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First blog post

Well! I took a deep breath and jumped.

This is my very first blog. I’m kind of nervous and excited to get this started.

I’ve been writing stories on the Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts forum every week for the past two years. It’s been a wonderful learning experience to take their prompts, no matter how weird or specific, and turn them into two or three completely different stories. I’ve written stories on there that I normally wouldn’t have considered writing – science fiction stories, vampire stories, and so on. My fellow forumites, who are awesome writers, have helped me with their suggestions and comments to grow as a writer.

So, after much mental fidgeting and nail biting, I finally decided to create this blog to give my prompt stories a proper home.

Hope you enjoy them!

AK

Only For You

This short story was inspired by Sarah Doughty’s micropoem “Thumping”. 

https://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/thumping/

“I’m going to tell you a secret.” He whispered the words so soft in her ear. “I trust you.” He paused and said in a softer whisper, “My heart beats only for you.”

Susan smiled. “All lovers say that and many husbands and wives.”

“They don’t mean it the way I do. Whenever you leave me, whenever you aren’t around, my heart stutters, sputters, and stops. I stand in suspended animation. Unable to think. Unable to breathe. Unable to move. Then, you return and my life returns. My heart beats again.”

“That is the most beautiful thing any man has ever said to me.”

“It isn’t beauty.”

“It’s poetry.”

“It isn’t poetry.”

“Then, what is it?”

“It’s truth. All truth.”

“Of course, it is.” She kissed him.

His heart beat strong as he kissed her.

“I’ll see you in a little bit. I have to get some things from the store.” She grabbed her purse, blew him a kiss, and left.

His expression dulled.

The light in his eyes darkened.

His posture wilted.

His arms hung limp.

She’ll be home soon. was his last conscious thought before his brain fully shut down.

 

 

One Red Balloon

The wall of multi-colored balloons lined the shore right at the waters’ edge.

It was pretty much useless. Didn’t really keep anything in or out. But it wasn’t meant to.

It was a memorial to those who had died protecting the shores. It was considered holy. It was considered sacred.

Maisie DeLuise didn’t care about any of that grown up stuff.

She wanted the red balloon.

Her mother pushed her own warm day and ocean stiffened hair back. “Baby, those balloons aren’t for the taking.”

“Red balloon.”

“Oh! Oh! Look at this!” She grabbed a drab black stone out of the sand. “Look at this, Maisie. Isn’t this pretty? Look how smooth this is.”

Maisie afforded one glance at it. “Not pretty. Red balloon!”

“Now, baby. We can’t. It would be like stealing the nose off of Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln—”

“Red. Balloon. Now!”

Her mother tried to take her hand.

Maisie flung herself on the sand. And screamed. And kicked. And flailed about.

A newlywed couple walked by and tsked her untoward behavior.

“Maisie. You are being a very bad—”

“REEEEED BAAAAAALLLLLOOOOON NOOOOOOOWWW!”

“Maisie!”

Her screams lurched up into choked sobs and weeping. Oh, such weeping.

“Maisie. We can’t. We—”

“You don’t LOOOOOVE MEEEEEEEEE!” Her EEE’s were a shrill shriek.

An elderly gentleman came up. “Miss. Could you take your screaming banshee child away? She’s disrupting our yoga time over there.”

Maisie’s mother glared a Medusa death glare at him.

No words.

Just a glare that should have frozen his joints into stone.

He harrumphed and returned to his beach yoga group.

Maisie settled down. “I…I…j…just want one…one…one…b…b…balloon.”

“That’s stealing. We can’t steal. It’s not nice. It’s not right.”

“A…are they going to miss one red balloon?”

Her mother raised her head and considered the long multi-colored wall.

I’m sure they’ve had some deflate, float off to sea, disappear into the sky. These things aren’t chained down.

Just one red balloon.

“Just one. That’s all I want. I need it. It’s a red balloon. I need it so much. I love it so much. I want to keep it in my room I love it so much.”

Her mother snapped out of her pilfering thoughts. “You’re being ridiculous. I can buy you a balloon. I can buy you a bag of 100 balloons for fifty-nine cents at the Junk Junko Mart.”

“But they aren’t THAT balloon. I love THAT balloon.”

“Well. Sometimes we don’t get who we love.”

Maisie rubbed her nose and contemplated her mother’s words. There was some big concept in there. Some secret that grown-ups know, but don’t tell their kids. It was a code that only adults could crack because only they had the decoder ring.

Such contemplations made her sleepy and confused. She rubbed her eyes hard with the back of her hand.

Her mother picked her up. “You tired?”

Maisie didn’t answer. She laid her head on her mother’s shoulder.

She fell asleep before they even left the beach.

Do You Want Your Picture Taken?

The little girl watched the photographer set up the camera, the stark white screen. It was all strange and mysterious to her.

The photographer smiled a wide, easy smile. “Do you want your picture taken?”

She ducked her head and ran off.

She hid in the safe serenity of her tent. Her fingers touched the lines on her face. Lines that dug deep through skin layers.

She heard the voices of the other villagers inside those lines. “Ugly. Scarred. Ruined beauty. Ugly. Ugly .Ugly.”

Ugly.

Strange how a word, a simple word, four letters long and short, could feel worse than the knife that had created the physical wounds.

Ugly.

It hurt so much more than the word scarred. She understood why. Scarred indicated something old, something healed, something without power.

But ugly.

Ugly was something always new.

Ugly was a face slap.

Ugly was a rejection.

Ugly was worthlessness in four letters.

She curled up under her blankets.

But she could not sleep.

She kept thinking about that woman with the large camera and the stark white screen. Unblemished white screen. Un-ugly white screen.

It too held power over her.

The power of wonder.

The power of curiosity.

The power of insomnia until she knew more.

She crawled out of her tent and glanced around. No one was about.

She walked carefully as a cat.

She walked faster as curiosity called her onward and pulled her and chased her.

She stopped at the edge of the clearing.

The other villagers were there getting their pictures taken.

The little girl slunk into the shadows and sat still, watching.

The white flash startled her at first, but no one seemed to be harmed by it.

A couple of the babies cried. The mothers smiled. The fathers looked stern and unapproachable. The teenaged girls giggled and laughed. The teenaged boys acted silly and preened and smacked each other with branches.

The photographer flashed the light on all of their antics.

The little girl’s curiosity grew stronger. She crept out of the shadows.

The light flashed again and again.

She hesitated. Her fingers trailed the lines on her skin. Would the photographer call her ugly? And scarred? And unlovable?

She remembered the woman’s easy, unafraid smile. “Do you want your picture taken?”

The word ‘ugly’ was not in her words. Nor had it been in her eyes. Nor in her smile.

Yet, the little girl waited until all of the other villagers had their moment in the light’s flash.

She approached the photographer.

As careful as a cat.

As timid as a child.

She tugged on the woman’s tan skirt.

Again, that easy smile. “Do you want your picture taken too?”

The little girl covered her large scar with her small hand.

The woman’s hand touched the child’s hand.  “Don’t hide it. It is a part of you. Your past. Your memories. It is something you have survived. Be proud of it. Own it.”

Strange words.

But the word ugly was not hidden in them. A strange powerful magic lived in each letter, in each breath, in each punctuation mark.

The little girl lowered her hand and held her head with pride.

“Do you want your picture taken?”

The little girl nodded.

She sat with her hands in her lap and looked straight ahead at the photographer.

The light flashed.

Today, My Name Is…

I’ve changed my name a lot of times. I used to keep a list of names I’ve used. Then, I ran out of paper.

Paper isn’t cheap.

Neither is ink.

Now, I just store those names in my head. Sometimes I write them down in the dirt or in the sand. I don’t like writing them down in the snow.

Today I’m Emily Barclay. That is who I am. Emily Barclay. It’s important I remember and don’t slip up.

I slipped up once.

Nearly died.

Won’t make that mistake again.

So, today I’m Emily Barclay. I can’t forget. So, I won’t forget.

Who knows who I’ll be tomorrow?

Happy Ness

Those men came by again today.

Floated right past me.

I thought about raising my head and saying hello, but I’ve had bad reactions to that in the past. I’ll just keep myself down low.

Sometimes those men jump into the water with their bright flashlights. They turn their lights left, right, and so on through the murky water.

I’ve learned to avoid their light.

Those men came by today and sat their in their rowboat. They were trying real hard to convince me that they were just fishing and not looking for me.

Silly men.

I know their plots and plans.

After living near them and avoiding them for ninety-five years, I certainly know their plots and plans.

Those men left and no one else is coming to my loch.

The day is all mine to swim, to frolic, to explore.

Those men will certainly return tomorrow, but not today.

Today is all mine.

He And She At The Coffee Shop

She was a regular at the Me Java’s coffee shop.

She didn’t look up when she placed her order.

Her voice was soft.

He saw her there every day.

And every day he made her a Café Isle Mocha. Medium. Reduced heat. No cream. No sugar. Nothing to eat. Just the drink.

She would carry it to her table with such care. As if the coffee itself were made out of glass ice that could cut and slice her.

He didn’t know her name.

She never offered it.

He didn’t know if she ever laughed.

She was always so solemn.

He wanted to know her. He wanted to know what happened to her to make her so hand-shy about the world around her.

She drank her coffee in timid sips as if it hurt.

Every time.

Every single time.

He wanted to know why. Could he help her? Could he bring confidence back into her life?

Did she need to be rescued from a bad situation?

Another customer came up.

He smiled and laughed and chatted.

She looked over at him through bangs that were too long and too uneven.

He was lovely.

He was kind.

He was off limits.

He had made that clear.

She sipped her coffee, making it last as long as she could.

It was nice here.

It was safe here.

He was here.

Here she could dream what ifs and maybes and delirious possibilities.

Because he wasn’t here.

Hand Over The Girl!

“How many times do I have to say it?”

“I don’t know. Wait. How many times have you said it so far?”

“Oh, you think you’re so funny, don’t you?”

“I don’t know anyone who’d say no to a question like that.”

Gun click.

“Aw, man. Now, you’re pulling a gun on me. See? That’s not fair. I’m going to discredit you.”

“You’re going to what? Never mind. Hand over the girl.”

“Yes! I got you to say it one more time! Huzzah!”

Gun shot.

Broken lamp.

“Umm, was that lamp supposed to symbolize my head or are you really that bad at what you do? Hey! I know. Give me the gun and we’ll all feel so much safer.”

Gun shot.

Killed picture.

“Well. That’s better. At least, you’re aiming straight now.”

“Hand over the girl! Or next shot will be your head!”

“Not going to happen. You’re too bad a shot. Besides, you shoot me, I’ll gasp and wheeze and oops! Drop the girl. You wouldn’t want me to do that now, would ya? She’s a delicate bit of glass. I drop her, she might lose an arm or a leg. Or horrors! She’ll lose her head. It’ll be hard to sell the girl in the black market without her head.”

“You are scum.”

“Am not. Besides, you’re the one with the gun pointed at defenseless me. I’d say you’re the scum. Why don’t you go into the bathroom and take a shower? Get rid of some of that extra scumminess?”

Gun shot.

Matching picture dead.

“You know, you’re gonna run out of bullets soon.”

“Hand over the girl!”

“But I went through so much trouble to get her.”

“If you don’t give it to me, I will blow your—”

“Okay! Catch!”

“Gaaaaah!”

Dropped gun.

Dropped the girl.

The girl shattered into a million pieces of crystal.

But I got away.

Because I’m just too cool.

Huzzah, me!

https://pauldaronson.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/hand-over-the-girl-dialogue-prompt-for-sunday-12-feb/