Tag Archives: story a day

Story A Day May #10

Day 10! Woo and Hoo. I feel pretty good about sticking with this for ten days, even though I feel less than stellar today, I knew I had to knock something out on the ol’ keyboard. We can all thank the husband for the opening line of this story, and for the third word of my trio of word prompts, even after I protested that I wouldn’t work that one in. (He still insists that I’m the one in charge of the story) Enjoy, and see everyone tomorrow!

May 10, 2015

Word prompts: banana pudding, dinner, nazi

The Dinner

             “Man, these vanilla wafers are good. You know what I kinda want now?”

“Banana pudding?”

“Naner puddin’. Mmhhm mm.”

Scott handed her two more before scrunching the bag down in the yellow box and replacing it in the cabinet. He looked at his girlfriend, Denise. “Ready?”

“I guess. Do we really have to?”

“I s’pose we could play hooky.”

She grinned. “That sounds like a great plan. Oh, here, sweetie, you got wafer crumbs on your tie.” She walked over and wiped the teeny, betraying sugary-bits off his maroon silk tie. “Let’s get this over with.”

“After you, sweet cheeks.” For added effect, he swatted her dress-clad butt as she passed him. He chuckled at her ‘Don’t get me excited’ look.

The engagement dinner had been his mother’s idea. While Scott didn’t mind having dinner with his parents, or his future in-laws, he really didn’t expect to be having one involving all parties so soon after actually getting engaged. He’d only asked Denise two weeks ago. He loved his parents, but they could be a bit overbearing. It was one of the many reasons he adored Denise’s family. From the first time he met her parents and two brothers, he felt like part of their family. Her mom made lasagna, and her dad made a salad from all the veggies grown in his garden. Denise’s parents liked living a little farther out from the city, liked getting their hands down in the dirt. Scott doubted his mother or father had ever cooked a day in their life.

Denise stood at the front door, gawking. “Your mother sent a limo. A limo, Scott.”

He let out a long sigh. “She told me the other day about it. I insisted that we could drive ourselves to the restaurant, to which she replied, ‘What about cocktails? You’ll have cocktails and you’ll need transportation.’”

He and Denise said the last part in unison. She giggled, and he leaned down to kiss her. After a few seconds they parted. Her eyes went wide, and she slapped his arm in an excited remembrance. “Oh, this is why my mom said earlier that the car was there. I had no idea what she was talking about. Holy moly, your parents sent a limo to get mine. Aww, that’s sweet.”

“Cynthia has her moments.” He held open the front door.

“Stop calling your mom by her first name. It’s weird.”

The limo driver held open the door for Denise and Scott, told them that any beverages or snacks were complimentary. They joked about making out during the ride, but decided against it since appearing at a four-star restaurant for dinner with their parents in rumpled clothing probably wouldn’t go over too well.

When they arrived at Calamari, Scott had to keep Denise from getting out of the limo.

“I don’t need that poor man to walk all the way back here just to open the door,” she said, refusing to let go of the handle.

“It is his job. Like, literally, his job. He gets paid to drive and open doors,” said Scott.

“I can’t make his job easier? What if he ends up driving around a bunch of bratty teenagers later? They definitely won’t open the door for themselves.”

Right then, the door opened. Denise hastily took her hand away from the inside handle. Scott snickered, but she got out of the vehicle, thanking the man. He did the same.

Scott held out his arm for his fiancée. She took it, wrapping her arm around his, fingers resting against his forearm. He felt the tiny flutters, the tingling sensation in his stomach, almost a nervous feeling, at the love of that small, intimate contact. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, and they walked into the restaurant.

The maitre d’ showed them to a reserved room at the back of the establishment. He opened the double doors for the couple. Scott and Denise stopped dead at the sight. The suit clad maitre d’ extended a hand. “Mr. Walsh?”

Denise took a baby step, modest heels clicking on the stone tile floor. He resisted and felt her tugging on his arm.

A waiter came around the pair to pull out the two middle chairs at the elegantly set banquet table. Deep purple and lavender tulip flower arrangements sat near either end. The middle held a large crystal vase with all white tulips. Denise’s favorite.

“How could your mother possibly know my favorite flower? In my favorite colors?” asked Denise in a hushed voice. “She’s a witch, isn’t she? Tell me now before I wake up married to a warlock.”

“Ha ha. She called your mother, I’d bet money. Did your mom tell you that your brothers were coming? Not that I mind because, honestly, they make life worth living.”

“No. Who is that redheaded lady? The one with the redhead teenage clone.”

“Natalie and Rachel.”

“Your stepmother and stepsister are here? What the f—”

“Scott, darling!” Cynthia Walsh spotted them and rushed over, arms raised. She gave him a hug and kissed his cheek. “And Denise. You are the picture of loveliness.” She embraced her future daughter-in-law before taking her hand. “I hope you like the arrangements.”

“They’re gorgeous,” said Denise. “Thank you so much.”

“Well, it’s not every day that your son decides to marry such an elegant young lady. You deserve it.”

His mother left them to speak to the maitre d’ about something concerning the appetizers. Scott and Denise went to her parents. “Hi mom. Hi dad,” she said, getting tangled in a hug from both at once. “You guys look great!”

“We clean up nicely,” said Carla Fern. “Of course, we had to buy this one a new suit.

“The old one was deemed, what was the word?” said Daniel Fern.

“Dated, dad. Several decades too old,” piped up Will, Denise’s youngest brother.

“Wide lapels are not a thing anymore,” said Charlie, the eldest of the twenty-two year old twins. Charlie slapped Scott on the back. “Good to see you.”

“You, too, man,” said Scott. He gave Carla a hug, and shook Daniel’s hand, and the three of them started talking about his job until he heard the deep, authoritative voice of his father, and the severe tone of his paternal grandmother. Scott whipped around.

“Nana is here,” he said. He grabbed Denise’s hand and pulled her in front of him as a defense mechanism. “Protect me.”

“You are insane. She can’t be that bad.”

“She can and is. Wait. You’ll get a lecture about the war in less than fifteen minutes.” He held up his wrist. “It’s 7:47. I’ll time it.”

“Oh, let go of me.” Denise wriggled free of his grip and went to greet his father and grandmother.

Everyone began sitting. Two waiters circled the table. One filled goblets with ice water while the other took drink orders. Denise was still looking at the four page booklet when it came to her and Scott.

“I’ll take the IPA,” he said.

“I think … uh … gosh. Okay. I’ll take the frozen sangria and peach bellini swirl.”

“A house specialty,” said the waiter.

Cynthia ordered appetizers for the table. She sat next to Carla, and Scott stared at the two women who couldn’t be more different having what seemed to be a perfectly pleasant conversation. Beside him, Denise spoke to his father, Karl, answering his intense questions about her upcoming internship at a prestigious architecture firm. Scott could tell that his father’s queries were unexpected, but she never sounded more polite. Things appeared to be going better than he dreamed.

The pair of waiters returned with drinks. When one of them handed the frozen bellini to Denise, she exclaimed, “Yahtzee!”

“Nazi?”

Everyone looked at his grandmother. She wore an expression of extreme dislike. “Did she say Nazi?”

“No, Nana, she said Yahtzee,” said Scott.

“Nazi?”

“It’s an expression, Nan,” said his stepsister. “Like the game?”

“Communism is not a game, young lady,” reprimanded the elderly woman.

“Oh, no, Mrs. Walsh, I didn’t say what you think I did,” started Denise, only to be interrupted by Karl.

“Mother, do please stop talking about the war for five minutes. This is your grandson’s engagement dinner, not a lecture hall.”

Denise glanced to her right at Scott’s subtle throat clearing. He held up his wrist, tapping his watch with his index finger.

“Thirteen minutes,” he mouthed.

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Story A Day May #7 (Here Be Pirates)

Two years ago, when I attempted May’s writing challenge, one of my posts included a pair of characters belonging to the world created in my fantasy novel (and subsequent books planned in the series). I decided to do another one with these two characters, plus one or two others. Where my first novel currently sits, the minority of pirates left have turned into (mostly) legitimate businessmen, but, of course, that was not always the case. If anyone feels like searching back through posts, I think it was May 2 or 3, 2013 that first featured Margaret and William. Luckily, I fell off the face of the blogging world, so there’s not a hundred posts to wade through. Enjoy!

May 7, 2015

Word prompts: bounty, tooth, remonstrance

Edward Dupree squirmed in the chair. He banged the palm of his hand on the seat and let out a shout.

“Hold still, you moron,” Margaret growled.

He shoved away her arm when she let go of his jaw. “If you’d pull the damn thing instead of inflicting more pain.”

“I like inflicting pain.” She half-turned and grabbed a bottle of wine. As she brought the bottle to her lips, she said, “On you especially.”

“Give me that.”

Margaret walked a few steps away while Edward sucked at the bottle. She pushed open the door of the hut, staring at the darkening sky. While she couldn’t see the ocean, she could hear it; the comforting sound of the place she called home. Normally so vigilant and alert, she let her mind be lulled by the sound of waves and birds. William startled her when he appeared in front of the door, and she gasped.

“What are you doing in here? I could hear him down the beach.” Her brother pushed past. She noticed the folded paper he carried.

“New bounty?”

William shrugged.

“How much this time?”

“For all of us, or just you?”

“I told you it was a bad idea coming here,” said Margaret. She pulled the door shut and returned to the middle of the tiny structure. Picking up the forceps, she jabbed them at her brother. “We should have gone to La Suo. We should have gone there a bloody month ago, but no, you said we would be protected here. That woman is not going to help us. Kera was Dresden’s mistress. Was, William. He left her a year ago, sitting in jail in Fandor, and she owes him nothing. Why would she want to help us?”

“Kera. What a woman,” said Edward.

“Oh, shut your mouth,” Margaret snapped. She grabbed his jaw with her left hand. “Not literally.”

“Fok you,” he managed while she tightened her fingers.

She could hear the squeamish sound William made while she forced Edward’s head back and gripped the broken tooth with the iron forceps. “One … two … three.” She pulled back in a straight line, and the molar finally came free.  Blood flowed from the empty socket. Margaret picked up the bowl from Edward’s lap, shoving it at his chest. “Spit in here.” For added effect, she dropped the chunk of tooth into the wood bowl.

William stood near the cutout section of bamboo which served as a window, arms crossed over his chest. Margaret joined him, wiping her face with a rag.

“You still think Eamon Ward is coming?”

He gave her the look of surety that only an older brother could. “You worry too damn much, Mags. He said he’d meet us here.”

“And half of Sertha’s navy is tracking us and him. That correspondence is months old. Probably he’s been killed or arrested, or he ran.”

“Not everyone runs.”

“Yes, they do,” she said, laying a hand on his arm. “Eventually.”

“Is that what we’re doing? Running?”

“You’re Gods’ damn right that’s what we’re doing,” said Edward. He spit out another mouthful of blood. “Have a little faith in your friends, Maggie. If Eamon said he’d come, then he’ll come. So what if it is later than expected?”

“It matters if Kera turns us in,” she said.

“She won’t for another week.”

Edward and Margaret stared at William. He dropped his arms to his sides. “That’s where I went earlier.”

“By the Creators, William!” said Margaret.

“I need to know to what degree of safe we are. Kera might hate Dresden, and while she’s not a fan of Ward, she agreed not to turn us in for a full week. The navy keeps coming here and searching her home and tavern, threatening her with imprisonment. They’re searching the whole town every few days. She’s got children to think about.” Her brother pulled one of the rickety chairs over to the window and sat. “Lucky for us, Kera has no grudge with you. Or Edward.”

She shook her head, but said nothing further, turning away from her brother. A bottle of whiskey, a pair of scissors, a large roll of gauze, and a small bowl sat upon the table on a metal tray. She reached into the bowl to retrieve a thin, short strip of whiskey-soaked gauze that she rolled. She gave it the barest of squeezes and took it to Edward.

“Head back.”

“I fucking hate you,” he said.

“I know. Head back.”

The younger man did as she said. She noticed his knuckles whitening as he gripped the edges of the seat. She caught the look in his brown eyes. Sometimes she forgot that he was only twenty. Practically a child. When she was his age, she’d already lived through three years of horror.

“Take a deep breath, Edward.”

When he sucked in a long breath, she packed the wet gauze into the tooth socket. His shouts were muffled when she pressed a hand against his lips. “For the love of all things, Edward!”

Tears brightened his eyes. “Please, stop,” he whimpered.

“The last thing I need is to cut out an infected, pus-filled piece of your gum,” she said. “Keep that stuffed in your mouth, and when it dries, I’ll replace it.”

William still sat by the window. Head propped against the wall, eyes closed. The man could sleep anywhere. She felt hot and closed in, so she left the hut, walking a through the trees and brush until she emerged at the edge of the beach.

The wind cooled her body and her temperature. She wanted to be on her ship. She wanted to be a thousand miles away, free and unworried. They were both right—she was running. She felt old, tired, and worn of running. Building an empire of piracy had its price, and maybe this was the beginning of the payment.

Margaret stepped out of the dark shelter of the woods. She bent down to scoop up a handful of sand, closing her fist tight against the flowing grains. Staring up the sky, she whispered, “Please, Creators. Let me get out of this one. Let this be the last one. I’ll quit. I’ve got a spot in mind already. And a garden plot. The sea was your home first, Goddess, and one you used to seem content to share. Not anymore. I can feel it. I swear I will leave it forever if you help me.”

A crack of a tree branch had her whirling around, sword drawn before she fully turned.

“Your remonstrance has not gone unanswered.” The man smiled, showing an impossible set of straight, white teeth. She noticed he’d shaved his head, but kept the beard. “Ward sent me.”

Margaret narrowed her eyes at her husband-to-be.


Story A Day May #6

Today you get a little more of Something Bad. I apologize for the shortness of it. I had planned for today’s entry to be a bit longer, but it’s been a busy day of life getting in the way. 🙂 Still, there are time’s when I would’ve let that go ahead and push aside this particular goal, but I’m trying to not let that happen nowadays.

Part 1 of this story began on May 2, for anyone that needs a refresher.

May 6, 2015

Something Bad Part 2

I remembered Doug’s name badge hiding in my lab coat pocket. Shame kept it there after I found it beneath my coffee table three days earlier when I woke up on my couch wearing only my undies.

I should have given it back to him right away, because I didn’t know if he had a spare. The security guys at our building were dicks. The exact same people came and went everyday, and they all acted like they’d never seen us before. Forget your id badge and be prepared for a ten minute hassle. Usually it results in a department head coming down to the lobby, which results in another ten minutes of lecturing from said person about responsibility, government clauses, blah, blah, blah.

I swallowed the last bite of burrito, sucked down some soda, and fished the badge out of my pocket.

“Here. I found this, uh, under my coffee table.”

“Ah, thanks!” He took it from my hand. “I wondered where I left this. It’s always falling off.”

He sounded genuinely grateful. It made me suspicious. I mean, who is perfectly nice all the frickin’ time?

“I hope you didn’t have any trouble getting in the building.”

“Nah. I’ve lost it before. After the second time, I convinced my boss to make me a spare, which I keep in my glove compartment.”

Why the hell wouldn’t he keep the first one in there? Nice and scatter-brained. Ugh.

We sat in silence again. I crumpled up the burrito wrapper, resisting the urge to lick it clean of cheese sauce, and dropped it in the empty take-out bag. I gathered up his trash too, against his polite protest, and stood.

“I’ve got to get back. I’m working on this new formula and I’m close to getting it right. Thanks for the food.”

“Anytime. I hope your formula comes together.”

He walked me to the door. Nice, scatter-brained, and old-fashioned. I really do attract the winners.

The rest of the day went by quickly as I kept trying to perfect my formula. At quarter to six, I started packing away my supplies and cleaning my equipment. I had a slightly tweaked version of the serum, after messing with the structure of the peptides. Once my lab was neat and tidy, I popped down the hall to say goodbye to Jamie.

“Helen and I are meeting at the bar. You in?”

“Of course. I’ll be a little late, though,” he said.

“Ok. See ya.”

I stood at the elevator for what seemed an eternity. I hit the button a couple more times for good measure, but the damn thing seemed to be stuck in the basement. Probably Helen getting more corpses. I decided to walk. When I passed the sixth floor, I gave the number a guilty glance. At the fourth floor, I stopped. The guilt nagged at me for not seeming more appreciative to Doug for the lunch. He went to stupid lengths to have lunch with me after what I imagine was an average at best night of drunken sex. Hoping I wouldn’t regret this, I started back up the stairs in search of Dr. Allan.

His office door was still locked. I tried the lab room where we ate lunch, but he wasn’t there either. An aluminum case sat near the edge of the table. The whiteboard had been wiped clean. I glanced behind me to the empty hallway, listening for any sounds. When I felt sure that I was alone, I went to the case, unfastened the latches from each side and opened it.

The device from earlier lay nestled in thick foam. A second space was empty. I picked up the gadget.

I would expect a handheld device meant for bending time, or making wormholes, or whatever it was supposed to do, to be much, much shinier. Maybe come with a teeny tiny plasma screen. Speak with a male British accent. Anything other than the narrow, rectangular gray metal with four buttons, an LED screen, and a clear section through the middle with nothing in it.

“Time travel,” I scoffed. I started to replace it in the case when my thumb hit the purple button. The middle started glowing. “Oh, shit. Maybe it’s a bomb!”

I dug it back out and pressed the button again. Tiny bluish-white lights zipped back and forth. Three other buttons remained: orange, yellow, and black. I yelped as the thing shocked me. It clattered on the floor.

Over my head, black dots appeared. At first so small I could barely see them. Too numerous to count. They began to converge, forming a massive hole. I snatched up the device now vibrating noisily on the floor and tried to run for the door, but a force of gravity (Yippee! I can finally use that phrase appropriately!) sucked me backwards in an ear-splitting crackling vacuum of black and icy coldness.


Story A Day May #5

First, thanks to all the new blog followers, and for all the likes the last few days! The writing challenge is already going better than the last time I tried it two years ago, which is sad as I think about it. I think by this time I’d missed a day, did a couple more stories and then once I missed a few more days, got completely out of writing anything.

Second, today’s story may or may not be based upon true events, and it may or may not have happened to yours truly. So take that however you will, and enjoy!

May 5, 2015

No word prompts

Snow Day

            I heard it. The loudest, most ominous click I’d heard in my life. The second that door shut, I knew it. It finally happened—a moment I had been waiting for. I forgot to push up the latch on the kitchen door, and locked myself out of the house.

I couldn’t even compare options, as I had less than few. I, and two dogs, were stuck outside in twenty degree weather with seven inches of snow on the ground, and daylight was fast fading. Dressed in jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, and socks was not making this predicament better. At least the dogs had higher body temperatures and actually wanted to be out in the snow.

I remembered early (like early, early) that morning, I tripped over my husband’s boots that he left on the middle of the back porch. For a second, I closed my eyes, thinking I’d tossed them in the house in my pre-six am grumpiness. Holding my breath, I glanced down.

A victory. Those boots might have been many sizes too big, but at least I had one more advantage against the cold. Next, I tried the door. A useless action, but I suppose something everyone would do. A last rally against stupidity. I started to cry, started to think about really crying, but realized it would help by zero percent, so I stopped. My other saving grace – I had my phone. I called my husband, who was at work. We decided on me going to front door and trying to ‘break’ into the porch door by peeling back the screen and reaching in to unlatch that door. I set off, shoving the back gate open enough to squeeze through and tromped my way around the house. I got the corner of the screen pulled out and then tapped my finger on the glass, knowing my husband was thinking of the time he did this trick when it was summer and the storm windows weren’t up. After two more phone calls, one to my mother who has a spare key to my house, (and who wasn’t home), I told my husband that I could see Craig’s car in the driveway across the street.

“I’m going to Karl and Craig’s.”

“What are they going to do?”

“I don’t know, but at least one of them is home and they’re guys, so I’m sure they’ll be helpful.”

Lucky for me, Craig and his husband were home. Karl answered the door, and I told him what happened. He ushered me inside.

“So the back door is locked. The front porch door. The front door. What about the basement door?” asked Craig.

“Locked,” I said.

“Is it a regular deadbolt or key deadbolt?”

“Key deadbolt.”

“Do you keep the key in the lock or somewhere you could reach it if we broke out a pane of glass?” he said.

“It’s hanging on a nail in one of the ceiling beams.”

“Nowhere you can reach it.”

I shook my head.

“Are you hiding gold bars in your house?” he said.

“Nooo! I lock the doors when Lee is at work,” I said.

“Are any of your windows unlocked?” said Karl.

“I want to say maybe the dining room or the bathroom window.”

“Seriously, what are you hiding in your house?” said Craig.

We finally settled on a plan of getting a ladder in order to reach a window. They gave me a coat, and Karl and I headed to the garage. We got an eight foot ladder, carried it across the street where I decided the bathroom window would be the best chance for an unlocked area.

I held the ladder while Karl climbed up. He managed to pop the screen out and tried the window. The familiar squealing sound of the old window opening was the best thing I’d heard all day.

“Wow. Your house is surprisingly easy to break into,” he said.

“Yeah, if you happen to be toting around an eight foot ladder on your crime spree,” I said. “Is it sad that I’m now trying to remember if I left my underwear on the floor?”

“Well, I see a cat,” he said. “Okay, it’s your turn.” He came down the ladder. “I’m too old to be climbing through windows.”

I started up the ladder. “I feel like this is a reason people have children. Ooh, maybe we can borrow the toddler next door. We’ll tie a string around her waist like a spy movie.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” he said.

I reached the top of the ladder and stared through the small opening. “Uuuuuhhhhh.”

“Feet or shoulders,” said Karl.

“Crap. Maybe shoulders.” I put one arm through the window, followed by my head and shoulder. I felt stuck for a second, not sure how to proceed. While not the biggest fan of ladders, the prospect of taking my foot off the rung was unpleasant. I got my tiptoes on the rung, grabbed the windowsill with my left hand and managed to get my butt on the window. I pulled my left leg through. If not for my husband’s boots, my foot would not have reached, and as it was, I could only get the tip of the boot onto the bathroom floor. I chose to slide sideways, hoping that I wouldn’t fall on my head.

The moment my whole body was enveloped in the warmth and coziness of my house, I never felt more relieved to be indoors, and I felt a tiny bit of pride at being about to fit through the bathroom window.


Story A Day May #4

Lookie, a story published while the sun is still out! At least in my corner of the universe. Today’s word prompts are from the husband, and features him and the pups.

May 4, 2015

Word prompts: Tripod, Squeak, Yellow

‘Don’t get distracted.’ I kept picking my way through the thicket, leather armor getting scratched from thorns. Talulah wasn’t far from me and, at my admonishment, began moving again. We emerged from the wide forest barrier. I picked a couple of burrs off my vest while Talulah shook her head, long ears flapping loudly in the quiet.

‘I smell her. She’s not far.’

            ‘What about him?’

            ‘No. Her smell is too strong.’

I nodded at the dog’s words and we started into the forest. Dim puddles of light dotted the ground. The forest canopy was thick with age, making the sun struggle to cast its rays through it.

As I climbed over a fallen tree, I reflected at how my wife would probably kill me once she discovered we’d gone. We don’t take the dog on a hunt by ourselves. Never have. It was agreed upon when we received her from the village council. Sharing thoughts with a canine was rare enough, but when it was discovered that we both heard Talulah, and she us, it became clear that she was meant to be part of our family. So why was I out hunting a dragon without my wife?

The tripod.

The tripod was an Australian Shepherd who was found wandering near the village one day. His front right leg broken, mangled and bleeding, we took him in after his surgery. We provided a safe, comfortable place for him to recover, and ended up keeping the pup they’d named Bo after he and Talulah became inseparable.

Bo wasn’t a hunter like Talulah. A mixed breed of Boxer and Hound, she had a keen ability to track and a love of doing it. He loved to herd though: Talulah, our cats, people, and especially my wife every time she wanted to leave our cottage.

That morning, the dragon my wife and I had been hunting for over a month flew over the village. Bo, who happened to be outside, jumped the split-rail fence in his excitement to follow, which brings us ‘round to why the boxer and I were traipsing through the forest.

Soon, I could smell it. Sulfur and ash. The dragon wouldn’t be far.

‘Stay here.’

I halted watching Talulah’s trotting figure disappear among the trees. A minute or two passed and I realized that all I could hear were the sounds of my breathing and the creaking of my armor as I shifted. “Damn it, Lu,” I said softly, and started in the direction I last saw her.

I saw the imprint of her paws in the dirt, followed until I emerged into a sun-filled clearing. Everything was gone. Burned away. The edges of the clearing charred and blackened. An enormous rock face rose opposite, and I could make out a cave entrance.

‘Talulah! Where are you?’

Nothing. I closed my eyes and concentrated, trying to feel past my growing desperation. I caught a glimmer of her rapid heartbeat and breathing, and took off toward the cave. I almost made it to the first tiny mountains of rocks when a set of teeth caught my forearm and yanked me off-balance. I tumbled to the ground and rolled on my back, my weapon digging into my spine, while Talulah pounced atop my chest.

‘Quiet. She’s in there.’

            ‘You didn’t have to knock me down.’

            ‘You were running like a maniac. Sorry.’ She gave my face several licks before hopping off of me.

I got to my feet, and patted her back before unsheathing my sword. I looked down at my loyal companion. ‘Ready?’

She snapped her jaw in a near silent gesture and we headed to the cave. We did not get far. Both of us stopped ten feet from the mouth, staring at the sleeping dragon. She was curled up, dark yellow scales glistening in the light. It took me a minute to realize something was moving beneath her translucent wing—dragonlings. Three of them.

‘We should go.’ Talulah nudged my hand with her wet nose.

I started to take a step back when I heard it. The unmistakable pattern of Bo’s three-legged gallop. He came from my right, and slid to a stop right in front of the dragon’s nose.

“Bo! Come here!” I hissed, forgetting to project my thoughts. The dog turned his head toward me, and I could see red sticking out from both sides of his mouth. ‘Don’t you dare, don’t you dare, young man!’

He let out a yip and worked his jaw around the leather bladder that served as a toy. The air hissed out before he let up, allowing it to inflate, and then he bit down. Squeak. Squeesqueesqueeeaaak. The sound woke all three babies. They started chirping, and worked their way out from beneath their mother’s protective wing. Bo started chomping on the bladder again, excited at the sight of the baby dragons, and he dropped it as the dragon shifted and opened one deep, jewel-green eye. Bo barked at her. The high-pitched shepherd bark resounded through the clearing. She grunted in reply and raised her head a fraction to stare at Talulah and me.

‘Your mother is going to kill us all if we get out of this alive.’

‘Yep.’ Talulah pressed her side against my leg, and I could feel her body tensing, ready to spring.

Bo let out another short bark. He darted forward, licked the dragon’s nose before bouncing away to land among her children.

The dragon let out a long, stinking sigh, and went back to sleep.


Story A Day, May 8

Aack. I missed two days. I did spend one of them in bed again, curled up next to the vaporizer. I did combine my words from May 6 & 7 into one story, but it’s on my iPhone, so I’ll upload it later today. Swear.

But, for now, you get today’s short story. Yes, it’s true. Yes, I am a klutz. If you hate the sight of wounds, even itty-bitty, minor ones, then don’t look at the second picture. Enjoy!

May 8, 2013

Prompts: lawnmower, elbow, marionette

Word Count: 581

The Idiots Guide To Breaking A Pane Of Glass

We came home from mowing the lawn at my mother-in-law’s house. I stood in the driveway, hosing off the bottom of the lawnmower, using the jet setting on the sprayer. After all the caked on grass was washed away, I moved to my vehicle. Hosing off something shouldn’t be as fun as it is, but I had a blast, (hahaha) doing it. My husband carried the lawnmower down the stairs to the basement.

            Now, on a side note, we inherited a stupid lawnmower. It’s electric. And not cordless electric, either. Cutting the grass involves holding down a lever against the handle while pushing/pulling the mower, while trying to not run over the forty-foot orange extension cord. Stupid. I starred in the ‘hold the cord girl’ role while Tim mowed the grass. It shouldn’t take two people to cut the lawn.

Another ridiculous thing we inherited is the basement door that leads to the outside. The only doorknob is on the inside, and when we first moved in, the lock had been broken for so many millennia that a paint key shoved through what used to be some sort of lock and a long 2×4 propped up against the door kept it shut tight. A paint key. Who knew it was a multi-purpose tool?

My father installed a lock for us, but the damn door is so old that it doesn’t quite line up, so when we go to shut the door, you have the SLAM it to get the key to completely turn the bolt. Okay, Tim slams it. Repeatedly. Loudly. Annoyingly.

I, being a wimpy sort of girl, prefer to do the more painful and barely effective approach of shutting the door and slamming my hip against it until the door lines up the door frame enough for the bolt to click into place.

This works well enough. There is one thing to be mindful about. The upper part of the door has four panes of glass. Anytime I’m trying to close the door, I always think, “What if the glass breaks from us slamming the door?”

Okay—two things, really. The second is during demonstration of my crazy method of door locking, I put my elbow against the door. This morning, my elbow went through the pane of glass.

In the Hollywood version of this event, someone always takes a flimsy shirt and wraps it around their arm or hand, punches through a window or door to unlock said opening, and they are fine. In real life, you will cut yourself, even with a flimsy curtain between you and the glass.

Tim ushers me upstairs and into the bathroom, where he proceeds to clean my wound, and apply liquid bandage. If you’ve never used it, let me warn you – it stings. A. Whole. Freakin’. Lot.

I’m sitting on the toilet while he has my arm held up, bent at ninety degrees, and he’s holding onto my wrist and moving my arm back and forth to “Work the liquid stuff into the cut”. I told him that I felt like a marionette at the repair shop. A cursing marionette, whose arm stung like crazy.

The good part is I did not need stitches. It could have been much worse.

The best part is I got to do that Hollywood move without even meaning to, which is probably why I didn’t need to go to the ER. It was awesome, worth the bloody elbow, and I would totally do it again.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Basement Door Sans Glass.

Stitches Not Included.
Stitches Not Included.

 


Story-a-day #4

Going for sweet and cutesy on this one. 😀  Trying, anyway. Oddly enough, today’s word prompts were given to me by a male co-worker. I went longer than 750 words, but not too terribly long. Enjoy!

 

May 4, 2013

Prompts: leprechaun, unicorn, pony

Word Count: 1,195

Not Imaginary

There had never been time for frivolity in Amelia’s childhood. Her parents called her a princess. They treated her like a princess. Her bedroom looked like it had been decorated by a fairy-godmother. But the problem with being treated like a princess was that her parents expected nothing less than perfect, ladylike behavior. Early on, Amelia experienced the disadvantages of such an upbringing: lack of close friends, nervous habits, and the ever-present compulsion to straighten throw pillows. Even her play clothes as a child were wrong—a dress and a set of black shoes with a strap across the ankle. Neither of those was ever smudged.

She noticed the tiny stain on her daughter’s pre-school teacher’s sweater. The woman was what Amelia thought of as a free-spirit. Her parents would’ve had more descriptive and less kind words for the teacher, but she was a nice woman, and Amelia’s four year-old daughter, Katherine, loved her. Currently, Amelia listened to the teacher gush about Katherine’s latest drawings of mythological creatures during art time, and how Amelia and her husband had a ‘refreshingly non-conventional’ way of raising their daughter to ‘believe in the beyond’. All of it made Amelia very nervous.

She got through the rest of the conversation without having to say much of anything, said goodbye, and ushered her daughter to the car. Katherine started talking the moment they were on the way home, chattering about her day, her friends in pre-school, and how she drew the leprechaun in a purple because it’s his favorite color.

“Sweetie, you know leprechauns aren’t real,” said Amelia, glancing worryingly at her daughter in the rearview mirror.

“Sam is,” said Katherine. “He lives in the painting above my desk. He comes out at night to tuck me in and tell me a story about Rainbow Land where he lives with his family.”

For two weeks, Katherine had gone on about Sam the Leprechaun. At first, Amelia ignored it, figuring it to be harmless. The longer it went on, though, the more disturbed she became. It might not have been so terrible except that her husband wasn’t there to reinforce Amelia’s ruling on the matter. A last-minute business trip had pulled him away twelve days earlier, but tonight he would be home. She felt sure her husband would help with the issue.

Not long after dinner, during which Katherine demanded a plate be set out for Sam, Jason walked through the door. He greeted his wife with a hug and kiss, and swept their daughter up in his arms.

“How’s my Kitty-Kat?” said Jason.

“Hi daddy! We missed you,” said Katherine.

“Oh, you did? Well, I missed my two favorite girls.”

“Daddy, tuck me in. I have to be ready for my story,” Katherine pleaded.

“Are we having story night?”

“Not you, silly. Me. Sam is going to tell me a story. Sam the leprechaun. He said tonight he’s going to bring his friend along. She’s a unicorn. I think she’s like a pony, but taller. And white. And has a long pointy thing right here—” Katherine poked her father on the forehead.

It sounds like you have a busy night ahead,” said Jason. “Let’s get you to bed.” He carried her across the kitchen, and held her out. “Say goodnight to mommy.”

“Goodnight mommy.”

Amelia leaned over for her kiss. “Goodnight sweetie.”

She watched Jason carry their daughter from the kitchen. Amelia finished the dishes, tidied up the kitchen, and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. Jason was in the shower, so she changed into her nightgown and performed her nightly beauty routine.

Jason poked his head out of the shower curtain. “Sam the leprechaun?”

Amelia shook her head as she finished rinsing the toothpaste from her mouth. “She’s been going on and on about him for days. It’s not natural. I never should’ve decorated her room like a scene from a fairytale movie.”

“She’s fine. It’s a phase, that’s all. Didn’t you ever have imaginary friends?” He caught the look on her face. “Never mind.”

With a huff, Amelia retreated to the bedroom. No, she never had imaginary friends. She barely had real friends. Meeting Jason had done wonders for her self esteem, not to mention her ability to relax. Having Katherine forced her to loosen up even more, though at times, Amelia wondered if she were a terrible mother. She hated being stifling, but sometimes it was so hard to be the opposite.

By the time Jason got into bed, Amelia’s light was already off, and she lay on her side facing away from him. He scooted over until he lay in the middle, and she moved too, so her back pressed against his side, letting him know that she wasn’t really mad.

He talked about his trip for a little bit, until they heard Katherine in the next room. Her high-pitched squeal came right through the wall, as did her excited voice. She rambled on so fast they couldn’t make out the words. Seconds later, another voice floated through the air—still high, but not quite feminine. Amelia sat up.

“She’s doing voices now! Voices! This is not normal. Our daughter is crazy,” she moaned.

Jason chuckled. “She’s not crazy; she’s four.” He patted her leg. “I’ll go check on her.”

Amelia flopped on her back, worry renewed about her daughter’s mental state. Light from the hallway lit up their bedroom door. She heard Jason open Katherine’s door, an even louder shriek of excitement, and the unmistakable neighing of a horse.

The next sound was Katherine’s door shutting. Jason never appeared, so Amelia got out of bed, and went into the hall. Her husband stood outside their daughter’s bedroom, looking pale and stunned.

She reached for the handle.

He grasped her wrist. “Don’t.”

“What? Let go.”

“I really wouldn’t,” he said, eyes wide.

She pushed his hand away, and opened the door. Katherine sat in the middle of her bed next to a tiny man. He was dressed in a way that would make one immediately think Leprechaun, only instead of green, his clothes were in various shades of purple. Amelia stared at them staring at her. A flash of light drew her attention, and she slowly turned her head. A unicorn stood in front of the closet.

Amelia slowly turned around to look at her husband. Years of strict upbringing and discouragement of this very kind of behavior kicked in. Sort of. The tiniest part of her that always wanted to participate in this kind of behavior flared up, and for the first time in four years, she knew this was the moment she could give Katherine the best childhood ever.

She walked out of the room, but before she closed the door, she said firmly, “You can stay up for thirty minutes, Katherine. After that, your friends have to leave because you have pre-school in the morning.”

She pulled Jason back to their bed. They settled down, both staring at the ceiling.

“What the …” he finally said.

“Oh, goodness, do not tell the neighbors we have a leprechaun in our house. We’ll never hear the end of it,” said Amelia. “Goodnight dear.”


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