Lipstick Message

You get a message, it is obviously for you, but it is scrawled in lipstick on a mirror in a public restroom. It’s unexpected, but now you know exactly where the killer is hiding. It’s time to find him and, hopefully, your friend (and hopefully your friend is still alive). Write this scene.

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

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317 thoughts on “Lipstick Message

  1. kathleenmagner

    Brine and the smell of decay washed through the night and around the line of boathouses.

    “Janie would never be caught dead in a place like this,” whispered Rex.

    I smacked my brother in his too-buff bicep. “Watch it.”

    Rex kneaded his arm, the leather of his letterman jacket crinkling. “You’re the one who said we should be quiet.”

    “And you should watch your tongue.”

    From his hiding place behind the cluster of plastic mailboxes, Lester appeared. He bolted across the parking lot in the strip of darkness provided by a broken street light. In the mostly black we all wore, I barely made out his dash, but the luck of invisibility seemed a little too convenient. It helped hide us, true, but it also obscured the back end of a van we’d ducked behind.

    It was the van I’d seen leaving our cul-de-sac. The van Professor McGregor used on his research expeditions.

    Darting to the boathouses, Lester scooted along the rightmost, the one matching the address I’d found on the gas station’s bathroom mirror. My sister’s handwriting, far too close to my own, had been unmistakable despite her stubby lipstick and my tears of frustration at being called a liar, a frantic teen leaping to conclusions, one with poor reasoning skills and a jealous streak.

    After our first, and incorrect, accusation of Professor McGregor, the police barely listened to my rant of a phone call explaining how it was fish-mogul Wrasse to blame for my sister’s disappearance.

    “We have other trails to follow,” the detective had explained.

    And so, here we were and I hoped we weren’t too late.

    Rex crouched behind the front tire. “This is crazy, Molly.”

    “Totally.” Taking a deep breath, I started after Lester.

    Behind me, I heard Rex cursing but his footsteps followed, the older brother never far from a fight.

    Yanking me close, Lester whispered in my ear. “Third one from the pier right?”

    I nodded, my tongue too dry to speak. The address had been clear and once on the right wharf, the boathouse, with its swordfish emblem, unmistakable. I wondered how we could have been so blind. Wrasse made so much more sense than McGregor, answered so many questions, and stirred the remaining grilled cheese in my stomach.

    I swallowed while Rex arrived and started dispensing our tools from his hockey bag.

    Thinking of the crowbar, baseball bat, hockey stick, and tire iron as tools made them seemed less like weapons. I tried to feel the usual comfort I had hefting the bat, but without home plate, a pitcher to face, or a soft ball curving into the strike zone, the smooth wood just felt strange.

    “On three,” whispered Lester.

    “Wait!” I grabbed his arm before he and the crowbar could assault the boathouse’s door. “We were going to see if she was there remember?”

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. Ratboy111

    One chilly afternoon in October, My friend, Carmen, and I drove to Wild Adventures Theme Park to have some fun. Little did I know, there was a wanted serial killer on the loose at the park who was hiding under the radar. Carmen chose to ride on the Cheetah, one of the fastest rollercoasters at Wild Adventures, while I ventured to the Jungle Canteen to grab a bite to eat. Unknown to me, the killer followed Carmen around undetected because she witnessed a murder. Once she spotted him, she ran into one of the unisex bathrooms. After she left the bathroom, she caught up with me at the haunted house.
    We both entered the haunted house. Suddenly, I spotted a bizarre man staring at us the whole time we were on the ride. “Isn’t that the guy you told me about earlier?” I asked Carmen. “He looks familiar, but I’m pretty sure he’s just here to have fun.” She nervously told me. So, I thought nothing of it at the time. I heard screaming from behind me but just assumed it was part of the ride. Once I exited the haunted house, I looked to see if Carmen was still behind me. She had vanished without a trace. I decided to go looking for her, but my bladder growled at me and I knew I couldn’t hold it any longer. After I did my business, I washed my hands in the sink. I noticed a message on the mirror written in the same shade of lime-colored lipstick my friend Carmen wore. The message was in Spanish, but fortunately for me, I studied a college course in Spanish last semester. The message said “Leroy, the creepy guy who followed me is a serial killer. You must contact the police in case something happens to me and look for his ‘Tracks’ if he decides to run”. After decoding her message I knew where I could possibly find both Carmen and the killer.
    I ran back to the Safari Train and saw the killer holding a security guard’s gun to Carmen’s head. He forced all of the other passengers off of the train except for the train conductor. I jumped onto the train before it took off. For the first time, I stared the killer in his eyes with a look of disgust. Once opportunity knocked, Carmen stepped on his foot and broke free of his grip. Surprising even myself, I tackled the killer down and knocked the gun away from him. I punched him repeatedly thinking about what would have happened to Carmen if I didn’t find her in time. The killer tried to push me off of him but I wouldn’t budge. Finally, Carmen pulled me off of him. She cried and I hugged her while crying also.
    After the train stopped and the police apprehended the suspect, she stared me in the eyes and kissed me. Later that night, Carmen and I watched an amazing concert at the All-Star Amphitheater.

  3. dust_low

    Breaking back into writing, I decided to write a short story to this prompt and this is just a tiny sample under 500 characters! Critique please 🙂

    The overcast sky rained down grey upon the city streets, the buildings’ red bricks were made pale and pastel, and the acoustics of the traffic’s sporadic beeps and honks were made meager. John Levy was a humble man, not in due to the fact that he was handsome, has had his way with Lady Luck and her sister Success, and was considered the media “face” for the Gossamer City Police Department. He looked to be around 31, his hair was full and dark- cut short and slicked back. Today he sat at his desk in a suit shirt that had been unbuttoned at the top to relieve some tension while he rolled out his anxiety and massaged his neck. His desk had been littered with papers and manila file folders, all with random scribbles, diagrams, and charts unfamiliar to anyone but John. Months ago this would have been organized, but now his thoughts have scattered and he hasn’t been able to reach a moment of reprieve, and this has been reflected by the mess that sits in front of him now. His office is shared by three other men similar to John, not quite to John’s status; but still successful in their own right. The day started slowly and seemed no different then the four days prior this week. The morning had been cold, and the warmth blowing into the office through the small vent made the office into a cozy nook. He had an aura that stunk of repression and guilt.
    In a tragic turn of events John’s once seemingly successful job turned sour and as can be expected with anyone who places all of their metaphoric eggs into one basket, this sour trickled down into the lower placed priorities in his life. His wife, child, the occasional beer at the bar with his friends have turned into nothing more than a pound in the back of his head. Still existent, his unintentional carelessness fostered issues that he worked hard to ignore. Like a boys shelter, his mind harbored these ferocious ideas that became munition against him during early hours of the morning when his sheets clung to him with hot sweat and the black of his ceiling became the blank canvas that his mind used to devastate him in a gruesome nightly reshowing.

  4. ckrem82

    I couldn’t stand in line any longer; I had to go before I started doing a little jig in line. I left Sandy to hold our place in line at the rollercoaster to run into the bathroom quickly. To my surprise there was no one in there. I closed the stall door and finally had relief. Hurrying to the sink I couldn’t wait to get back to the ride. As I checked myself in the mirror I saw in pink lipstick a message. At closer glance I felt that it was meant for me.
    Best friends since 1st. grade
    high school and beyond
    who will replace her
    now that she is gone?
    A cold sweat broke out and I turned to run back to the coaster. I thought I heard a shrill but I prayed it was just coming from the ride. As I ran faster I noticed one of the parks mascots was running and dragging Sandy behind him.
    The mouse, I screamed, someone stop the mouse! Dusk was approaching and the park was filled with thrill seekers. They turned right between two buildings. As I ran with my entire mite I promised myself that I would get back into shape. Sandy’s flip-flop was there on the ground. I got into the alley way and no one was there. I ran all the way and looked left and right I saw no one but another flip-flop. I was just praying that she was trying to leave me clues. I took another right and ran, screaming her name, only hoping to hear her in return.
    A back door was ajar and I knew this attraction was to be the haunted mansion. I pulled the door open as quietly as I could and peered into the darkness. I stepped in and walked two feet and found myself face down on the cold cement. My hands felt sticky. Oh no I thought panicked, blood.
    I scrambled up and started running again. I heard what sound like pipes falling and hitting the ground with force. Sandy, I screamed, where are you? A shot rang out and I screamed. Rounding the corner there was the mouse face down on the ground. Sandy was doubled over holding her stomach.
    I knelt down next her to see how bad she was hurt. Are you okay I asked out of breath? She looked up with tears in her eyes. He grabbed me from behind and started running with me, mumbling something about payback from years ago. He took out the gun and we struggled and it just went off.
    At that moment all the lights came on and feet were running towards us.

  5. laurentravian

    Officer, I swear, I didn’t do it. Let me tell you (and those cameras obviously hidden up there that your boss and co-workers are looking through) what I saw.

    It was 10:15 am, and I was stacking coffee cups in the family business, when my BFF Tami came in for her morning mocha with extra cinnamon. (Hey is this lie detector on? It is? Okay, thanks. I’ll be sure to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.) She had to pee really bad, so I let her go, even though she hadn’t bought anything yet. I heard her scream, and saw a man carrying her away. He shoved her into a black unliscensed Lexus and drove off. I remember him buying a chocolate gut-buster, and so they must have come out of the bathroom at the same time. I searched around the shop for clues, then checked the bathroom. I found a note in lipstick on the wall. Here’s what it said. “Suspicious Character. Will try Plan A4. Basement, Delta AAA#4” The last part confused me, until I remembered something. It fits into the story later, so I’ll tell you then, okay? Plan A4 involves seduction while scoping him out. Apparently it worked too well… Anyway, I knew exactly where they were, and what was going on. I had to stop by my apartment first, to grab some stuff. Then I was arrested before I could go anywhere. But ha ha for you, because I know she’s here. Delta AAA is our code for Northwest upper town. #4 is the number we’d list it on the top ten cutest buildings in the area. So, if your co-workers would be so kind, please go down to the basement. Oh, and as for you, you’re under arrest by the FBI.

    “On who’s authority???”

    FBI captain. You’re wanted for 3 abductions (not counting Tami) 5 rapes (still not counting Tami) and 17 murders (hopefully not counting Tami)

    “But you’re sixteen! How are you captain of the FBI?”

    I told you. Family business.

  6. cathymcdowell

    How did she know I’d use this restroom I gasped? I know that shade is hers, no one has it but Lucinda. She had the shade made special just for her. Her message was clear, it said “he’s holding me in the theater restroom in the balcony, come quickly before it’s too lat” her message trailed off leaving me to believe she was hurried.
    Afraid of calling the police I took it upon myself to save her. I first went and purchased a hand gun that would fit in my bag. I’d never used a gun before but desperate times call for desperate measures.
    The gun was heavier than I had imagined. I stopped to say a silent prayer.
    I hurried to my car and raced to get to the theater.
    I thought hard and stood to the side watching the crowd. Waiting patiently for someone to use the balcony the usher noticed me and asked “can I help you madame?” I fibbed telling him “I’m waiting for my friend, she’s in line getting our tickets.” He nodded and said “yes madame, thank you, have a good day”
    He turned his back just long enough for me to slip between a couple and go unnoticed up the stairs.
    I hadn’t given thought that there may be another usher at the top until I saw the back of his uniform.
    I walked slowly smiling and asked “where is your rest room sir?” He had to have assumed I was already seated and motioned to the left. I thanked him and walked away.
    Once inside the restroom I could hear low murmured chatter coming from a stall with the door closed. This must be where Lucinda is I thought. I could smell a faint fragrance that told me she had been there. Lucinda was a very rich woman and all of her toiletries were designed for her only. This was very helpful today.
    The people holding her must have sensed I was there because it got quiet quickly.
    A loud BOOM of the base indicated the play was about t begin. I knew from seeing it before, several loud booms would follow and that was when I’d have to act.
    I stepped into the stall next door and stood on the toilet waiting. When I heard the first boom, I looked over the panel between us and said “let her go, let her go now” The man who had her was caught off guard and as soon as he looked up to see me, Lucinda grabbed his gun.
    Together we took him to the usher on the balcony and waited with them until a second usher called the police. We waited, both holding a gun on the man and when the police arrived and one took him in hand cuffs the other asked. How did you two do it? We looked at each other and said in unison “we used our noses.”

  7. mshipton

    Puppy Love
    How did it get this bad? How could this nightmare be my life? Questions hurtled through my mind, a dizzying horror I couldn’t grasp. I realized I was sitting on the women’s room floor. A cold stall door wedged between my shoulder blades. I felt light headed. I rose and saw my face in the mirror, the deep red words scrawled in lipstick sliced into my reflection. I felt nauseated. I took a deep breath and read the words again-
    “If you want to see your beloved Alfred again step outside.”
    “Oh Alfred!” I wailed. He had gone missing three days ago. I had no idea what somebody would want with my Alfred. I sniffled. Contemplated my options. I had left my phone on the table, Jason sitting in the chair across from me. He had planned a romantic dinner to get my mind off of my sorrow at losing Alfred. Who knows what they were doing to him! If I’d ever see him again! I had no choice. I would have to leave the bathroom and find out for myself. I took a deep breath, stood up straight and fixed my dress. Before I walked out of the bathroom, I read the words once more. Suddenly rage built up inside of me. I stormed out of the bathroom door ready to face whomever I needed, to get to my Alfred. I stopped, I heard… music. A string quartet was standing around the table I’d been seated at. And my Alfred was sitting right in the middle of the table, something sparkled near his neck. Was this a joke? I cautiously took a step forward. Almost everyone in the whole restaurant seemed to be beaming in two directions, back and forth between myself and… Jason. What was going on here? I bounded towards Alfred and scooped him up in my arms, squeezing and kissing him. He squirmed, I loosened my grip a bit. I heard Jason clear his throat-
    “Look Dear, there’s something around Alfred’s neck, why don’t you… check it out?”
    I heard a chair scrape on the floor as I kissed Alfred one more time and checked his neck. A gigantic diamond and white gold ring had been threaded onto Alfred’s collar. I caught my breath, it was beautiful! Suddenly Jason was on one knee, below me. A hopeful smile crossed his face as he blinked up at me.
    “ Savanna, will you… Marry me?”
    Everyone in the room caught their breath, waiting for my answer.
    I collected my thoughts, tossed my perfect blonde hair over my shoulder and spoke carefully so he would be sure to understand.
    “ I don’t think I can marry a dog-napper. Sorry Jason, but taking my poodle to tie some silly ring AROUND his neck? No Jason. No. I won’t be with anyone who harms animals. Poor Alfred must have been scared out of his mind!” Alfred licked my finger tips.
    “We’re over Jason!“ I spat, and with that I turned and left. With the ring.

  8. destinyalready

    This was a party for rich people alright, I thought to myself. There were numerous laughing and chattering of upper-class men and women of different races dressed in evening gowns and suits. I myself was dressed in a gray and black evening gown, Cinderella -style. I especially chose this color because I wanted to camouflage into the night while on the case. In addition to that, the part of the dress below the waistline was large enough to easily conceal the two weapons that were strapped to the stockings I wore on each of my legs. I clutched my miniature handbag which included my cell phone, a pair of scissors, a flashlight and my detective badge. It didn’t seem as if anything interesting was going to happen anytime soon so I retired to the restroom. There I saw the message scrawled in red lipstick on the mirror in the restroom.
    “If you want him alive, bring the check to the 103 warehouse.” The abandoned warehouse a few blocks from here, I knew it quite well. Years ago it was the headquarters of a thriving drug enterprise. Now the mastermind and killer, known by the alias Calvin had large plans to revive what was once over. After being on the case for 5 years and compromising all his plans to rebuild the drug trade, this was my last night to take him down once and for all. This was the last bit of it left, to save the hostage who was also a childhood friend of mines, Mark. The lipstick message meant that I was close enough. It meant that the killer and Mark were either inside this building or close by. I felt a cool wind blew and looked to the left of me and saw an open window. If I hadn’t been wearing that evening gown I could’ve fit through the window. I hurried out of the restroom towards the closest exit. Just then I heard a male grunt loudly, it sounded a lot like Mark. As I approached the glass doors of the exit, a SUV door closed and drove off. I attempted to chase the vehicle when, as predicted, my peep-toed high heeled shoes almost ripped the hem of my long evening gown. After seeing that it was no use, I took out the two weapons from underneath my gown and shot the rear tires out of the SUV. Calvin emerged from the vehicle with a gun pointed at Mark who seemed to be handcuffed.
    “Give me the check” he yelled frantically, “and drop the gun!”
    “Hand him over slowly,” I said calmly. “I am reaching in my handbag for the check.”
    “You know what; just give me your handbag.” As he reached for my hand bag I sprayed the pepper spray in his face, he foolishly dropped his gun and began to scream. I handcuffed and arrested him quickly, then called for backup. I felt relieved that the 5-year case was over.
    “You’ve got to learn fighting skills,” I said to Mark.

  9. CharleneTurner

    I pulled up to the gas station for a much needed break. Twelve hours of driving can do some funky things to you. It was about three o’clock in the morning, so there wasn’t much open. I pulled into a twenty-four hour gas station, the neon lights of its sign blinding me. I got out, my legs nearly collapsing, and walked into the store. It smelled like cheap cigarettes and rotting fruit. There was a greasy looking woman smoking behind the counter. Her name tag read “My name is Barb! How may I help you today?” There was one other person in the store, a tall man, his arms covered in tattoos, and his teeth yellowed by tobacco. I walked to the back and into the bathroom. There was only one stall and the floor was greasy and dirty enough to ice skate on. I quickly relieved myself. I walked out, nearly tripping when I saw the mirror. Two words were written on it in a bright red shade of lipstick that I instantly recognized. COME OUTSIDE. I did as I was told, sprinting out the door. Barb’s cigarette had fallen out of her mouth and she was staring in unabashed horror out the front window. The man with the tattoos was standing just outside, holding a gun against my best friends head. Mary! Her hands were bound behind her and there was a gag in her mouth. Her face was dirty, so I could see where tears had carved careful tracks down her face. I could see him laughing. I ran forward, but the man threw Mary into his car, jumped in the drivers seat and took off. I threw open the doors, a bell ringing as I did and jumped in my own car, driving well over the speed limit after him. Adrenaline coursed though my veins. Enough people had died because of me. I wasn’t going to let Mary be the next. I HAD to stop him. I lost sight of him after about a half an hour. I kept driving for another three before I spotted his car, pulled over to the side of the road. I skidded to a stop, leaving skid marks behind me. I jumped out and ran over. The doors were unlocked but I had a feeling I didn’t want to open them. I did, feeling a pit form in my stomach. Lying across the drivers seat was Mary, a small round hole through her fore head. I felt dizzy. I fell yo my knees, feeling them crack against the asphalt road. I clasped Mary’s cold hand in my own, vowing to not stop until I finally tracked down the man that had ruined my life.

    1. destinyalready

      I really like this, it reminds me of my own finished story. The one I just finished writing and posted below. The ending makes one think that this guy is never going to stop until he finds the killer. Even if it takes his whole life.

  10. Traviskirkman

    This can’t be right. What in the hell would she be doing out here in the middle of nowhere? I pull into the old forsaken gas station and I kill the engine. The place is lifeless. I pull my blackberry out of my pocket and call her mother who is desperately waiting by the phone.

    “Hey Nancy, it’s Mike. Have you heard from Stacy yet?” “No, not yet” she replied. “Her phone keeps going straight to voicemail”. The reception is horrible but I inform her that the cellphone tracker application on my phone lead me to Old Louie’s Gas & Grub off I-95. “The GPS has to be wrong”, I quickly add. No reply… “Hello, hello, Nancy are you their?” I glance at the phone, and the message “signal lost” is blinking across the screen.

    I drop the phone in my lap, start the car; and I peel out to the gravel lot. Instead of trekking the thirty-minute drive back to I-95 I decide to journey on up the road a little way. The desert landscape is barren an after driving ten miles without a hint of civilization I turn back.

    Something just isn’t right. As the gas station begins to break the horizon, an ominous feeling overwhelms me. My mind begins to race. Without hesitation, I slowly turn back into the parking lot and stop next to the withered building. I better have a look around. I step out of the car, and I’m instantly caught off guard by the dry heat. The midday sun is unbearable so I move quickly. The windows are boarded up, but I’m able to peek through an area on the narrow front door. Empty. An old card table is the only remnant left inside.

    I walk around to the right side of the building and as I turn the corner I instantly spot Stacy’s pink Arizona State University headband lying on the ground. I jog over and pick it up. She was wearing it just the day before when we had last seen her. I begin to panic. Ten feet to the left of me was a door. I creep over and push it open. A small urinal and sink lay in front of me. On the mirror above the sink written with Stacy’s notoriously pink lipstick reads:


  11. Mockingjay416

    I tried to think. Where’s the last place Kylee and I had been? It wasn’t the coffee shop or our old middle school but I couldn’t come up with any other place we had been together often. I stepped into the gas station girl’s bathroom to clear my head. The room was humid and I could almost feel my hair starting to frizz. I turned to the sink so I could hopefully wet down my hair and was surprised to see a message on the mirror. It was obviously Kylee’s handwriting and was scrawled in her favorite lipstick. I would recognize the color anywhere.
    (the message:) the mysterious place where no one speaks but eyes slide fast.
    What could it possibly mean? Kylee was trying to hint me into where the kidnapper was taking her. Where no one speaks… Maybe somewhere it is quiet. Eyes slide fast? Quiet and eyes sliding fast. Looking at something. Quiet. The library! But what did the mysterious part mean? I would figure it out later. Without spending anymore time I ran outside and jumped into my car and started speeding down the street. When I arrived at the library all of the lights were off. I walked around to the back. Since I worked here I had a key to get inside. I slowly pried the door open. Mysterious at night, yes. But then a thought crossed my mind. I started toward the mystery section. I walked down one of the aisles and saw something around the corner. I looked between the books and saw the kidnapper holding Kylee. He hasn’t spotted me yet. I pulled my gun from the holder then whipped around the side of the bookshelf. Kylee gasped as he wrapped his arm around her neck. I brought the gun up and leveled it with his head.
    “Let her go,” I said slowly.
    He just started laughing. I cocked the gun and prepared to shoot him when it all suddenly happened. As fast as a cheetah I pulled the trigger at the same time he slightly shifted his body. I watched helpless as the man ran off and let my best friend’s dead body slide to the floor.

  12. JennY77

    Sun rays filtered down through the trees wrapping their golden arms through her blond hair, gently streaming around her young shoulders in the slight breeze. “Arayna dear, please don’t go, I couldn’t bear it if you left me.” He took her tender, smooth, creamy hand in his rough, aged lips to softly, if not moistly kiss it. “Mr. Koeffax I’m sorry but you’re being highly inappropriate.” The middle-aged, sandy haired nurse dressed in a white nursing outfit, scolded the aged gentleman sitting in his wheelchair in the garden of the geriatric center. She gently pulled her hand away wheeling him through the veranda doors. “Your leisure time is up, we need to get you ready for therapy.” “Now, now Arayna, that’s no way to talk to poochka.” “For the last time, I’m not your poochka.” Lilly snapped. She was behind in her rounds as it was and in no mood to deal with his dementia. Her sharp tone yanked him out of his senile abstraction. He looked around the room sadly reminded of his bitter situation.

    Mr. Koeffax sighed in hopeless despair. He was about to rest his eyes on his chest when shadowy movements caught his eye. A matured woman wearing a stiff black dress and veil sat across from him in the waiting area outside the therapy room. He took a second look at her. There was nothing beautiful in her severe features but something about her behavior intrigued him. She frantically kept applying a tube of black lipstick to her thin cracked lips. Instead of making her look more approachable though, it made her face grim and ghastly. She looked up at him, when there eyes met she immediately put her lipstick in a black lacy handbag. Turning her horrible blood-shot eyes on him she began making a sign of an “s” in the air followed by a round figure. She kept madly repeating the motion and then pointing at him. Mr. Koeffax looked at her fearfully, she seemed a complete lunatic. “You fail to understand, you fail, you fail!” She stood slowly moving across the floor towards him screeching, “You, you, you are up, you are up! I saw it there in the mirror and you are up!

    “Mr. Koeffax,” Lily called “I need to retrieve your charts. I’ll be back shortly so we can begin your therapy.” Mr. Koeffax nodded turning his head back in the direction where the lady in black had stood but found the room empty with no trace of her. Something black down the hall caught his attention. Wheeling himself down the aged corridor he made his way to a stretcher covered with a black sheet. Raising the sheet he recoiled after recognizing his friend Ms. Rose in rigor mortis. “You need to go back to your room!” An attendant said, quickly wheeling him there. In the mirror above the sink words penned in black lipstick slowly appeared, “No exit!” gasping his last breathe he clutched at his chest.

  13. JennY77

    I like your concept but the execution could use some work. A little more build-up and suspense to reach the climax. The climax included an abrupt reveal maybe a little too abrupt. I liked the clue, “Was this here before I asked myself? It felt like hours that I have been staring at this. But it was actually a few minutes or maybe a few seconds.” Although, me personally, I would have given some little clue like a ticket stub, or something, with a date on it. Maybe the old man could have called him by name to catch his attention and then had Mark following, thinking he had something to do with the fiancés disappearance. It’s probably just me but that’s what I’d do anyway. Besides spelling issues I liked it. (I have spelling issues as well but that’s these prompts are for right?)

  14. leontrade

    “YOUR DEAD” I read as I washed my hands in an abandoned ret stop. Was this here before I asked myself? It felt like hours that I have been staring at this. But it was actually a few minutes or maybe a few seconds. I stepped out towards my room. I can’t explain it but I just felt weird and awkward on the message. I tried not to let it ruin my day. It was a very cold day. I went outside to the car where my fiancé was waiting for me. She was not in the locked car; I figured she went to the restroom so I waited outside. After 20 Minutes I realized this is not normal.
    “Ashley” I called inside the women’s restroom. No answer
    My heart started pounding faster as I did not know what to do. I was in the middle of now where with my fiancée missing for an hour. This can’t be happening. We were on our way to her parents’ house to celebrate her birthday and announce that we were having a baby girl.
    I went inside the women’s restroom, kicked each door open “ASHLEY Where are you???” I yelled. No respond, just dead silence. As I was leaving the, I notice “YOUR DEAD” written in the mirror. What is going on here I thought. I went back outside and circled this old rest stop. I couldn’t take it, I burst in tears. I could not control myself. The love of my life is gone.
    I sat down in the sidewalk not knowing what to do. Few hours must have passed by when finally an old pickup truck pulled up. An old man came out and just sat next to me.
    “What’s going on today son?” He asked with a southern accent
    “My future wife is gone…missing…Can’t find her know where and don’t know what to do, I can’t just leave”
    “I see, I see, I understand…come here with me and let me show you something okay?” He replied
    I got up slowly and we walked towards the back of the building.
    “Where you taking me old man? I have to wait for my fiancée in case she comes back”
    He just kept walking like he didn’t hear me.
    “Hey listen to me” Grabbing his shoulder.
    “Look Mark, just follow me you have to see something NOW” he said
    “How you know my name? Who are you???” I replied
    He stopped in front of a huge tree & pointed towards it. I saw the initials “M & A Forever 06/10/2002” How is this possible I thought.
    “Mark, my dear boy…that was the day you and Ashley were here. And that was the day you did something horrible…..”
    ”NO” I yelled “NO”
    “You been coming here for over 10 years doing the same thing, experiencing this traumatic events, it’s time to let go…it time to forgive yourself.”
    I remember everything now; I’m dead in the inside for killing my fiancée on 06/10/2002

  15. MoonlightStar20

    [Hi =D. I’m new around here and it’s the first time I’m posting a story, so please, any kind of feedback is welcome! I’m not natively English so grammatical errors and incorrect use of language or words are a HUGE possibility – please point that out to me? I’m kind of a blank canvas, so any type of criticism, tips and tricks are welcome, how else am I supposed to get better? Let me have it! He he… that is all.]


    I felt cold sweat form on my forehead as the meaning of the words written in crimson red lipstick sunk deeper into my soul.

    That’s Carol’s favourite cliché. How could I have been so blind! Carol was Hunter all along…

    Carol was always present whenever my stalker named “Hunter” left a note, clue or gift, always there to see my reaction, always around to comfort me when I felt hysterical – the one who found my boyfriend killed by gunshot in his apartment… the one who now kidnapped my friend, Dana, last night.

    Why? Why would she do that?

    In shock I fell to my knees on the cold restroom floor, the message screaming tauntingly in my head. I know Carol left me a greater clue in the message somewhere, just as she did with every other clue as my stalker – but what?

    Think, Kayla, think!

    Keep your friends close, keep –

    Wait a second… The whole sentence is written in capital letters! Just like the message on the wall next to the park! Could it be? Well, there’s only one way to find out…

    With renewed vigour I got up and stormed ungracefully out of the restaurant into the night, earning all kinds of stares but ignoring them completely; I had a bitch to find.

    I opened my trunk to retrieve the pistol I hid there earlier – if Dana was dead too, then I’ll make sure Carol would follow suit.

    The drive to the park was a short one, only a few miles from the restaurant, but somehow it felt like it took forever. When I got there I kicked out my high heels in a random direction and ran along the grass to the bench where Carol and I first met.

    Please be there, please be there, please…

    Strawberry blond hair confirmed my suspicions.

    “Carol!” my voice boomed in the silence of the night, but she didn’t even flinch.

    “You’re late.”

    The audacity!

    “Where’s Dana?”

    “Oh, she had a previous arrangement scheduled. I’m afraid you won’t be seeing her for a very long time.” Carol looked at me with a pleased smile that sickened me to my core.

    “Why?” my croaked question made Carol’s face turn serious.

    “Why? Easy – you are mine. I knew you were supposed to be mine since the day we met. Isn’t it obvious?”

    “You didn’t have to kill them!”

    “I had to! They were dividing the attention I deserved from you alone. They were problems.”

    At that, something in me snapped and before even I could comprehend what I was doing, the pistol was in my hand and ready to spill blood, so I complied and fired – and missed.

    This got Carol moving, though.

    She jumped up from the bench and disappeared masterly into the bushes.

    “Oh, Carol, I have another cliché for you: Hunter just became the hunted!”

    Then I sprinted off in the general direction she disappeared in, gun glistening in readiness.

    1. Dean Kutzler

      Great job! You don’t write as if you aren’t a native to English. The only advice would be to add a little more of a twist to the story and be careful with some descriptions such as: “disappeared masterly” or “the message screaming tauntingly in my head” – they jar me out of the story.

      I would have re-worded disappeared masterly and for the other, I would have said something like: the message taunting my head

      Other than that, GREAT JOB! Keep writing! The more you write, the easier it gets!

    2. Mockingjay416

      Very good story. It was unique from others and really caught my attention. I knew it was good when I wanted to read farther into the story. Overall I thought it was amazing. Much better than my story at the bottom. I would love to read more of your writing!

  16. Eliza

    [I’ve never posted here before so please let me know if I break any protocols. I’m hoping to get constructive criticism, so don’t be shy; be mean. Any quibbles, grammar you notice, big issues, anything. Go ahead, I’m looking to learn from my mistakes so please point them out.]

    The room is white. Or it was white. It could have been white, except for the loo roll stuck to the walls, the muddy skylight, the graffiti, the suspect stains. The mirror is as grimy as the skylight but there’s enough dim light to see by and the reflection is clear enough to show off the exhausted lines of Lex’s face, carved by the killer. She found him, but she cannot stop him.

    Her face is not staring back at her though, the writing is doing an admirable job of that. The words are cramped and curled, beautiful and arthritic calligraphy. ‘Do not go gentle into that good night, Lex. Come with muffled drum.’

    Old poetry and art, writing like a piece of manuscript, barely veiled invitations. This is the first mention of mourners, though. Lex re-reads the Dylan Thomas and leaves the Auden. No thinking of death, that’s the third rule.

    Lex leaves the bathroom as she found it, leaves the old petrol station as she found it; empty of life, an old but full pump in the middle of the damned black mountains. There’s a sheep standing guard so she tosses it a few coins with a laugh. Annie will appreciate the joke.

    The car hums with Johnny Cash and Lex sings along as she winds higher into the hills. She knows where to go. Annie knew how well Lex knows her writing. It’s like scripture to her now: off the top of her head and oft repeated.

    Lex stops behind the old shepherds’ cote. She wavers in her rickety body and climbs slowly to the path. It’s overgrown and her legs push her on through will power alone up the steep and rocky way, through the heather.

    She gasps, he lungs protesting this strange treatment, her hands cramping with their own arthritis. She gasps a breath and sings. Lex will come with muffled drum all right and Annie will know who’s on their way.

    “Well we know where we’re going, but we don’t know, where we’ve been, and we know what,”

    She pauses to breath, but she can see their old hiding place up ahead; the beautiful house that gave to so many walks and holding so many memories. She pushes onwards.

    “What we’re knowing, but we can’t say where we’ve been, and we’re not little children, oh god Annie.”

    Lex sobs the last as she pushes open their old front door and there on the wall is Annie’s handwriting, before the arthritis. ‘All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’.

    Lex pushes past the words to the back and finds her. The waiting bed and clouded eyes drifting now, body eaten by him, by their shared cancer. The cure is too late, for them. The curtains open to the hills they’d loved and lived into. She gathers the old body to her own and holds on to the last rage as they do not go gentle.

  17. sprattcm

    Rayne – Please save me.
    I don’t know how much
    more of this I can take…
    she’s killing me!

    I sighed and finished washing my hands after reading Caleb’s message. I used paper towels to smear the message the best I could so some tool didn’t come in later and get the wrong idea. Dissatisfied with my results, but unwilling to commit further effort, I tossed the paper in the wastebasket and returned to our table.

    As I took, my seat, Caleb smiled his welcome. His smile seemed strained and his left eyebrow flicked almost imperceptibly higher than normal, as if to remind me of his message and the action it begged for.

    “The ongoing excavations in Guatemala only highlight the catastrophic destruction of preclassic Mesoamerican artifacts. Last year, Global Heritage…”

    Caleb interrupted his date, “Rayne! Everything come out okay?”

    I took my seat and smoothed my napkin in my lap as I politely ignored him, “What were you saying about the Global Heritage Foundation, Lesley?”

    With a gracious smile, she launched into a dizzying defense of the trafficking of pre-Columbian Mayan pottery as a last-ditch cultural repository. She glossed over the crass bits about the multi-million dollar cottage industry of grave violation and looting, and rhapsodized on the wonders crafted beneath the blood-soaked fists of living gods. I listened intently and smiled encouragingly at the slightest pause. Caleb glanced at his watch and discretely seemed to despair of the night ever ending.

    He caught my eye as Lesley breathlessly described the El Mirador settlement, and used Dude Telepathy, I am bored to death!

    I smiled and replied, Cheryl Simmons, mortician – What comes around goes around, buddy.

  18. wolfgangpoe

    I burst into the restroom in a shower of shattered plaster and wood. That’s gonna hurt later, but I didn’t have time for “subtle.” I had to find Jorick and find him fast. Looking around, I spotted something scrawled across the mirror. “Aw, for cryin’ out loud” I groaned. I had been following this little treasure hunt all damn night. For a Master Poltergiest, Jorick was one mean sumbitch.

    “Follow the trail to your end, Hunter”

    Scrawled in nice red lipstick…lipstick the color of blood. Vicki’s lipstick.

    Great. Think, Johnny, think…

    “What the HELL DID YOU DO TO MY BATHROOM!” hollered a voice behind me. Wrong thing to do…

    Spinning around with a flap of black leather, I dropped and swept the feet out from under the yelling man. Rolling over on top of him, I watched his eyes of pale blue grow wide as he stared into my eyes, which are red. The color of blood. Just like the blood that drained from his face as he stared at my eyes and fangs. “Shhhhhhh….,” I whispered as I brought a a finger up to his lips. Don’t startle me. It’s not good for your health. It could put you in your grave.” Grave…grave…GRAVE! “I am such an idiot!” I exclamed. Looking down at loudmouth, I blew him a kiss and was gone before he could let out a squeek.

    Pounding down the road with a roar of thunder, I pushed Matilda, my old ’67 Charger, to the limits. Praying I didn’t run into any of our city’s finest, I roared through intersections and out past the closed mall in Irondale. Being the Master Hunter of the Birmingham area had it’s advantages though. Most of the boys in blue realized if this old flat black, souped up bitch was roaring through, there was a reason.

    Pouring on the gas and praying, I ripped down Old Ruffner Road toward the Bass Cemetary. Where I died, and where I was born.

    Screaching to a halt, I leaped out and ran up the dirt road, praying I would be on time. The moon broke through the clouds, illuminating the gravestones sticking out of the ground like your grandmothers broken teeth. There was something on one of the table tombs. Something small. Something illuminated by candles. Creeping closer, with senses on high alert, I saw it. A small cake and a present. Written on the tomb with that same damn lipstick was the simple message…”Happy Birthday”

    Vicki, strolled outta the shadows and into the moonlight as if nothing in the world had happened. She smiled, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Surprise.”

    Laughter rang through the empty woods. I swear I’m going to nail you one day, Jorick, I thought with an ironic smile…but not today.

    (468 words)

  19. untoe

    Hoff’s Donut Haven provided breakfast for Brock and me, every morning for the past ten years. Waiting for Brock to arrive, I went to use the restroom. I was shocked to see red lipstick writing on the mirror, with four simple words: Jerry – at the scene. Finally, the killer who has eluded the great detectives, Jerry Hartford and Brock Steadham was about to meet his end.

    A few minutes later a call came in on the radio from dispatch, “Jerry, have you heard from Brock?”

    “No I’m still waiting for him at Hoff’s,” I replied.

    Dispatch came back with, “We just got a report that his car is sitting on the corner of 30th and Maple but he is nowhere to be found.”

    Concerned and confused I said, “Ok, I’ll check it out and let you know.”

    I found the car, but no Brock. After dark – dressed in civilian clothing – I got on a roof about one hundred yards away from where the car was. Armed with my pocket taser, flashlight, Flir thermal imager, handcuffs, and a .357, I was ready to put this to test.

    I observed the area with my thermal imager. The only lighting in the streets came from an occasional car or fire in a barrel surrounded by a horde of drunken bums. I noticed a woman stand at the corner of 30th and Maple for a couple minutes, then, walk into the alley behind Maple. I climbed down and ran to the the alley just in time to hear a door shut, so I jumped into a nearby dumpster to wait.

    Five minutes passed when she exited the building. Once she was in range, I tased her. She let out a deep groan as she hit the pavement. I jumped out of the dumpster and said, “Where are they?” She laughed. I kicked her in the ribs as hard as I could and yelled, “I said, where, are they?” gasping for air, she weakly pointed to the door she came out of.

    I handcuffed her to the garbage can and went in to investigate. There were fourteen dead bodies thrown in a room. One of them was Brock. I went out shining my flashlight on her. “What is your name?” I demanded. She looked up at me with a devilish grin and I could see she was a man. But not just any man. It was Jim Frindowson. He had been on the force with us for about three years.

    I slowly walked up to him, swung back and hit him in the face with my flashlight. I said, “That was for me.” He laughed. I said, “This is for Brock.” When I stopped, he was barely conscious, had a broken nose, shattered cheek bone, three broken teeth, a broken arm, and four cracked ribs.

    I hauled him into the station like that. When asked what his charges were, I said, “murder, and resisting arrest.”

  20. annefreemanimages

    Rhyme or Reason
    A Rett Bonneville Story
    By Anne M. Freeman

    Whoever did it must have been in the ladies room while I was indisposed. The clichéd lipstick writing on the mirror wasn’t there when I came in. I couldn’t help but read it – the frosted pink writing was in front of my face as I washed my hands.

    “Eenie meany miney moe
    Catch a Shannah by the toe
    If she hollars shoot her”

    I stood motionless in front of the smeary words. Shanna was my dearest friend. This was not funny. And the idiot doesn’t know how to spell.

    I shook off the dripping water and ran out of the bathroom straight to the club’s back lounge where I’d been chatting with tonight’s act and a few other women. I knew who wore that color lipstick, and she was in the lounge. She can’t spell and she can’t think, either.

    I slammed the lounge door behind shut behind me. Jennifer was talking to another woman, her back to me. I kicked the back of her right knee and Jennifer flew forward, her purse sailing to the other side of the room. Jennifer fell onto the grimy carpet and I landed on top of her.

    “What the Hell are you doing!” She screamed as I held her down.

    I yelled at the other woman, “Grab her purse! There’s a gun in it!” The woman picked up Jennifer’s purse and looked in it. “There’s no gun in here,” she said, looking confused.

    “Of course there’s no gun in my purse! Are you nuts?” Jennifer yelled. Crud from the rug stuck to her frosted pink lipstick. The woman then opened her own purse and reached in.

    “But, there’s a gun in mine,” she said, and pointed it at us. Jennifer and I froze.

    “You’re the one?” I asked, confusion and fear welling up my throat.

    “What’s going on here?” cried Jennifer, softly.

    “I don’t know,” I said, watching the woman.

    “Yes, I’m it.” Just then I noticed that she was wearing pink frosted lipstick.

    “OK, you’ve got my attention. Where is Shanna?” I asked.

    “Oh, probably out in the audience partying it up.”

    “Come again?”

    “I’m just sick of you stealing all my boyfriends,” she stated, as if it were a fact that was somehow connected to the madness of the last five minutes. “Every time I go clubbing with a new guy and you’re playing or in the room, he always goes gaga over you. I can’t stand it anymore.”

    “So you’re going to shoot me? Isn’t that a bit extreme? They’re only guys, for Pete’s sake!”

    She seemed to hesitate. The gun was wavering a bit.

    “I don’t know how to shoot a gun, anyway,” she said. She shoved the gun back into her purse and then walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

    I rolled off Jennifer and we started laughing with a chaser of hysteria.

    “I’m sorry. It was the lipstick,” I said.

    “Tell me later,” Jennifer laughed.

    “And you’re jealous of my life as a musician?”

    “Nevermore,” she said between gasps, “nevermore.”


    1. Ishmael

      Anne, I loved this story. The poem got an audible guffaw out of me, and when you wrote, “It wasn’t funny…” later on in the next sentence or two, that had me chuckling more! Even the pick-up on the misspelling was like you were reading my mind. Nice climatic build-up, but I was prepared for a little more of a battle and was a tad disappointed with the back-down. I’ll chalk it up to those crazy female hormone swings and a sudden comes-to-her-senses realization.

      There’s only one thing that my mind kept tripping over, and I wouldn’t mention it, but the rest of the story is so great it’s something to consider. The second and third sentences feel clumsy to read, and since they’re at the starting gate, it wasn’t a good place to trip. I know what you’re trying to say, but first, the re-use of the word “writing” so close together didn’t feel right. Then, since the word “lipstick” is also a noun (even though you’re using it as an adj. here), as written, it easily reads like the clichéd lipstick (that wasn’t there when you came in) is writing on the mirror. See? Followed by, “…frosted pink writing…” I would try a different word for the first use of “writing,” e.g., “The clichéd lipstick message on the mirror wasn’t there when I came in. I couldn’t help but read it – the frosted pink writing was in front of my face as I washed my hands.” With the substitution of the word “message,” it clarifies that the lipstick is an adjective, and gets rid of the awkward “writing…writing” repetition.

      I only say this because I can tell you’d want to know…because the story was otherwise perfect! (But you sort of do the repeating thing again in the 5th paragraph with the word “Jennifer.” I think pronouns would be better after the first one. And “I landed on her” insinuates that you fell, rather than pounced, jumped, or body-slammed, which I think is what Rett was doing.)

      With HIGHEST regards,
      🙂 Ishmael

      1. Ishmael

        Damn, I’m WORDY! As you can tell, it doesn’t take me long to get to 500. I thought someone put another story up, then I saw it was me.

      2. annefreemanimages

        Ishmael – GREAT suggestions. I do very much appreciate your input. The goal is to write better and better. I’m going to make those adjustments before I post this story on my blog. I’ll most likely beef up the climactic scene, as well, since I won’t be limited to 500 words. By the way, I’ve been studying you and Rob and Icabu and Dan and a few other folks who do such a great job on your stories every week. Learning a lot from you all. Thanks for taking the time, Ishmael.

    2. Icabu

      Rett is back! I liked that her guess was wrong – humanizes her. And the Poe reference … unless you meant the Seattle metal band …
      Fun read.


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