Give Them a Hand

Writing Prompt: Give Them a Hand

Write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters’ hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?

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91 thoughts on “Give Them a Hand

  1. OofItsMe

    (Note: Haha, sorry if this isn’t the best. I’m like, in middle school, I’m not that good with literature. Casper and Indigo are some of my characters, so, I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about them! Have a nice day. -Juliette)

    It was an average Wednesday, a bit after school. In the time squeezed in between dismissal and the present time, the girls had managed to finish their math homework. Casper and Indigo hated Math. Not only because it was extremely difficult, but because of their math teacher, Mr. Howell, who decided to make the difficult subject even harder, by being one of the meanest teachers the females have ever had in their entire school career. Which, most of their teachers, gym coaches, or even instructors (If you want to be fancy) were, surprisingly, very nice. Anyways, moving on, two end-of-the-year 8th graders were sitting down, skipping stones by a pond, By ‘two end-of-the-year 8th graders’, I mean Casper and Indigo. Casper was a female short for her age, who was spunky, always wore a strawberry red jacket, and was best friends with Indigo since the second grade. Indigo was a female tall for her age, who was shy, introverted, and was best friends, with Casper. Casper was Indigos only friend. “Come on, bet you can skip farther than me!” Casper said a bit annoyed that rather than skipping stones with her best friend, Indigo was spacing out, fidgeting with her long, lanky fingers, and doing, well, nothing really. Indigo was thinking. Baby blue nail polish. That’s what she was looking at, though it was definitely not her main focus. “What’s wrong?” Casper stopped skipping the itty-bitty rocks, finding time to sit next to her friend. Casper snapped out of her trance, responding immediately, in a defensive tone: “N-Nothings wrong!” she calms down a bit “I– I was thinking” And when Indigo said that, Casper gave her a not-so-serious face, saying simply “I have been friends with you for, uh” She counts her fingers “Since 2nd grade. I know when somethings off”

    “What’s wrong?”

    Indigo accepted her death at that point. She would have to explain what happened at the gym, and Indigo was terrible at explaining things. Though, she half-trusted that her friend wouldn’t make fun of her and her lack of explanation skill. After a sigh, Indigo began. “So at my gym period, while I was getting ready to step into the gym, I-I was in the locker room, I didn’t have a hair tie, so I was going to ask Summer for one.” Summer was a girl of average height in Indigos gym period. She was a girl with a lisp, artistic skill, and spare hair ties. “Continue,” Casper confirms with a nod. “Um, so, when I was going to ask for one, I realized my hands were sweaty, and I didn’t want to touch her with sweaty hands, so I told her to just put it into my palm. Then she was all like ‘Woah what’s wrong?’ or something and I was shaking and shE FELT MY SWEATY HANDS, CASPER”
    “Jesus Christ”
    “I-I’m not good at talking to people, Casp”
    “Ignoring your terrible stutter, you’re talking to me, semi-normally”
    “That’s because you’re my friend, you-” Indigo pauses “I was about to say something really rude, but now I don’t want to”
    “What were you going to say?”
    “That’s a shallow cuss word, Indie”
    “I don’t want to cuss! I’m not immature!”
    “Jeez, don’t be so defensive” Casper stood up as Indigo did as well. Casper suddenly remembers how tall Indigo really is, and huffs “Freakin’ giant, you.”

    “I come from a tall family”
    “I see that. Indiana”
    “Why are you calling me Indiana?”
    “Your name is Indigo, and your last name is Jones. Sounds like Indiana Jones to me”
    “I-” Indigo didn’t say another word.


  2. Seaside Susan

    Sunday September 2, 2018

    I had to work the brunch buffet today. I got assigned the waffle station. There is nothing worse than making waffles for 4 straight hours. The only thing that makes it interesting is watching the hands that reach for the waffles. I never look at faces, unless the hands tell me it will be worth my while.
    The majority of people who come through my station have plain hands. There are five average fingers with regular nails that may or not be clipped or filed; some with rings and some without. Maybe it isn’t fair to judge the character of a person by their hands, but I figure it is at least as good as deciding by what clothes someone is wearing or some other social norm.

    Today there were exactly three sets of hands that caught my attention.

    The first two came together. I often see adult hands helping children’s hands lift the tongs and take a waffle but today was different. A tiny hand, covered in age spots and skin so thin you could see every little vein was held gently by the strong stable hand of a man. This was new, so I took a moment and looked up. There in front of me was a wisp of a woman. She had the look of a dancer, but she was at least eighty years old. She held herself with grace and poise and the man standing behind her could have been her dance partner. She leaned into him and trusted him to support her as though he were preparing to lift her over his head. The man was well dressed and looked to be much younger, and you could see a hint of family resemblance between them. Watching the way the two moved together made me want to know what music they heard between them.

    The other set of hands was less interesting, but I have a ritual. I always thank my last customer of the day. I start with the hands and look up to see who got the last waffle. Today, the hands were as plain as could be. They were those of a young woman, with well-kept but not manicured nails, a small filigree ring on her right hand and a scar on her thumb. I often wonder, when I see scars, what could have caused it. As I looked up I noticed she was looking at me; she was waiting to see if I noticed her. Those average hands were a lie. In front of me was wife. She didn’t know it yet, but when I looked up I saw the face of my destiny. I glanced back down and saw the hands that would someday hold my children. I looked back at her face, held her gaze in mine and said, “Thank you for dining with us today, might I join you?”

    That was seven hours ago.

    We are having breakfast again tomorrow.

  3. James ODae


    Dr. Riley’s right hand was average size, soft, with long fingers. Calluses in specific areas of his palm, rough to the touch. An accomplished neurosurgeon, acclaimed amateur golfer, and pianist. The trained skill and dexterity in Dr. Riley’s fingers were invaluable. What was valuable about Dr. Riley’s hand, to Trent, was the access it granted to the research lab via the biometric hand scanner.

    Trent’s own clumsy hands were shaking, adrenaline keeping him wired, and a healthy dose of fear setting in. He fumbled Dr. Riley’s severed hand as he reached the hand scanner. He quickly picked it up and checked the pump cuff that he’d attached to the hand’s wrist. The thick metal bracelet was still humming. His own invention. It pumped warmed blood in and out of the severed hand, mimicking a pulse to fool the hand scanner.

    “You’ll never see your work again,” Riley had told him when he’d fired Trent. “Your unquestionable lack of professional integrity won’t take you far.”

    The scanner glowed bright orange in the afterhours of the building’s empty hallway. Trent pressed Riley’s warm hand against the reader, and waited.

    “Your access to the building, Lab, and servers have been revoked as of immediately,” Riley had continued, his words playing over in Trent’s mind.

    The loud beep from the scanner was jarring. The door to the Lab unlatched. Trent pressed in, passing eerie LED lights on the machines whirring in the dark. He made his way to his work station. It had already been stripped, his computer and papers gone. Not worried, he opened the top drawer of his desk, and reached under the drawer. He felt what he was looking for, scotch taped to the underside of the drawer. His thumb drive. Always back up your work.

    “The ethical lines that you’re willing to cross for results is not behavior the board can condone. You’ve put the company in Jeopardy. My Company, Trent,” Riley had fumed. “Get the fuck out. Don’t come back. The Authorities have been notified and will be investigating your work.”

    With what he came for in hand, the adrenaline plateaued and he felt a wave of anxiety peel off. He turned to leave, but in a moment of overconfidence, set Riley’s hand on his desk, propping it up with the base of the pump cuff. He walked out after he bent all the hand’s fingers down, aside from the middle one.

    “What’s that in your hand?” Riley had said, when Trent didn’t leave his office earlier that day.

    At last, all his hard work, secure. All those years of research and development and experiments and tests and failures and successes and — what, he was just supposed to start over? Nope. Riley was going to take it all, cut him off and set him up to locked away. These were Trent’s breakthroughs. His brilliance.


    “You there!” A deep voice yelled into the dark lab. A large silhouette in the lab doorway lit a flashlight, illuminating Trent’s face. “Show me your hands!”

    1. dragonchef

      Talk about a D’Oh! moment. But, of course, if Trent wasn’t caught then it wouldn’t have taken the authorities long to figure out that the dead hand with the fickle finger salute was on top of Trent’s own desk.
      Pretty good take on the prompt James. I liked the flashback conversation spaced in between Trent’s vengeful misadventure. Thanks for the read.

    2. Bushkill

      Your introduction to the dr.s hand and then mentioning it as s veered was brilliantly done. I loved it. Good piece of work, here. You also end nicely with the line about rais d hands, full circle. Gotta like that too.

  4. Plastic Flamingo

    They do not have much. They have each other. And often that is enough. In their studio, naked bodies on the matrass. His hands tracing skin, sending shivers down her spine with callouses. Rough fingertips on smooth thighs. Her hands caressing him, leaving ink stains wherever she goes. Marks left unintentionally. Claiming nevertheless.
    The mornings are filled with pen scratching on paper. A door opening and closing. She goes to work and he returns. The afternoons filled with fingers on strings. It can get lonely. They do not have much. But the evenings are theirs.
    She sketches his hands. For once they are still. Music suspended. She has one eye closed. Fingers in the air measuring space. He bends over, lips on nails. Tomorrow he will taste the black underneath, pouring coffee for strangers. And when her wrists get sore she looks up, traces paper fingers. They have the evenings. For now, that has to be enough.

  5. Viv Insanis

    The Race
    I stared at my hands as they pushed on the steering wheel in front of me. I saw the small scars that littered the fingers of both. I didn’t remember the story behind every one, but I didn’t need to. Most had been caused in times like this.
    Shaking my head, I looked out at the track. Would this be another mistake? The lights in front of me counted down. My foot slammed down on the gas pedal and my hands tightened on the wheel. I was sure I would leave a mark either on the wheel or my hands. I looked at the rearview mirror. He was as tense as I was. Did he mean what he’d said? Did he want me gone? I squeezed my eyes shut for just a second on the straight track. I needed to focus.
    I saw the first turn coming up and it took everything I had not to jerk the wheel. I’d never been very good at handling stress. I shoved my hands tighter to the steering wheel and leaned them to the right before allowing them back into their previous position. I looked back at him. He was farther back. Did that mean he hadn’t meant it? I focused back on the road. My hands were stiff.
    My eyes drifted and my hands clenched as I saw that he was closer than he was before. Maybe he had meant it, or he couldn’t make up his mind. I tried to enjoy the ride. If it was the last time I would get to race on this track, I would like to enjoy it. My grip didn’t loosen.
    I looked up at him. My foot eased ever so slightly off of the gas. Testing. I was giving him a chance to pass me up. I’d know what it meant if he did, and because I’d entered into his life out of the blue, because he deserved better than for me to torment him like I did, I’d let it happen. I just wished it wouldn’t.
    His speed didn’t change, but his hands squeezed the wheel. I could see it from here. I took the next turn simply by muscle memory. He didn’t pass me up. Despite the chance I’d given him, he didn’t pass me, though it looked like he had tried. We’d raced a million times, though, and I knew better. He wasn’t trying, and that shouldn’t have made me smile, but it did. It made me smile and sag with relief for a moment. My hands slackened and a chuckle escaped my lips. I smirked before adjusting my grip. If he was going to pretend to try, I should make it easy for him. My foot lowered on the gas and I sped up. Looking back, I swear I saw him smile as he kept pace with me. Maybe this would be fun.

    1. dragonchef

      Hi Viv –
      Interesting race theme, though i had absolutely no idea what it was about other than two people racing each other.

      And now for the piece de resistance: Unless body parts are subject to involuntary movements, i.e.: eyes twitched, hands or legs shook or spasm, stomach roiled . . . They do not do things by themselves, i.e.: pushed on the steering wheel, press on the gas, grip the steering wheel . . .
      In these instances you the narrator or first person do these things: I gripped the wheel so hard my knuckles turned white; I slammed my foot on the gas pedal and the car lurched forward. Unless, of course, you are going for the horror movie/story effect and your body parts have suddenly developed minds of their own and are taking over, a la Clive Barker’s “The Body Politic.”

      Just a word of caution.

  6. ReathaThomasOakley

    Marge and Arlee
    (Started with an earlier prompt, ended here.)

    “Drat! Drat! Double drat it all!”

    Arlee hesitated with one foot in the mud room, the other on the back porch and wondered which way to go.

    “Uh, Marge?” He called. “Everything okay?”

    “Oh, Arlee, you’re finally home.”

    “Well, yes, couldn’t find the right tree spikes and if I don’t. . .” Arlee stopped just inside the kitchen and stared at his wife at the table, two pencils and her glasses in her hair, the old college dictionary by her left elbow, three yellow legal pads spread out in front of her, and something foul smelling bubbling on the stove. Spray cans and what looked like most of the cupboard contents covered the island. “Dear? Can I give you a hand, or something?”

    “Disrespect or neglect or indifference, what do you think?” She scratched her forehead with the ball point in her hand, left a blue line next to the others. “I wanted to use insouciance, but how can you use a dictionary if you don’t know how to spell a word?” Arlee ventured a few more feet into the room.

    “Spell check?” He gestured toward the computer on the desk under the window.

    “Oh, Arlee!” Marge wailed. “That’s the other issue I’m dealing with. I can’t remember the—“

    “Didn’t Nathan write the password down for you?” Arlee smiled at the memory of their redheaded grandson patiently explaining Word.

    “If you’d let me finish. I put it in a really good place, so good I can’t find it. Because this is an emergency, I called him.”

    “You called the school? Oh, Marge, you didn’t.” Arlee pulled out a chair and sat.

    “I did, but can you believe it, second graders have a field trip today, so I’m back to the dark ages.” She indicated the messy tabletop.

    “Marge, dear, what is this all about? Please, just take a breath and tell me.”

    “Well, remember I told you I was going to tackle that corner in the basement this week?” Arlee didn’t, but nodded anyway. “I was so pleased when I found a box that I don’t think has been opened since we moved here.”

    “My goodness, that’s nearly thirty years ago.”

    “That’s why I didn’t want to put it off any longer, at our ages, well, you know.” She sighed, then smiled. “Oh, Arlee, you can imagine how excited I was to discover what I thought I’d lost.” He couldn’t, but nodded again. “Remember how I used to clip household tips from all the women’s magazines?” Arlee didn’t move. “Well, I must have packed them, and the panty hose, put the box in that dark corner, and forgot it.”

    He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t stop himself. “Panty hose?”

    “That’s what’s on the stove.” Arlee closed his eyes, wished he’d stopped for coffee at McDonalds. “I’d saved them because one tip said to cut off the legs to braid into a rug, but if they were different colors I could dye them with tea or coffee, natural things you know.” She frowned. “But, because I’d had the last of the coffee, I just dumped the grounds on top of the legs. I fear I’ve made a mistake.”

    “Marge, Dear, what about all this? He tapped the dictionary. “And, that?” He pointed to the island.

    “Another tip suggested using vegetable oil spray on knife blades so sticky stuff wouldn’t. You know how Nathan loves Rice Krispy treats, but those marshmallows, oh, my.”


    “Oh, Arlee, I was trying to be smart and efficient, so I just went ahead and sprayed everything.”

    Ah, he thought, that explained the scissors, the knives, including his best carver, the cheese grater, both food processors, his grill utensils, muffin tins, but. . . ?

    “But, what are you writing?”

    “Letters, two letters to two major companies, but I can’t seem to find words strong enough to express my displeasure and frustration. Now, I will admit, some of it might be my fault, because I’d misplaced my glasses.”

    “In your hair.”

    “Oh, yes.” She felt in her curls. “But, still, it’s just poor customer service to manufacture both Pam and Pledge in the same size cans, both with yellow lids.” She started writing again. “Arlee, don’t you agree?”

    1. Bushkill


      Yep, he shoulda stopped for coffee. And a danish. And brought one home for her as well. What a morning! Sometimes all we husbands can do is nod and be supportive. Our natural instinct to fix things doesn’t do us any good at all in these situations. Or, rather, that’s my take based on my experience.

      And dinner out. Yes, that often helps move past the incident.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        If I were there as this story developed. I would have been polite and slowly walking backwards, as well as looking at my smart phone to locate where the nearest state run mental institution was located. There is stopping a woman.when she mimics a run-a-way train.even if you throw your body across the tracks.

    2. writer_sk

      Reatha, interesting. I liked seeing more of Marge’s personality come out.

      Is the flakiness or odd decision-making something the character does as part of her personality or is it just a whim she was on?

      Very effective how Arlee couldn’t remember several of her projects – especially when his reaction was to just stand there in response.

      Sometimes those “helpful” magazine tips end up being a lot of work!

    3. dragonchef

      Not sure I would keep sharp things within easy reach, or even outside a LOCKED cabinet for Marge to do with as she pleases. And, not sure she should be left alone to her whims while I go out hunting. But that’s just me – what do I know, eh?

      Good take on the prompt. I could feel Arlee’s angst, as well as Marge’s forgetfulness (we’ve all been there at times…looking for glasses that were on my head or lost a pencil that was in my hand…okay, maybe just me). Though, I must say, I have never polished my cutlery with Pledge. I simply must give that a try. Thanks for the read. Loved it.

    4. ReathaThomasOakley

      Thanks for the comments. After rereading story and sk’s thoughts, I don’t think I should have made Marge so ditsy. Or, perhaps had her laugh at herself at the end. Confession time. In the 80s I wrote a Erma Bombeckish column for a small town weekly. This was sort of an update of one from back then. I neglected to save any of them, but, when cleaning my mother’s house I found that she’d cut and put them in a scrap book. I’d sent her a subscription.

  7. writer_sk

    We could hear the sounds of the party as we approached in Tyler’s ‘87 Jeep as he jerked it up the gravel driveway and hoisted himself out, his radar falling on the 12 pack he’d brought. My own hands gripped the overhead bar and ignoring the sweat forming on my palms, I jumped with some force out the Jeep’s door.

    “Theodore, you made it!” May’s voice rang out a song against the 90’s grunge that was coming off the deck. She took my hand and we pushed through the crowd to the back yard where the beer was. My hand gripped the Solo cup as May tapped the keg and dispensed us a cup each.

    “I got that Bio tech job at UniBiology.” May said, sipping the cold drink and looking at me with intense brown eyes. UniBiology was the company for which I currently worked. She might be in my department.

    I took her hand in mine, it was smallish and she wore chipped silvery nail polish. She squeezed my hand and I could feel her callouses from her guitar-playing.

    That would have been the moment to kiss May. I hesitated then felt the red fear rush to my neck from my stomach- in my mind I imagined my future and felt my vision starting as I ran back to Tyler’s Jeep, pushing through classmates that congested the hall and kitchen drinking and soaking up the last of August. I clasped my hands around the back of my neck willing my diaphragm to allow me extra air. I pictured May and I getting married on the beach and our kids coming out the front door of this very house. Tyler thought my visions and anxiety attacks were me truly reading the future.

    When Tyler came out later it was clear he’d partaken in the beer he brought. He stumbled down the stairs and into the passenger seat. I took the keys from his outstretched palm and we
    left as the music changed to 90’s rap building as the crowd on the deck jumped in unison.

    I thrashed the sheet off. My dream was of May’s hand and as I looked past the distracting engagement ring I could begin to make out the details of the report typed on UniBiology letterhead. It revealed what I had suspected: falsification of test results from Tier One going back three years.

    The next morning, coffee didn’t help me and I swallowed it and closed my eyes, nearly asleep again reclining outside the busy cafe in the morning sun. My visions brought me back as well as forward and I found myself at age 7 at my childhood kitchen table as my dog wriggled between my bare feet, mom stood near the percolating Mr. Coffee and sun streamed in the window.

    I placed my hands around the edge of the cafe table and pushed my chair out while standing up. I would need to break into the lab to search for the document.

    1. Bushkill

      I am intrigued. There seemed to be a great deal going on with this character. Does he work for himself? Some wealthy financier? The government? What does he want with the Tier One reports? So many questions.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I am also intrigued. This could be a great start to a love affair surrounded with murder. Me thinks there is some major evil going in at the Micro Biology. I don’t trust these people with their barrela of hidden stuff in a warehouse. The reason I do is we are redoing a company called Micro Tes. They are thin.lipped and don’t say anything about their work.

        1. writer_sk

          Thank you Bush and Kerry. It’s from a screenplay I started awhile ago. MC wasn’t psychic in that

          Main premise is a 20-something man working for a large scientific corp that does experiments finds out they’re covering up the fact that toothpaste (that they also own a stake in) causes cancer. In the screenplay his girlfriend is a wreck so she has a lot going on. His best friend gets a job there with him and helps him break in to try to bring the co down. There is a twist at the end.

          Anyway thx for reading!

          1. ReathaThomasOakley

            Ah, sounds like a great plot. Maybe use the prompts to continue the story like Jennifer is doing.

    2. dragonchef

      Sorry SK – Maybe it’s the caffeine in me – or in you – but I’m a bit confused with the amount of things happening is such a short space.
      Careful #1 – Body parts do do things on their own: hands gripping things of their own accord.
      Careful #2 – (I know. I’m nitpicking. And I am really sorry I am doing it – but really, it helps me to keep these things in mind when I write, as well) While placing dates on music is a good thing to allow the reader to “hear” what you are saying, unless it is crucial to the story placing dates on cars does nothing but consume space.
      Careful #3 – Mr. Coffee doesn’t percolate.
      Careful #4 – <> Uh, say what?

      1. dragonchef

        The Careful #4 didn’t show the first time, so here it is…hopefully…
        “The next morning, coffee didn’t help me and I swallowed it and closed my eyes, nearly asleep again reclining outside the busy cafe in the morning sun.” Place this inside the arrows before Uh, say what.

  8. Songbird Eater

    Newfound Appendages

    I had no clue how they got there. The two outstretched arms seemed to be reaching for something. They didn’t seem to be sculpted as they were so incredibly realistic. The fingers had very detailed nails and short hairs. They looked like real human arms. The palms were smooth. In fact, everything about them was unnaturally smooth. They almost seemed like plastic. They stood perfectly still. Or did they? I was too astonished to tell at this point. I stood back, thinking about how or why these were here. They looked so much like human hands, yet there were no wrinkles or creases. It almost seemed as if they had on tight gloves. The fingers were bent like they were grasping something, or at least at something. I didn’t have time to deal with it. I was already late for work, and one more absence could lose my job. I rushed to the station and got there just in time.

    The other firemen and I were waiting for a call. It was a slow day, which I guess is a good thing. Barry- my favorite coworker- and I were discussing the mysterious hands. I described how creepily real they seemed while also looking eerily smooth. He just laughed it off. I then realized how dumb I sounded. I was probably just hallucinating. I woke up later than usual, and I still wasn’t really awake. A pair of hands in the wall is ridiculous. And yet, I remembered them so vividly. They had to be real.

    I was eventually done with work. The day seemed to go by agonizingly slow. I was waiting to get back home and see the hands. I pulled up into my driveway and rushed in the door. I entered my living room to find the hands. Only… something was different. They seemed to have gotten longer. The arms were longer, the nails were longer, the hairs were longer, and even the fingers seemed to have been extended. They had definitely changed since that morning. They also seemed to be wrinkled now, but not in the way that skin should be. They were more like stretched leather, as if the walls were sagging. I was being driven mad. Too many questions popped into my head at once. They were stressing me out now. They had only been there for a day, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about them. How did they get there? Why were they there? What actually were they? I decided to forget it and go to bed. But I couldn’t sleep.

    I laid there awake for hours. This was it. I couldn’t take it. I went to my garage and grabbed my fireman’s axe and ran to the hands. They were grotesque now, even after only a couple hours. The stretched, leather-like texture had only gotten worse, and the fingers were long and crooked. I raised my axe and hacked into the wall, hoping to find an explanation. I looked into the empty space, only I found nothing. I glanced into the gap for a few seconds. All the sudden I began feeling something tugging at my sleeve. It was gentle, and I could have easily escaped, but I was paralyzed with fear. This went on for a few seconds, until I was pulled inwards by a sudden forceful tug. At this point I was running. However, the pulling was much stronger than me, so I was still forced into the space. I eventually broke from the grip and ran towards where the hole once was. But it wasn’t there. I pushed into the wall. My hands pushed it outwards further and further until I finally just stopped. I stood there, my hands now stuck in the plaster, and watched as my arms and hands quickly grew longer and less human-esque. And I waited. I waited for the next victim to burst into this wall and replace me.

      1. dragonchef

        Dude! What the…? I still have goose-bumps. Guess I should have expected as much from a handle like “Songbird Eater”
        Expert build up of intensity. I really didn’t know what to expect coming to the crescendo.

        ** Feedback **
        “At this point I was running. However, the pulling was much stronger than me, so I was still forced into the space. I eventually broke from the grip and ran towards where the hole once was. But it wasn’t there.”
        I found this to be a tad bit awkward. I had to read it several times to realize the character was already in the wall. Maybe it’s just me.

        All in all, superbly done! And welcome to the WD-Prompt.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Welcome. Great way to begin. A little suggestion, perhaps add the actual discussion rather than tell about it. Maybe break up the long paragraphs. Very good ending.

  9. dragonchef

    The emailed meeting invite was titled, “Emergency Impromptu Meeting to Discuss the Galois Project,” and Jed’s stomach began to churn.

    This was an important project – the most important of the year, Mr. Whittier said – and Jed had worked very hard on it. Everyone had a piece to complete and all the pieces must fit together like a puzzle. If any one piece was missing the whole project was incomplete. And Mr. Whittier would not be pleased. So, knowing how casual everyone else seemed to be to their assigned portion of the project, Jed went the extra mile—or ten—and completed the whole thing, by himself. Well, not exactly by himself, truth be told. Skylar, his partner in crime, as it were, was extremely instrumental throughout the many sleepless nights painstakingly ensuring that every bit of research was precise and ready for presentation.

    Skylar rushed over to Jed’s cubicle. “Did you see the meeting invite?”

    Jed sucked in a quivering breath. His hands were shaking. “I did. Yes, I did.”

    “What’s wrong,” she asked, concern furrowing deep lines between her oh-so-exotically-mesmerizing, amber eyes. “The Galois project is done. All I’s dotted. All T’s crossed.”

    “I know, but what if it’s not right? What if we missed something?”

    A corner of Skylar’s mouth twitched into a slight smirk. “We didn’t miss anything. And if we did . . . it’s all your fault.” She then gathered up all the necessary paperwork from his desk, and placed it into his hands, and gently pushed him towards the conference room.

    All invitees were already gathered he discovered as Skylar opened the door for him, all but Mr. Whittier, that is. Some glanced his way with indifference, other were apparently lost in their daydreams. Jed looked back as Skylar stepped out of the conference room and began to close the door.

    “Aren’t you coming in?” She was his rock throughout this project. He couldn’t have done it without her.

    “I wasn’t invited.” She smiled. The door closed.

    The papers and folders in his hands rattled a bit loudly, though no one seemed to hear or care, as Jed rounded the table and sat in the only empty seat available – right next to the big chair. Great.

    It wasn’t exactly silent in the conference room, though no one was talking. Everyone’s hands spoke in volumes. Mrs. Oh-So-Righteous-Franklin sat across from Jed, both arms resting on the table, her right hand on top of her left, and an index finger tapping out thirty-second notes in four-four time. And her lips were puckered making her look as if she had just sucked on a lemon. Next to her sat Bob Brody displaying his ineptitude at juggling pencils between his fingers on both hands, while simultaneously sucking the morning’s coffee and doughnuts from his teeth. At the far end was Meghan Riley twirling her curly black hair with one hand while popping the bubble gum bubble she’d puffed up with the other. And finally, to Jed’s right, was Matt Gregson, who had a finger shoved so far up his nose Jed wondered if he was tickling his brain. Gregson suddenly smiled and pulled his hand away from his face. The trophy he was obviously hunting dangled from the fingertip like a dead fish, which he then promptly wiped under the table top. Lovely.

    And in walks Mr. Whittier, taking his seat at the head of the table next to the door. “I thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to come on such short notice. But I need status updates from each of you on your individual aspects of the Galois Project.”

    Starting from Mrs. Franklin and continuing around, each had an almost uncanny ability to defer to the next in line claiming their part cannot be completed due to waiting on someone else to complete their part. And then it came to Jed.
    Jed looked at each of the other people there, they in turn were looking at him with eyes of barbed wire and daggers that he had better play along and help extend the deadline. Jed swallowed back a surge of bile rising in his throat. He could wait a few more days, he supposed—weeks knowing this crowd.

    Outside the conference room window, Skylar’s face beamed with a pride no other person ever had for him. Ashamed of what he was about to do he could not return her smile.

    “Jed!” Mr. Whittier’s commanding voice made him jump. The others giggled, sniggered, or whatever people of that caliber do.

    “Mr. Whittier, I . . . I,” he stammered. “I’m sorry, sir, but—”

    Whittier sighed loudly. “I thank you all for your time and determination on this, but the Galois Project is now terminated. Please proceed to the front desk. There is an envelope waiting for you in recognition of your efforts. This meeting is adjourned.” He then stood and walked out.

    There were exclamations of relief, and jubilant laughter from the others as they headed for the front desk and the expected bonus check awaiting each. Jed sat there a moment longer, inwardly sulking with his face in his hands. He had failed Mr. Whittier. Failed Skylar. Failed himself. If he had just spoken up first he could have claimed the project was complete. That all had done their share. And everything would be great. But he didn’t. How could he even look at her again? She for certain would never look at him, not after this.

    At the front desk there were shouts of dismay and anger at what was found inside the envelopes: Letters of termination and an extremely insignificant severance package. All were very vocal. All but Mrs. Franklin, whose lemon had just become even more sour. Security showed up to escort everyone out.

    Jed took the envelope handed to him and went back to his cubicle to pack the few items of comfort he had on his desk into an empty box: The baseball he caught at the game he and Skylar went to, the flower she’d plucked and tickled his nose with the time they went to the park – it was withered and dried now, but he didn’t care – and his picture of the two of them . . . together. Tears began to well in his eyelids. He tossed the envelope with his unread termination letter into the box as well. Why bother?

    Just then Skylar came around. “What the heck are you doing?”

    Jed sighed. “I—”

    And then Mr. Whittier showed up. “Jed . . .” He looked at the box. “What are you doing?”

    “Yeah, Jed! What are you doing?” Skylar was bugging her eyes out at him.

    Jed looked back toward the front desk. “The letters of termination. The security.”

    Mr. Whittier snorted, then turned and walked away, but called back over his shoulder as he left, “Skylar, what’s my motto?” A rhetorical question, but one she was glad to answer.

    “Never assume anything, Mr. Whittier,” she called back.

    Jed pulled the envelope out of the box. The front had both his and Skylar’s names hand written on it. He looked at Skylar. “You knew about this? Better yet, he knew about this?”

    Skylar sidled up to him and hooked her arm through his. “He has always known. Aren’t you going to open the letter?”

    Jed did. “All expense dinner for two and Bennett’s.” He looked back to Skylar. “That place has a yearlong waiting list. How did—”

    Skylar put a finger to his lips and pulled him closer. “So . . . who are you going to take?”

    Jed sniffed. “Not you, obviously. Keeping secrets and all.”

    Her eyes widened. “Oh, shut up!” She pulled his face down to hers and kissed him. Their first.

    Mr. Whittier showed up again. “Jed!” They pulled apart, embarrassed. “Oh, sorry to interrupt. I need you in bright and early tomorrow to discuss the terms of your surrendering your current position—” Jed suddenly felt his face drain of warmth. “—and discuss a full partnership.”

    “Wait. What?”

    With that, Mr. whittier was off again. His voice fading as he walked away. “And call housekeeping to get that table in the conference room cleaned . . . underneath. It’s disgusting!”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I thought the build of tension about the meeting was so real to me. I have been there and done that
        The cold sweat almost started. The love interest was perfect. Big corporations always have given me trouble and they called me “The Buttless Wonder. Now if that isn’t t cruel, what is?

  10. Kerry Charlton


    There was a time in my life that I cared not for the straight path, but rather for the dark side of my Id. I look back on that period of my life as if it never existed but my memory pushes that idea aside and remembers the walk on the wrong side. It was a time of craziness, the me, the me, me, me. Was it instant insanity? Of course not, I had my wits with me along the walk. Why the detour in the first place? If I understood that, I wouldn’t be writing this. Here’s the story

    The ’65 aqua Mercury settled on the vacant highway in deep west Texas. The gage read 95, a little bumpy but okay. My wife sat beside me in the front seat, my best friend and his wife in the rear. My right arm rested across the top of the front seat. My hand kept time to the radio. The silence was broken
    “You have beautiful hands Kerry.”

    I adjusted my rear view to Dee’s eyes. She licked her lips and blew me a silent kiss.

    “Thank you Dee, I never thought about them.”

    “You could be a hand model and make a fortune with them.”

    “Quit teasing him Dee.” I felt a sharp elbow to my ribs and a frown from the brunette who sat beside me

    “I’m sorry Doris but they are gorgeous hands. I want him to run them all over my body,”

    “Stop the car Kerry, I want to whip her ass.”

    “Quit it you two that’s enough. Jim, you know she just teasing don’t you.”

    “I don’t think so, she likes to swap. We belong to a club.”

    “Well I’ll be damned,” Doris said. “Weirdos in the back seat. Just keep to yourself until we get to Vegas or you will take a greyhound back to Dallas.”

    “Let up Doris, they’re winding your clock.”

    Complete silence fell inside the car like a winter ice storm for 400 miles, Meanwhile Doris was napping in the front and had placed her head gently in my lap. In the rear, Dee had her hand in Jim’s pocket, messing with him. I tried concentrating on the highway but mentally I was undressing Dee to look at her body. ‘Whoa Kerry.’ I thought, you’ll run off the highway.’

    At four in the morning, we pulled up to the Flamingo and went to our two bedroom suite. Exhausted. I lay on the bed and fell asleep. My mind awoke first but my eyes deceived me, for beside me lay Dee, not Doris. She was totally nude. I managed to moan one sentence,

    “Now what do you want Dee? Don’t tell me, I think I know.”

    I jumped out of the bed and looked for a robe somewhere. ‘Where in hell are my clothes.?’

    “Calm down,” Dee said, “Do I displease you so much?”
    I was at a total loss but managed to say,

    “You’re gorgeous, sexy and desirable but I’m about to look for high ground.”

    She smiled. “Your clothes are in the closet, and I am so sorry I upset you. I had no idea you were so principled.”

    I sat on the edge of the bed and started to laugh. I touched her face and cuddled up with her. Later in the morning we went to breakfast and ran into Doris and Jim having the time of their life. I played it cool and after breakfast, I packed and told Doris to stay and have a good time, that I was flying back to Dallas. She seemed amazed and hurt at the same time. They drove me to the airport. I kissed both girls, shook Jim’s hand and boarded the plane.

    The plane was full in business class, so they took to the front cabin and I sat in a plush seat. Next to me sat an extremely attractive woman my Mother’s age. After introducing myself, she relaxed a bit. The last thing I wanted was to carry on a conversation but couldn’t pass up the opportunity when she asked me,

    “I couldn’t help not to notice your hands. Are a concert pianist? You have perfect , delicate long fingers and small wrists.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Definitely a Tango. The music business in the sixties and seventies is hard to beat. Our company had dinner with Jerry.Moss the M in.A and M
        There were sixteen or so of us and we ran up a bill over five grand..since we were their distributer
        They paid for it

    1. dragonchef

      In-flight cougars! They’re everywhere. And they almost always start with the hands.
      Talk about a walk on the wild side, eh Kerry? But, if you – if that is you in the story – were, indeed, on the wild side, how is it you suddenly grew a conscience right there in bed…next to the naked lady you were just lusting after in the car?
      And your wife! Whoa! Unexpected turn around for her. Or not.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        What a blast to write this story after so many years. A lot of this is true. Some isn’t. What would you think if I didn’t turn her away? Put yourself my place, 29 and in the music business, meeting.lots of stars and a little hob knob with Mary Travers
        But I was a perfect gentleman there. Imagine spending a day with Barbie Benton
        Eat your heart out?

      1. writer_sk

        Me too and the ones set in Avalon.

        This was good – I pictured the settings in Mad Men.

        I liked the names Doris and Dee -they worked well with the setting and time.

      2. Kerry Charlton

        Reatha, every now and then I have to release the dark side which I do have. It.certainly didn’t come fromy Mother’s side and I can not blame Dad for I know who , my great grand father

  11. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    His hands

    The man was taller than I would have given him credit for. So tall, in fact, that I could see nothing of his face, which entered the clouds. And beyond presumably.

    No, I can’t say whether he was a pale, wrinkled, wise dude with long, flowing white hair and beard, or some dude with meth teeth and a hat screaming “Make America Great Again”. What I could see were his enormous hands, which he moved dramatically as he talked, as if it were expected of him.

    Hopefully he understood that I personally didn’t expect anything of him. Hell, I certainly didn’t expect to meet him.

    His palms were old, that was certain. But, they were also young, which I was also fairly certain of. The wrinkles on them ran like rivers, deep and pink, like the grand canyon illuminated by a ripe, rising sun. The wrinkles alone told stories, and the words that seemed to crawl on them were often distracting while he was talking, to the point that several times he had to call me back to attention.

    Like I said though, they were young too. A few times I thought they may have been the hands of his son, when he was still alive (was he dead?). Sometimes, the centers of his palms seemed unnaturally red, and glinted in the sun with the sparkle of spilled juice. Even when they seemed young they were still the hands of a worker, whether that work was providing salvation, or smiting folks, or making me disappointingly just barely too late for Wendy’s breakfast.

    The way he moved his hands was the most distracting thing. He would stick fingers up as he counted off something I wasn’t listening to, or would point strictly at something in the distance. At one point, he handed me a piece of rock with writing on it, and seemed to almost pose as he did, throwing the other hand behind him as if paparazzi might crowd around any minute, or some dude might make a really quick painting. The point was, they were always moving, and it was awkward, their sheer size creating a wind that made my eyes water as he swung them to and fro.

    Finally, when he was finished talking, his hands fell to his side. They seemed to ache to get back to work, as they shifted from old to young. He said one last thing, and was gone as quick as he had appeared.

    Thoughtfully, I looked down at my own limp hands.

    I guess they looked sorta like his.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      For a while there, I thought you might be describing God. A The last sentence led me to read it all over again and then you changed course. Fascinating reading.

    2. dragonchef

      Uh, I dunno. Still sounds like God all the way to the end, for me. Bible states He did fashion us after His own image; so, looking down at hands that looked like His agrees with that.
      Very poetic, NOBAR. Nicely done.

    3. Bushkill

      Oh i so very much love wrinkles telling stories and words crawling over them. WOW! Great use of imagery. Nice finish too. I find myself revisiting that last line and pondering its depths.

  12. Bushkill

    Hands of gold

    I watch her hands glide across my skin. I tingle, sighing in the expectation of her finger’s impassioned frolicking. I live for these moments. These are the very reason I was put on this earth. I swear it.

    Tonight, there is passion in her touch. I can see it in her eyes, submitting and half closed. I ride the waves with her, thankful for every brush and stroke of her fingers. Every touch of hers brings a chime of memory and sharing we have developed over the years.

    Sometimes her nails scratch discordantly, detracting from our rapture. Not tonight, though. Tonight we are one. Tonight our love will burst through the night like a song unfettered. Tonight we will share our rapture with all.

    Oh, her touch. Her skill. What talent! I am taut with anticipation.

    Slowly she builds and I marvel again at how delicate her fingers are. They are a whispering beauty.
    They dance, slowly, mournfully at the start and we are quiet together. It is the way it is supposed to be, more Brahms and less Beethoven.

    She holds me, her feet entwined with mine and still her fingers tease, a trill here, a subtle kneading there. Throughout, we are one and I am laid bare before her. I see her eyes close as her head turns toward me. I tense, sensing the rush and feeling the slight pressure change in her hands and fingertips. I don’t know if I am ready for more. We are so beautiful in this moment.

    There are times when she is angry and her touch is malignant. That is not tonight. That is not now.

    I can feel our tempo change. Her feet are moving again, ensnaring me now as they dampen me, softening my arousal. This too is a thing of beauty as her hands pull back and the pressure of a moment ago is gone and there is only the ghost-like touch of her fingers and my anguished answering.

    And then we are rushing to the finale and I can hardly contain myself. Her fingers stroke me with passion, with poise, with resplendent joy. What bliss! What all-consuming, uncompromising, soul-swallowing jubilance.

    And they all heard. They all saw. She stands and steps away as my sound fades. They are clapping now. And shouting. I think I even heard whooping from uncle Al. She smiles at me and I am happy for her. We have done wonderfully tonight. Or, she has done wonderfully with a deft application of skill.

    She rests her hands on me one last time. Not to play, mind you, just a silent thank you. When she is finished, she turns around and bows.

    Before she leaves me for the night, she tucks my bench in and slowly pulls my cover down over my keys.

    Perhaps tomorrow will try Beethoven.

    1. dragonchef

      So, Bushy, if sex with animals is bestiality, would this be pianiality?
      My head is still spinning. I think I need a cigarette…and I don’t smoke.
      Well played 😎

      1. dragonchef

        Seems my first attempt at commenting is still awaiting moderation (the word $ecks is in there) so I will edit it for appropriate behavioral standards . . .

        So, Bushy, if ($ecks) with animals is bestiality, would this be pianiality?
        My head is still spinning. I think I need a cigarette…and I don’t smoke.
        Well played

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Extremely well done. I was prepared to compliment you on describing an intimate interlude with delicacy and you went and twisted everything. Great job.

  13. snuzcook

    About Alex

    I always said there was something about Alex.

    He was no Phil. That was a given. Phil had been one of a kind. The customers had adored Phil from his first cut and blow dry. He was chatty, vivacious and courteous.

    After the hit and run, customers were concerned as if one of their own family had ended up in the hospital. They sent flowers, they dropped off cards at the shop. They always asked after him, eager for him to return.

    I could see that it wasn’t easy for Mandy, the owner, those first few weeks. Phil had built up quite a clientele, and in such as small shop, it was hard to find someone to take his busy chair on a temporary basis.

    That’s probably why Alex had gotten the position. He didn’t have a lot of experience, and he didn’t have a friendly demeanor. But he knew how to cut, and for the time being that’s all that mattered.

    Alex was tall and slender, cadaverous one might say. He moved with a conservation of movement that was the antithesis of Phil’s bouncy presence. His complexion was more than pale, it was translucent to the extent of having a blue tinge. His hair was nearly black, and he never varied its form, never added highlights like so many stylists were prone to do. His eyes were dark and emotionless, like an automaton.

    I found myself watching him when I came in for my weekly touch up. Gail Newbury was always before me and often ran long, but I didn’t mind. I’d read a book or bring my crocheting and enjoy a half hour of relative quiet away from the grandkids.

    This particular morning, I was transfixed despite myself. I’d never noticed before, but Alex’s hands moved like the spindly little crabs I’d once seen on a TV nature show. As his long, pale fingers moved across Gail’s scalp, probing, lifting and snipping it gave me shivers. I imagined that at any moment Alex was going to take those shears and start nipping away at her brain. I watched their two faces in the mirror, hers peaceful and half asleep, his focused with an almost malevolent coldness.

    “Mrs. Murphy, good morning! You’re looking lovely as always!” Tom Duncan took off his hat and settled into the chair across from me. He unfolded his newspaper, and pointed to the headline. “Did you see this? They found another one. That’s three bodies, now. All old ladies. All with their throats cut.”

    The rhythmic snipping had stopped. l looked back at the mirror. Alex’s hands had paused in place, and he was regarding Duncan‘s reflection. His eyes were suddenly alive. There was emotion there, deep, complicated, hot emotion.

    In a split second, he realized I was watching him and our eyes met. My very soul quivered with dread. Then the snipping resumed. He was Alex once again, cold and distant. I dropped my eyes to the yarn and needle in my lap, dazed by what I had just experience.

    He finished with Gail, brushed her off, removed her cape, and sent her on her way.

    “Mrs. Murphy, I’m ready for you,’ he announced. I stood, disoriented, clutching my purse and my needlework.

    “Are you all right?” Tom asked.

    I stammered some excuse and fled the shop. Tom must have thought I’d gone senile. I had to phone my daughter right away. She worked dispatch at emergency services and she knew a lot of police. She’d know who to call.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      “Beauty shop walk out.” you could have placed the lyrics in your story and for Halloween, the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow . I hate barber shops and beauty salons. Both of which are scary, especially scissors snipping around your ears. If I had to stand on my feet every day, fixing hair I might go over on the dark side. Who can blame them.

    2. Bushkill

      Remnds me of this guy from Seville I used to know. strange cat, weird affectations. I don’t see many barbers anymore, though, my hair went on walk about and never came back.

    3. snuzcook

      *blush* Would you believe I completely forgot about the classic killer-barber stories when I wrote this, so blindered was I with the ‘hands’ idea. I had just had my hair cut, and the bubbly fellow I saw last time was recovering from an accident…

        1. dragonchef

          HA! Gooood question. And, Ichabod Crane (KC’s comment), to boot. Might be something in his life just isn’t cutting it. But, let’s not split hairs.
          Sorry. Something came over me

  14. Firn Hyde

    the hands of the king

    They were such small hands to be here, the angel noted, but the sadness with which that fact would have been received on Earth was utterly inappropriate here. All sadness was. The soft, chubby fist was wrapped tightly around the angel’s index finger as he led the child into the golden city, taking slow steps as her little legs struggled to keep up.

    The child was thoughtful as she gazed around the jeweled walls, admiring the light that seemed to pour out from the heart of the city instead of from the sun. Her grip on the angel’s finger stayed firm, which surprised him somewhat. Usually children were gloriously chaotic on their arrival here; rushing forward, then this way, then that, yanking him all over the place in giggling wonder.

    “Sir,” the child said at last, “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here.”

    The angel smiled and bent down. He wrapped his hands around the child’s body underneath her arms; his long, radiant fingers effortlessly enclosed her little chest, but his grip was tender as he lifted her onto his hip. “How so?”

    “Mommy says that only good children get to come here. And I haven’t always been a very good girl.”

    “Tell me?” prompted the angel, continuing through the gorgeous streets.

    “Well, I slapped my baby brother this morning because he called me names. And at the fair today I screamed because Daddy wouldn’t let me on the merry-go-round.” The child bit her lip; her little hands fluttered on the angel’s shoulders, fat and uncertain. “I know he was right, though. I was too little to go.”

    “Those aren’t good things to do,” said the angel.

    “I know,” said the child. “So why am I here?”

    “You’ll see just now,” said the angel.

    They had reached the throne room, and the child gasped. Her hands clenched the angel’s robes so tightly that they trembled. The angel felt his own hands shaking a little on the child’s body, such was his awe of the Throne and the One Who sat thereon. Majestic beasts, more angels, elders – they all surrounded the Throne in holy worship, but their glory was nothing compared to that of the King. He was radiant, dazzling to look at even for angelic eyes; His crown glowed like the sun, His face like the breaking dawn. He was beyond words, beyond expression, beyond the wildest hopes and dreams of beauty and glory. He was so majestic that the child cried out and buried her face in the angel’s robes, knowing that she was utterly unworthy of coming before Him.

    The King rose and walked towards them, and the angel saw Him smile. Tenderly, He held out His own Hands. They were calloused and hard, but their touch was utterly gentle, utterly healing. When His fingertips brushed the child’s skin, color flushed at once back into her yellow-grey face. The needle marks in her arms, her neck, her hands disappeared, filled in with healthy pink flesh. Hair appeared on her little bald head; first a yellow down, then growing out into the luscious yellow curls she had had before all this started.

    The King’s touch was so wonderful that it prompted the child to dare to look up, but not yet at His face. Instead she looked at His Hands, and she saw the scars. In the center of each palm, there was a hole edged with puckered skin.

    She pulled up the hem of her white dress and saw that the huge scars on her belly from all the surgeries had all gone, as if they had never been there. Mustering all her courage, she dared to ask. “Sir, why aren’t Your scars healed?”

    “To show you that I have paid for all of it,” the King said. He gathered the child into His arms. “No matter what you’ve done, you know Me, and that’s why you’re here.”

    “Where is here?” the child whispered.

    He pulled her close to His chest.

    “Home,” said the King. “You’re Home now, daughter.”

    Visit for more writing or to request my freelance services!

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I am so impressed with your writing, the story and the soul that’s within it. My grandfather was a Lutheran Minister for close to fifty years, He would have cherished this. Thank you.

    2. Bushkill

      Very touching. Beautiful articulation of how some children are forced to outgrow their age just to deal with their infirmaries. They lose a lot in so doing.

  15. Kangarooo

    Joanna. My love and my life. I still remember vividly the first day I met her. She just joined the company I worked for that day. I entered the office and went to my time in the attendance register. Then she came inside the office behind me.
    “Hi, I’m Joanna. Nice to meet you,” she said as she stuck out her hand towards me. Her hand was very slender and small, and her nails were painted with a dull pink polish. She emanated a sickly sweet scent like a flower. I rubbed my hand on my kerchief before shaking her hand because I thought it was sweaty. I introduced myself to her.
    Shaking her hands instantly made me feel protective of her. I noticed that her pale appearance contrasted with my dark complexion. Oh! what a bewitching ghostly creature she is!
    I felt like I did not deserve to stand before her.
    She left as soon as she shook hands with me, and she proceeded to go inside the office to introduce herself to other people. I stood there at the same place for some time, transfixed at her appearance as she walked past me.
    I unconsciously moved my hand closer to my face. This is the hand that shook with hers. I wanted to preserve this precious calloused hand because it touched her and still retained her sweet fragrance.
    I somehow began to associate that smell with her to the point that I later bought the perfume with the same fragrance just to remind myself of her whenever I felt down.
    I was afraid to go near her whenever my work required me to talk with her. I was afraid of her.
    I felt as if I was a demon that if went any closer to the angel she was, would instantly turn into ashes. I heard muffled beating sound when I went closer to her. I realized it was my own heart racing at the sight of her.

    I have been attracted to many women in my life but I never felt this tortured by anyone.
    No. This isn’t an attraction. I don’t want to disrespect this feeling. This is a devotion.
    My life began to take on a new reason to continue it. I hope I would someday be able to overcome this fear and someday be able to express how I feel about her.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Some one is smitten, that’s for sure. Some o.people, especially women of means spread an aura of power and sometimes of good will. You have done a great job of describing the feeling. I personally have only met one in my life. Mary Travers was 26 as well as I was. I didn’t pay much attention to Peter and Paul who with her.;She was so tall and striking and so nice,

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Spent a day with them in Dallas
          They were just becoming famous and in the next, year, they were all over Billboard. Gentle wonderful people who spun magic. I was 26 at the time.

    2. dragonchef

      Devotion? Or borderline obsession?
      Sorry, didn’t mean to belittle this touching story of love at first sight–er, touch. It was all great until you went out and bought the same perfume she used just to smell it–her, when she wasn’t around. But, I guess that is better than stealing a scarf from her closet that she wore a lot for the same reason. And, oh, I have definitely done the not-wanting-to-wash-the-hand thing…in my time. So I stole the scarf. Why? Because mom made me wash my hands before dinner…after I skipped school…with her. And I may have even been a little obsessed myself.

    3. Bushkill

      I’m going with Reatha. Stalker. If you are buying perfume to remind you of someone’s scent you’ve moved past the sublime. Well told, none the less.

  16. Jennifer Park

    13. The Offer

    [Follows “12. The Test”, posted under “Spent”. You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above.]

    “You certainly have a very keen… power… of observation. In your three months, you have done more for the… eh… Service, than many others… of the… most others, really… have in their entire career.” He rubbed his nose again.

    “Thank you.” Barbara felt uneasy meeting with her handler in person. First off, she had been assured that there would never be such meetings. Then, there was the security of an protoauthenticated, dyscrypted communication channel implanted right into her ears. In person, there was no guarantee who this was.

    “There is… something I need to convey to you without even the… Service… you know, knowing.” He rubbed his nose just as he said the word ‘Service’, which he seemed to use as a code for the Fourth Estate; so secretive was the Estate, that even the code was making him nervous. Afraid, even. “Obviously, my handler knows, as does hers, and so forth, but not… others. When are you done with the Holly?”

    Technically, she was done with course work and residency. One more year of externship remained. “One more year, I think.”

    “This is unusual, but I would like to offer you a position. Not as an extern.”

    “Oh!” This was unusual, indeed. Still, Barbara did not trust him.

    “We have lost control… of some of our members, and we need to observe them without them with you knowing… that you are with the… Service.” Rub.

    This was another violation of the Estate code. Spy on other Estate members? Evaluate them, observe them, tell on them; all fine. But, spy on them? Barbara resisted the temptation to frown.

    “That means we need an alternative channel.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a canister. For another implant, presumably. “If you accept the mission.”

    They had never asked for her acceptance of any of her missions.

    A million thoughts ran through her head. This was a great opportunity. Even if this person was not really her handler, or was a traitor to the Estate, this was an opportunity.

    An opportunity to play at least two sides.

    He rubbed his nose.

    First time doing so while he was not talking.

    He was nervous.


    On a whim, Barbara glanced in what she thought was a random direction. There was someone sitting at another table at the bistro, not too far away. She was holding a viewer, but was not really looking at it. Her eyes appeared as if they were looking at two different objects.

    She wasn’t watching Barbara and her supposed handler, but she was listening.

    Barbara stuck out a hand. “So nice to finally meet you.”

    Somewhat baffled, the handler put out the hand with the canister in it. “Likewise.”

    She took the canister and stuck it in a pocket.

    He seemed to relax. He almost glanced at the woman at the other table, Barbara could tell, but stopped himself.

    He was not afraid of the Estate. Or the woman.

    He was afraid of Barbara.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You know, I’m going to have start over and read all 13 stories so I’ll be ready for number 14. I’ll give a shot this weekend and then reread this on Monday.


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