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Posts Tagged ‘writing from a prompt’

Writing from a prompt. Short fiction.
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It was love at first sight. That’s what I had always read in the books I loved to read by flashlight after I had been sent to bed. That’s what I dreamed would happen to me…that one day I might be sitting in the library, reading and then I would feel a pull, an irresistible urge to look up and there he would be, looking straight into my eyes and we would never part after that first glance at one another.

But it didn’t happen that way.

I had been sitting in the library reading between classes when I suddenly realized that I had stayed too long. I was late for my next class. I quickly gathered my things and put on my coat, noting that it had not yet dried from the last time I had been out in the drenching rain two hours earlier. Rushing, I didn’t see him coming off of the elevator next to the exit and he, struggling to get his umbrella ready for the rain, did not see me until it was too late.

As I lay on the floor, just inside the front doors to the library, people tried to get around me without tripping as they ran in from the rain. I noticed an outstretched hand and heard his voice. “I’m so sorry! That was totally my fault. Here, let me help you!”

Reaching for his hand, I pulled myself up, only have my heel break. As I fell again, holding on to the young man’s hand, I pulled him down on top of me. We must have been a sight! We both sat there laughing uncontrollably as people tried to enter and exit the building without stepping on us.

Finally, we managed to upright ourselves in a standing position, me trying to figure out how to walk with my broken heel and he trying to gather all of our books from the floor.

Suddenly, there was a tall man with an angular face asking us to be quiet and rushing us out the door before we were quite ready. That’s when I finally took a look at the young man that had knocked me head over heels onto the floor. I was shocked to see that it was no other than the young man that sat behind me in class, the class we were both horribly late to. I had spied him occasionally in class and had, more than once dropped my ink pen so that I would have an excuse to get a look at his face for all I knew about him was that he had a voice that would have me following him any place and when he used it to answer a question, he spoke with intelligence and self assurance.

As we stepped outside of the library, he asked if I might want to have a cup of coffee with him at the coffee shop next door, seeing that we were both too late to stumble into class and interrupt the whole session. I agreed and minutes later, as we sat down next to the blazing fireplace waiting for our coffee, we finally both looked introduced ourselves.

“That voice! I would know you any place. I hear your beautiful, lilting voice in my dreams! I never thought I would have the opportunity to sit next to you like this and have you direct that voice at me!”

Flattered, I batted my eyelashes as my vanilla latté arrived. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the coffee shop, talking and listening, lost to the realized dream we each had.

That’s how it happened. I guess you could call it love at first sound, not sight!

Prompt from WordPress Daily Digest: “Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.” I used the first sentence from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, although it is not my favorite book.

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Short fiction.  Writing from a prompt.  Part 1 here.

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Emily explored her new cookbook, reading through the recipes page by page and taking time to think through the ingredients and procedures.  She was looking for something that would pop out at her…some special recipe that did not remind her of any other recipe she had ever seen or tried.  She was so consumed with reading through the book and deciphering the many notes, some of which appeared to be in different languages and in different handwriting that she forgot all about the competition she had applied to enter.  As she sat with the book in her hands, feeling the vibrations of those that had used it before her, it grew dark outside and before she knew it, she had to get up and turn on the lights.  As she got up, she placed the book on the table.  Coming back to the book after flipping the light switch to the on position, she noticed the pointy corner of a faded pink piece of paper.  She hadn’t seen it before but it was there now.  She tugged at it gently.  It appeared to be stuck between the back board and the endpaper of the cookbook.  It was in there tightly and Emily realized that it could not have gotten back there by mistake.  It was intentionally hidden there.  She wondered why as she finally freed the paper from its hiding place.

The paper was old and the edges were not in the best shape.  The outside of it was more faded than the inside.  As she unfolded the paper, Emily saw what was definitely feminine writing with a lot of loops and flourishes.  It was a letter which read: “Beloved niece, this is what you asked me for but I warn you that it is to be used only on the young man that you are sure is the perfect mate.  You must be one hundred percent positive that the young man is the one you wish will adore you til the day he dies; the one you will honour and cherish all the days of your life.  Once consumed, there is no turning back and the two of you will be bound together forever.  So be very careful and choose wisely.  If there is any doubt, do not use it.  Wait until there is not a sliver of doubt.”

Intrigued, Emily read the few lines to the recipe: “Philtre d’amour–dittany of crete, banana leaves, boil in water then add to chocolate. Administer mixture as a drink every night during the waxing moon. While you boil and prepare the ingredients, you must think only of your beloved and imagine seeing him/her in their natural state and cherishing them every day of your life.  To be prepared and administered with the greatest of caution.”

Giggling at the silliness of even the idea of a love potion, Emily folded the paper and returned it to its secret hiding place.  She continued to browse the recipes in the book and finally came upon one that intrigued her.  It was for a simple, yet very appealing banana chocolate cake.  She marked it so she could prepare it the next day just in case she made it to the competition.  She might just need a new recipe for that occasion.

In the end, Emily was accepted into the competition and not only did she win in her category, she also fell absolutely, totally in love with one of the judges.  His name was Romero and he had paid special attention to Emily throughout the competition.  When it was over, he had asked her if she would like to go on a date with him.  Three dates later, Emily had found the one man that was her true love; the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.  She remember the faded pink paper in her chocolate cookbook and knew that it was put there and meant to be found by her so that she could win the heart of her true love, Romero.  She pulled it out of the cookbook and began to look it over so she could get the ingredients and make the love potion.  She would have to hurry as the moon would be entering its waxing stage in just three nights.  She studied the paper carefully, eyes full of dreams of her future.

The prompt: A woman purchases an old cookbook at a used bookstore and discovers a note tucked inside its pages.

Source: The Writer’s Book of Matches: 1001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction, by the Staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts, put out by Writer’s Digest Books.

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Short story.  Writing from a prompt.

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Emily was nervous and when she was nervous she would leave the house to distract herself.  Her favorite thing to do was to go to antique stores and to thrift shops.  She always got wrapped up in the little treasures that had belonged to other people.  They made her think and wonder and imagine who might have had any particular item.  Like one day last August she had found a fan…one of those delicate paper and tortoiseshell hand fans.  It had been displayed behind glass, fully extended to show off the delicate hand painted design full of colorful flowers and tiny butterflies against a cloudless light blue sky.  The little card next to it read: “Spain, 1894. Ecru parchment, tortoiseshell.”  It had sent Emily off on an imaginary trip to 1894.  She made up a story of two young lovers, Emilia and Rogelio, who were forbidden from seeing each other.  Rogelio had bought the fan for Emilia and had persuaded Emilia’s chaperone to give it to her for him.  He had given it to the chaperone in a box with a handwritten love note hidden under the tissue paper that folded over the delicate fan. Two days later, Rogelio heard from one of the servants in Emilia’s house that her parents had found the love note in Emilia’s things and had sent her away.  She was bound for the coast, to Cadiz, to board a ship. Rogelio could not even find out where she was being sent.  He departed for Cadiz as soon as he heard to try to find Emilia before she left his world but he was too late.  Even before he arrived in Cadiz, he had run into one of the house servants that worked in Emilia’s house.  He had just left her at the port where she had already boarded the ship.  All he could tell Rogelio was that the ship was headed to America and had already departed.  Broken hearted, Rogelio returned to the village where he lived near Cordoba.  He had been so dejected, so hopeless, that he had stopped eating and soon fell ill.  Without Emilia in his future, Rogelio had no reason to fight for his life and so he succumbed to his broken heart.

Thinking about the competition to which she had applied, she left her apartment to find a distraction from the worrying and waiting to hear if her application would be accepted.  She wanted to be in this competition.  It would make or break her.  Winning, or even placing in this competition, would give her the publicity she needed as she prepared to open her one shot at fame and happiness–her own bakery.  She headed for the antique store but instead, something led her into the thrift shop around the corner from the antique store.  Sherry, the clerk at the thrift shop greeted her, “Hey Emily!  Listen, you might be interested in this box.  I was just sorting through them to price them.  They’re all cookbooks.  Interested?  If you want any of them you can have them for a buck a piece while they’re unsorted.”  Emily thanked Sherry and started to rummage through the box. She found one book with chocolate recipes.  Emily had a lot of chocolate recipes already but this one was an old book with a lot of handwritten notes and recipes clipped to the pages throughout the book.  It made her smile, remember how her grandmother’s favorite cookbook looked just like this one, full of her Nana’s own recipes, corrections, and notes clipped and taped to the pages.  She decided one could never have enough chocolate recipes and if she found even one recipe within the pages, it would be worth it.  Emily grabbed the vintage cookbook and paid Sherry for it and headed home to look through the new to her recipes, in search of a new treasure.

Part 2 here

The prompt: A woman purchases an old cookbook at a used bookstore and discovers a note tucked inside its pages.

Source: The Writer’s Book of Matches: 1001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction, by the Staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts, put out by Writer’s Digest Books.

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Short Fiction.  Writing from a prompt.

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He hadn’t seen Kara since the day he left high school.  He had thought about her often then he had gotten involved with Kathleen.  Kathleen was perfect for him or so his mother said when she had promised Kathleen’s mother that he would take Kathleen to the prom.  It had been his mother’s idea and she is the one that had pushed them together.  While they made plans for their wedding, he kept thinking that Kara was the perfect one for him and he knew they loved each other.  He was stuck between wanting to please his mother with someone that he’d be happy enough with or daring to please himself with the one he knew he would always know had been his soul mate.  In the end, he had chosen to please his mother.  But now, when he saw Kara again, he wished he had been strong enough, man enough to tell his mother that, while he loved and respected her, he needed to do what he felt was right for him.  He hadn’t done that.  That had been his mistake and here she was again.  If he had stood up to his mother, both he and Kara would have had remarkably different lives.  Kara.  Kara.  Kara.

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The cold, wet weather is the time for soup!  I love soup, even if it is not much more than broth and a few veggies.  Then again, I also love soups that are loaded with goodies like pasta or rice, potatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper…well, you get the idea.

Let’s see if we can come up with ingredients for Alphabet Soup:

A=albondigas (meatballs), so filling and delicious.

B=beans, just about any kind and if you have an assortment, how about some bean soup!

C=carrots give soup color and crunch.

D=dark red onions, so tasty and healthy give it pizzazz!

E=eggplant soup…sounds tasty.  I’ll have to try some soon.

F=flavorful food that’s also good for you.

G=gaspacho is a tasty soup from Spain, have you had it?

H=healthy for you, not just delicious.

I=Ingredients like the ones here or any you can come up with, they all go in!

J=Julienne cut vegetables would be nice.

K=ketchup..shhh don’t tell anyone but when I need tomato sauce for soup and I haven’t any, I sometimes reach for the ketchup.

L=lettuce, nah I think I’ll pass for it would be too limp in soup!

M=meat of any kind will make it so filling.

N=nutrients for your body to help keep you healthy.

O=onions of any color or flavor, too.

P=potatoes and pasta will help fill your stomach.

Q=quinoa is supposed to be good and healthy, I’ll have to try it in some soup one day.

R=restaurants don’t always have the best soups but my mom’s kitchen does.

S=spicy gumbo is really wonderful if made right but it isn’t always.

T=tomatoes, while adding color tend to get soggy in soup after the first bowl, although I love tomatoes.

U=unsalted soup doesn’t taste good to me so I keep that salt shaker nearby.

V=vegetables help to make any soup more nutritious.

W=watercress will give soup some crunch.

X=Xavier soup is Italian and made with parmessan cheese dumplings.

Y=yams?  Yams?  In soup?  I suppose so.  Yams are a squash and squash soup is good!

Z=zucchini is one of my favorite thngs to put in soup, even if it’s cooked til it’s soft, it’s still delicious.

Note:  This was an exercise to fill a prompt from today’s Daily Post.  Thanks for sticking with me to the end.

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She wore her glittery red dress as he held the door open for her to enter the diner.  She smiled and thanked him, noting how well dressed he was and how tall!  She loved tall men but she was not the type to strike up a conversatiion with a stranger so she walked into the diner and sat at the counter.  She usually sat at the counter when she was alone.  She didn’t like to take up a table that other larger parties could use.  Even when it was a slow night, you never knew when a large party would come in and need the table.  She had been a waitress for many years and this was the diner where she had first waitressed.  It had been several years since she had worked there but she still felt at home and when she was there, she always took a seat at the counter.

Although she hated going out alone, tonight she had done just that.  She had gone to the Museum of Art to catch her favorite painting before the exhibit closed in a couple of days.  Her favorite was Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.  There was something about it that drew her to it.  There was a sense of mystery and of lonliness, maybe even sadness, in the painting.  She also loved the way the darkness of the night and the building was illuminated by the light inside the diner.  The light made it possible to see the figures in the painting.  It was like they could not hide, even if they tried.  She asked for a cup of coffee and a piece of pumpkin cheesecake and as she waited for Philly to bring her order, she took out the print of the Hopper painting from the bag.  She had bought a small print for the wall of her new apartment.  She had wanted one forever but had never had the right spot to highlight it.  Until now.  She had her own apartment now.  No roommate to bug her about what she put on the wall.  She felt like it was a new beginning for her and she had bought the print to celebrate this new stage in her life.

“Hi.  I couldn’t help but notice the Nighthawk print.  It’s my favorite print.” It was the man in the grey pinstripe suit that had held the door open for her.  He looked at the print she was holding as he sat next to her at the counter.

“I hope you don’t mind if I join you.  It’s not often that I find a beautiful young lady sitting at a diner counter all alone and holding my favorite piece of art.” He smiled at her as he sat, not waiting for her to answer, not that she would have objected.

“I don’t know what it is about that painting.  It just gets to me.  See how it’s general a dark painting but the light inside the diner lightens it all up.  If these people have anything to hide, they’re sitting in the wrong diner because there’s nothing they can hide here.  It makes me wonder what they’re doing in there.  How about you?  What do you like about it?  Or maybe it’s not for you.  Maybe you’ve purchased it as a gift?” Suddenly he looked uneasy as he realized that he might have guessed wrong about her being all alone.

She looked around and couldn’t help but notice the similarity of this diner to the one in the painting, right up to the fact that she was only one of three customers in the place, and the only female.  This man sitting next to her was a total stranger.  Should she get up and walk away?  She she sit there and wait until he left before she left?  Suddenly she began to feel a little uneasy.

“I’m sorry.  If you’d like I’ll leave you alone.” He began to get up.  “I hope I didn’t alarm you.  I’m not a stalker or a serial killer.  Heck!  I haven’t killed even one person!  I’m sorry if I bothered you.  I was just drawn over here when I saw the Hopper print.  I thought we might have something in common.

She hesitated a bit then said, “No, it’s okay.  You don’t have to leave.  Please stay if you’d like.  The print is for me.  It has always been my favorite piece of art, too.  I guess we do have something in common.” She tucked her red hair behind her ear as Philly brought her coffee and cheesecake.  He looked like a nice guy but she would not take any chances.  She would sit here all night long if she had to.  She wouldn’t take the chance that he was a wack job.

They chatted about the exhibit they had both attended.  She had been there that night and he had been there a week before.  Before long, she was on her third cup of coffee and they had discussed Hopper’s Nighthawks and some of his other work.  They were both enjoying the evening, or rather the “after evening” and had forgotten that they were actually strangers to each other.  They chatted away, laughing and joking and enjoying some deeper insights into art and reality.

(This was inspired by a challenge to write about the Nighthawk painting…what’s the story behind the people in the painting?  I changed it up a bit and made the prompt mine.)

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What I really mean is fiction or non-fiction reading. Which do you prefer? When I was in grade school and first learned the terms fiction and non-fiction, the way I remembered which was which was by substituting “fake” for “fiction” because I didn’t readily remember what fiction meant but I knew what fake meant! I think I was in third grade!

I’m definitely a fiction kind of person but I find that when I read fiction, I am looking for the non-fiction in it, that is to say that I look things up that interest me in the fiction to learn more about those things as well as to make sure the author didn’t screw up on their facts! Recently, I’ve read about four of Daniel Silva’s series with Gabriel Allon. These books are filled with facts and fiction based on fact and they send me straight to search for the facts or to learn more about the subjects. I’ve read about the Holocaust (there’s always so much more to learn about it than what we know or think we know), about conflict in the Middle East, about the works of Caravaggio, just to name a few topics. It’s not just his books that do that to me. It’s almost every book. If an author mentions a type of plane used in WWII, I go look it up. If the name of a museum is mentioned, I’m off to find out more about it. As far as checking “facts” presented in fiction, I’m talking about dates and chronology. For example, if an author writes a scene in which a character stays at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and presents the date as 1992, I know they are wrong. I know that the hotel closed to guests in the 1980’s and I will go online and look for the dates to make sure I’m right. I am. Closure date was 1989. I then chalk it up to sloppy research and the rest of the book is tainted by it.

I read a lot about WWII and those books inevitably send me to find facts. Novels which make reference to art or music will do the same. Novels that reference specific locations with which I am unfamiliar will send me off to discover more.

I do enjoy reading some non-fiction but it has to be about a subject I am already interested in, or the memoirs or biography of someone I have previously hearing about in the past. One example is the Kennedy family. I am interested in all things Kennedy and have read extensively about them and books by them. In fact, my very first e-book when I got my Kindle in 2009, was True Compass by Ted Kennedy.

I just finished book #68 of an 80 book goal for 2014. I must say that the books next up on my list are all fiction but there are a few memoirs that have made the list so I might just load one of those on my Kindle. In fact, I had better run off and do that now so it will be ready to start up first thing in the morning!

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Crazy

This is a piece of fiction from a prompt I found while looking for things to write about on my blog.  It’s from The One Minute Writer and the prompt reads: “Everyone said he was crazy. He never acted crazy around me until this one day I will never forget.”  Here’s my stab at it.  I hope you enjoy it.

Everyone said he was crazy. He never acted crazy around me until this one day I will never forget.

Well, it was actually one night, not one day.  It was January and the rainy weather of the past nine days had finally stopped so I rushed out to the grocery store to replenish my fridge.  I don’t like to go out in the rain and this time, it had come a day ahead of time.  I had planned my grocery trip carefully so I would have a full pantry and fridge when the rains came, but it started raining ahead of schedule, without consulting me.  So when it started, I was almost out of groceries and now, nine days later, I couldn’t put it off.  Mr. Weather Man had said there would be no more rain for the rest of the evening and throughout the night.  That’s all I needed to hear.  I grabbed my grocery list off of the fridge, shoved my feet into my black loafers, and pulled the zipper up on my all weather coat as I locked the door behind me.  Just as I got in the car, I realized that it was much too cold for that coat.  I really needed my warm jacket but even though the car thermometer told me it was a biting 31°, I chose not to waste time by going back in.  I checked my back up camera and pulled out of my driveway slowly, knowing the pavement was icy.

An hour later, as I drove past his house on the way back home from the grocery store, I noticed a traffic jam and the flashing red lights of emergency vehicles up ahead.  Just what I needed!  It had begun to sprinkle as I had loaded my groceries into the trunk and by the time I had walked the shopping cart across the darkened parking lot and back to the store, the sprinkles had become bona fide raindrops—big, fat, heavy, and cold raindrops.  I knew I had to hurry home before the rain turned to snow because at that temperature, it would definitely stick and one thing I hate more than driving in the rain is driving in the snow.  It has been so since the first time I had to drive in the snow when I had been stuck in the stuff with no help, no cell signal, no other traffic, and nothing to keep me warm except the thermal hoodie I was wearing.  Yes, I had been totally unprepared for the snow and as a result of that near tragic day, I now hated snow!

Just as the snowflakes began to gently fall, the traffic ahead of me came to a complete stand still and I realized that I could possibly be here for an hour, which meant the snow would begin to accumulate and the drive home would be impossible.  In all honesty, the drive home was only about another mile from where she was stuck in the accident induced traffic jam but that last mile would be a white knuckle drive for her and she dreaded it more than she dreaded the thought of having starved to death if she had not taken the promised opportunity of dry weather and made the run for groceries.  That, of course, reminded her never to listen to Mr. Weather Man again.  She would have to find someone else with more accurate weather forecasting abilities.

Horns began to sound off around her and she rolled her eyes at the futility of it all.  Didn’t those idiots realize that the traffic would not move until it was ready to move regardless of how much they banged their horn or how many obscenities they shouted?  People could be so stupid.  The traffic began to inch forward very slowly and she noticed that the other drivers around her seemed to be laughing and more than one of them had their iPhones out taking pictures of something.  She knew people could be crude and gruesome.  There were so many stories of people taking pictures and videos of accident scenes and bloody bodies.  The internet was full of them.  She felt like opening her window and yelling at them to quit being such jerks.  They should put themselves in the place of the ones whose pictures they were taking.  How would they like it if pictures of them in their most desperate and tragic moments showed up online?

Just as she put her window down to yell at the man in the car next to her who had actually gotten out of his dark blue Mustang to take pictures of the scene up ahead, she heard people laughing.  She looked ahead of her and saw Him.  That’s what everyone was laughing at.  Him.  She couldn’t believe it.    She had heard stories about his crazy antics but she hadn’t really believed half of them, assuming people were embellishing but here it was, evidence of His craziness, right before her eyes.  She shook her head and smiled as she considered the possibility of taking out her own smartphone to capture the scene.

There, up ahead, just feet from her now, was Peter.  She had seen him before and had known that he dressed unconventionally but she never expected to see him standing in the middle of the street, on top of a car, in nothing but his boxer shorts.  Not in 29° and snowing weather on a January night.  And she hadn’t thought she would ever see him in neon green boxer shorts decorated with electric pink flamingos.  But, just to prove that one never knew what another was capable of, there stood Peter in his outrageous boxer shorts and nothing more.  However, to say that he “stood” there was not exactly right.  He was directing traffic…as he danced…wildly…and drank who knows what from an oversized Oscar the Grouch mug.  And he was singing, too.  She could hear his off key rendition of The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun.  She slowly reached for her phone and began to capture Peter’s attempt at helping local law enforcement to clear the traffic jam.  Heck, he wasn’t attempting it, he was accomplishing it.  Traffic was moving.  As soon as drivers got Crazy Peter’s picture, they moved on, shaking their heads and laughing, some of them waving at him and others giving him a thumbs up.

She had seen it all.  Yup, Peter was crazy alright.  She had seen it herself and as soon as she got home she would upload the video to You Tube.  She couldn’t wait to get home and she didn’t even mind the snow on the road as she smiled all the way home.

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The Pink Stick

This is an older piece of fiction, written from a prompt (in July of 2007).  The prompt was “the pink stick” and the assignment was to take the prompt other than to the obvious place.  Here’s what I did with it:

The line on the stick was definitely pink; no mistake; no room for error; pink.  Sergeant Scott Meyer put the stick into the evidence bag and robotically marked it with the case number, date, and his initials.  He tried to shut his mind off and go on working the case like he knew he should; like he’d been trained; like he’d done for the past eighteen years, but he found it almost impossible to put the stick out of his mind.

This wasn’t the first time.  Last month there had been a similar murder with a victim much like this one.  They had no murder weapon.  They had no motive.  They had no suspect.  All they had was the coroner’s ruling on the cause of death: death was a result of repeated blows to the head and the weapon was some kind of stick, a wooden stick that had left microscopic splinters in the bloodied scalp.  Just a week ago there’d been another similar victim.  The department experts had tried not to focus on the possibility of a serial killer. To do so would be to blind themselves to other possibilities.  But now, there was this third victim and although the coroner had not had a look at this one, Scott could see the injury plain as day.  And this victim was much like the others; same class, same neighborhood.

Scott knew it couldn’t be but he had to work the case like any other case.  It didn’t matter that he’d seen this stick before and it didn’t matter that there were probably other sticks much like this one out there; other sticks that belonged to other suspects.  He had a hunch on this one.  But could he do it?  Could he turn her in?  Scott even knew why she’d done it.  He understood it, yet it wasn’t right.  He knew her motive, at least in her eyes, was right and just.  They had argued about it over the past months but he always left it alone, not wanting anything to come between them.  But he couldn’t do that now.  He couldn’t turn his back.  He couldn’t close his eyes to it.

As Scott Meyer continued gathering evidence at the scene, he thought about the first time he had met her.  He was on the job that night.  He’d taken a suspect into the Emergency Room for examination and Hailey had been the nurse on duty.  He remembered seeing her face and those incredibly deep blue eyes.  He remembered how her heart shaped face had been framed by the tendrils of red-gold hair that had strayed from the clip that held her hair up in the back of her head.  She had asked all the questions for the hospital files and had talked to the suspect to triage him then she had sent them both down the hall to wait for an available examination table.  As he accompanied the suspect, Scott hadn’t been able to take his mind off of her.

Scott finished collecting evidence at the scene and headed back to the station to fill out the paperwork.  He asked himself how he could do this.  How would he be able to change their life?  Maybe there was a reason.  Maybe he was wrong.  Maybe there was another stick out there with pink on it.  But could it be exactly like Hailey’s?  He doubted it although he wanted to believe that it was someone else’s…someone else with her initials…some other H.M.  that had this exact brand of stick with this exact pink marking on it.  He shook his head, knowing there was no other.  It had to be.  He knew when he ordered that pool stick for her that there was none like it.  That’s why he had it customized for her, with the exact shade of pink that was her favorite and with the exact design that had been on the cue stick she’d used when she won the state women’s pool championship last year.  He had ordered it right after the championship so it would arrive by Christmas, but it had arrived late.  Instead of the cue stick, he had given her the ring he had bought as a Valentine’s gift, the one he had slipped on her finger when she had said yes.

As he pulled into the station, he knew he had to do it.  He knew this would be the hardest decision he’d ever face.  It would effect everyone, but he had to do it.

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Her Side

This is a short piece of fiction that I wrote for a prompt exercise.  The exercise was to follow the original post and write whatever came to us.  The original post has a character named Levi being discharged from the service and getting on a bus in SF to Ohio.  He arrives in Akron and heads to his mom’s house, unannounced.  She lets him in and Levi sees that the man she lives with is there too, still.  Levi had shot him in the leg, defending his mother, after the boyfriend had beaten her.  That was how he had ended up enlisting.  The judge gave him a choice, the military or incarceration.  Upon seeing the boyfriend there, Levi turns and walks out the door.

Okay, that’s the back story.  Here’s what I wrote:

She hated the look in his eyes.  The accusation.  The disgust.  The anger.  The hurt.  The look that she had seen in her son’s eyes so many times before, the one that told her she had failed him again.

She hated failing her son.  She loved him so much.  They had been through a lot, just the two of them.  He had been her rock, grounding her and supporting her when she thought she couldn’t go on anymore.   Even when he was just a child he had been the shining light that guided her through the dark.  She had never wanted to let him down and yet she did.  Over and over again she had let him down.  She couldn’t look him in the eyes anymore.  She was so ashamed of herself.

Why did she keep doing this, over and over again?  Why did she go from one drunken jerk to another?  Why couldn’t she stand on her own two feet until the right one came along?  The right one.  She sighed.  The right one didn’t exist.  At least not for her.  The right one wouldn’t be a drunk.  The right one wouldn’t  slap her around.  The right one wouldn’t treat her like a whore, coming and going only when he wanted to use her body.  The right one wouldn’t use her and spit her out.

She wanted to call out to Levi, ask him to come back and tell him that she would throw the jerk out on his ass but she couldn’t do that to him.  She had said it before and instead of doing what she had promised, she had ended up a coward, letting jerk after jerk stay and treat her like dirt and worse, she had allowed them to treat Levi badly.  And Levi wasn’t like her.  He didn’t put up with it.  That’s what got Levi into trouble time and again.  Protecting her, he’d go after the creeps and she was afraid that the next time it wouldn’t end with a gun shot in the leg.  She knew that if she went after Levi, he’d come back.  He couldn’t let her down.  He wanted to stick up for her and he would do just that.  And the next time, he might just kill the bastard that claimed to love her.  Then what would happen to Levi?  No.  She couldn’t risk that.  She stood near the window, pretending not to be looking out as her son walked away.

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