to talk to you about something I have discovered.” She looked back at me puzzled. “Okay…” I reached into my pocket. “Well you see mom, I found…” I franticly searched my pocket for the letter. I must have dropped it. “Found what sweetie?” She asked. “Um… mom, i found the secret room. And a letter to you that was from another man.” She laughed “what in the world are you talking about? Where is this letter and where did you find it?” I looked again in my pocket. “It was right here, I must have dropped it. Come with me and I will show you.” Her uneasy facial expression was hard to read as she followed me to the basement. Could it be horror of what I have discovered? I searched the floor on our way down. “I found it in there” I pointed to the spot I had crawled through. She walked over and began pushing on the walls. “Is this one of your pranks.” I felt the blood rush out of my face. I got down to where the entrance was and put my hand against a solid wall. “Mom I swear! It was right here! I crawled through right here into a secret room!” I pleaded. “Oh hunny, you have always had such a vivid imagination.” She smiled at me. “I have to get back upstairs and start dinner.” As she walked back up the stairs I shouted out “it was real mom! It was dated 5 years into the future, made out to you, and signed by a man that is not my father. Please believe me.” I guess the part about it being a letter from the future didn’t help in convincing her of what I had seen. I heard her playful laughter carry up the stairs. Hours went by and I was still sitting on the ground trying to figure out a logical explanation. Could I be going crazy? No, it was all to real. I eventually dazed off so far that i fell into sleep against the wall. When I woke up, there on the ground was a blank folded piece of paper and a rose petal. I knew it was real! I pushed on the wall again and got nothing.
    5 YEARS LATER:
    “Mom there are flowers at the door for you” She walked over to them joyfully and opened the card attached. When she opened the letter I was in disbelief. This was the letter from the room I had found 5 years ago. How is this possible? The rose pedals, the same as the red roses that sit in front of her, 5 years later, from the man she has been seeing after my parents divorce. I was in complete awe. Did I step into a room that held small pieces of our future? Although the thought did not logically register with me, deep down i knew that this was exactly it. Everthing in that room that i had walked into 5 years ago was set up to display marking points of the future. Impossible? No incredible.

    • jenahaidar says:

      Sorry, first attempt at something like this and after reading the others I realized I followed directions poorly. I was supposed to just start at the part where the mom is confronted but I got a little carried away in imagination. I didn’t edit. I wrote more with a creative idea at mind. I’m not a good writer yet but I’ll keep working at it and learning more as I go.

      • jenahaidar says:

        And I apologize if I went over 500 words, I am using a hand held tablet. I typed it out on here and hit submit. I couldn’t scroll up easily to see what I wrote. :)

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hi Jena…welcome to the prompts! :) I too am relatively new, but have learned a lot from some really good writers on here! (and have a lot left to learn!)

      My first submission I went WAY over the word count and another writer very nicely explained to me the purpose of it (as I thought my story was just fine at 1200 words!) Learning editing skills cuts the fat and forces you to include only the necessary elements of the story. It makes a thoroughbred story as compared to a Clydesdale. Also, if we all wrote novels, we couldn’t get through them all in a week! Your story at 894 is heavy. Look it through and decide what isn’t needed to tell the story.

      You can always let another read it before posting to see what questions/reaction/issues they see before posting.

      I am stealing this (because it is such good advice, and funny!) from BleuVenom: Cut up that meatloaf of a paragraph into slices, makes it easier to read.

      Also, the prompt is just an airport…fly off in any direction, but stay in the plane! You will see many veer off in surprising directions, which makes it all the more interesting.

      Your story was nice, but it left a lot of questions. Why did this happen? Was she special? Will it happen again? Why the one time? How did it happen? etc…

      I hope this helps!

      • jenahaidar says:

        Thank you so much Jeanie, your comment was very helpful.

        I was a little nervous to read any feedback but your insight has encouraged me to continue trying.

        Thank you for the great advice, I appreciate it very much!

        I cut up this response in an effort to carry out your advice :p

  7. radioPanic says:

    “Who’s Marcus?”

    Mom turns from the window, blinking outside’s infinite gray from her eyes. “Hmmm?”

    “Marcus Ak… Aklaklak.” The name resembles the perpetual deep, rocky grind of the Gulf, kept barely at bay by dad’s humming contrivances mounted at every corner of the house.

    Mom extends a hand. “What? Where’d you get that?”

    I shrug, handing her the love letter. “New Room.” I jab a thumb over my shoulder. “By the stairs.”

    Her brow furrows. “Your father checked it out?”

    I don’t answer.

    Mom’s eyes go wide. Her fists hit the table, crumpling the letter. “Jason..!”

    “What? New Rooms are always stable for a while.” I point to the letter. “See the date? That’s five years away.”

    Mom looks back to the letter, head shaking.

    “Means there’s hope. Right?”

    She slaps fingernails to the page. “Nothing we find in New Rooms means anything.” Her shoulders slump. “The singing rocks, the 1857 Monda Toviko service manual, the birdcage full of miniature pterodactyls. They mean nothing.”

    “But it’s got your name on it. It’s close!”

    Shaking her head, mouth open, she blinks at the page. “There was a… Mark Ackerman… in high school. Before I met your father. Science geek won out over the music geek, that’s all,” she says with a faraway smile that drops away. “The issue is, you cannot enter a New Room before your father checks it with the Herrick gauge! Remember what happened to Lucy?”

    My eyes pinch shut, remembering: my Yellow Lab that snuck off during the night, pushed into a New Room; the wolf-thing, next morning, yellow only in its eyes, that skirted baseboards, hunched and snarling until we’d guided it outside.

    I clutch a chair, white knuckled. “The hell happened to the world?”

    “Kiddo, your dad can explain—”

    “No he can’t! …He’s tried five times. I still don’t get it.”

    Mom reaches, grabs Lucy’s old squeaky ball from under the table, motions at a chair.

    While I sit, she pulls a skewer from a kitchen drawer. “Okay,” she says, holding up the ball. “This surface represents the universe, in two dimensions. Now, when the Esteemed Dr. Herrick invented the Herrick Drive, it let us get from point A to point B,” she says, touching the skewer to two spots on the ball, “without crossing the space in between.” She traces the path between points. “Now. What’s the only way to accomplish that?”

    She drives the skewer in one side and out the other.

    When the ball squeaks, I almost lose it. “…So we broke the universe.”

    Mom nods, sets the skewered ball down. “We broke the universe’s rules. So it just… stopped enforcing them.”

    It takes a while to speak. “…So the letter means nothing.”

    She frowns at the letter, then looks out at the gray. The Gulf scrapes and rumbles past the house. “I don’t know,” she finally says. She stands, holding the page, reaching for my hand, nodding toward dad’s study-slash-workshop. “How about we ask the Esteemed Doctor himself?”

    • Jeanie Y says:

      What a super story Radio…Wow! Loved this!

    • Ishmael says:

      Good story, Radio. “Broke the universe.” Ha! I liked your concept…you have such a wonderful imagination and this was such a fun read. I want to caution you about the use of italics, though. I got on an italics kick one time (like you, I wanted certain words said a certain way) and I was harshly penalized by my professor. “Let the reader emphasize the words,” he said.

      From the Chicago Manual of Style: “Overused, italics quickly lose their force. Seldom should as much as a sentence be italicized for emphasis and never an entire passage.” They are to be used sparingly. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a beautiful building, but it would quickly lose its charm if there were seven other buildings around that leaned, too. That’s also the case with italics. There are valid reasons to use italics, but for emphasis’ sake, keep it to a minimum. Otherwise, they become too common to do any good. :)

      • wilson hara says:

        Oh! Loved it, radiopanic.

        • radioPanic says:

          Jeanie, Ishmael, wilson, smiles: thank you all.

          Ishmael–oof– you’re right about the italics. Kinda got carried away. My usual process is just to go nuts with italics in the first draft, then decide if each one is necessary and straighten a bunch out during editing. Could be I’ve got it all backwards. Maybe I’ll try leaving ‘em all out on the next 1st draft. And then….

          Thanks!

  8. Karlie says:

    I never meant to stumble on this letter.
    Tears fill my eyes, dripping off my chin, and I carefully move the paper away so I don’t stain it. If only I’d been content to stay away.
    It’s addressed to my mother, from someone named Harry. When I touch the paper, I feel all the details of their relationship.
    You see, I was born with a strange ability. When I touch something that is incredibly important to someone else, I can feel the history of that item.
    And the history of this one is unquestionably the saddest one I have ever experienced.
    A strangled sob escapes my throat, and I press a hand to my mouth to muffle the sound.
    I’ve always wondered who my father was…now I know.
    And I can’t stop here, not now. I have to know the whole story, no matter how much it hurts.
    I reach down and pick the letter up, bracing myself against the secrets about to be revealed.
    Instantly I’m transported through time, seeing something that happened four years after I was born.

    Dearest Linda,
    If you’re reading this, the year is 2017. I hope you and Eve are well. It’s hard to think of my little girl as being a grown woman.
    Linda, we shared so much in so little time. Five years is a poor substitute for forever, isn’t it? But I don’t regret anything about them.
    I wish things could have been different. If I’d have known I’d find someone like you, I would’ve changed a long time ago. But it’s too late for people like me.
    Tell Eve about me when the time comes for you to open this letter. Tell her everything, and don’t spare her the details. But tell her I loved her, Linda. Tell her how I loved you both.
    And though my life was a miserable waste of the time I was given, tell her I died a hero.

    Love,
    Harry

    My tears are falling faster now, and I make no attempt to control them. Harry has portrayed himself honestly; his past was undesirable, to say the least.
    But he did die honorably. He sacrificed his own life to save my mother’s and mine when the World Trade Center collapsed.
    My father was right.
    He died a hero.
    I hear a quiet sob behind me, and I scramble up and whirl around. “I’m sorry, Mom,” I cried, flinging myself into her arms.
    She holds me, staring into space, and I know she’s remembering Harry.
    Together we reseal the letter and put it back, where it will wait until the time is right for my mother to read it.

  9. Miss Alex says:

    Mother was sitting in the den reading. She shoved a hardback copy of Fifty Shades of Gray behind her back, as if I was going to care that she was reading erotica. Like mother like daughter, I have a secret behind my back too.
    “We need to talk,” I said. She looked at me and gave me the same look as back six months ago when I caught her smoking a joint in the walk-in closet. I told her I wouldn’t tell Daddy if she let me hit it. It worked.
    “I found this!” I pull out this letter right? This weird-ass letter from this this weird-ass room. It was like a bunker, like that show Preppers where they got all this survival stuff buried in their backyards, but instead I found whips, chains, toys- you know stuff to give a kid a nightmare, if you know what I mean? And this letter. I read it. Had to. Hell, how could I not?
    “What is that?” She clearly didn’t know. I could tell she didn’t have a damn clue as to what it was.
    “It is a love letter from Pierre dated for 2017. What is this Ma? Says that he knows you love him, that you were getting married once. Not Daddy but Pierre? Who in the hell is Pierre? And why is it dated for 2017 when it ain’t but 2012?”
    “You see there was this time machine that I found when I was your age. It was a man-sized box, and I stepped in. Being nosey, you know? Just like how you we’re being nosey when you read my letter. I was being nosey too. There was a keypad on the inside with the digits 0-9. I dialed the numbers 2017 in the keypad. Just sounded good you know? 2017. Had a nice ring to it. So when the door reopened, I stepped out and there was this gorgeous young man in a speedo and I was at the beach. We got to talkin’, made love, drank this mixed drink of the future and basically fell in love.” She chuckled, nearly falling out of her lazy-boy in hysterics. Scared me, like my freaking mom was losing her mind and I was too. What in the hell was a teenager to do?
    “WHAT MOM? WHAT IS SO DAMN FUNNY?”
    “I’m s-s-orry,” she burst out laughing again and this time did fall out of her chair. I didn’t think it was funny. Not one bit. I thought she had smoked her another one, but I couldn’t really tell.
    “Pierre was a schizophrenic at WSU. Thought we were robots in the future. Said he was going to carry me away to a place where we could live forever as married robots. That was back in the ‘90’s. Met him right before I met your father. Beautiful man, I mean really beautiful. But crazy as hell. Just thought it made a good conversation piece if you now know what I mean?”

  10. Jeanie Y says:

    Good story pagelett! Wondering what they are protecting her from? hmmmm….maybe another prompt could keep this going.

  11. pagelett says:

    I walked down the stairs, each step halted and uncertain, most of my attention on the handwritten words of love scrawled across the creased paper in my hand. My eyes kept going back to the beginning of the letter where My El could only mean my mother and then to the bottom where Love, Caleb was definitely not my dad. I tried to ignore the top right of the page were the date was five years in the future. It had to be a mistake, but as my mind tried to remind me of the other strange things I’d found in the same hidden room, a fuzzy knot kept my lungs from expanding.

    My feet unexpectedly hit the bottom of the stairs and the sound of my mother’s voice sent my heart racing. I felt the urge to slip out the front door, but the stubborn streak I’d always thought came from my dad had me forcing my steps to move toward the kitchen.

    Some teenagers wanted to find out they were adopted, that they had no real connection to their parents. Not me. I felt sick at the thought of learning my dad wasn’t my dad.

    My mother looked up as I walked in; when she spotted the letter in my hand I knew my world was about to be shaken. She looked down at the white tiles of the island and said, “I’ll have to call you back,” to whoever was on the phone. I watched her chest expand and fall several times before she spoke again.

    “What do you want to know first?” Her hands gripped the edges of the tile.

    Saying the words was almost too difficult. “Is dad my father?”

    The wrinkles at the corners of her eyes deepened. “No.”

    I crumpled the letter and my mother winced.

    “Is Caleb?”

    She nodded gently. “Yes.”

    I threw the crushed paper on the floor, too many thoughts in my head for words to come.

    My mother took a deep breath. “James is your uncle. He’s Caleb’s brother. He’s been helping me protect and raise you since we came here.”

    “What are you talking about? Dad’s been with us since before we moved here.” I still couldn’t think of James as anyone other than my dad.

    She looked me in the eyes. “I know you saw the date on that letter, Jayme.”

    I pretended not to know what she was talking about.

    The front door opened and my dad called out. “How are my beautiful ladies?”

    Neither of us said anything. When James appeared in the doorway, he took in the scene, noticed the crumpled letter, and instantly knew what had happened. He looked at me as if he wanted to wrap me in one of his big hugs, but he didn’t.

    “I guess it’s time we had a talk about time travel and destiny,” he said.

    My mother closed her eyes and a tear fell onto her cheek.

  12. smiles2much says:

    Even 85 years of experience did not prepare me for what the letter contained. Despite inhabiting an energetic 15-year-old body, my strength failed me, and I collapsed into a wing-backed chair. How could she? How could my daughter—though she masqueraded as my 38-year-old mother—betray her family, her destiny? We are Merlins! We live backwards so that we may save the future from the mistakes of the past. By necessity, we keep to our own. But the letter, dated five years in the future, meant that five years ago, Jewel fell in love with a mortal, someone who lives forward in time.

    I rose and paced. As matriarch of the Baccarin clan, it was my duty to report her to the Greenwich Council. She would be made to answer for her folly, but then who would care for me? Regression is a tough taskmaster; soon, I will be infantile, full of wisdom, but unable to communicate.

    Perhaps mortals and Merlins are not so different, after all.

    The slam of the screen door startled me out of my reverie. “Mother? Helloooo!” Before I could react, the bookcase door opened wider. Jewel stepped into the once secret room. The questions died on her lips when she saw what I held. She dropped into the antique chair, despair written on her face.

    My anger vanished. I asked softly, “Jewel, who is Adam?”

    “A man.”

    “Yes, but not your husband/my father. Who is he?”

    “I loved him.”

    I sighed and picked up the letter’s envelope. As I did so, something fell to the floor. Picking it up, I observed that it resembled a broken coin. The symbol was incomplete, but I recognized it immediately.

    “You gave a mortal man a time talisman?”

    Suddenly, the coin flared in my palm and a handsome face appeared. “Jewel, Nathan needs you. Please come back.” The holographic image disappeared and the room returned to its dark and musty state.

    “Who is Nathan?” I demanded.

    “Our son,” Jewel whispered.

    “A half-mortal. So, those nine months when you were ‘traveling,’ you were actually living forward.”

    She nodded, her eye still fixed on her hands.

    “You realize that if you go now, you will have only nine months. No more. Ever.”

    “Yes.”

    I inhaled deeply and let out a long, slow breath. “Five years old. His power is maturing early.” I stood and looked down at my lovely daughter. “You must go.”

    For the first time since she saw the letter, Jewel looked me in the eye.

    “Half-Merlins can be either a force for good or for evil,” I said. “If you don’t train him now, we could have another Hitler on our hands.”

    “Oh, Mother!” Jewel wrapped her arms around my thin, adolescent shoulders.

    I pulled away and held her face in both hands. “Knowing you, you birthed another Martin Luther King, Jr.” I kissed her cheek. “Now, go.”

    Jewel picked up the coin, muttered the incantation and tossed it. Before it hit the ground, she was gone.

    • pagelett says:

      Interesting twist on the time travel concept. Though I understood the jist, I think the details I would like to have would need a higher word limit. I liked the conflict, both present and hinted at, and think this could be expanded into a longer story–though the limitation of nine months might make for a rather sad ending.

      • smiles2much says:

        I agree! I felt very limited. It was tough to cut back and still make the concept clear. For some reason, I usually go for the heart-wrenching side of things. Guess the tendency towards the morbid balances out my generally cheerful disposition. :)

    • handyman43127 says:

      I also liked the concept and agree that the story deserves more words to allow the reader to be able to understand what is happening much easier. Good job.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hey smiles…this was great! I love the idea, very clever.
      Super line: Perhaps mortals and Merlins are not so different, after all
      I really enjoyed this story, read it twice!

    • Ishmael says:

      No one can Smile2much! :)

      My mind is coming out of spin trying to conceive how all of the backward and forward living works. This was a GREAT concept. I love the way you delivered it…nice phrasing, and I liked the Hitler and MLK examples of Half-Merlins on each side of the spectrum.

      I hate the word limit in cases like this, though. I ended up having to just “accept” things instead of truly believing them. Accept that this was the way it was without a thorough understanding of how it all works. I don’t understand why it’s only nine months that she can return. There were a few holes that I know further expansion would clear up…you did a great job with what the limit allowed!

      • smiles2much says:

        Honestly, my head was a little spun trying to figure it out too. This could be a longer story, but it will take me awhile to fill those holes. My thinking is that Merlins are born at 100 years old and regress backwards to infant stage and then die. Being pregnant with a half mortal forces them to live forward, so the baby can grow. I was thinking that somehow the mother can borrow nine months to train the child, but it would cost her the rest of her life. It is a price that they must pay for transgressing the rules of their species by getting involved with mortals. Just thoughts floating around in my head. Thanks for the comment!

        • radioPanic says:

          Great concept! It’s hard to do time travel. Both the actual travel AND writing about it. I’m inclined to say that if you could work just enough of the above explanation into this that we can focus more on your really strong points–the character interactions–word count be damned, go for it. Still, this idea is huge, and I’d love to see a full length story.

  13. RideWithTheWolves says:

    Rainy days like these should be spend with someone. With a girlfriend.
    Which I don’t have.
    Instead, I’m lying in my room gazing out the window, reflecting on the fact that I’m helplessly bored. My parent’s aren’t home, so at least they’re not giving me chores to do. You know how that happens. You explain to them you’re bored and they see a perfect opportunity to assign you something to clean.
    Down stairs my dog, a black German Shepherd, is barking. When she thinks we’ve left her alone, she gets really wigged out and worried. I lope down the stairs and she turns her attention to me. For a second it’s like I can read her facial expression. She lets out another bark, sounding more thankful this time, and comes charging at me.
    “You want to play, Scout?” I ask her. She wags her tail faster.
    “Go get toy,” I tell her. She runs off to the kitchen, where her basket of toys is. For a few minutes, she doesn’t come back. I hear thumping sounds and her nails on the wooden floor. I’m worried she’s gotten into something.
    “What are you doing in there, Scout?” I ask her.
    The noises persist.
    I walk into the kitchen.
    She’s gotten into something alright.
    The china cabinet is pushed out a foot from the wall. Scout is continuously nuzzling it as to make it slide further. I can see something back there. Something sticking out of the wall.
    “Scout!” I yell. She nearly jumps and turns to look at me. I imagine if she were a person, she would be blushing. She seems to think she’s guilty of something. She backs up. “What are you getting into?” I ask her as I gently rub her nose, which I imagine must hurt from pushing the two-hundred pound china cabinet. She licks her lips nervously.
    I get down on my hands and knees and push the cabinet out farther. The thing sticking out the wall is a door knob. A very small one. It looks old and has engravings in it. I take a moment before opening the door. As far as I know, this china cabinet was here when we bought the house. Since it was fairly nice, my parents kept it in the same spot. Did they even know of this door?
    I pull open the door. The air around me is instantly filled that old, musty scent. I can barely see what’s in the room. I pull my phone from my pocket and shine the light of it’s screen into the room. There appears to be five small steps, which I slowly slide down. They squeak beneath my feet.
    I wait for my eyes to dilate and adjust to the darkness. Overhead, a dim read light is glowing. The room smells stuffy. Finally, I can see everything. The room is filled with strange objects: a small little porcelain doll, countless little glass vases, yellowed storybooks, some glasses frames, empty boxes, pencils, a type righter, stacks of paper, and so on. What catches my attention is the photo of me. Did my mom put this in here? I pick up the frame. My name is carved into the metal. Asher. The picture is quite recent, but I don’t know who took it. It’s a photo of me standing in the mirror. Oddly, enough, the angle it’s took on seems to be from the ceiling. ‘Inside the heating vent?’ I hear myself think. And it’s definitely a photo of me: same punk-y black hair and flat gray eyes.
    The chills run down my spine and I set the photo back down. Creepy.
    I turn around, ready to leave, when something catches my eye. An envelope with my mom’s name on it. I open it and read through it. It’s sappy. I can barely stand to read it. It’s signed by the name ‘James.’ And, even more puzzling, it’s dated 2017.
    I text my mom. “Do you know anyone by the name of James?”
    She answers. “No. I will be home at 10. xoxo.”
    Chills erupt down my back. I put the envelope back on the shelf. Maybe some things are best left where they lie.
    I scurry back out of the small little door and close it. I hadn’t even known I was shaking as much as I was. I don’t know if I’m ever going back in there. I’m certainly not telling anyone about it.
    ***
    I’ve been watching out a little more lately. Both for myself and people called James, of which I’ve met none. Sometimes, however, I swear I see little glowing yellow eyes in the vent.
    Then, when I listen close, ‘click, click’ goes the shutter.

  14. Jeanie Y says:

    No one knows what love is anymore, it was bred out of the human race through the eons. It got in the way of progress. But every once in a while, a mutation occurs and a human child is born with the capacity to love. This child is very alone in the world and has to pretend to survive.

    My name is Blaze, and that child would be me.

    Our silver ship, The Progeny, slices through the blackness of space as easy as a knife through soft butter. She left the confines of earth twenty years ago during The Mass Exodus. The Dark Divide was almost upon the Earth and there was no choice but to leave. Only so many could fit on the ships and no one knows what has become of those that were left behind. Picked by lottery, they said. I have reason to believe differently; actually I am holding that reason in my hand right now. If I get caught, well, let’s just say, the airlocks don’t always work right and people…disappear.

    Love doesn’t exist anymore to help temper anger and revenge, not to mention rebellion.

    I was born on this ship, fifteen earth years ago. Children grow up fast and are born for one purpose, to breed. We don’t know who our fathers are, no one cares to ask, but I know who mine is. Only one male-mate shares my bright blue eyes. This is the only thing we have in common. He is the Keeper of the Peace, strict enforcer of the Living Code, doled out in physical punishment. The monstrous battle scar across his forehead tells all.

    My mother goes about her tasks dutifully, as all good female-mates do. I will become a female-mate on my sixteenth birthday and am expected to fulfill my duties; populating the ship in preparation for our destination, Planet G346, Andromeda Base.

    I never thought life could be any different, until I read the love letter, sent to my mother. Attached to this letter a roster of the original five hundred people picked for the Progeny’s voyage, and why. This was no lottery. She has never been careless, ever, yet leaving this letter in her sleep pod, tucked inside a copy of the forbidden book “Rom and Jul,” was as careless as you can get. The Living Code demands I turn her in.

    How can I turn in my own mother?

    Careless of me to take her book and letter, mother now knows that I know. I left my own secret writings in the hidden compartment I found on the engine deck. Maybe someday someone will find them and know that I existed.

    They come for me now, I hear them. The bells on the boots of the Keeper of the Peace signal his arrival. “For Whom the Bells Toll,” I think, my face twisting, as I never understood that saying before now. There is nowhere to hide, or run, so I turn to face my fate.

    “Pull yourself together and come with us,” mother says, roughly pulling me alongside her and the Keeper. “You’ve passed the test, but we can’t talk here. Hush. I’ll tell you everything soon. Your destiny is not what you may think.”

  15. justjabari says:

    While Max continued trolling for his tennis ball in this space that he had apparently been in before, I was completely stuck. Not because we had just crawled through a burning fireplace unscathed, but the existence of this room completely defied the laws of basic architecture. The hearth was built sturdily into the far wall of our house that was currently protecting us from an unseasonably crisp winter afternoon. It had been there all of my fifteen years, and come to think of it, so have the crackling flames it embraced.
    Disoriented, I came to my feet and stood at the center of this metallic room. It was a perfect square and smelled strongly of new linen. There was one window straight ahead with a curious glow lining the outside frame, and directly below it a large glass desk facing the tunnel that we had just crawled through. Strewn across the top were manila folders, papers, and a box of kleenex tissue. Not really sure what to make of the window, I was extremely apprehensive about approaching the desk. Max was happily gnawing what little is left of his newly found ball under the desk, and gave me the comfort needed to come closer.
    The papers on top of the stack were folded in thirds and obviously came together. Jumping to the last couple of sentences of the page on top made my fingers tremble uncontrollably, “Please make sure Erin understands my decision. I love you both with all my heart! – William 12/25/2112”
    The handwriting was strangely familiar, but “Erin” was a name I hadn’t heard since elementary school. Confused, I Immediately knew this letter involved me, but how? “Who is William?”, I whispered aloud.
    The rustling from the tunnel echoed loudly and bounced freely off of the walls. Max didn’t budge, only lifting his head tongue wagging almost touching the floor. My mother’s head appeared first and I made no attempt to hide. “ANGEL? What are you doing in here?”
    The appalled look in her eyes as she stood up was all I needed to understand that the past ten minutes was indeed real. “What is this place? How..”, was all I could muster before the tears began to flow. She looked down at the crumpled letter in my right hand, and cocked her head slightly to the side before brushing away her first tear.

    “William is your father sweetheart. I…This was his office before…”

    “Before what!” I screamed. “Who is Daddy!”, I demanded.

    “Angel, its not that easy. We didn’t want you to find out this way”

    “Who is Daddy!”, I demanded again.

    The glow beyond the window frame blinded us both. There was no sound, not even a peep from Max who was normally so protective. Instinctively I reached for my mother, but instead met strong warm hands of my father. His clutch immediately confirmed my belief and the gentle kiss to my forehead brought warm tears of overwhelming comfort that I hadn’t felt in years.

    “Erin”, he said.

  16. humblebee says:

    Isn’t it funny/really annoying how our mind still sees words that aren’t there when we edited for the thrid time? Sorry for the obvious errors.

  17. humblebee says:

    Kellan dusted the book shelves with quick, vigorous motions. The names of literary Gods holding as much significance to him as the Swedish instruction manual for his mother’s recently purchased Poang chair.

    His crime this time was vandalism of public property, and as she had done with all the prior incidents, his mother added household chores on top of the punishment dealt by city law enforcement.
    Kellan was about to throw in the dust rag to pick up where he left on in his video game, when he accidentally knocked a book from the shelf. His cursing and grumbling caught in his throat when he saw the lever protruding from the wood where the book had just been. Without hesitation Kellan pulled the lever, and jumped back with a start, squeaking his tennis shoes on the freshly waxed hardwood, as the entire bookshelf began to rotate.

    “Are you shitting me?”

    Kellan entered a room he never knew existed, nor had he ever before seen the peculiar items neatly placed atop shelves and fold up tables. The room was organized in sections of wrapped gifts, and empty picture frames, file folders and lock boxes.
    His mind was reeling with thoughts of his parents being secret agents, and assumptions of world travel and multiple identities. Kellan was circling the room trying to eye something that would help him pick those locks, when the sound of paper wrinkling beneath his feet distracted him.
    He opened the letter, the words on the page stunned him more than instructions for a top secret mission would have. His eyes scanned the page in rhythm with the now pounding beat of his heat.

    “I see you’ve found the secret room.” The voice behind him startled him, but only for a moment. She was the one who should feel caught and afraid.

    “What the hell is this mom?” He barked, holding the letter in the air, hand trembling but voice stern like an elderly lady who had just shouted BINGO!

    “A love letter, mom? And why is it dated 2017?”

    She crossed the room to her son, trying to contain the look of pride for his anger.

    “Are you having an affair? Is it because dad is in a wheelchair? Is he not man enough for you anymore? Ace sure sounds like a manly man!”

    “Kellan, sweetheart.” She reached for her son

    “This is your father’s room. When the doctors told him he had Parkinsons he knew what the disease would eventually do to his body, and this room was his idea. This is here because your father knew he would lose mobility, and the idea of not being able to write to me broke his heart. So he wrote letters and dated them for when I was to open them. March 1st,2017 will be the thirtieth anniversary of the day we first met. He was trying to impress me, by telling me he was going to be a pilot, and he asked me to be his good luck charm. I started calling him Ace, and we started dating.”

    The drumming in his heart calmed and the anger of fog in his mind rolled away.

    His father planned ahead to always be romantic and thoughtful for his mother, and she cared for him with love and understanding.

    Kellan thought that maybe if he changed his behavior he might one day find his lucky charm.

    He hugged his mom.

  18. laurentravian says:

    I turned up my iPod and started kicking the wall to the beat. “Turn it down!” My brother yelled. “Make me!” I yelled back. Its just retribution for Pokemon. I don’t see why he is a hypocrite, but we had proved years ago that he was. Hey, wait a minute. That last thump sounded hollow. I turned off my iPod and knocked on that space again. I was right, not only was it hollow, a door swung open. I considered yelling for my mom or dad, but they were both really tired. I went to Nick’s room instead. Sure enough, he was playing Pokemon. “I found something cool. You wanna see?” I said, acting nonchalant. Nick looked at me suspiciously. “What kind of something cool?” “Like a secret tunnel kind of cool.” He squinted at me. “This better not be a trick, like the time you put makeup on me!” “No trick. But I want someone to go with me.” He nodded, trusting me, and grabbed a flashlight. We tiptoed to my room, and he gaped at the door. I grabbed my own flashlight, and we went down. We soon came to another door. I opened it with ease, and we found a room full of old junk. “Neat!” I said. Nick rolled his eyes. I found an old cardboard box and opened it. Inside were some old stuff of Mom’s. “Can I see?” Nick said, startled by my gasp. I handed him the offending article: a future love letter. When I say future, I mean future. This letter hadn’t even been delivered yet. And it wasn’t from our Father. Suddenly, the door closed. Nick and I turned, to see a ghostly figure drifting towards us. Nick started panicking. I braced myself for impact. But nothing happened. I reread the love letter. It was slightly dusty, so I blew it off. It wasn’t my mom’s name, it was mine. Nick grabbed the letter again, having calmed slightly down. “Hey, I know the guy who wrote this! A real player, a year older than you, who likes to mess with girls. Mom must have picked up the mail and stored this for you.” I shrugged. “Remember two years ago when we discovered that you probably wouldn’t like one of my future boyfriends because your Chinese years conflicted? I think maybe this guy…” Nick shook his head. “Don’t get your hopes up. You’re my big sister, but I’m taking care of you on this one. Besides, I hear he has a girlfriend.” I nodded sagely. No use telling him I was said girlfriend. We turned our attention back to the hooded figure. It seemed to be stuck. “Let’s unmask this villain!” said Nick. I shook my head. “Nick, you’re not on Scooby-Doo. Tone it down a little.” He shrugged, and walked over to the figure. I held my breath. He pulled back the hood and… it was my boyfriend. “Surprise!” yelled everybody who seemed to materialize out of nowhere. “Happy Sweet 16.” murmured my boyfriend, kissing me.

  19. wilson hara says:

    I see, I was a little thrown at first by the ‘s… But it’s deliberate.. I enjoyed this and the reason for the letter being dated in the future…was very well thought out and sweet!

  20. handyman43127 says:

    Moving to a new town because of a promotion my father received at work may have been a setback for some kids, but it was a relief for me. I had lived in the same town, on the same street and in the same house for all of my fifteen year’s.
    Growing up I did not realize how different my life was compared to other kid’s. Their mother’s were into Yoga and tanning spas, their father’s were usually a six pack over their limit on the weekend’s.
    Mine, well they were more like re-runs of Leave it to Beaver, Little House on the Prairie and Mayberry Rfd that I watched on late night with Nick, because my parent’s did not think that cable was appropriate for our family. I even called my mother Aunt Bee because of the apron she wore from sunup till sundown while she was in the house, and she seldom ventured farther than looking out the back door.
    Now I would no longer have to answer probing and sometimes insulting question’s from my friend’s that I made before I realized how screwed up my family really was, compared to others.
    Three weeks into arriving at our new home I had managed to avoid making friends, not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the past. I kept telling myself, just three more year’s and I can live a normal life, no more Flinstones, I can do that, after all what were my option’s?
    Exploring my surroundings had become my favorite pastime. On a rare occasion my mother removed her apron and asked if I would like to walk to the store with her, it was just a couple block’s of block’s away, she needed, I don’t know, golden brown for her biscuits or something stupid like that! Seeing an opportunity to explore moms room I declined, what else would a girl do?
    Alone I began my search for something, anything to hold over my parents head, porn in dads sock drawer or a racy picture of mom would do the trick, but what I found shocked even me! Hidden behind a piece of paneling left ajar was a small room filled with old newspaper clipping’s and stack’s of boxes boxes with all sorts of strange objects. What caught my attention was a letter addressed to mom.
    Seated at the table I pounced on her when she arrived home. “Whats this?” I demanded! Seated with her hand’s folded in her lap she explained that it was a letter the neighbor lady had given to her, written by her son. “I kept it because I thought it was cute, look it’s dated five years from now, he has plan’s for you, what were you thinking?” “You are my namesake after all.” Shit!, I thought, Aunt Bee strikes again.

    What great fun this little story was to write, pretending to be fifteen again. Bill

  21. john feudd says:

    Today, we wait.
    5 years ago I found a letter addressed to my mom. She left us, to be with our father in heaven last year and and a younger brother of mine who died when he was a year old.
    My father and brother were both killed in a car accident that I didn’t understand and kind of still don’t.
    I was playing in the basement using bags of flour I found in a little room I hadn’t seen before then, I was using the flour as snow for my matchbox car sets, I had them all, hot rods, vans, trucks the really tricked out ones too.
    I needed a little more snow so I grabbed a bag of flour and when I lifted the bag and carried it over to the place where I was playing I set the bag down to open it and a letter fell away from it. I looked at it and it was a letter addressed to my mother, it was open so I took the letter out and it was dated.
    I looked at the dated not understanding what I saw.
    I ran for the stairs and my mother and sister were at the kitchen table talking, I waited for them to finish and I asked my mother what this letter was and she was stunned and looked surprised like a deer caught in the headlights of a fast on coming car, she grabbed the letter and said, “You just never mind about this.”
    My sister said, “What was that?”
    “A letter from a man,” bewildered I said “I never heard his name before.”
    “So mom knows people what did it say?”
    “Its not what it said it was when it was dated.” I said, “Five years from now.”
    “So what, five years.”
    “5 years from now in the future and he had a date set to meet mom then.”
    So now me and my sister are here at the place the letter said to meet her and on the date it said to too, so we can tell him she can’t meet him, mom never did talk to us about him so we’ll meet him if he shows.
    Wondering if he’ll show.

  22. pavic30 says:

    Brandon stood there, mouth agape like he just saw a ghost, looking around at the room that he just discovered. For as long as he could remember, he thought there was something weird about the wall in his parents room, almost unnatural-looking, but it was always covered by the computer desk. His mother asked him to check out the computer and voila! He fell through the flimsy attempt at a wall covering.
    It was a strange, tight area, big enough to house a small bookcase, a beanbag chair, bulletin board and room to stretch. The wall was covered in pictures of him….and dad….and mom with their dog, Duke. Or was it? It looked like Duke, but the markings were a little off. No, they were a LOT off. What the….?
    The pictures were a little strange too, almost like he had been in them but he did not remember having any of them taken. Suddenly, he realized that he was having déjà vu….but he wasn’t. It was real! And it was in pictures!! He remembered telling his mother a few months prior that he dreamed that he was chosen for the lead in the school play. He would never try out for the school play, so it had to be a dream, right? But right there, right in front of his eyes, was a series of pictures with an older-looking him, dressed in some sort of Harry Potter-type outfit, up on stage. Geez, this was getting creepy! What was even creepier was the actual program from the play, tacked up next to the pictures.
    He continued looking around and noticed a plain, white piece of tablet paper stuck inside of his 2015 yearbook (how the hell did she get THAT?!?). It looked to be a letter, written in pen, with a man’s handwriting, and addressed, “To My Darling, Lucy”. Somehow, he thought that he had seen that writing before, but he could not immediately place it. He read the letter, feeling a little embarrassed and odd at the same time. It was a corny, mushy letter from this man telling his mother how he loved her and loved the time that they spend together. The end of the letter said, “Love, Trenton.”
    “Oh man,” he thought. Trenton was certainly not his dad, and the letter’s date was September 21, 2017. 2017?!? This had to be some sort of joke! Suddenly, Brandon got light-headed and confused. Was his mother having an affair? And, who was Trenton? 2017? Nothing added up. This must be a huge joke, a misunderstanding. Furthermore, the only Trenton he knew of was Trenton Coltrane, his high school guidance counselor. Quickly, he grabbed the yearbook, paging quickly through it until he got to the page of administrators’ pictures. And there it was…Principal Trenton Coltrane, Titusville High School principal, Class of 2017.
    His mouth dropped again. Suddenly, he heard footsteps in the hallway.
    “Brandon, are you OK?” It was mom. Apparently, Lucy’s got some ‘splaining to do!

  23. BingoBill says:

    Reddish dust covered the boxes and objects without name.
    “Time is short but we can still be together if you act now…the instructions are in Baseline English for ease of assembly”
    “What the fuck?” I whispered to the hidden room.
    A lengthy stack of documents was also inside the heavy manila envelope. Heavy sheets of paper were covered with detailed drawings and sketches, some with handwritten notes in the margin.
    The hole in the plaster wall let in scant light so I adjusted the heavy halogen spotlight and surveyed the room; it was maybe six feet by ten feet, heavily reinforced with rough lumber beams and lined with a dark material.
    I scratched the wall with the crowbar edge; metal.
    My heart began to beat ever faster as the walls overwhelmed me. I jumped back into my room and saw the wall, the hole and the find, the STUFF in the wall.
    “Mom?” I whispered.” MOM!” I shouted.
    She entered my room.” Honey, what’s wrong? I was in the garage…”
    “Young Lady, what have you done!” she put her hands on her hips when she saw the splintered boards and plaster dust covering the century old hardwood floors.
    I held the paper out to her, “The mailman came. It’s addressed to you.” Deadpan.
    She took it in a daze.” Did you read the….”
    “What is it mom?” I cried, “and what is that crap in the wall. Where did it come from?” angry and gesturing.
    “He said it might come to this” she mumbled. “Be ready if it happens and I’ll take care of you…” She stared into the gaping wall but focused far, far away.
    “Mom? Mom, are you alright?” I asked.
    “Pack a suitcase dear, we might be gone for awhile.” She replied. “I’m gonna call you in sick to school.”
    “Mom, Mom! Where did this come from? What is it? Who is David?”
    She snapped to alertness, “Who told you about David?”
    “He,” I stammered, “He wrote the letter I found in there.” Nodded towards the hidden room. “Did he put that here? How?”
    She crossed the room and took my hand in hers. She looked me straight in the eye and said,” Elinore I have been less than truthful with you, with your father.” A pause, “with everyone. But now is not the time for answers. We have work to do, you and I and less than a year to do it if my history is correct. I need you to obey me today and from now on even if you do not understand why.”
    “What’s happening?” I said in a little girl voice which I did not know I still possessed.
    The woman I knew as my mother stared into my soul and pronounced, “The war dear. The war is coming to us unless we can close a breach in time. Prepare yourself dear. We’re building atomic bombs and then, we’re gonna visit the future.”

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Neat idea…I enjoyed this.

    • Ishmael says:

      BB – I liked a lot of your phrasing and your opening sentence. This lacked a little cohesiveness, though. My biggest question is “Why?” Why did the girl go through the wall? Why has Mom been dishonest? And then there’s how. How is all this happening? How does she know the future?

      I look forward to seeing more stuff from you.

  24. ChristinaTaylor says:

    “Hannah.” My mind hears her, but my mouth doesn’t respond.

    “Hannah…”

    “What?!” I snap at my mom without thinking about it.

    I don’t know whether to be upset or happy. You can see in her eyes she doesn’t love him like she used to. She won’t ever admit it but she wouldn’t be with my father if it wasn’t for me. These 15 years I have never felt like a family. Deep down I always felt like she was hiding something.

    “Hannah, are you okay? You seem like you have a lot on your mind.”

    I want to say everything that is running in my head. I have over a hundred questions, concerns, and just plan curiosity. But I know my mom, she is very distant. So I’ll finish my breakfast, and pretend I’m not thinking about the letters.
    “I just have a headache.”
    She goes over to the cabinet and gets a bottle of Tylenol and hands me 2 pills. “I’m heading to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner, I’ll be back in a couple hours.”
    I watch her as she pulls out of the drive way. As soon as her car disappears I rush to the room inside the attic. It has a full length mirror, a small couch, and a box full for very intimate letters that I wish I never read. But they are so captivating I can’t stop. It’s a life that my mom always wanted, full of fun, adventure, and love. Love not from her husband, but from a man named Joseph. He sounds wonderful.
    One thing that I don’t understand is that the letter is dated for the year 2017. Was that a mistake? Or is she really close to the magical post office that mails through time? I don’t believe in miracles, call me depressing. I believe everything happens for a reason, scientifically explained.
    I have now read all the letters, all one hundred and thirty-nine. In this new life, she talks like my father doesn’t even exist.
    I hear the garage door opening. I rush to swim out of the pool of letters from her bedroom floor, but it’s too late and she finds me. I”m drowning in my own thoughts and her fantasy life on paper.
    “How did you find those?” she says shocked, hoping that’s he caught me before I read them.
    “I know about Joseph, who is he?” She doesn’t respond, only gazing out the window.
    “Are you leaving Dad?” I stared at her wanting answers. I can tell she wasn’t ready to talk about this. But she knows she has to.
    She walks over to me and we both sit on her bed. “Joseph was the man I was suppose to marry. We fell in love very young. When his family decided to move away, we knew we couldn’t be together so we both moved on, but I never truly got over him. I met your dad, had you, and tried to forget.”
    Now it’s starting to make sense. I always knew she never felt complete, but one thing I need to know. ” Why are these dated in 2017?”
    She gave a little smirk, “That’s when will we be together.”

  25. zo-zo says:

    ‘I want to read you something,’ I said through clenched teeth.

    I opened the faded letter, skipping the date – 6 November 2017 – because there were more important issues to address. Like an affair.

    Recognising the paper, my mother clutched the wooden spoon in her hand as hot toffee dripped on the kitchen floor.

    ‘To my sweet Sheila,’ I began, and looked up. Mother dropped the spoon.

    I carried on.

    ‘You work miracles:
    A raven sat on my heart
    and its raw cry drowned
    all other sound.

    Your bluebird song
    made those black wings fly,
    and now I hear the rustling
    of summer oaks
    in every white winter’s hush.

    I love you,
    Dave.’

    We stood in silence, watching the paper shake. I tried to stuff it at her, but her hand became a fist and the poem drifted to the floor. Followed by my mother. Oh shit.

    I carried her to the couch where she woke up and proceeded to sob.

    I’d never once seen her cry. Wisps of hair fell all over her shoulders, and she’d aged by twenty years at least.

    Stroking her face was all I could do. Words evade me when women cry.

    I was about to go find a joint when she calmed down. Slim fingers harnessed her hair into its bun and she became my mother again.

    ‘Jonathan Manfred Turner ,’ she began. ‘You will never mention him again.’ She folded her arms and stared at me. ‘Do I make myself clear?’

    ‘Yes mom.’

    She trotted to the letter, as if it were a naughty child, and tore it up.

    It took me seven days to sit Dad down, mainly because he was either jogging or looking at new land or playing golf with the boys and he kept telling me to piss off. Every rejection gave me another day to order my words. Those unspeakable words I had to say.

    It was over the bar that I told him, after he’d had five too many. A little unfair, but he was much nicer drunk than sober.

    ‘Mom’s having an affair on the side.’

    ‘Aaaahhh…’ He said finally. ‘Dave. Mom told me you found out about him.’

    ‘What!’

    ‘I know about Dave.’ He wiped the foam from his mouth and slid off his chair.

    ‘You WHAT?’

    ‘Well, I knew him. Piece of work that one.’ He cracked open another beer, and foam fizzed out. ‘He dated your mother for years. Nearly killed her, couple of times. Didn’t think nothing about fisting or kicking her in the tits if she didn’t do what he said. When I came along, he went screwloose. They met at a casino on 6 November 1980 and he wrote her seventy poems for the next seventy years of her life that he posted in a pretty blue box. Then he kicked the bucket.’

    Dad paused, looking at his hands. Then he smiled strangely and gave me a beer. ‘Lucky for all of us, hey?’

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hey zo-zo, always like your writing!

      Esp. liked the line where “she harnessed her bun and became my mother again.” You have a way with words!

      Good take on the prompt!

    • BleuVenom says:

      Makes me wonder what he had the nerve to say in the other 69 poems. Good job.
      BleuVenom >^..^<

    • Ishmael says:

      Hey Zo! Another excellent piece. I like the various ways everybody’s using to explain the date of the letter. Also…pretty crafty poetry. Did Mom faint? I didn’t know if he accidentally pushed her fist into her face when he shoved the letter at her.

      One thing…is that how you say your dates? 6 November 1980? That was the only bit of dialogue that felt like writing. “On the sixth of November, back in ’80″ sounds a little more like talking…but I don’t know if that’s the case in your country.

      Always a pleasure.

      • zo-zo says:

        Hey Ishmael – by the way, I think I may read Moby Dick someday to understand… haha, but in a while because I’ve just finished reading Gone with The Wind – amazing but LOOOONG so I need some fluff!!

        Interesting point! Ja, actually we do refer to dates like that – but your one, on the sixth of November, 1980 would be more accurate. I lived in the States and never got used to the ‘Nov 6th’ thing!! Ja, also reading it again, I see I needed to make the fainting clearer, because the fist is confusing.

        Appreciate your feedback!!

        Zo-Zo or Zo squared!! :)

        • Ishmael says:

          Oh God. Moby Dick. Very much a literary masterpiece, but had I not had to study it, I doubt I would have made it through it. It was a tough read with symbolism out the yang-hole. Read a lot of fluff, first, to give that brain some candy, because once you embark on the Pequod, it’s nothing but whale blubber! :)

    • Sinem Keleman says:

      I liked a lot how it ended. It all makes a nice sense together and the story rolls. Nice work.

    • Icabu says:

      Good story. Makes me think ol’ Dad kinda helped Dave kick that bucket.
      Enjoyable read.

  26. Sinem Keleman says:

    This was not the reaction I expected from my mother, when I handed over that piece of paper to her. I thought she would panic, lose the words or look at me with the eyes of a child, that was caught while stealing candies. But she didn’t. She was calm. I could even say “relieved”.

    She didn’t open the letter. She knew what it exactly was. The love letter she was holding in her hands, wasn’t from my father, but from another man, whose name I have never heard of.

    “I am not and have never cheated on your father, if this is what you think” she said, breaking the silence.

    “I don’t have many options to choose mum. I just want to know why you have been hiding a love letter from a stranger, who dated it 2017 for some reason, in a hidden room where I even didn’t have any clue of its existence.”

    She was doubting to bring out the words that were fighting between her lips.

    “Does my father have any idea about this room and the letter mum?” I asked, without waiting for her reply.

    Our talk was interrupted when my father entered the room at that moment. He looked at both of us and his eyes moved to the letter my mother was holding. I saw the change in his look. He gave the reaction that I actually expected from my mother in the beginning. The panic. He looked at my mother and opened his mouth to say a word, but she was faster.

    “Michael, maybe it is the time to tell her. We always said we will when she is old enough.”

    “Dad, do you know about all of these? The room? All the strange stuff hidden there? The love letter dated 2017!!” I looked at my mother ironically while stressing the last sentence.

    He didn’t say a word. He was still looking at my mother with the eyes of a man, waiting for the orders of his commander.

    “Michael, please tell her who we are.”

    Who we are? When I discovered the secret room, my only focus was this love letter. Remembering all the objects laying there, I realized that the story was much deeper than that.

    “What your mother holds, is not a love letter. It is an encrypted map, describing the date and the location of the next reunion.”

    Reunion?

    My mother completed “The reunion that occurs each decade with the members of two lands out of seven. The document explains where and when the next one will be and which lands will be the participants.”

    “Each land has a leader and the map is passed through from generation to generation. I am the leader of our land.” said my father.

    My voice had no more the tune of anger. I was afraid of what I had to hear.

    “Of what are you the leader dad?”

    “The Assassins honey. We are as old as the Knight Templars”

    “And.. what do you do?”

    “We create organized wars.”

  27. yuvraj says:

    When i am studying 10th class at 5.00 p.m i came from the school. after i had some snacks i went field to play cricket with my brother.

    In the cricket game we had fight between me and my brother. we came back to home to 7.00 p.m. after we came back to home we were still fighting. suddenly my brother hit pushed me. i hit the attic in my house. suddenly some of the letters fell down from the attic. we haven’t seen them before. Me and my brother serious looking at them. even through i am very about my brother i paid more attention on letters.

    I took the one of letter from the file of letter. whenever i weer reading the letter i was astounded. whenever my brother asked me what kind of letter are you reading. then i said to my brother it was just exam marks. and i moved from there with piles of letter.

    i was still in astounding mode. it was love letter.

  28. BleuVenom says:

    “TAG! You’re it!” squeals Missy hitting the eight year old girl on the head. Allison flinches. “My turn, you get me!” She tears through the living room and up the stairs.
    Squeezing under her bed, she covers her mouth stifling giggles.
    “Missy, you’re supposed to wait until I close my eyes before you run off to hide!” Allison reminds her friend.
    Mrs. Thornton watches from the armchair. “Did Missy hurt you?” she asks their neighbor.
    Allison giggles. “No. I mean, I know she doesn’t realize she hits hard. I’m fine: really.”
    “I really appreciate you coming over to play with her. She doesn’t have many friends.” She sighs.
    “Mrs. Thornton, I really like Missy. She’s like the sister I never had,” she grins.
    “Well, you better head home,” she instructs.
    “Can I go find Missy before I go?” The child asks.
    “No, Sweetie, your mom expects you soon.”
    “I’ll come tomorrow okay?” Allison offers.
    “Sure!” They hug.
    Allison whispers into the lady’s ear: “Missy always hides under the bed.” She leaves.
    Missy’s mom goes upstairs.
    “Where are you, Missy?” Mary Thornton calls out. She enters her daughter’s bedroom.
    Mary scans the perfectly pink princess room. “Hmmm…,” she ponders aloud, “I wonder if she’s under here. “ She shouts while kneeling down beside the bed and quickly pulling the quilt and dust ruffle up to look underneath.
    No one is there.
    Mrs. Thornton stands. She looks at the display of fifty Barbie dolls sitting atop a built-in window seat. Surely she couldn’t hide in there without knocking them over. Mary checks the closet. It’s empty.
    She goes to her own room and after checking the bed and closet, there’s no sign of Missy. Turning to leave, she hears a squeak overhead. Her face ashes.
    Mary never anticipated that Missy would find the crawlspace leading to a hidden storage area above the master bedroom closet. She takes a deep breath and enters.
    Missy sits among photo albums, boxes and storage bins of children’s books and clothes.
    The floorboards creak as Mary advances.
    “Who’s this man and girl?” she asked holding a photo of a man holding a toddler.
    “That was my other family. They died.” she answers softly.
    “He asks you to join them because he loves and misses you. Mommy, this letter’s date is wrong. It’s 2012 not 2017!”
    “That was written in a time of great sadness and loss to me from me. Of everything I wished he said to me one more time.” A tear slides down her cheek.
    “But it sounds like he wrote the letter.” She says confused.
    “I know.”
    “Are you still sad Mommy? How are you going to meet him five years from now if he’s dead?”
    Mary embraces her daughter. She looks at her daughter small almond eyes and robust cheeks. “I’m not going to meet him anymore.”
    Missy asks: “is it because of Daddy?”
    “No.” She smiles after a moment. “I have you both now. And I could never leave either of you.”

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Nice writing Bleu…Loved the idea that life can turn out wonderful even after such tragedy.

    • Ishmael says:

      Bleu,

      This was pleasantly written and a nice take on the prompt. I liked the time spent on the hide and seek, but this had a script feel to it…much of the action felt more like stage direction. Perhaps it was the tense you chose. Although you don’t reveal Missy’s age, she read as younger than fifteen.

      I look forward to more stuff from you. :)

      • BleuVenom says:

        Ishmael,

        Thanks for the comments. Very perceptive on your part. I am a screenwriter and have written skits prior to that. I am trying to transition from or shall I say separate the two styles of writing.

        I just started back writing short stories, so these prompts will be great practice. This is my second entry since coming to this site last week. My first entry is from last week’s prompt: I posted toward the end since I joined.

        Note: Missy’s age isn’t referenced but she IS fifteen. She’s child like because she has special needs.

        BleuVenom >^..^<

        • Ishmael says:

          You know, I thought that might be the case (about Missy being a special needs child). The “hit hard” reference made me think along those lines, but I wasn’t positive. Another more solid reference may have helped me see that better, since I was already suspecting it. Very good job at presenting her as emotionally young, though.

          Welcome to the board. I usually try to post, but currently have my hands full. Swinging by to read is a pleasurable dalliance when I need a quick break. Screenwriter? I can see that. It will be nice to follow your stuff.

  29. “Mom?….MOM!” I said louder. She ignored me, continuing to wash the dinner dishes. The voice of Nat King Cole singing Rambling Rose played loudly from the Hi-Fi in the dining room. Mom always listened to her oldies music when cleaning up after dinner. Dad usually retreated to the upstairs bathroom with the daily news paper after dinner; and would not emerge again for at least an hour. I could never understand how anyone could sit on the toilet for an hour reading a dumb news paper. I normally went to my bedroom and did my homework after dinner but tonight was different.
    I had to know. I needed answers, even though I knew dad would chew me out for snooping around in the attic. He was very adamant about us staying out of the attic. There is nothing up there that is any of your concern or business; I’ve heard him say a thousand times. Six months before I had asked about making the attic my bedroom so I could have some privacy and my own room. I was sick and tired of my younger brother snooping and having to share a room with him.
    My older sister had been given the finished basement which gave her not only her own bedroom but also the game room down there which she quickly established boundaries and would not let anyone else down there. She had the whole basement to herself. I could not understand why my parents refused to allow me the attic for my own. I was old enough, it just wasn’t fair.
    I almost dared not say anything, but this had been bothering me for days now, and I needed to know. I needed some answers. The week before, I had gone up into the attic after getting home from school. I needed to throw myself a pity party and what better place to have one than the source of my misery. My best friend had informed me earlier that day in school that he had been given his own room. He invited me over but I refused and went straight home. Mom was out shopping and dad was at work.
    I had only been up there a couple times and both times had gotten caught and punished. The attic was strictly off limits to us kids. I walked in the dining room and shut off the stereo and returned to the kitchen to confront my mom.
    “What the hell do you think you’re doing young man? I was listening to that” she said angrily. But I didn’t care. I need answers, and was determined to get them.
    “I found the secrete room mom.” I said arrogantly and au’thoritively with a firm tone of voice. “That’s why no one is allowed up there huh? What are all those weird gadgets, and what’s that weird machine? And what’s this love letter to you, and why is it dated five years from now?”
    The look of anger turned to shock and terror, then faded from her face as she began smiling. She was not speaking and her mouth was not moving but I could suddenly hear her plain as day speaking to me. It is time you learned the truth son. We are not your real parents, and we are not of this world. I watched in horror as her lizard like tongue jetted out and snatched a fly out of the air and roll back into her mouth. Then it quickly shot out again and into my mouth depositing the fly. I woke up screaming and soaked with sweat just as my parents came running into the room and flipped on the light.

  30. Chuwchew123 says:

    I head up to the attic one afternoon, after school. I’m looking for an antique or anything I can bring to History for some extra credit. I’m rummaging through some old papers from my grandma when I hear a loud crash and I land on my back, getting the wind knocked out of me.

    “Oww…” I gasp through trying to get my breath back. I’m lying on the floor of my attack, yet I fell through the wall. I finally get back on my feet and look around; the room is as big as a coliseum. A gold envelope on the desk catches my eye, I quickly walk over. I pick up the envelope making sure not to bump anything out of place. The letter appears to be open, so I pull out the parchment, I unfold the parchment and a light comes up.

    Coming from inside the parchment is a hologram, of a strange guy professing his love for my mom, at the end he says “I love you Rose, I cannot wait until you come back to me, It’ll only seem like a minute to me, but it will have been a lifetime to you. It doesn’t matter that you will be with another man and a different family. But you must know something that is very importa-“

    “Molly, are you up there?” My mom Rose yells from down stairs.

    “Yeah I-I’m coming down right now, just looking for something for school…” I quickly look back at the letter, not wanting to let it slip from my fingers. I decide to take it with me. I head out from where I came, through the wall. When I look back at the wall before I go downstairs I see that the wall is perfect, as if I never went through. I look at my hands again to make sure that I still have the gold envelope and parchment.

    “So, what did you find in the attic?” My mom asks after dinner when she passes my room, go to her room.

    “Oh you know, just stuff…Hey mom? Can I ask you a question?” I hesitantly say, not wanting to scare her off.

    “Go for it.” She says, she has no idea what I’m asking her, and if she did, I don’t think she would be so eager to answer.

    “I found something’s in the attic, I was wondering if you knew what they were. I found this letter in the attic, it’s covered in gold and-“

    “I don’t want you to go up to the attic anymore, you are letting your imagination run wild that is all, I should be going to be, goodnight.” She says cutting me off before I can say anything else.
    When I wake up the next morning the letter is gone, so is the parchment. I go up to the attic before I head to school. No one is home; I need go fast mom and dad are only out for a little bit. I go to the wall I went through yesterday, nothing happened, I can’t go through anymore. I tried every wall in the attic and I can’t go through any. My dad comes home, there is no sign of my mom.

    “Dad, where’s mom?” I ask.

    “I thought I already told you this story, she left when you were just born.” He says. When I look at the pictures that had my mom in them, there were no of pictures of her, only me and my dad. My “mom” had disappeared. She never returned.

  31. Erick Jacobs says:

    ‘… spend our lives together.

    All my love now… and to come,
    Mark

    I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was though I had been kicked in the gut and slapped in the face. This stung. I wanted answers. With the numerous possibilities evolving inside my head, I was on the cusp of a truly remarkable tantrum.
    I could forgive the various animals fermenting in their own syrup, collections of mid-evil wardrobes, the Harry Potter looking wand that, after the inexplicable urge to try it out, made my pet Hamster, Jekyll, expunge before my eyes, and even the porn collection complete with everything, but this letter, no way.
    I looked through the satchel wondering why just this one letter. I thought surely if there was one letter, there’d be two and if two then three so on and so forth. That theory didn’t pan out. Into my back pocket it went. I said a prayer for Jekyll then closed the door behind me.
    My wristwatch said mom would be home in four hours. The car door slamming shut told me something entirely different. I ran to my bedroom, shut the door, and cranked up the radio. I placed the letter within with my unfinished homework and lay on the bed fuming.
    The encoded knock on my door meant mom wasn’t home, dad was. I ignored the knock, not out of spitefulness, more so out of surprise. I was focused on the letter and the thousands of questions it entertained. I was ready to pounce, but dad’s presence had staved off the act. He knocked again and entered.
    After he was convinced I was ‘fine’, he disappeared down the hall. I went back to stewing. As the sun dropped, mom pulled into the driveway. Her clanking heels on the hardwood steps agitated me. I stood in my doorway, letter unfolded, and held it out straight – hoping to smack her in the face.
    At first she looked puzzled. As she read it, though, tears rolled down her cheeks. I began to soften. She knelt on the floor and looked at me with sorrowful eyes. She asked where I found it. I told her. She asked why I was so snoopy, I shrugged. She told me the story behind the letter.
    I had never felt so ashamed. She told me they were best friends, and had been since elementary school. While she fell for my dad, Mark wanted more. The letter and some other items I found were part of their time capsule to be opened on the letters’ aforementioned date.
    “It never happened the way we planned.” She said. “There was a terrible storm. We huddled under a tree and in a split-second Mark was struck, then gone.”
    “Gone as in dead?” I asked.
    “Yes, but… also into thin air. I recall the smell of smoldering flesh. Later, when I got the courage to look, I found a small, jagged, sparking branch sticking up from the ground. I kept it.”

  32. Who is Miles Beeploff?” I asked my mom when I could no longer contain myself.

    Mom was busy with a crossword and barely looked up. “He’s your sister’s new swim coach,” she said, writing in the margins of the paper with a pencil. “Why?”

    I had the letter in my pocket, but I wasn’t about to tell her about my discovery: a secret room in our house behind the closet.

    “Stay away from him,” I said, sounding more like an adolescent with his voice changing that her seventeen yearl old son.

    I went back to my room and hid the letter under my mattress. It would stay there, I decided, while I kept an eye on things. I walked back into the kitchen and saw her still sitting there, looking at the crossword like it was a damn Bible or something.

    I looked toward the storage closet and decided to go back in. I pushed Dad’s coat aside, the Barbie dream house and my old snowboard and pushed open the trap door in the back. It resisted and I gave it another shove. Shit. Flashlight.

    IU went back into the kitchen to get the flashlight and Mom didn’t notice me at all. Crossword whore about to cheat on Dad with my sister’s swim coach. Shit shit shit.

    Back to the closet to find the door part way open and I pushed my shoulders through. There were no cobwebs since I had just been there this morning. It had never before been here, and today I was shocked to see a cut-out entry in the back of the folds of Dad’s raincoat. I had been putting a box there, filled with old pictures when I saw it.

    Now I was here again, my heart beating like I was going to perform brain surgery.

    It was filled with all sorts of strange things, books that I bought in my freshman year in college, my high school diploma and my sister’s certificate of completion of Junior High. It should not have been strange things to keep in a storage closet, other than the fact that none of those things had even happened yet. One thing in particular caught my eye: a box of love letters. They were pretty explicit and damn near made my dick hard until I realized they were written to my mom from some guy who was not my dad.
    So here I was again, seeing if they had disappeared. They were under a bundle of dried roses tied with a gold ribbon, put on top of the box to hide them, no doubt. If I were a man, I’d take them right now and confront mom, I thought.

    Instead, I closed the box top and crawled out of the secret room like a damn leopard, afraid of its own shadow.

    I shielded my eyes from the light… it was so bright in the closet. From the kitchen I heard singing and pots being moved around.

    Mom.

    Shit.

    I closed off the entrance to the room and moved the Barbie house and my snowboard back in front of it. Moved the hangers back, Dad’s raincoat swayed with the motion.

    “Dan?” I heard Mom’s voice call me.

    “Right here,” I shouted back, closing the closet door.

    “Do you feel like going and getting onions?” she smiled at me as I turned the corner and saw her in the kitchen, like she was innocent and nothing ever happened. I guess it hadn’t happened yet….

    “Not really,” I said. I was shook! I mean really shook at finding those letters. How could she? Dad loved her….

    “What wrong?” she asked. Just like Mom.

    “I don’t know,” I said, but I knew she could see right through me.

    “What is it?” she asked. Her face was now worn with worry.

    “I found … something.”

    “What did you find, honey?” she asked, and there was relief where there once was worry.

    “Nothing.” I said. Big fat chicken. “A letter to you.”

    “What?” Now she was smiling. Smiling, as if she thought this was funny. “If it’s mine give it to me!”

    I decided not to argue and went into my room. I reached under the mattress to feel for it, but it wasn’t there.

    I looked under there, like a kid who lost a ring from Cracker Jack or something…it was gone.

    I walked back to the closet and ran into my Mom in the hallway, wiping her hands on a towel. I opened the closet door and we both looked as I shoved Dad’s raincoat out of the way to see the opening to the secret room.

    Where the hell was it?

    “It was just here!” I said, angrily.

    Mom sighed and walked back to the kitchen.

    Where the hell did the entryway go? Where was it? It was just here ten minutes ago!

    “I guess I …lost it.” I said.

    “Alright, honey.” Mom had her head in a cookbook and looked up. “Do you want to go get onions?”

    “Yeah,” I said. Shit. “I’ll go.”

    I picked up the car keys and headed out to the van. Dad was pulling up as I started the engine.

    “Hey Sport!” he said, walking up the driveway with his ipad in its case. “Where are you off to?”

    “I’m getting onions,” I said. “Go in and tell Mom you want to take her out to dinner or something.” I said. I looked into his eyes and knew he didn’t deserve this, he loved her so much. Still, he hardly ever took her out.

    “Dinner out?” Dad seemed like the idea was foreign.

    “OUT, Dad,” I said. “Dinner Out.”

    I backed up the van into our clean street, with its mailboxes positioned between the homes like a Suburban Idyllic Wonderland.

    Dad was still staring at me as I drove off.

    Shit.

  33. vanastop says:

    As I walked around the old boxes, I felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. It’s been a few years since I scanned through the old family heirlooms, something I used to do every now and again when I visited my parents home. Of course, this kind of activity always brings back old memories, and makes me feel as though something of my former self still remains amidst all the developments that have taken place throughout the course of my life. Surely I have grown to be quite different from my family. And although we have changed, I still felt the undeniable familial kinship that ultimately bound me to something bigger than myself.
    This sense of stability was shaken in a blink of an eye. Running my fingers through the pages of the old water damaged books; I found among the sun-bleached pages, a letter signed by a man named Pierre LeBlanc. The postage was from Lyon. What was particularly alarming, aside from the Frenchman’s strange Lyonnais signature, was the date of the letter, which read: 19, September 2017.
    “How is this possible?” I asked myself aloud, almost flabbergasted by the utter impossibility of this scenario. How could my mom be corresponding with some random French dude right under my Dad’s nose? Of course, their marriage had its ups and downs, as all relationships do, but I had never noticed anything out of the ordinary that would constitute any cause for concern. To my mind, their marriage epitomized what an ideal love should look like—an ideal love that seemed hardly attainable in our epoch. How could all of my romantic notions surrounding my parents’ relationship be false? Perhaps I was blinded by a kind of boyish naivety that told me my parents were superhuman and an exemplary model of what kind of person I was supposed to become.
    By this point, my heart was pounding through my chest. My sweaty hands clenched the letter tightly, as I stormed down the stairs of the attic past the hallway towards the living room where I planned to confront my mother about this incomprehensible document. Holding the letter high above my head, I shouted in enraged disbelief. “May I be as kind as to ask who the hell Pierre LeBlanc is? How could you be writing letters to this guy while Dad has dedicated his life to you and our family? And why is this letter dated in the future?” My mother calmly looked at me in my aggravated state. As she surveyed my body language, I felt as though I was completely transparent in that moment. She could definitely sense my profound confusion and disbelief, yet she remained so serene despite my aggressive reproach. “Well… Aren’t you going to explain yourself or are you just going to sit there like nothing has happened?” I said pressingly.
    At this point, my mother sighed. Cracking an enigmatic smile, she pointed to me and said, “Son, you shouldn’t be so upset. Don’t you know that Dad and I are doing just fine? We’re polyamorous. And the letter is dated in the future because Pierre doesn’t accept the present moment. He fancies himself as a bit progressive for his age.”

    Author’s Note: Please feel free to leave your comments and criticism. I had fun writing this, but would love to hear about what I could do to improve. Thanks for reading.

    • Chocoleese says:

      From a reader’s (and not a writer’s) perspective, your character comes across as much older than the 15 years specified in the prompt, especially in the first paragraph and in the line “May I be so kind as to ….”.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hi vanastop. I agree the main character sounds too old for 15. Also, I didn’t get an emotional attachment to him, or his family. It was written in a sort of highbrow way and I couldn’t relate. But, that is just me…

      Keep on writing! I would never discourage anyone!

      • Chocoleese says:

        Oh dear – me either!! Apologies, vanastop, if it came across that way!

        • Jeanie Y says:

          No Chocoleese, I don’t think your post came across that way at all. I usually have a hard time putting my finger on why a post doesn’t send me to the moon, so I don’t usually reply at all in that case. This one I could, so I felt the need to buffer the blow. (If it was a blow?)

          Online conversing is hard, you can’t read the facial reactions!

    • Ishmael says:

      Hey Vanastop –

      Someone once said (was it Wilde?), “Fiction is life with the dull parts taken out.” This needs the dull parts taken out. While you have a masterful grasp of the written word, the characterization lacked. Your main character seemed in his 40′s. Your opening paragraph, as well as the way the person held himself, implied that. 15 y/o’s don’t visit their parent’s home and wax nostalgic. They live there, and 14 previous years of life doesn’t allow for much nostalgia.

      If I had to pinpoint a main reason that this eloquently written story didn’t fly, I’d say it lacked realism due to the words you chose. Too polysyllabic. Too stilted. Lyonnais? Polyamorous? Who says that? Those are great words, but combined with all the others, this read like a dictionary. I knew all of them, but just wouldn’t use them all at once. This was High Tea with the Queen. And, to be honest, the reason for the date on the letter was…uninspired.

      Like the others, I thoroughly encourage you to write – you DO have a great grasp on the craft. I would love to see more works from you…just a little grittier and down to earth. :)

      • vanastop says:

        Thank you all for the feedback, I really appreciate everyone who took the time to read and respond to me.

        It was only after I finished writing this story where I realized that I made a mistake and was supposed to write from the perspective of a 15 year old. Instead, I guess I kind of wrote from my own more mature point of view.

        Another reason why my writing may come off as a bit pretentious, or “high-browed” as Jeanie Y put it, is because I just finished my undergraduate degree in Philosophy. This was actually the first short story I had ever written, and I think my background in philosophy worked its way into my attempt at creative writing.

        But I will definitely try to improve on character development in my future work. I think it will just take some more practice and experimentation :-)

  34. laughingboy says:

    Tommy stomped onto the room. “What the hell is this, mom?” He straight-armed the letter under her nose.
    “Don’t cuss, Tommy. You know how I feel about that.”
    “Sorry, but come on – a letter from some man? A love letter! And the date on it is 2076. That’s five years from now! What the . . . what’s going on?”
    “You found the room.”
    “Yeah. And what is all that sh . . . stuff in there? It’s weird.”
    “Well, let’s just say they’re . . . souvenirs. That letter is from years ago.”
    “Years ago?”
    She looked at her fifteen-year-old son. So young, but almost a man. She took in a breath and was still, as if making a decision. “Look, Tommy, I was going to tell you but . . . I guess it’s time. I’ll just show you.”
    They walked down the hall, turned into the closet, and went through the hidden door in the back of the closet. Tommy looked around again at all the strange objects, then turned to see his mom with her palms up against the wall, her eyes closed, murmuring indistinctly in some strange language. The room faded away, and they were floating in space. But not space like Tommy though of space – there were no stars, spinning galaxies, or big novas. It was a glowing lattice of string-like branches, connecting randomly, stretching off as far as the eye could see. Each branch was a different smoldering color, and there were colors Tommy had never seen. The majesty and beauty of it was vast and overwhelming.
    “Holy shit, mom!”
    “Tommy!”
    “Sorry, mom.”
    “I’m a traveler, Tommy; I travel through this lattice and pick a timeline – that’s what they are – and I live it until I get restless and then I pick another. Here, touch one.”
    Tommy cautiously touched one, and suddenly, through eyes not his own, he saw a bustling street scene – fantastical vehicles silently floating back and forth; shiny strangely shaped buildings; people in glittering clothes busily going to and fro. Tommy pulled his hand away. “That’s fucking rash, mom!”
    “Tommy, I’m not going to tell you again!”
    “Sorry. Are you restless now, mom? Are you going to leave us?”
    “No, Tommy, I won’t. I’ve done this a long time. Longer than you can imagine. I’ve been a queen, a warrior, had wealth beyond comprehension. This is my last timeline. I’ll live this life until I die. Then . . . I don’t know. You see, I love you and I love your father. And you love me, right?”
    “I guess so. Sure, I love you a lot. Dad loves you, too. I can tell.”
    “Well, there you have it. We’d better get back. Your father will be home any minute.”

    The old Buick crunched into the driveway, and Tommy’s father came in. “I’m beat. What a day!”
    “Sit down, dear. I’ll get you something to drink.”
    Tommy and his mom looked at each other and smiled their secret smile.

  35. In our house we have two unspoken rules, no talking at the dinner table and no shoes in the house.

    As we sat down for breakfast, before now, I hadn’t ever considered challenging the status quo. My father always impressed upon me the need for rules and order.

    “Dad?” My voice broke through the quiet that filled the kitchen, save for the clinking of cutlery.

    My mother eyed me curiously, while my father re-gripped his newspaper, snapping it upright as he passively policed his ‘silent-eating’ rule.

    “Susie?” my mother replied, but I refused to look at her. She was the one who forced me to break the rules.

    “Dad.” I repeated, gritting my teeth against the anger I felt towards my mother, “Do you know a guy named Richard Harrison?” I felt the tension in the room thicken as my question grabbed everyone’s attention.

    My father carefully folded his newspaper and deliberately placed it beside his half eaten breakfast. Rising from his seat, he faced my mother, refusing to acknowledge me. “I can’t do this any more Helen. We can’t…” his once composed voice began to crack, in sharp contrast to his rigid stance.

    “Andrew” My mother reached out to him, but my Dad walked out of the kitchen, leaving my mother alone with me.

    Turning to face me, my eyes unexpectedly began to tear, as I saw the heartbreak in my mother’s face.

    “You found your fathers letter am I right?” Her voice was surprisingly controlled, even as tears tracked down her face.

    “No,” my voice small and unsure, as I shook my head, “the letter’s from a guy called Richard.” I pulled out the letter in question, from my back pocket. I’d been carrying it around with me ever since I found it hidden behind the book shelf of my mothers office. “It’s a love letter sent to you.” Holding it once again, all the anger and confusion I’d felt when I had first found it, came rushing back.

    “Are you cheating on Dad? Does he know?” My pent-up questioned streamed out, “And what is with the date on the letter, the 23rd of November 2017? That’s five years in the future! I don’t understand”.

    My mother rose from her seat and for a second I thought she was going to abandon the room, abandon me, too. Instead, she opened the cupboard under the sink and rummaged around, before pulling out a small bottle of whisky.

    Turning to face me, she smiled at my open surprise. I never knew my mom drank. Grabbing two glasses from the cabinet, she poured out two shots and handed one to me.

    Unsure I gripped the glass, but didn’t drink, as I watched her knock back her whisky. “Umm Mom?” All my anger towards her had now bled away. She seemed a broken woman, “I’m only 15. I’m too young to drink”.

    She laughed richly before pouring herself another shot. “You say that every time I offer you a shot of whisky.”

    I sat back stunned, “Mom, I’ve never even seen you drink before… “

    She raised her hand and I immediately fell silent. “Richard is, was, your father sweetheart. Andrew is your step father” My mother captured my hand, grasping it firmly, from across the table. “The year is 2019. Your father died 2 years ago. You’re 22, not 15 years old Susie.”

    I snatched my hand back from hers, my chair scraping across the floor as I hastily stood in a stupor.

    My mother didn’t move. She just looked exhausted. “You have Selective Memory Loss. You’ve suffered from it for years.”

    Authors Note : This was a surprisingly difficult story prompt for me. Mostly because I tried to avoid giving the story the sci-fi twist that I really wanted (I am trying to practice stretching my writing wings beyond my genre modus operandi ‘Urban Fantasy/Sci-Fi’). The word count was difficult too. I managed to cut this back, from an initial count of over 750 words, down to 550.

    • hillsworth says:

      I liked this. I thought you were going one way with it, but then you took it another. Nicely done.

    • zo-zo says:

      I really enjoyed this! You paint strong scenes – I especially enjoy when the mom offers her a drink, very vivid. Great writing and strong tension.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Agree with hillsworth and zo-zo…great writing! Could see the action in my head. I tho, could not see the SML coming…great take on the prompt!

    • Ishmael says:

      I’ve gotten to where I love Morgan’s LeFables almost as much as Aesop’s. You have a welcoming feel to your stories, and invite me in for splendid tales with nice curves to lean into. The reveal of the situation was wonderful.

      One of my favorite words is “save” for “except.” I love to use that word when it fits…nice and poetic, thanks for indulging me. “Anymore” is commonly spelled as one word, which would have knocked one off the count. Also, “my Dad” should be “my dad,” since “dad” is not being used as a name in that case. Perhaps writing, “…but Dad walked out of the kitchen…” would have cut another word.

      One last thought…was “Turning to face me” intentionally repeated? If so, I didn’t get the reason or symbolism.

      But you know what? It was still a dang good story. I didn’t even notice you went over.

  36. jenjane says:

    I knew going into the dingy room under the house was, for one, against Mums rules and two, going to change my life forever.
    The darkness of the room stunned me at first. My eyes quickly dilated to adjust to the lack of light. I could feel my heart beating against my adolescent chest. A chest which was yet to develop to that of my Mothers’. Mum is beautiful and everything I want to be, except for the Rules!
    Switching on my flashlight, I was overwhelmed by the sight of neatly stacked boxes. Obviously Mum’s doing. She is an orderly person. Always organising and keeping us together in times of turmoil.
    I tentatively lift the lids of some of the boxes, using my torch as my guide. I spy the usual storage stuff, baby albums, School Year Books and old Mills and Boons novels. Mum was a romantic; she had loads of love to give. As I picked up one book titled “The Forbidden Love”, a small yellowing envelope fell from the bound pages.
    Opening the envelope address to Mum would be against” Mums Rules”. I was curious why an envelope remained unopened and hidden away for no one to see. Maybe mum didn’t realise it was in the book. Had she not read this love story? I felt it my duty to investigate further.
    Leaving the room of dust and darkness, I went to my room where it is bright and clean. My door was ajar, pushing the door slowly open, Mum was sitting on my bed; she raised her head for our eyes to meet. “So you found it” she said looking away. “Go ahead open it”
    Inside was another envelope, roughly scribed ‘From Rob’ with a date, my birth date, although the year is some 6 years from present time, my 21st birthday. Mums head was hung low and she was silently weeping. My head was whirling with confusion. So many questions.
    “The envelope holds the answers” Mum whispered.

  37. wilson hara says:

    Oh dear. I just could not get this story to behave and yes, it’s rushed. I also left the date out of the letter : let’s pretend it’s 2043 and due to a bloody smudge, reads 2048. oh well.

  38. wilson hara says:

    I was born towards the beginning of the end. My mother is a nurse, my father, a doctor; therefore, we were better prepared than most. My father started my radiation therapy when I was 2, in the hope that early and constant exposure would increase my immunity for when Day Zero finally happened. Therapy was hard : my hair fell out, my skin burnt and sores erupted. Eating became a dubious pleasure. The sores would eventually scab over and begin to itch. My mum would cover my hands with socks and sleep beside me until this phase was over. The scabs would fall off to reveal perfectly shiny pink skin. I looked like I had polka dots.

    One night, when I was 6, I woke up and followed my mothers’ cries to the bathroom. She was squatting, her skirt hitched up to her waist and my father was rubbing her back. Suddenly, a small hand emerged between her legs : it had too many fingers and looked skinned. I screamed.

    The next day, my mum was making breakfast as usual. I looked around for the baby. By the sink, there was a bucket and inside, a bloody mass.

    “Is that the baby?” I asked.

    “No. That’s dinner. The baby’s over there.”

    She shows me a cardboard box, but the baby is fully covered with a blanket, the blanket has blood on it.

    “Is it dead?”

    “Alive. A boy!”

    I reached out but she stopped me.

    “You can’t touch. He’s sick.”

    “Can I see him.”

    “No.”

    That night, we sat down for dinner (what I thought was liver was actually placenta), and I was pushing my food around, watching the blood soak into the mash potatoes, when the 10 minute warning sounded. We ran to our safe room, my father carrying the baby.

    I can’t remember much more. We started a new life, in a new place. My baby brother was gone.

    Until one day, in a hidden room, I found a letter. It said “I love you. Tom.” I also found rolls and rolls of cling film.

    As soon as my mother came home I said

    “Mum I found a letter written in blood from the future!”

    She took it and sighed.

    “Come with me.”

    I followed her downstairs into the cellar, through another door I didn’t know existed and into a child’s playroom.

    There was a big crib up against the wall and I could see a human form under the blanket.

    “I’m scared.”

    “Don’t be. This is your brother.”

    She removed the blanket and I thought I might faint. He had no skin and was wrapped head to toe in cling film.

    “Why are you keeping him here?”

    “He’s too sick and in a lot of pain.”

    “Can he talk?”

    “No.”

    “But he wrote this?”

    “Yes.”

    I took a closer look.

    • Icabu says:

      Wow, this is dark. Makes me want to rethink the spaghetti for dinner …
      Would be interesting in a longer format, likely even darker.
      Good read, though.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Oh, where is this going wilson? Stinkin’ word count. Maybe another prompt could keep it going?

    • Ishmael says:

      Wilson, you certainly know how to take a prompt to a most interesting place! The tension was nice and constant – loved it – but the ambiguity of what was going on hurt the story a little and I was hoping for a bigger reward at the end.

      I love your stuff and where your mind takes these. The story was quite enjoyable and sinfully dark and delicious. (Note to self: Always question a dinner invite from W.H.)

      • wilson hara says:

        Icabu, jeanie,Ishmael thank you! And you’re all spot on! I need to work with being less ambiguous. And as for the end…EXACTLY Ishmael! You’ve read my mind. It’s the end of the world, etc and I came up with “look honey! Your long lost brother’…disappointing.
        I thought at first, I’d make the mum an evil lady scientist, she gives birth to a ‘monster’ and out of curiosity, keeps him in the cellar. ‘monster’ develops some interesting mutant traits. And then, years in solitary, makes him ..lose sense of time(explains date on letter) and he develops Stockholm syndrome(explains love letter) and then I have a nervous breakdown! But still…what I had hoped for was a sci if end.
        And as this is the Future…cling film?!!
        Jeanie, I’ve developed a soft spot for Saran wrap Tom, if I see an opportunity, I think I will bring him out of the cellar!

    • radioPanic says:

      Wow. You certainly pull us into some uncomfortable territory here. I love uncomfortable territory. Show this baby some tough love and it could blossom into something very strange and beautiful that you might not want to get your fingers too close to. Well done.

  39. evermoore says:

    I found my Mom in the kitchen but could do no more than watch her from the doorway. She looked the same…but this letter in my hand made me see her differently.

    She looked up and offered a half smile. “You timed that right, kiddo. I got tired of waiting and finished the dishes myself. Tomorrow you get to make up for it.”

    I swallowed to find my voice. “Who’s Henry?”

    She stopped cleaning the table mid swipe. “Pardon?”

    I showed her the letter in my hand. “And how crazy would he be to date this so far in advance?”

    She moved pretty fast, snatching it from me, her eyes flashing. “You went in my things?!”

    “Actually,” I snorted, “I went in a whole room I never knew existed. I wonder if Dad knows…or if he knows about your fling.”

    She stiffened, then seemed to sag, her tone resigned, “He knows about Henry. In fact, if not for Henry, your father and I wouldn’t be together.”

    She turned back to the counter, folding the letter again to slip it in her pocket. I sat at the table and waited, unsure if she would elaborate or just ignore me all together. “Mom?”

    She sighed and sank down on a chair across from me. “You weren’t meant to go in that room…or to find the letter. It happened a long time ago…a time that hasn’t yet arrived for you.”

    I guess my expression mirrored my thoughts and she covered my hand with hers. “Honey…I don’t think I can explain this…and it’s better if you just forget you found the thing. No good can come of it.”

    I could see her eyes shimmering with emotion and heard the reluctance in her voice, but I wasn’t about to forget anything. “If you won’t tell me, I’ll just ask Dad.”

    “No….you most certainly will not!” She stood, then took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “Your father’s memory of what took place has been erased. It was better that way.”

    “You have to be joking,” I whispered, though a larger part of me feared she wasn’t. “That’s crazy.”

    “Do you remember,” she countered, looking at me with a mix of desperation and love. “how we would sit on the back swing and look at the stars at night?”

    I gave a nod, remembering it well.

    “Do you remember my story about the black star, ruled by the entity that had one special love, baby?” At my nod she continued, “It’s light years away…in the future. Remember the shooting star on a wishful night…and how only one wish was granted?” She looked at me and whispered, “I wanted to come…to feel the sun…to fall in love. To be human.” She smiled so softly that I could almost believe it was true. “I got my wish, honey, but broke Henry’s heart in the process. Please don’t break your dad’s.”

    I woke up in a sweat, heart pounding, then laughed.

    No more spicy foods before bed again!

  40. Icabu says:

    Mom reached out and snatched the letter out of my hand with the speed of a serpent strike.

    “Where’d you get this?” she demanded.

    “In the attic,” I answered, my hand still out-stretched.

    The glare she gave me was like a mad bear. I slowly lowered my hand. “Through that little hatch that goes over the garage,” I explained.

    I watched as she slowly sank to sit on the arm of the couch, reading the letter. As her eyes tracked back and forth following the scrawled words on the paper, the pinch of anger left her face. Her eyes glittered as they danced from word to word.

    “Who’s Michael?” I asked as she lowered the letter to her lap and stared out the window. My dad was Roger and I knew he couldn’t and wouldn’t ever write a letter like that.

    “Oh, someone from my rash youth.” She shrugged and carefully refolded the letter. “You know …”

    Her voice was soft and I knew there was way more to this letter. “Why’s it dated for, like, five years from now if he’s from your past?”

    To my surprise, she patted the cushion on the couch beside her. I sat.

    “We were your age when Michael wrote this,” she started, with a dreamy, far-away look in her eye. “Fifteen.”

    I did the math: Thirty years ago, 1967.

    “Why didn’t you go to San Francisco with him?” I asked, hoping she’d keep talking.

    “Michael was full of music, poetry, lyrics,” she answered after a long, thoughtful pause. “And peace, and hope, and goodwill.”

    His letter had made me think of poetic lyrics – beautiful and flowing.

    “He had long hair, jeans with holes, and beaded necklaces he made himself,” she continued. “And rode a motorcycle.”

    “I bet Gramm and Gramp liked that,” I said, beginning to imagine the situation.

    Her gaze snapped back and bored into me. “No. They did not.”

    With a sigh, she got up and walked to the window, staring out. I stayed on the couch.

    “He gave me this when he left for San Francisco,” she said, her voice soft again. “He figured that when we were fifty, we would meet up with each other and spend our golden years together.” She turned to face me. “Just to spite my parents.”

    She went to her bedroom, but not before I saw the tears on her cheek. I knew she’d married Roger because of my older brother. I did that math, too – his birthday is only six months after their wedding date. And she divorced Roger six years after I was born.

    I pulled the envelope from Michael’s letter from my pocket and went to my room, booted my laptop. It might take me five years, but I was determined to find Michael Torrez. For my mom.

    • wilson hara says:

      Sweet story icabu! Well written (as always). That’ a great kid. And just a few words to describe Roger, so well.

    • zo-zo says:

      Really well written, and I like this story. Love ‘someone from my rash youth’!

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Love the kid’s kindness. Great story Icabu.

    • Ishmael says:

      Icabu…my usual laud and admiration for your piece. I honestly don’t think you can write a bad story – each submission is a pleasure. Wonderful dialogue. His use of “Roger” as opposed to “Dad” showed his disdain for his father and perfectly explained his haste to find Michael, who truly touched his mother’s heart.

      The fifth paragraph was the only one that I had to sift through. The repetition of the use of “as” and “her eyes” did something with the flow for me. I dunno…something to ponder.

      LOVED the first sentence. You really have a killer opener there. Actually, I loved the first four paragraphs…”my hand still out-stretched” reiterated the speed of her serpent strike. Like a person whose head was chopped off, but the body hasn’t fallen yet.

      Always a pleasure. Thanks for the read.

      • Icabu says:

        Ishmael – I certainly appreciate your feedback. Especially on what didn’t work so well. Always looking to improve. Your comparison was quite … vivid. :)

        As most, I struggle (and a challenge) to relate a story in 500 measly words. It’s a pleasure when some hit a chord with a reader.

        • Ishmael says:

          Did ya like that comparison? I sorta chuckled myself. :)

          Icabu, ALL of your stories strike a harmonious chord with me – they really make for interesting reads. I looked over the fifth paragraph again, wondering what bugged me so; none of your stuff usually does. I think it’s a matter of consolidating some of the phrasing. I’ll try to show you what I mean, if I may…

          I watched as she slowly sank to sit on the arm of the couch, her eyes tracking back and forth following the scrawled handwriting of the letter. The heated expression lifted from her face, and those same eyes now glittered and danced from word to word.

          The reasons I changed what I did: removed “on the paper.” It was redundant. “Reading the letter” indicated it was on paper, so I chose one – and made it “of the letter.” I liked “pinch of anger,” but it didn’t mesh with the “glare of a mad bear.” An angry bear has more than a pinch, therefore, “heated expression.” Lets the reader imagine how much anger in her face. I put “those same eyes now” to try to show a contrast between the solemn eyes when she first sat, and the eyes lighting up as she read. And I changed “words” to “handwriting” since “word to word” is being used immediately after.

          I hope I don’t sound abrupt – trying to be succinct, yet thorough – but these are things I would like pointed out to me…a little line editing. I’m sure you know, as much as I follow you, that I truly appreciate and learn much from your talents. :)

          • Ishmael says:

            Oops! One last thing. Take out “sit on” and make it “slowly sank to the arm of the couch.” “Sank to” indicates sitting.

          • Icabu says:

            Of course you may – any time. Your comment had me pondering as well. This was the pivot point for the mom in the story and I stumbled with it. What I reworked it to is:

            Slowly, she sank to the arm of the couch. I watched the snarl of anger fade as her gaze tracked back and forth, following the scrawled handwriting on the letter, her eyes glistening as they danced from word to word.

            Very similar to your changes, which I just read. I wanted her change to be fluid, so I made it all one stream – the anger leaves as she reads, which makes her eyes change.

            Not abrupt at all – I enjoyed the tête-à-tête. I am very much a learner in this craft still.

          • Ishmael says:

            Oooo…now THAT flows much better! I tried to keep as much of your original structure as possible, but your revision hit the nail on the head. (Yeah, that was a cliché, but heck…they fit sometimes.)

  41. Chocoleese says:

    I read and re-read the letter. Then slowly I put it back down on the one-legged oak table and began to take in more details of the place where I stood.

    My eyes widened as I took in the strange-looking machine that looked like half of a side-by-side double door refrigerator, except the door was made of transparent glass and very light green air seemed to be circulating on the inside. Over to the other side of the room was a wide, round table surrounded by eight tall chairs. Behind the table was a wide movie-like screen.

    Oddly, for a room that I’d never seen before in the fifteen years that I had been living in this house, there was no visible dust around. The magnitude of that struck me and a flicker of uneasy nervousness shivered through my spine. Did that mean that someone was keeping –

    Slam! With a small shriek, I turned around to find my mother standing on the inside of the room. Chiding myself for not shutting the door, I opened my mouth to speak but my mother’s words beat me to the task.

    “What are you doing in here?” she demanded.

    My slightly shaking fingers took the same akimbo position as our recent interactions, ever since I had found her snooping around in my room, no doubt looking for my diary. Good thing I always kept that somewhere on my person.

    “What am I doing in here? What is ‘here’, Mother? What is this place?”

    “This place is out of bounds for you!”

    “Oh, really?”

    “Yes, really.” She looked around, as if checking whether anything was out of place.

    I was determined to get an answer. “Why, because of the letter from Daniel? Who is he? And why is this letter dated 2017?”

    The countenance on my mother’s face changed and she inched closer towards me. I had never seen her like this before.

    “You-should-not-have-read-that-letter”. I could have counted the words as quietly as she said them. A bit of fear crept upon me. I was the one who usually did that kind of talk.

    “I’m calling Dad”, I said shakily, instinctively backing away while simultaneously reaching into my jeans pocket for my cell phone.

    “That won’t be necessary”.

    I could not determine how many different pieces the cell phone smashed into, nor the direction to which they flew as I stood transfixed to the image that appeared on the screen in the corner of the room.

    The face was unknown to me but unmistakably, the voice was my Dad’s.

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hi Chocoleese! Your story was well written. It left me with so many questions and I didn’t get any real answers to any, so my mind didn’t know where to go with it. It was just getting going. Stupid word count!

      Just a thought…adding a little more emotional attachment to the mom/daughter would add some tension and connection for the reader. You know?

  42. Leond says:

    I don’t know what I expected my mother’s reaction to be when I showed her the letter. I barely had a reaction to it. It was too strange. A love letter dated five years in the future, written to my mother, hidden in a secret room under the stairs? How do you even process that?
    But somehow, I was still surprised by her expression. There was a warmth in her eyes and a sort of condescending smile that said “I know that you don’t understand this, but it’s really not as complicated as you think”. I had never seen it on her before, and it was kind of wonderful in its way.
    “Love is a complicated thing,” she said, staring into space slightly. “Love is a very complicated thing.”
    “But what is this note?” I said. “And why was it where it was?”
    “Do you really want to hear that story?” she said. Now her face was slightly different. It was an expression I had seen many times before: “I can tell you the reason for this, but you might not want to know.”
    “Of course,” I answered, resolutely.
    She shrugged. “Your father and I married two years before you were born. It was the kind of marriage that seemed to be made in heaven. All of our friends thought we would be happy forever. We thought it too.
    “You were only five when we divorced. To some extent, you were our hope of saving our marriage and finding what we had lost. But it didn’t work. And so we had to leave each other. For your good and for ours.”
    She paused. “I found that room just before you were born while nursing a black eye. It might have been made in the Prohibition sometime. Occasionally I think it wasn’t made at all. It opened for me at just the right time. It was my place to hide from everyone and everything. And especially from your father.
    “The night after your father left, I went in there with a different purpose. I wanted to end it all. I felt like I had ruined your father’s life and that I was going to ruin yours. I felt like a failure, and above all, I felt worthless, like someone that no one ever could love. And I wanted to do it in that room because that was the room that I had always felt free from things in.
    “And then, sitting in the middle of the table was that love letter, postmarked fifteen years in the future, written in handwriting I couldn’t recognize. Immediately, I realized what it was. It was a promise. A promise that some day, some how, someone will find me worthwhile.
    “Was it a gift from heaven? A fluke? Or a love so strong that it could reach into the past? I don’t know. But after reading that letter, I know that someday I will know.” She took it in hand. “For a while, I read it every night to remind myself of it. Now, I don’t need it because I’ve learnt to see value in a hundred other things. Especially you. But I still keep it around because one day I’m going to have to respond to it.”
    She handed it back to me. “Love is a powerful force, James,” she said. “Never forget that.”

  43. mokingjay says:

    “Max!” Lisa shook the food bowl vigorously, “It’s time for your medicine! (you stupid piece of fluff) Come on!” After a moment of silence the 15 year old sighed put down her book and walked out of the kitchen. “Lord knows where that cat could be!”

    Lisa conducted a full search of the first and second floors, before giving up and going down into the basement. Lisa hated it down there. It was dark and wet and full of bugs and cobwebs. She walked down the steps Turning on the one light down there. It flickered feebly in the dark room.

    “Max…” She called as she walked slowly on, the. “Come out, come out wherever you are…” The floorboards creaked and she shuddered as a cobweb caught her in the face. Before her the first door was slightly ajar. After looking hopelessly around her she opened it and walked though. This second room was larger, but held absolutely nothing. Max was not in here. Next she looked at the last door. She had never gone through it before. She had always been afraid. Now in the thin light, she saw that there was a hole just big enough for Max to slip through.

    She hesitated for a moment before the door, but in the end she reached forward and grabbed the handle. It was rusty, but after a few shoves, it opened with a creek.

    It was a small room, about the size of a broom cupboard, and it smelt of musty old leather. Max was there, and as she walked forward to grab him she tripped over a cardboard box and fell on her face. Max scampered away up the stares.

    Lisa stood, cursed behind her breath, and made for the door. But something stopped her, and instead of going up, she looked around for a light. She found a flashlight on a small shelf, and after turning it on sat down. The box she had tripped over sat there innocently in front of her. Something about it made her forget her fears of the dark. Curiosity took over her thoughts.

    She blew off some of the just and opened the box.

    Inside she found an old wooden yo-yo, a cassette-tape, a record-tape, a CD, and a few other odds and ends. At the bottom, however she found a letter. Unlike everything else, it looked as if it had only just been put in there. The paper was white and there was no trace of dust on it. Strangest of all, was the date. September 18 2017. It was for her mother.

    Lisa opened it and began to read. A later on she wished she hadn’t. It was a love letter. And not just a normal one. It spoke of her mother as if she was a runaway from a prison or something. “…when all is revealed, we will be together…” “…You secret is safe with me…” “…My love, my sweet. Be careful. I think for you and your safety every night…”

    Worst of all, It wasn’t from dad.

    • mokingjay says:

      I know I’m a little over the word-limit there. I’m only 14, and would love opinions and advise.

      • hillsworth says:

        Punctuation and Spell Check. You’ve left out a good many commas and misspelled a few words. Before you post, read over it a couple times to yourself and if you can, read it aloud to someone else. You’ll be surprised at the little nuances you’ll find.
        Next time you know that you’re over the word limit, don’t post. Edit it and get it within the limit. This is the hardest thing about writing, cutting your work, but it is crucial and it will teach you a great skill. Then post (after reading to yourself and someone else).

    • Jeanie Y says:

      You were just starting to get to the meat of the story mokingjay. I wonder where you would have gone from there!

  44. hedwigy13 says:

    Hi. Quick note – I’m just thirteen, so I don’t have the whole life experience thing going for me. But please be critical. I can take it. (Sorry I was four words over the limit.)

    “Who the hell’s Herbert?” I whispered, staring at the letter in my hand. It was beautifully written, confessing said Herbert’s passionate love for, I believe, my mother. The problem is, my father’s name is George. I scanned through it a third time, and that’s when I noticed its date. Saturday, April fourteenth, 2017. “Well, maybe it’s a typo. Maybe it’s supposed to be 1917,” I told myself. There was a problem with that idea, too. My mother wasn’t even alive then. So how the hell does she have a letter from 2017…
    “Tucker? Oh, shit! What the hell are you doing here!?!” I froze. My mother appeared in the doorway. Am I not supposed to be in here? I didn’t even know about the room until five minutes ago. But here I am, standing in this plain room with white walls and hardwood flooring that appeared to be redwood. And I’m about to get in trouble because of it. From her tone of voice, I’m going to go ahead and guess it’ll be capital punishment. Just watch, my head will be mounted above the fireplace by next week.
    “I didn’t know. Honest, I just – just found the place. And I – I just was curious why we had a – a room I didn’t know about,” I leapt to my defense. Great, that damn stutter. Every single time I get nervous, it freakin’ kicks in. I dropped the paper on the desk where I found it, fidgeting uncomfortably.
    “Tucker, what have you seen?” my mother asks, edgier than I am. I shift my gaze down to my sneakers.
    “Just – just a letter, is all. But… why was it dated five years in the – the future?” She made her way over to the desk, next to me, and picked up the letter.
    “It was a mistake, I guess. Maybe it was supposed to be 2007,” she replied hurriedly, fingering the letter.
    “So you were having a – an affair!?!” I screamed. What the hell was going on?
    “No, you don’t get it! Goddamn it, Tucker, it’s from the future! Okay, damn it? It’s from 2017,” she shouts, stone cold and rigid.
    “How?”
    “You see the filing cabinet?” she asks. I glance at the huge gray cabinet in the corner of the room and nod. She doesn’t see me, never looking up from the letter, so I say yes. “In the drawer at the very top, the padlocked one, there’s this thing that let’s you travel through time.” I laughed. I couldn’t help it. It was ridiculous.
    “Really? What is this, the H.G. Wells novel? Say hey to Weena for me!” I chuckle.
    “Tucker, I’m serious.”
    “Fine. I’ll humor you. But what’s with this Herbert guy?” She looks up finally, and I can see she’s crying.
    “My boyfriend,” she mutters.
    “So you are having an affair, just in the future?”
    “No.”
    “Then what? Come on, mom. Tell me.”
    “It’s better if you don’t know,” she whispers, moving back towards the door.
    “No, it’s not, mom. I need to know.”
    “He’s dead, Tucker. And so are you.”

    • mokingjay says:

      I like you ideas a lot. I didn’t think you were going to give any explanation, but the last line was a good ending.
      Just a few pointers from a fellow-teen:
      When his mother says “No, you don’t get it!….it’s from 2017!” I don’t feel as if she is stone cold. Rigid maybe, but the words make me feel like she;s burning.

      You might also want to go a little beyond ‘a thing that lets you travel in time.” It’s not very convincing.
      Besides that I thought your story was great! :)

    • Tharmon says:

      Your last line was catching. Good writing (age not considered) .

    • hillsworth says:

      Good concept, so-so delivery. You ran a few paragraphs together that should have been seperated.
      I am not against the use of foul language in writing, but the way that you put it in, shows your age. In one particular sentence, you could have used either the “Oh shit” or “the Hell’ and it would have flowed better. Eg: “Tucker? Oh, shit! What are you doing here?” or “Tucker? What the hell are you doing here?”
      The use of Goddamn it and Damn it in two seperate but consecutive sentences is overkill. Drop one, preferably the first (just my personal opinion that it is one of a few curse words that shouldn’t be used much in writing, especially by thirteen year olds)
      Keep at it, though. you’re doing good.

    • atwhatcost says:

      hedwigy13,
      I’m not critiquing because I just found this prompt, want to see if I can respond, and mostly do not want to read other submissions for fear I will subconsciously steal another idea…or more realistically, I’d figure I don’t have a chance, because everyone else is so much better than….

      Well, since you brought up that you’re 13, I suspect you have an idea where that was going. That fear doesn’t end. (I’m scrolling down the list to see if any friends have entered yet, if you were wondering.)

      I just want you to figure out this playing field is even. You may only be 13 (and never tell others what age you are, if for no other reason then, you catch such a thrill when people think you’re older than you are. Okay, in my case, I’d feel worse, but I’m on that end of ages where we want to seem younger, not older.) You may be competing with writers older than you are, but the vast majority of us are racking our brains trying to remember what it’s like to be a mere two years older than you. And do understand, when you get to the age where you don’t want anyone to think you’re “older,” you also tend to see little difference between 13 and 15. In my case, I’m racking my brain to remember what I was like at age 20. (As in “five years in the future.”) Something tells me that’s a key moment in a story for this prompt – or it could be. ;)

      Lynn

    • BleuVenom says:

      It’s not necessary to preface your writing with the announcement of your age. Regardless of age, anyone can lack experience in certain area in life as well as aptitude in writing. Always write about what you know and research the rest. Break up that meatloaf of a paragraph. It’s easier to read in slices. BleuVenon >^..^<

    • Jeanie Y says:

      Hedwigy, I like your use of sarcastic humor…funny!
      I think your post is very good!

  45. psgordon says:

    Janelle enjoyed exploring the new house. The attic was filled with old boxes and furniture from days past.
    She came across a stack of wooden boxes. She leaned over them to peer inside. Suddenly, the stack slid to the right and behind them there was a hidden opening. Being the adventuresome type, she clicked on her flashlight, pushed aside the cobwebs and crept in on her hands and knees. The room smelled musty. There in the dim light, she saw a small desk, scattered with papers adorned in a veil of dust. Carefully, she opened the top letter as to not rip the already yellowed paper.

    “My dearest Charise,
    I cannot believe in this short time that you’ve come to love me so. I too, love you.
    Circumstances have brought us together, and nothing can keep us apart. Please come meet me at our favorite beach beneath the stars on Cape Cod this weekend. I’ve arranged a flight for you September 18, 2017 at 12:30pm. Your ticket will be at the desk. I will meet you there and whisk you away!
    I love you! Until then,
    Yours forever and always,
    Philip”

    She looked at the date. This letter looks so old. Who is Philip? Why is it address to her mom? What the hell…..she had to find out.
    Thundering down the stairs from the attic, she called out to her mother.

    “Mom…” Janelle called out.
    “Yes, baby?” Charise called out from the laundry room.
    She walked in the room with the letter and stared inquisitively at her mom.

    “Who’s Philip?” She commanded her mother to answer. She held the letter out in front of her mom and tamped her foot.
    “Janelle, what are you talking about?” Charise looked bewildered.
    “Read” Janelle drummed her fingers on the washer.

    Several minutes later, Charise directed her daughter to sit down.

    “Honey, before your father passed, Philip was his doctor. When your father was being treated for the cancer, Philip and I were talking about your father’s favorite place – Cape Cod. He told me that I should arrange one last trip for your father and I to enjoy, because he knew your dad wasn’t going to get any better. As you know, we didn’t make it.”

    “So, what…you’re seeing Philip?” Janelle said teary eyed. “Can’t wait until dad is cold in the ground?”

    “No!!! I am not seeing Philip. I miss your dad more than words can say.” Her voice trailed off as she spoke.

    “Guess only time will tell then, huh, Mom?”

  46. writtenluv22 says:

    Opps messed up a couple places. Oh well, guess that’s what I get for lack of interest in editing my work :/

    • BleuVenom says:

      Editing has got to be as much a part of your work as the writing itself. In the end, editing truly shapes your story making it tighter and concise. BleuVenom >^..^<

  47. JeSuis71 says:

    I’m home alone right now which has come to be a very common thing these days. Jane and Jack have cross country and little James has pee wee football. Dad is at work like he so often is. I walk around the house for a few minutes and then the phone rings and I stumble hitting the baseboard with my foot. A section of the wall opens up to revel a door. I look back and forth between the newly reveled door and the ringing phone. I quickly grab the phone and answer but the second that my eye isn’t on the door it disappears.
    “Hello,” I say breathless from running to the phone and back.
    “Jonah what took you so long?” my mother asks.
    “Noth…” I say before she interrupts.
    “Never mind I need you to make dinner cross country is running late and I won’t be able to get back in time,” she says.
    “Okay,” I say and she hangs up.
    Typical. I hang up the phone and go back to the wall and get down on my hands and knees. The only thing I see is a small inscription, “Do Believe” I press the heel of my palm against it and the door is once again reveled. I turn the brass knob and am transported into a dusty study, filled with mahogany furniture, big stuffy chairs and lots of books.
    As I wander around the study one book in particular catches my eye. It’s lime green with gold trimming and it has two words on it in gold lettering. “Je suis” French for I Am, I know this thanks to my mom teaching me French when I was little. Being the oldest has some advantages. There is an envelope sticking out of the book I slowly slide it out and take out the letter. The heading is
    Dearest Evie the name only my dad calls my mother but the date the date is exactly today October 9th but 2017. Five years from now, I quickly scan the letter and note that it is a love letter. The only other interesting thing I note is the signature, Danny. My dad’s name is John.
    I make dinner as mom asked with the letter sitting next to me the whole time. When mom comes home she immediately notices it and says, “My smart, smart boy.”
    “What is it?” I ask.
    “That doesn’t matter, what matters is that given all the opportunities I have given and will continue to give you this is the one you acted on,” she says.
    “What does that mean?” I ask her.
    “It means you will soon be meeting Danny,” she says motioning to the letter.

    • slayerdan says:

      Hello. The word I think you were going for a few times was reveal, not revel. Dialogue a little flat to me…feels like you wrote it quick. It didnt grab me. Just my $.02.

  48. writtenluv22 says:

    Summer vacation the most boring time of year for Michelle, unlike other kids her age who relished the thought of being away from school for two months she found it absolutely pointless. Sitting at home watching cartoons all day had become stale, just like malls which her friends were constantly inviting her to go do had also become dull.

    It was late in the afternoon one evening when she’d gone on a huge exploration of the new house her and her parents had recently moved into.

    There was a peculiar room she’d found within her mother’s private study behind a book case; the cliché hidden room behind the shelving. It was dark and dusty making her nose itch and causing her to sneeze several times as she entered it with caution. The strange objects within the room were antique looking covered in cob webs that linked from one object to the other.

    Approaching a dresser she pulled open the draws. Michelle reached in pulling out a letter, its paper was clean and the back freshly ceiled. Opening it her bright blue eyes grew wide realizing what it was, her heart began to sink.

    When her mother got home that night, her eyes were tired and swollen. Michelle was waiting for her in the kitchen.

    “Mother” she said as she watched her come into the room and poured herself a coffee.

    “How was your day Mich?” the name everyone called her for short. Michelle tossed the letter onto the table raising an inquisitive eyebrow, provoking the older woman.

    “Good until I had found this. Are you planning on having an affair?” she asked, unable to keep her heart from beating out of control.

    Mich’s mother’s matching blue eyes turned to the letter lying on the table, sighing she said. “Where did you find this?”

    “In the room behind your book case”

    Her mother scowled with annoyance. “I told you not to go into my study. There are legal documents in there regarding my clients”

    Michelle snorted. “What’s been written in that letter doesn’t sound like a legal document to me mom”
    “It is none of your business, you’re fifteen years old.”

    Having her intelligence measured by her age and inability to understand angered Michelle. “I’m telling dad”

    “Michelle!” she said. “If you even took the time to look at the letter you would realize it is dated five years from now and left for me. I found it in that strange room behind the book shelf. I do not know where it is from or how it got there”

    She had a hard time believing this. “Are you saying before we even moved here it was left there?” Michelle didn’t want to believe such an absurd thing. Picking up the letter she looked it over, it was dated for June 26th 2016. There was no receipt just a play on words that oozed a deep passion for the woman it had been addressed to. An eerie feeling crept over her.

  49. brandongd says:

    I sat inquisitivley. As I read the letter over again trying to memorize what had been writen, I hear the front door open. My mother and father had returned home from the grocerey store. I put the letter back in the exact same position I had found it, left the old secret room I had stumbled upon and returned the piece of old drywall covering the hidden door. As I aproached the top of the basment stair well I heard my father say “well what possesed you to go down there?”. I replied ” a fuse blew, I was jus trying to find the breaker to turn it back on”. “well the breakers arent down there so come up here and close this old dirty door, make sure you clean up befor dinner, it’s absolutley disgusting down there. I’ll fix the fuse jsut wait until after dinner”. My mother was particularily quiet during this conversation. She seemed to be busy putting the groceries away but she couldent help but notice how I had found my way into the basment. I closed the door and returned the dining room table that had been covering the trap door leading to the basement. I rushed up stairs to clean up. Turning the sink on, I adjusted the water and proceeded to wash my hands. The soap felt nice on my skin. Washing a thick layer of black soot and grime from the basment walls. As I watched the blackness run off my hands and swirl down the drain I couldent help but think of my recent dicovery. “My mother is a mistress!” I thought with a hint of anger attached.”Dinners ready!” my mother called out up the stairs to me. I headed down debating what I should do in my head. “should I say something?” or should I just leave it? “I surley cant just pretend like I never seen any of this”.Just sweep it under the rug and forget about it?. No…. I have to get to the bottom of this”. I pulled out a chair at the dining room table and was handed a plate. I scooped a big pile of mashed potatoes on my plate and smotherd it with gravy”. This whole debacle had stripped me of my apatite”. I looked at my father as he dugg into his food, almost inhaling it, then over to my mother”. She had been sipping wine and seemed to be lost in thought. This wasent the place to bring something like this up. I couldent involve my father in this. Not quiet yet. I want to find out some more facts about this before I drop a bomb like that on him. After dinner we proceeded with our nightly rituals. Clearing the table and the dishes, my father was watching t.v and I took the family dog spok for a stroll. The night was calm with a cool breeze blowing what leaves were left on the trees. As I returned home and was walking up our front walkway I seen my mother on the front patio smoking a ciggarette. ” Did you have a good walk” my mother asked me as a approached. ” Yeah, it’s a beautiful night for a walk, Spok enjoyed it”. I looked at the pavement trying to avoid making eye contact with my mother as I walked by. I was successful! Well, so I thought. As I twisted the front door knob heading into my house my mother said, “I noticed you found the little secret room in our wine cellar tonight”. Is that the first time you had been down there? Or is that somehting you do all the time?”. I replied ” That was my first time. Does dad know about that room down there? I havent heard anyone mention it before”. “Danny.. You must never go back down into that room you promise me?, and you must never EVER tell you’re father”…..

    • slayerdan says:

      Ok….Im gonna be harsh here but as easy as I can. 1) You went way over the word limit–that can be excusable at times BUT 2) This is so hard to read–the spelling is terrible–spellcheck would have caught 98% of those errors. 3) The run on paragraph made this really hard to read, especially when dialogue was involved. 4) A teen is never going to keep that kind of secret from dad.
      My guess is youre younger and I am quite glad you are wanting to write and come up with ideas and a story now and again. However, you need to focus on the basics first–dialogue, when to do a new paragraph, spelling, punctuation etc….Once those are in hand, cranking out a story people will give you great feedback on is just around the corner. Whats better, a story you will be proud of is just around that same corner, feedback or not. So work on th basics, keep writing, and move forward. I hope you take this constructively–as I meant it–and improve. Much luck.

      • hillsworth says:

        I am glad Slayer said it because I would have if he hadn’t. It seems the whole concept of this site sometimes gets a little muddled at times. My opinion is this site has two sides: 1) It is a great place to post awesome stories and you get to hear the ooohhhs and aahhs from so many talented, but as yet, unnoticed writers (and a few that have been noticed and published). 2) It is a great place to hone your skills as a writer through positive AND negative feedback. The positive always swells the ego, the negative makes you realize how you can become better.
        Brandon- I also think that you may be a young writer, trying to break into the world of sharing your work with others. It is very challenging at times, but extremely rewarding. Slayer made alot of good points, and he did so to help you, not discourage you. Take the tips and apply them forward. You’ll see a great difference in your feedback.
        I would also add another tip, which I have learned from several tips from the great Egg: you switched tenses alot. Try to keep it in the same tense.
        Most importantly, keep writing!

      • brandongd says:

        I respect you’re opinion. I’m open to contructive critisizm.

    • BleuVenom says:

      It seems a little rushed to me. Spellcheck your work always. And break up that big block of a paragraph into smaller easier to read and correct ones. But it was still a good story. Keep at it. BleuVenom >^..^<

    • Jeanie Y says:

      I think you did a heck of a job portraying a family who has communication difficulties and dysfunction, especially toward the end…keep writing brandongd!

    • Ishmael says:

      Brandon…this had a stream of consciousness feel to it. I liked that, but have a feeling it was accidental due to your quotes, which were heavily misused.

      I’m not going to beat a dead horse – everything has been addressed, but goodness! Don’t you re-read your stuff before posting? This reads like it’s from someone who’s taking English as a second language.

      There’s much potential…especially in that stream of consciousness niche that very few writers do effectively. I encourage you to look into that. Just check out a grammar website and a dictionary on occasion. And read your story, first. There was really no excuse for most of the issues, except haste. There’s no rush. We’re here, ready to read! :)

  50. Tharmon says:

    “Ok, so let me tell you the weirdest crap ever…” she whispered to her best friend on her cell phone in a secret room she had found just a few minutes ago.

    “OMG, Sarah…you always have some weird conspiracy theory! What is it now?” Her best friend Maria had to endure her stories of ‘the weirdest crap ever’ since the beginning of their friendship. Although it was one of the qualities that drew them together it was also one the qualities that Maria found to become a little annoying. Annoying in that just about everything was tied into a conspiracy. Example, just last week they had discussed how her mom was in league with an undercover group that was intent on making children eat broccoli with cheese to brainwash the children. The broccoli was some kind of super broccoli that gave the parents mind control over the kids but only if you saw on the label “Super Group” as the manufacturer.

    “Ok, anyway, frustration aside, Maria…this is serious. So, you know how I said that it seems like my mom just appears from out of nowhere like all the time?” A pause to make sure her friend was listening.

    “Yeah.” She sighed, impatiently waiting for the rest of the story.

    “Well, dude, I totally found this secret room that’s under the stairs…”

    Maria cut her off. “Um, hello…like so many houses have a storage space under the stairs for whatever crap you need to put away but don’t want to put in all the friggin other closets or the basement! What is so strange about that?”

    “Well, considering the fact that I never seen it before and the fact that, like, everyone else’s house has a friggin door handle on them and this one doesn’t, I think it’s pretty weird. And get this, when I touched the wall, I was like rubbing my hand along it and…look, just forget it, not the point. Just listen to what I found in here.”

    “OK, OK…” she said in a frustrated voice coupled with repeated checks of her watch to see how long this conversation had lasted.

    “Ok, so anyway…totally verified how my mom really does appear out of nowhere in the house. Cause this room has like access to everywhere in this house within like seconds. But anway, dude, I found this letter…I read it and I’m all thinking it’s like nice and sweet from my dad and everything…then when I get to the bottom, it’s some other dude!!! And then, get this…the friggin date…like it hasn’t even happened yet!! What is that about!?”

    Confusion immediately clouded Maria’s mind and she had nothing to say.

    “Um, hello? Maria! I told you! Weirdest crap ever right?!”

    “Dude, you totally need to ask your mom about that?”

    “What!? She is like the enemy! I can figure this out on my own. I’m gonna talk to my dad.”

    “Well, um not a good idea considering it’s from another guy! Your dad will be pissed! You want your parents to get a divorce? Dude, been there! Not pretty, other than Christmas and birthdays getting double the gifts, this crap sucks.”

    “Yeah, your right…ok. Guess I’m gonna have to talk to her. I’ll call you back.” Phone disconnected, she fumbled around with the door trying to figure out how to get out. The little door seemed to be completely sealed so she decided to try one of the other doors along the wall and ended up in the kitchen.

    As soon as she quietly closed the door behind her, she turned around and saw her mom standing there looking at her, dish rag in hand, towel draped over her shoulder and head cocked to the side waiting for the bumbled explanation that would assuredly come from the teenagers mouth.

    “Um…Oh…” Sly smile plastered on her face. “Hi mom…what’s up?”

    “You tell me, Sarah. What are you doing?” Motherly love in her voice mixed with concern that all her secrets had been uncovered.

    “Um…well…” Immediately, little miss conspiracy theorist tried to turn the tables. She sauntered over to the kitchen counter, hand on one hip with the other hand waving the letter she had found around as if to say, ‘Finally! I gotcha!’

    “Explain this, young lady!!! Hmmm? Yup found it in your little secret alien room! And um, yeah…it’s a love letter…NOT from dad…and NOT even from the past!!! Time for you to come clean sister!” And she slammed the letter on the counter as though she were a lawyer who had just caught the defense committing perjury and won the case.

    “Well, little miss. I don’t have to explain anything to you considering I’m the parent and you’re the child…but… since I saw you coming from the wall, I think some conversation needs to be had.”

  51. The scrolling penmanship was what caught Eva’s eye; people just didn’t write like that anymore. The words it contained were beautiful, if simple, expressions of devotion, and made Eva’s face grow warm. But it also referenced horrible things: war, death, and the sorrow of separation.

    It was addressed to “Miss Izabel,” Eva’s mother, and signed “your dearest Misha,” who was most definitely not Eva’s father. But the most puzzling part of the letter was the date: 18 September, ’17.

    Her mother was in the living room reading a magazine, and Eva sat down beside her. “Why is some man writing you love letters?”

    Utterly astonished, her mother set the magazine down and stared at her. “I beg your pardon?”

    “And why is it dated in the future?”

    “What on earth are you talking about, Eva?”

    Eva handed the letter over, pointing to the name. “That’s you.”

    Her mother took it, carefully unfolding the old paper, and smiled. “This was your great-grandmother’s, dear. And it isn’t from the future, that’s nineteen-seventeen.”

    “You have the same name?”

    “I was named after her,” she said, putting her arm around Eva and drawing her in close.

    “So that’s great-grandfather then?”

    “It was. Grandpa Misha…” she closed her eyes and recalled his face. “I can still remember him, though I was only six when he died.”

    “What is the war he’s writing about?”

    “The Great War, dearest. The first World War. He was a soldier, signed up at fifteen.”

    Being fifteen also, Eva was shocked. She would not expect anyone she knew to be going away to war. “So young? Didn’t they tell him no?”

    “Things were different then, and many young men lied about their ages to enlist.”

    “But why?”

    “Oh, perhaps for duty, or country,” Izabel said. “Perhaps for the pay. He wanted to marry Grandma Izabel, but he was very poor, son of a farmer, and they had not the money to marry.”

    “But he could read and write… very well, too.”

    “Yes, he was sent to a monastery as a child, his family was too poor to care for him. He worked hard, but he learned many things from the monks there.”

    Eva sat in awe of this amazing story. “Why haven’t you ever told me any of this?”

    “It’s just never come up.” Her mother looked at the letter again and smiled. “Grandma Izabel kept all the letters he wrote to her while he was at war in a box, but most were lost in a fire years ago. She showed me them, once, and when she died, she left me a small trunk that had the few remaining letters in it.”

    “People were so different back then.”

    “Go on and fetch me the trunk you found this in, and I’ll tell you about the things inside, and your family history.”

    “Alright!” Eva bolted back up to the attic for the rest as Izabel sat on the couch and smiled, and thought about things she hadn’t thought about in years.

  52. slayerdan says:

    Always try to take the prompt where no one else will.

  53. Paint Words says:

    I was being nosey one day going through my mom’s belongings. I came across this picture of a house that was not mine. I knew where this house was, so my curiosity got the best of me. Hopefully it won’t kill me this time, because last time my curiosity sparked I almost died.

    I grabbed my favorite hoodie. I open the front door and ran out forgetting to shut the door. I tear down the sidewalk like the road runner. I’m running so fast I can’t stop to turn right at the next road; I go flying into the street sign, and I hear that dinging sound from the metal. Kind of like how wild coyote runs into things. I get up brush myself off, and start running towards that house in the picture.

    I finally get to the house. I look around, and head to the back of the house. I kick in the basement window. I crawl my way through the window. I’m shocked to see my mom’s shirt in a pile on the basement floor, I know it’s hers. It’s my football number and with her name on it.

    My curiosity tells me to head upstairs. I walk up the basement steps. I walk around the first floor. I’m amazed of what I’ve seen. I see my mom in pictures with some other man. One picture I notice, it’s a calendar, and the calendar says 2017. Shocked from what I’ve just witnessed, I stumble backwards. I collide into to the fridge and fall to the floor. I notice the sun shining through a key hole of this door.

    I get up and I open the fridge to make sure nothing fell or broke. I close the fridge and head towards that door. I try to open it, it does not open. I see that there is a camera of some type on the wall next to the door. Then I hear the front door open. I scramble around in tiny circles not knowing where to go. So I hide behind a lamp. I knew it wouldn’t hide me; I didn’t really care to get caught.

    My mom yells at me, Chase what are you doing here. I tell her, you need to start explaining yourself. My mom walks up to the door. She uses American Sign Language to open the door, it’s a motion camera. I ask what did you sign mom. She tells me, she signed I love my son.

    We both enter, to my amazement my mom says to me. Chase I have discovered a way to climb to the future. That man in the picture is your father. You are also from 2017, I brought you back. I asked her why she brought me back to 2012.

    She told me I had cancer, and if she could bring me back, I might not have cancer.

    Sure enough she was right like always, because I had my annual blood work done.

    The doctor said I was healthier than any ox out in the world.

    • slayerdan says:

      Not sure why my previous post here actually ended up here…I do apologize, it wasnt a commentary on your story. “)

    • hillsworth says:

      The plot of the story was a good thought, but 30 out of 51 sentences start with some form of “I”, and you’ve used a form of “I” 48 times throughout the text. You have a few punctuation errors, also. I would love to read a re-write of this story

    • BleuVenom says:

      I did like your concept but also agree with hillsworth on punctuations and the overuse of “I” to begin sentences and paragraphs. It’s so easy to do it that way but the challenge, reward and growth comes from experimenting with different words to say the same thing. Having followed your suggestion to your other story for the previous prompt, I read it and liked it though so sad and also about cancer. Try to write on different themes unless you personally need to work with that same subject. BleuVenom >^..^<

  54. slayerdan says:

    Concern filled her thoughts. It was palpable and thick in the air.

    She had made her emergency report about subject 245 accessing the transport area in the basement. She wasn’t home when the alarm notified her he had found it. By the time she had returned home, his inquisitive, 15 year old mind had went through several items that were there. “Damn lucky he isn’t dead, or in a lost time”, she muttered to herself. She reviewed the video log of all the things he had looked at. All had a chance of explanation, except for the note from her true husband, one he had given her right before she took the assignment.

    No way any explanation would stop the 15 year old imagination from running wild with that. Her cover was blown.

    Anxiously she sat in front of the portable viewer, waiting on instructions on how to proceed before entering the house. Reassignment was certain, but having ones cover blown generally meant a worse assignment. Or no assignment at all.

    Bulbous nosed Harold G. Wells, field commander, appeared on the screen. His fat cheeks squinting, making his eyes barely discernible. She adjusted herself in her seat, her pulse quickening. “ Are you still there Miss Thompson,” his voice cracked. There was a time lag for transmissions across temporal splits.

    “ Yes sir, I am here,” she replied, staring at his face although it was already several seconds old. The next few moments passed like molasses through a straw. Miss Thompson grossly aware of her own heartbeat, breathing, and sweat remained perfectly still.

    “Status has changed for subject 245,” he continued seconds later,” his long term viability is no longer necessary. Relationship with parent can be severed. You are to terminate subject 245 and transport to field office for reassignment immediately. Please confirm,” he said in one breath, his face on the monitor distorted sideways.

    Her breathing stopped.

    Terminate! She was certain her reaction had been transmitted before regaining control of her thoughts. She was stony calm now as a thousand possibilities funneled through her mind. She had never had a field termination. He was 15 years old. For two years a primary target for protection.

    He was now a piece of a greater puzzle that was no longer needed. “Understood,” she replied blankly into the screen. She stared at it several more moments until the transmission ended.

    She had hated the assignment at first, but over the months had grown fond of and used to subject 245.

    “Kyle,” she said to herself as she made her way to the side door of the house.

    Trained in a dozen ways to quickly end a life, she had considered them all too inhumane for a boy that had just been nosey. Entering the home, Kyle met her in the kitchen, tears in his eyes, her true husbands letter in his trembling hands.

    “Who is Steve?” he asked, shaking the letter at her face.

    Closing the door, she walked toward him.

    • BleuVenom says:

      I was initially thrown by the subject 245 until I read further. It seemed you could’ve used Caps on the S in subject to identify it as being assigned to a person. But anyway, thought it was a great read and would be interested in reading some of her “other assignments” BleuVenom >^..^<

    • Ishmael says:

      Slayer, great take on this. Unique. Nice visuals with your descriptions…truly liked “his face on the monitor distorted sideways.” It really put that in front of my eyes. Loved the nod to H.G. Wells…you could have even used his real name, Herbert, and still had that inside nod…I doubt many people know it. Harold worked fine, though.

      Your abilities are unquestionable, so I realize I’m only offering a reminder when I mention hyphens. There were three instances that could have used them, which would have allowed three more words towards that pesky limit (year-old mind, year-old imagination, bulbous-nosed). I know how I scramble for those extra words at times and thought you may, too.

      Also, does your keyboard have a pain-to-get-to apostrophe key? I ask because I recently used a keyboard that had an apostrophe key in an unusual place, which made it a bear to access quickly. I kept hitting the return/enter when I used it. I’ve noticed that many of your works don’t have needed apostrophes, so I was wondering.

      Glad this was up top. I only had a minute and wanted to pop by the board to see what was up with this week’s prompt.

      • slayerdan says:

        As always, thanks for the words. I did’nt want to blatantly steal all of Wells in the reference, but thanks for noting the reference. I like to pay homage when possible to the pioneers.
        The bane of my wriring existence—the apostrophe key. It is an issue of mine, but usually it is the result of sending my submissions in on my phone. The key is a pain to access and I many times gloss over it. It is an effort in progress.

        Thanks for the hyphen info—I will keep that knowledge handy. Thanks for the time.

        SD

        • Ishmael says:

          I figured that was the apostrophe problem, because I knew you knew better. To access the apostrophe on the keyboard I used last week (a friend’s), I had to hit “Ctrl L” or something awkward like that – it was a condensed board. When typing an apostrophe, my little finger would automatically slide to the right, hitting “enter.” It’s a bitch to have to stop and adjust at 100 wpm.

    • smiles2much says:

      Fantastic interpretation! Reading your stories prompts me to dig deeper to come up with a unique angle.

      • pickomonix says:

        This room- this room was like no other. It was like something you would see hidden in the back of a lonely antiquities shop- a storeroom, if you could call it that. The kind a child could spend ages exploring, with passages lined with bric-a-brac of all sorts. Broken chandeliers dropped silver treasures in the most obscure places, simply inviting you to scrabble around on the worn floorboards and collect them up. Towers of old furniture and macabre paintings promised adventure of the highest degree. While, in the very back of the room, something lurked inconspicuously with more worth than all.
        A letter. But not just any letter.
        As I approached it, teenage heart racing, I forgot my childish delight in the room, if only for a moment. For, written in an elegant, flamboyant script, the date was clearly rendered on the crisp, white paper; 2017.
        I blinked. Seeing things. Must be. But wait.
        I fumbled open the envelope. Something was not right.
        Inside I found sweet nothings, faded kisses, and soulful confessions on undying love, all well gone by now. This feeling; I couldn’t put a finger on it, but I was convinced this letter was very old. The paper was modern, new, but the structure of the text sounded Victorian, almost. The ink was worn, and faded in some parts. This was no recent piece of text; the very wording sounded scripted, half-hearted, like this man- Antonio Andretti, it was signed- was expected by law to say these things.
        I shivered, and noticed there was writing on the back. I turned it over.
        The tragedy of the last part held my breath cool in the air. The room seemed darker, and more ominous- no longer what dreams are made of. I shall dictate the contrasting untidily scrawled paragraph here for you now.
        I hope all is well with the child. I understand she is your first. I wish you luck. I know this is sudden, but I want you to know; I care for you more than anything and first and foremost I wish for your wellbeing throughout this all.
        Granted, it is the greatest concern of mine to tell you this before it is too late, For, I fear, humanity is well on its way to World War III.
        Your stories; I have wanted to tell you, but have not had the time nor place. I believed you. About your secret place.
        I have known of things and places far stranger. Other secluded locations that transcend time and space. You forget, once it was my job, before the army took me away from you. Your story is not the only one.
        You must go back there. That child of yours- she was conceived in a time loop. All I can say is that I am sorry I ever met you.
        She is mine, Rebecca. Six months ago I met you. Six months ago you showed me that room. Six months ago I trapped you in there.
        Six months of you living your life frozen in a timeless limbo, while your shadow fell in love with me. I understand that it must be hard to comprehend. But I swear it is true, and dear God I am so sorry.
        I am hoping you have the sense enough to write down your story. The true story. This. Forget the lies I have told you. Dictate it, and put it in that room. Then hope to God someone finds it. Oh God, I hear them coming. These may well be my last words. Forgive me, Becca. For all that I’ve sinne
        That was when the writing stopped. My heart was in my mouth. Letter in hand, I turned the way I had come, out of the room that seemed more full of dark corners than the intrigue I had originally felt.
        Closing the door behind me, I slid over the panelled covering.
        I heard the front door slam. “Rebecca!” echoed my Mother’s voice. “Mind helping me get the shopping in?”
        ~There are lots of things I’d like to say about this so-called ‘story.’ Namely, that it very obviously does not stick to the topic, goes about 250 words over the limit, and makes so little sense it hurts my brain. But hey, I just had so much fun writing it I didn’t want it to end.
        I fairly obviously had no particular device in mind when I started, and the plot is pretty much incoherent. Feel free to interpret any way you want to. This was done it about 45 minutes, and there is going to be spelling errors and whatnot. I pretty much wanted to have a go at writing to a prompt, since I’m new to this site, so I didn’t end up cutting it down and fleshing it out too much, like I originally planned. But I figured some might want to see what I came up with regarding the prompt, right? :3 So here it is.
        I’m a 14 year old from Australia if anyone’s wondering and I’d love criticism etc. on any part of this :3 expect a slightly more coherent story for next weeks’?

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