Tag Archives: Writing From Prompts

Writing from Prompts #12 Moon (Orig Pub 4/8/2014)

The moon shone weak light over the tangled underbrush. Samantha poked at it with her walking stick. She couldn’t afford to step on some small animal or worse still a snake. She’d made it this far; she wasn’t going to get stupid now. The backpack dug into the small of her back. It was getting heavier with every step. She needed to find a safe place to bed down for the night. She had her mummy-sack. That should be enough to protect her from the weather as long as she found a place where she wouldn’t be a sitting duck for predators.

She scanned the area, eyes squinting to bring details forth on the moon-flattened terrain. She carefully stepped through the underbrush, doing her best not to disturb any of it. She wanted as few markers to her path as possible. She moved through the woods, doing her best to make no noise. She found a hollow in the roots of an ancient tree. It was too large for her to wrap her arms around. One root rose up to about waist height. She’d fit in the curve of it. She tapped the ground with her walking stick. She felt for rocks. She shifted the pack off of her back. She strung it up in the branches of a close tree after retrieving her sleeping sack.

She curled up in the sack and rested her head on the root. She was asleep almost as soon as she closed her eyes. The moon painted her with leaf shadows.

A delicate giggle sounded from nearby. It didn’t wake her, but Samantha did shift in her sleep, headed turning toward the noise. When she didn’t move again, the giggle started again, moving closer. Small fingers painted her cheeks with mud and plaited flowers into her hair. She didn’t wake. Instead, she relaxed further into the arms of the tree.

The sun warmed Samantha’s face. Her eyes flickered open to the warm red light flooding the clearing she’d found. A small chipmunk was asleep on her lap. A mother doe and her fawn were watching her from the treeline. She moved slowly, wishing she’d thought to keep her camera around her neck. The deer didn’t move. She smiled as the chipmunk scampered off. She got ready for the day.

She stretched, then put the pack back onto her back. She flipped her braid over her shoulder and paused. There were flowers in her hair. Her breath caught. She didn’t speak. She bowed formally to the tree in thanks. She continued deeper in. The tree branches spread over her head in a canopy of leaves and singing birds. There were more butterflies on her way today. They swirled around her in a maddening moving blanket of color. Her camera caught blurs of color and a few close-up pictures of wings.

She walked in silence, listening to her soft foot-falls and the shifting of small creatures in the underbrush. She held her breath as she heard something much larger than a squirrel passing by. The deer crossed her path no more than a yard in front of her. Her eyes were deep black-brown and unafraid. Her finger moved on the button of her camera of its own volition. The deer startled at the soft noise and bounded away.

Soon enough it was time for a break. She settled down on a moss-covered tree trunk that had fallen. She put her pack down on the ground by her feet and rubbed at her sore shoulders. She’d cut her supplies to the bone, but she still needed provisions for six days. She’d packed for seven, just to be safe. She sipped at her water for the day. She nibbled on the raw snacks that she’d brought with her, nuts and fruit to keep her energized. She laid down on her back to watch the skies. She didn’t even notice that she’d fallen asleep.

Small creatures scampered to finish off her meal for her. A hawk called sharply from its perch. She gathered food for herself and her children. Then, she tucked a loose feather into Samantha’s hair. And another into the top of her bag. It flew away with another cry. This one woke Samantha from her slumber.

Her mouth twitched, but she managed to stay quiet. She touched the feather reverently. She didn’t know if she’d be allowed to keep it, but she tucked it safely into the bottom of her bag in a hard-side container she’d used for her first day’s sandwich. She swung the pack back onto her back. She pressed on until she was walking up toward the top of the mountain. It would be the solstice¬†moon by the next night and she wanted to be able to appreciate it.

She crossed the creek. It accompanied her steps with burbling laughter as she started to climb. Eventually, she needed to actually reach for handholds and push off firmly to get up to the top of the rocks. She paused, considering. If she went any higher she’d need actual rock-climbing equipment. She created a small clearing for herself that was surrounded by rocks. She settled to watch and take pictures. She heard the gentle plops of fish in the water.

Small rocks skittered and jumped dislodged by animals or birds higher on the hill. The leaves moves softly in the breeze. There were smaller trees here. They had grown into the side of the mountain with tenacious roots. Samantha took off her boots and socks. She rested her weary feet against the stone. It was cool to the touch, rough and smooth. She rested her camera on her lap. She leaned her head back against the solid mountain.

High above her birds circled in the sky. The clouds moved lazily across the sky. The creek leapt and burbled, chattering to her as it crossed the rocks. The sun set in a brilliant painting of reds and oranges. The sky slowly purpled and the stars became visible. The full moon set her light across the ground. It glittered off of the water.

Samantha offered a small cup of stone some wine. The moonlight touched it, making it look black instead of red. Samantha took a mouthful for herself. She held her palms out in supplication. Still, she did not speak. She would not speak until she returned to the world outside of these woods.

She curled up to sleep in her sack. She didn’t rouse as the form of silvery smoke solidified into the form of a woman. The woman knelt beside her. She pressed a soft kiss to Samantha’s forehead. She lifted the stone cup and drank the sweet wine that had been offered. She pressed her hand to the cup and it was transformed into a tiara made of thin alabaster. She set it into Samantha’s hair.

Then, she was gone.

Samantha woke from dreams of dancing and light laughter. She prepared herself for the trip back. She followed the river down the mountain. The trees seemed the same as she passed by them, though the underbrush seemed more impassible. It was likely the lethargy that pulled at her limbs. It took her three nights of rest to reach the front of the forest.

She stepped out onto a world transformed. Her car was gone. The parking lot was still there. Still gravel lined. But there were metal gates and a new sign on the space. She stared at the memorial for Samantha King.

“Excuse me, Miss,” the ranger said. She was a tall woman with wild curly brown hair. Samantha turned. The ranger gasped. “I’m sorry, it’s just I’ve never met someone coming back from a quest.”

“Why is this sign here?”

“Samantha King went on a vision quest nearly thirty years ago. No trace of her was ever found.”


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Writing from Prompts #11 Concrete (Orig Pub 4/7/2014)

Blood glistened on the concrete like garnets. Diana sighed deeply. She stepped over the blood and continued on toward her office. The office building was bland, beige stone like every other building on the block. Her office was on the second floor. The elevator was out again. She shook her head. She checked her weapon out of habit before entering the stairwell. The light was burning brightly. Good. She looked up before she mounted the stairs.

“God damn it, Melody.”

“Oh, come on. Please?”

“You’re supposed to be in school.” Diana met her little sister at the door to the second floor. She yanked the door open and stalked through it.

“School is boring.” Her sister followed her. “I didn’t want to go to college in the first place. I wanted to go to the police academy, but someone pissed off the commissioner.”

“He deserved it. Corrupt son of a bitch.” She unlocked the door to Hernandez Investigations. “What exactly are you doing here? Are you broke again?” The door was solid metal with her name on a plate next to it. The inside was plain white walls with a few filing cabinets, a closet, and a bathroom. She hadn’t bothered to get walls in place to create a waiting room yet. The filing cabinets were spray-painted aqua to hide their dents and scratches. Travel posters were taped to one wall. Some day she’d get out of this shithole of a city.

“No, I’m helping you.” Melody’s black hair was in a mohawk now with pink accents. She had three earrings in one ear. So much for the squeaky clean look she’d been rocking for most of her life.

“Helping me?” Diana hung her coat up on the coat rack behind the door. She picked the envelope that was on the floor. Her name was on the front. She sighed. “Fine, get gloves and two respirators out of the closet. Then, open the window. I’ll get the camera.” She didn’t have a down-draft table, but she was damned if she was going to open a mysterious envelope in the middle of her office without precautions.

She photographed the envelope. It was a standard manila envelope and felt faintly puffy. If the door hadn’t had a mail slot it would never have fit under the door. She met her sister at the window. She used the camera to hold the envelope in place while they gloved up and put on their masks. She carefully unpacked the envelope, taking pictures the whole way.

She frowned at the pasted letters. It was an old-fashioned way of hiding handwriting, but a computer would have been so much easier. Someone with a lot of time on their hands. Melody was quiet. She watched with avid eyes. “I can be your secretary,” she offered suddenly. “Answer the phones, that sort of thing. Every PI needs a sidekick.”

“Mama will kill me.”

“She’s fine with it.”

Liar. “I’ll think about it.”

Melody grinned in triumph. “So, which resident of the psych ward did you piss off last?”

“This isn’t an enemy,” Diana said absently. The fragments of type were in a simple code. She recognized the cypher. She translated it in her head. “Get a pen and paper if you’re going to be my secretary,” she ordered.

Melody practically danced over to the desk. Crap, she’d need a desk and a laptop. Hopefully, the investments would pay off this month and she’d have a few protection payments coming it. No, that came out wrong. A few grateful patrons that she’d patrol every night. There, that was better. It wasn’t glamorous, but it would pay the bills. And that divorce case was coming up. She could use someone to write up that report. Mama was going to kill her. Melody was supposed to be the good daughter – college, safe job, husband, and grand-children.

Diana was not a good daughter. She’d gone into the police, only did two years of college, was definitely not having a child, and was iffy on the entire idea of marriage. It seemed that she’d infected her little sister with a similar outlook on life. Sunday dinner was going to be interesting for awhile.

Melody held the pen against the notepad with an attentive expression.

“You are cordially invited to visit the home of Master Milhouse Morton. Be prepared. Saturday, April second at seven pm. No guests.” She unraveled the next layer. “Games to begin after dinner, promptly at nine. Formal dress is expected.” She unfolded the last part of the puzzle. She frowned at it for a long moment. “It’s just the address. It’s in my book.”

“Formal dress huh? How formal is that?”

“Black pantsuit with actual flats as opposed to boots. And a shiny shirt and jewelry, I hope.” She grimaced. “I’ll have to check that etiquette book that Tia Carmen got for me when she thought she’d still make a lady out of me. I might have to wear a skirt.”

“How about long culottes or something?” Melody chewed absently on the end of her pen. “Who’s Milhouse anyway?”

“The richest man in the city who isn’t a mobster.”

“Dang, girl. You aim high.”

Diana narrowed her eyes. “If that is a matchmaking glint I see in your eye, you just quit it right now.”

Melody grinned. “So, boss, when do I get a desk?”

“As soon as we find one at the Goodwill or out back in the dumpsters.”


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Writing from Prompts #10 Sword (Orig Pub 4/5/2014)

“Again!” the sword-master ordered.

The recruits moved in fractured unison through the motions. He growled deep in his throat. “One, five, ten, fourteen, twenty-one, and thirty-two, step forward. Everyone else, one step back.” There was shuffling and muttering until the selected men and women were in front. “Again.” They went through the motions. All but one of them was in sync. “Ten, step back. Two, step forward. Again.”

He ran through six more recruits until he found his battalion. “You six, see the registrar. As a group. Leave your things here.” The two women frowned at him, but obediently left the room with nothing. Their swords were collected at the door. Two pages scurried through the room, securing the recruits things.

The sword-master chose six more and ran them through the forms until he was pleased with their unison. They were sent on. The day continued until he had six battalions being processed. He leaned against the desk in the registrar’s office. She looked at him with dark-rimmed brown eyes. “I hate you, Simpson,” she told him. The desk was polished to a smooth shine. “And I’m not just saying that. I plan to poison your beer.”

“Cruel, cruel, woman,” he chided. “At least make it my coffee so I’m not enjoying myself. Are they in barracks yet?”

“Those last six are getting sheared like the sheep they are at this point. That first group might survive this, but that last one? Send them out as cannon fodder.”

He smirked at her. “My only job is to train them now. What the brass does with them is not my issue. Any of them try to bolt?”

“Watch out for twenty-three. He seemed a little jumpy. And the woman in the fourth group, number fourteen, she seemed a little twitchy at being barracked with the boys. Might be some history there.”

This war had finally broken all of the barriers between the sexes in the military. It was still debatable as to how well the recruits were dealing with that. He’d give them a few days before intervening. He’d train his six battalions until he though they were ready to move on to formations. He rubbed at his forehead. “I’ve got schedules to get out.” The alien invasion had destroyed the majority of the electrical infrastructure. They still had it on the bases and other locations with technological help. But in general, they were set back years in weapons production. He had three sword-smiths that he’d brought with him from training movie stars.

By paper and pens and men on motorcycles and horses, they’d put out the call. Recruits came in every day. Scared, wide-eyed, hard-bitten, shy, punks, preppies, actors, and politicians, men, women, old, and young; as soon as they crossed into the recruitment center they were just recruits. The aliens hadn’t counted on the resilience and adaptability of humans.

The human race would fight those bastards into their ships. They’d display their hides as warnings. And they’d cut off their heads and mount them from every bridge and overpass that still survived the bombings.

Simpson rolled his shoulders and picked up his sword. He ran through the katas that he’d created to teach his recruits fast and dirty. Then, he started on the more formal ones he’d learned from his teachers.

This wasn’t choreography anymore. This was war.

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Writing from Prompts #9 Shadow (Orig Pub 4/3/2014)

Diana stood in the shadow of the dumpster. She wished that it was something a little more impressive, like a large gothic building, but she didn’t live in a city with that much history. No, it was all high-rises and tumbling old rowhouses. She adjusted her mask absently. The beige lace mask had defined eyes and was attached to safety glasses. She held them on with an unglamorous “frog” that was coated in more lace. The lace was broad enough to hide her cheekbones and her eyebrows. That was the point. She didn’t want the CCTV cameras to get a good look at her. Any hero or villain worth their salt was capable of hacking those.

Her pantsuit ended a little high for actual fashion, but tucked neatly into her army boots. No high-heels for her. The neat sailor billow of the legs hid the shin guards neatly. The wide belt at her waist held her tools: a taser, a baton, pepper spray, handcuffs, zip ties, a notepad with pen, and a pair of latex gloves. Her phone was protected by a hard-shelled case in an inner pocket at her back. The billowing sleeves of her shirt hid the body armor on her forearms. The over the shoulder holster that held her gun and extra clips was an odd form of corsetlet, but a much more useful one. Her hair was pulled back into a neat French braid and tucked under a watchcap that had an embroidered and bejeweled tiara on it. She was ready for her first full night of superheroing.

Vigilante was such a nasty word after all.

The dumpster smelled of vanilla and frosting. That was a lie. The dumpster smelled like rotten Chinese food and rat piss. Oh, what a glamorous life. Why was she doing this again?

Just then, she heard a scuffle and the cut off yelp of a female voice. She used a small hand mirror to assess the situation. One mugger with a knife. A nice easy way to start off.

She took a breath. Princess Raspberry to the rescue!

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Writing from Prompts #8 Phone (Orig Pub 4/2/2014)

The phone was an old black candle-stick like you’d see in a movie from the twenties. It even had a rotary dial. Jean grimaced at it. It was sitting on the top of the registration desk, mocking her. The old woman behind the desk was sturdy in the way old ethnic women always seemed to be. She was thick from neck to knees and wearing a muumuu of red and orange that dropped straight from her shoulders with an offensively large ruffle. Her hair was pulled back into a braid of grey. Her eyes were dark and emotionless.

“Thanks,” Jean muttered. She picked up the earpiece that way she’d always seen it done and was surprised to hear the dial tone. She pushed at the numbers, but they didn’t beep.

The old woman rolled her eyes. She reached over and dialed a one. “There. Either hang up or call.”

Jean finished dialing her husband’s cell-phone. There was static when he picked up. “Who is this?” he yelled into the phone.

“It’s your wife!” she said clearly. “I’m at the old hotel up on Creek Street. My phone is dead.”

“You’re wearing red?”

“My. Phone. Is. Dead.” She nearly touched the mouthpiece. Her fingers grabbed around the stick part automatically.

“Creek Street. Right. I’ll come find you.” He hung up on her.

“That man,” she muttered.

The old woman snorted. “It only gets worse. Go sit down. I’ll get you some coffee. Cream?”

“Please. And sugar if you have any?”

“No worries. Go sit by the fire. Dry out.” The old woman puttered into the back room. Jean collapsed onto a dusty red leather chair. She’d have preferred the velvet, but she was soaked to the skin. Maybe her phone would work when it dried out. She ran a hand through her short hair. It clung to her fingers and neck. The sound of the storm echoed around the room. It battered at the skylights and the doors.

The old hotel was called the Rochester. She didn’t know why and didn’t really care. When she’d seen the flickering light of an oil lamp in the front window, she’d simply thanked whatever spirits were looking after her for antiques. The oil lamp was one of five that were scattered around the room. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace, even though it was spring. The room was dusty. There were leaves in the corners of the rooms. Jean mentally cursed whatever help had walked out on the old woman at the end of the season.

She shivered. “Here you are.” The old woman put down a tray. “I’m Helen. Call if you need me.” She went back to the desk and settled behind it with an old leather-bound book.

Jean sipped the coffee. It was warm and sweet and perfect. She moaned in appreciation. “Thank you, Helen,” she called over. The coffee warmed her from the inside. The fire warmed her from the outside. Her eyes slipped closed and she rested her head on the back of the chair for just a minute. She didn’t remember closing her eyes.

When she opened her eyes, the fire was gone and her husband was shaking her. “Come on. Before the water gets any higher. We need to get going.”

She looked around. There were no lights in the windows. There were no lights at all, except for the illumination from the lightening bolts. Sitting next to her chair, however, was the dregs of a cup of coffee in an old white mug.

“Thank you, Helen,” she murmured as she gathered up her coat. She followed her husband out into the lashing rain. When she looked back over her shoulder, there was a light in the front window.

She smiled.

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Writing from Prompts #6 Sleep (Orig Pub 4/1/2014)

Lily pulled the down comforter over her head. She would not get up. No matter what sounds she thought she heard tonight. No matter when the alarm clock went off in the morning. No, this would be the best night of sleep she had ever gotten. The pillow was perfect. The comforter was freshly cleaned and smelled of lavender.

She had valerian under the pillow. She had her meditation tape set to go on in three hours. The crashing waves of the white noise machine were on. She took deep breaths and tried to sink into the mattress.

The little whimper that escaped as her back loosened reminded her how much tension she’d been carrying. She had the day off tomorrow. She didn’t have to do anything.

She drifted towards sleep.

The whining moans didn’t puncture the bubble of sound and safety she’d created for herself. She couldn’t smell the coppery tang from the other room. She couldn’t even hear the sounds of chains. She smiled.

Finally, a good night’s sleep.

The other side of the bed dipped. “Sweetie?” a soft voice said. “Are you asleep?”

Yes, she thought. I am asleep, go away.

He sighed. “I added gags. They should be quiet tonight.” He patted her hip. “Sleep well.” Then, he laid down.

She took deep breaths. Focus. Sleep, Lily, she told herself.


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Writing from Prompts #4 Chocolate (Orig Pub 3/29/2014)

“Touch the Thin Mints and I’ll cut you,” JoAnna hissed. She was curled up on the couch with a heating pad, a blanket, three books and a box of Thin Mints. She’d eaten half of one column with her tea. Her hair was stringy, her nose was red, and her eyes were bleary.

Bobbi considered her chances. The blanket would slow her down and she wasn’t wearing her glasses so there was a chance that she’d miss any preparations. That was the last box of Thin Mints in the house and the little girls from downstairs said that they didn’t have anymore. It might be worth the risk of a bloody stump.

“My cookies,” JoAnna added with slow deliberation. “I paid for them. I found them when all the other booth sales were done. You ate all of yours.”

“Just one?” Bobbi pleaded. She needed chocolate. She needed it now. “I’m going into withdrawal. And I’ll be starting my period tomorrow.”

“No shit.” JoAnna snorted. It was disturbingly wet and she reached for a tissue to blow her nose. She’d caved and purchased the ones with Aloe because of this cold; plague really. That was a concern. The cookies that were open were already contaminated with germs. Bobbi zeroed in on the box. One column was pristine, just sitting in the box, mocking her. “Did you think that this cold thing was going to stop me from starting on the same day? We’ve been in sync for half a year, bimbo.”

“Hey, now,” Bobbi held up a warning finger. “We don’t hold with that sort of talk.” Bobbi ran a hand over her short-cropped platinum blonde hair. “It’s not like it’s natural.”

“The bleach has eaten into your brain. Go get some cookies elsewhere.”

“But it’s not Thin Mints.”

“So go get some ducking ice cream or something. I think it’s Eddy’s that has the Thin Mint ice cream.”

“What? Seriously?” Bobbi sat up straight. “Thin Mints and ice cream? That’s better than Nutella from the jar.”

“Mmmmm. Nutella,” JoAnna murmured. “I have cash. Bring me my purse and go forth for Nutella and soft, squishy white bread to transport it to my mouth.”

Bobbi laughed. “And you’ll buy the ice cream too?”

JoAnna sighed. “Yes, just to protect my cookies. Not because I like you or anything.”

Right. Four years as friends. Two as roommates. They hated each other all right.



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Writing from Prompts #3 Empty (Orig Pub 3/29/2014)

Joey turned over the shot glass and slammed it onto the counter. “Nineteen.” He picked up the next one, slammed back the tequila and slammed down the glass. The liquid didn’t burn anymore. It was hot and filled his stomach with bravado and sex-appeal. His little, fading voice of self-preservation begged him to stop and go to the bathroom to throw it all up, but he couldn’t. Not when he was surrounded by his entire frat.

“Twenty-one,” the crowd announced and cheered. “Happy Birthday, Joey!”

The bar broke into a jumbled, off-key rendition of Happy Birthday.

He waved to his new fans. He tried to stay very still on the barstool. He felt the liquid hate in his stomach trying to eat him from the inside out. He clenched his jaw in a pasted on smile as people took pictures of him with their phones. One smart-ass even had a digital camera to record his every move. Spidy was an asshole. He documented everything with that damned camera of his. Joey made sure to make rabbit ears behind his “big brother” Bobby and his “little sister” Tanya from their sister sorority. They had different meanings, of course, because he was totally going to get into Tanya’s pants one of these days.

She was a heavenly person – patience of a saint and the curves of a sinner. She was smart and funny and so out of his league that he shouldn’t even bother.

She was also his best friend.

He leaned on her shoulder. She laughed at him, musical and carefree. She was one-hundred percent sober. He pulled her into a loose hug and didn’t let go.

“Come on, birthday boy, let’s get you home.” She tugged on his arm. The other boys from the frat made kissy noises and cheered them on. She rolled her eyes and fished her keys out of the bowl at the end of the table. He followed her like she were his lodestone leading him north.

“You’re the best thing about this place,” he told her. At least he hoped that the words came out properly. She seems to flex and bend in his sight. “Tequila sucks.”

“Oh, sweetie, you have no idea.”

The car ride was nauseating. “Stop,” he managed. She pulled over instantly and reached across him to open the door. He emptied his stomach into the gutter. He spat once, then twice. She handed him a paper towel. They made two more stops before they made it to his house. She walked him to his room. She filled a glass of water.

“Drink,” she ordered.

“Bed,” Joey replied.

“Drink first.”

He pouted, but drank up the water. Then, he collapsed backwards. “You’re still the best thing in this place.”

“Love you too, jerkwad.” She pulled off his shoes. “And that is as much of you as I’m going to uncover. You want to be comfortable, you need to figure out how to do it yourself.”

“So, so mean.” He struggled with his jeans and then conceded victory to the belt. “Still love you.”

“Sleep well. There’s ibuprofen on the side table for when you wake up and I’ll leave more water.” She brushed a kiss across his forehead.

He didn’t think he’d imagined it. He gave her a sleepy smile. Maybe she wasn’t out of his league after all.


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Writing from Prompts #2 I Hate (Orig Pub 3/29/2014)

The rage builds up in my body, tingling down my palms into my fingers. They curl into claws. I fight to keep the heat from my face. I force my eyes to stay open and accepting. My breathing threatens to speed, but I deepen the breaths and count them into even spaces. I will not pant. I know my chest is heaving now, but I am not panting.

The bile churns in my stomach and I can almost taste it in the back of my throat. I stand, feet shoulder-width apart, hands curled at my side and don’t scream the words that want to leap from my throat and lash the woman with the shoulder-length hair.

Her hair curls at the ends and the curls bob as she laughs. It’s a vile, hateful sound that grates on my ears. She tosses her hair over her shoulder with a practiced move that leaves a tracer to my eyes. Her “perfect” grace makes me want to rend her fingers from her hands. She rests her hand on the top of her purse. It’s an expensive thing – Coach or Prada or some overly-charged piece of crap like that. Perfect, like her hair, the length of her wheat colored skirt and her charming chocolate jacket.

Her skin is flawless, just waiting for me to paint it with purple and green. Her fingernails are glossy with fresh enamel. Her shoes are just the right height for the current fashion. Brown croc-leather with little gold buckles on the front. As though she were a model in an office-wear catalog. She has a little hoop earrings in her ears. And there’s a silk scarf around her throat. That’s good. The silk won’t break when I wrap it around her wrists after I throw her to the ground and ruin her perfect suit.

I track her motion as she and her girlfriends part ways. She has her keys out and is heading for the car park. I make my feet move now. Slowly, carefully, don’t make any noise. I reach for the rag in its Ziploc bag. She’ll regret her stupid heels any minute now.

I hold the rag over her mouth, smearing her perfect lipstick. She struggles and manages to connect with my sternum, trying to steal my air. I press harder against her mouth and nose. She slumps into my arms.

That hit will leave a bruise!

God damn, I hate this bitch.

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Writing from Prompts #1 I Can’t Wait (Orig Pub 3/29/2014)

Belle shifted in her spot. Her jeans were well-worn. She picked at the fraying near her knee until her father glared at her. “This is very important, sweetie,” her father chided.

“I know.” She rolled her kohl-rimmed blue eyes. “Get to the good part already.” What thirteen year old can sit still for a full half-hour? Seriously.

“Good things come to those who wait.”

“And patience is a virtue,” she finished his favorite chide. Her father was a whippet of a man with a full head of brown hair that had the merest traces of grey. He was in his fifties, but still ran marathons. He ran his hands over his instrument. It was warm wood tones with silver inlays. He’d had it for years and his loving care kept it in perfect condition. He laid it against his chin.

He took one breath, then another. Belle quivered with excitement. She loved seeing him work. This was only the third time he’d shown her how to use his instrument when it was just the two of them. She’d be a full apprentice soon.

He tilted his head.


The report from the gun was muffled, but still loud. Belle put the binoculars up to her eyes.

The man in the shiny grey suit lay dead, blood seeping through the hole in his neck onto the pavement.

Her father slide his rifle into its instrument case. She tucked her binoculars into her totebag. They wandered out onto the street hand in hand. She tugged a little on his hand. “Come on, we’re going to be late,” she whined.

“Good things come to those who wait,” he reminded her.

“And patience is a virtue.” She sighed and fell into step. “I just can’t wait until I get to do it all by myself.”


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