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The Mysterious Men

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

On your way into work this morning, you look at the car on your left. Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says something. Write what he says, and what happens next.

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

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160 Responses to The Mysterious Men

  1. nelleg says:

    ” Hello, Mr. Ann-Derr-son.”

  2. imreallybadatmakingupnames says:

    “There you are! We were looking all over for you!” said the man in the car next to us as he rolled down his window. I stared at him blankly.

    He continued, “We were supposed to meet at the town center an hour ago. Where have you two been?” I continued to stare at him. There was something vaguely familiar about him, his voice, the shape of his face, perhaps if I could see his eyes… but he wore dark sunglasses, as did the man in the seat next to him.

    “Who are you?” I asked.

    “It’s me, Theodore! Don’t you recognize me?” he asked, pushing his glasses up onto his bald forehead. Something about the way his pale, lashless eyes bulged out of his pudgy face seemed familiar. Deep within my mind, a memory came into focus.

    “You’re one of the researchers, aren’t you?” I asked. “Is Mr. D. with you?”

    “Yes,” he replied, seeming disappointed about something. “He’s in the back.” The rear window rolled down, revealing the occupant of the backseat. I laughed. Then I turned around and elbowed H, who was driving, and pointed. She laughed too. We laughed for a while, loudly, rudely, with occasional high-pitched, uncontrolled snorts that caused people on the street to stare at us.

    The man in the front seat, what’s-his-name, looked back at the figure in the back seat and blushed slightly.

    “He kind of stands out, and we couldn’t find a better disguise for him in a hurry,” he tried to explain. “Though, looking at him now, a paper bag over his head doesn’t really help him blend in.”

    “You could have at least put eye holes in it!” I gasped. “And anyway, one of his horns is poking through.”

    Mr. D. growled and pulled the paper bag off his head. The people on the street who had been watching us screamed and ran away. Lots of people do when faced with a seven-foot tall demon complete with black scaly skin and glowing red eyes, with a crown of horns encircling his white-haired skull.
    “There’s a donut caught over your left ear,” I pointed out. He threw the paper bag at me.
    “Yay, another donut!” I passed this one to H, and grabbed the donut off Mr. D’s horn for myself. So thoughtful of him to bring breakfast.

  3. Icabu says:

    The stretch limo caught my eye as it pulled alongside to pass. I couldn’t help but look. The driver and front passenger were dressed sharply in dark suits, as expected. When their gaze met mine, I nearly swerved into them.

    “The crazy sonuvabitch,” I muttered under my breath.

    The passenger rolled down his window and I could clearly read his lips. “Lucinda, marry me?”

    Rolling down my window, I shouted back. “You’re crazy, Darryl.” Wanting to settle this once and for all I motioned them to take the next exit.

    I followed the sleek limo around the corner where it pulled into an empty parking lot – of a church. I screeched to a stop next to the limo, slamming my car door in exasperation. This stunt looked expensive.

    When Darryl stepped out, I nearly doubled-over with laughter. His ‘suit’ included shorts and his ever-present Chucks.

    He immediately got down on one knee and held out that ridiculously gorgeous diamond and ruby ring. “Marry me, Lucinda?. I’m crazy in love with you.” He motioned back at the old stone church. “I want to proclaim my love before God and everyone.”

    “Darryl,” I started, but my heart of ice – for marriage anyway – was melting. Taking a deep breath, I tried to regain the deep-freeze.

    Darryl stood and embraced me, further melting my reservations. “I know you love me too or you wouldn’t have put up with me for the past three years. Let’s do this proper. Marry me?”

    “Marriage is so …” I fought for the right term.

    “Old fashioned,” Darryl supplied for me. “I know. But it doesn’t have to be!” He dropped back to his knee. “I’ll marry you in a hot air balloon. We can write our own vows. Whatever you want.”

    I took a deep breath, the warmth of love melting my last icicle heartstrings. I took the ring from him, causing him to bounce up.

    “Let me,” he said and with shaking hands slipped the ring on my finger.

    It felt good, right – finally. “Yes,” was all I could say.

  4. Nocturnal Mermaid says:

    This is just something I threw together in under 20 minutes. I might or might now continue this in “Missing Shoe”.

    I checked the time on my phone. It was seven-forty. I was late to work!
    I pulled the yellow cord and waited for the bus to stop. Why was I staring at the time as if it would stop and wait for me?
    I shook my head and got off. I entered a seven-eleven and bought a large cup of hot chocolate and a bag of chocolate doughnuts.
    Slowly, sipping my drink, I looked to my left and noticed there were two men dressed in black suits and had on shades. It wasn’t even sunny!
    The light was green, but I continued to stand there, transfixed at these pale men. There was clearly something off about them.
    The driver was talking but he kept licking at his upper gums. The one in the passenger seat seemed bored and kept staring ahead.
    He slowly turned his head and opened his mouth slightly.
    I glanced at the driver and noticed he was staring at me too, mouth open.
    I was going to walk forward but the light had turned red. I pulled out my phone to keep myself busy. As much as I tried to fight it, I had this nagging sensation that I had to look at them again. But I kept my eyes fixed on the text.
    “Excuse me, miss?” I heard someone call out. His voice was smooth.
    The man in the passenger seat, got out of the car and was walking up to me.
    I panicked and glanced up at the street light; it was still red.
    “Excuse me, miss?” he repeated.
    “Yes?” I clenched my fist.
    “Do you have a minute?”
    I checked the time. It was nearing eight.
    “I’m sorry but I really must get to work now. I’m late.”
    As if on cue, the light turned green. And I didn’t think twice of walking away.
    Why were they staring at me like they knew me?
    I never caused any trouble. I liked to keep to myself and bury myself in my novel. I liked to go out every Saturday to the Goth club in Hollywood.
    They had nothing to use against me, if it came to it.

  5. don potter says:

    A shinny black SUV slid up next to me at the stop light. Too busy trying not to spill the coffee needed to wake me up for work after a sleepless night of worrying about personal finances, I paid little attention to the vehicle on my left. My indifference ended when I heard my name called out.

    I looked over and through the open window on the passenger’s side saw two men in black suits with shaved heads and sporting sunglasses. One asked, “Are you Justin Anderson?”
    Instead of answering I gulped and wondered who these men were, how they knew my name and what did they want?

    When the light changed and I sped away, only to see they were not far behind. Could they be plainclothes detectives coming after me for the stack of unpaid parking tickets tucked away in my glove compartment?

    The traffic light turned red before I could get through the next intersection. The SUV approached me again and the man on the passenger side yelled, “We need to talk with you.”

    I slammed the accelerator to the floor and left the mysterious men behind. At the first street, the car almost spun out as I turned and then headed into the alley behind the office building where the regional office of the insurance company I work for is located. I stopped behind a trash bin to see if they followed me. It looked as if I lost them.

    After sitting there for a few minutes to regain my composure, I concluded the men must be from the IRS. This could not have come at a worst time. I was flat broke with almost no sales commissions this month, and my prospects for future earnings were bleak. What’s the worse thing that could happen, a fine? They can’t get blood out of a stone, but they could send me to jail.

    I was already late for the sales meeting, so I parked the car in a different lot than usual and hustled to the office and ran up the back stairs. Upon reaching my floor I went directly to the conference room to join the meeting already in progress. I opened the door. The mysterious men greeted me. It was obvious, my life was about to change.

    The man who spoke to me earlier said, “You’re a tough person to corner, Mr. Anderson.”

    Before he finished the other man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out something.

    I was frozen, fearing it was a subpoena or some other official court document.

    He handed me an envelope and said, “Congratulations, you won the sweepstakes and this is your check for one million dollars.”

  6. Amy says:

    “Ma’am, we’d really appreciate it if you’d pull over up ahead,” the man said through the open window of the unmarked black Escalade.

    “There’s no way in hell I’m pulling over,” I replied. I had heard some lame pick-up lines before, but this scheme was ludicrous. A couple of guys throw on a suit and some aviators and suddenly they’re police? I don’t think so. The one beckoning to me on the passenger side had to be in his twenties, right around my age, with an enticing southern drawl.

    “This isn’t a scam, I assure you. It’s in your best interest to pull over.” He pulled his shades down on his nose and gave me a stern look.

    “I’m pretty sure I’ve actually seen a horror movie that started out exactly like this,” I said, preparing for the light to change. I looked around at the deserted intersection and wondered why I had to pick up the 3-3 shift this week at the hospital.

    “Ma’am, please,” he said, glancing at the stoplight. “It’s about the Green River Killer.” The driver next to him shot him a warning look before returning his gaze to me.

    Headlines from the last two weeks flashed in my mind. Three women missing. Three bodies found. All within the same one mile stretch of land near the Green River. He was still out there somewhere, waiting to strike again.

    That did the trick. After insisting, despite the green light, that he show me his badge, I pulled over and the two men signaled me to follow them to a government building a couple blocks down.

    “So what the hell does all this have to do with me?” I asked as I was escorted to an empty office and sat down.

    “Miss Meyer, we believe we have the identity of the Green River Killer, but we can’t seem to locate him,” the driver of the Escalade said. He was much older than the other and his slumped shoulders and creased forehead gave him a look of permanent exhaustion. “We think you have some information that may help us with our investigation.”

    The younger agent came and sat next to me. “We need to ask you a few questions about your relationship with Daniel Roades,” he said, watching my face for a reaction.

    Danny. My last boyfriend. Great in bed, but not so great at picking up the damn phone. I hadn’t talked to him since I ended things with him about a month ago. It took me a moment to figure out why they would want to know about my relationship with him.

    “You think Danny is the Green River Killer?” I asked, trying to hold back laughter. He may have been a little unstable, but he was much too sweet to hurt anybody. “Is this some kind of prank or something?”
    The two agents exchanged looks and the older nodded to the younger. He pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and slid it across the desk to me.

    I opened the envelope and pulled out a stack of surveillance photos. I recognized the Ford pickup in the photo, its rusted tailgate hanging open. I remembered nagging Danny to get the thing fixed about a million times. In the bed of the truck was a large bag that looked like it was about to fall out. The next photo was a close-up and Danny was standing next to the bag, reaching in to push it back in the bed. He had his Billings Bulls hat on backwards as usual. The next photo was an extreme close-up on the top of the bag and it was hard to make out. There was something hanging out. I squinted and held it close to my face and it became clear. It was a hand. A human hand.

    To Be Continued in the next prompt, “The Man in the Park”…

  7. Winfilda says:

    As I dropped off from my usual ride to work, I was in high spirits, walking with a spring in my step, looking
    forward to what the day would bring. I was going to take the biggest step of my career, taking a trip of a life
    time. I had just been promoted to be a branch manager of one of our company’s biggest account and the clients head office was in China. Passport in the bag, my travelling documents in my folder, I was ready to take on the world. The weather complimented my mood, the cool spring air fanning through my cotton top, breathing in nature’s own blend of perfume -a mixture of daisies and rose’s, it sure was a promising day.
    From the left corner of my eyes, I saw a car pulling off the road. I did not think much of it because it was a drop off zone for people who were going in the industrial complex. I directed my attention to see if it was someone I knew, but the car had tinted windows and could not make out who it was. As I was looking the car window was slowly rolled down and I came face to face with a man who neither smiled nor show any kind of expression, our eyes met for like a second and the car window slowly started going up. The whole incident was strange but not strange enough to cause panic.

    I kept on walking, and I heard the sound of a door opening and closing, which made me turn to look and seeing the unsmiling guy getting out of the coming straight to me. Something in me wanted to start running but logic was asking me why I should start running. I just imagined how silly it would look if the guy was genuinely looking for direction’s, at the same time, my sixth senses where screaming loud at me to run. Before, I could decide on what action to take I was greeted with a size twelve shoe across my face. I did not see it coming; the guy kicked me so hard that my whole world seized to exist. Before, I could try to comprehend what was happening to me, the gorilla started pulling my bag.

    The smartest thing to do was just to let the bag go but hell no; my particulars were in the bag – my dreams. I started pulling back my hand bag; there was no way he was going to go with my passport. I have never considered myself to be a brave person when it came to violent but that day the fight that I put on convinced me that there was a fighter within me. I was so determined to get my bag back that I lost all faculty of my senses. I was screaming out for help but it all seemed that the world had deserted me. The only thing that existed was the blows that I was receiving from the six-seven feet tall guy.

    When he realised that I was not letting go he just pulled out a knife and I stabbed me two times. I remember the strong feeling of losing a battle as I felt my whole body hit the ground.

  8. frankd1100 says:

    Mark stopped at the red light seated on the black ’65 Harley he’d inherited, with the dealership, from his father. Preoccupied, thinking about the business’s depleted cash reserves, he was oblivious to the black Lincoln stopping on his left. The driver and passenger, in their mid 40s wearing dark suits and shades, stared hard in his direction. Mark met their gaze until the passenger looked down to lower the window and the driver looked in the rearview as the light turned green.

    The window eased down into the door, the passenger hooked his elbow over the frame. Nodding toward Mark he said, “Hello Mark Gerard,” and extended his hand offering Mark a long envelope of the type bills come in.

    “This a subpoena?” Mark asked, leaning away from the envelope, his arms folded across his chest. A car squealed out and around the Lincoln, while a second car’s horn sounded as the light changed back to red.

    “It’s nothing like that,” said the guy stretching further until Mark could read his name typed across the front of the envelope with the instruction; (Hand Deliver to Addressee Only!) “I think you’ll be pleased with the contents,” he said, “and I can’t leave until you accept it.”

    Mark warily took the envelope and without another word from its occupants, the Lincoln moved away, sped up through the intersection and merged aggressively into the traffic. He pulled the bike to the curb and minutes later leaned against the saddle trying to make sense of the cashiers checks and the short note he held in his hand.

    The note read;

    Mark, I’m sorry at the loss of your father. He was an honorable man. I’ve kept an eye on you for some time and I hope you don’t mind if I help with the motorcycle dealership. A hundred thousand dollars seems like a fortune, but you’ll be surprised how fast it dissipates as you build a business. The second check of the same amount for your mother is a token of my respect for her strength and courage over the years. I met her 35 years ago, and left the country two days later. We’ve not spoken since but my friends tell me she liquidated her assets to cover your father’s medical bills. I hope the money helps.

    Good luck, Mark.

    P.S. Cash the checks. You have no obligation to me. You’ll note they’re written on a Swiss bank and are untraceable, should the thought cross your mind.

    An hour later Mark parked the bike on the roof level of Logan Airport’s Central Parking and looked out over the unobtrusive Boston skyline holding a cellphone to his ear. “Hi Mom, it’s Mark,” he said. “How’s the Miami weather? … What’s that? … Oh, thanks. I’d forgotten it’s my birthday. Hey, I’m flying down to meet you for dinner! Yes, I’m at the airport. I want to discuss plans for expanding the business … Say that again? Good idea. We’ll celebrate my thirty-fifth birthday together.”

  9. MCKEVIN says:

    This is for smallster21 but feel free to enjoy….

    I jumped out the car into the rain, rushed up my stairs and turned the key in my door lock and heard Grayce my cat, meowing behind the door. I pushed slowly and she rubbed against my legs. I kneeled down to pat her and noticed another blue envelope behind the door. It was the third one this week and it disturbed me. Detective Petit located my address and was sending me notes every other day asking when we’re going to lunch. I resented his intrusiveness because it mimicked stalking. I know because I did it when I lacked self esteem. I closed the door and the phone rang.
    “Hello?”
    “Hi Mr. Tracy.”
    “How did you get my num-“
    “I’m a detective. I can find out everything.”
    “I ‘m not comfortable with you-“
    “Why haven’t you call?”
    “I’ve been busy and I-”
    “You said you would call.”
    The doorbell rang.
    “I have company!”
    Click!
    I opened the door and my best friend Michael was drenched in rain.
    “Tell me you’re in throes of passion?”
    “What?”
    “Why else would you let me stand-…“
    “I-“
    “You look like you saw a ghost!”
    “No, but I think a ghost is harassing me.”
    “You been drinking or smoking something?”
    “I’m serious.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “That guy I told you about and my niece’s dress…”
    “I thought you said he was hot-“
    “He is but he’s a nut.”
    “Why you-“
    “He’s sent three notes here in one week and I didn’t tell him where I live.”
    “So you want to get rid of him?”
    “Yeah…”
    “Remember that guy named Wally?”
    “The one who you gave sex to that helped you get your job?”
    “No, not him!”
    “The one who was paying your rent in exchange for sex?”
    “No not him!”
    “The one who cosigned for your car because you threatened to tell his wife?”
    “Yeah, that one.”

    I looked at Michael and saw his mind flying a mile a minute. I wasn’t sure what to do about Detective Petit but I knew Michael would come up with something. He always does.
    “Okay, Here’s what we’re going to do.” He said.
    I listened to his outlandish plan and thought he was crazy for even thinking I would partake in such a stupid scheme. I agreed to participate because I didn’t have another plan.
    “We call his boss and friends and invite them to a Saturday surprise party for-“
    “Detective Petit.”
    “I call Detective Petit and tell him to meet me at this fake party?”
    “Right!”
    “When his coworkers arrive, the strippers will perform?”
    “Yeah, you got it.”
    “Are you going to pay these strippers because I don’t have money for this?”
    “I’ll call in a favor and everything will work out fine.”
    “And this will get rid of Detective Petit?”
    “Guaranteed!”
    “I don’t know Michael. I could tell him to go away?”
    The phone rang. The caller ID said it was Detective Petit again. I was desperate.
    “Okay, I’m in.”

    • smallster21 says:

      Oh goodness, Michael is a dirty boy, lol! I laughed at the dialogue exchange…“No not him!” “No not him!” “Yeah, that one.” I’m scared at what these two are scheming, sounds pretty diabolical, sounds like this plan will accomplish its objective for sure!

      • droohi says:

        its very very funny, though it does not follow the prompt, from what I can see…. Great job though… N please review my story too… its right below yours… thnx, tc

        • MCKEVIN says:

          This is a continuation of an earlier post which is why it doesn’t follow the prompt directly. If you stroll down, you’ll find my original posting and then this will make more sense. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  10. droohi says:

    It is a hot day alright. May is too close to June, I thought, twitching my body to shy away from the sunlight and crawl into the shade of my car. Our car stopped at a signal, even an air conditioned car feels like growing hotter when it stops for traffic light. A car stopped right besides us. It was black, shiny, and big and was probably Benz or something. It’s funny how it can be hard to figure out make and model when a car is parked right besides you. Two guys in black full suits were sipping there coffees, did they see the weather lately? It’s boiling to death; I can’t imagine anyone wearing more clothes than absolutely necessary today. Anyhow, it’s their business, not mine. They were sipping those Star Bucks Coffees in large cups. I was staring at them, making small talk, and then all of a sudden, they both looked at me simultaneously, as if they decided to do so through telepathy. They kept staring at me, through their window glass and through my window glass; their eyes were piercing my skin. I squirmed uneasily but their gaze was steady. I tried to ignore them and started looking around. There was one guy, who was listening to some Pakistani-Rock and another started listening to some Indian Rock as retaliation. What idiots! I thought to myself, tentatively looking in the direction of my new fans. They were still staring, they were wearing shades, I really couldn’t say if they were blinking or not.
    This was crazy; I decided to face this head on. I opened up my window and smiling at them, I said, “How are you doing today?” They looked at me silently for what felt like a lifetime and then raising their coffee cups at the same time, they said together ‘Enjoy your coffee!’ and at that exact moment, the traffic light went green. We were the first in row, so they moved into the street on their right and I had to move straight.
    It happened so very fast! I didn’t get it. I tried to chuckle about it, think about something else. But an unsettling urge was taking roots in my heart. I was nervous. Why were they staring at me like that? And what about the coffee? I didn’t have any coffee in my hand. I walked into my office and settled into my seat. Our office boy brought in a cup of strong coffee as usual. I reached out instinctively and took a large gulp, warm caffeine draining my itch. And in that moment I froze. ‘Enjoy the coffee’ their words resonated in my mind. Well, everyone drinks coffee! No they don’t, this is Jeddah, and everyone drinks black tea. But coffee is still famous enough. I knew this mystery would stay with me for a while.
    We both looked at each other and laughed uncontrollably. “I told you, a real prank is all about timing.” Ali said, breathlessly laughing.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      I don’t know if you were asking me or smallster21 to respond but here goes. You have a lot of good ideas going on here. I’m going to say to you what an editor Ishmael said to me in the past. When you finish writing your story, let it sit and simmer for one day without touching or reading it. Pick it up again and look at your story with new eyes and ask yourself; 1) Can I remove any unnecessary words? 2) Does my story show that I clearly followed the prompt? 3) Can I tighten anything like the dialogue? 4) Will my reader understand what I’m trying to say? 5) Did I do what I wanted which is tell a complete story?

      If you let it sit and simmer for one day, I promise you, you’ll catch things you didn’t see before. Writing is about revising to make the story better.

      Suggestion: Remove all the adverbs from your story and see if you like it better.

      Good job and keep writing.

      • droohi says:

        Thanks for your very thorough and helpful comment. You are right, the one thing my mentors keep advising me, is that ‘Haste makes waste’, I should have been more careful with the story. Its just that the last line and the last sentence was supposed to come after a long (——) and was supposed to be taken as another scene. But I think its not in the formatting of the page. But that bit is adding much confusion to the story. Even then, I need to be much more serious and careful with the my stories.
        Thanx again for such a detailed response.
        Take Care,

  11. ShawnJohnson78 says:

    “For every one, there is three. Beyond the here you will find it” Both men turn their heads and look forward simultaneously once again and begin to move forward.
    “So that’s how it happened? They just looked at you and said…whatever it was and then just drove away. You didn’t follow them or catch their license plate?” Albert said. Albert was annoying, but proximity dictates my constant interactions with him. His sweat stains and cheese-like buildup around the corners of his mouth had made him pariah of the lower echelon of the business world, but he was alright in small intervals. “What do you mean ‘so that’s how it happened’? Of course that’s how it happened! Why would I make that up?” I fired back, irritated by his lack of faith in my fantastic story. “If I had made it up, I would have fleshed it out a little more. Gave it detail rather than cliché.” I sat down in my chair and swiveled towards my computer. “I guess you’re right” said Albert, a little deflated. “I’m going to the vending machine, you want anything?” he said in retreat. “You know I can’t eat that shit, I’m on a diet…what do they have, no, I’ll be good…maybe a Snickers” I said to apparently no one.
    For the remainder of the day the riddle of the men in the car, the low rent men in black, stuck with me. When I went for coffee, I was indecisive about taking one or three packets of sugar, in the bathroom I shook either once or thrice. By the end of the work day I had begun to think that I was chosen for something special; a dark secret that will infinitely change my life from sedentary to non-stop action. The suits would come back. They had to! To at the very least see if I had answered their riddle and goddammit I had! Or at least I would tell them that I had and see what more I could glean from the two well-suited men because I’m tapped for ideas after an extensive Google search.
    I walked into the parking lot towards my hatchback and per usual, felt shame as I pushed the broken driver side window down to unlock the door. The back window had decided to leave my car entirely when someone casually threw a rock at it. The Bed Bath and Beyond bag keeping out the rain was yet more shame, but inexpensive and oddly durable. My license plate was being held up by string, not even zip ties, but string. One of the strings broke and the plate was lopsided. For a moment I stared at the license plate number 4EV1S3 and pondered the question of “how do they assign these numbers?” I felt my knees pop a little as I got up, sat down in my car and wondered where those fantastically enigmatic men came from and when will they return…

  12. Zurie says:

    “Yes?” The passenger of the black SUV asked. I turned my head to quickly and pretended like I had neither seen nor heard him. My heart beat began to race and it seemed to text the light hours to change. I could feel their eyes beating down on my neck, watching my every move and I let my long black hair fall forward so I could secretly peak at them through the corner of my eye.

    Crap, yup he was still starring at me. I began to panic and could feel the sweat on my hands increase. What am I going to do? Are they going to follow me? With many questions in my head I was able to calm down to the point where I could plot out my escape and still get to work on time. As soon as the light turned green I just minded my own business and watch as they followed me around each corner. I headed toward a dark parking garage that was poorly lit and entered it and speeding towards the exit on the other side, but I noticed they were right behind me and gaining speed.

    Crap, Crap, Crap, I felt my eyes fill with tears and wondered if I’d ever make it out alive. As soon as I was about to give up I had an idea. I looked around the dark room for a single passageway that would only fit one car. As soon as I located it I headed toward it and drove my way to the top. I entered in my work code and the spikes in the ground were tucked in. Looking for the darkest spot in the garage I parked there and quickly got out of my car. I knew they would be here any moment so I had to thing fast and I knew the door on the top floor was always locked so I was out of luck.

    They began to round the corner and I could hear them cussing under their breath as they tried a variety of codes. I didn’t take any chances to see whether they would get in or not instead I grabbed on to the steel bars that were lining the walls and began to make my way 20 feet up to the sealing. Once I reached the top i crawled onto a safe part where I could my position without falling. I did my best to keep as still as possible because I knew once a flashlight hit my pale skin id be given away.

    “Hello? Annie?” I heard their doors slam shut and the shuffles of their feet. How do they know my name? How long have they been following me? “Annie were here to talk to you about a job.” What?

  13. aileen16713 says:

    I was driving my car slowly not in such a rush to get to work today, the sun was out and I had wear my black flower printed sunglasses. On a head the lights were going orange but I did not make it as they turned red. I sat back and sighed clicking my tongue. I look to my left then to my right but stop my motion.

    Two men were driving a car beside me and seemed very suspicious. They looked like detective but I knew they weren’t just by the looks of them. Both wore black suits, with white button up shirts and slim black tie’s. They wore all black sunglasses but had very serious and grim faces on looking ahead.
    Then as if the driver felt my lingering eyes on him he snaps his head around.

    He has a strong chiseled jaw, five o’ clock shadow, sun kissed skin and plump lips. He pulled down his glasses and I was staring at a pair of hazel eyes. He pulled down his window looking me up and down observing me and analyzing every aspect of me.
    .
    When he questioned me his voice was rough but sent shivers of fear and want slide down my spine, “What you staring at?” With that I could feel the warmth hit my cheeks making them more rosy than before. My mind was fuddled with a hundred replied but only one reply was the truth. “I’m staring at two men who look very suspicious.” With that he scowled and threatened me making me quiver under the danger. “If you know what’s good for you. You forget this little encounter. With that the heavenly lights turned green and he sped off down the road.

    I couldn’t help it.

    I followed……………

  14. shughes0021 says:

    “Ms Kincaid why must you continue to evade us” I laughed at the man before me. I didn’t understand why every morning without a hitch these two men would follow me. “Ms. Kincaid my employer would just like a brief meeting with you.” He’s employer could be anyone from a mob boss, local business owner to a state senator but every morning I denied said meeting, I really doubted there was a nice old man waiting to meet with me to discuss the weather these were the goons I had become familiar with from any modern-day action movie with their unmarked black sedan, dark mysterious suites and the bulge that I was pretty sure was a gun strapped to their side. “Mr. Smith like I tell you every morning this is not how I set up meetings”. I handed him my business card and continued on my walk through the parking lot to the elevator. I had no idea who their boss was or what their names were but since they looked like Mr. smith from the ever popular Matrix movies I decided that’s what I would call them both after all that’s what they get for not introducing themselves. I rode the elevator up to the sixth floor and when I stepped out Rosie the receptionist was missing from her usual spot but I kept walking into the office. Usually there were twenty or so people milling around their desk or walking from one destination to another but today was void of any movement at all. I walked further into the office confused on where everyone was the weather was fine and there were plenty of cars in the parking lot when I entered I decided to check my office maybe there was a note or voice-mail explain what was going on or what last-minute meeting I seemed to be missing. I entered my office and perched on my desk was another Goon He was tall and muscular with tanned skin and perfect dimples. “Can I help you” I questioned. “Yes Ms. Kincaid I have been waiting for you its seems that you have been avoiding me” He gestured with his hand for me to have a seat but I just stood there glaring at the intruder. “Suit yourself” he said with a chuckle. ” You really could have made this meeting a lot easier if you just would have got in the car with my employees a week ago I gave you ample of time to change your mind. As it turns out I have a bit of a business proposition for you that will be beneficial to us both”. I had no idea what kind of business proposition he had but what harm would it do to just hear him out so I finally took the seat he gestured to a moment a go and he smiled. “I want you to marry me.”

  15. Craig says:

    As I exited my car for another long day at writing code and endless meetings, I noticed there were two men in the next car over. I was thinking how that doesn’t look suspicious or anything when the dark-haired one hissed at me.

    “Mr. Wilson, of 425 Pinecone Place, apartment 4B. This is Agent Smith and I’m Agent Jones. We are with homeland security.” whispered Jones as they both flipped there badges too quickly for me to actually see anything more than an official looking symbol, a picture, and very small print.

    Shit! They know my name and where I live! Seeing there were no other people around and realizing I was holding my breath, I asked in hushed tones, “Why are you whispering?”

    “Don’t look at us, look at the building and fumble with your pockets like you are looking for something.” demanded the light-haired Smith.

    “Do you know Victor Mendez?” inquired Agent Jones.

    “Yeah. He sits in the cube across from me.” I offered while beads of sweat dripped off my forehead.

    “Stop looking at us and stop acting so suspicious” ordered Smith. “We need you to plant this device within three feet of Mr. Mendez’s computer. Out of his sight and without his knowledge. You can’t tell anyone. Do you understand?”

    “What kind of device?” I questioned, while exhaling slowly. My stomach was on fire as I tried to act natural looking through the same pockets for the fifth time.

    “I’m not at liberty to release that information. You wouldn’t want us to look more closely at your involvement with Victor and your other activities, would you?” hinted Jones with unusual emphasis on other.

    I couldn’t find my voice, what have I done? I haven’t done anything that warrants these guys coming down on me. Oh God! That girl from Friday night. At the club. She was Russian or something. We had sex, I drank too much! Did she say something? How old was she really? Damn, she hasn’t called! What was her name? Am I going to jail? Guantanamo Bay? Would I ever see my home again? Who’ll watch my dog? These thoughts raced through my head as I meekly replied, “No. What do you want me to do?”

    “He won’t be here for another 17 minutes. Place this in his cube and pretend this conversation or this device never existed.” Smith calmly explained. “Can we count on you, good citizen? We won’t forget this service to your country. And remember, tell no one.”

    “No problem” I breathed.

    I called in sick the rest of the week, scared of Victor or of what he planned to do.

    I was called to an emergency meeting the next Monday. Someone had hacked Victor’s computer and gotten the plans to a new missile defense system. The espionage was traced to a mysterious black box in his cube. These two guys in dark suits and sunglasses, wanted to know why I called in all week, why my fingerprints were on the box, and why a Russia woman was seen going into my apartment.

  16. joecover says:

    I pulled into my usual parking spot on the upper level of the park-n-ride-north on the Missouri State University campus. As I stepped from my 20 year old S-10 pickup truck, a 2013 Caddy whipped into the space next to mine, and the passenger side window rolled down. Two men wearing sunglasses and dark suits peered out towards me. The one on the passenger side spoke, “Mr. Johnson? Robert Johnson?”
    “”Uh, yes?”
    “I’m Mr. Brown. Mr. Dylan wants to see you.”
    “I don’t know Mr. Dylan.”
    “You were taking photos at his concert last night. Get in.”
    I began walking away when the driver maneuvered the Caddy so that it gently pinned me next to my truck. I didn’t see a ready exit, so with sweaty palms, I pulled open the rear passenger door and got into the vehicle. I wondered if the two in the front were enjoying hearing the staccato pounding of my heart.
    The car sped down the ramps, onto the street, and flew the one block to Hammons Student Center where the driver piloted us down the down the drive into the basement where we came to a three point stop next to a Winnebago.
    The driver remained with the car as Mr. Brown got out and opened my door. He led me into the Winnebago where Mr. Dylan was sitting at a Formica table drinking orange juice and eating Eggos.
    Mr. Brown stood so close behind me that I could smell the coffee on his breath on my neck.
    Mr. Dylan inquired, “You planning on selling those photos from last night?”
    “No, Mr. Dylan. They’re just for me.”
    “Yea you and everyone who wants to check out your Facebook page. Didn’t you see the signs that said no cameras? How about the lady that announced no cameras? Didn’t you hear her?”
    “I’m sorry Mr. Dylan. I’ll get those off Facebook.”
    “See that you do.”
    “Yes sir. Is that it? I got to get to work.”
    “What you do here?”
    “Janitor.”
    “You want to take my picture?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “What they pay you?”
    “About twenty five hundred a month.”
    “I’ll pay you seventy five a month, plus room and board on the road, to be my photographer.”
    “Are you kidding?” For the first time in my forty-five years I knew what the cliché “my head was swimming” meant.
    Mr. Brown put his beefy hand on my shoulder and stated, “Mr. Dylan never kids.”
    “I’ll take it.”
    Mr. Dylan smiled. “Get your gear and get back here. We leave in an hour.” With that he took a bite of his Eggo.
    Stepping out the door I saluted. “Be right back.”
    As my feet hit the pavement, the driver rolled down the passenger window. “Need a ride.”
    I pulled open the door and slid in. “Believe I do. Think I’ll just let ‘em haul my old truck.”
    “Probably a good idea.” He smiled as he lit the jets on that Caddy and sailed out from the student center.

  17. Marco Kenen says:

    This better not take long boys! I’ve got an important meeting to attend, and I don’t want to be late. Evelyn took out one of her EarPods and moved a little closer towards the car.

    “I’m sorry, you were saying?”

    Evelyn’s jaw dropped in disbelief as two hands grabbed her by her blouse. She tried to wriggle herself loose, in a desperate attempt to get away from these creeps.

    “He! WTF is wrong with you people?”

    They had already made enough of a scene to attract the attention of other bystanders. Not that it mattered, she had already been pulled through the open window and into the car for the most part.

    “Drive!”

    Evelyn’s lower legs were still dangling dangerously out of the window. If the maniac behind the wheel wasn’t careful her legs would be crushed between their car and whatever they scraped pass. Luckily, under the circumstances that was, they pulled her all the way into the car. She instinctively punched and kicked like a wild cat who had been backed up into a corner. Who on earth were these people? And what did they want with her?

    “Let go of me!”

    Evelyn’s eyes widened when she saw the piece of cloth and the glass vial filled with a colourless liquid. She had seen her fair share of movies in order to know they were planning on subduing her with some sort of anaesthetic.

    With renewed vigour Evelyn punched and kicked her assailants as hard as she could. And the bloke in the passenger seat wailed when Evelyn landed an elbow punch in his groin. Her moment of glee was short lived, however. As the sweet smell of chloroform tickled her nostrils…

    Still dazed, Evelyn tried to take in her surroundings. The room was small, cluttered, and only dimly lit by a few rays of light that seeped through the cracks of a boarded window. The only pieces of furniture in the room were the large bed she was tied to, and a feeble looking wooden chair in the corner by the door.

    Evelyn didn’t know for how long the chloroform had knocked her out, an hour maybe? She felt exhausted, and her body ached all over. The good news was that she didn’t appear to have suffered any injuries during the struggle in the car. So nothing a good night of sleep wouldn’t be able to fix.

    She willed herself to focus on the problem at hand. If she had to venture a guess on her location then she’d go with one of the abandoned farms on the outskirts of town. Given the time frame, the cluttered room with the boarded window, and the fact that they hadn’t gagged her. If there was an off chance somebody could hear her screams then they most certainly would have. This also presented an opportunity. If she was lucky then she might be able to free herself and get the hell out of here. For as long as she kept quiet, they wouldn’t know she had awakened…

    • smallster21 says:

      Don’t sugarcoat it with WTF, go ahead and say “What the Feck!!!” I would if I were being kidnapped, lol :) I’d add ‘you bastards’ too. I really want to know why she was kidnapped. If she was grabbed out in the middle of public like that, there must be an interesting reason, because if it were rapists or serial killers they would probably be more discreet. So you have my attention. I want to know what Evelyn has got herself into!

      Besides wanting to know more, and I’m being nitpicky here, last paragraph, ‘given the time frame’, she was knocked out with chloroform, right? So, I think she would be too disoriented to be able to judge the time that has passed. Unless, chloroform only works for a certain time period and that’s something she would know. Everything else in her reasoning made sense, they didn’t gag her, the atmosphere, etc.

      • Marco Kenen says:

        I have no experience with chloroform so I’m not sure but I don’t think it lasts for longer than an hour. And for all we know there is something in the room that tells the time like an alarm clock next to the bed on a nightstand.

        Thanks for pointing it out though. Even small mistakes in the details like that matter to me.

        :p I’ll try not to sugarcoat it next time.

        I’ll post the rest of the story in a minute. This was only one-third of the end result. I chopped off the rest in an attempt to stay under the 500 word maximum.

        I’ll just play stupid for now but is it allowed to post longer pieces once in a while?

        • smallster21 says:

          Lol, I wondered the same thing when I started posting on here a few months ago. I was paranoid about going over by one word, but I eventually realized, if your story is over the 500 word limit, the site doesn’t cut your story off. An extra hundred or so words probably won’t get you scrutinized, but an extra 500 might have people scrolling over your story. And, I’m about to read your story here, look forward to seeing what happens! :)

    • Marco Kenen says:

      Another hour or so passed and she still hadn’t been able to free herself. Whoever had tied these knots sure knew what he or she was doing.

      The screeching sound the door made startled her. She had been so busy with the ropes that she hadn’t heard the sound of footsteps announcing the arrival of her hosts.

      A woman dressed in expensive looking designer clothes entered the room. She didn’t even acknowledge Evelyn, grabbed the wooden chair by its cross rail, and walked over to the other side of the room.

      Evelyn had been so mesmerised by the woman’s arrival that she hadn’t noticed the arrival of the two foul looking men by the door. They were clad in the same dark suits as their counterparts in the car this morning. So at least five people were involved in whatever this was.

      The woman had sat herself down on the chair in the corner, crossed her legs, and was flipping through some pages on her clipboard before she finally met Evelyn’s gaze.

      “I’m a kind hearted woman. So, if you cooperate and answer my questions truthfully! Then I’ll personally see to it that you will be released unharmed.”

      One of the men chuckled, confirming Evelyn’s already growing fear that she wouldn’t make it out of this alive. She had seen their faces. So it was highly unlikely that they would just let her go and allow her to live.

      The first couple of questions had been asked nicely, without any threatening undertone. If only she had been able to give them an answer to their damn questions. None of this made any sense, the questions, these people, or anything else for that matter.

      “Ok! I’m sorry to say this but I guess we will have to change our tactics a little bit.”

      The woman snapped her fingers and the men by the door sprung into action. One of the men had set himself down on the headboard behind her and held down a towel over her face. The other one positioned himself on top of her. Or at least that’s how it felt, as she couldn’t see anything through the towel.

      “Last Chance!”

      Evelyn tried shouting something but the words did not leave her mouth. Being muffled by the towel also didn’t work in her advantage.

      “Ok, have it your way.”

      Evelyn already knew what was going to happen next, and it most certainly wouldn’t be her way. Even though they had started slowly, the little water they had poured over the towel and her face was already enough to make her choke.

      The woman snapped her fingers once again and the guy holding down the towel on her face eased off.

      “Tell me the location of the safe-house where they are holding the child.”

      “What child? What safe-house? I really don’t know what you people are talking about.”

      The woman just nodded this time, signalling the men that they should go for the encore.

    • Marco Kenen says:

      And then the shit really hit the fan. The door to the room was kicked open with such force that it almost came of its hinges. Four people barged into the room with such speed that Evelyn could barely keep up with this new development. The guy on top of her reached for his gun and turned around in an attempt to shoot down the new arrivals. Too late, a bullet hit him right between the eyes.

      Evelyn wanted to shout, scream, and run away as fast and far away as she possibly could. Unfortunately, she was tied to a bed. And thus forced to watch this horror show.

      The mysterious woman had surrendered herself without putting up a struggle. Initially, the guy who had held down the towel had done the same. Only to draw his gun in an attempt to shoot them down when they had lowered theirs. Wrong move, he suffered the same fate as his mate did. Tumbling over and landing on top of her. Evelyn’s mind gave on its attempt to process it all and she passed out…

      Déjà vu! Still dazed, Evelyn tried to take in her surroundings. If this room was located in the house of the good guys then she wasn’t complaining. The room looked like it belonged to a five star hotel. Her body still ached all over, and she had a couple of bruises she hadn’t noticed before.

      “Morning, Sis!”

      Evelyn almost tumbled off the side of the bed when she heard the voice. Sis? I don’t have a sister? The person who had spoken to her was sitting slightly uncomfortably in a chair in one of the more darker corners of the room.

      Shocked! Evelyn fell down to the floor.

      The new mystery woman got up from the chair and made her way towards Evelyn. She had a warm smile on her face, and a calming aura surrounded her.

      “It’s nice to finally meet you. Look, I’m truly sorry about what happened to you yesterday. Those people were after me and not you…”

      This was all very fascinating and all but Evelyn’s growling tummy had a different opinion on that. It did feel like she hadn’t eaten in weeks. Still, her cheeks turned red nonetheless.

      “Yeah, how about we discuss this further over breakfast?”

      Evelyn just nodded.

      “Anyway, the short version is. I’m your twin sister, I work for the CIA, and you got screwed over big time because the bad-guys mistook you for me. Oh! And I’m the younger sister, you are the older one. Now come on! Let’s go find ourselves a decent breakfast.”

      Evelyn’s head felt like it was going to spin out of control…

      “Right!”

      • smallster21 says:

        Thanks for sharing the rest of your story! A twin! Lol, I didn’t see that coming, nice. Suppose now it makes sense because the MC had no idea what was going on. If you turned this into a longer piece, it’d be nice to have the twin plot line built up to the reveal point. Things seem to move quickly here, and I know that is because of the world limit, but there’s a nice skeleton laid out here, and I think if you put some meat on it and fleshed it out, maybe put more at stake and spice up the mysterious twin’s back story, it could be a nice suspenseful thriller. Thanks, enjoyed reading, you did a good job at building up the tension and pulling me along; Ms. evil fancy pants was a surprise, wonder what her story is?

        • Marco Kenen says:

          Thanks for the comments, I’m glad you liked it.

          I haven’t continued the story so the background story for Ms. evil fancy pants “Nice name!” is still a mystery to me as well.

          I might flesh it out or reuse it at some point but for now it’s going on top of the rest of the pile.

  18. Never2L8 says:

    I had been looking for a parking space for fifteen minutes. A man, no gentleman he, cut me off and grabbed the one near the store entrance. I had a sudden vision of me as Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes and hallucinated a satisfyingly car crunching end to the blue Mazda but knew neither my husband nor my insurance agent would think it funny, so I kept looking. After another ten minutes I saw a van leaving. I raced to the spot and pulled in relieved the search was over.

    I glanced at the black Mercedes-Benz beside me. The sun glinting off its dark windows made me squint. The passenger side window silently rolled down. Inside were two men dressed in dark suits, wearing mirrored sunglasses looking straight ahead. Then, simultaneously they turned toward me, tight-lipped, unsmiling. I felt chilled suddenly and thought of big eyed bugs, creepy crawly bugs, with lots of wriggly legs. The man closest to me said with a slightly robotic voice, “Back it up and move on, Lady.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “This parking space is reserved,” he replied. I just stared at him for a full minute. It didn’t appear to faze him or make him the least uncomfortable. It should have cause I’m a mom. That worried me a little. “Look,” I said, “I’ll only be a minute. I just need to run in for some milk.” He stared at me, then said, “You don’t need milk.”

    “I don’t need milk,” I mumbled and backed my car out and drove away.

  19. Arazimith says:

    As Leon drove past the Hy-Vee on his way to work, he was dreading the coming confrontation with LaDonna. Their banter from the previous afternoon took an abrupt turn and left a saccharine taste in his mouth still present the next morning. As he slowed to a stop at a yellow light, he wrung the steering wheel. Looking to his right, he saw a dark blue Suburban creep to a stop in the left turn lane. The two individuals seated in the front were dressed in black suits. Their dark sunglasses seemed out of place on such an overcast day. He did his best to glance around casually looking for some indication that he was being punked. He knew he failed. When he glanced back at them, they both turned their heads in unison towards him.

    Leon immediately averted his eyes forward. As he watched the empty intersection, he heard the distinct sound of a powered window lowering. He carefully turned his head and met the ponderous stare of the passenger.

    “Be about your business, citizen,” stated the man flatly.

    The window rolled up while the passenger’s gaze bore holes into Leon’s soul. With a sick empty feeling in his stomach, he watched the dark SUV make the turn left towards the west side of town. It took some time for Leon to realize that he had the green light. It turned yellow before he was halfway through the intersection. He finished the journey to work driving five miles under the speed limit.

    Once he was inside the store and at his service bench, Leon shivered the tension from body and did his best to breathe slowly. He was still taking slow deep breaths and staring blanking forward when LaDonna showed up.

    “What’s up, lover?” asked LaDonna.

    Leon looked up and queried, “What?”

    “You okay? You still not freaked out about my confession yesterday?” LaDonna gave him one of her patented smirks.

    “Weirdest thing. Ever,” was all he could say.

    “What’s weird? That I want to go to dinner with you?” LaDonna looked befuddled.

    “No. No. The men in black.”

    “Okay. You lost me.”

    “The two guys in the Suburban. At the stoplight. There were two guys in black suits and sunglasses at the stoplight. They could could have been Jay and Kay if one of them had been Will Smith,” explained Leon.

    “Your telling me you saw a couple men in black. Dude, you need to get out more. I can help with that,” replied LaDonna.

    “‘Be about your business, citizen.’ I mean who talks like that?” asked Leon.

    “They talked to you and that is all they said?” asked LaDonna.

    Leon’s only response was a vague ‘I could strangle you’ gesture with his hands.

    LaDonna was about to give one of her patented rebuttals when the walls shook with a deaden boom.
    Leon stood, pointed to LaDonna and said, “I told you.”

    They both rushed outside and saw a pillar of black smoke rising down Hamilton street in the direction the Suburban went. LaDonna gave Leon a look that he had never seen before and that scared him more than anything. He knew today was going to be a day where little would get done and past conversations have no meaning.

  20. AcCarter says:

    I didn’t know what he was saying. I had never been good at lip reading. Lip reading wasn’t needed for the gun he pulled out though. Socked, I slammed on my breaks, much to the dismay of the people behind me. My heart pounded in my chest, and my brain was a scrambled mess as I tried to think of what would bring about this behavior.
    Their car slowed as well, and he leaned halfway out of the passenger window and fired at me. I screamed swerving to the right earning me angry honks from the other cars. I ducked my head as close to the stirring wheel as possible as more shots hit my windshield.
    I hit the gas, flooring my little 2008 Fusion. The car moaned in protest but surged ahead of the others. I changed lanes with barely a glance in my mirrors just hoping the others would get out of the way. Checking my rearview mirror, I found that they were perusing me and getting closer. The shooter leaned out of the passenger window again and opened fire on me once more. I yelped and pressed my foot harder on the gas. The car wasn’t having it though; it had almost reached its limits.
    I had to get off the highway. If I could make it to the police station I could get help. In an effort to throw off my shooter, I abruptly changed lanes aiming for the nearest exit. I missed it, however. I slammed on breaks before my car hit the wall. I slid to a stop. They stopped right behind me.
    My breathing was harsh, I swore furiously under my breath and had a sneaky suspicion that I’d wet myself a few shots back. I nearly had a heart attack when I looked up into the mirror to see them getting out of the car. Tears stung my eyes as I furiously tried to undo my seatbelt with shaky hands.
    Their dark sunglasses reflected the noonday sun, and they each came to window. The shooter leaned into the passenger side window. His gun was resting casually on the door for me to see. The driver startled me when he peered into the car and asked,
    “Are you Kimberly Jones?”
    “No,” I sounded like I’d just run the mile, “I’m A.C. Carter.”
    They exchanged a regretful frown before the shooter said, “Sorry. We have the wrong person. Have a nice day, Miss Carter.”

  21. randi100 says:

    Here is my second shot at this prompt.

    I can’t believe they caught up to me that fast” I thought.My colleagues, in the dark suits, pulled up along side of me, rolled down their window and said “We can’t believe you slapped the President! It all started that morning. It was my 18th day on the job at the Secret Service. For the first 17 days I was protecting the first lady but, through a strange series of events, (three agents with the flu, one at the funeral of his mother, and two thrown out do to being caught smoking pot), I was on to protect the President. The day was going well, a variety of meetings at the White House and a luncheon. No big deal. I was standing outside the door to the oval office and out came the President. I followed all protocol. He was on his way to the private residence. I, of course, was close by. I then realized that we were in the hallway alone. A quiet day at the White House is rare. The President stopped. I watched him as he looked out the large window that faced Pennsylvania Ave. He quickly turned around and walked briskly towards me. I thought something was wrong, that he saw something that scared him out on the busy Washington DC street. Within a moment he was right in my face. He told me that he was attracted to me from the moment he met me 18 days ago. I felt his hand brush against my arm and then he was kissing me! I forgot everything, my brain went blank. On reflex I slapped him across the face, just as my boss was walking up the hallway. He didn’t see the advance made by the President; he just saw my hand hit our nations leader. I ran from the White House, got into my car and sped off. Two of my colleagues caught up to me. I pulled over and so did they. Their jaws were on the floor. “Why did you slap the President?” They asked.
“He hit on me!” I exclaimed. With that another car pulled up. My boss. 
He looked at me with disappointment. Without asking I handed over my Secret Service identification and my gun. He took them, got in his car and drove away.
I got into my car too and went home.
When I got home I poured myself a very cold and very large glass of wine. I turned on the computer, did some research, and made a list.
“Hmmmm, should I call NBC or CNN first?” I thought with a grin on my face. There was no way that I was going to take this lying down. If my career was going to be over, I was taking this dirt bag down with me. I called every major news station that I could think of. I gave them quite the tip about a scandal at the White House. I think I will be able to afford that house in Aruba now.

    • smallster21 says:

      Breaking this up into paragraphs would make this easier to read and flow more smoothly. I think this could also benefit from relaying the scene via dialogue (the exchange between the President and the MC). I think this would allow the reader to connect with the characters more and get into the story. That said, you seem to have an interesting plot here if you slowed it down and built up the tension instead of rushing through it.

  22. peetaweet says:

    It was bound to happen. I had been much too reckless. I had skipped too many car pools, missed the bus, and been too lazy for my bike. Those cross town trips will do it every time.

    I had driven over 12 miles that day, thus putting me 8 miles over the quota. I crept to the red light, pretending not to notice the unmarked Prious, tapping the steering wheel of my old gas drinking Honda, hoping the moment would pass. I had been over before, the key is to not get caught.

    But a fully restored 2012 Honda draws attention, and my pulse spiked as the tinted window came down, revealing a smug looking kid with slick hair and dark glasses. He motioned for me to pull over. Great.

    The panel turned green and I pulled into an unkempt lot. A sun faded yellow Blockbuster Video sign leaning against an abandoned brick building. I stopped the car, parking over the weeds sprouting from the cracked pavement. The Prious followed, alive with flashing blue lights. My hands shook as I fumbled with my Iwallet, pulling up my digital license and meter.

    Through the rearview I watched them both get out, one tall and lean, the other more muscular, both mechanical in their movements.

    The taller one leaned towards the window, scanning my info.

    “How are you today Officer?” I asked. The younger ones never spoke much. They had grown up with text messaging and social media leaving them stifled and awkward.

    “You’re twelve miles over quota Mr. Fisk.” His raspy voice, combined with the solar uniform and the glasses gave him the appearance of a Star Trek extra.

    “I know, I was just heading home and was….

    “This is your second violation in the past year Mr. Fisk. Please step out of the vehicle.”

    I opened the door, and the officer craned his neck to peer inside. The muscular one was talking to himself.
    “Yes, internal combustion. Yes, it’s a relic sir. Unregistered and off the grid. Okay.”

    Traffic gawked as I was cuffed in the lot. An older man looked on from his buggy. His sunken eyes seemed sympathetic to my plight. His horse huffed as the hoofs clicked on the pavement, its black hair shining in the sunlight. Behind them was a vendor on a bike, pulling along a trailer filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, reminding me of the days of face to face commerce.

    “Please turn around sir.” I was spun around and led to the Prious. Inside I was shackled to the backseat and court was in session. The judge appeared on the large screen in the console.

    “Mr. Fisk, I’ve reviewed your information and it appears that you’re in violation of DK2550, a second offense punishable by fine and a level two behavior modification adjustment. You will be detained until we can schedule the earliest available procedure. Adjourned.”

    The screen went blank and we started off, leaving my abandoned car in the abandoned lot as I was taken to abandon my brain.

    • douglangille says:

      Wow. Harsh punishment. Creative take on the prompt.

    • smallster21 says:

      You incorporated setting details into the story very smoothly to specify this was in the future. The details weren’t just mere details, and the MC’s view on his surroundings revealed how he felt inside. Nice :)

      Suggestion, I’d use a different word besides quota in the second paragraph. Using quota makes it sound like the MC is required to drive a certain number of miles a day. You meant that there is a limited amount of miles, right? So, maybe just switch limit for quota. Also, your MC states he is 8 miles over and later the cop states he is 12 miles over.

      • peetaweet says:

        Thanks smallster, I appreciate the read. I like limit better as well, I was thinking a monthly limit, the 12 putting him 8 miles over for the month, but you’re right I didn’t clarify…

  23. smallster21 says:

    Lora stared at the man trying to understand not only his accent, but the contents of his message. The man was peering over his sunglasses as he flicked a cigarette out of the window and then produced a manila envelope.

    Reaching out to take it, the Frenchman grabbed her wrist pulling her forward to slip a business card into her pocket. “Ven it iz done, call me, oui?” His stale breath and raunchy cologne permeated her senses as he patted the gun at his waist. “Orr if zere iz trouble.”

    Overwhelming perplexity swelled within Lora as the black tinted windows moved upward and the Frenchman disappeared. Examining the envelope, she read the return address. Paris. The last time she had spoken to her husband had been a few days ago.

    Sam was there meeting with Bertrand Alphonse, the scientist who had discovered a mutated gene within a colony of bees. The same gene they had found last year. Mass colonies of bees’ had been discovered with their insides eaten out by flies. The odd thing about the bees is that after the flies had abandoned their temporary hosts, the bees continued to twitch.

    The Frenchman’s words resonated through her mind. ‘Beforre zee rriots started and Bertrand vaz taken by zee policier, ‘e gave me zis to deliverr and mutterred a warning, somezin like ‘Eleanorr vants to rrelease the sequence.’

    “About time you showed up.” Lora looked up to find her boss Rona and her assistant standing inside the doors of the research institute. Rona eyed the envelope suspiciously. “How is the extraction of the mutated gene coming along?”

    “Still a work in progress,” Lora stammered. She wasn’t a good liar. She had, in fact, successfully extracted and isolated the gene last week; the implications of which she was still working out. She wasn’t sure what the Frenchman meant, but if someone wanted to steal her research, she wasn’t going to let anyone see it just yet.

    “Regardless, I want to see the latest read-outs.”

    Lora sighed as she reluctantly held her office door open for the two women and after flipping on her desk lamp began to rummage through her files. She heard the ripping of paper behind her and looked over to find Rona opening the envelope. Lora’s heart jumped as Rona pulled the contents out and turned the pages over.

    The sheets of paper were blank. White, blank sheets of paper.

    “Sam should have sent us Bertrand’s research by now,” Rona scoffed throwing the papers on the desk. She sat down at the table in the corner of the room gesturing to her assistant, “Elle, go fetch me Colonel Wilford’s number from my rolodex.”

    Lora was about to pull the appropriate file when the contents of the envelope changed. Underneath the lamp’s heat, the hidden words were slowly revealing themselves. Her eyes widened as she looked up at Rona before attempting to nonchalantly cover up the message. “So, what do you need Colonel Wilford for? My research has nothing to do with the Department of Defense.”

    “That is none of your concern.”

    The hell it isn’t, Lora thought as the message from her husband reverberated through her mind, ‘Beware of Elleanor. Destroy the sequence. Zombees!’

    Lora immediately recognized the two names. The Frenchman had said Eleanor, but Sam had spelled it with two l’s. Rona, Elle. But, what exactly did he mean by ‘Zombees?’

    “So, Lora, whenever you want to join me,” Rona pulled the other chair out. “I’m eager to hear the latest developments.”

  24. handyman43127 says:

    You answer this question for me. Why do I always put off my taxes until the last minute? It never fails, I wait, and wait, and wait some more. Then I spend all night crunching numbers.

    Falling asleep across the scattered papers was bad enough, now I’ve received a wake up call from my employer, asking if I was going to bless them with my presence today, he can be a shit sometimes.

    Rushing, I shower quickly and find my cleanest dirty pair of pants. I procrastinate with the laundry also. Gathering the work of the night together, I stuff whatever I can grab into a manila envelope and rush to the kitchen where I grab the day old coffee that I have microwaved. On the way towards the door I snag an apple from the fruit basket on the table and lodge it in my teeth.

    Coffee cup in hand, manila envelope in the other and apple lodged tightly in my mouth, I arrive at the car, only to realize that the doors are locked and the keys are in my pocket.

    Some quick thinking and I managed to enter the drivers seat.

    Three stop-signs and a gauntlet of red-lights lay between me and work, but only the stop-signs separate me from the post office, and I seldom offered more than a brake-light when approaching them.

    Ten miles an hour over the speed-limit I rushed down main street. My thumb and index fingers on each hand were occupied, with an apple in one and a now cold cup of coffee in the other. I had become an expert at driving with only the heals of my hands. Did I mention I always was running late for work? Another one of my daily routines.

    Suddenly a car with to men, both dressed in black suits and wearing dark glasses raced up beside me. Taking a bite from my apple and trying not to be to obvious I noticed they were both looking at me. One was even pointing.

    I sped up faster, but they continued to give chase. Only one block away from the post office I pretended not to notice them but as I turned into the parking lot they continued to follow.

    Damn I thought, these IRS guys need to get a life, I’m not even late yet. Now parked and beginning to exit my car, the car with the two smartly dressed men pulled in next to me. The passenger rolled down his window and said “Taxes”.

    “What?” I replied. “I have all day to send them”. I also responded.

    “No, your taxes, they are on the roof of your car”, he explained.

    With a “I knew that” comment I rushed into the post office only to realize I had forgot my wallet at home.

    • smallster21 says:

      Lol, what a mess (and I mean the MC!) :) You definitely painted a clear picture of the MC’s disorderly lifestyle.

      …wouldn’t the papers fly off the top of the roof?

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Not with my accountant, would they. He charges me by the pound.

      • handyman43127 says:

        Given more words to work with I may have explained about the Coke left on the car top the day before that spilled and acted like glue. Also I would have explained the bold letters written on the inside flap of the envelope, written in black magic marker that read “Taxes”, that the two men viewed. Thank you for your comment’s.

    • peetaweet says:

      Awesome, loved the details, and the ending!

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Hey handyman43127, where you been? Don’t matter, I’m glad you’re back. I’ve missed your stories so I was glad to see this. I love it because I know people like this, myself included. Lol. Good job. Oh, and to answer the question, the reason the MC waits until the last minute to do taxes is because his mind was focused on responing to a prompt rather than taking care of his taxes. Well, that’s what happened to me.Lol.

    • douglangille says:

      Hilarious! The plight of your MC was painted well for me.

      • handyman43127 says:

        Thanks all for the wonderful comments, and MCKEVIN I was taking some time off rethinking if I was following the right vision. It is nice to know that someone noticed I was missing! Thanks again.

        • swatchcat says:

          Oh we noticed but, I think it would have been a little odd for us to sing:

          Oh where, oh where did our Handyman go
          Oh where, oh where can he be?
          Oh we miss his good stories and his snarky
          comebacks to boot
          Oh where, oh where can he be?

          It is nice to see your pen/keyboard is working again
          your creativity is a pleasure to read. Watch the spelling
          though.

  25. putz9081 says:

    A revolutionary, Justin Blanc the liberator, I seem to go by many titles these days. I don’t think I deserve any of them. The only thing I have truly done for this city is impart a revelation of the faux peace that once covered it. This journey started on the hustle and bustling streets of New York City. The daily congestion and repetitious honking fell harsh on my ears this morning as Mike and I prowled the city streets for a decent lunch before heading back to the office. He laughed raucously as I scanned the street carts meticulously with a visible sneer.
    “You’ve been here for four months and still can’t get over having to eat from a food cart?”
    “I just prefer my food to be prepared in decent sanitary conditions. Not from a big metal communal box that’s been sitting out in the elements all day.” I stated not trying to hide my contempt for what New York society has deemed consumable.
    “So, I heard some juicy gossip this morning.”
    A smile crossed his lips and I sighed as I prepared to listen to another news report from Michael Cress, office gossipmonger extraordinaire.
    “I heard that Lesa Kline was escorted from our building a few days ago by… them, and hasn’t been seen since.”
    This news I couldn’t have been prepared for even on my best day. Instinctively I glanced over at the towering skyscraper built almost smack dab in the center of the city only a decade ago. A colossal reminder of how things have changed so drastically since its construction. From the depths of its underground they come and snatch away those that have committed crimes or even those that they deem a threat. Men clad in identical black suits and dark sunglasses, no matter the weather or time of day. No one knows what lies at the heart of that monster but its financial and political power must be immense for the government to turn a blind eye to its actions.
    “Mike, we shouldn’t be talking about this.” I could feel my palms already starting to sweat.
    “What? Is this about that childish rumor that they will show up if you talk about them?”
    I looked away acting as if I might have found something I wanted to eat. Mike just looked at me with an exasperated expression.
    “Justin, you know that’s just a story to scare children. They’ll come if you talk back to adults, if you don’t eat your veggies, or if you stay out too late. Buck up and grow a pair.”
    I clenched my teeth and counted to ten trying to subdue the urge to yell at him. He doesn’t know or understand how cruel those men are. A cold, ominous shiver ran up my as a car screeched to a halt. My eyes shifted left as the passenger’s side window of a jet black sedan rolled down. Time downshifted as one of the dark suited men appeared and said my name. That’s all that was needed to send me sprinting down the sidewalk as they revved their car and began the inevitable chase. I laugh now when I think about how my journey to face down a monster started with me running from it.

    • smallster21 says:

      Interesting. Makes me want to know who these black suited men are, or what they are. It was well written. Only suggestion is I wasn’t sure what the first two lines meant, didn’t seem to fit, unless you’ve planned a longer story, I could sense some foreshadowing.

    • douglangille says:

      there is a lot to like about this story. You going to continue it?

  26. L. Preston Dalton says:

    “Get in.”

    “I’m sorry?” I asked in a voice a bit softer than I would have liked. I cleared my throat and tried again, but this time in a deeper more confident voice. “I’m sorry guys, I’m on my way to work. I’m late.” I turned to walk away and did my best job ignore the men, but the car followed.

    “Get in.” The passenger repeated.

    I was just about to turn and give my best ‘screw you’ when I saw a shiny object in the man’s hand. I took a closer look and that’s when I felt sick to my stomach. I was staring down the barrel of a rather large 9mm pistol. “Oh, c’mon…” I blurted despite my best efforts to stay cool. I stepped backwards instinctively and raised my hands “… you guys are serious.” The man with the pistol didn’t speak. He merely, nodded and motioned towards the back seat. I reluctantly did what I was told and moved to open the back door of the black sedan when I noticed a third man scooting over. As I sat down, the first thing I noticed was how the air in the car was hot with stale booze and smoke. The man who sat next to me barely spoke, so, the passenger with the pistol spoke for him.
    “Johnny back there is joining the family.” The man smiled. “Unfortunately, there’s the initiation bit and purely due to fate, you gotta be a part of it.” The man nodded and gave a very sincere frown. “I’m sorry it had to be you. You seem like a good kid.”

    Just then, the man who was sitting next to me vomited. I leaned to avoid the spew.

    “Johnny! Geez… get ahold of yourself.” The man with the pistol scorned. He looked at me. “Sorry kid, it’s his first time.”

    “Wait!” I said, “You don’t have to do this!” my eyes darted from one man’s face to the next to the next. ‘What the hell am I doing,’ I thought to myself. “I want in. Lemmie do something. Lemmie prove it!”

    The man with the pistol looked puzzled. He looked at the driver but kept the gun pointed at me. “Mikey… can he do that?”

    “Johnny’s not family… He’s a favor.” The driver replied. “Fair game.”
    The man called Johnny stopped his puking and stared at me. He looked shocked.

    The man with the pistol smiled and looked up. “Your in luck. You get a second chance. If you can off Johnny over here, you’ll replace him. But ain’t givin you my piece.”

    I prayed he wasn’t serious, but I could tell by the smirk on his face and the terror in Johnny’s eyes, that there was never a man who was more serious. I took a deep breathe and sized up Johnny. The last thing I remember thinking was ‘Oh god… I’m going to have to try to kill someone.’

  27. mimipii says:

    I was driving down the packed parkway moving 5 miles an hour when I glanced out my window and spotted a broad guy with mirrored sunglasses seemingly looking my way. He was in the car to my left while the car to my right was a young lady rocking to blaring music, her whole car bouncing. All around me, for as far as my eye could see, were cars bumper to bumper. There was no way I was making a clean getaway from this guy’s unnerving stare. I tried not to look his way but found myself looking out the corner of my eye at him. He rolled down his window and reached into his jacket pocket. My mind whirled as I pictured him pulling out a gun from his pocket. I was filled with relief mixed with anxiety when he finally flashed his FBI badge at me. He growled at me to pull over at the nearest exit. I put on my right blinker and with my heart pounding managed to pull over several minutes later. The driver of the FBI vehicle manuevered behind me and the agent stepped out. He was huge. Almost seven feet tall and looked very intimidating. I sank down into my seat thinking about anything I had done wrong in the last few months. Did I rob a bank? Not that I recall. Did I have any ties with terrorists? Not that I know of. He approached my window and asked me my name and address writing it all down on a notepad he pulled from his pocket. Then he got down to business.

    “What did you eat for breakfast?” he interrogated.
    I thought I heard him wrong but answered anyway, ” A coffee”.
    “Regular or decaf?” he probed further.
    “Regular”, I responded incredulous.
    His face didnt change one iota as he continued his barrage of questions. “Instant or brewed? What flavor? With a Keurig?” he questioned.
    “Brewed, vanilla and yes on my Keurig. Excuse me officer, but what is this all about?” I asked cautiously, not wanting to get on his bad side. He removed his glasses and his face relaxed into a smile with a dimple materializing in his right cheek. It took a minute but recognized him. “Max!” I shrieked. His dimple deepened. “When did you join the FBI?” I asked my brother who loves a good tease. “Recently” he responded as I swatted his arm goodnaturedly. Wow, how he’d changed! Had it been so long since I’d seen him last? “Welcome home, Emmy. You headed to mom’s for dinner? Come I’ll escort you”

    • L. Preston Dalton says:

      “Get in.”

      “I’m sorry?” I asked in a voice a bit softer than I would have liked. I cleared my throat and tried again, but this time in a deeper more confident voice. “I’m sorry guys, I’m on my way to work. I’m late.” I turned to walk away and did my best job ignore the men, but the car followed.

      “Get in.” The passenger repeated.

      I was just about to turn and give my best ‘screw you’ when I saw a shiny object in the man’s hand. I took a closer look and that’s when I felt sick to my stomach. I was staring down the barrel of a rather large 9mm pistol. “Oh, c’mon…” I blurted despite my best efforts to stay cool. I stepped backwards instinctively and raised my hands “… you guys are serious.” The man with the pistol didn’t speak. He merely, nodded and motioned towards the back seat. I reluctantly did what I was told and moved to open the back door of the black sedan when I noticed a third man scooting over. As I sat down, the first thing I noticed was how the air in the car was hot with stale booze and smoke. The man who sat next to me barely spoke, so, the passenger with the pistol spoke for him.
      “Johnny back there is joining the family.” The man smiled. “Unfortunately, there’s the initiation bit and purely due to fate, you gotta be a part of it.” The man nodded and gave a very sincere frown. “I’m sorry it had to be you. You seem like a good kid.”

      Just then, the man who was sitting next to me vomited. I leaned to avoid the spew.

      “Johnny! Geez… get ahold of yourself.” The man with the pistol scorned. He looked at me. “Sorry kid, it’s his first time.”

      “Wait!” I said, “You don’t have to do this!” my eyes darted from one man’s face to the next to the next. ‘What the hell am I doing,’ I thought to myself. “I want in. Lemmie do something. Lemmie prove it!”

      The man with the pistol looked puzzled. He looked at the driver but kept the gun pointed at me. “Mikey… can he do that?”

      “Johnny’s not family… He’s a favor.” The driver replied. “Fair game.”
      The man called Johnny stopped his puking and stared at me. He looked shocked.

      The man with the pistol smiled and looked up. “Your in luck. You get a second chance. If you can off Johnny over here, you’ll replace him. But ain’t givin you my piece.”

      I prayed he wasn’t serious, but I could tell by the smirk on his face and the terror in Johnny’s eyes, that there was never a man who was more serious. I took a deep breathe and sized up Johnny. The last thing I remember thinking was ‘Oh god… I’m going to have to try to kill someone.’

    • JustAPerson says:

      What a nice, little family reunion.

  28. Wulf Dreamwalker says:

    Grey POUPON?
    I had checked several times and made sure I had the truck fully loaded with alll my wares for the day. Since it was a Wednesday i decided to do my usual route in reverse, something I try to do every hump day. Just to break up the monotony.
    BY 10 am I was already done with my first swing through my usual stopsand was about to take a break before starting on my lunch run.I was sitting in the warehouse parking lot having a smoke and a coffee when this beat up old car pulled up next to me. I could see through the somewhat dusty windows two figuires in the front seat . There didn’t seem to be anything unusual abut them just two middleaged teennager wannabes. I could hear the crankng of Queens Bohemian rhapsody leaking through the closed windows and see the bobbing of the figuires heads in time to the music.
    S;owly the window on the passebger side was canked down to reveal just what Iexpected . It was a gone to seed long haired guy who was still trying to catch his youth.Or maybe he was reliving it. suddenly the blaring of Queen was cut off and the passenger leaned out and looked up at me and asked…
    “pardon me but…” with a bit of a grin and a chuckle,”Do you have any Grey Poupon?”
    Before they could break out in laughter I looked at them with a serious look on my face and replied” Certainly, I have Grey Poupon.. Would you like a bratwurst to go with it?”
    Flabberghasted that his joke didn’t work the guy mutters “What you mean you got Grey Poupon aint you just a roach coach?’
    “Actually sir I do not have a roach coach as you call it. I run the Roche Coach, a high quality and low cost food delivery service set up for the factiory workers around here.”
    Which was true since my name was Philip Roche and I did sell meals to factory workers on a daily basis. I know bad imagery and pun on my name but hey its a living and besides everyone else got the joke and liked my food.
    In silence the two less jovial jokesters drove off never to bother me again, though they did buy several bratwursts and a small jar of Grey Poupon to go.

  29. L. Preston Dalton says:

    Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says “Get in.”

    “I’m sorry?” I asked in a voice a bit softer than I would have liked. I cleared my throat and tried again, but this time in a deeper more confident voice. “I’m sorry guys, I’m on my way to work. I’m late.” I turned on my heel and did my best job ignore the car full of suited men, but the car followed.

    “Get in.” The passenger said again.

    I was just about to turn and give my best ‘screw you’ when I saw a shiny object in the man’s hand. I looked a little closer and that’s when I felt sick to my stomach and desperately worried. I was staring down the barrel of a rather large 9mm pistol. “Oh, c’mon…” I blurted despite my best efforts to stay cool. I stepped backwards instinctively and raised my hands a little “… you guys are serious.” The man with the pistol didn’t speak. He merely pinched his lips together, nodded yes and motioned towards the back seat with his gun. I reluctantly did what I was told and moved to open the back door of the black sedan when I noticed a third man making room for me by scooting to the far side of the seat. As I sat down, the first thing I noticed was how soft the leather was in the car and how the air was hot with stale booze and smoke. The man who sat next to me barely spoke, so, the passenger with the pistol spoke for him.

    “Johnny back there is joining the family.” The man smiled. “Unfortunately, there’s the initiation bit and purely due to fate, you gotta be a part of it.” The man nodded and gave a very sincere frown. “I’m sorry it had to be you. You seem like a good kid.”

    Just then, the man who was sitting next to me vomited. I squashed myself against the window to try to avoided the spew.

    “Johnny! Geez… get ahold of yourself.” The man with the pistol gave an awful scorn to the one called Johnny. He then looked at me. “Sorry kid, it’s his first time.”

    “Wait!” I said, “You don’t have to do this!” my eyes darted from one man’s face to the next to the next. ‘What the hell am I doing,’ I thought to myself. “I want in. Lemmie do something. Lemmie prove it!”

    The man with the pistol looked puzzled. He looked at the driver but kept the gun pointed at me. “Mikey… can he do that?”
    “Johnny’s not family… He’s a favor.” The driver said as he turned his head to the man with the pistol. “Fair game as far as I’m concerned. The man called Johnny stopped his puking and stared at me then at the man with the pistol. He looked shocked.

    The man with the pistol smiled and look up at me. “Your in luck, kid. You get a second chance. If you can off Johnny over here, I’ll give you his spot. But your gonna have to do it with your own two hands, kid.”

    I wished and prayed that he wasn’t serious, but I could tell by the smirk on his face and the terror in Johnny’s eyes, that I’d never met a man who was more serious in my life. I took a deep breathe and sized up Johnny. The last thought I remember going through my head was ‘Oh god… I’m going to have to try to kill someone.’

  30. Sphallo says:

    “Lilly, is that you?” the mysterious stranger inquired as he lifted his sunglasses off his nose. I couldn’t believe whom I saw. He was no other than my long time ex boyfriend from Chicago. I wonder what he was doing here in Elba?
    “Gus, it’s been a long time” I grinned at him, “I don’t think the light is going to stay red for too much longer, why don’t we meet over at the Starbuck’s on Windhelm at six and we will catch up, and bring your friend too!” He grinned and said yes to me right as the light turned green and forced me to travel on towards work. After I got off I work I headed over towards the Starbuck’s. It was brand new in town and real popular with the town folk who had extra change to spare. I walked up to the counter and ordered my coffee and sat down at a table for three as I sipped. I glanced at my phone and wondered where they were as it was already close to six thirty. After waiting for a while, disappointed over being stood up, I got up to leave when Gus walked in.
    “Sorry I’m late. I got hung up on some business. If I had your number I would’ve called.” He explained. I noticed his friend with the matching suit and sunglasses wasn’t with him.
    “It’s ok” I replied, “at least you made it! I did almost give up on you though. Where’s your friend?”
    “He had a place to be.”
    “Okay, well since you’re here what have you been up to? Are you married? Kids yet? Big house? I know you always wanted a big yard. C’mon give me the works!” I asked, bombarding him with questions.
    “I’m actually with NASA now. We are working on some pretty great stuff, but that’s all I’m allowed to say. So Lilly, did your dreams come true after college?”
    “Not quite. If you had watched it you would know that I was never chosen as Miss America. I’ve retired from the pageants and now I work as a marketing manager for a great little company that’s based in New York, New York but I rarely have to travel up there. So what are you doing in little Elba, New York?”
    “I’ve actually co—” The windows of the Starbucks shattered open and flung glass everywhere, along with an eardrum shattering blast. Gus quickly moved over to me and shielded me. I covered my ears as we slid under the table. That’s when I noticed Gus take out a pistol from his jacket suit.
    “Stay right here, Lilly. Do not move.” He said to me, as he looked me in the eye. There was a stern seriousness in his face and voice. I just nodded to him, confused. He rolled out from under the table aiming the gun and checking for anything. My ears were ringing from the blast, but I could still hear through it and I heard people screaming. I couldn’t sit and do nothing while people were in pain, so I ran out from under the table and noticed Gus to my left outside, shouting something and shooting at a mysterious figure which was hard to make out through the smoke from the blast.
    I ran to a woman whose leg was bleeding. A shard of glass was sticking into it. It seemed like it was a big cut and bleeding a lot. I ripped a part of the torn pants she was wearing and did my best to tie it as tight as I could above her wound. “Ma’am my name is Lilly, I am going to call 911. It will be ok.” I smiled at her in a reassuring way.
    Gus ran over to me and grabbed my arm, “We need to get out of here.” He motioned to me through the back door.
    “But what about the injured people? I need to call 911.”
    “There’s no time. We need to leave and you need protection. Let’s go. Now.” He grabbed my arm and dragged me towards the back. His grip was stronger than I remembered.
    “What the hell is going on? Why are so intent on getting me out of here?” I asked, frustrated that I had no answers and curious as to why he had wasn’t bleeding from earlier.
    “I will tell you when you are safe” he explained, “Now let’s go, or I will pick you up and make you go with me.”
    Defeated, I sighed and followed him. He acted like he had been trained for this kind of work. I now know he lied to me about his job. He slowly opened the door through the back of the Starbuck’s and peaked out. When he saw it was safe he grabbed my arm and we ran across the street, opposite from the blast. The guy driving his car from earlier all of the sudden appeared to my other side. They nodded to each other. The man brought his hand up to his ear, pressing on an earpiece and said, “Experiment two is in custody and headed back to the lab.”
    I looked at Gus with so many questions. We had stopped to rest. Gus gave me a look, “I’m sorry Lilly.” He explained as he grabbed a syringe filled with a yellowish liquid and quickly stuck my neck.
    “Why did you do that?” I asked, stumbling over my words. My legs felt weak and I had to sit down. I tried to think and to make sense of what was going on, but my thoughts had become so fuzzy. Then everything went black.

  31. afitzmaurice says:

    Already ten minutes late to work, I grabbed my morning coffee and car keys. It’s be a strain, but I could get there earlier enough to not get fired this month. The sky was gray with morning light and slightly chilly. As I fumbled with my car keys and glanced up to unlock it, I saw unfamiliar men sitting in the two front seats. The man sitting in the passenger seat rolled down the window. His gaze could be felt through his dark sunglasses. I attempted to speak, but I could not grasp words or even semblance of the english language. The man simply nodded and announced, “There’s been a crisis.”

  32. writinglife says:

    I can’t believe the traffic this morning. South Forest Street looks like a freaking parking lot. By the time I get to the Forest Street Metro all of the parking spaces will be gone.

    I look to my left admiring the red Ferrari. I wonder what it’s like to be able to afford a car like that. I’m lucky my ten-year-old car is running. Between paying my rent and the mortage on the house back home I’m barely keeping my head above water. It’s funny how you can lose a house but still have mortage payments to make. Still, my little girl is in the only home she’s ever known.

    The gentlemen in the car are dressed in black and wearing sunglasses in these predawn hours. Both men turn and look at me. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and motions for me to do the same.

    “Pull into the Safeway shopping mall.” he says.

    I dutifully pull over with a chorus of horns confirming the Farrari is following me. I pull into a parking space close to the coffee shop. I might as well get my coffee while they explain that this is all about.

    “Can I get you anything?” I ask as I pass the Farrari. They don’t answer.

    I take an empty seat facing the parking lot and pop the lid off of my coffee to let it cool.

    “We’ve got a job for you.” One of the dark suit twins says breaking the silence.

    “I had that much figured out.” Always the same opening gambit when one of these jobs comes along. They send out a couple of dark suited, sunglass wearing stooges that feel the need to tell me they are delivering a job for me.

    “This job is important.”

    “They are all important so why don’t you just tell me what it is I need to know.”

    One of the goons takes a brown envelope from his jacket and hands it to me.

    “Senator Morris is concerned for his daughter. We’ve given you the particulars as wel know them.”

    With that they rise from their chairs and head to the Farrari.

    I wait a minute or two more before taking a long gulp of coffee. I hate these kinds of jobs when I’m expected to clean up after some politician’s family member or more likely the politician. Indiscretions put the country’s security at risk but more importantly to the politician they risk not being reelected. I open the envelope to see what the task is this time.

    I pull out a photo of a teenage boy and a sheet of paper containing his name, age, school he is attending, and other information. I’m tasked with doing a background check on a boy who wants to take Senator Morris’ daughter to the prom. There are harder ways of earning a paycheck.

  33. Scarly says:

    Hello! I’m new to Writer’s Digest:) This is my very first post. I hope you all enjoy it! I did get carried away and went over the limit though. Hehe. Please leave some feedback! Thanks!

    I rocked my head to Skillet’s “Collide”, my long brown shoulder length hair whipping madly against my narrow freckled face, as I stood at the stoplight skateboard in hand. My voice rasped along with the lyrics as the music blared through the ear buds of my IPod. “Something, something, something…” The light changes and the crosswalk sign comes to life. My adrenaline pumps as I hop onto my trusty wheels and head across the street to the music shop, Lethal Tunes. I’ve been working here since freshman year, thanks to a friend of a friend’s friend. Yeah, pretty complicated, but short story is I’ve been saving up for film school. I’m gonna be a big shot producer one day. Full Tilt Productions. That’s my business name, yep. All mine. My mind begins to wonder and relive that glorious moment when I received my official patent for Full Tilt; I forget all about the 2 hour commute just to get here, the two buses, subway and twenty minute stroll on my skateboard. I’m lucky to have this job still…. I amble towards the door and reach for the handle when I suddenly feel a strong gaze piercing my back. My hand remains on the half opened door; I quickly turn off my music and pull a bud loose. My head instinctively jerks around and locks onto the suspicious black sunglasses. Goosebumps raid my skin as I take in the too rich and too black car that sits near the front of the parking lot. What the hell? How did I miss that? I think to myself. Just who are these guys? They remind me a lot of some government dudes from those spy movies. My stomach knots…Oh shit…this is new… it’s usually some recruiter from some unheard of school… I clear my throat and tuck my skateboard further under my arm and turn to head inside the shop. “Karl!” a deep voice booms across the lot. Everything in me becomes a frozen abyss, except my heart which beats wildly and resounds like thunder. It hurts to breath. I’m late for work. I open the door wider, remembering why I’m here in the first place. Forget these strangers…. My body suddenly lurches back, something… or someone has possessed me, I find myself being pulled to their car, like a fish caught on a line. I can see them coming into view through the front windshield as I’m lured toward them, my fighting useless. No license plate. I maintain my death grip on my skate board. The dude in the passenger seat is rolling down his window and I stop in front of it. He’s a big man with pale skin, a square jaw and eyes as gray as steel, which look at me with great interest. The blanket of submission is gone, but I wouldn’t leave even if I could. A curiosity has stung me. His companion, the driver is smaller in build, and has blonde hair that falls onto his tanned forehead perfectly. Blondie is grins a small smirk and winks at me. My ears and nose flush with anger and slight embarrassment. Big Gray Head starts to speak “Karl we are with the O’ Harra Association. We are here to question your views and beliefs…” He trails off and his steel eyes quickly lock to mine. Is he mocking me? Or… My mind is all fuddled which just makes me mad all over again. Dammit, not here. I can’t be found out here. These guys are playing games. “Cut the crap”, I say dryly, “I don’t know who you are or what you want, but piss off fuckers.” I hear Blondie whistle “Real smart mouth….and you call yourself a girl. That could keep a senior from walking that stage…” he’s cut off by Mr. Steel’s fat wide hand that looks strong enough to crush a car into two in just one punch. “Alright, nice time is over, get in the car and you will be safe… refuse and you might not live to see any day let alone today.” My anger erupts. These old asses have a lot of balls to make me miss work and then demand me to listen or die at their feet. I know I promised Mum I’d stay out of trouble, so we wouldn’t end up having to move… for the 69th time… that whole routine again is so hard on my Mum. But this time is different I didn’t cause any trouble… I’m just trying to stay away from it. There’s something here that reeks and these guys sure don’t seem normal. I mean how the hell do they know my name? A growl rises in my throat and becomes a blood thirsty cry; I feel my flesh hardening; a white film and light neon blue armor replaces my skin; my eyes sharpen and lose their pupils as they turn black with electric charged irises. A wave of electric washes over me and floods my veins as I angrily pull the electric matter from the atmosphere. The light bulbs in the stores of the plaza burst; I hear screams and people begin to run out; even louder shrieks fill the air. “A monster!” “Oh my God!” “Holy…!” “There’s a weird blue cloud around her!” “Is this even real?” The men’s car dies as I suck the life out of it. My board is nowhere in sight, it’s evolved into a Gatling gun, which is pointed right at the fat old man’s nose. “Bring it.” I say daringly, knowing he doesn’t stand a chance. Something inside me flickers, just a slight pulse that causes my insides to go dry. He’s not even scared. I study his face quickly. His eyes are full of wisdom and a sudden …sadness? I think disappointment. He’s waiting for something. Something else. But what? I begin to lower my gun as he mutters “Stupid girl, you should have gotten in the car.” He turns to his partner and a new person seems to take over him, as if he’s done this dozens of times. “They’re here! Prepare! Now! Call for…” this is all he has time to command. A fiery blast sends the cars around us flying like straw. People are screaming and crying as dark thick smoke and flames blaze together. And it’s in that moment as I watch a figure, much like me but of a purple and black exterior, with a dark and vile demeanor, emerges from the snarling flames holding two thick and long blades in hand, that I have indeed caused some trouble. Big trouble.

    • DMelde says:

      Hi Scarly,
      I like your story. There are some nice lines in it like ‘the crosswalk sign comes to life” and “goosebumps raid my skin”. There are more great lines too.
      If I were you I would break up the story into smaller paragraphs to add some break points and suspense. Happy writing!

  34. Scarly says:

    Hi! It’s my very first time posting for Writer’s Digest. I loved reading all of your posts so I thought I’d give it a try. I got a little carried away and went over the limit. hehe. I would love some feedback! Thanks!

    I rocked my head to Skillet’s “Collide”, my long brown shoulder length hair whipping madly against my narrow freckled face, as I stood at the stoplight skateboard in hand. My voice rasped along with the lyrics as the music blared through the ear buds of my IPod. “Something, something, something…” The light changes and the crosswalk sign comes to life. My adrenaline pumps as I hop onto my trusty wheels and head across the street to the music shop, Lethal Tunes. I’ve been working here since freshman year, thanks to a friend of a friend’s friend. Yeah, pretty complicated, but short story is I’ve been saving up for film school. I’m gonna be a big shot producer one day. Full Tilt Productions. That’s my business name, yep. All mine. My mind begins to wonder and relive that glorious moment when I received my official patent for Full Tilt; I forget all about the 2 hour commute just to get here, the two buses, subway and twenty minute stroll on my skateboard. I’m lucky to have this job still…. I amble towards the door and reach for the handle when I suddenly feel a strong gaze piercing my back. My hand remains on the half opened door; I quickly turn off my music and pull a bud loose. My head instinctively jerks around and locks onto the suspicious black sunglasses. Goosebumps raid my skin as I take in the too rich and too black car that sits near the front of the parking lot. What the hell? How did I miss that? I think to myself. Just who are these guys? They remind me a lot of some government dudes from those spy movies. My stomach knots…Oh shit…this is new… it’s usually some recruiter from some unheard of school… I clear my throat and tuck my skateboard further under my arm and turn to head inside the shop. “Karl!” a deep voice booms across the lot. Everything in me becomes a frozen abyss, except my heart which beats wildly and resounds like thunder. It hurts to breath. I’m late for work. I open the door wider, remembering why I’m here in the first place. Forget these strangers…. My body suddenly lurches back, something… or someone has possessed me, I find myself being pulled to their car, like a fish caught on a line. I can see them coming into view through the front windshield as I’m lured toward them, my fighting useless. No license plate. I maintain my death grip on my skate board. The dude in the passenger seat is rolling down his window and I stop in front of it. He’s a big man with pale skin, a square jaw and eyes as gray as steel, which look at me with great interest. The blanket of submission is gone, but I wouldn’t leave even if I could. A curiosity has stung me. His companion, the driver is smaller in build, and has blonde hair that falls onto his tanned forehead perfectly. Blondie is grins a small smirk and winks at me. My ears and nose flush with anger and slight embarrassment. Big Gray Head starts to speak “Karl we are with the O’ Harra Association. We are here to question your views and beliefs…” He trails off and his steel eyes quickly lock to mine. Is he mocking me? Or… My mind is all fuddled which just makes me mad all over again. Dammit, not here. I can’t be found out here. These guys are playing games. “Cut the crap”, I say dryly, “I don’t know who you are or what you want, but piss off fuckers.” I hear Blondie whistle “Real smart mouth….and you call yourself a girl. That could keep a senior from walking that stage…” he’s cut off by Mr. Steel’s fat wide hand that looks strong enough to crush a car into two in just one punch. “Alright, nice time is over, get in the car and you will be safe… refuse and you might not live to see any day let alone today.” My anger erupts. These old asses have a lot of balls to make me miss work and then demand me to listen or die at their feet. I know I promised Mum I’d stay out of trouble, so we wouldn’t end up having to move… for the 69th time… that whole routine again is so hard on my Mum. But this time is different I didn’t cause any trouble… I’m just trying to stay away from it. There’s something here that reeks and these guys sure don’t seem normal. I mean how the hell do they know my name? A growl rises in my throat and becomes a blood thirsty cry; I feel my flesh hardening; a white film and light neon blue armor replaces my skin; my eyes sharpen and lose their pupils as they turn black with electric charged irises. A wave of electric washes over me and floods my veins as I angrily pull the electric matter from the atmosphere. The light bulbs in the stores of the plaza burst; I hear screams and people begin to run out; even louder shrieks fill the air. “A monster!” “Oh my God!” “Holy…!” “There’s a weird blue cloud around her!” “Is this even real?” The men’s car dies as I suck the life out of it. My board is nowhere in sight, it’s evolved into a Gatling gun, which is pointed right at the fat old man’s nose. “Bring it.” I say daringly, knowing he doesn’t stand a chance. Something inside me flickers, just a slight pulse that causes my insides to go dry. He’s not even scared. I study his face quickly. His eyes are full of wisdom and a sudden …sadness? I think disappointment. He’s waiting for something. Something else. But what? I begin to lower my gun as he mutters “Stupid girl, you should have gotten in the car.” He turns to his partner and a new person seems to take over him, as if he’s done this dozens of times. “They’re here! Prepare! Now! Call for…” this is all he has time to command. A fiery blast sends the cars around us flying like straw. People are screaming and crying as dark thick smoke and flames blaze together. And it’s in that moment as I watch a figure, much like me but of a purple and black exterior, with a dark and vile demeanor, emerges from the snarling flames holding two thick and long blades in hand, that I have indeed caused some trouble. Big trouble.

  35. eshchory says:

    I felt pretty silly riding my motorbike through Downtown in the billowy white gown and ear-flaps. The plaits were surprisingly comfortable though a little tight under my helmet. But if I’d have realized that the gown would flap so annoyingly in the wind I would have packed it into my pannier and changed when I arrived at my destination.
    It was too late now. All I was wearing underneath were a pair of skimpy shorts and a sports bra. There was no way I was driving around dressed (undressed?) like that.
    While I sat waiting for the lights to change I gathered up of much as the fabric as possible and sat on it. It wasn’t so comfortable and the fabric would crease but anything to stop that darn flapping.

    A dark SUV drew up next to me. Close next to me. So close I became concerned they hadn’t noticed my existence and I was about to become a traffic accident statistic.
    I scowled at the driver and his passenger until I realized they were wearing dark suits and sunglasses. Oh no!
    The passenger was already rolling down his window. He took off his sunglasses and gave me a hard stare. I gripped the handlebars of the bike and tried my best to resist the urge to zip through the red light and attempt an escape.

    A large grin broke across the passenger’s face. He turned to the driver “Hey Man, you were right. It is her.”
    He turned back to me, “You’re the reporter chick from the Chronicle?”
    I nodded.
    “Where are you heading?”
    I braced myself. “I’m on my way to the Blues Brothers Ball. I’m covering it for the Chronicle.” But there was no mocking laughter, pointing fingers or rude comments about my attire.
    Instead, “Us too!” replied the two guys dressed as the Blues Brothers!

    The driver inclined his head towards me with a friendly smile, “Cool costume. Right actress. Wrong film.”
    The passenger took a closer look at what I was wearing, “Nice one, Princess Leia. The ear braids are cute.”
    I relaxed and replied with a smile. “Yeah. I don’t own a suit and I don’t really have the figure to be Aretha Franklin,” they gave a quick chuckle.

    The lights changed to green. With a wave they yelled “See you there!” and we were on our way.

  36. TheWritingDream says:

    He tells me to get in the car, so I get in the car. They take off at a high rate of speed and I didn’t even get a chance to look back. He then opens his mouth saying, “I want you to get out of the car at the next stop sign and robe the first bank you see.” I got out of the car and didn’t see any banks around, so I ran two more blocks, and I stop in front of the bank. I thought to myself why should I do this? I walked inside, no one was in the bank, safe was open, and took all the money the bank had. I walked out of the safe and out the door. Suddenly everyone in police uniforms was standing around me. I was setup and how was I supposed to explain this one?

  37. Paulito says:

    “I’m sorry, but we’re trying to get to the set of Men in Black III. Do you know where it is?”
    Would they really be filming on location in Scranton? What would aliens want with the place—its Richardson Romanesque masterpieces? But the pair is still looking at me, awaiting an answer, and I suspect the aliens don’t want the buildings; the studio wants something else.
    “No idea, buddy. Have you tried Hollywood?”
    They smile, as if to say, Nice joke, yokel dipstick, but can you really try to help us for once? Will Smith shakes his head. I’ve just insulted Will Smith! And that other guy, too? What’s his name? I don’t mean to insult him by not remembering—Tommy Lee Jones? Wasn’t he Al Gore’s roommate at Harvard? Christ! I could have gotten an autograph from someone who breathed the same air as a living legend—air that contained much less carbon dioxide than it does now!
    The window goes up. Smith shakes his head, Jones points straight ahead, and the car launches forward.
    “Wait!” I shout into its wake. Then I hit the gas in hot pursuit. “Wait!” But they don’t wait. They do, however, stop at the next light, and I rear end them. I think I just gave half of humanity’s hope for intergalactic peace whiplash. While Will—I feel like I know him, now that I’ve shoved a bumped up his behind—leans his head on the steering wheel, either in an attempt not to explode or in sheer physical agony, Jones (still a stranger to me, if that is his name) gets out of the car and looks very, very peeved. Rip-roaring peeved. He yanks open my passenger door and shouts across at me, “What kind of hell driving was that?”
    Fortunately, this is Scranton. Never do I so deliriously delight that nepotism has my back until my brother’s old housemate, the cop who’s been doing undercover heroin stings as a homeless man for many years, comes shuffling into the street.
    “Hey, buddy, is there a problem?” he mumbles to Jones.
    Look who’s the superior actor now!
    “Buzz off!” Jones backhands my brother’s old not-actually-homeless-or-heroin-hooked housemate, and suddenly, Jones’s cheek is mashed against my dashboard as Danno cuffs him and recites his Miranda rights. I reach beneath Jones’s chin to open my glovebox and extract a roll of duct tape. I rip off a large chunk and shove it just beneath his raging nostrils in order to capture some of that exhalation that right then and there might be expelling bits of Al Gore into my car. It’s what I have, and the studio can’t take.

  38. ewiggins says:

    “How do you get to Interstate-50?”

    I think to myself “Interstate 50? There’s no such thing. There’s Route 50, but no Interstate 50. These guys are obviously from far away. They are definitely from somewhere far from the land of politics and non-profits. I shake myself from my internal dialogue and answer the man. I decide not to correct the man because correcting people isn’t very friendly.
    “Which way do you want to go?”
    “ Towards Annapolis”
    “Oh ok. You make a right on New York Ave and continue straight. “
    “Thanks, Ma’am.”
    I watch as the men pull off into the direction I described. On their bumper sticker I notice a small triangular icon exactly like the icon my missing grandfather had on his briefcase. Could these men know something about where my grandfather is located?!? I make a rash decision to follow the men.
    I am careful to keep one car between us so they won’t notice me. I learned this trick from watching one too many thriller movies.
    Everything goes well for the first couple of miles until the driver notices I mimic every move he makes. If he changes lanes, I switch lanes. If he speeds up, I add pressure to the gas pedal. The driver makes a mad dash to the next exit going 90 mph.
    Now I know something is up.
    I go 100 in hopes of catching up. Now that I’m found out and he knows I’m following him, I can’t let this shot be wasted into nowhere.
    After dashes and dips between a fairly busy off street, I lose the two men.
    I also lose any hope of finding my grandfather as well as my since of safety. I’m positive the man saw my license plate.
    I wade off in a sullen 35 mph and notice the car parked at a retirement home to the left.
    Hope back.
    I immediately pull in to the parking lot and find a parking spot in the back.
    Without much thought I start walk through the front doors and see the men. They look at me in bewilderment and unbelief. What do I do now?
    Question them.
    “What do you know about James Wileyburg?”
    “Nothing!” The men respond simultaneously.
    “He is my grandfather and he’s missing. You have a symbol on your bumper sticker that matches a symbol on his briefcase. “
    Out of the corner of my eye, I see the same symbol on the stationary on the retirement home’s brochure, then on the nurse’s pin and then on the wall.
    “Well, we are lawyers and we frequent this nursing home to help prepare wills for the residents”
    “Oh”
    I walk out without a word with embarrassment bears down on my entire being.
    Shoot I’m late for work!

  39. ewiggins says:

    “How do you get to Interstate-50?”

    I think to myself “Interstate 50? There’s no such thing. There’s Route 50, but no Interstate 50. These guys are obviously from far away. They are definitely from somewhere far from the land of politics and non-profits. I shake myself from my internal dialogue and answer the man. I decide not to correct the man because correcting people isn’t very friendly.

    “Which way do you want to go?”

    “ Towards Annapolis”

    “Oh ok. You make a right on New York Ave and continue straight. “

    “Thanks, Ma’am.”

    I watch as the men pull off into the direction I described. On their bumper sticker I notice a small triangular icon exactly like the icon my missing grandfather had on his briefcase. Could these men know something about where my grandfather is located?!? I make a rash decision to follow the men.
    I am careful to keep one car between us so they won’t notice me. I learned this trick from watching one too many thriller movies.

    Everything goes well for the first couple of miles until the driver notices I mimic every move he makes. If he changes lanes, I switch lanes. If he speeds up, I add pressure to the gas pedal. The driver makes a mad dash to the next exit going 90 mph.

    Now I know something is up.

    I go 100 in hopes of catching up. Now that I’m found out and he knows I’m following him, I can’t let this shot be wasted into nowhere.

    After dashes and dips between a fairly busy off street, I lose the two men. I also lose any hope of finding my grandfather as well as my since of safety. I’m positive the man saw my license plate. I wade off in a sullen 35 mph and notice the car parked at a retirement home to the left.

    Hope back.

    I immediately pull in to the parking lot and find a parking spot in the back.
    Without much thought I start walk through the front doors and see the men. They look at me in bewilderment and unbelief. What do I do now?

    Question them.

    “What do you know about James Wileyburg?”

    “Nothing!” The men respond simultaneously.

    “He is my grandfather and he’s missing. You have a symbol on your bumper sticker that matches a symbol on his briefcase. “

    Out of the corner of my eye, I see the same symbol on the stationary on the retirement home’s brochure, then on the nurse’s pin and then on the wall.

    “Well, we are lawyers and we frequent this nursing home to help prepare wills for the residents”

    “Oh”

    I walk out without a word with embarrassment bears down on my entire being.

    Shoot I’m late for work!

  40. Misty Morning says:

    LOL I love your story.

  41. aikawah says:

    Walk… keep walking normally. Don’t look nervous if you can help it. And most importantly, do not run.

    I’m on Moi Avenue at 6:00pm on a Sunday afternoon. The sun is setting somewhere, casting yellow and orange hues on the higher parts of Nairobi’s skyscrapers. Traffic is languorous, there is a cool breeze blowing. It was a beautiful evening until a few moments ago when the Peugeot 504 rolled up alongside me, and the man in the passenger seat rolled down his window. A cold sweat has broken on my brow and my knees feel weak. I’m about to be picked up by the flying squad.

    “Kijana” comes the infamous greeting, “Hebu simama hapo.”

    I stand. The car pulls up ahead of me, the back window rolling down as well. There is a pile of bloodied rags in the space between the back and front seats. Another member of the flying squad is in the back, his foot on the pile of rags. He moves his foot and pulls it up. It’s a man. There is blood on his back, congealing rows where it seems someone took a whip to him. The rags were once a t-shirt. Now the strips that remain cling to the swollen welts on his skin, glued tight by still-wet blood. The man in the passenger seat is coming out of the car; He doesn’t bother to conceal the pistol in his waistband. He walks up to me.

    “Kitambulisho!”

    I tear my eyes off the pathetic thing in the back of the car and fumble for my identification. The man in the back with him is slapping his face, forcing his head around to look out of the car, at me. I give the entire wallet to the man, I can’t talk. The lump in my throat won’t let me. The man looks at my identity card, hands it to the man in the back with the thing they are killing. He looks at it, tightens his grip on the thing’s neck and orders roughly, “Mwangalie! Look at him!”

    So he does, breathing through swollen lips, his nose crushed by something, bent out of shape. And my eyes meet what they can of his, through his swollen eyelids. The thing is a stranger to me, and even if I knew him, I’d never be able to recognize him now.

    “Is he the one?” barks the man holding his neck.

    The thing lets his swollen eyelids close, makes a gurgling sound and dies.

    “Amekufa” says the one next to me.

    The man in the back pulls the thing’s head back in and drops him on the floor, a heap of bloody rags again. He looks through my wallet, takes out my money and turns to look at me; And though we stare right into each others’ eyes, I see no face. I will not remember this man.
    He throws the wallet out the window and rolls it up.
    The man beside me gets back in the passenger seat and the car drives off.
    I fall to my knees and retch.

    • DMelde says:

      Great story. Great writing.

    • smallster21 says:

      I cringed at your description of the bloody shirt and the story gave me that whole icky feeling, which is a good thing :) Great descriptions!

      I find it interesting that the MC was referring to the bloodied man as ‘the thing’, does the MC feel no compassion for the dying man? Or is it the MC’s way of dealing with the horrendous act by pretending the dying man is not a human being?

      And, what was meant by asking the wounded man ‘is he the one?’ Your story did pull me in and the descriptions were great, I just was confused about what exactly was happening.

      • aikawah says:

        The idea was to portray fear in its most overwhelming form, to go into the psyche of those so oppressed that they lose(or in this case, fight) their own empathy because of it. He can ignore a ‘thing’ much easier than he can ignore a person.

        Had some trouble with those descriptions… thanks.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Please tell me you’ve been absent because you’re publishing your book or something. Please. I have always loved your writing and have always felt they have more than a bit of truth to your stories. This was no exception. Referring to a half dead man as thing was genius. Love it. Welcome and glad you’re back. Good job.

      • aikawah says:

        Not yet (thanks for the confidence though) however I did get shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Award and I have to say being part of this forum has been quite helpful for pointing out things I could improve about my writing, making me more comfortable with putting my work out there, and helping crystallize my writing voice(though I’m not so sure that’s done yet) so thank you guys! All of you!

        The link to the shortlist is here: http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/cssp-shortlist-2013/

  42. Kerry Charlton says:

    The Frey

    Driving down Biscayne Blvd. in Miami, a black, stretch Mercedes kept pace with me in my left lane. The window lowered and despite their dark suits and shades, I recognized them instantly; two minions from Sam Luciano’s mob. Harry Six Toes drove and sitting shot gun, Issac the Iceman spoke,

    “Mess around with Sam’s wife anymore, you’re dead meat Lee.”

    The Mercedes spun off and I waved goodbye. Brenda was safe in my high rise, their security system being top notch. I drove in silence to the DA’s office, my mind swimming in a river of thoughts.

    It was late afternoon when she entered my suite yesterday. My staff and secretary had left earlier, the office was quiet and as she slithered through my reception area, her curves operating with a series of ball bearing movements,I almost lost it.

    “”I’m looking for Mr. Harrison,” she said. “I’m in a lot of trouble.”

    I took a second look. Dressed from pages of Vogue, long chestnut hair tumbled to bare shoulders, framing mysterious, hazel eyes resting on either side of her regal nose descending to a pair of lips torn off a Greek statue.

    “I’m Lee Harrison. Please sit down; make yourself comfortable.”

    She slid into my leather chair like a black panter in heat, about to leap on her prey.

    “My name is Brenda. My husband’s trying to kill me,” she said. “I want a divorce.”

    “Obviously you’re upset Brenda. Why would he threaten you?”

    “Because he’s Sam Luciano, that’s why.”

    ‘Oh Lord,’ I thought. ‘Sam Luciano was a nightmare turned loose in real life.’
    “Why don’t you start at the beginning, Brenda.”

    An hour and a half later, she sipped on a scotch and water in my fourth floor condo on Key Biscayne. I had become mermerized and consumed by her, not caring if I ever saw the sunrise. Her hand rested lightly on my knee as she drummed a tune with her fingers. A song of madness, I heard. She nuzzled her head on my chest and I started searching the curves of her body.

    She trembled at my touch, placing her lips on mine, exploring with her tongue. I picked her up in my arms, carried her to my bedroom, laying her gently on the comforter. Her eyes had closed and she fell in a wonderment of rest. I kissed her gently on her eyelids, pulled a small quilt over her and left the bedroom.

    Sitting in an armchair through the night, I turned to her story of how she had operated as an under cover agent for the DA in Miami, Joe Bosnik, a close friend of mine. And now, this lucious pulchritude had drawn me into her Frey. Strangely, when Brenda asked me to join in a battle against the major crime syndicate on the east coast, my thrist quickened for danger and victory against the cancer that thrived in Miami.

    Early dawn arrived, my resolve had hardened to the quest. But foremost in my mind, was enjoying the comforts that lay before me. If this turned into my final struggle, I wanted to know beforehand, the spoils of victory she offered.

    Brenda’s eyes opened, she raised her arms in welcome. As a helpless, winged prey drawn to a lethal flame, I entered her mystery, hopelessly entangled in her web. ‘God help me,’ I thought.

  43. margi33 says:

    I idled in the parking lot at work and flipped open my visor, checking my mouth for doughnut crumbs. Worthless, I just couldn’t resist that damn doughnut at the service station. So much for my calorie count; operation beach body was not going well so far.

    As I was picking my teeth, oblivious to the world, a black sedan pulled up next to me. I quit picking and grabbed some lipstick, pretending I was doing something non-disgusting all along. A man in the passenger seat with close cropped hair, a mustache and a cheesy grin motioned for me to roll my window down.

    Against my better judgment I followed his request.

    “Hey sexy, how are you today?” The slick-suited man said.

    Thoughts flew through my head. Do I know this person? Was this one of my husband’s goofy friends? Is this a joke? Why would he think I was sexy?

    I was never very quick with smart responses so I answered him with an expression on my face that probably said I was either deaf, dumb or both.

    “Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you lady in the white Corolla.” The man chuckled. He propped his elbow out of the window, leaning a little too close for comfort.

    “Do I know you?” was the best response I could come up with.

    The stranger smirked and shook his head in disbelief. “Honey, you don’t remember? Three weeks ago, The BB Club?”

    Oh yeah. Something clicked in the recesses of my mind. I had hoped to cover that memory – drown it in a deep fog to live with the other memories that deserved drowning. “Never let your hair down Sally” – that was me. I knew there was a reason I never crawled out of my shell and The BB Club was a prime example why.

    A night out with girlfriends had led to a few too many tequila shots. And tequila makes me amorous. Well, amorous would probably be an understatement. There was talk of dancing on the bar, skirts above my waist… oh, let’s just not think about that. And there was a gentleman, or at least I thought a gentleman, but beer goggles tend to have that effect; from the looks of him now, he was maybe a used car salesman – at best.

    Try as I might to find something slick to say in response, I came up empty.

    “How ‘bout a phone number sexy?” Cheeseball winked and ran his fingers through his greasy moustache.

    I wanted to curl into my floorboard and hide for the rest of the day. Instead my hands trembled as I slammed my transmission into reverse and zoomed out of the parking lot. I’ll just call in sick… I couldn’t risk this encounter. A one-time thing, a big mistake, God if my husband ever found out. And to think, THAT was the guy, my knight in shining armor. My mind was a vessel filled with shame. I couldn’t wait to crawl back into my boring shell – forever.

    • smallster21 says:

      Lol, ‘cheeseball’, what a creeper; even though your MC is an adulterer (I’m assuming she got it on with cheeseball), her personality made me like her, good job. Even though a cliche, I like your utilization of ‘my knight in shining armor’. Great way to add a subtle hint that her marriage is not that great. Makes me wonder what problems she is having with her husband.

  44. stevebolie says:

    The Mysterious Men Driving a What?

    On my way to work one morning I was the second car at a stop light. I looked to my left, just passing the time, and saw two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses and trying their best to look cool and important. Both of them looked my way and met my gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolled down his window and motioned for me to do the same. What happened next changed the course of my day and the weeks that followed.
    “Don’t you know,” he said, “that you are supposed to pull over and stop for a funeral procession to pass by?” I was taken aback by the question. Since \when do guys driving a funeral coach, with the lead car ahead and the whole procession behind, accost drivers on the way to the cemetery. The light changed and I drove on, steamed by the audacity of being accosted by two guys in a hearse of all things.. I disagree with the tradition anyway when it is in a city but I don’t make a big deal of it. This incident pushed me over the edge.
    No, not that edge. I didn’t run them off the road or burn my tires driving away from them. I did write a “letter to the editor” describing the incident and stating my opinion on the matter. That should have ended it but a nerve was struck and an uproar created. I became the butt of bad jokes, the victim of harassing letters and phone calls, and the subject of radio talk shows. The matter just wouldn’t die.
    The small city where I live and work is populated by people from the rural parts of the state. They brought their rural traditions with them trying to make things that work in small towns also work in the city.
    Of course the talk radio windbags jumped to the defense of “traditional values” that made our country great. “Don’t the deceased deserve this final respect?” they asked. Listeners agreed and the phone lines were flooded. Funeral directors were interviewed. Occasionally one would propose a different solution only to be skewered on live radio. One suggested that the procession be limited to seven cars. This brought cries of indignation. Legislators got in the act and passed a resolution on the matter.
    It all reached a fever pitch before the next “liberal” threat surfaced and the scandal I ignited faded.
    I just hope that when it is my body in the hearse and my family lined up behind, the other drivers follow tradition. I also hope I live l0ng enough that the “tradition” is a more sensible one so I don’t hold up traffic posthumously.\

  45. sadubabie says:

    “Excuse me. Excuse me Miss? Can you please tell us how to get to the airport?” I just kept looking through the tinted windows of my Honda Civic as the mysterious man talked, trying to decide if it was a good idea to roll down the window or not. He was still talking even though I didn’t roll it down.
    “We seem to have missed our exit and ended up over here. I’m in the car with this guy” he pointed to the other mysterious man wearing glasses, with his thumb, “who can’t take directions from a bloody GPS.” He smiled. He had a nice smile. I decided to roll down my window and told them, once the light turned green they could take the ramp on the left up to I-35, that the exit they needed was just one down from where we were.
    He smiled his really nice smile and looked at me for a few seconds before he spoke. It made my heart skip a beat. “Thank you,” he finally got out of his lips. Oh his lips. But before he or I could say anything else the light turned green. The other mysterious man, the one driving the car hit the gas and they were off.
    “Sadie, you’re so dumb,” I said to myself as I tapped myself on the forehead with my palm and laughed. I had about thirty minutes before I needed to be at work. I usually stopped by the coffee shop near work if I was early. I thought this morning would be a good time to go in and process what had just happened. I couldn’t get that mysterious passenger out of my head. His thick, curly, brown hair had been blowing in the wind. His lips were so voluptuous looking. I wanted his lips all over me.
    I took in a deep breath through my nose and let it out my mouth. I would never see him again. This made me a little sad and I decided to turn on the radio. There was some breaking news on the radio, I was trying my hardest to listen and get the mysterious man out of my head.
    I pulled into the parking lot of the coffee shop. I rolled down the windows after I shut the car off and started digging through my purse looking for my wallet. A car pulled into the parking spot next to mine. I didn’t pay attention to it; I kept digging through my purse gathering all the receipts together.
    “I couldn’t help myself,” I heard from the car next to me. “I wanted to see you again before I left. We followed you here. I hope you don’t mind?” It was the mystery men! “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” he continued. I was in shock but before I could say anything I heard it on the radio,
    “They are armed and dangerous! I repeat, they are armed and dangerous.” Then everything went black.

  46. douglangille says:

    ** This is a companion piece to my “Missing Shoe” response, titled “John’s Run”. You can find that here: http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/the-missing-shoe#comment-3396485 **

    SARAH’S CALL
    ===========

    Sarah’s heels echoed with rapid efficiency as she made her way across the lobby. Tucking a stray tuft of raven behind her ear she answered her cell.

    “Johnny.”

    “Hey, sis. What’s up?”

    She found a quiet bench outside the furthest chamber. Nothing was on the docket in that room for the rest of the day.

    “You were right. That bastard Alan just cornered me as I was leaving Kay’s. He just pulled up with his sunglass-glad meatheads in tow.”

    John knew the place. Sarah was a creature of many conflicting habits. Running was one. Kay’s corned beef on rye was another. He missed her. Travel didn’t suit him.

    “What did he say?”

    “That’s just it”. She lowered her voice as the session next over let out. “He didn’t come right out with it. Just waved me over and then started spouting the usual yada-yada about prosecutorial misconduct and making sure we understood his expectations. Dammit! I should have ignored him instead of letting him get under my skin.”

    “He threaten anything specific?”

    “No. Just that his brother was important and that the ‘public good’ would be best served if we favoured a certain outcome. Johnny, this is getting hard. I’m getting a little rattled. Are you sure we can pull this off?”

    “Absolutely. We got this. Billy is first. Then we’ll go after his brother.”

    “How’d things go up in the Cape?” she asked.

    “Christ, the son-of-a-bitch’s been busy scaring the shit out of everyone. Nothing we can prove of course. I’d love to nail him for tampering and shut him down.”

    Sarah didn’t say anything. He wasn’t doing a great job easing her nerves. He plowed on.

    “But I got her settled down, so we’re still good. The trip was worth it. Mason did his magic.”

    “Ok, good”. She stood and gathered her purse and portfolio, juggling them all in the way only a practiced mother can. “I have to go. The review of the remaining subpoenas won’t get done by themselves. A quick run on our special trail then home. Do you want me to swing by and pick up Ace? He probably needs a good stretch.”

    “That’s ok. I’ll be back in town by midnight and take him out to the woods in the morning. I’ll catch up with you in the office before lunch.”

    “Cool. I miss you John. This is getting crazy.”

    “I know. ‘Wonder-Twin powers activate’, right?” he said, trying to reassure her. “Shape of: a hammer”, he added.

    “Form of: a honey badger”, she responded, a small laugh escaping at the old joke.

    “The Maynards better watch out. We’re coming for them. Give Missy a kiss for me.”

    “Will do, John”.

    “Sarah,“ he paused. “Be careful. See you tomorrow.”

    “I will. Later.”

    She leaned against the wall for a minute and counted to ten. John always made her feel better and a little more grounded when shit started spinning up. This wasn’t their first big case together, but this one had a very different timbre to it. They had to play fast-and-loose just to keep up with the Maynard clan. It wasn’t always clear where the next play was or what depth of crap they’d have to wade through.

    She dropped the phone in her purse and picked up the gym bag and strung it over her free shoulder. It was going to be a busy afternoon.

  47. calicocat88 says:

    Okay, guys. Trying to get to know some of my characters so I may have used these in a few prompts before. Again, the length is daunting. Apparently I have a sickness that prevents me from keeping to the 500 word count.

    “Hi, Sweetie,” the man in black, the one with the oddly protruding chin and shifty mouth, stretched his neck out the idling Hummer window. His friend, the driver, was extremely pale in the rising sunlight and distinctly looking bored as he leaned his head against his hand, staring off into the clustering work traffic ahead. Charlie thought she spotted the cold, black handle of a gun sticking out his suit jacket.

    “Smile and nod,” came Dante’s voice from the back of the jeep. He and Will were wedged down into the floor space, a large green tarp pulled over their heads. Will was against the cover-up idea, but Charlie insisted that if she had to be the driver, it was her way or no way. She could hear Dante struggling his feet against the back of her seat. “Why are we stopped anyway?”

    “Red light,” Will’s voice was strained, all the usual irritation still present. “Charlie, ask him his name. Ask him where he’s from—“

    “Yeah,” said Dante. “You’re a woman. Use your…assets.”

    Charlie gawked. “You want me to flirt with him?” She cut her eyes at Averman chuckling in between popping his gum in the passenger seat beside her. “They’re trying to kill us!”

    “You have to distract him,” Will urged.

    “Oh, yeah,” Charlie said. “Why don’t I take off my top and flash him my boobs.”

    “If that’s what it takes,” Will said, with a hint of a smile playing in his tone. “Just do what you have to do to get them off our trail.”

    “Hey, sweetheart,” said the man in black pulling down his black mirror shades. He let his gaze lazily travel from her chest to her face. “We know you’re hiding Hunter. Give him to us and we won’t hurt you,” he looked past her inside the car. “And we might even let your red-headed friend go.”

    Averman smiled, flipping him the bird. “Suck it, bitc—“

    “Oh, God,” Charlie turned her attention back on the lines of cars zooming past. There weren’t many times that Charlie had driven in a city and those times she had nearly vomited up all her insides. She breathed in slow, counted to three, and then in a tight voice said, “Tell. Me. What. To. Do.”

    “Calm down,” Dante said. “When the light changes, pull into Turtle Creek mall.”

    The tension built up inside Charlie’s chest. The light wasn’t going to stay red forever. After that what was she supposed to do? Drag race into the mall’s parking lot where there would likely be a full-out war of the mentally altered? She was barely aware of Will switching positions in the back seat. He was facing the front of the jeep, his blond hair sticking out of the tarp and brushing the back of her arm, making her heart momentarily skip.

    “Not now, not now, not now…” She thought angrily to herself. Will’s and her twisted love life could not get in the way. Not this time, at least. She ignored the heat flooding her cheeks and slowly let her lips form a smile, trying to lean seductively out the window. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    The man in black turned and said something to his partner and then still smiling behind his sunglasses, stepped out the Hummer.

    “Oh, shit,” Charlie rolled up the window, unbuckled, and turned back looking over the car seat at Will and Dante. “He’s getting out, he’s getting out!” She looked back at the man in black in enough time to watch the light turn green for a spit second just before he waved a hand, turning the light back to red. Several cars behind them began blaring impatiently.

    “We’re going to die,” she thought. A clanking noise to her right caught her attention. Averman was digging through his duffle bag, all business, the sound of metal on metal coming from inside it.

    “Move over,” Will had torn off the tarp, his blue-green eyes wild with impending action. He was climbing to the front of the jeep into the driver’s seat, pulling Charlie onto his lap.

    “What are you doing?” Charlie asked, trying to hide the panic in her voice. Will was reaching around her, locking his hands around the wheel. “We need to get out of here.”

    “They’ll follow us as long as we run,” Will said. “The only way to get rid of them is to—“

    “Blow the bastards brains out,” said Averman. He was loading a wicked looking shotgun. Charlie still couldn’t get over his orange freckles and taped together glasses shoved way up his nose.

    “Toss me that duffle, will you?” Dante smacked Averman on the back of the head and both men exchanged looks radiating of pure excitement. Charlie fought down the bile rising in her throat.

    “Do you trust me,” Will’s breath brushed against her ear. She craned her neck to look at his young, expectant face. It was beyond her how someone with such a wicked past could still look so innocent. Despite his secrets, she would follow him anywhere.

    “Yes,” she whispered, and something flickered behind Will’s eyes, something wistful and longing. She wanted to be a part of him, for him to pull her into him and—

    The windshield shattered causing a storm of broken glass raining down inside the jeep. Averman cussed as the man in black stood on top the jeep’s hood, his fist pulled back and bloody. “You knew this was going to happen sooner or later, William Hunter,” said the man in black. “There’s always a price that comes with rebellion.” The last thing Charlie heard was herself scream.

    • douglangille says:

      Definitely in the middle of something. Kinda lost. Great dialog and action though.

    • margi33 says:

      I enjoyed the action as well. Flow was a little hard to follow at points, but not bad at all. I am wondering though if Charlie’s really going to be thinking about sex when she’s about to die… sounds more like a man’s thoughts to me ;)… but maybe that’s her personality.

    • smallster21 says:

      I enjoyed reading this, makes me wonder why this group of characters is in trouble. Suggestions, this scene is bogged down with character descriptions, which slowed me down while reading it. Cutting some of that out would help increase the tension, in my opinion. For example: “Blow the bastards brains out,” said Averman. He was loading a wicked looking shotgun. Charlie still couldn’t get over his orange freckles and taped together glasses shoved way up his nose.’ I don’t think that Charlie is going to be observing what Averman looks like when he is pulling a gun out. And, it really slows down the progression of the story. The character pulls out a gun, shouts he’s going to blow someone’s brains out and then Charlie tells us he has orange freckles and taped glasses. It just doesn’t flow.

      And, there is something different about the world you’ve created here and the only glimpse of that I get is when one of the men in black waves his hand and the light turns red. I think these aspects should be interwoven into the story more. And, of course that might be because this scene is from something you’ve been working on, so you might have done that already.

      And, I agree with Margi too on that I don’t believe Charlie would be admiring her love interest with a gun pointed at her head. And, I did enjoy it, I wouldn’t have taken the time to write a lengthy critique if I didn’t appreciate your efforts and the passion you seem to exhibit for your characters you are working on fleshing out and getting to know better. I like that. Good luck!

      • calicocat88 says:

        Thanks guys :) You know, I still consider myself a beginner and I really appreciate the pointers. I NEED them. Sometimes I can’t see what I’m actually writing because my brain is in the way and it’s so frustrating to feel what you want on the page, but the juice that comes out doesn’t satisfy the craving. I think as writers we are sort of reliant on constructive criticism because we need to see our writing from another pair of eyes. Again, thanks guys :) It really appreciate the help.

        • smallster21 says:

          Definitely, I agree. I’m working on a series, and I’ve been reviewing the book one drafts, and sometimes its hard, because as the author you know the background, history, etc. and I’ll forget to work certain details in, because I already know what’s going on! I made all my character histories, outlines, scene breakdowns, plot lines, etc. before I wrote it, which I am not sure was a good idea. Sometimes its good to discover as your writing and then go back and restructure it as you feel is necessary. Anyway, my point is, I handed samples out to a few people and the feedback and criticism helps sooooooo much! Fresh eyes are key to making a piece perfecto!

  48. Ray barreled down the sidewalk, muttering under his breath about inherent stupidity and thinking nothing of the ominous, lonely car in front of his appartment. If he arrived late to work for a third time this month, his manager wouldn’t hesitate to kick him out. No job meant no money, no money meant no school, and no school meant—

    “No future? Well, aren’t we feeling dramatic this morning.”

    Ray stumbled to a stop and spun around, fixing his gaze on that out-of-place black car. Creepy, he decided, his brow creasing as he noticed the man in the passenger seat. He rested his arm on the rolled-down window, fiddling with a pair of black sunglasses that he studied with unfathomable interest.

    “Quit staring, son,” the man ordered, not even glancing at Ray. “It’s rude.”

    Nodding with slow disbelief, Ray mumbled, “Um, yes, sir” without any attempt to change his behavior. This peculiar disturbance riveted him, demanding he investigate. So as the minutes ticked past, counting down to his financial destruction, Ray stood on the sidewalk and asked one of the most ridiculous questions he would ever compose.

    “Excuse me, sir, but did you… that is, I mean to ask…” He shook his head with a flabbergasted smile. “Sorry, but I could’ve sworn you finished my thought back there.”

    The man’s mouth crawled into a grin. “You sound surprised.”

    “It’s not exactly normal,” Ray reasoned. The logical part of his mind screamed at him, said he should stop being so unfazed but this madness, and Ray agreed that it was unnerving to be this calm. But all the same, he shoved the thought aside. More than any fear of the unknown, he was intrigued, as if mind reading wasn’t so incompatible with reality.

    “Isn’t it?” the man challenged, unclear whether he was responding to Ray’s spoken words or not-so-private musings. Then, with a sudden change of tactic, he added, “Get in the car, Ray.”

    Ray instinctively withdrew a step. Perhaps recalling phrases from his childhood was odd right now, but all he could think of was his mother pleading time and again that he never, ever go anywhere with a stranger.

    “Why?” he asked, his voice wavering more than he felt was acceptable for a young man of twenty-two. “I’m already late for work.”

    Slowly, with an air of pride about the power in his hand, the man held out a small, wrinkled piece of paper. “Because of this.”

    Every ounce of logic, reason, wisdom, and sense dragged Ray backwards, and as he fought against them to struggle forward, he began to understand how curiosity could kill the cat. It was truly amazing how a mere desire for knowledge could override the rest of the nonsense in his brain. And so it happened that as his watch ticked past the point of no return, Ray read the note that would change his life.

    He remained quiet for a second, face pale and fingers shaking, before giving the man a look of insane determination.

    “Let’s go.”

  49. DMelde says:

    Rambo Baggins was Bilbo Baggins distant relative, a once-removed third cousin who was told at the time of his removal to never, ever come back. Rambo, however, didn’t do as he was told, because there he was on Bilbo’s doorstep, ringing Bilbo’s door bell, casting furtive glances around Bilbo’s neighborhood, and knocking frantically on Bilbo’s door.
    Bilbo couldn’t believe it as he peered through the door peephole. “Oh, how I wish I still had my ring.” Bilbo thought. He imagined himself stepping quietly up behind Rambo with a bat in his hands. His stomach made a small gurgling noise in protest as Bilbo slowly digested the situation.
    “Never isn’t over yet Rambo.” Bilbo shouted through the door. “Go away!”
    “I didn’t mean to come.” Rambo stammered in response. “Two men stopped me on the outskirts of town. They called to me from a cart. They said they’re from Mordor. They’re looking for you Bilbo.”
    “Warrior men from Mordor?” Bilbo asked. “What do they want with me?”
    Not warriors Bilbo, something far worse.” Rambo was trembling now. In a hushed tone he said, “They’re lawyers.”
    “Lawyers!” Bilbo gasped. “What kind of evil sorcery is this?”
    “They said they represent the estate of Sméagol Golem. They said they’re here to settle the matter of some property you stole from him years ago.”
    “The ring?!” Bilbo said. “I don’t have the ring. My nephew lost it.”
    “They want it back. That’s all they said. Please open the door Bilbo. I’ve apologized a thousand times for what happened the last time I was here. It was an accident.”
    “Accident?” Bilbo spat as he opened the door. “I’ve never heard a duck cry before and I hope I die before I ever hear one cry again.”
    “As I’ve explained before, the goat tripped when I startled him.” Rambo said.
    “All I could see were little webbed feet waving around up in the air. All I could hear were her cries for help.” Bilbo reminisced.
    “The goat fell on the duck before I could catch him.” Rambo pleaded.
    Rambo had now explained himself for the thousandth and one time.
    “Okay Rambo, I should run out of town, but I’ll make a deal with you instead. I don’t want to talk to those men, so if you help me get rid of them, then all is forgiven.”
    Rambo nodded his head in agreement.
    “Good, now here’s what I want you to do…”
    Rambo stood on the side of the road and watched as the now familiar cart with the two lawyers approached him. Lawyers fought with words, not swords, so no matter their size Rambo felt confident in what he was about to do. He felt the weight of the bat hidden behind his back, and with his other hand he waved to the men in the cart.

  50. MCKEVIN says:

    This was a good start to develop a full blown story. You have some good ideas here.

  51. rubystambaugh says:

    I’m on my way to work. I pull up at the stop light. In the car next to me – two guys dressed in dark suits and wearing sunglasses. They stare back. The passenger rolls down his window.
    “Are you Ruby?” he says.
    “Yeah,” I say.
    “Are you the one trying to write the Writers Digest Weekly Writing Prompt? The one about seeing us in the car next to you?”
    “Yeah.”
    “And I say something and you’re supposed to write it down and then whatever happens after that?”
    “Yeah.”

    He adjusts his sunglasses. “First let me ask you – are you going to make any money off whatever I say?”
    “Money? You mean like writing an interview article? No. Why?”
    “So why are you doing this? Spending your time racking your brain to come up with words and sentences and paragraphs that have no chance of making money?”
    “Because this is a writing exercise.”
    “Exercise. Do you do them a lot?”
    “All the time.”
    “Do you enjoy doing these exercises?”
    “Well, not really. But the way I look at it, it’s good practice.”
    “Practice for what?”
    “For the day I get good enough to make some money from writing.”
    “Any idea when that day will finally arrive?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Have you ever tried to get anything published? Make some money for all your labors?”
    “Oh no.”
    He lets out a long sigh.

    “How long have you been doing this writing for free?”
    “All my life.”
    “All your life? And never a penny for it?”
    “Not one cent.”
    “So free writing is fun?”
    “Yeah. Well, I guess. It’s what I’ve always done.”
    “‘Always done.’” He looks at the driver. The driver shakes his head.

    “Okay Ruby. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this fun writing prompt you’d probably rack your brains over and never make a penny off of, so let me save you some time. Do you have something to write on?”
    “Of course.” I hand him my pen and notepad. He scribbles furiously.
    “Here – put this in your freebie prompt,” he says, and hands it back.
    “Thanks a lot for helping me out,” I say.
    “No problem. Always willing to help out a fellow writer who thinks it’s fun to give away his creative efforts for free.”

    They laugh. And they drive off. I pull over to the curb and read his notepad message:

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” – Samuel Johnson.

  52. Leond says:

    I don’t know how much I really saw at first, or how much I possibly could have seen. It was only out of the corner of my eye, after all. I think I might have just gotten a sense. A sense of something dark and very wrong. Maybe a sense of death, but again, I can’t be sure. And as soon as I turned my head, it was gone.
    All that was there was a car; nothing to excite that weird feeling I just had. It was a dark blue Nissan, nothing particularly strange about it to the eye. But something did seem off. Something I couldn’t quite place. And something was certainly off about the two people in it. The driver seemed pale and frantic. The man in the passenger seat looked cold and distant, as if he was waiting for something that couldn’t be avoided. Suddenly, the pale man caught my eye and frantically rolled down the window.
    “Tell her I love her!” I heard him say. “Tell her this is for her.”
    I was on the point of saying something back when I heard someone behind me honking. I looked up and saw that the light was green. I started to drive. When I looked in my mirror, I didn’t see the car.
    I was just telling myself to ignore it when I heard the voice on my other side.
    “Tell her I love her,” it repeated. “Tell her this is for her.”
    This time, I had a closer view of the man in the passenger seat. He was smiling, with a smile that terrified me more than anything I had ever seen before, as if everything evil had been condensed into one horrid expression. I looked at the car in front of me to see if I could drive ahead. I couldn’t, and unwillingly, I looked back at the blue car.
    Suddenly, I saw that the opposite side of the car was caved in, and covered in blood. Blood was streaming from the pale man’s face. And yet, somehow, he continued to drive. The other man merely smiled.
    I pulled off of the street as soon as I could and drove blindly. It wasn’t beside me anymore, because I was in a one lane road, but it was in the mirrors. And I don’t mean that it was following me. When I looked into one mirror, I saw the face of the man in the passenger seat. In the other, I saw the face of the pale man, bleeding.
    I was transfixed by these two mirror images, switching between them wildly until I saw movement. I looked up and saw that same car crossing in front of me, with only the pale man driving it. It was too late to stop or even slow down. I plowed into the driver’s side window, and just before passing out, saw the car and the man’s head just as they had been in the mirror. And I heard that voice one more time.
    “Tell her I love her. Tell her this is for her.”

    

 I met her as I was leaving the hospital. She was there to get surgery. Surgery which, I overheard from two nurses, was being paid for by her husband’s life insurance. As soon as I heard those words, I knew who it was.
    “Of course,” she said, when I had finished the story. “Of course he did it for me.” She looked at me. “Don’t blame yourself for what happened. You were just a pawn he had to use in order to make his final exchange.”
    
 “Do you know… do you know who the man in the passenger seat was?”
    
 “Of course. The pawn he gave himself to. But the exchange won’t do him any good. Hell has no place for a man who would give his soul for love.”

  53. randi100 says:

    “I can’t believe they caught up to me that fast” I thought.
    My colleagues, in the dark suits, pulled up along side of me, rolled down their window and said “We can’t believe you slapped the President!”

    It all started that morning, my first day of work at the Secret Service. Though a strange series of events ( three agents with the flu, one at the funeral of his mother, and two thrown out do to being caught smoking pot), I was on to protect the President.

    The day was going well, a variety of meetings at the White House and a luncheon. No big deal. I was standing outside the door to the oval office and out came the President. I followed all protocol. He was on his way to the private residence. I, of course, was close by. I then realized that we were in the hallway alone. A quiet day at the White House is rare. I looked at the President as he looked out the large window that faced Pennsylvania Ave. He quickly turned around and walked briskly towards me. I thought something was wrong, that he saw something that scared him out on the busy Washington DC street. Within a moment he was right in my face. I felt his hand brush against my arm and then he was kissing me! I forgot everything, my brain went blank. On reflex I slapped him across the face, just as my boss was walking up the hallway. He didn’t see the advance made by the President, he just saw my hand hit the President. I ran from the White House, got into my car and sped off.

    My colleagues caught up to me. I pulled over and so did they. Their jaws were on the floor. “Why did you slap the President?” They asked.
    “He hit on me!” I exclaimed
    With that another car pulled up. My boss.
    He looked at me with disappointment. Without asking I handed over my Secret Service identification and my gun. He took them, got in his car and drove away.
    I got into my car too and went home.
    When I got home I poured myself a glass of wine. I turned on the computer, did some research, and made a list.
    “Hmmmm, should I call NBC or CNN first?” I thought with a grin on my face.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      This sounds like the next episode of Scandal the TV series. You used 398 words and it would have been interesting to what would have happened next. 1) The stations could have had a money bidding war to get your exclusive 2) Two undercover agents develop a plan to kill you so you won’t exposed the president or 3) A national APB (All Points Bulletin) is put out on you claiming you are deranged and accused the president of the United States of falsehoods. You become a female fugitive always one step ahead the secret service. Good job and I can’t wait to see more your stuff in the future.

    • douglangille says:

      This was neat. Seemed to go a little fast though. It’d be great to read a follow-up.

  54. catoosaflash says:

    “Phenomenal. How can you meet my gaze while I’m wearing sunglasses?”

  55. catoosaflash says:

    “This is phenomenal. How can you meet my gaze when I’m wearing sunglasses?”

  56. Gbanni says:

    “Did you happen to see a 1999 Red Toyota 4 Runner go by?” But in my mind I thought he asked me, “Did you plah plah see a red floor flunger go by?”

    To which I answered, ” Uh, no!”

    They took off so fast I thought I was seeing black lightening. But not.

    I watched them as they weaved in and out of traffic and then somewhere way up ahead of me I see lights and a tinge of red…

    Stopped in the middle of the freeway, the dark car with it’s red lights still flashing a top and smoke rising had smashed into this Red Toyota 4 Runner. The crash was horrendous, looked like all were dead.

    I drove by slowly and tried to see, but all the windows in both vehicles were tinted. I turned on the radio thinking something might be on…nothing about the accident. But maybe in a short while. I went into work that day and wondered all day about that accident. What are the odds, I thought.

    I started thinking that it was some sort of investigation gone awry. Then I thought it was aliens who were trying to abduct the people in the Red Toyota. I never heard a word about what happened.

    Eventually I gave up on wondering anymore. Just another one of those weird things that happen to which we have no explanation whatsoever.

    Really?

  57. MCKEVIN says:

    “Excuse me; your dress is hanging out the door.”
    The other detective in the driver’s seat laughed his ass off as I died from embarrassment.
    “Thanks.” I said and stared ahead. I waited for them to move, but they didn’t. Cars pulled out around us and I pulled over. The unmarked police car followed and the two detectives exited. I hadn’t done anything, so what could they want.
    “Is everything alright?” The detective from the passenger side asked.
    “Why wouldn’t it be?” I fiddled with car papers hoping they’d go away.
    “Just being neighborly.” The driver said as he peeked in my backseat then returned to their car.
    “Don’t you have terrorists or bank robbers to catch?”
    “You know about that kind of action?” He smiled.
    I said nothing as he examined the rear of my car. I cranked up the car and sped out into traffic. I saw the detective jump in their car as I made a left turn. I’d driven seven blocks when blue lights flashed in my mirrors.
    “Driver, pull over! NOW!”
    I kept going because I knew I hadn’t done anything. They pulled besides me and blew their horn. I kept driving. Then, they darted in front of me, forcing me to park.
    The handsome cop leaped out again and I noticed he had a sexy ass walk.
    “So, you like playing games? Me too!” He said.
    I stared ahead because he was smiling and I didn’t want to smile back. Peripherally, he was built like a brick shit house.
    “’Hey, jus ‘ roll ya window down and let me talk to ya.”
    I faced him and saw he had the whitest teeth.
    “C’mon, let me talk to ya.”
    I felt myself breaking.
    “I don’t bite. I mean, unless you wants me to.”
    That did it. I couldn’t keep a straight face and rolled the window down.
    “Was that so hard?” He said.
    “No.”
    “All you had to do was pull in your dress.” (Laughing.)
    “It’s not my dress.”
    “I knows that. What would a man be doing with a dress? Ya know, unless you’re into to that.”
    “I’m not.”
    Silence…
    That long minute of silence between us broke when his partner blew the horn.
    “My name’s Douglas Petit. Would you like to go out sometimes ah ….?”
    “Tracy.”
    “Tracy?”
    “You gotta a number Douglas Petit?”
    “911.” He said with bedroom eyes.
    The horn sounded again.
    “Yeah, right.” I said starting the car again.
    “Jus kidd’n, 312 555 1212. Looks, I got to go. Call and we’ll do lunch okay?’
    “Sure.”
    “You’re not gonna call.”
    “I said I would.” (Laughing)
    “That’s what they all say.”
    “I’m not they!”
    The horn sounded again and he backed away.
    “If you don’t call, I’ll run your plates and find you.” He laughed and rushed back to his car.
    “We’ll see!”
    I smiled and wasn’t sure if what happened was a good thing yet, but I was glad I’d offered to drop my niece’s prom dress to the cleaners.

  58. Ryan says:

    “We were just on our way to the Men In Black 3 Premiere and were looking for a balding morbidly obese scum-baggy looking kind of guy to go as Zed. You want in?”

    I slowly rolled up my window and tried my hardest to hold back the tears. I then called off work saying I had a death in the family and went home where there was half of a cheesecake left in my fridge ready to comfort me.

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