My Savior #WritePhoto

 

 

“It’s okay,” a voice echoes, “you can come out now.”

My eyes have adjusted to the dark and all I see is a white oval. “Why don’t you come in?” I ask.

“I’m not sure it’s safe. You really should get out of there.” The voice bounces off the cave walls, words hitting me in syllables.

A shape emerges in the whiteness. I think it might be one of them. “Okay,” my fingers wrap around a knife and I begin crawling. “I don’t know if this is a good idea,” I creep, hands and knees, toward the thing in the light. “They might find out where I am.”

“I won’t tell,” the thing says. And then I know.

I know what it is and what I must do. Pebbles press into my knees, bruise my shins, but I stay low. “I’m almost out,” I say.

It reaches inside, “Good.”

“Could you just…” I stop, sitting back on my heels, and aim. “Help me the rest of the way?”

“You can do it,” it laughs. “A few more steps.”

I adjust my aim. “Help me?” I repeat.

It shuffles its feet, moving to the left a few inches. I see it clearly for the first time and my stomach turns. I never get used to the sight of them. I pull my arm back, prepare to stab it, when a noise from behind startles me. I gasp and lose my balance. “Dammit!” I turn to see a rat. Just a rat, I think. But it is too late. The thing that waited outside has its hand on my ankle. I twist from its slimy grip but it drags me out into the sun, and into the arms of another I hadn’t seen. Others approach. I can’t escape them all. I know where they will take me and what they will do. I will not become one of them.

“We got her,” the first one says into a small box attached to its head with wires.

I examine the knife I carved. My art, my weapon, my savior. “You don’t,” I plunge the knife into my throat.

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

writephoto-logo

 

Dawn Arrives #WritePhoto

 

 

They have left me here.

Night settles and I am alone. Dawn is far away. But I will wait.

I am dying. My blood is ink, spilling onto the midnight soil, mingling with darkness and mist. I will hold on. I will make it through the night.

To see just one last time…

“Aaron,” she breathes. Her lips brush my forehead. “Gods. No.”

She is crouching next to me. I lift my arm and she grasps my fingers, ignoring the dry, crusted blood caked on my palm and the slick, new blood running down my arm. “Dawn,” I sigh.

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Dawn).

June 15, 2017 prompt: Dawn In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that symbolically, mythically, mystically, or realistically involves dawn, as a noun or verb. Write about the dawn of time or the time of dawn, or the dawning of an idea.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Hope Doesn’t Knock #WritePhoto

 

 

They say we should have hope.

Yet they take away everything that might make us feel hopeful. People seem content. I don’t understand.

One morning, after breakfast, I ask my father. He sits with me. Takes a breath. I think he is going to speak but he ruffles my hair. Tells me to enjoy my day. His eyes flick to the doorway.

I turn and notice my mother, watching us, wiping her hands on a dishtowel.

This is my cue to leave. When the door shuts, I see an ornament on the wood. This is not good for our family.

 

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Content).

June 1, 2017 prompt: Content In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story write about feeling content.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Cerambycidae

 

 

I feel them crawl over my skin before I see them.

Looking up, I notice hundreds of insects skitter across my floor, up the walls. They are everywhere. I want to scream. To call for help. But I don’t.

I study one on my left arm and become entranced with its bright, colored spots and antennae.

I have a memory of school where I learned about this species. The common name, ‘longhorn beetle’, fits well as the antennae extend past the end of their bodies. It’s fascinating. I lean in for a closer look but see only my bare arm.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

May 25, 2017 prompt: Longhorn In 99 words (no more, no less) that includes a longhorn. You can go with any of its meanings or make it a name of a person or organization. Cheese or cattle, technology or place, what can you create from the western icon?

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Inside Out #WritePhoto

 

 

A woman stood by the wall, gazing out the castle window.

“Excuse me. Are you part of the tour?” He asked. “I seem to have lost my way. Would you mind directing me?”

She didn’t move. “What is your name?”

“Sorry,” he extended his hand, “I’m Kenneth.”

“The rain speaks to us, Kenneth. It sends messages from the clouds when they have become too full of thoughts.” She leaned her forehead against a pane. “Kenneth. Kenny. Ken.”

“Yes, erm, right.” He dropped his hand. “Do you happen to know which of these doors might be an exit?”

She dipped her third finger in a bit of water that had leaked inside and pooled in the corner of the stone sill. “I knew it began with a ‘k’. A bit of wisdom from the rainwater, Kenneth. You want to return to your family? Any door in this room apart from that one.” She pointed over her shoulder to a promising-looking modern door with fresh paint.

“That one it is,” he mumbled. “Thank you.”

“The rainwater has warned you, Kenneth.”

“Right. Again, thank you.” He shook his head and walked through the door.

“They never listen to the rain,” she sighed, hearing Kenneth’s screams.

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week (unsuccessfully):

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Wisdom).

May 18, 2017 prompt: Wise/WisdomClearly, I didn’t make the 99-word limit this week as this one is closer to 200. Still, I appreciate the prompt word weaved in with the photo prompt.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Actually…202

 

Evil Stepmother Support Group ~ One Year Anniversary

 

 

MAY 2017

 

The Misunderstood Stepmoms, a support group started by Cinderella’s stepmother, Caroline, celebrated its one-year anniversary this weekend.

“We were pleased with the turnout,” she said. “And we’re proud that this little group has been around for an entire year.”

Caroline’s statement may be a bit modest. The group is not only still around but, in fact, has swelled to over 600 members. Rumors of branches being formed throughout the country have been circulating for months.

We caught up with Gothel, Rapunzel’s adoptive mother, who had to travel quite a distance for the meetings and recently started a local chapter near her.

“It was good while it lasted but it’s been shut down,” she waved her hand dismissively. “Apparently, I’m not technically a ‘stepmother’. According to some people.”

The “some people” Gothel spoke of are the original three members: Snow White’s, Hansel and Gretel’s, and Cinderella’s stepmothers.

Gothel was awarded legal guardianship of Rapunzel in 2003 but, sources say, there may be evidence the document was faked.

A follow-up with the groups’ founder, Caroline, shed some light on the situation.

“I don’t want to throw stones,” she said, “but, yes, we’ve banned Gothel from our meetings and stripped her of any rights to use our name in future group settings. It’s not entirely about her stepmother status, although it has come to our attention that she is in a cauldron of trouble in regards to how Rapunzel came to be in her care. We, personally, have had…issues with her behavior. I can’t say too much due to an ongoing legal matter. And I want to emphasize that we are a caring group of women.”

Cinderella’s stepmom said, “Caroline’s too nice for her own good. Gothel is nuts. Some stepmothers have a reputation for a reason. Poor Rapunzel. ‘Adoptive mother’, my ass.”

Allegedly, Gothel had lost her temper during a meeting in early May, causing damage to the building and endangering members of the group.

When asked about the incident, Caroline admitted a few of the members were injured during “what can only be described as an ‘attack’.” She has since added a clause to her online ad about the group stating “zero tolerance for violence, magical or otherwise” and plans to hold an emergency meeting to focus on maintaining a safe and supportive environment for The Misunderstood Stepmoms.

 

The group meets once a week, on Wednesdays, and any mistreated stepmother is welcome. There is no fee for membership. Apple tart and herbal tea will be provided. Contact Caroline for more information.
UPDATE: Due to recent events, the location of meetings has been changed from the Fuji Warehouse in downtown Darby to the Braeburn Building on Main Street.

 

Evil Stepmother Support Group

 

 

MAY 2016

 

A new support group started up this week in downtown Darby. They call themselves “The Misunderstood Stepmoms”.

The group is led by Snow White’s stepmother, Caroline, who is fed up with all the hostility.

For years, she was despised and discounted, never being asked to join local book clubs or invited to a girls’ night out. Following this past Mother’s Day weekend, Caroline decided enough was enough.

Needless to say, she did not receive flowers or a card on Sunday.

About Snow, she said, “The girl pigged out on junk food. She was always walking around with her hand stuck in a bag of corn chips or jellybeans. I gave her some fresh fruit and, yes, that included an apple. She took one bite and pretended to choke on it, falling down and accusing me of trying to poison her. The girl didn’t want to eat healthy. End of story.”

Caroline went on to say, “I heard similar accounts of stepmothers being unfairly bashed so I created a safe space for them to talk and share their feelings.”

Cinderella’s stepmom claims she tried for years to get her teenage stepdaughter to “take a bath and change her damn clothes.”

While Hansel and Gretel’s stepmom says she spent months warning her stepchildren not to wander into the woods before their disappearance. “They came home with some cock-and-bull story about a candy house and a kitchen witch. Everyone knows kitchen witches live in the city,” she said.

In both cases, these women were blamed for the unfortunate state of their stepchildren.

“Sadly, these stories are not unique.” Caroline said. The three founding members were joined by fifteen others for their inaugural meeting. While there is no official motto for the group yet, Caroline said, “We want women to know that they are not alone.”

When asked about the group dynamics, Caroline admitted there is some tension. “We have a mix. There are a few members with anger management issues, while others are simply disheartened. But, for a first meeting, things went extremely well. We are a supportive bunch and provide a much-needed sense of community.”

 

The group will meet once a week, on Wednesdays, and any mistreated stepmother is welcome. There is no fee for membership. Apple tart and herbal tea will be provided. Contact Caroline for more information.

 

Something’s Afoot #WritePhoto

 

 

“I don’t accept money,” his eyes traveled over me.

“But,” I took a deep breath, “I need it.”

He leaned against the moss-covered stone. “Obviously. Since you’re trading with the likes of me under a bridge…”

“Tell me what you want. Anything.” I shifted from one foot to the other under his gaze.

“Your shoes.”

“My…wait, what?” I looked at my strappy sandals. “These?”

“Yes.”

I slid them off and held them out.

“Over there,” the dragon extended his wing to a mound of what I now realized was shoes. “We don’t just hoard gold, you know. Carl fancies teacups.”

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week:

#writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent which asks writers to use photos for inspiration (the photo above is this week’s prompt)

 

writephoto-logo

 

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Trading).

March 23, 2017 prompt: Trading In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. What is traded? Go where the prompt leads you.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Gone Fishing

 

 

“This is boring,” Caleb whined.

“It’s father-son bonding. It’s fun.” He wiped sweat from his forehead. “It’s…hot.”

“Something we agree on,” Caleb mumbled. “Can we go now?”

“I’ve got the boat until two.” His father sighed. “Crap. This is boring.”

“Race?” Caleb stood, pulling off his t-shirt.

His father dove into the water. “Head start for the old man!”

She rose from the waves. Glorious and horrible. Eyes gleaming, hair spilling over her breasts.

“Dad!”

“Aw, c’mon…” He splashed Caleb.

“Get back here! Swim back…now!”

She smiled at Caleb, her mouth rows of shark teeth. “Fear. My comfort food.”

 

 

I’ve combined two prompts again this week: A 99-word flash about “comfort food” and a thriller/horror with the word “splash”. It was, um, difficult. But I do love a challenge and it was fun. 🙂

 

#BlogBattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash fiction/short stories (with a word AND genre theme) hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

Week 18 Prompt: Splash
Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Horror

BlogBattle_banner

and Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch which asks writers to pen a piece in 99 words (this week’s prompt: Comfort Food).

May 4, 2017 prompt: Comfort Food In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story write about comfort food.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

*Artwork by Diane Özdamar

On a Cliff Overlooking the Sea #WritePhoto

 

 

This is exactly how I pictured it.

Temple ruins set on a cliff overlooking the sea. In my imagination, this place has always existed.

It’s real. I’m here.

A breeze, heavy with salt and seaweed and mist and everything that only the ocean can offer, caresses my cheeks. Tousles my hair.

Waves wash up, lapping the rocky shore, gurgling like a newborn babe. They retreat, leaving frothy rings on boulders worn smooth. It reminds me of a root beer float, those cream-colored bubbles. Then they are gone. The waves roll up again, bringing their foam, then run away.

I tried to run away once. I was seven. I stuffed my pillowcase full with mismatched socks I didn’t need. Mother hated when my socks weren’t the same color. And I brought bubble gum I loved. It was watermelon-flavored. The kind Father hated because it smelled the whole room up. And I thought how wonderful it all was. How it wouldn’t matter because they wouldn’t be there. I could chew with my mouth open and blow enormous bubbles and pop them all over my face and no one could say anything because I would be alone.

Alone on a cliff overlooking the sea. Temple ruins set behind me.

It’s real. I’m here.

Just like I imagined.

The sun is setting, creating a golden carpet for my feet to step upon as I dance atop the sea before I sink.

I set my pillowcase down, strip my pants and top off, and skip to the cliff’s edge. I curl my toes over the place where earth meets air and jump.

I laugh so loud. The wind pulls the sound so all I hear is something that sounds like distant drumming. My legs scream, or maybe it’s me. I forgot how much it hurt. But I smile as I leave behind what I was never supposed to be.

By the time I hit the water, I cannot feel my legs. They are gone. They are one. They are me. They are the iridescent tail I remember from a time when I knew what cerulean blue scales looked like underwater while the sun was setting, creating golden carpets on the surface.

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

writephoto-logo