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The Face Outside

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

You’re awoken from your midnight sleep in your favorite chair to your dog barking wildly in the living room. Pulling her aside, you look out the window, only to see a face staring right back at you. Whose is it? Why are they there?

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309 Responses to The Face Outside

  1. amsecre says:

    I’m not sure what woke me up. I know I was dreaming, but whether it was the dream that woke me or some other sound, my heart was pounding as I lay in the old recliner in the family room, my ears straining for any noise. Snow whispered against the large picture window, and I heard nails clicking on the hardwood floor as my miniature Schnauzer Casey meandered around the room. I lay perfectly still for several minutes, and had almost convinced myself that it was the dream that had woken me, and I should head to the bedroom to get a good night’s sleep, when the ticking on the window from the snow changed in intensity. Slowly, I moved my head so that it tilted towards the window at the front of the room. Through the gap in the curtains, I saw snow falling thick and fast, and the silhouette of a person. By now, Casey had stopped in front of the window, and was growling low in her throat.

    Maybe if I pretend to still be asleep, they will go away, I thought to myself. But even as I watched, a hand came up, and tapped on the glass again. Tick tick tick.

    Slowly, still foggy with sleep, I rose from the chair. I walked to the window, shaking. I considered if I could make it to my purse in the kitchen, where I had stupidly left my cell phone. I reached the window, and Casey cowered closer to my legs, still growling. As I reached for the curtain to pull it aside, the person outside my window raised their hand once more. Except this time, in their hand was a small piece of paper. Intrigue overcame my fright, and I leaned closer, as the figure pressed the piece of paper to my window. I stared.

    It was a photograph, an old Polaroid. Shadowed by the night, it showed a boy and a girl, maybe five or six years old with brilliant green eyes and toothless smiles, a large birthday cake between their grinning faces. The cake said “Happy birthday Abby and Adam!”

    A memory: the cake was strawberry. Our mother had baked it that morning, and the whole house smelled of strawberry frosting for days afterwards. Adam got a new baseball glove. I got new rollerblades. We fought over who would get to go outside first the next day.

    Tears welled in my eyes. I tore my eyes from the photograph and squinted into the night. Even in the dark, I could feel his green eyes staring at me sadly. The brother I had not seen in over ten years dropped his hand, and the photograph fell to the ground. Slowly, he turned and walked away.

    As the shock of the memory passed, I suddenly dashed to the front door and threw it open, snow swirling around my feet in the entryway. He was gone. Glancing down, I saw the photograph resting under the window in the snow. Barefoot, I stepped into the yard, and bent over to pick it up. Wiping off the snow gently, I shivered, and went back inside, closing the door softly behind me.

  2. toothpastekisses_ says:

    The soft warmth of the fire flickered against my skin sending me into a light doze I was under the grip of a dream’s fingertips when Lola barked, her distressed roars clashed against my eardrums jerking my body into reality. Lola was growling at the window now her lips pulled back revealing a row of pearl daggers.
    “Lola get down” I commanded tutting at her but she persisted clinging to the window pane strings of slaver now hung around her mouth clinging to her fur. I tried to ignore the hairs that had risen on my neck and the uneven pace of my breathing as I walked towards the window. Pulling back the curtain I peered into the rainy tumult outside, and for a moment all I could see was the large raindrops splatting like bullets off the window. I narrowed my eyes focusing into the rain and found myself looking into wide bloodshot eyes. I searched the rest of the face, analysing his once tight skin and now thinning hair. Nodding into the dark presuming he could see me I walked to the backdoor opening it to allow him in. Leaving it open I walked to my chair; I had the opportunity to grab a weapon or to phone the police. But, I didn’t.
    The sound of sloshing sound of wet feet came towards me.
    ‘I won’t sit on the seats, I don’t want to ruin then.’ His voice even after 35 years made the air rush out of my body and my head spin like a carousel.
    ‘I don’t think I’ll mind too much if I’m dead.’ I replied smirking slightly at my own humour
    ‘Opposed to the contrary belief I’m not here to kill you or anyone actually.’ he replied taking a seat anyway
    ‘I thought you’d have come sooner.’ I speculated avoiding his face
    ‘I wanted to. I thought you’d have your own life now.’ He whispered
    I picked up the photo frame from the cabinet beside me and handed it to him ‘They’re my children, Raquel and Thomas. They’d have liked you.’
    ‘I doubt it, not if they knew what I’d done.’ He smiled handing back the photo ‘they’re a picture, they got there looks from you.’
    I blushed at his words and instantly regretted it I’d spent all this time trying to forget him I wasn’t going to go back now. ‘You were sick you didn’t mean to kill those people. You’re better now, right?’
    ‘You mean am I going to snap and kill someone again?’
    I nodded
    ‘Maybe, maybe not’ His voice was broken and my heart ached to mend it ‘Are you married?’ he asked
    ‘Divorced’ I’d said this so much that ‘divorced’ had become just a word there was no meaning now.
    ‘Did you love him?’
    ‘Sometimes’ I sighed
    From the corner of my eye I saw the sides of his mouth go up in a smile, he knew as much as I did that I could only love him.
    Standing up he wandered over to me and squeezed my hand before bending down and kissing me lightly on the side of my cheek before whispering ‘I’m sorry’ before he left into the dark again
    When I was sure he was out of sight I allowed to burning tears to fall and brand my cheeks as I replied ‘I know.’

  3. Cindy_The_Great says:

    By: Cindy Morren

  4. Frozen Alone says:

    Shots in the Dark

    The sound of Mina’s barking broke through the dense barrier between Artema’s dream world and the harsh reality of life. She groaned forcing her exhausted eyes open. Her attention was pulled to Mina as she clawed at the bay window. Two little face stared at her. Matted heads of light hair framed their pale faces. Thunder rumbled through the air. The two figures flinched as the flash of lightning raced through the sky to the top of her radio tower.

    Artema threw open the old oak doors. Her porch lights kicked on as she scrambled down the stairs to the children still huddling in the safety of the overhang caused by her windows. The smaller of the two reached toward her crying. The young woman couldn’t deny the child and picked her up gently. The slightly older one ran into the house where Mina greeted her with puppy kisses.

    Her doors locked and secured, Artema brought two blankets from her linen closet for the girls. They were shivering with such intensity that they almost appeared convulsing.

    “What are you two doing out this late at night?” Artema questioned as she cupped their faces gently.

    “We had to leave,” the older one answered. “Daddy was hurting Mommy. Mommy told us to run.” Artema’s mind flashed to the radio conversation she had heard before she fell asleep. The cops had been looking for a man who brutally beat his wife to near death before fleeing the scene to find their daughters. She recalled hearing the transmission that the woman had died as well.

    “Are you the Carter girls?” They nodded in unison. Artema glanced out her bay windows as a light danced across the sky. A few miles up the road she could see a dim light coming toward the house. She swallowed and looked at the girls. “I’ll protect you. Upstairs, go little ones.” They nodded and Artema sent Mina with them. The lights switched off, the doors and windows all locked, she followed after the girls.

    Artema guided the girls into her bedroom. Her fingers found her phone in the dim light and she dialed 911. Her brother picked up the dispatcher line.

    “911 what’s the emergency?”

    “Joey thank god,” Artema gasped. “I have the Carter girls and I think their father is about two miles from the house. I need back up now!”

    “Stay on the line Tem. I’m dispatching them now.”

    “I’m giving you to the oldest girl. I have to get ready,” Artema said before handing the phone to the oldest. She motioned the girls into the closet with Mina and closed the door. She took the handgun from the safe and flicked the safety off. Loaded and ready, she perched on the top step of her staircase and waited.

    The backdoor flew open. A raging drunk stumbled in screaming for his girls. He saw Artema and started toward her with one of her kitchen knives. Three bangs echoed through the air. Artema turned the lights on as she walked down the steps. She checked for a pulse. Lights filled her yard. She threw open the door and pointed wordlessly to the kitchen. The storm died as the body cooled.

    Note: I went a little over 500 words but I couldn’t find places to cut the words from.

  5. starwatcher says:

    “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” I yelled at the face staring at me from the window. In response the figure pressed its face onto the glass.

    “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!” I scrambled onto my bed and grabbed a weapon: my grandfather’s police baton. I had hidden it from my parents because they’re control freaks and are “concerned” for my safety.

    I looked to the window and there was nothing, no sign that there was anyone there. Who was at the window? I grabbed my sketchbook to try to draw a sketch of the stalker for the police and my parents. “No, idiot,” I thought, “It may still be here.”

    I tried to remember what it looked like. I clenched my eyes shut and got into a rhythm of some sort. That helps me think.

    I went to the door. Locked. I grabbed, twisted, and pulled at the handle. In fear and frustration, I forced my whole body onto the door. “MOM! DAD!” I yelled. I heard voices outside the door, but no movement.

    I turned around to look for a way to open the door. It was there again, but inside my room. It walked toward me slowly. I couldn’t focus on any part of its body. There were discernible features, I think, but none that I could remember. All I could remember was the knife It was carrying.

    I turned and banged on the door with all my might, “HEY, I HEAR YOU OUT THERE! HELP! IT’S GOT A KNIFE!” There were running footsteps and loud voices in the hall outside my door. The door was still locked though. I took my baton and whipped around. It was still there, but just standing in the corner of the room, but the knife was bloody. I ran to It and swung and beat the baton at It. I was defeating It. Ha!

    The door burst open and three men rushed in, all dressed in white. “GET ‘IM! HOLD ‘IM DOWN!” The men grabbed me and roughly put me on the bed. They put on restraints and put a syringe into me. Before I passed out I remember one of the men remarking, “I hate these schizos, I should have taken the afternoon shift.”

  6. starwatcher says:

    “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” I shouted to the face staring at me from outside my window. “GET AWAY FROM

  7. wohisme says:

    Day 1:

    It’s late and it’s dark and, dare I say it, it’s stormy; my apologies but it really is a dark and stormy night. I’m sitting in my chair paralyzed with fear staring at the window. Something is out there and I know it’s coming for me. It started some ten hours earlier; they’re coming for me, millions, hundreds of millions of faceless spores.

    My eyes are dry as I continue staring, wondering when they’ll arrive. I’m experiencing tunnel vision. Everything, with the exception of the window fades to nothingness. My chair is gone, man’s best friend has abandoned me, the window remains transparent but it is no longer a window. The room itself is gone it’s now some type of viscous sphere.

    They are upon me, only a mere 400 or so that started the assault remain; they are the most determined and strongest. Unrelenting, they try to burrow in and, after twenty minutes one and only one has penetrated my sanctuary.

    I’m physically exhausted. I must acknowledge that one could make a convincing argument that, to be physically exhausted one must have a physique; I no longer do. Whatever I was whatever I’ve become no argument could be made that I was not emotionally drained and I sleep.

    Day 91:

    I’m awake, I can’t see but I am beginning to hear. I’m entombed and floating dreamlike in fluid. The fluid is flowing over and around me and there’s a rhythmic beat not belonging to me that is, nevertheless, a part of me.

    I try, in vain, to kick my way out; I’m exhausted and I sleep.

    Day 196:

    Light? Yes! It’s faint but I can see it filtering in, confused I close my eyes and I sleep.

    Day 268:

    The fluid is gone, I’m experiencing waves of squeezing; there is light at the end of the tunnel and with one last agonizing push I am out, I’m alive!

    They came with scissors and physically separated us by cutting the cord and, they lay me on her, I could get used to this.

    As I’m starting to feel good about this new place I’m whisked away from her gentle embrace and – what’s a scalpel? Looks sharp and… whoa Nelly where you going with that thing… waaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!

    I was never the same after that. My only consolation would come later with my first taste of mother’s milk, as I nurse the memories of my journey are fading and I sleep.

    Day 20,172:

    My dog, Mickey, is afraid of rain. His wild barking wakes me from a bizarre, reoccurring dream. I pull Mickey close and try to calm him. As I glance at the window, I am startled by my own reflection. The darkness has rendered the window mirror-like, silly me.

    Unlike Mickey, I like rain. I like the sound it makes as it rhythmically hits the roof. It’s as if it is flowing over and around me. Content, I yield to its gentle embrace and I sleep.

  8. Narc87 says:

    Falling.

    The feeling snapped me awake as it classically always does.

    My head thudded briefly against the musty & worn, corduroy armrest of the familiar recliner I had passed out in hours earlier, I heaved a breathe as I sat back up.

    My first cognitive thought?…

    “….joder”

    The word was an odd backfiring from a previous life……..Viva Españia.

    “My cheek is cold”…was my second.

    The fire dark, the bulb I had left burning under the sunburned lampshade cast a yellow glow over my mother’s midwestern bungalow’s living room.

    I picked up a frigid hand and wiped away the drool from the side of my face.

    My consciousness, clumsily grasping at the controls of my ears and eyes, fired my next groggy caveman-esque thought forward…

    “…barking”

    My emotions leapt to the level of hatred normally reserved for my alarm clock as a mind-searing traffic-jam of curses piled into the curl of my disgusted upper lip.
    Twisting myself around in the chair to look for the source of the pulsing baritone being flung around the room, I saw her. From her station across the room to my left, the 8 pound pooch perpetually nursing a God complex stood knee-high in the cushions of her bed and vehemently rocketed her putrid noise against the window behind me.

    I fell out of my chair towards her. Tripping over my heavy & worn steel-toed’s on my way to extinguish her the only way experience had taught me how: Snatch her up, cover her eyes and hold her mouth closed until she calmed down.

    Seething, her bark now a muffled protest, I turned to find the no-doubt trivial disruptor of the peace..

    This dog’s scale-of-threat to level-of-panicked-alert was fucked. An episode of this magnitude had been sparked before by a crumpled newspaper being dislodged in the fireplace by an updraft. The skittish little bitch didn’t trust the gaping maw of the thing for weeks…

    Through the slit of the almost-drawn drapes I caught the hazy coloration of the distant ass-end of a car pulling away from the curb. The vast lawn of my childhood home dwarfing the commotion in the distance…

    Straining, my eyes racking focus, I could see the shape of it. Distorted by my own inquisitive reflection cast against the glass, I made out a figure of some sort left behind, erect a few meters from the window.

    As if through molasses, I reached out and pulled the chain hanging from the lamp, silencing the overworked bulb.

    Then, as in a dream, I saw it clearly but didn’t believe it…

    Atop a bloodied shovel and even with my own gaze, the severed head of a Palomino stared lifelessly back at me with eyes that glinted black.

    I remained frozen as my insides shrank in a cold, expectant horror…

    My three years of hiding coming to a gruesome, impossible end in front of me, I looked closer..

    …Stuffed brutally into the mouth of the horse…. was a rat.

  9. TaffyG says:

    When I finally got home, I hurried to the shower and got ready for bed. It literally felt like I had been awake for 48 hours. When I got out of the restroom, I felt my eyes begin to fall and i quickly climbed on the nearest thing — my favorite chair and I dozed off into dreamland. A few hours later I woke up startled. Chloe, my dog, was barking her head off downstairs in the living room. It was very strange to me because Chole was a very quiet dog. When I ran down stairs, I found her in front of the window, barking and whimpering. “What is it girl?” I asked. She continued to bark. I looked up at the window and saw a shadow of man’s face. I jumped as far as my legs would allow me and screamed in complete terror. The figure didn’t even seem to move a muscle. I grabbed Chole and ran to the phone and dialed “911″, I looked over to the window, and the figure was still there. I live very near to a police station, so they arrived very quickly. They ran to the window to catch the culprit, and it turned out to be a mask on a stick covered with a hoodie. The kids in my neighborhood thought that it would be funny to prank a few of the neighbors and I happened to be one of the targets. I quickly moved out of that house, and moved to an apartment building where I live on the 5th floor. I would love to see someone try to “stand” outside of my window now.

    • Cindy_The_Great says:

      Nice ending. The only critique i have is when you say ” I live very near to a police station, so they arrived very quickly” is sort of like you switch from narrating to sounding like you are talking with someone. Other than that, it was great and was a bit scary :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      Ah, but wouldn’t be an interesting story if someome did stand outside a fifth-floor window?

      I think the ‘offending sentence’ could be fixed by inversion: They arrived vary quickly, since I lived near a police station.

      It’s a nice take on the prompt, but a tad sparse; it could use some description to break up the chain of events. Just my opinion.

  10. oLeonHearto says:

    Arya stirred in her sleep. She must’ve fallen asleep watching another marathon, the unfamiliar kink in her neck reminded her why she loved falling asleep in her new favourite chair. The sound of Ellie’s barking pounding through her head. She looked at the clock next to her and saw it was still only the early hours of the morning. She sighed and threw her blankets off of her and walked over to where the dog was barking.

    “Ellie, calm down! What is it? El-” As she turned the corner to grab the dog, she saw him. Arya grabbed Ellie and pulled her onto her lap. Staring through the window was a man, a man that was very familiar to Arya. His inky hair was draped over his face, dripping wet from the rain. The whites of his eyes glowed against the black of his pupils. Arya’s heart began pounding in her throat as she tried to figure out what this man was doing here. Arya had moved across many borders to run away from this man.

    Her mind turned to think of the little boy sleeping in his room down the hall. She had taken to calling him her brother, and now his safety was all that mattered to her. She saw that his door was slightly ajar and cursed herself. Daniel was not a heavy sleeper.She crept her way down the hall to check on him.

    Pulling the door open further slightly she was able to see his small torso rising and falling under the blankets. Arya let out a sigh. She looked at him for a second, absorbing the innocence of his features. The redness of his cheeks, of his lips, of the thin scar running from his left eye to the middle of his cheek. She almost envied his oblivion.

    A flash of lightning filled the room with a bright light and a long, eerie shadow. She pressed her back against the wall, hoping she was lucky enough to avoid his keen eye. Her heart was pounding even harder and she daringly looked around the corner to see if he was still there. She peered through the gap and started to laugh. A tree stood outside the window, tall and slender.

    She moved her way back to the front door just as a knock rang through the quiet house. Arya knew the man had seen her. There was no escape now. All she had fought for was lost. She twisted the handle and pulled open the door. The man met her eyes with a smirk.

    “Ms. Greenwood, we meet at last. You are quite the elusive one.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a badge. “You are under arrest for the kidnapping and harbouring of Daniel James Leif, and for breaking and entering into restricted government areas. Daniel will be returning to the facility with me for further testing. What we are doing is for the good of the people. And good always triumphs.”

    • Cindy_The_Great says:

      Nice story! I definitely want to know what they are trying to do to that kid. The tension was built really well and you had some really great sentences like ” His inky hair was draped over his face, dripping wet from the rain. The whites of his eyes glowed against the black of his pupils”. Great imagery. I was able to follow it and not miss a beat, seeing it in my head like a movie.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I echo Cindy’s comments on the imagery; very well done! Also, the presentation leaves me wanting to know more about what’s going on with Daniel and the government, and how a seemingly young woman was able to break in and out of a secure facility.

      Your story would benefit from more careful mixing of pronouns (she/her) and nouns (Arya). The paragraph that begins “Pulling the door open …” is perfect.

  11. Directioner_482 says:

    ~Sorry if i went over the limit. I’m new to this so no mean comments but I will take critique.~
    Stranger In the Window
    I was enjoying my sleep in my comfortable bed when Anna woke me up, barking louder than ever. “What’s wrong girl?” I ask her. She then leads me to the window next to our living room couch. “Hmm, I could’ve sworn I closed this window” I thought to myself. I look up at the window and there’s a face glued to the window, staring at me like I’ve done something terribly wrong. I screamed so loud the neighbors came out of their houses. I didn’t know this person, so I couldn’t have done anything to them. “Go away!! You’re not welcomed here!” I yelled. I ran in the kitchen and dialed 9-1-1. The man started to bang on the window. I knew I wasn’t safe. I had to do something. Before I could do anything, the police arrived. They knocked on the door, so I went to open it. “Sorry to disturb you at midnight” the officer said to me. “Do you know this guy?” he asked. Now that I had a good close-up at the man, I realized who it was.
    He was my father.. “I-I..I’m his daughter…” I said to the police. The room broke into complete silence. “Do you want to press charges?” the officer asked. “Um..I guess.” I said. You’re probably think I’m wrong for sending my father to jail, but I had no choice. He murdered my mother, he beat me and my siblings when we were younger, and he was just abusive. I couldn’t take any of that anymore. I watched as the police put him in the back of the police car. When they drove away, I felt safe. I locked the door and decided to just sleep on the couch with my Anna. She was as scared as I was.

    • Cindy_The_Great says:

      This was a fantastic story. The plot was great, i enjoyed it. The few critiques i have are tense issues, paragraph spacing. The dialogue is strong but there are some tense mistakes. Like in the second sentence, you say “what wrong girl? i ask her”…. it should be “asked” her. In the fifth sentence, it should be “looked up at the window” and the second mention of window in that sentence can be omitted since you mentioned it already. In terms of paragraph spacing, this will make your dialogue and story stronger so the reader can follow it concisely rather than sifting through one whole paragraph. Other than that (all of which being minor mistakes), your story was a joy to read. I was sad when I found out what the father did. Nice read :)

    • Observer Tim says:

      Hi Directioner;

      Actually you had 500 words, not 250, and most folks here treat even that as more of a guideline than a rule. You could used the extra to expand the details of the story, and I would have really liked that (as long as you broke it into paragraphs).

      You did great with what you put here, though.

  12. writingwithhope says:

    Darcy’s muscles ached after a long day of work. She plopped into her easy chair to relax for a few minutes before calling it a night. Thankfully, her daughter, Mindy, was sound asleep in her bed and all the laundry was finally done.

    She glanced at the clock. Midnight.

    Sighing deeply, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to unwind. As a single mom, her work never done. Fatigue settled over her and in a matter of minutes, she was fast asleep with dog, Maggie, lying comforably at her feet.

    Suddenly, she was jolted awake. Maggie was barking incessantly at the window. Her jaw clenched and her heart raced as she slowly turned her head toward the window.

    What she saw next, took her breath away.

    There stood a tall man dressed as a clown staring at her through the window. His big red painted smile was masked by the sinister look in his eyes.

    “Ahhhhh!!!”

    She screamed and then ran as fast as she could to the kitchen to grab her cell phone. Before she could dial the police, she heard a big crash and more barking.

    Thud!

    Something hit the floor and rolled toward her. Shaking, she peeked around the corner to see what just happened. She glanced down to see a rock with a note tied to it lying on the floor.

    She lifted her head to see the “clown” staring at her through the broken glass with a look that sent shivers down her spine.

    Mindy. Is Mindy okay?

    Her entire body froze. Before she could do anything, he turned and was gone. Like a vapor, he disappeared into the night.

    The wind whistled through the open window and the curtains flapped in the breeze. Darcy dialed the police as fast as her shaking fingers would allow her. She cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder and then reached for the rock. She held her breath as she furiously untied the note. There on the page were bright, colorful block letters that read…

    “This is no laughing matter. I have your daughter, Mindy. Wait for my call.”

    She dropped the phone and crumpled to the floor sobbing.

  13. LaurieFagen says:

    The face in the glass
    By Laurie Fagen

    I was dipping my fingers into warm jello as I floated around the ballroom, light as a feather. A noise punctuated the air, sharp and fast, then faster and more furious.
    I opened my eyes to see color bars on the TV screen, sitting in my leather living room recliner. The wall clock showed 1:30 a.m. Daisy, my black and white Border collie, was licking and gently pulling on my fingers, barking in between. When she saw my eyes open, she gummed my hand and yanked harder.
    “What’s wrong, girl?” I mumbled. She ran over to the sliding glass door and back a couple of times, still yipping. I rubbed my eyes, inched up and padded to the patio door.
    “Aaahhh!” I screamed, seeing a man’s face glaring at me. I jumped back, and with the commotion, Daisy yelped even louder.
    But the face didn’t move. It continued to stare in, and I was grateful for the thick glass separating us.
    “Who are you? What do you want?” I shouted, wildly looking for something to protect myself with. Kitchen chair’s too heavy, dog chew won’t do anything, okay, maybe I could slap the guy silly with a flyswatter.
    He didn’t move, nor say anything. He just kept glowering, as if angry about something.
    Of course, then I realized maybe the protective sun film on the window was reflecting his own face back to him, and maybe he couldn’t see me at all? I slowly took a couple of steps to the left. His face followed. So much for that theory.
    “Go away!” I shouted. “If you’re selling something, I don’t want it!” Of course, I realized it was a bit late for a door-to-door salesperson.
    Still, he stood there. Looking, staring, watching.
    “I’m calling the police!” I threatened, looking for my cell phone. I dialed 9-1-1, and when the dispatcher answered with “What is your emergency?” I said, “There’s an intruder in my house!” I had lowered my eyes a moment, but when I looked up again, the face was gone. “He’s … wait, where did he go?”
    “Is the intruder inside your home?” the woman asked calmly.
    “Well, no, he was outside on the patio, looking in through the glass door, but now … oh, please send someone anyway, he’s probably behind the house.”
    The police dispatcher confirmed the address, said an officer was on his way and continued to keep me on the line.
    “Did you get a good look at him?” she asked.
    “Yes, he looked mad or something, and kept staring at me.”
    “Can you tell if he was Caucasian or Hispanic or African American?”
    I paused. None of that registered. Wait, no, not Black.
    “I’m not sure, I think he was White or maybe Hispanic.”
    “What he was wearing?”
    Again, a pause. I squished my face close to the glass to look out. “Sorry, I was so freaked out, I guess I didn’t notice.”
    I jumped when the doorbell rang. “I think the officer is here,” I told the woman.
    “Please confirm that, then we’ll let him take over,” she replied.
    Phone still to my ear, I walked cautiously to the door and looked out the peephole. A man in a blue uniform stood there.
    “Okay, I’m good,” I said with a relieved sigh.
    “If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to call back,” the dispatcher said.
    “Thanks, bye.”
    I hung up, took a deep breath, unlocked the door and swung it open.
    “Boy, am I glad to see…”
    Staring at me was the same face from the patio door. He lifted something heavy in his hands, and as it came down, my world went black.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Your story was well paced, tension builds nicely and is tightly written. The ending doesn’t disappoint the reader and all I could think of, what happened next? An excellent response to the prompt.

      I don’r recall reading any of your stories on this prompt site and hope you continue with us. Welcome to the site.

  14. Lin says:

    My breath caught in my throat. A pale white face could be seen through the window. My hands grew clammy. I could not believe, after all this time, that I had been found. I froze. They told me that I would be safe, that he had been institutionalized. My heart beat faster. He leered at me, the maker of masks. Blood rushed in my ears. Somehow, they had failed.

    I could already feel the ice cold knife against my throat. I had seen first hand what he did to his victims. And I knew that I would not survive this night. He would tie me up first, force himself on me. And then he would talk. Telling me everything that he planned to do once my blood ran cold. I had little doubt that he would do everything he had promised.

    All this ran through my head in seconds. The knife, the rope, the slight hiss in the way he spoke. But nothing frightened me worse than the mask he wore. They’d told me when he was first brought in that the mask was stuck to his face, and that they were unable to remove it.

    That was what chilled me the worst. That somebody could be so twisted as to bind a pale white mask, with thin slits for eyes and a leering, blood-red grin, to their own face.

    A sharp rock flew through the window, breaking me out of my frozen state. I turned to run. With inhuman speed the man leapt on top of me. I had no idea how he had gotten through so fast. But it didn’t matter. Within seconds he had subdued me.
    The last thing I felt was his tongue against my ear, as he told me just how much he would enjoy watching me die.

  15. AngelaG says:

    “Cookie! Sit down!” I commanded my Labrador as I rose from the chair. I was exhausted from preparing for my mother’s wedding, which was the next day. Cookie continued barking as she placed her golden paws on the window’s ledge and growled at the figure staring back at us through the window.

    I gasped and slowly backed into the kitchen. I slid open a drawer and removed a butcher’s knife. Was I being paranoid? Maybe it was just some tourist who wondered if the house was for sale.

    I returned to the window and looked at the man’s face. He smiled at me and waved.

    I didn’t return the favor. The man was my father.

    I held the knife behind my back as I cracked open the door. Dad’s smile widened as he looked at me. His beard was long and scruffy, and his matted hair was covered with a baseball cap. His tattered clothes were filthy.

    “You’re not welcome here,” I said. I clenched the knife’s handle.

    Dad laughed and opened his arms for a hug. “Aw, c’mon, Sarah! I wanted to congratulate your mother on her newly found happiness.”

    “I’ll call the cops,” I said.

    Dad chuckled and teetered backwards. He hadn’t curbed his drinking habit since he’d left town four years earlier.

    “The divorce isn’t final, girly,” Dad slurred. “I never filed any papers, so your mom’s breakin’ the law.”

    “No, Dad, I was there in court. The judge found you at fault. Now, go, or I’ll make good on my word,” I warned. I started to close the door.

    Dad shrieked and slammed his shoulder into the door, knocking me to the floor. He stomped past me and kicked the coffee table over. Cookie growled and crouched down as Dad started towards the stairs.

    I jumped to my feet and followed Dad towards Mom’s room. She was awake and standing by her bed in her bathrobe. She paled when she saw Dad’s ugly figure leering at her.

    “What do you want, Andrew?” she asked. Dad started towards her.

    “You, of course,” he said and reached for her arm. Mom stumbled backwards and kicked him as I raised the knife.

  16. smallster21 says:

    I think I am going to have nightmares tonight. This was wayyyyy creepy! I felt like I was watching a scary movie. I could see the action very clearly. One continuity error I noticed, when the MC runs into her bedroom, I would take “I slammed the door shut” and place that after the description of the skeletal version of the MC crawling up the stairs. Great story! The eyeball was really gross. I scrunched my nose, and don’t feel like eating dinner now! Lol, love it!

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      The only way I could read this, was by reading smallster’s story first. I also felt like it was a movie, so you really put your heart into this. The bitter coldness was described very well and reminds me of a classic movie from the forties, “The Uninvited.” One of the best ghost haunting movies ever filmed.

      • Cindy_The_Great says:

        Thanks Kerry, i’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve never seen that movie, but will definitely have to check it out now! And i’m ecstatic that you caught all the cold descriptions, i had fun with that.

    • Cindy_The_Great says:

      Thank you Smallster21, this really made my day when i read this. Your critique was dead on, i felt the same way about that mistake, so thank you for pointing that out. I’m glad it scared you, that was definitely my hope that it would creep people out :)

  17. smallster21 says:

    LIATH THE DAMNED

    The glass felt cold under my hands. Winter had carved a border of frost around the window…except at its center. The center of the window was free of the intricate white motif. How perfect. No longer a vehicle for light, it was now a picture frame. Only problem was pictures don’t blink.

    Liath, the sinner. Liath, the damned. Liath, the resurrected stood on the other side like a taut slingshot ready to spring.

    A sinister glow pulsated around him like the darkened, dying coals of a fire. His nostrils were flaring like an angry bull, starved for weeks, and just set free. He stood upon a pedestal of scorched grass, for the snow around his feet had melted, and beads of sweat dripped down his face as if he’d just stepped off hell’s elevator.

    I clutched the collar of my robe, unable to move. I knew he would come back. I just didn’t know when.

    Ten years ago I had killed him, plunged the knife into his heart. The blood had been black, sputtering out in bubbles like mud paintpots. Was he born possessed? I suppose it didn’t matter. In the end, it was clear the demon had taken over my husband’s body. The consecrated knife Father Lazaro gave me wounded him, but Liath fled before I could cut out his diseased heart.

    Liath’s eyes—two solid, black pearls—whispered the torture he had planned. The more I trembled watching the visions he played in my mind, the more saliva drooled down his chin.

    He leaned his head back and clucked.

    Behind me, my bedroom door handle rattled, fingernails scratched against the wood, and the carpet burned my feet—the projection of evil manifesting around me. The variety of sensations stirred my flight response and I rushed to the door, but it was locked. As I struggled to open it, I heard a sound near the window, like a vacuum sucking up a vat of goop.

    I turned. Half of Liath’s body was sticking out from the crack of the window as his flesh seeped through the edges of the glass. He hissed like a snake. A forked tongue slithered out his lips, vibrating in the air as he tasted me.

    This is it. I thought I’d be ready. I wasn’t. Everything Father Lazaro had taught me about fighting the demon had fled my mind.

    Fully manifested, Liath grabbed my shoulders and threw me against the wall, pinning me under his arms. He pressed his forehead against mine, panting, gritting his teeth, speaking a guttural language I did not understand. I felt pressure against my forehead, two points started to protrude. As his horns formed, they drilled into my forehead. Blood ran down my face. The blood encased my eye sockets, leaving me blind, which was the only help God had to offer.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      I love the last line. Note: Demon killing 101 – Always be ready to.kill! This was really good. Linda Blair ain’t got nothing on you. Lol. Good job and this could easily be a bigger piece. Why did Liath pick this family to possess? Just curious. I loved the similies and the metaphors.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        This is blood-chilling, smallster. The opening paragragh was awe inspiring. Your words on evil, pass anything I’ve ever read. And “beads of sweat dripped down his face as if he’d just stepped off hell’s elevator, is a great line.

        This had all the makings of a TV script on horror. Why don’t you consider this?

        • smallster21 says:

          Thanks Kerry :) I’ll put it in my idea folder, save it for later. I have enough to work on right now (I have a goal to finish something by the end of year! I have writer ADD, jumping from WIP to WIP, never finishing anything). But, one of the reasons I love these prompts, they help generate new ideas.

      • smallster21 says:

        Thanks for the nice comments! I have not taken Demon killing 101, so thanks for the tip! I am not completely sure of Liath’s motives. The MC isn’t entirely sure either, whether he was always evil or became possessed during their marriage, I don’t know. I wish I knew, but I’d have to work on developing the story further to find out. Thanks for reading :)

        • Cindy_The_Great says:

          I loved this, the writing was exquisitely done. I loved the last line “The blood encased my eye sockets, leaving me blind, which was the only help God had to offer”. Very impressive. I could see the demon in my mind, made me think of the movie Insidious.

  18. lostwriter says:

    Artificial Human:

    I didn’t make it to my bed that morning mainly due to back pain caused by chopping more than a cord of wood we will need for the winter. Bruno, my four year old German Sheppard and my favorite companion sleeps in his bed which he placed at the foot of my bed. I have learned from experience not to wash his bed, he just drags it outside and gets it dirty again. I was warned animals have their own individual quirks just like humans. After four years of living with Bruno I’m a solid believer.
    Bruno woke me up about zero four hundred hours, that’s four A.M. for you civilian minded personnel with a loud, vicious almost angry bark. Because I was about half asleep my brain was not yet engaged so I said to Bruno, “what’s wrong boy?” as if expecting him to answer. Bruno continued to bark angrily at the large bay window that takes up almost all of the living room wall of the cabin. Seeing him looking in that direction while barking I thought maybe he saw a vehicle pass by or even pull into the driveway.
    I slowly stood up being careful not to make any jerking motions as I did not want to do any more damage to my back than I already had done. Moving slowly towards the large window I realized I had left the curtains wide open and should probably close them simultaneously trying to silence Bruno by telling him to hush.
    About half way to the window I stopped dead in my tracks and stood there staring in horror at what I was seeing. There I was, and not my reflection but a perfection reproduction of me, my face, my eyes, eyebrows, my nose, my lips, and even my chin and facial hair. A absolutely perfect reproduction of me standing outside in the rain looking at me.
    I thought to myself “how is this possible?”, the government agency that built my parts claimed I am a one and only. Their is not supposed to be another model.
    There was no use in asking how he found me, if he is a perfect reproduction then he has the same intelligence capabilities that I have. That also means there is no sense in trying to run or hide.
    The question is “what do I do now?”

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      An exceptional take on the prompt. This could go in any avenue you wanted it to. And the last question, brings the story even closer. What would I do? And I have no idea what’d I do unless I could use the other me for spare parts.

  19. Observer Tim says:

    To: maya

    I’m sorry, it doesn’t seem to have appeared. I share your pain, as my first story was eaten by the UI too.

    Tim.

    • yupi1556 says:

      Yesterday, I posted my first story, but can you see it? Under my name in the comments they wrote for me “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Why? I registered yesterday… I am still new…

      • agnesjack says:

        I posted my first story, too, which also did not appear — nor did my response to a story that I liked (Jen’s).

        Perhaps there is a delay in posting new participants. Can someone address this? Do some stories get rejected? I think these writing prompts are wonderful exercises. It would be nice to get feedback.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          First Prompts have to be reviewed by the editor. It takes a day or two to do so and maybe a little longer over a holiday weekend. If you haven’t seen your story by tomorrow, repost it.

          I went through the same issue when I made my first post in March. You’re right! These posts are great for new and old writers. Writing a concise story that means something in 500 words brings tight writers.

          Kerry

          • maya says:

            Dear Kerry,

            Thank you for our advice I posted my story three times and it still didn’t show It even said I posted already but ts still not there will it show up soon I don’t have another copy and I dot know how things work here because I’m new here

          • agnesjack says:

            Thanks, Kerry.

      • maya says:

        It’s the same with me! I don’t know what happened I worked so har on it and posted it three times but to still ost showing!:(

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          When you posted your stories, were they in the posting box at the end of the prompt? When you hit the post bar, you need to wait a few seconds before it happens.

    • maya says:

      Aww thank you I am still alittle upset overall but I guess ill be fine thank you I hope i can see it again

    • maya says:

      Observer tim
      It’s the same with me! I don’t know what happened I worked so har on it and posted it three times but to still ost showing!:( but thank you so much for being so kind as sharing your experience this was my first prompt but ill be ok^.^

  20. Dirty Toupee says:

    “Shut it Yappers,” I said angrily. “You’re beginning to annoy me more than my dead wife Myrna did. You and I both know that her dying from that heart attack was not an act of nature, and if you keep this ruckus up, you too can have a medical accident.” Yappers just barked even louder.

    I yawned and stretched and felt something in my neck catch and tighten. A searing pain ripped through my neck and my ear dropped down to my shoulder. It was locked into that position.

    I stumbled to a standing pose and immediately felt my feet and legs go numb. Nothing like pins and needles in the feet to take a grown man down. They were the perfect companion to my decrepit bladder that demanded to be emptied.

    I sat back down in my chair and shook out my legs for a bit and then tried again. This time, I managed a limping, shuffle to the bathroom with a sideways view of everything.

    I returned to the living room and found Yappers right where I left her; barking at the window. “Move out the way ‘ol girl. Let me see what’s going on out there.”

    I thought better of it and stopped dead in my tracks. I searched the room for a weapon. After all, there had been some vandalism in the area and the kids today are all hopped up on pills. No telling what I might find out there.

    In the corner of the room stood a walking stick. I grabbed the old, heavy, ornate cane that once belonged to Myrna. All other traces of her were gone now, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with this particular cane. There was no sentimental reason for keeping it, I just always figured it was worth money. If I ever need some quick cash, I’ll pawn it.

    Holding it in my hand brought back a flood of memories. I remember swinging it at Myrna’s head during an argument we had over what to watch on TV. She did a bob and weave and grabbed the flowerpot and bashed me over the head with it. Even I had to admit, that was an impressive move for a senior citizen with a hip replacement. That night, we watched her Lifetime movie.

    I hobbled over and flipped the switch to turn on the outside porch light, before I remembered that the bulb had burned out and I’d never gotten around to replacing it. My hands shook, and for the first time, I acknowledged to myself, I was afraid. At some point, I’d even straightened my neck out and was standing upright. I held the cane up over my shoulder, like a bat and crept back toward the window. I pulled the curtain back and my heart skipped a beat. I shook my head in disbelief. “Myrna?”

    “Hi Marty,” she smiled. “You thought you were through with me, but guess what? I’m not through with you,” she cackled.

  21. maya says:

    Do you guys see my story? Please tell me I post it right :/

  22. Scott says:

    His old lab’s harsh barking drifts through the darkness, and he awoke with a start, immediately snatching for his phone. He must’ve missed a call, he decided, his mind reeling. She always barks when the phone rings. Or was someone at the door? He leapt to his feet, shuffling towards the door, half asleep, nearly knocking over a lamp. Finally, he froze, allowing reality to settle in. He scrambled to his voicemail, and a cold voice unceremoniously informed him there were no new messages. The dog barked again, and growled at the window.
    “Calm down, Lucy,” he whispered to her. He patted her back gently. “I know you miss Jake. So do I.” She barked again, ferociously, and padded towards the window. “Come on girl.” The dog pawed at the window, and leapt back, suddenly, growling. Considering the possibility of something being out there, he drew back the curtains and peered into the darkness.
    “Daddy?” He nearly screamed at the small voice. Squinting outside, he saw the shape of a young boy and crouched down to level with it. He froze as his eyes adjusted and the child grew clearer. His breath rattled. He whimpered.
    “Jakey!?” he gasped, placing his hands against the glass. The little boy smiled.
    “Daddy, you found me!” he exclaimed.
    “Jesus! Where did you go!?” the man asked between deep breaths. He got up to go outside, but the boy begged him not to. He settled back down. “Where’ve you been?”
    “I don’t know,” he answered, then paused. He glanced downwards. “You left me.”
    “Jake, I… I didn’t mean… I only turned around for a minute, just to get the Frisbee.” He drew in a deep breath. “I never meant for anything to happen.”
    “But so much could’ve happened in one minute,” the boy whispered. “I could’ve wandered, Daddy. I could’ve gotten lost in the woods.”
    “W-what?”
    “Someone could’ve taken me, Daddy.”
    “Jake?”
    “I could’ve fallen into the river. I could’ve hit my head on a rock. I could’ve drowned.”
    “Jake, what are you—” He froze, midsentence. Blood trickled from a wound on the side of the boy’s head. “Jake!”
    “Don’t leave me, Daddy!” the boy sobbed. His lips took on a faint blue tint.
    “Jake!”
    “Don’t leave me!” His voice grew hoarse, his face a pale blue.
    “Jacob!” The man could only shout and cry as the boy grew still, his eyes closing gently. Flashing blue and red lights off to the side caught the man’s attention, and the boy disappeared. The lights grew closer, then stopped. After a moment of silence, there was a knock at the door. The man drew to his feet and walked to the door slowly.
    “Mr. Hall?”
    “Yes?”
    “They found your boy. I’m sorry sir, but he didn’t make it.”

  23. russphe says:

    The sound of Molly barking loudly outside, clawing at the fence awoke
    me from my slumber. At once the reality of the warm living room sprang
    back to life. I found myself draped in my favorite chair, the fire a
    smoldering remain in the hearth. I turn to the stand beside me. My
    empty glass reminds me of the gin that I’ve all but slept off, poured
    earlier to ease the end of a long day in the office.

    I’m startled. The clock reads midnight, and Molly is still making a
    racket. I stir from my chair to look out the window, blurred by drops
    of rain from an earlier shower. A face stares back at me, and my
    heartbeat quickens. I hear the knock.

    I take a small kitchen knife from a plate left on the stand. The man
    waits. I know why he’s here; he wants money. He wants it, and I don’t
    have it to give. I approach the door. He won’t be ignored. He knows
    I’m here; the lights are on. He’ll hurt my dog. I move quickly.

    I look through the peep hole and see his face. Dark and scruffy, he
    wears a bowler on his head. His shoulders are covered by a heavy
    coat. His eyes stare back at the peep through small circular
    spectacles. He has come to deliver a message. I open the door.

    “Greetings Mr. Green.”, he mutters unenthusiastically. “I trust you
    know why I disturb you at this hour.”

    He stares at me blankly, expecting a response. I’ve lived with the
    debt he speaks of for years. I remember the day my brother came to me
    in tears. He thought he could find his way out of a tough spot by
    running drugs. Young and inexperienced, he was easily robbed. Lucky to
    get away with his life, he returned to his dealer empty handed. We
    needed to settle. There was no other way.

    But today, it ends. “I do.”, I respond. “But I’m afraid I’m going to
    dissapoint you.” The man’s expression remains unchanged. He stares and
    thinks before he begins to speak.

    “That is unfortunate to hear.”, he says, still unstirred, “My boss’
    patience has run out. I will return to him with bounty, whether it be
    your money, or your life.” He began to pull back his coat.

    I had heard enough. Only a fool would wait for him to reach his gun
    and take control. The window was closing. Doubt started to fill my
    mind. I grabbed the knife, shoving aside the consequences of
    failure. There is no other way, I tell myself.

    In a flash, I lodge the blade in his ribcage, and wrench his hand into
    a lock. He cries out, fighting to get control of his gun. It’s a
    useless effort; I can feel the strength leaving his body. He should’ve
    had it drawn. He should’ve been ready. It’s not my fault. I don’t have
    the money. There’s nothing I could’ve done.

    He falls to the ground. It begins to rain again. “Take a last look
    around, Molly”, I whisper to my dog as she comes to the door,
    whining. “We won’t see this place again.”

    I step inside, thinking of what to do with the man at the door. I take
    my glass, pour another gin and tonic, and start to pack.

  24. livvykitty says:

    Where am I?

    The unsettling feeling from that dream followed me when I was jolted awake by my dog growling at the window. I was left gasping, the feeling of dread rising in my chest. What time is it? Getting up from my comfortable chair (it’s the softest thing ever, I swear), I checked the time. It was 12:04, August 15. From the rays of sunshine streaming through the curtains, I could see that the day was incredibly nice.

    Now, the question was, why was my dog barking?

    I know my dog is probably the most skittish creature alive. Last night, she started to bark at a fly buzzing around the room. It took me a while before I killed it. By the time I did, I was too exhausted to crawl back into bed, so I just plopped into my chair and slept like that.

    That dream wafted around the corners of my mind and I ended up remembering the sound of a rather annoying cricket. Not wanting to dwell any more on it, I slowly walked towards the window, pulling aside the curtains. As I looked out, I could see the wide open blue sky and the harsh sun that glared down over the city.

    I thought that I saw myself at the window, stained with blood and smirking.

    As quickly as the image appeared, it disappeared.

    I shivered and remembered that I was late! Kiko had invited me to the park with her! Ignoring my uneasy feelings, I quickly rushed to get ready and meet her. When I got outside, I found out that I was correct about the sun. It was going to be another hot day…

    As we met, I couldn’t help recalling the dream. We had been walking in this same park, and she had been holding a cat, just as she was now. I pushed this away and we walked through the green park, talking with each other. I guess us teenagers had nothing else to do!

    “You know…” Kiko muttered, setting that cat down, “I kind of hate summer.”

    My body went numb. That was exactly what she said before… Shaking away the thought, I kept her from chasing the cat, telling her instead about my dream. “We were walking through this same park last night in a dream… It’s a bit strange, but…”

    Kiko suddenly checked the time and squeaked, “Oh! I’ve got to get home!” As soon as she stepped into that walkway, I pulled her back. It wasn’t going to end like that dream.

    “No… Why don’t we go this way?” As we started to step back into the park, everyone looked up, pointing up… I looked up as well, but it was too late to pull her out of the way.

    Suddenly, an iron pipe came from the sky, skewering through her body. I backed away as her black hair splayed behind her, her screams filling the gaps between the park trees. I could feel myself choke on the combination of my tears and of her scent mixing with blood.

    Behind her, through the haze of lies, the other me laughed, “What you see is real!”

    I didn’t want to believe it. It may not have ended with Kiko’s fragile body crushed under the weight of glaring headlights and screeching tires, but she still died. As the crickets shrieked and the blue of summer faded away, I glanced at her still profile…

    Why was she smiling?

    • smallster21 says:

      Impaled! Ew! Lol, nice touch. A few critiquing comments…I would take out “(it’s the softest thing ever, I swear)”, it’s a telling statement that breaks up the flow of the sentence and doesn’t really add anything. I would get rid of “probably” in “I know my dog is…” It makes the narrator sound uncertain. And, I would consider playing around with adding more about the dream in the beginning or at least more specifics on the MC’s feelings about the dream to help set up the ending. Creepy story :) Makes me curious about why the MC is seeing a reflection of herself and the significance of the smiling.

  25. yupi1556 says:

    Walking on a dark street, I wanted something to be done. But what was this thing? I actually didn’t know. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat because of hearing a barking dog. I looked into the darkness, but nothing was there. The bark was more real than the surroundings. The scene vanished when I opened my eyes. I was sitting in my favorite chair and dreaming deeply. It was midnight. I walked to the living room to soothe my wildly barking dog, which was sitting on the windowsill. It covered the whole window and was barking at something outside.
    “What is it Doggy?” I said sleepily.
    I grabbed Doggy in time to see a familiar face staring at me through the darkness. The man outside used the body-language to give me the command of opening the door for him. I opened it. Seconds later, the man’s body was sitting on a sofa. He seemed very tired and unable to breathe.
    “What happened Carl?” I asked. Carl has been my pal since school.
    “Bring me a glass of water before we talk, Ralf,” Carl said.
    “Here, take it,” I offered him the glass.
    “Ahhh,” he exclaimed after drinking.
    “So… What brings you here in the middle of the night?” I asked.
    “Well it’s a long story,” he replied. “I was having my dinner when my phone rang. It was a strange number. I answered the call. Before I could say ‘Hello’, the call had ended. The call was from London. I don’t know anyone who lives in London except my lawyer Elphias and Ron, our best friend. I recalled the number, but it was closed. I wondered that if it was Elphias or Ron, what did they want from me at night? Ten minutes passed while I was staring at the phone. Seconds later, the phone rang again. I picked it up with shaking hands, but the number was Antonio’s. I answered it with a puzzled look on my face. A number from London called me, and now Antonio did! What’s going on? And you know Antonio… He doesn’t like to talk on the phone much. He’s been like that since what happened to him in school, remember? Ok… The important thing is that he was crying so much. I barely heard him when he said: ‘Ron was found dead in his car in London.’” Carl’s eyes watered, and he couldn’t talk for a few minutes. Then he completed, “ ‘ Elphias found my number in his phone and called me. He told me this piece of bad news and asked me to go with you and Ralf to Ron’s funeral on the 3rd of September in Ron’s home in London.’ I knew then that it was Elphias who called me.”
    “I-I’m so sorry about R-Ron’s d-death,” I said. “But how did he die?”
    “Well, no one knows. But the police is making its best to know. We’re probably going to know in two weeks,” said Carl.

  26. Tshareef says:

    The dizziness and crackling heat of a sudden awakening hadn’t worn off of me yet. Sadie barked madly at the window and I reached for my glasses as I looked at the face staring back at me. I nearly fell right over Sadie who was right behind me, as dogs always have a way of doing when you lose your footing. The quizzical look on the child’s face was most unnerving. I was use to kids being afraid of me, but this child was pressed against my window with nothing, but curiosity in its eyes, the kind of cold curiosity of a scientist who sprays chemicals on bunnies or that of a future serial killer, yanking the wings off of a butterfly. The child smiled and placed a hand on my window and I backed away with my arm held up if it was to break through the glass, (but why would that happen?)

    “Get out of here! Go home to your mother.” I yelled at the window, and Sadie’s bark had gone into a low and primal growl. Sadie wasn’t a big dog, by a long shot, and she had diabetes and a bad leg. She growled and I could sense, not feel the heat behind it, she hadn’t been big, but she had the fight of big dogs in her genes. I was proud of little Sadie for that. She was a good dog. The creepy kid put its palm on the window more insistent and frowning with Shirley Temple dimples popping out, it wasn’t charming in the least.

    The child begins banging on the window and as it banged, my apartment shook like an earthquake. The room erupted with each bang and then I threw my hands up in acquiescence. I placed my hands on the child’s through the glass, and I could feel my mind slipping into deep place, I could see the light of my consciousness as I fell deeper into what could only be described a waterfall of despair. I couldn’t see, but I could hear, low murmurs and cold fingers grasping at me from behind always. They were clammy. The last thing I remember before the light was gone, was a yelp of pain from Sadie, and for a moment silence, until the sound of shattered glass and a laughter full of giddy malice.

  27. shuart24 says:

    Midnight? They call it the “witching hour.” I call it superstitious nonsense. You see, I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. But sometimes I wonder…

    Don’t shake your head like that! I’m telling you the truth here! The Honest-To-God Truth!

    Although, there was that one time…

    Dutchie, my dog, you see… he’s a pitbull. He watches the house while I’m away. A genuine guard dog. He’s no pushover either. Why, I remember that one time when he got in a fight with your Spotty… well, anyways…

    I remember it got cold that night just like tonight in fact. That’s why I slept in my armchair by the fire.

    I woke up to Dutchie barking real’ loud. Now, he usually shuts up once I throw a shoe at him, but it didn’t work that time. Hell, I even threw my boots at him!

    By then I was getting worried. Something was out there, for sure, or Dutchie wouldn’t have been hollering like that. The thing is, it was 12:00 AM on the mark, and nobody would be outside at that time of night. Nobody human at least…

    Sorry, what was that? Didn’t hear the question…damn dog was barking too loud.

    “How do I remember the time?” you say? There was a big ol’ clock sitting on top of the fireplace right in front of my armchair. It belonged to my grandma. I remember ‘cause I’m sitting there hearing every little tick and tock. Tick, Tock. Tick, Tock. Like the clock was telling me, “Time’s Up. Time’s Up.” I thought my heart would explode through my chest.

    But I figured I should go and get it over with. I stand up and head towards the window. I nearly kill myself tripping over Dutchie who was still yapping.

    I grab the curtains and go real’ still for a second. A chill went down my spine. I don’t know if it was because I was cold or scared. Maybe both. Something bad was on the other side. I just knew it. I wanted to crawl back into bed and cry for mommy like a little kid.

    Then I told myself to grow up. I yanked the curtains apart as far as they could go. That’s when I saw…I saw…shit, I get scared just thinking about it.

    On the other side, I saw myself. I was looking into my own face. My own eyes were staring right back at me. And, no, it wasn’t my reflection. It was as solid as you or me. When I blinked, so did it. When I opened my mouth to scream, so did it.

    Then, I must have blacked out. I don’t remember anything after that. But I still don’t believe in that supernatural hocus pocus.

    Speaking of black, what time is it? 12:00? That late? I didn’t think I’d been here that long. And Spotty still won’t shut up. Could you look outside and see what he’s barking at?

  28. jen says:

    The growling of her dog mixed into the dream as the rumble of an empty stomach. As the dog began to bark the dream dissolved and she sees a face in the window. The face in the window frame reminds her of a photo; it is familiar and a face she loves. She has a vivid picture of this man as a boy, serious and caring.

    The boy enters the room, but he’s a man now. Her dog jumps up to him. It knows him too.

    ‘Patrick?’ She says smiling.

    ‘Hello Mum’ says William. He never corrects her like Patrick does. He knows this upsets her. Maybe that is why she always guesses Patrick’s name first.

    ‘Have you checked your notebook?’ he asks.

    The notebook lies on the table by her chair. She hesitates. She is frightened of the notebook. It contains things that make her sad. There’s a page marked out. Picking it up and beginning to read; she recognizes her writing but has no memory of the act of committing these words to the page.

    William walks around the room. He does not look at his mother. He straightens the photos of parents, children and grand children from their imagined angles. His eyes begin to shine and he looks up to the ceiling.

    ‘Thank you William’ his mother says and beckons him to be closer to her. She produces the pills from her pocket and finds the water where she had left it.

    She takes the pills; it seems an eternity but they are, at last, all gone. William has sat on his hands like a child not trusting himself to let her continue with her plan.

    She takes one of his man size hands and covers it with both her own.

    ‘Thank you William’ she says again, ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t be braver and do this alone’

    William shakes his head and tears splash down his cheeks.

    ‘No, you are brave’ and he means it.

    He remembers the time his Mum stood up to Mr Redmond next door, who yelled about splashing his driveway while they were having a water fight. She had called him a sad old man, one who needed to find a little joy in his life. And how his Mum had made him get back on his skateboard after he skinned both his knees; how she had given him some of her bravery. Well now he could do the same. He moves his hand to tighten his grip on her hands, smiles, kisses her forehead and moves his free arm behind her back moving her face to his chest.

    She begins to whisper. She’s talking to Tommy, William’s Dad, who’s been dead five years. She’s laughing with him.

  29. andrewmscoggins says:

    Brucie

    Jack was attempting to slog his way through Don Quixote yet again when Brucie barked, jolting Jack out of his recliner. Brucie never barked.

    Jack looked down at his huskyish wolf looking up at him patiently with his sad gray eyes before turning them back to the window across the room. As Jack turned, a flicker of movement caught his eye and he ran to the window only to find a rather wet looking, beautiful blonde woman staring back at him as she crouched ineffectually beneath the sill. She gave an awkward half smile and wave and Jack motioned her to the front door. While she made her way through the bushes towards the door Jack thumped his head against the wall softly and stood there a moment with his forehead pressed against the cool wood, trying to center himself with the sound of the crashing waves outside. It was Jessica.

    “Christ we’re in trouble Brucie.” Jack said.

    Brucie smiled, wagged his tail and then made for the front door.

    Later Jessica sat in Jack’s recliner, burrowed into a plaid red blanket, with a cup of tea between her small, cold red hands. Neither of them said a word as Jessica sipped. Jack stood leaning against the wall with his hands in his pajama pockets.

    “So…” Jack prompted. Nothing. “So it’s raining outside.”

    “I noticed.” Jessica said as she made a show out of wringing the water out of her blonde hair.

    “You could’ve just called.”

    “No I couldn’t have.” Her blue eyes flashed up at his, a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “We’ve always had a flair for the dramatic.”

    “True.”

    More silence. Brucie breaks up the tension by laying his head across Jessica’s lap just like the big ham he is, nearly spilling her tea. Jessica nuzzled her forehead against Brucie’s anyway and scratched his neck with her free hand. She smiled as she turned back to Jack.

    “What’s his name?”

    “Bruce, or Brucie is what I’ve been calling him.”

    “Brucie.” She cooed.

    Jack was groping for the right words to say to the only woman he had ever loved but they all just seemed to fall a little flat before they tripped across his tongue.

    “So I thought the plan called for a Golden Retriever?” She asked.

    “What?”

    “This is the house isn’t it?”

    “Well yes but—”

    “If this is our house by the beach and our fat faithful dog then shouldn’t he be a Golden Retriever?”

    Jack smiled but it was partly broken. “You weren’t here.” He paused. “Plus I’ve grown a bit partial to Brucie.”

    “I seem to have grown partial to Brucie too.” She said as she tousled the dog’s ears.

    “I’m sure Brucie wouldn’t mind another dog around here though.”

    Jessica thought for a moment, placed her tea on the table beside her and stood up. “Well what about you? Would you mind another dog around here?”

    “The more the merrier.” Jack said as Jessica walked to him.

    “I’ve been such a dog my dear.” Her lip trembled slightly. Jack placed his hands softly against her wet cheeks and kissed her forehead as her body warmed against his.

  30. Andrea Peck says:

    Buster started with a low growl and quickly jumped from the couch onto the floor dragging a neatly folded blanket with him. Despite his diminutive size, he did not hold back. Summing up the strength of his 14 pounds he flung himself to the door barking and thrashing while he grabbed hold of the cloth grocery bag that hung from the doorknob.

    On hindsight I was surprised I did not wake up sooner. I had two kids to take care of. My husband was gone. My cell phone only worked in the living room.

    I moved my arm slowly, less rapidly than I would consider normal under the circumstances. Generally the dog barked a lot. Generally I responded quickly. I moved my hand and felt my phone. I was sitting in my chair – the chair that got cell phone service. Why was I asleep here? I never sat here unless I was on my cellphone. Certainly I would not be sitting here in the darkness. The room spun under my feet.

    “Numbnut,” I said under my breath as I got up to shush Buster and save my bag.

    It was then that I realized; this was no ordinary bark. I stepped back into the recesses of my sleepy brain. Buster had not sniffed at the base of the door as he ordinarily did. I tried to remember other details but my brain shuffled slowly.

    Cautiously, I peeked out the window – the curtains had been drawn.

    I jumped, nearly crashing backwards over Buster, the red blanket that he had disturbed now under foot.

    The face large and clear stared at me.

    My heart shook, pounding unevenly as I pulled the curtain back further – I did not take my eyes off the face as I moved to turn on the light. Its eyes were glazed from the impact. I could see black pupils that followed me as a backed up in fear – a sort of immediate type of fear that one feels when surprised in the middle of the night by something that does not appear often.

    I had to pull myself together.

    “Did you catch it?” My son asked eagerly as I relayed the story to him the following morning.
    “No.” I had to laugh at the panic I had felt at meeting an owl in the flesh. “I went out to ask it if it was okay and it flew off.”

    I did not mention what the owl told me or the expression in its eyes as he said it.

  31. lostwriter says:

    Bruno, my four year old German Sheppard, sleeps in his own bed which he has placed at the foot of my bed just inside the bedroom door. I have learned from experience it does no good to wash his bed, he just takes it outside during the day and gets it dirty again. I was warned that animals, like people have their own quirps and after having spent the last four years with Bruno I am now a believer.
    I failed to make it to my bed that night mostly due to a sore back. As I sleep silently in my comfortable lounge chair Bruno awakens me with loud and what seems to be snarly, angry barking. Half asleep, I say to Bruno, as if he’s actually going to answer me “What is it boy?”
    Bruno continues to stare and bark at the large bay window that takes up almost all of the living room wall. I slowly sit up and maneuver my way over to the window. I was thinking it’s because I left the curtains open and he heard one of the neighbors either leave or come home.
    As I approach the window to close the curtains I stop dead in my tracks. In horror I can’t believe what I see. It’s me and I’m not talking about my reflection in the window I actually see me standing outside in the rain looking in the window.
    I thought to myself, this can’t be, the government agency that built my parts promised I am a one of a kind, there is not another one.

  32. Paradise says:

    At the edge of my subconscious mind, I can hear something, cutting through the heavy blanket of sleep. I frown and grumble, recognizing it as the familiar sound of my pit-bull. My grumble increases into a low groan as I gather myself and take in my surroundings with a hazy line of vision. I must have fell asleep while reading again. I stand up, stretch and slump again. I couldn’t see him, but Remmington sounded frantic. He probably just saw a squirrel again. “Alright, alright, I’m coming you stupid animal.” I call out to him. He continues to bark until I see him at my kitchen window and grab for his collar. I pull him back and scold him softly before looking up again.

    Do my eyes deceive me? What…what was that?!

    My eyes widen and I take an involuntary step back. My fingers tighten around Remmington’s collar as he starts to bark again, whining and struggling to escape my grip. “R-Remmi…” I mutter in a tiny voice. What I was looking at…it had a pure black face, but I could still make it out in the faint light of my kitchen stove. It blinks big yellow eyes at me, so neon they glowed. I’ve never seen anything like it…and I did not want to find out why it was here to see me. I tug on Remmi and take off with him in the opposite direction, heading back down my hallway and into my living room. Should I go outside to my car? Should I risk being caught by that…by that thing? In my confusion I let go of Remmi in favor of grabbing my car keys. He begins to bark again. I whip around to face him, “Remmi! Hush!” But he doesn’t. The sound was sending me over the edge. I couldn’t take the panic and fear welling up in my constricting chest…

    There’s a knock at the door. Remmi falls silent as if the sound got to him. I freeze in my attempts to shut my dog’s trap. My breath is caught in my throat. It won’t come out. I am like a statue, frozen in place due to my terror. More knocking. The sound is like breaking glass, making dread pool in my belly. Remmi whines softly and moves closer to me, his slick fur brushing against my bare leg. I reach out to pet his head comfortingly, but it was I who needed the comfort.

    I force myself to move at the sound of the door handle jiggling. Remmington follows me obediently. It was as if he understood the seriousness of the situation. I shake and shiver as I race back into the kitchen. There weren’t many places to go in my one-story home. I open a drawer and grab a knife. I grip the handle so tightly my knuckles turn white. I take a few deep breaths as Remmington peers up at me curiously. I look at him. I could rely on him to assist me. I’ve had burglars before. They’ve all run at the sight of my enormous pit-bull…this thing should be no different, right? I try to stay positive. I can beat it! I just need to get to my car…

    I steel myself as I approach the front door. There was no more knocking, that stopped when I entered the kitchen, but that didn’t mean it left. After one long breath, in and out, my shaking hand reaches out, going slower than a clock’s minute hand. I turn the deadbolt, the sound an explosion in the silence, then reach down to slowly open the door…

  33. frankd1100 says:

    Rising from the depths I dreamed of a woodpecker drilling a nearby tree. The hazy image of a blockish head against my thigh, trembled with a low, menacing growl. A hard landing and I woke in familiar surroundings, my heart banging off the inside of my rib cage.

    “Gunner, what’s wrong pal?” I was on the floor of the den, crumpled in front of my old leather chair. Gunner, a fearless black Bouvier, faced the French doors that opened to the garden, his fangs laid bare, his eyes glowing red. His powerful body yearned to attack but instinct held him back to protect the pack.

    A light, tapping on window glass brought me to my feet, as Gunner threw himself at the door, strands of angry drool swinging from his open jaws. I saw her face in a shaft of moonlight. My God, I thought, what is she doing to me?

    I heard Jan’s feet on the bedroom floor above. I signaled my spectral nightmare to wait and ran to the foot of the stairs. Jan, barely awake, stood above me on the top step holding the hem of her cotton nightshirt to avoid tripping on the steps.

    “What are you doing down there, Ted” she asked? “Why’s Gunner barking?”

    “Everything’s all right,” I said. “I think there may have been a coyote out there. Go back to bed… I’ll be up soon.”

    “Can’t wait!” she said, stomping back to the bedroom.

    She slammed the door and set the lock. I exhaled, moving quickly and as I dashed into the den my throat tightened and I tripped landing face first, a supplicant before my nightwalker. She knelt beside Gunner, who lay trancelike, as she scratched behind his ears, cooing the big dog into submission.

    “Why are you here, at my home?” I hissed, struggling to control my voice so Jan wouldn’t hear. “How did you get by the locks?” I asked, scanning the doors.

    “Oh, well…the other night while you slept, I ran out to a hardware store near the hotel and made copies of your keys.” Affecting a spoiled pout, she said, “You weren’t picking up my calls, so, here I am.” Her abrupt, shrill laughter stood my hair on end and I clamped a hand over her mouth.

    She fought for a moment until she dragged me down on top of her. Her smile spread beneath my hand as she wrapped her legs tightly around my waist and pulled me closer.

    I took my hand away and placed it on the tiled floor beside her face, my fingers entangled in her hair as she began to move beneath me. I recognized the confident, curious gaze as she loosened my belt staring without blinking, detecting the slightest reveal in my eyes. A wave of sorrow washed over me for both of us, as her delicate innocence hardened to a steely, street wise cool, a look that said, “Who’s the boss now, Ted?”

    • don potter says:

      I enjoyed the read and like your style but had some difficulty buying into the premise when I reflected on the story.

      • frankd1100 says:

        I can see that.

        In addition I could have cut every comma but one.

        A comma rich environment.

        Thanks Don.

        • Cindy_The_Great says:

          This was interesting. I feel bad for Jan. It definitely got a reaction out of me like “Wow, Ted is a jerk”. Nice read.

          • frankd1100 says:

            Thanks Cindy… When I was a young man I’d feel surprise and dissapointment that a friend’s marriage was breaking up. These days I look at the couples who have remained intact with admiration at their grit and endurance and a touch of envy for the easier partnership, friendship that has evolved for them.

            Ted is a jerk…

    • smallster21 says:

      I liked this. It was easy to follow and didn’t feel forced or rushed. There’s something off about the woman at the window–the way she calms the dog who was about to attack her moments before and the MC’s reference to her as his “spectral nightmare.” Is there something Otherworldly about her? I do agree, Ted’s a jerk, but it’s a good story.

  34. Andrea Peck says:

    Buster started with a low growl and quickly jumped from the couch onto the floor dragging a neatly folded blanket with him. Despite his diminutive size, he did not hold back. Summing up the strength of his 14 pounds he flung himself to the door barking and thrashing while he grabbed hold of the cloth grocery bag that hung from the doorknob.

    On hindsight I was surprised I did not wake up sooner. I had two kids to take care of. My husband was gone. My cell phone only worked in the living room.

    I moved my arm slowly, less rapidly than I would consider normal under the circumstances. Generally the dog barked a lot. Generally I responded quickly. I moved my hand and felt my phone. I was sitting in my chair – the chair that got cell phone service. Why was I asleep here? I never sat here unless I was on my cellphone. Certainly I would not be sitting here in the darkness. The room spun under my feet.

    “Numbnut,” I said under my breath as I got up to shush Buster and save my bag.

    It was then that I realized; this was no ordinary bark. I stepped back into the recesses of my sleepy brain. Buster had not sniffed at the base of the door as he ordinarily did. I tried to remember other details but my brain shuffled slowly.

    Cautiously, I peeked out the window – the curtains had been drawn.
    I jumped, nearly crashing backwards over Buster, the red blanket that he had disturbed now under foot.
    The face large and clear stared at me.

    My heart shook, pounding unevenly as I pulled the curtain back further – I did not take my eyes off the face as I moved to turn on the light. Its eyes were glazed from the impact. I could see black pupils that followed me as a backed up in fear – a sort of immediate type of fear that one feels when surprised in the middle of the night by something that does not appear often.

    I had to pull myself together.

    “Did you catch it?” My son asked eagerly as I relayed the story to him the following morning.

    “No.” I had to laugh at the panic I had felt at meeting an owl in the flesh. “I went out to ask it if it was okay
    and it flew off.”

    I did not mention what the owl told me or how he said it.

  35. hillsworth says:

    To truly understand this excerpt, the best thing to do is go back and read the following first:

    Mafia series:
    Part 1 – Retirement Party Food Fight. February 28, 2012
    Part 2 – Best Friends Need Your Help. March 13, 2012
    Part 3 – Why Are You Digging That Hole? May 15, 2012
    Part 4 – In Too Deep With Your Bookie. June 19, 2012

    Part 5– The Face Outside. August 27, 2013

    Bruno gasps and opens his disoriented eyes. Frankie is standing on the davenport, back feet on the seat, front feet on the back, looking out the window, a low rumble flowing through his bared teeth. Two small ovals of steam are spreading across the window where his wet, black nose is just a fraction of an inch away. His hackles stand up straight, bristling in the glow from the table lamp beside him.

    “Frankie. What’s going on, boy?”

    No answer from the large Doberman.

    “Frank,” Bruno sits forward in his favorite leather recliner, stowing the footrest and placing his feet on the plush white carpet. “Knock it off.”

    Frankie lifts one front paw and starts to lean back, but then stops cold. His pointed ears fold back tight to his head and his hackles shift slightly. The low rumble starts to grow into a full blown growl as his eyes narrow.

    “What’s out there, boy? Huh? Is there someone out there?”

    Bruno groans as he pushes himself up out of the chair, and his memory is nudged of the eventful day he just had.

    Digging the hole in the back yard and burying Mac up to his neck. Building a fire ring around his exposed head. Therese setting up the video recorder so they could send a message to Louis’ family that they would stop at nothing to reclaim ‘their’ city.

    And then the conversation. Mac letting the cat out of the bag about what really happened all those years ago. The accusations that came out. The dawning realization that Bruno had been played the fool. Then the screaming started, and in the end Bruno simply shut the recorder off, turned toward the house and said, “Get this mess cleaned up.”

    Now, wincing as he stands and stretches his neck, Frankie lets loose a bark that would scare the life back into a dead man. Bruno takes three steps toward the dog and the window.

    “What the hell is it, Frankie?” He places his head just inches away from Frankies and drapes his left arm around the dogs neck, seeing only their reflection in the window against the coal black of the night. With his right hand, he reaches out and fumbles with the row of switches at the side of the french doors. The middle one triggers the lights on the veranda, and when Bruno throws it to the ‘on’ position, he screams “Holy shit,”and jumps back, letting go of Frankie and stumbling over the ottoman, flailing his arms behind him to break his fall.

    “Holy shit,” he says again, his eyes wide as he scrambles backward, away from the window. He looks at Frankie, still on the sofa, but Frankies hackles are down and his tail is wagging. His guttural snarl has turned to a high pitched whine.

    Bruno turns his attention back to the window and looks at the severed head of his loving wife, Therese, propped on a table, looking back in at him.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Bear with me on this prompt, I’m a little rusty. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve written anything, but dont hold back on the criticism, I could really use it.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      I like your style of writing. I’m a little confused on the relationship between Bruno and Mac. Was he a trusted friend of Bruno’s and did he set Bruno up, thus the torture murder you wrote about?
      At least, that’s my take on your story. And there’s no mention of any details on Louis’ family. Were your mentioned pre-stories on the writer’s prompts?

      Your first paragraph welcomes the reader to your story in an easy manner. The ending is powerful.
      Welcome back to the prompts. I’ve been writing here since May and learning a lot.

    • don potter says:

      Glad you’re back in the writing community. While I did not read the year old posts, the story stands on its own as a relationship gone bad. Bruno’s wife ending up with her head as the centerpiece on the table is pretty rough stuff. I can see this story has legs, so I just might have to go back at look at your previous posts.

  36. dzbeavers@gmail.com says:

    First it’s the back. Then the legs, stiff as logs, and a foot that fell asleep. Yes, you passed out in the chair again. Fortunately your hearing’s shot, so the braying hound doesn’t bother you. But the neighbors will complain. So you reach for your glasses on the end table. You know if they’re not there it will take an hour to find them. But in the effort you find a glass half-full. It’s the scotch you were drinking. What the hell you say.
    You pull yourself out the chair and stretch. You wonder if the hound’s heart can take it. The trusty cane is where it should be. It feels good and solid. The TV ‘s jumping with an inane infomercial. You’ve seen it before. Have a better sex life it says. Too late you say.
    You make your way to the hound – no use in yelling at him. Once you almost beat him unconscious to get him off the mailman. Obedience is not him his bloodline. You hook the round handle of the cane through his collar and around his neck then pull and lift the hound’s chin. He yelps, sounding surprised at the betrayal. You yank him as best you can, taking care not to fall. In a minute you have him in the small pantry, free the cane and shut the door. He whimpers and scratches from the other side, but you’re beyond that.
    Walking back to the chair you pass the window. There’s nothing worth stealing in the house, so you don’t bother to lock the door. But curiosity strikes you, and you shuffle to the window. You feel the cold from the glass and fog it with your breath. Maybe if you had your glasses, there might be something.
    A face explodes into view on the other side. You startle and your heart complains. You recover to raise your cane, but you don’t have the strength. Resigned to your fate you study the face. It smiles at you. It’s scary, not because it’s a threat. No, it’s scary because it’s happy. You haven’t seen many happy faces in your life. Yet this one is familiar. It’s young, it’s deliriously happy, and it’s you, or what use to be you.
    The face winks at you, then turns away from the glass. It looks over a shoulder. Come on it says. Then the body passes out through the hedges. As far as omens go you find this to be cliché, but whatever it is you have things to prepare. You’re going to have to find your good winter coat – you got your share of cold in the war. And the teeth, they’re in a glass someplace in the bedroom. Then there’s the question of the hound, who’s going to be kind to him? As you pass the table by the chair you see the empty glass. There’s more in the cupboard, and this may be a long journey. What the hell you say.

  37. agnesjack says:

    At first I thought the noise was coming from the TV. I had fallen asleep on the couch with it on, but was startled awake by JD, who was frantically pawing my arm.

    “OK. JD,” I said, struggling into consciousness. “What is it?”

    She ran to the front window, and began jumping at it and barking wildly. I sat up, groggily, and tried to get my bearings. Then I stood and staggered over to the window. Someone was standing on the lawn, still and calm, looking in. My heart sank. It was Joe. Again.

    “No, Joe, no,” I said quietly. “Don’t do this anymore.”

    I felt sick to my stomach. It had been eight years and I had been doing so well. I closed my eyes. Maybe it’s remnants of a dream, I thought. I turned away from the window.

    “Come on, JD. It’s O.K.,” I said and headed toward the kitchen. “Come on, girl. Want a treat?”

    It was 1:09 a.m. I decided to make coffee and wait until the sun came up. I wouldn’t look, again, until it was daylight.

    The first years were the worst. It was over, finished, no turning back, but Joe followed me everywhere. Everywhere. He wouldn’t speak, just stand there at a distance, looking at me with that sad face. I begged him, “Please, leave me in peace. Please.” I nearly lost my mind those first few years. It wasn’t until Max, our lab mix, died at the age of twelve, that Joe finally stopped coming. I thought that was it. I thought he had been coming because of Max. He really loved him. I rescued JD four years ago, which is why she doesn’t know Joe. She never knew the man that inspired her name: Joe Dunn.

    Finally, I saw the vague, dawning light coming through the kitchen window. Do I dare look again? I thought. I decided to feed JD and take a shower first. I was so tense. The hot water felt wonderful. I just let it flow over me until my muscles started to relax.

    I dressed and went downstairs. JD was waiting by the front door. “O.K., girl,” I said and grabbed her leash. It was a bright, crisp fall morning. There was no one on the front lawn. I walked over to where Joe had been standing. There were no footprints. Nothing. “Thank you, God,” I said out loud.

    JD and I took a nice long walk. I felt relaxed and happy, but when we returned to the house, someone was waiting by the front door. It was Joe. I wanted to scream. He held his hand out, as if to say, “Stop.” I began to cry. Suddenly, there was an explosion and the entire house went up in flames. Joe walked out of the smoke and the flames, and down the steps toward us. He smiled at me and patted JD on the head. Then he turned and just faded away. I haven’t seen him since.

    • agnesjack says:

      Just testing my html formatting for italic and bold and underline.

      Figured I’d do it on an old prompt.

    • agnesjack says:

      Just testing html tags for numbered lists:

      This is the first item and this is the first item and this is the first item and this is the first item and etc. etc. etc just wanting this to wrap.
      The quick sly fox jumped over the lazy brown dog and on and on and on and on and on ad nauseum forever.

      • agnesjack says:

        didn’t work. again:

        Here is one line of indented text.
        Here is another line of indented text.

        • agnesjack says:

          So, here is text.

          1. Here is text here is text here is text here is text here is text here is text here is text
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  38. snuzcook says:

    I am running, plunging headfirst through the scotch broom and scrub alders behind my house. Something is ahead of me, crashing through the brush. It is dark, but in my dream it is this action of running and of pursuing that I notice first, then the darkness. I must not let him get too far ahead, I must not lose him. A dog is barking, and the sound increases my sense of urgency. Lights flicker through the trees up ahead and I know that it is the highway. He is running to the highway. I know I must not let him get there before me.

    Ruby paws at my knee, her strong claws raking the denim as if to dig me out of my dream. She is barking, an alerting bark, the anxious note in her voice pulling me awake more effectively than the sheer volume of her voice.

    I reach out my hand to reassure her. She responds by butting her head against my palm, my wrist, my forearm. I pat her shoulder and feel her quivering, silent now but still wound up.

    I try to focus my eyes, adjusting from the darkness of my dream to the dimly lit room. The TV casts its blue against the ceiling. From the corner of my eye I catch movement in the darkened window beside me. I turn and my heart collides with my ribs and squeezes out a cry.

    A moon-white face is staring back at me.

    I feel for my glasses on the table beside me and slide them on like a prosthetic locking into place. The face is still there. White on white, pale twisted features beneath a shock of sparse white hair, bony uneven skeleton visible beneath a thin white undershirt.

    The apparition is now familiar. Funny that the wheel chair’s tall back is always the clue that brings it into focus. The young eyes of my dream are brought back to the reality by the reflection of my broken body decades after that night of panicked pursuit. He got away, dashing between cars miraculously to disappear over the guardrails on the far side. And the image of his leap to freedom is the last memory I have of that night. I was not as agile.

    Ruby nudges me again, and I stroke her head, soothing her as I soothe myself. I remind myself that they caught him eventually, walking myself back through the mantras of reality to the present. He died in a shoot out with police, a dangerous man. I was still in a coma when he was blasted out of my life, when the case was closed.

    But still I pursue him in my dreams, the man everyone thought I chased after he had robbed me of my family. Only Ruby hears my somnambulent confessions, the partnership he and I had shared. And with God’s cruel mercy she pulls me back each time to the reality of my broken existence, my penance, my prison.

  39. After the initial shock, I study the face more closely. Something about it is vaguely familiar, and it almost bothers me. Its gold eyes stare unblinkingly at me, and their luminosity fixates me to the point where the rest of the face’s features blur.
    As I watch, the face’s gold irises begin to melt. Horrified, I open my mouth and pull in a breath of air to scream, but the sound sticks in my throat and I stand frozen on the spot as what is left of the deformed pupils weep blood that spills down the face and I realize the face is so familiar because it’s my face; it’s me; it’s me; it’s my face the blood is rushing down, and now the face’s mouth opens in a piercing scream that does not break for breath and the blood fills its mouth and yet the scream never stops -
    I wake up screaming.

  40. Hunter1 says:

    I have been wanting to go the the eye doctor to get a new pair of readers.Also, been wanting to go to get help.There is just so much to do and so little time. Thinking about everything is making me tired. My eyes are closing and I am off fast asleep again.
    The soft chair in the living room is always a nice place to nod off. My miniature poodle often loves to take naps with me. With the crackling of the fire this evening, it did not take long before I nodded off.I fell asleep with Coco on my lap as usual. Until I was awakened by Coco’s bizarre howling. I tried to ignore it, until I realized that it was hopeless.There was something going on and she was nervous and frightened.Her eyes like saucers.
    I pulled myself up and looked around me to see what the heck was making Coco so scared. She never acts like this,never! But then I noticed the problem.There appeared to be something staring at us from outside the window.As my eyes began to adjust, I could make out a pair of glaring, green eyes.
    ” Was it Halloween already?”Thought that it was still September. I groped for my drink that I left on the kitchen table. My eyes were still glued shut. Maybe a few more sips and this would all go away. Probably a nightmare that I was having. But then the back door flew open and the wooden door smashed against my wall, making a small dent.
    I now knew this was no nightmare.. I was going to be killed.This was real. ‘Quick, let me think. I grabbed my kitchen knife,the only weapon that I owned, and then I dialed 911. Barely able to speak; I told the dispatcher my address and the dilemma.
    ” The upstairs window is shattered and my dog has gone insane.” My legs are trembling and nothing seems to be calming me or Coco down. All of my skills are just out the window and I think that I am going to die any minute.I take another small sip from my cup.It feels warm as it is going down.” The cops are on their way,I hear the voice say from the other end of the phone.”I hang up.
    I have wanted to give up drinking. Too many problems when I drink. Never know if things are real or imaginary.But I think this is real. The cops are coming and the sirens sound as loud as hell.My head feels like it is splitting.I hear another window shatter,and glass is everywhere. The electric is out now.And the only light that I have is coming from the small blue flame in the fire place.
    The cop bangs loudly on the front door. He flashes me his shiny, gold badge. It is obvious something is very wrong here,mam.’Are you okay?” I know that this scene does not look good,I say. The cop asks me if he can go upstairs. ‘Sure. I say to him.’Better you than me,” I add. He thinks that I am being wise with him.
    He comes down the stairs and tells me that he does not see anything wrong. Maybe I should get some help.The cop recommends for the moment, some hot chamomile tea with raw honey. ‘Yes,sir,I say. Then I see him take out a black bic pen from his pocket.and jot something on a piece of paper. He ever so politely hands it to me before leaving the house.’Good night,mam.’ Although, I vaguely heard him say something else as he slowly walked out the door.
    I decided to fix myself some tea.Perhaps the loud sound that I heard was the buzzing of my alarm clock. Coco was still barking. I jumped up and realized that I missed work again. It is time to pick up the phone.
    ” Yes,hello. I am not sure what happened last night,but I never want this to happen again.”The voice on the other end said, ‘I understand.”

  41. After the initial shock, I realize the face is vaguely familiar. Its luminous gold eyes stare unblinkingly at me. As I watch, the irises begin to melt. Horrified, I pull in the air to scream, but I make no sound. I stand, frozen on the spot, watching as what is left of the deformed pupils weep blood that spill down the face. The mouth opens in a scream and the blood fills its mouth and yet it screams without stopping for air and I realize it’s so familiar because it’s my face; it’s my own face staring back at me from the window and bleeding out of its melted eyes and I wake up screaming.

  42. jb7952 says:

    Jesus! It’s my brother-in-law, Daniel. My heart has to dislodge from my throat before I can make a move to let him in. He’s standing on the porch when I open the door, rubbing his hands together for warmth.
    “What the hell are you doing here?” I ask. My house is miles from civilization so he can’t possibly use the excuse that he was in the neighborhood. It’s impossible to read the expression on his face and he isn’t saying anything. My patience is wearing thin. I begin waving my hand wildly in front of his face. He smacks it away and pushes past me, welcoming himself into my home. My sister had only married him two months ago and I hadn’t made much of an effort to get to know him.
    I close the door, expecting to find him waiting in the foyer but he’s nowhere to be seen. Making my way down the hallway, I search the living room and kitchen before stopping outside of the half bath near the backdoor. The door is cracked so I peek in to see him violently scrubbing his hands. His sweaty, tear-streaked face is an array of emotions: fear, anger, frustration. The water in the sink is tinged pink. Instantly, I begin to panic.
    I quietly sneak back down the hallway toward the kitchen, hoping that the location will provide a number of weapons should I need them. I’m aware that I’m jumping to worst of conclusions, but there’s something wrong here. I can feel it in my bones, my teeth. The bathroom door clicks into place, the floorboards creaking, and I brace myself against the counter. He saunters in looking completely normal. Any trace of the frantic man in the bathroom has washed down the drain.
    “Sorry to pop in on you like this. I was just driving and ended up here.” He notices me staring at his hands and shoves them into his pockets.
    “What’s going on?” My voice sounds weaker than I want it to.
    “Sara and I got into a fight.”
    “Bad?” I ask.
    He nods. “Really bad.”
    I’ve been gradually moving toward the drawer that holds my cutlery. I jerk it open and grab the first thing I see. The laughs at the soup ladle that I’ve shoved in front of me for defense. The humor passes quickly when he realizes what is happening.
    “What are you doing, Lisa?”
    “I saw you in the bathroom. You were upset and washing blood from your hands. Just how bad was it?”
    His eyes grow wide. I misread his expression to be one of rage but he erupts into laughter. He bends over the counter, shaking down to his core. I’m at a loss but I stand firm. He wipes tears from his eyes, fighting the urge to continue. He opens his mouth to explain but a ringing noise breaks the tension. He holds it in front of my face. Sara, it says. He shrugs.

  43. PeterW says:

    AND A MURDER ON A DARK NIGHT (w/ changing POVs, yessss)

    Yo, the dog woke me. Fucking bitch. She’s, like, next on my list, if you know what I mean. It was midnight. What the double fuck. I usually go to bed at 3am. Why was I sleeping a midnight? Who goes to bed at midnight, anyways. WTdF, and damn all the tranquilizers me and Jos did. I rubbed my eyes hard. I kicked at the damn dog (not mine). I was a little groggy and I texted Ricky about the drugos, which we are selling, and his stupid dog, and I texted this ho, Janie about sex, then I kicked all the shit out of my way and went to study myself in the window.

    The man. He approached the dirty white house on a lane of dirty white houses; on a lane of dumpy, trashy lawns, which were mud, which didn’t get mowed, didn’t need to be mowed, which were full of trash, and, and, why not paint the houses black, and so that way the dirt of the lawns, the exhaust of cars, the smudges of poverty couldn’t be smeared all over the house, the abodes, the so-called, so-called homes, homes? He thought this as he approached, as he kicked in a dirty white gate, as he took the sharp blade from his black, un-smeared, coat.

    The light it snaps off. Thus he can no longer see his reflection, his flexion, his hairless six-packed abs, no longer is the dog visible growling in the background. No he sees, incarnate, a nightmare, in a black coat, holding a silver blade.

    Well, the window was smashed.
    And well there was so much to trip over.
    And well the dog lived, as least. It was Ricky’s dog. Ricky had a convincing manner about him. So much so that he could get his dealers to watch his annoying little dog. He was good, Ricky. Well, good at selling drugs. He came for his dog, in morning, very early, in damp light, and so the blood looked, well, how would you say it… vivid, photogenic.

    The man. He had a black coat and it was un-smeared. He had a silver blade. There were barely any lights in the neighborhood. Midnight and the slums and the electricity and everything lacking and soiled and dark and white smudged houses. Only, the lights from the houses, through bleak curtains, lights of the living brushed his collar. Yes, the black coat, did not glow, but the blade glowed incarnadine. It was smeared, yes.

    A bad man died. That’s what was in the newspaper. Well, a bad man had approached the window. A bad man, not a child, not a lusty teen, not a pregnant tummy stretched mom… Could you say it was a good night in paradise? Well… you could.

    WTdF. WTF. Who the fuck, who, omg, omg, omg,… It’s the drugs, it’s the drugs. I’m hallucinating, I fucking hallucinating. I run. Run. Oh god, he coming, through the window, how, he coming, o g, o god.

    • don potter says:

      You took me to another world as surely as a sci-fi writer would transport me to a parallel universe. The one you presented was bleak and evil. There was no way out except for death from drugs or at the hand of The Man. What a scary choice. Thanks for the insight.

    • Observer Tim says:

      I like the imagery, and the fact that the stream of consciousness nearly takes over the story. It emphasizes the fact that the MC’s mind is not ticking sequentially.

    • jhowe says:

      I liked this. Very vivid. Loved the description of the lane of white houses. It’s the way a drug guy would think, I think.

    • Nice bit of crazy here, Peter. I could almost feel myself losing it at the end.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Every now and then a writer will come through here and write something so different and so vivid that I’m am transplanted to a place called “Style.” Today, you are that writer. I am speechless with details and praise so I’ll just say. Loved it! Good job!

      • swatchcat says:

        It is the lingo you use that at times could be interpreted as raw poetry in your description of the homes or surrounding slums, even the waking up. The lifestyle portrayed is a harsh reality of coldness. Nicely written.

    • smallster21 says:

      After reading this, I feel as high as the MC. I’m still digesting it, but the techniques you used were different from what I’m used to reading, so it was fun to read, but I didn’t feel any connection with any of the characters. Despite that, I read it a few times, because it’s interesting the way you utilize voice and structure your sentences/paragraphs.

  44. Disembodied_voice says:

    My dog’s barking awoke me in a cold sweat, struggling to see in the dark. “Nina, what is it?” She barked at the window across the room, approximately 10 feet away. I arose from my favorite lay-z-boy recliner. I could hear the sizzling noise of rain splattering. I inched over to the other side of the room. Nina fell silent, her tail standing straight up signaling her readiness to attack. The floor creaked every step.. As I neared the window, I noticed an oblong shaped figure. It looked like the silhouette of a head, but I couldn’t tell. I was almost there when the figure twisted and moved out of sight. “WHAT THE FUCK?!” I screamed. Nina went crazy, jumping around and barking. This seemed all too familiar, like a Halloween flick. I broke to the kitchen, grabbed three knives; stuffing one in my sock, another in my pocket, and the last snug in my grip. BLOOM-BLOOM-BLOOM! There was banging on the backdoor. My family left for a week and I volunteered to stay and watch the dog. Now, I wish I had gone too. I contemplated checking it out, running out the front door, calling the poli—THAT’S IT! Call the police! I scrambled to the phone in the kitchen. BLOOM-BLOOM- BLOOM! Again, knocks that scared me shitless! I picked up the phone. It wasn’t working! What was I to do? I feared for our house, I feared for Nina, I feared for my life! CRASH! “It” broke into the house. The rain got heavier. It started thundering. “I’m fucked”. Somewhere in the midst of desperation, I found the fortitude of a soldier. If I was already doomed, may as well fight. I crept around, ninja style, staying low and quiet. I heard footsteps coming my way. I was heading toward the intruder and it, toward me. I hid behind furniture and waited, holding my breath. It walked past the couch and I ferociously leaped at it. I stabbed it in the knee. It cried in pain. I stabbed it in the leg again, and again, and again– unleashing rage! Out of nowhere, I felt four hands snatch me off the intruder! I squealed! “Jared, what the FUCK are you doing?” that voice sounded familiar. It was dad. My family had come back. I had been butchering my brother, Eric’s leg. “I’m sorry! I heard banging and it was dark, and Nina was barking, and—“My father pressed his hand to my lips. “Son, you were holding down the fort. I would have done the same thing”. Dad, an ex-commando, mended Eric’s wounds while mom quietly cleaned the blood, likely silent from shock. I explained myself. They seemed to understand. They had misplaced the key to the house and were desperate to get out of the storm. “You saw me through the window, man! You saw me!” Eric yelped in pain. “Dude, it was far too dark to see your face!”
    I never volunteered to watch the house again.

  45. Mitzi says:

    “Man in the lake! … Man in the lake!” the policeman at my door was insistent at best. I jumped and scrambled for my glasses all at the same time. The dog continued to bark franticly. Opening the door a dripping police officer grabbed for my arm. “A car drove into the lake on the other side of the channel. I need to take me out there in your boat.”

    It was just an old fishing boat. Our lake was small and private, nothing exciting happened around here. We ran towards it though. “My partner in is the water searching now. We can see the car.”

    The boat engine started right up. We backed away from the dock and headed for the splashing. Two officers were now in the water. Another squad car was driving in from the opposite side. Bright lights flooded the area. The car in water slanted at an odd angle. I watched as an officer came up for air and went down again. It had only been minutes since the first man came to my door, now it seemed like many. The man in my boat jumped in as soon as we arrived. The channel was only 50 yards wide. He swam this way, after the car went in the water and continued to my place when he spotted the boat at my house. The men had called for backup earlier in the chase and hit the water with their guns and shoes still in place.

    I wondered who in the world would drive between two cottages and into a lake? What kind of desperate criminal were these officers after?

    We may never know. The first officer can up for air sputtering. “I’ve got him.” My man helped grab for the limp newcomer. His strong left arm circled the fugitives neck and right arm hung onto the side of my fishing boat. His partner grabbed for the other side and I towed the three men to shore. But, it was too late.

    I could sense raw, angry emotion from these men who had just pulled a dead criminal from the waters. “Parking tickets.” “Excuse me.” I seemed to be the only one not understanding the situation here.

    The officer who came to my door got his breath back first. “This guy was weaving around a bit on the highway a few miles back. It’s late at night. We tried to pull him over, but he took off like a mad man.”

    Lake property makes for crazy roads. They tend to go in circles around the lake and make little alleyways as lake cottages crowd the shorelines. “He wove around the Lake George shore line and crossed the road back there. He must have thought this driveway was another road … he never even slowed down. He hit the water and the dispatcher called in a warrant for his arrest, 57 parking tickets. Not much to die for.”

    • don potter says:

      The cops seemed to handle this situation poorly, but the guy with 57 traffic tickets handled it more poorly.

    • This story feels a bit incomplete. I like where it’s headed, it’s just unfinished.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Mitzi I liked your story but I think you’re missing some words. This makes your story seem incomplete or unorganized because your reader has to stop, find and insert words that fit your story. It was good. The last sentence actually could be the title. Good job. A veteran writer here named ISMAEL gave us the best writing advice. He said author your story the 1st day. Let it sit and simmer the 2nd by not looking at it. Read it with reader’s eyes on the 3rd day and you’ll catch things you would have not caught. He was an editor in another life. I tried it and it works. See you at the next prompt. Good job.

  46. terrygirl95 says:

    I was awaken suddenly by Margie’s howl. Getting up from my chair, I push aside her body as I peer out the window. In the dark of night, with not a star shining in the sky, there is a single pair of blue eye staring back at me. It startled me at first until I saw the faint glow of familiar shade of blue, like a beautiful ocean. It brought back a flood of memories, the peace and tranquility and then the sorrow. It took me back to a time when things were different; a time when I was a young lady with nothing but dreams and possibilities ahead of me. Now I was an old woman, a grandma for goodness sakes. I had a wonderful husband lying in the bed upstairs, one whom I had endured every struggle with through 3 children, their children; my grandchildren.

    I closed my eyes for a split second but in that moment all the memories came back. The summer of 1941 when I fell madly in love. That summer was filled with never ending days in the grass fields of Oklahoma to the starry filled nights on his parent’s lawn. I would lay my head on his chest as he gently stroked the outline of my silhouette. We were beautiful together. Everyone in town thought the young, poor man’s girl and the town Mayor’s son were going to be the Romeo and Juliet of the age.

    But things quickly changed; pretty much overnight. The war had been going on for two years around the world but this was the year that the US decided to be an ally. All of the young men of our town made the decision to enlist and volunteer their life for “the cause”. All of them included the love of my life, Jason Carter. Being the Mayor’s son, Jason didn’t think twice about enlisting and was gone the next week.

    For years, I waited. Hoping. I hoped that maybe one day he would come back and we would continue our lives together. But deep down inside, it killed me every day, for so long. We wrote almost every week as long as he was close to somewhere that would deliver him his mail. But September 21st, 1943, I received my last letter from him.

    His last letter was followed by 2 weeks of chatter around the town, rumors that Jason Carter had been killed. After 2 more weeks, those rumors were confirmed and my worst fears were true. Jason Carter had died. After the funeral, his body not present because he was considered “MIA”, I eventually moved on with my life. I ended up having a beautiful life, one filled with happiness and love.

    When I gave back to the reality of the moment, those pair of blue eyes, that were looking at me, pierced the innermost parts of my soul. Those were the eyes of Jason Carter.

  47. bettyblue says:

    Startled by Brutus’ deep baritone barking, I shake the sleep from my stiff body and realize I’ve fallen asleep in my chair…..again. It was turning into a habit. Better than the alternative. Lying there in our bed, with him, the silence so loud it’s deafening. Painful, a deep gut wrenching pain, mixed with my tears and his snoring, always follows, because there are no words. No words to make up for the betrayals, the guilt and the overwhelming shame that hangs on every syllable. Pathetic. He acts in the way he “thinks” he should, gauging my mood and deciding on the amount of emotion and which one to expend.
    Pity, love (or his version of it), adoration, repentance. All lies.

    Matching the very first he ever told …till death do us part.

    That was a different time, one of lilac blossoms and champagne of promises and honor. Before every naïve fiber was stripped away to reveal truth, an ugly truth. I was a better person then. Not the broken, hollowed out woman I am now. Bitterness had cut away at me with every lie he spoke, every stolen embrace, and vow of love that was expressed to yet another faceless stranger. I still believed in forever then, not some fairytale version, but the forever that hard work and loving ‘passed the struggles’ produced. Clinging, cleaving to one another. I was a fool. Laughter escapes my lips and echoes in the quiet. Brutus watches me, and turns back to the window, where his attention is keenly focused. I cross the room intently with fresh excitement. My trembling hand reaches for the curtain. I know who is on the other side—him. The “him” that has undone me. The “him” who continues to heal the jagged, gaping hole that was my heart, after deception and pain left its mark. It’s hypocritical I realize. Loneliness and self-loathing cause a person to lose any moral awareness. Once that line has been crossed in a marriage the lines become hazy, non-existent. It was not intentional, I laugh, with irony. That’s what he says, after he’s caught. After the excuses, after the “this is the last time” for the last time. I stopped taking notice of the obvious, and detached his infectious tentacles from the choking hold they had around my heart.

    Then it happened like the sun shining in a dark room. Warmth penetrated my icy shell and coursed through the numb existence that was my life. I was undone, completely. Love grows in the most hostile ground. He was patient, seeing my damage, like black, mottled flesh covering me. Sheltering and caressing the life back into me in waves, until I was revived. Not a clichéd “brand new me” but no longer dead and unfeeling. I was hopeful again. Craving a new beginning, to burn down the past and scatter the ashes. Drawing the curtains back, my future is on the other side. No longer looking back I grab my bag, call to Brutus, and then close the door on my nightmare.

  48. bettyblue says:

    Startled by Brutus’ deep baritone barking, I shake the sleep from my stiff body and realize I’ve fallen asleep in my chair…..again. It was turning into a habit. Better than the alternative. Lying there in our bed, with him, the silence so loud it’s deafening. Painful, a deep gut wrenching pain, mixed with my tears and his snoring, always follows, because there are no words. No words to make up for the betrayals, the guilt and the overwhelming shame that hangs on every syllable. Pathetic. He acts in the way he “thinks” he should, gauging my mood and deciding on the amount of emotion and which one to expend. Pity, love (or his version of it), adoration, repentance. All lies.
    Matching the very first he ever told …till death do us part.
    That was a different time, one of lilac blossoms and champagne of promises and honor. Before every naïve fiber was stripped away to reveal truth, an ugly truth. I was a better person then. Not the broken, hollowed out woman I am now. Bitterness had cut away at me with every lie he spoke, every stolen embrace, and vow of love that was expressed to yet another faceless stranger. I still believed in forever then, not some fairytale version, but the forever that hard work and loving ‘passed the struggles’ produced. Clinging, cleaving to one another. I was a fool. Laughter escapes my lips and echoes in the quiet. Brutus watches me, and turns back to the window, where his attention is keenly focused. I cross the room intently with fresh excitement. My trembling hand reaches for the curtain. I know who is on the other side—him. The “him” that has undone me. The “him” who continues to heal the jagged, gaping hole that was my heart, after deception and pain left its mark. It’s hypocritical I realize. Loneliness and self-loathing cause a person to lose any moral awareness. Once that line has been crossed in a marriage the lines become hazy, non-existent. It was not intentional, I laugh, with irony. That’s what he says, after he’s caught. After the excuses, after the “this is the last time” for the last time. I stopped taking notice of the obvious, and detached his infectious tentacles from the choking hold they had around my heart.
    Then it happened like the sun shining in a dark room. Warmth penetrated my icy shell and coursed through the numb existence that was my life. I was undone, completely. Love grows in the most hostile ground. He was patient, seeing my damage, like black, mottled flesh covering me. Sheltering and caressing the life back into me in waves, until I was revived. Not a clichéd “brand new me” but no longer dead and unfeeling. I was hopeful again. Craving a new beginning, to burn down the past and scatter the ashes. Drawing the curtains back, my future is on the other side. No longer looking back I grab my bag, call to Brutus, and then close the door on my nightmare.

  49. don potter says:

    Nice setup. You didn’t use your word quota, so tell us the rest of the story.

  50. don potter says:

    “Damn dog,” I say.
    Her barking woke me up just as I was in the middle of a dream about my childhood. In it I was nine, maybe ten, visiting my grandparent’s farm for the summer. Those were the days. No worries, no work, only the fun of the moment.
    Sally, the dog I got to keep my wife company during her long illness, always barked at the wrong thing and at the wrong time. Shoulda got a male, but Emma picked out Sally from the pound. They bonded right away, but she never quite cottoned to me.
    Problem is the wife passed on and the dog looks like she ain’t got much more time before heading up to doggie heaven. Just as well, I can’t be feeding and cleaning up after this mutt. Can hardly take care of myself anymore.
    It’s a little chilly in here. Better put a log on the fire, but it’s nice and cozy under this comforter the wife made. Think I’ll just rest here in my easy chair for awhile and decide if I’m gonna stay here or go upstairs to bed.
    Never been as lonely as I’ve been this past year. It hurts in my heart and throughout my whole body. A throbbing aching pain that won’t go away – don’t matter none whether it’s summer or winter, day or night, the pain is always there. Worse than the arthritis, worse than the migraines, worse than anything.
    The dog barks again.
    “What’s that Sally. I don’t hear nothing.”
    Looking up at the living room window, I see a face peering in. I should be afraid, but I’m not. I squint and blink my eyes. The face isn’t scary. She looks like an angel, yet familiar.
    Better go over and get a closer look. I try. I can’t. My body won’t move.
    The angel in the window begins to change. She becomes my Emma. I’m happy and sad at the same time.
    “Wish we were together again,” I say.
    “We are,” Emma says.
    Next thing I know, Sally and I are outside with Emma and starring through the window at the dog on the floor and me in the chair. Everything is still. Beautifully quiet. I feel young again. The pain is gone, both inside and out. This is wonderful.
    “Missed you old girl,” I say to Emma.
    “Me too, but now we’ll be together for eternity,” she says and takes my hand.
    Sally barks. Don’t bother me none this time.

    • DMelde says:

      Nice, happy story about death and soul mates. I liked the regional dialect. For me, it moved the story along at a quaint, small town pace, and it made the main character likable in a chummy way. Well written.

    • jen says:

      Really enjoyed this story – I could hear the voice of the old guy as I was reading

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Heartwarming, Don. Dreams about his grandparents farm also took me back as a reader. There is something magical about the age of nine. Still a child but on the threshold of adult experience. It doesn’t take much for a child of nine to remember everything about a moment in his time. You emohasized that well.

      Your words on lonely, hurt and depression are written so carefully and accurately in your story. I loved every word of it.

    • This felt very authentic and touching, Don. Very well done

    • MCKEVIN says:

      I’m thinking “It’s A Wonderful Life or Cocoon.” Lol. You know you’ve lived a good life when you can look back and smile. Good job. A bit different from your “9 Mystery Stories but just as good.”

      • swatchcat says:

        Now that was nice, really nice. Although sad because the old man died, it’s a peaceful knowledge reading that his death is not alone. Nice touch with the dog going too. Enjoyable story.

        • smallster21 says:

          Lovely :) I liked the added touch of the dog dying too. Though, I hate sad endings, when two people are united in death, it makes me happy. There is a distinctive voice here, which I think you could strengthen and develop more. Good story!

    • frankd1100 says:

      The unexplicable sorrow of deep loss with the temerity to live on.

      There’s a mesage here.

  51. Observer Tim says:

    Delilah woke up to Wells’s barking. Not again, she thought. Don’t they ever give it a rest? It’s the middle of the damned night. She pulled her housecoat tight around her lithe figure and slid out of the comfortable chair. Wells was sitting by the time window, barking his doggy little head off. This was the fourth time tonight.

    She picked Wells up and petted her. Wells was a purebred beagle, the only species of dog that could naturally see into the timestream. She got a treat, which she devoured rapaciously, and then went back to lie on her cushion.

    Now, the window. She looked through to see the scene. It was Dad’s study, circa 2105 from the looks of it. He was staring straight at her, but she knew he could only see what was outside his window. Of course the fact that she was seeing this meant Mom was somewhere around. It was bad enough when their marriage fell apart, but then he broke her time machine and had her buried alive in a sarcophagus in Egypt. Little Delilah took Dad’s backup time machine and rescued her, and the fight was on in earnest.

    It had been going on for almost 30 years now, Delilah time. She was often tempted to just let one of them win, but she couldn’t settle on which one. Mom was a psychopath and Dad was a sociopath; potayto, potahto, as far as she was concerned. And they both had working time machines.

    She opened the french door and stepped through, right into the barrel of her 63-year old daddy’s revolver.

    “Lenore?”

    “No Dad, it’s Delilah. Would Mom come after you in a housecoat?”

    “Point taken.” He lowered the gun but kept it ready. “What are you doing here? Going to save her again?”

    “If I have to. Look, Dad, have you considered calling off the feud? Go back to the good times?”

    “The good times were an illusion, dear. The killing, this is the real us. You know Carl’s gotten involved now.”

    “I know. He got her away from the Inquisition, but he’s having a little time-out right now.”

    “He’s dead.”

    “Same thing. And he’s not coming back until I explain to him why 12-year olds shouldn’t time travel.”

    “You were only ten when you started.”

    “Don’t remind me. Dumbest thing I ever did.”

    Lenore chose that moment to come inside. She didn’t say a word; we all knew each other. The first two bullets went into Dad; the third grazed my torso. Dad’s return shot got her right through the heart. I guess she had one after all.

    Delilah limped back to her sanctuary. It would take a few days for their support people to pull them out of the mutual death, and she looked forward to a good night’s sleep for once.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Delilah’s torso, not mine. I never want to get shot by a fictional character.

    • calicocat88 says:

      I’m glad you gave us an extra glimpse into this world. Poor little Delilah! What a life! This seems capable of turning into a series. Keep up the good work ;)

    • Nice continuation. If you have time, you should keep going…

    • don potter says:

      I like this a lot. Nice job.

    • DMelde says:

      Fun romp through family murder. a nice twist would be to have something powerful threaten the family, to make them work together. the family’s verbal interchange could be hilarious.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I’d rather have my family to fight with. We had shouting, yelling and food fights at the dining room table. The worst happening was when my father threw a casserole of peas across the table at my brother. Bill ducked and the peas crashed thru the glass of our china cabinet.

        Maybe your characters in your story, feel the same; sweet memories of home. DMelde has an interesting thought. An “All In The Murder Family” Make a series out of it.

    • bettyblue says:

      I liked this a lot. I agree, this could be the beginning of a series for pre-teens who go explore with Delilah! :)

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Now I want a time travel machine. Oh I forgot I have a few, they’re called pictures. You showed a lot of creativity with the details here. Loved it. Good job. I wonder what happens next? I hope you know you’re sitting on a book and should finish it. Good luck.

  52. tmcasler says:

    You’re awoken from your midnight sleep in your favorite chair to your dog barking wildly in the living room. Pulling her aside, you look out the window, only to see a face staring right back at you. Whose is it? Why are they there?

    I pondered the face that was pondering me
    And registered no feeling other than sorrow
    Long past the questions of how can this be
    Fully grasping now, each moment is borrowed

    It was there to remind me that the end would be soon
    As it had faithfully many a time in similar ways
    “Now see what you’ve become” it softly would croon
    And it would then show me the passing of days

    As even the strongest of boulders wither from wind
    So the loveliest of faces succumb to the passing of time
    The years bear down and the structure is thinned
    The being struck down from the bliss of its prime

    I was seeing an hourglass holding the last of its sand
    Steadily leaving behind a space empty and hollow
    I shakily lifted an old withered hand
    And watched as my reflection struggled to follow

  53. LadyCatrina says:

    Witches Like Me

    Sleep is a blanket that covers my head and makes my eyes see absolutely nothing. For years sleep has been my escape; when I sleep I do not have to think. When I do think I see pictures in my head that I’d rather forget. So I sleep and the television hums across the room and a little terrier snores at my feet. Blissful quiet.
    I awake to Holly’s loud yapping in the living room. She is bouncing and jumping near the window, waiting for me to come see what she’s looking at. It’s almost 12:30AM and the room is dark except for a table lamp offering a comforting glow. My back is stiff from sleeping in the recliner chair and I hobble towards the window. Holly is leaping against my feet and I reach for the curtain on the front window, expecting to see a couple of kids or a car.
    But I don’t. I see skin pressed to the glass; a forehead and a nose and wide green eyes looking at me. I don’t know that face; do I know that face? Confused, I stare into its eyes; whoever it is hasn’t even blinked. Afraid of …me? I giggle and it turns into a laugh as I look into that face. No one has ever been afraid of me. Witches like me are supposed to be frightening; I should terrify anyone who dares come near me. Instead they try to scare me and I play along because their ignorance is so funny. But I don’t know this face.
    It’s still there and it looks absolutely petrified. I feel myself back away from the window. I walk into the powder room and look at my face in the mirror; I look so old. My cheeks sag and I’m exhausted. Faint lines tarnish the skin around my mouth and at the corners of my eyes. Under the sink is a box; I can’t remember what is in it and I think that I need it. It’s a cardboard box and it fits perfectly in my hands; I think it’s important. It is important; I do know that. Sleep is welcome and a beautiful escape but it’s stealing my memory.
    Inside the box is a stack of folders; I open the one on the top. This is my history. When I had worth recording I used to write everything down. Now I spend all of my time not trying to remember but trying to forget. My eyes snap open with a realization and I move back to the window as fast as my ancient legs will let me. I yank the curtain and the rod crashes to the floor.
    The face is gone. But I DO know her.
    I remember. That was Linda. That was my baby my Linda. She’s alive; she came back. The curtain rod is on the floor; I reach for it and stab it through the window. Glass rains and I step through the empty pane.

  54. MCKEVIN says:

    This has good bones. If Anne’s shadow is planning to hurt her or her family this would be a good horror story. I would love to see the second chapter because it would fill in and tighten up the first. Good job.

  55. calicocat88 says:

    (Yes, same theme, familiar character, long length. Sorry folks. A writer’s life is a sick one.)

    “Why is this happening to me?” Thunder erupted and shook the trailer. It was like waking up from a sweet dream into a nightmare. Charlie stood at the window face to face with a strange boy. He just stood there while the rain pelted down and pasted his blond hair to his face. She could barely see his eyes watching her, his dark clothing blending in with the night. She had a feeling that he had been watching her for a while. Tightness began to creep into her chest and she remembered too late that her inhaler was left in her brother’s truck that was probably parked at a club somewhere in whore country.

    “Go away, go away,” she whispered. Her heart hammered against her ribs. There she was, a sixteen year old girl home alone in the middle of the night wearing nothing but panties and her brother’s old band tee-shirt. It was stupidity at its finest.

    On impulse she lurched and slammed her hand against the window. The boy didn’t flinch. What the hell was he waiting for? A little voice inside her head was telling her to fight back, intimidate him. “You killed my dog!”

    Nailed it.

    Charlie could practically feel the helplessness overflowing inside her body. The boy knew this. He could probably smell the fear oozing from her skin. She screamed victim. If there was a soundtrack for her life right now Metallica’s Memory Remains would be blaring.

    “But I’m not like you,” she said involuntarily as if a tiny elf or something was controlling her brain. Ignoring the bigger voice screaming at her to play dead she let the burning in the back of her head flow through the circuits until the electrical impulses in her brain were firing with all guns. She focused her glare on the boy and he smiled as if he knew what was coming. He couldn’t possibly know—

    In one wave Charlie let the energy gush from her mind and soar at the boy. She had never aimed her telekinesis at a human before. She knew the instant that her energy hit the boy because for a short moment he grimaced as if in pain. He closed his eyes, struggling and she watched horrified as he seemed to absorb everything she had thrown at him. His eyes opened and this time he walked forward as a driving force.

    “No…” she fell to the floor, her knees too weak to hold her up. Her life’s energy had just left her and her breathing was ragged and short. If this boy wouldn’t kill her the asthma would. So much for being born a freak when you couldn’t even defend yourself–

    The trailer shook and this time Charlie was positive it wasn’t the thunder. Instinctively she pushed the coffee table over and crawled behind it just as a groan echoed throughout the trailer. She covered her head and when she thought it wasn’t coming, that’s when the explosion hit.

    Planks of wood splintered as it crashed down on the floor beside Charlie along with shards of glass. Her whole body was trembling as the sound of boots crunching on plastic and debris made its way closer.
    He was in the trailer.

    Charlie thought of the front door, dead-bolted–like that did any good–so close to where she was crouched. If she could just make it there fast enough to call for help.

    She tried to stand and stumbled over her feet. Her wrists buckled under her weight and she came down hard on her side, screaming as something thick and sharp slid into her waist. Her head was suddenly jerked up. The boy had her by the hair and he rolled her onto her back.

    He knelt over her, the lightening illuminating him long enough for Charlie to notice his different colored eyes staring down at her—one blue, one green. It was obvious he wasn’t so normal either. Behind him the wall around the window was completely torn out, the storm blowing in icy rain on both of them. He had done it without effort and without moving a muscle.

    “Why are you doing this?” she said, and in response the boy reached out and jerked the massive shard of broken glass from her body. He clamped his hand over her mouth to keep her from crying out.

    “To save you,” he said, his voice was softer and more mature than she expected. His eyes widened, lifting his hands from her wound. They were covered in blood. He looked at her with a mixture of pity and something else that reminded her of wounded puppy. “We’ve got to get out here.”

    He lifted her in his arms easily like a baby doll and headed towards the enormous hole in the wall. Charlie could feel the blood draining from her body, but she managed to claw out at the walls as he walked.

    “Let me down,” she moaned and pain seared through her chest, “My inhaler.”

    “You can breathe,” he said. “It’s all in your head.”

    “My brother…he’ll be looking for me.”

    He jumped to the ground and she rolled hard against his chest. A wave of agony washed over her side and legs and she cried out, latching onto the boy’s wet hair and jerking. She felt him flinch.

    “I wouldn’t count on your brother,” he said. “He’s probably dead and if we stay here the same guy that killed him is going to find us. And personally I don’t feel like being social.”

    Then the bottom fell off the world and Charlie was out.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Whewl…. my heart is still racing. You have a lot going on here. It seems like a Sci Fi Jack in the Beanstalk to me. You leave me breathless and wondering what happens next. Good job.

    • jhowe says:

      Calico,
      It sounds like you have some good ideas for a series on The CW. They have a lot of vampire shows and other supernatural shows. I love reading good writing.

      • calicocat88 says:

        I never heard of The CW, jhowe. Is it teen based? The majority of my writing is teen fiction. Actually, this sounds a lot like something I’d be interested in as well, lol! I’ll look into it and maybe do some studying ;) It touches me that you would call my writing “good writing.” I feel that I’m surrounded by excellent writers on the site. You guys keep me on my toes. Thank you!

      • smallster21 says:

        I agree. I love the CW and I enjoy your writing Calico :) Would love to see some of your ideas developed and written for TV! Another interesting story as always.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Well timed story and interesting. I love that moment of confusions as the character is trying to get a grasp of what’s going on.

      On the other other hand, I was a bit confused until I realized Charlie is the girl. I feel particularly foolish about that since I knew a very pretty girl in high school who went by the name Charlie.

      • calicocat88 says:

        Thanks Observer Tim :) Sorry I confused you with Charlie, lol! I write with her so much that I forget that people can get lost with a female character with a predominately male name. Oops! I’m glad you brought that to my attention, actually.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          A great story, Calico. I’m in to Charlie’s character now and can’t wait for the next episode. You should keep on with these stories and twist them into the prompts. Kerry

          • calicocat88 says:

            Kerry, I am beyond words with how encouraging that was. I raised my arms and cheered, lol! Thanks!

    • Holy crop this was good! Still digesting the awesomeness. Bravo.

    • don potter says:

      I’m not a big sci-fi guy, but I like your stuff.

    • DMelde says:

      I like this story. I hope you flesh it out and see where it takes you. Good job.

    • PeterW says:

      I’m gonna be a stickler tonight. One, because I’ve read a lot of your stories Calico, two, someone has got to say it, three you got some real talent.. Thus:

      Don’t use these characters for these prompts. The prompts are too specific!!! That means the prompts start to shape the characters, instead of the characters themselves. Further, you are so used to these characters that you no longer develop them, instead they have become props for the action to take place, and fiction (at least literary, shorter fiction) is all about character development. For real.

      Anyhow, don’t throw away these characters (honestly they’re great), but use prompts like this to make new characters. There are other types of prompts that would be better for Charlie etc. (single word prompts, photo prompts, less specific prompts) I had a teacher tell me once that it only should take 3 sentences to give the reader a complete picture of a character.

      I hope this doesn’t come off as being doushy

      • calicocat88 says:

        No, I appreciate all the advice I can get. Constructive criticism is crucial for becoming great an anything you do. I had my suspicions that I was doing my characters an injustice, but being an inexperienced writer I had no idea, lol! This lot of characters are actually a part of something much bigger and this is something I was debating, believe it or not. “Should I keep ‘exposing’ my babies this way?” You gave me the sign I was looking for ;) Thanks BTW :) Writers have to look out for each other.

      • smallster21 says:

        Very well-said Peter. I always love reading stories with the same characters from week to week, but I think you bring up valid points on how the prompts can start to shape the characters. I’m not sure if I entirely agree with you. I think part of character development is placing your characters in foreign situations to see how they react, which can help the writer understand how the character will behave in the actual storyworld in which they exist.

  56. MCKEVIN says:

    I grabbed my revolver from the night stand and headed downstairs. I watched my windows and door as Leak barked at a shadow. The figure moved from the front porch to the side window. My palms sweated as my mind said “call 911.” In darkness, I moved toward my glass coffee table to get my phone. Leak continued barking and jumping at the shadow as I dialed.
    “Are you following the intruder-?” The operator asked.
    “No, I’m watching her shadow from my living room.” I whispered.
    “Please don’t follow-“
    “I have a gun!” I said.
    “Is it registered?”
    “I don’t know!” I whispered.
    “Oh my God! Where did you get it?”
    “A friend got it for me because I believe his wife had my house robbed.” I said.
    “His wife?”
    “Yes-“Still whispering.
    The shadow vanished from the window, Leak stopped barking and the sound of my heart beating, filled the room’s silence.
    “Sir-?”
    “I can’t see her now.” I said.
    “Did she leave?” The operator asked.
    “I don’t know-“
    I moved closer towards the door.
    “Sir, the police are-“
    The phone died and Leak started barking again. My eyes darted from the door to the windows. My mind flashed back to the day I entered my home and found it vandalized. I felt violated and vulnerable. I knew Doug’s wife Robin was behind it and proved it when I had the detective call her. He asked her several questions and she implicated herself. She was arrested, sentenced and swore revenge as guards handcuffed and escorted her out the courtroom. Meanwhile, my relationship with Doug blossomed and allowed me to get to know their teen aged son and daughter while she was away. They were always welcomed and they discovered I wasn’t the monster Robin brainwashed them to believe. They learned of their parent’s already felled marriage and that their father chose me over their mother. The burglary, my car windows being smashed and the embarrassing calls to my job, started after she was released. I couldn’t believe my life had come to defending myself from an affluent, love starved, dreams unfulfilled, crazy woman. I raised my hand and gently unlocked the deadbolt lock.
    “CLICK!”
    The shadow reappeared in the door window and Leak barked wildly.
    “RINNNNG…”
    Startled, I dropped the phone and fired the gun.
    “POW! POW! POW!”
    Glass crashed; I heard sirens approaching as the smell of gun powder filled my nostrils. I watched the wounded shadow fall against the door.
    “BAM!”
    Police lights lit the house windows up as my bare feet became sticky wet. I slowly opened the door and saw blood pooling at the bottom of the door.
    “STOP! Drop your weapon!” The closest armed policeman said.
    Shaking and in shock, I dropped the gun. Another officer bent down to check Robin’s neck pulse.
    “Chest and graze wounds, but he’s alive! He’s just a kid.” The officer said.
    “He” I thought to myself.
    I looked down into the almost lifeless eyes of Doug Jr. and screamed.
    “NO!”

    • calicocat88 says:

      That had me standing on edge the whole time! Great pacing and what a heart wrenching ending! I’m still shuddering. Good job :) I enjoyed it!

    • jhowe says:

      A dog named Leak; priceless. What a terrible way to damper a relationship, especially since the kids were always welcome to come by.

    • Observer Tim says:

      Ouch!

      Good use of the microsentences to build tension. I would prefer a bit more slow-reading description right near the end to lower the tension before the snap of the big reveal, but that’s just me…

      Great story.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I had the same feeling as Calico did. The ending is enough to put anybody on their knees. Your writing is crisp, fast paced and very well timed, till you hit the finish line.

    • BOOM! That’s how it’s done. Excellent.

    • don potter says:

      There are so many different messages, you could write several reviews about this story. The fact that this tale is similar to the Florida shooting of a teenage boy by a man who was talking to a police operator makes this seem like news. The ending put a major punctuation mark on your effort. I, too, got a kick out of the dogs name.

    • DMelde says:

      Great tension throughout. Well written, tragic story.

    • smallster21 says:

      Even though the ending made my heart drop, and I felt the regret and guilt washing over your MC (Tracy, right?), it was a nice twist. I only wonder what Doug Jr. was doing there in the middle of the night. Mmmm, interesting. Clearly, this story is not over yet, look forward to more :) I did find it odd that the operator was questioning him about the gun and not focusing on the intruder.

      • MCKEVIN says:

        The first prompt I responded to here was called “Today is the day you save someone’s life.” That was the start of Doug and Tracy. Originally, Tracy was supposed to save Doug’s life but ended up giving Robin a reason to try to take her own life. I’ve been hooked on the story since. These prompts help when I get stuck trying to write the bigger story. Doug Jr.was there to warn Tracy about his mother’s latest scheme. He doesn’t die. I actually called 311 non emergency for the 911 part in the story. That’s actually what happened. Why? I’m not sure. I’m glad you and others are following the bits and pieces here. Lol.

  57. jhowe says:

    The yipping of the gray and white miniature schnauzer woke Steve from a fitful sleep. Clarice was relentless with her shrill barking once again. Who was it going to be this time? Last night it had been either Snap, Crackle or Pop, he couldn’t tell which. The night before, the face of Tony the Tiger had appeared outside the bay window of his living room.

    Steve worked for Post in Battle Creek, Michigan and he was certain one of his friends from Kellogg’s was behind this elaborate prank. The first night it happened, the Trix rabbit scared the shit out of him when he switched on the exterior light after being awoken by Clarice. Each time Steve had ran outside to try to catch the offender but there were no signs of anyone once he got there.

    Steve had one hand on the light switch and the other on the door knob as Clarice continued to bark maniacally. As the light illuminated the front stoop, Captain Crunch smiled back at Steve. He yanked the door open and said, “Ok you son of a bitch!” As he ran out the door he encountered nothing.

    Clarice ran around the yard, barking and crying as she too seemed perplexed by the lack of a culprit. A light came on at the neighbor’s house and Steve picked up Clarice and went back inside.

    The next day was a day off from work for Steve and he contemplated his next move. He wanted to catch this trickster in the worst way and considered setting a trap of some kind. In case it was one of his friends, he didn’t want to injure him, but he did want to teach him a lesson.

    Steve built a makeshift blind in the bushes near the bay window and ran a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle to his hiding place. He also rigged a light switch he could activate once the dog started to bark.

    At midnight Steve’s head began to nod but he shook it, determined to stay awake. His legs were stiff and he desperately wanted to stand up, but he crouched in the darkness. A short time later Clarice barked repeatedly from inside the house. Steve tensed, hit the light switch and pulled the lever on the hose nozzle at the same time.

    After spraying the window area for several seconds he let off the nozzle and saw nothing but water dripping from the house. Clarice barked but not as frequently. He had lost once again. He wondered what cereal guy it had been this time. He would probably never find out.

    The next night Clarice barked again and Steve walked slowly to the window, turned on the light and saw Dig‘Em standing there smiling stupidly. He left the light on and went back to bed. The following night Count Chocula made an appearance and Steve barely acknowledged him. Sooner or later the jokester was going to run out of characters. In the meantime, he contemplated buying a bark collar for Clarice.

  58. Newbie_Ink says:

    The only evidence of a subzero night, the briskness of this cold dark winter, could be felt by the whipping winds rattling the window. The cottage lay isolated in the heights of this rural backcountry; this was god’s country, and James retreat. Separated from the neighboring ski village, this was the perfect escape after a long day. The temperature fell below what any brave soul ventured to attempt. Without vests suitable for Mount Everest brutal climate, one dare not venture into the night. Fresh snow fell and was swept away before it could make in imprint in slope.

    “Be prepared for a long night folks”, the radio announcer beckoned.
    “This will be the coldest night of the winter, grab some hot chocolate, cuddle with loved ones, and enjoy the comfort of your home.”

    James was ahead of his council; instead of chocolate, he had already consumed two cups of his favorite chi tea. Although not cuddling, he was resting by the fire place with man’s best friend. His hand gently stroked the neck of his old companion. The wife wouldn’t dare brave this harsh climate, but Max was a fearless friend. He had traveled with James before, he earned his trust. After all, he could sense danger a mile away, and, more than once, his keen senses rescued James.

    But tonight was calm; they would relax in the cottage, and enjoy the warmth of the fire. Suffer through the storm and enjoy each other’s company. Man and dog. James and Max.

    The violent rapping on the window drowned out into a rhythmic pulse. The radio became a dull hum, and eventually James drifted into a deep sleep.

    11:29

    In what seemed like a blink, James is woken by Max’s vicious bark. Max once used this ferocity to thwart a small wolf, now its alarming pitch pierced James ear, and hurled him from his premature slumber. Only this time, Max directed his attention toward the window.

    James had a second to glance at the clock — 12 midnight. James grabbed his hunting rifle, threw back the curtain, and was startled to see the man starring back at him.

    He thought “Who is this? Why are they there? What could be so urgent that they would travel this far.” There is a friendly village 1 mile away, “what would attract someone to his lonely resting place? “ The instant this reflection was complete, he heard a knock on the other opposite window.

    These two travelers would turn James vacation at his snowy sanctuary into a night of strange chaos.

    • jhowe says:

      I liked your story Newbie. I’d be curious to see what happened when the stangers arrived. I detected a few errors with commas and apostropes and tense and stuff that were a little distracting but not too bad. A little editing would take care of that.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      How would the travelers turn James vacation into a night of strange chaos? I liked this and you had me at “this was god’s country, and James retreat.” I was determined to finish reading until the end. But then it seemed like you got tired or fizzled out and didn’t complete your story. If this was the first chapter of a novel, I would definitely continue reading. If this is your complete story well…. you left your reader hanging and not knowing the outcome. Why do I get the feeling you know that already? Lol. Good job and I’m watching for more of your stuff in the future.

    • calicocat88 says:

      The introduction was absolutely gorgeous! I was instantly brought to this place, could feel the frigid temperatures, even smell the cold air. The building of tension was nice too and of course with that ending I’m definitely wanting to know more :) Great job!

    • Observer Tim says:

      Aaaaugh! This story ends at its beginning! What happens next?

      Actually, thinking about it, the last sentence appears to detract from the suspense. I tried reading it again and stopping just before it – the creepy factor skyrockets.

      Good job!

      • DMelde says:

        I agree. Dropping the last sentence makes a big difference. If it were me…just before the second knock at the opposite window, I would have the man standing outside smile, and not a kind smile either. Then the second knock. Hair raising. Ooh, there’s nothing like being isolated in the land of malevolent crazy to bring on the willies. Good story.

    • Nice intro for a longer piece. I hope you play this one out.

    • don potter says:

      Hey, the party was about to begin. Tell me more.

    • bettyblue says:

      I like your imagery, its a bummer we dont know what happens next… :)

  59. DMelde says:

    Marpa kept drifting in and out of consciousness as he lay dying at the monastery. An hour before, his fellow monks had carried him to his favorite spot, to the chamber with the large open air window that overlooked the snow-capped mountain. The full moon gave the chamber a pale glow, and it illuminated their breaths that hung like fog in the cold mountain air. The stillness of the night was broken only by the swirling wind and the mumblings of Marpa, as he made his journey to the other side.

    Marpa woke up and looked around the chamber. He was startled for a second, until he saw the face of the mountain. For over eighty years he had lived in the mountain’s shadow. He stared into its beloved face. He felt it beckoning for him to come home. Marpa, once again, fell back asleep.

    In his dream Marpa walked on top of the mountain, on the roof of the world. He heard the mountain ask him if he was ready to go. Marpa nodded yes. The mountain then asked him if he had learned the meaning of life. Marpa answered by barking like a dog.

    “Woof…woof…Woof.”

    His fellow monks smiled when they heard Marpa bark like a dog. They didn’t know why he barked, but they recognized the joy in their friend’s voice, and they were happy for him. They didn’t mourn his passing, for this was a happy time, but they would miss his presence. They brought Marpa’s most prized possessions, his walking stick, his pipe, his pen, and his prayer bell, and they set them at his side. Perhaps he would choose one before he left.

    The mountain swirled around Marpa and lifted him up. The heaviness and the pain of life were gone. They traveled together to a place of immense size where Marpa sensed a large gathering of souls, joined together in communion. As he approached, Marpa felt the gathering stop and turn its undivided attention towards him. His entire life lay bare before them. His judgment day, his time of reckoning, occurred in a flash, a mere moment in time, and then the moment was gone. Marpa joined in the communion and he forgot about the man called Marpa. Then, the mountain asked him a curious question. Do you want to go back and say goodbye? Marpa once again remembered his past, and he thought it would be nice to say goodbye.

    Marpa woke up and looked into the faces of the smiling men that surrounded him. They were his family and to each, in turn, he said his goodbyes. A monk gestured to his possessions. Pick one, he seemed to be saying. Marpa looked and with a squeal of delight he picked up his prayer bell. He patted it against his stomach. Then, with a final nod, Marpa’s eyes closed, and his breathing stopped.

    The monk gently took the now-sacred relic from Marpa’s hand. His prayer bell would have a place of honor.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Nice story DMelde, very descriptive and the flow and pace of your srory were excellent. I think all of us would choose to say goodby if we could, but living life each day so you had no regrets would be a better plan. I think that was the life of Marpa. Your story brings a lot of emotion to the plate even as it’s structured as a gentle narrative. I liked it very much, good job.

    • jhowe says:

      That was a very good story DMelde. Every word of it.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      DMelde you know I have been a fan of yours over a year now and once again I’m saying you should publish a book or at least put your short stories into a compilation. This is a beautiful take on the prompt and my favorite so far. Good job! Do you have a blog? or are you published? You should be and when are, please let know. I love your stuff. McKevin

    • This was beautiful dmelde. Top-notch writing. This is definitely a keeper.

    • don potter says:

      Well told and heart warming with a touch of the spiritual. It was even better the second time I read it.

    • DMelde says:

      Thank you all for your kind words. MCKEVIN, you give me way too much praise, and for that, I give extra thanks. To answer your question, I’m working on a television pilot script right now. It’s taking up a lot of my time, and I’d love to tell you about it but I should wait until after I have it registered. I encourage you, and everyone else, to consider coming up with a t.v. idea, whether it be a comedy sitcom or a drama or reality television. Right now there is an expansion of original programming being developed by companies new to this idea, for example, like some of the internet show providers (rhymes with getflix). It’s a golden age, and they’re looking for ideas, but who knows how long it will last for, so get out there and try it. Google how to write a t.v. script and just go for it. The BBC will accept unsolicited t.v. ideas so you have at least one venue to submit it to. There are other places too. Or don’t do it, if that’s not what you like to do. In any event…Happy writing!

    • smallster21 says:

      Great descriptions, vivid imagery, interesting, philosophical concepts. Despite this story being about a man’s death, the tone was light, uplifting, inspiring. The man was at such peace with his death, I did not feel sadness. I wish everyone I knew could have such a death, it would make saying goodbye to someone much easier.

  60. A HOLE IN THE PLAN
    ==================

    The blade of the shovel rang loudly as it hot rock again. Dale winced. Sound carried far in the night. There was too much noise for one evening already. He stopped and took a break. Digging was hard work. Mallory’s ears perked up at some unseen movement in the bluff. The collie uttered a quiet woof of excitement.

    “Shush, girl. We’ll go inside in a bit.” Dale bent over and scrubbed her behind the ears as he held his balance with the shovel. Christ, it was quiet. The dog sat back on her haunchs and resumed guard duty.

    It took him another hour to get a suitable hole dug. A small pile of rocks sat apart from the dirt. Dale cursed every one of them but was thankful for their utility.

    Dale laid one tarp on the ground behind the car and another over the lip of the open trunk. With a little bit of rope, he had little trouble lifting and tumbling the wrapped bundle on the driveway. Jessica’s chestnut hair spilled over the end of the of the rolled shower curtain. Dale could see her beautiful face through the opaque plastic. He dared a peek inside and touched her cheeks. Cold and pale. He kissed her forehead before he tucked the curtain around again. Then Dale carefully wrapped Jessica in the two tarps and tied it closed with the rope. Keep it clean, he thought.

    There wasn’t time to check the trunk for leftover-wife-bits, but Dale was confident that the tarps covered his little trip to the cabin. The house, on the other hand, would require more thought.

    Mallory helped him drag Jessica to her final resting spot, her tail wagging in its happiness of servitude. The Pack for all. All for the Pack. A dog’s life was pretty cut and dry, mused Dale.

    The lucky stones made a nice layer of discouragement to the local wildlife looking for an easy meal. Dale, eager to be finished, shoveled the dirt back in to its hole in record time. It was a simple matter to spread the extra dirt and rake the gravel. A driveway grave lay hidden just a couple of feet down. He walked around took a good look at different angles under his flashlight. He’d have to do this again in the daylight. Dale carefully cleaned and put his tools away in the shed, a job well done.

    A light rain began to fall. This made Dale very happy indeed, and he spared a thin smile. Mallory whined a bit and nudged her master’s hand. “Okay, okay. Time for bed, Mallie. Let’s go.”

    Sleep came easy in his favorite chair with a tumbler of dark rich rum warming his belly. Jessica hated the ratty old chair. Dale was certain she’d not appreciate his choice of celebration, a Cuban honeymoon souvenir saved for a special occasion. He could think of no time more fitting. Bitch.

    Dale was startled by Mallory’s frantic barking. “Jesus, Mallie!” he said as he looked at the clock. “It’s midnight.” The dog’s tail was wagging so excitedly that her whole arse-end swayed. She had her front paws on the window sill and barked her greeting to the outside.

    Dale stood up and his head swam with liquor. His whole body hurt. Accountants didn’t weren’t known to be great physical specimens. Grave-digging wasn’t meant for the soft and tender bookworm.

    He stumbled over to the window and pulled the collie back. She resisted, but ceded her post for the Big Cheese. Dale looked out the window and sobered immediately.

    “Jessica,” he muttered.

    • W Brown says:

      Great story! Loved the ending.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Jessica isn’t a happy woman, obviously. And I don’t thimk there’s any place, Dale can hide. And Mallory isn’t going to be much help either. Seems like Dale’s goose is fried. I like the detail you used in describing the grave-digging and the scene of the murder.

        I don’t think Jessica went easy. This should be a good lessen to all men; DON’T MESS WITH A WOMAN!

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Nice indeed. I am becoming a big fan of your work and your blog is good too. I either learn a new word or observe a different style of your writing when I read your stuff. Good job!

    • Observer Tim says:

      Nice story, Doug.

      This is where my cruel streak would have the figure turn out to be a passing stranger offering to help him with that damaged bit on his driveway …

    • calicocat88 says:

      I loved this! My favorite thing you did here was how casually you wrote about a murder. It was light and airy and full of little disturbing nuggets, lol! Very, very good! I wouldn’t want to be this poor guy though. Sounds like he’s got it coming big time!

    • don potter says:

      This story picked up were Stephen King left off in SECRET WINDOW. Loved your tale.

    • DMelde says:

      Jessica is one tough woman. Well written, good story.

    • bettyblue says:

      I like that you gave the murder a casual air. It almost makes me like your MC ;)

    • smallster21 says:

      Leftover-wife-bits? Goodness, lol, how horrible, I wonder what went on before this scene. Great writing! I loved how you took such a grave, serious situation and interjected the narrator’s light/humorous tone. It contrasted nicely :)

  61. Kerry Charlton says:

    THE BERMUDA BREEZE

    I first met Johnny ‘Eager’ Thompson as a sophomore at the University Of Miami in the summer of ’64.
    I crewed for him on his seventy four foot schooner called the ‘Bermuda Breeze’, when he’d sail on weekends from Coconut Grove to Bimini, a small island in the Atlantic about sixty five miles east of Miami.

    He treated me as the son he never had and I worked the foresail and the jib as he practiced for what he referred to as ‘his next ocean race’. Rumor had it, he was connected to the mob, thus his nick name Johnny ‘Eagar’, taken from a film noir movie of ’41.

    In the ship’s main salon, resided a woman named Laura. She reminded me of Lana Turner, sleek and sexy like a white panther on the prowl. When she came on deck, I never spoke a word to her except “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”

    A trip to Bimini and back, consumed two days, except on my last sail with Johnny. The middle of August was risky sailing in the southern part of the Atlantic because of tropical depressions turning into hurricanes. But we left with a crew of four which included me and the ever present, Laura.

    With sails furled and twin 275 hp diesels running, we sailed the first night slipping past Bimini and further into the open Atlantic. I stood on the deck enjoying the moonlight when Laura approached me.

    “We need a fourth for bridge,” she said. “Do you play?”

    “I give no quarter at bridge,” I answered.

    “The meaner, the better; you’re my partner,” she said.

    Laura locked her arm in mine as we entered the salon. I knew trouble looming when I saw it. There was no fourth for bridge. She sat betwen Johnny and myself, strumming a tune with her fingers on my knee as she hummed along.

    I felt the schooner shudder from a storm rising and I saw Joe, the first mate, struggle with the helm as the ship hit a twenty foot wave.

    “I’m going out to help,” I said.

    “No need Brian,” Johnny said. “Joe can handle the ‘Breeze’ by himself.

    Winds rose higher and the schooner yawled to ten degrees. Johhny didn’t seem to care. He just stared out the salon window.

    “Did you see them?” he asked.

    “See what?” I said.

    “The sirens at the window; they’re beautiful,” he said, his voice edged with excitement.

    “I saw nothing,” Laura stated.

    “And neither did I,” I said.

    “You really can’t see them?” he asked.

    “No.” We answered in unison.

    Johnny rushed out the salon door before I could grab him and stood at the heaving rail as he transfixed his gaze at the sea. We followed closely behind him.

    “They’re out there. I can see them,” he said. ‘They’re calling to me.”

    Joe turned the ‘Breeze’ crosswind and Laura and I braced for the yawl. Twenty degrees the deck dropped and slipped under a rising wave that swept Johnny off the deck.

    “Tack around Joe,” Laura shouted above the wind. “We need to look for Johnny and stay close to our position, until the coast guard arrives.”

    Laura and I entered the salon and I walked over to the radio, turning the dial to emergency.

    “What did you put in his drink, baby?” I asked.

    “A little of this and a little of that,” she said as she locked her arms around and kissed me.

  62. LizzieC says:

    Interesting story, I think it could go further. By the way, Newfoundland should have a capital as it is a proper noun.

  63. JRSimmang says:

    MAKING WAVES

    Guile was staring back at me, breath fogging the window. He had that look on his face.

    “Open the goddamned door, you asshole! The mosquitos are eating me alive.”

    “What? What’s that? I can’t hear you?” I mocked, then threw my hands at him and unlocked the door. He pushed past me and went straight to the sink, clinking around for a cup. He slid the duffle bag under the table.

    “Nice to see you, too, French. And shut that shit-brained dog up.”

    “You’re late,” I said, bending down to pet Commandante. He was whimpering. “I was sleeping.”

    “Yeah, yeah.” He drank down a glass of water. “Here’s your stuff.” He pulled his duffle onto the table.

    “And it’s all there?”

    “Yes, Jesus. Don’t you trust me any more?”

    “After Richmond, no.” I sat down in my chair and felt for my pistol under the table. “You weren’t followed?”

    “God! Stop! You’re fine.”

    I motioned to the seat across from me and put the Kimber next to my placemat. “You see, Guile, we’re playing with bad, bad people. If you did what you were supposed to tonight, we’re going to cause some pretty big ripples in this tiny pond.”

    “Don’t you think I know that?”

    I shook my head. “I don’t think you do. Richmond-”

    “Richmond again.”

    “Richmond is the reason we’re here in this Podunk town, scraping at whatever we can get. And don’t interrupt me again. I’ve taken a big chance letting you back in.”

    He collapsed into the chair across from me.

    “Now,” I continued. “Open the bag and pull out the contents.”

    Guile sighed and unzipped the bag. Inside the bag was an Igloo cooler. He put that on the table and stood back up before unlocking the lid. “One head of Larry Gizone.”

    He pulled it up by the hair and placed it on the charger.

    I stood up quickly, “don’t put that on my nice dinnerware, you heathen!”

  64. Observer Tim says:

    Ah distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December; New Year’s Eve to be precise. I’d fallen asleep reading the 10-year old copy of Poe my grandson had given me when Max woke me up. A newfoundland is not usually a vocal dog but something had him totally riled up and he was barking continually. His nose was against the french doors, leaving wide trails of doggy snot on the glass as he tried to sniff his way through it.

    I moved the book off my lap, shifted the blanked aside, and pried my body out of the armchair. When you’re 103 years old you’re allowed to take your time. The arthritis in my right knee was acting up again and I leaned heavily on my cane as I hobbled over to see what had got Max going.

    I looked out and into the face of a raven; a raven-haired young woman, that is. It was Lenore, my ex-wife. I hadn’t seen her in nearly 60 years, and some shred of a memory tore at my mind. I was certain she had died years ago, so maybe she was a ghost and this was my time.

    Lenore didn’t look a day over 30. Her straight black hair hung down just past her shoulders. The red trench coat highlighted her lithe figure nicely. Her aquiline features were still as pretty as I remembered them and, just like usual, the brilliant red smile on her face ended long before it reached her cold green eyes. The gun in her hand was a vintage 1945 Luger, the one she’d picked up on our first foray.

    “What brings you here, Lenore? I thought you were dead.” In fact I’d taken steps to ensure she was dead.

    “Your grandson Carl got nostalgic and rebuilt the time machine. He wanted to see his grandma. I can’t believe that boy’s mother came out from between my legs.”

    “What did you do to him, Lenore?”

    “I killed him. What did you expect? Just like I’m going to kill you tonight.”

    “I’ll stop you, you know. I always do.”

    “Not this time.” The report of the gun was deafening in the small den. Three shots into my chest. “See you in ten years, Ed.”

    There was a rapping, as of someone gently tapping at my french door. Max, my newfoundland puppy, was giddy with excitement. I put down the copy of Poe I’d been given by my grandson Carl last week and took the revolver out of my reading table. Lenore was nothing if not predictable, and I didn’t live to the age of 93 by letting her catch me off guard.

    • LizzieC says:

      Interesting story, I think it could go further. By the way, Newfoundland should have a capital as it is a proper noun.

      • Observer Tim says:

        Thanks. I agree, but trying to fit any story with the vagaries of time travel into 500 words is pretty tricky.

        I knew about Newfoundlands, but missed it in my once-over to correct things. Oops! Beautiful dogs, though. I love they way they often take several minutes to work up a good bark.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          A really cool story, Tim. How many times will the time machine allow them to bump each other off? Talk about issues after a marriage goes wrong. Multiple killings would top the list. Newfoundlands are a great breed but I think Samoyed’s probably top my list. I had one for fourteen years, gentle as a new-born lamb.

          • Observer Tim says:

            The way I set this up, I think they might both be effectively immortal. If I, or anyone else, ever follow up on the story that will have to be addressed…

    • Time for another paradox, methinks? This is a goodly slice of a fun romp if a tale. You should jump on this, Tim.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Kind of sick and twisted and I liked it. I don’t like sappy endings so this is definitely my cup of tea. I loved the line “When you’re 103 years old you’re allowed to take your time.” I can see a compilation of stories all starting with this sentence. Good job.

    • calicocat88 says:

      This is awesome! Very well written and the plot is great. I would love some backstory on this. You should expand this story. The MC is likable from the get-go as well. Great job!

    • DMelde says:

      Time travel can be so much fun, especially when you have a family feud going on. It makes me wonder how the Hatfields and McCoys would have fared. Well done.

    • don potter says:

      Liked the story. Book-ending it with Poe, was a particularly nice touch.

    • bettyblue says:

      I liked this, I was pulled into the story. Love the dog snot too.

    • smallster21 says:

      I like the concept here. Only thing that confused me was that Ed tells Lenore he hasn’t seen her in 60 years, yet I get the sense, that they have been playing this game their entire lives. This was fun to read. I love sci-fi/mind-bending stories :)

      • Observer Tim says:

        He hasn’t seen her in sixty years, because she’s starting when he’s extremely old and working her way backwards along his timeline. At least, that’s what she’s doing this time.

  65. my breathing becomes quick and hard as my heart pounds my chest. I stand almost frozen in that spot staring at the face it seems so familiar. The person doesn’t move only stands there staring back at me ,why?
    How long was I sleep my dog continues to bark. I sense fear is it me? yes the sweat is starting to trickle down my face I must move as the face continues to stare holding me in that spot taunting me. Why is this person so familiar? ANNE!!! what are you doing by the window come eat. I stop shake my head and look back into my face in the window. I laugh at my myself only my shadow reflection, I head toward the kitchen. the day is bright and sunny all is well. the shadow moves to the kitchen window to watch me waiting for the right time.

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