February Writespirations: A Collection

 

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Each week, Sacha Black challenges writers to pen a piece in 52 words. Exactly 52. You know I love micro fiction and you know I love a challenge. So, here are my entries for the February prompts:

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Week: February 2
Prompt: Time / Stack / Juice / Pigeon (include all four words in the 52-word story)

Taking Stock

He spent his lunch break stacking juice, cereal boxes, candy bars…pigeon-holed by his supervisors as a dim-witted stock boy. He would never make it to cashier never mind manager.

His position gave him time to think and, within two years, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in quantum physics.

~~~

Week: February 8
Prompt: That moment you see your ex with their hot, new bit and you look like turd

That Stings

I spotted him at the gas pump, a blonde in his car applying mascara.

Unshowered, clinging to a bottle of cheap vodka, I staggered over.

“Sheila?!”

“See you’re hiring hookers,” I gestured to the blonde.

“They’re ‘escorts’. Pricey but worth it.” He grinned.

I smiled, reaching for my badge. “Baker? We got him.”

~~~

Week: February 15
Prompt: The Distance Between

Between Lives

When I was little, I wanted to visit the moon.

My mother laughed. My father explained the distance between the earth and the moon.

My grandparents said I was spoiled. Which had nothing to do with the moon, but they never missed a chance to say it.

My teacher told me about astronauts.

~~~


Week: February 23
Prompt: Choke

Dinner for One

He sat across from me, leaning back, arms crossed. “Go to hell.”

“Maybe,” I shrugged. “Maybe I’ll see you there. But, for me, not today.”

“What’s that supposed…” he grabbed his throat, glaring at me.

“Don’t worry, love. The choking won’t last long. Your heart will give out before it becomes too uncomfortable.”

 

January Writespirations: A Collection

 

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Each week, Sacha Black challenges writers to pen a piece in 52 words. Exactly 52. You know I love micro fiction and you know I love a challenge. So, here are my entries for the January prompts:

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Week: January 4
Prompt: The Timer Started

Blonde Bombshell

“I don’t know!” He struggled against the ropes binding his wrists. “I swear…”

“Tick, tock,” she examined her nails. “The timer started,” she glanced at the bomb, “six seconds ago.”

“You have the wrong man!”

“Aw. Now why’d you do that?” She grabbed his chin. “I. Don’t. Like. Liars.”

“Please…”

“Too late.”

~~~


Week: January 18
Prompt: Lost Things

Searching

It hadn’t worked. But she didn’t regret a thing she’d done to try.

She accepted a folded pile of clothes from the guard and shuffled in line with the other women. She glanced back at the man. Fifteen years shifted around the walls in her mind.

She stopped.

His eyes went wide. “Mum?”

~~~


Week: January 25
Prompt: One Hundred

Chilopodophobia

“I wonder if they actually have one hundred legs,” he dangled the centipede inches from her nose.

She shook her head and took a step back, bumping into the counter.

He took a step forward. “No? You don’t wonder? Or, no, you don’t want to know how I’m going to find out?”

 

The Princess and the Pen

 

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“What are you doing?” Her sister swished into the room, gown brushing the floor.

Without looking up, Keira sighed. “Brea, leave me be. I’m writing.”

Writing!” Brea gasped.

“Well! There’s not need to say it like that!”

“But…” Brea fanned herself. “That’s what crazy people do! You’ll be locked up!”

Keira tapped her pen on the desk, “Uh-huh. I’ll get on that. Now, if you please…”

“Are you even listening to me? You’re always with your nose, unpowdered by the way, inches away from a paper with scribblings on it. Why, you’ll get ink on it! Think of that! This…this…writing…” Brea waved her hand at the desk, “it’s indecent. Absolutely improper for a princess.”

“I don’t care,” Keira sulked.

Brea stood straight, accentuating her incredibly impossible height of 4 feet, 2 inches. “I’m telling Father.”

“Oh, Brea! You mustn’t!” Keira turned to see her older sister wasn’t angry but scared. “Please.” She stood up, pushing a loose hair from her face.

Keira’s eyes widened. She pointed. “You’ve got ink on your cheek now! How will you explain that?! Oh, Keira, this isn’t proper. It’s dangerous.”

“Iridescent,” Keria said.

“Pardon?”

“Iridescent,” Keira repeated. “I’m trying to think of something iridescent to put in my fairy tale.”

“But…” Brea tapped her chin. “That’s easy. I mean, honestly, have you lost your ability to think, sister? Iridescence is everywhere. There are numerous…”

“Such as?” Keira bounced on the balls of her feet.

“Well,” Brea inched closer to the desk. “Whatever the story is about, you can always add a dragon. Their scales are iridescent. Of course there are fairy wings, moonstones, mermaids’ tails, unicorns, sea serpents, and…um…” she giggled, “troll snot. Oh! Then there’s the rare…”

“No,” Keira slumped. “I’m writing a fairy tale. I need something that doesn’t actually exist.” Her sister’s eyes filled. “But thank you. I mean, those were excellent suggestions, Brea. You’re wonderful, helping me braincloud this way. You remember the fairy tales Mother read to us as children? The fantastical creatures and items in those worlds? That’s what I’m trying to remember.”

“Oh,” Brea dabbed her eyes with a lace-edged handkerchief. “Well, I seem to remember something…”

“Yes? What is it? What did it do?”

Brea shook her head, “I can’t quite place it.”

“I know,” Keira returned to her desk and plopped down. “It was like a sphere but not quite. A flying…thing. I don’t recall its purpose.”

“Yes! That’s what I’m thinking of. A sort of blobby, floating, purposeless creature. It…popped. On its own. Maybe that was its magic?”

“Popped. Yes… There was air inside, if I’m not mistaken. And it flew. Or, as you say, floated. Oh, blast it all!” Keira put her head in her hands.

Brea absentmindedly twisted her moonstone ring. She straightened her pink gown, tucked her hair into its ribbon, and turned to leave. “Well then. I’ll just tell Father you’re working on something for his grandchildren, shall I?” She smiled over her shoulder, “It’s called a ‘bubble’.”

 

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

Join in. Write a story. Read the stories. Vote for your favorites here.

Week 4 Prompt: Iridescent
Genre: Fairy Tale

 

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Thorns

 

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“Spike!” Buffy caught a kick, flipping the vamp on its back.

Xander held up a cross and looked around. “What?! Where’s Spike?”

“You nincompoop,” Willow slapped Xander’s head, “get her the stake.”

He looked at Willow. “Um. Ow! Was that necessary?”

“Well,” Willow nodded, “I think it was.”

Buffy dodged a punch. “Could you two deal with this later? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of in a fight here.”

“Told you,” Willow murmured.

Xander grabbed the stake, gave a sideways look at Willow, and tossed it to Buffy. “Oops…”

Buffy vaulted over a nearby gravestone. “What do you mean “Oops”?”

“It sort of went in that bush,” Xander chuckled.

“Which one?”

“Sorry!”

“Huh?”

“Berry!” Willow shouted.

“You know…oomph! I can’t…bury this thing!”

“The berry bush,” Willow gestured. “Oh! Hey! Use the berries!”

Both Buffy and Xander stared at her. “What?”

“They’re blackberries!” She smiled proudly.

“Wow, Willow,” Xander rolled his eyes, “can I just say how not helpful that is. You want her to dust a vamp with fruit.”

Willow glared at Xander. “Buffy! The blackberries! Trust me!”

Buffy somersaulted over to the bushes, grabbed a handful of vines, and shrugged. “They do have thorns.” She jammed them into the vampire’s chest. He looked confused then lunged at her. “Well,” she punched him, “it was worth a try.”

“I can’t believe you two made it through sophomore year,” Willow snuck over to the blackberry bush, held up a vine, and pointed. “I meant the wooden posts. They hold up the vines.”

“Oh, right,” Buffy ran over and yanked a post from the ground, “I knew that.” She turned just as the vamp attacked, driving the splintered wood through his heart.

Willow coughed. “Ugh,” she waved her hands, “do they have to do that? They’re so…dusty.”

Buffy smiled. “Beats cleaning up goopy goodness!” She drew her eyebrows together. “That did not sound right.” They started out of the cemetery. “So, who’s up for pizza?”

Willow smiled. “Ooh, me!”

Xander stopped walking. “Do you have to ask?”

“Cool.”

 

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

Join in. Write a story. Read the stories. Vote for your favorites here.

Week 2 Prompt: Thorn
Genre: Fan Fiction
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* This was RIDICULOUSLY difficult as I’ve never written or read any fan fiction. But it’s fun to step out of one’s comfort zone every so often.

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Riding Hood’s Grandmother Reveals Identity as Bestselling Author

 

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Years after the alleged attack on Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, Hazel, the now legendary grandma reveals her identity as bestselling author, Kale E. Pepper.

“First,” Hazel said, “let’s get this out of the way as I know you’re going to ask. The wolf never ate anyone. In fact, he was quite the gentleman. He had lost his way and needed directions to the barber shop. Quite the hairy beast, you know. Red sent him to the local ice cream parlor. That girl couldn’t find her way out of a cardboard box.”

The wolf then ended up at Hazel’s house after being assaulted by a group of school children who threw ice cream cones and popsicles at the poor beast. When asked if she still keeps in touch with the wolf, Hazel answered, “I don’t think he’s around here anymore.”

“But this,” she walked into her kitchen, “is why I called you.”

After brushing some fur off her counter, she showed us a collection of bestselling cookbooks such as Guide to Grilling Wild Game and Savory Large Game: Salads and Side Dishes which she wrote under her pseudonym. “They are selling very well.”

Indeed they are. Her informative new how-to guide, Find it Fresh, Fry it Up, just hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.

“This one,” she picked up her book entitled Look What’s Coming to Dinner “has been in the top ten for three months,” she said proudly. “Fresh ingredients. That’s the key.”

We declined Hazel’s invitation to stay for supper.

 

Fading

 

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She flipped through the photo album. Empty.

She stared at it, wondering again what kind of flower decorated the cover. Her mind tried to find the word for its color then thought about the emptiness again.

Running her fingertips over the delicate petals, she closed her eyes and started humming a lullaby she used to sing to her daughter at bedtime.

Notes floated around her room and she frowned trying to recall the name of the song.

Round and round like the seasons. Cycles of summer, autumn, winter…spring.

Yes. Those flowers blossomed in the spring.

In and out and back again. In the dirt, planting seeds, watering can sprinkles the earth. Stems push through the soil, leaves grow, petals unfold.

Peach. It was peach, that hue. The cover.

Pink.

And the flower, a rose. Carnation. Daisy.

Emptiness. Pink. Flowers. Spring.

With things that are alive trying to sprout from things that look dead.

The album was closed but she knew it was empty. They took the fading photos—black and white memories she was starting to lose.

 

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#BlogBattle is a bimonthly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

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Week 62 Prompt: Photograph
Genre: Drama

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Evil Stepmother Support Group

 

Stepmother Support Group - sig

 

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.

 

Roots

 

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She spent seven years looking for an anchor.

That’s what everyone said she needed. A partner who could ground her, keep her rational, responsible, sensible.

Keep her from herself.

She found him and attached herself to his sanity. His kindness soothed, his composure balanced. He tethered her to this world like a kite string.

Often, she thought of him when she gardened, digging her hands into the soil, marveling at thin strands stretching, reaching down to set themselves.

She daydreamed about roots reaching up. Why not? Into possibility? Into open sky where they might breathe? No, the fragile flowers grabbed earth and wrapped around and held so tightly it took great force to rip them out.

Like the plants, she lived because she was smothered.

Yes, he tethered her—and that is the only way she existed at all.

In early spring, temptation decided to push its way into her pretty life. It shone not like the soft streaks of sunlight through tree branches, but like a flashlight—its beam bright and unforgiving. It exposed her. And the delicate ribbon tying her to him morphed into a thick chain. A leash.

She wouldn’t be a dog, even a beloved one. She was a bird and needed to fly.

Wiping her palms on her jeans, she picked up dirt-caked shears, cut the cord, and walked away. Away from comfort—the home, the garden, and him.

She brushed off dust from the place where she had established respectable roots and danced to a place where her thirst for what she wasn’t supposed to want could be satiated. Because what she needed wasn’t an anchor, but an oasis.

 

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#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

For Week 53, Rachael is celebrating one year of #blogbattle fun by having participants choose a post and re-enter it. I haven’t been participating that long and I don’t get a story in every single week, but I’ve written a few. It really lets me stretch my writing muscles. Thanks, Rachael! 

This one, from week 23, is my first flash for #blogbattle. 

View all the wonderful stories and vote for your favorite here. 

The prompt: Oasis

Genre: Drama

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Split Ends for Prince and Rapunzel

 

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Photo taken (by me) from Treasury of Fairy Tales

 

Rapunzel, famed for her long, golden locks, was dumped last week by her long-time boyfriend.

“I know, it’s hard to believe anyone would break up with me,” she braided a piece of her hair. “But, no biggie. I mean, I know he’s a prince and all but he’s kind of a jerk.”

Reports from the kingdom paint Prince as a kind and generous member of the royal family, often donating to the local animal shelter and helping out at soup kitchens.

“Everyone loves princey-boy. But he pulled my hair! He climbed it like a stinkin’ ladder! And he likes macaroons. I mean, seriously, who likes macaroons?”

When asked if she had any plans to get a haircut, Rapunzel answered, “I cut my hair one time, you know, to get down from this tower because,” she swung her arm in a circle, “no stairs! Then princey suggested I donate it to Locks of Love. I felt good for, like, five minutes. Then I shut myself up here until it grew back.”

When asked about Helga, the owner of the tower Rapunzel now rents, Rapunzel replied, “She’s a witch, you know, always brewing concoctions in her cauldron.”

“I believe the term is ‘Wiccan’, now.”

“Whatever. Anyway, it’s not ‘real’ magic stuff. She makes awesome hair products and I model them for her through there,” she tilted her head toward the window. “I just smile and,” she laughed, “let down my hair! She’s making boatloads of money.”

“So, just for the record, Helga doesn’t force you to stay here?”

“Ha! No! I’m not going out there.” She examined the ends of her hair through a small telescope. “Do you have any idea what sunlight and humidity can do to your hair?”

~~~

We visited the palace to speak with the prince about the infamous break-up.

He said, “I couldn’t support her shampoo habit any longer. Nearly all the gold from my kingdom is with the barber who closed shop and retired to Hawaii.”

When asked if he regretted his decision, he responded, “Nah. She’s pretty vain. And selfish. I’m happy she’s gone. Macaroon?”

 

 

#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

Read more stories and vote for your favorite here.

Week 52 Prompt: Hair
Genre: Satire/Humor

 

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Will Power

 

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We never have candy at home. “Waste of money,” Ma says. And there was some just sittin’ in a bowl, askin’ me to take it.

It was the kind I love, too. Those round lollipops wrapped in white paper with the flavors on ’em in different colors.

I wanted one real bad.

I tried to make myself small. Which isn’t that hard. I’m already sorta small. “Scrawny” some kids call me. I don’t get mad.

My teacher says I have no muscle tone. Can’t even ride a bike right. It always falls over ‘cuz I can’t pedal fast enough to keep it up.

I snuck a look over at Ma, then slid down in the chair a little. I kept my eyes on her and stuck my hand out to get one. She slapped my hand away without even lookin’ at me.

“You didn’t ask for one of them pops and, anyway, the answer woulda been ‘no’ if you did.”

“I’m sorry?” The man in the suit said to Ma.

“Are you?” She spat at him.

“What I meant, Mrs. Carter, is that I didn’t understand why you said…”

“I know what you meant,” she leaned forward so her chest was squished into the front of the desk. “I’m not stupid like you think I am. I know what’s goin’ on here.”

“I never implied you were…unintelligent. Nor did I say you were incapable of understanding the situation.”

This was not a good time to open my mouth. I knew that. But I did it. “Ma? Please can I have one of them pops?”

Now she did look at me. Not even out the corner of her eye. No. She turned her whole self to stare me down. I knew that look. Was expectin’ it even. But it still made me shake a little, sorry to say.

“Here you go,” the man reached across his desk and gave me a lollipop with little red fruit on it. I think it was strawberry. But I never tasted it.

Ma snatched that thing outta my hand so fast I didn’t barely feel the stick. She smashed it down on the desk so hard the thing musta cracked and I thought what a waste as I coulda’ been eatin’ it. Made me wanna cry.

I didn’t cry, though. I never cried. That’s a thing about me.

“You wanna give him candy?” Ma stood, palms spread out on the man’s desk staring him down now. “You think that’s makin’ up for what you’re doin’ here?”

The man held his hands up like he was tryin’ to catch raindrops on his fingertips. “I was only trying to give the child a treat, Mrs. Carter. There’s no need for dramatics. Please,” he poked his long nose to the chair, “have a seat.”

So then this is when it happened. All of it.

Ma walked over to the man, raised her arm like she was gonna hit him. She called him somethin’ made my ears go red. The man stood up so fast he dumped his chair right over, crashing into a shelf loaded with stuff that looked real classy, knockin’ some of it on the floor. And I took a lollipop. A fresh whole one with brown spots on the paper that I hoped so bad was root beer flavor.

The man shouted to the big windows behind me, Ma grabbed her bag, I stuffed the pop in my pocket and ran after her.

When we got outside, Ma was cryin’ big, fat tears. She was suckin’ in air. I thought she was gonna throw up. “He’s gone!” she hugged me so hard it hurt a little.

“I know, Ma. I know all that.”

“You don’t know,” she kept those tears goin’. “There’s no will, you understand? No paper sayin’ we get money now he’s gone. Your papa went and left us nothin’. We got no money.”

“I know, Ma.” I wanted so bad to cry with her. But I didn’t. I wiped her face with my sleeve and handed her my lollipop. “I think it’s root beer flavor,” I said. “Your favorite.”

 

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#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey – Join the fun every Tuesday

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Week 49 Prompt: Lollipops
Genre: Drama

 

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