FF Challenge Sept 25th – A Good Fit

Time for another story for the Friday Fictioneers Challenge to write a story 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks once again to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing this challenge. Please visit her site, by clicking her name, for all the details.

This week’s photo has been generously provided by Sarah Potter. All photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission.

FF Sept 22 old-shoes-cobwebs
PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Now for my 100 word story – A Good Fit

Long before it was cool, I was a nerd.

I chose wisely, my partner nursed my creations into a net worth that continued to explode exponentially. I didn’t care. My wife, Betty, did. Bigger, more expensive was her mantra. I was dragged from store to store, forced to don $1,500 jeans, $900 sneakers and inexplicably $300 T-shirts. I hated them. But a happy wife …

Betty and half my money is gone. When she left, I crawled through the sprawling attic seeking a relic from happier times. I shook off the dust, brushed away cobwebs.

They fit me just fine.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. Click HERE to see other stories based on this weeks prompt. Why not take a chance and join this merry band of writers.

Cheers

Cindy

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FF Sept 15th – Hearts

Yep, it’s here again, Friday Fictioneers 100 word stories. Please visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields to get all the information on how to join our group.

This weeks photo prompt was kindly supplied by Kelvin M. Knight. Please remember he retains all rights to his photo.

Now here’s my 102 (oops) word story – Hearts

FF - Sept 15th Bread
PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight

Sherry stared as the bread tumbled to the floor. The heart-shape reminder of love reopening the wound that was once her heart.

There had been a time when love had meant flowers, jewelry boxes, breakfasts with heart-shaped pancakes. Then came late nights at the office, the smell of whiskey on his breath, weekends spent alone. Her love slowly dripped from her battered heart.

The receipts for flowers and jewelry she never received morphed her hurt into an anger that scorched her soul.

She ground the bread into the floor with her heel picturing her ex’s heart. Hers beat a little easier.

Thanks for reading. I really struggled with the ending for this one. Let me know how I could have improved it.

Don’t forget the click HERE to read stories based on this week’s photo.

Cheers,

Cindy

 

FF Challenge Sept 8th – A Heavy Weight

Hello and welcome to my post for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge. Please visit our host Rochelle Wisoff’s site for all the rules. In brief the challenge is to write a story 100 words or less based on the photo prompt.

This weeks photo is courtesy of Danny Bowman, who retains all rights to his photo.

FF- Sept 8
PHOTO PROMPT © Danny Bowman

Without further ado here’s my story  A Heavy Weight –

“We’re going to die.” Calvin stared at the aging Jeep’s rising temperature gauge.

“Quit being so dramatic.” Charmaine shook her head. “Have faith! Google says we’re going the right way.”

“In a quarter of a mile turn left,” the tinny voice interrupted.

“Turn left! What left?” Calvin thumped the steering wheel and scowled at his half empty bottle. It contained the last of their water.

“I don’t know!” Charmaine stabbed at her phone.

“You have arrived,” the voice declared in triumph.

Calvin awoke with a jerk, his bed sheets a tangled mess.

“Damn this Google job is stressing me out.”

Word Count – 100

Some background, I have heard some news stories over the pass several years about Google maps leading people off onto back roads, sometimes resulting in death. I’ve often wondered if the product managers at Google feel the weight of these horrible consequences.

Thanks for reading. Please take a few minutes to leave me a comment. Also click HERE to read a vast array of stories based on this week’s photo.

Have a great day.

Cindy

Scrivener’s Forge 9 – Reveals

Welcome to my response for the Scrivener’s Forge 9 Reveals. These challenges are brought to us by Neil MacDonald, clicking his name will get you more information.Here is this month’s exercise, in his words –

A reveal is a twist in the tail. It can be like the punchline of a joke, suddenly taking the story onto a completely different terrain (the main character wasn’t a person after all, they were a worker bee, for example). Or it may suddenly show the machinery that was driving the story. Or it may make metaphorical and magical connections between events (this is often done by “mirroring” between an event and an earlier one).

Exercise:

Write a short story with a reveal. You may want to work backwards from the ending, as in exercise 8

And now my short story –

I first met him on the street. Although it was a brief encounter, I remember it well. I was rushing down main street, loaded down with dry cleaning and shopping bags, mentally striking things off my to do list when I bumped into him. Our eyes met. His were so full of despair they reached deep into me and stroked my heart with an icy finger. Before I could gather my wits, he continued weaving his way through the crowds and out of sight but not out of my mind.

From then on whenever I was downtown shopping, I knew that somewhere on my route I would see him. A quick glimpse as I entered the dry cleaners, or a long look as he strolled away down the street. I started to pay more attention to him, gathering more details. His hair was long and matted, he looked like he could use a bath. He was heartrendingly young. This made me wondered where his family was and why he was always alone. He was always set on a path that lead him god knows where. With each encounter, he became more deeply wedged into my thoughts. Who was he? Was he homeless? One day I followed him into the park. I sat on a bench close to where he sat. Trying to be discrete, I had a book opened on my lap. I watched and waited curious as to what would happen next. Nothing did. He sat, studiously not looking at me, before getting up and leaving.

I don’t know what drew me to him but I became a stalker. I never approached him. I simply followed him into the park. I would sit close by, never making eye contact, never talking to him. If my presence bothered him it never showed. These silent encounters led to me leaving food for him on the bench. Even the most casual observer would have noted that my small gifts, a sandwich, a burger left behind on the park bench, were intentional.

When I saw him casually walk by my house one day, it frightened me that he had followed me without my noticing. He now knew where I lived, that took out casual encounters in the park to a dangerous new level. With a shaking hand, I let the curtain fall back into place. Behind the security of my locked doors and windows, I watched him walk by, stopping to give the window where I stood a deep longing look. His eyes so full of misery I found it hard to ignore him. Surely, he meant me no harm. Day after day, I watched the lone figure walk by my house. My guilt at living a life of prosperity and leaving him hungry and hopeless grew until I thought I would choke on it. The next day, I stood by the window and waited for him to appear. I saw him turn the corner onto my street. He jogged by every house until he came to mine. At the edge of my drive he stopped, turned and looked directly at me through the window. He bobbed his head as if in greeting. A thousand admonishments from my friends and family ran through my mind in an instant. I ignored them all and threw open my door. I spoke to him for the first time.

“It’s okay,” I whispered to the eyes that held mine. I took a few cautious steps forward. He stood still, only his breathing indicated he had not turned to stone. I reached out and stroked his head.

“Want to come in and get some food?”

That was met with tail wagging so vigorous I thought his butt was going to fall off. The scraggy mutt followed me into his new home with no hesitation, on his part or mine. I think I’ll call him Bob.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the story and my big reveal worked. Please click HERE to read other responses to this exercise.

Cheers,

Cindy

FF Challenge Aug 18th – When Terror Strikes

Welcome to my submission to this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge to write a story 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Interested in finding out more please visit our noble host’s site by clicking Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

The multi-talented Rochelle has also provided this weeks photo prompt.

Now here’s my 100 word story – When Terror Strikes

FF Aug 19 closet-shower-2
PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I pushed through the unlocked door shouting for my tween daughters, receiving only silence.

“Kerry, Christine!”

I ran in and out of the vacant kitchen. My husband followed, fear flickering across his face.

We raced upstairs, our cries echoing across empty rooms. In the master bedroom light crept from under the bathroom door. Reaching, as if forced to pet a snake, I flung it open revealing the crouched forms of my girls.

“We heard a noise,” Christine squeaked.

With trembling arms, I hugged them and scolded my husband with my eyes. No more leaving them alone. We were not ready.

Thanks for reading. Please click HERE to read stories by other writers.

Have a great week!

Cindy

Scrivener’s Forge 8 – Plot and Ending

Once again I would like to thank Neil MacDonald, for posting the writing exercises called Scrivener’s Forge. Please click his name for more information on Scrivener’s Forge. This month’s excise is the following –

A simple way to think about plot is as the events seen in the light of their endings. Endings are important, and one of the most difficult parts of story-telling. A good ending should be both surprising and inevitable.

Exercise:

Write a cracking-good ending (a paragraph or two). Then work backwards and develop the sequence of events (the plot) that leads up to this ending. Note that this may feel very artificial for writers who like to “discover” their ending in the course of writing. But it’s an exercise to help us be aware of the sequence of causes that create good endings. It’s also a great technique when you’re editing a story to do a “backwards pass” and check that you have properly motivated the ending. A “backwards pass” is exactly this process of working backwards from the ending.

This was a very challenging one for me. Luckily, I had a story that had been bouncing around in my brain, a response to a Friday Fictioneer’s photo of a pay phone I didn’t get a chance to write. Now I have the opportunity to flesh out that idea. Hope you enjoy my story.

Life Line

I stomped the dust off my boots and cursed. This backwater town was strangling the life out of me. I was bored to death by the smiling faces that greeted me every day inquiring about me and my family. I was done with the dusty two lane main street that lead people in and quickly ushered them out of the tiny dot that was my home town.

When you’re young the long stretches of fields were a great place to play hide and seek. The country fairs full of corn dogs, cotton candy and stomach-churning rides were the highlight of the year. It’s funny how you can see the same things year after year then one day the familiar sights look different, almost alien.

Head down, I spent my high school years plotting my escape. My ticket out was a full scholarship at UC Berkeley. I packed my bags ignoring my mother’s hand wringing and my father’s defeated look. They had lost the long argument. The University of Nebraska was not big enough, not far enough for me. Mike, five years my junior still under the spell of life in the country, understood none of the tensions that shattered the peace in our tiny farm house.

Two days into my first semester, denying the empty feeling that stalked me from class to class and haunted my restless sleep, I called home from the dorm’s payphone for the first time. The achingly familiar sound of my mother’s voice sent tears streaming down my cheeks. The local twang, one I was struggling to hide, was a sweet song to my ears. It became an addiction. I called home once or twice a week. I would hang up, breathing a sigh of relief, shored up by knowing my one stoplight town and all its occupants still existed. I cheered the high school’s football wins, I laughed at my brother’s fumbling attempts at dating, I mourned the loss of people that had become as familiar to me as breathing. For years, I clung to the lifeline that was mounted in the hallway of the dorm.

Undergraduate and Graduate degrees led me to Silicon Valley, another new world to explore and conquer. My small-town roots, are now firmly relegated to the distant past. But I still shore up any moments of doubt and insecurity with memories of those fall fairs and Friday night football games. Payphones are now an endangered species that are rarely spotted.

But there one hung, almost impossible to resist. On my way into the truck stop, I breezed by it studiously ignoring it’s existence. On the way out, I strode confidently past it until my resolve dissolved. I turned back and stood face to face with it drowning in indecision. I watched as one hand snatched up the receiver, the other hand dropped in some coins and my fingers dialed the number from memory. I clung to the lifeline.

Whrrr click, whrrr click. The voice heard so often over the years reached deep into my soul.

“The number you have dialed is no longer in service.”

I dropped the receiver as if bit by a snake. The room twisted, I slunk to the floor. As always it came crashing back to me, the horrible day, a sunny afternoon during my senior year. The day a drunk driver changed, forever, the voice on the other end of the line.

Thanks for reading. Please click HERE to read other submissions to this month’s Scrivener’s Forge.

 

FF Challenge Aug 11th – Pride and a Fall

Once again with feeling, welcome to my submission to this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge. Not familiar with it here’s a recap. The goal is to write a story 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Interested in finding out more please visit our noble host’s site by clicking Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

This weeks photo prompt has been provided by CE Ayr. Thank you Mr. Ayr for the intriguing photo. It was a tough one.

Please click HERE to read stories by other writers.

Now here is my 99 word story –

FF Aug 11
PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

Pride and a Fall

Hey old man, where are you? Couldn’t keep up, huh? Damn root, my ankle is swollen. Tried to stand, I fell again. I think my wrist is broken.

Day 2

Pops, where are you? You said the rock that looks like a head, right? Spent the night pressed against that rock. So many noises. I’m scared.

Stock – 3 granola bars, and 1 1/2 bottles of water

Day 6

Dad, you used to say something about pride and a fall. You were right. Where are you?

Day ?

I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep. Daddy, where are you?

Thanks for reading. Please let me a comment, criticism or just off the wall remark.

Cindy