Writing Stuff

Writing Goals: Calling All Writers

Writing goals – gads, just writing those words out makes my heart nearly beat out of my chest.

Here’s the thing, I love writing, but writing is HARD, ya’ll. No joke. It’s not so much the ideas, I can sit down with a general idea and a few characters and my imagination just sort of … takes over. It’s weird. The characters come to life and just start … talking in my head.

But finding the motivation, summoning the energy, THAT’S my problem.

But dad gum, I’m not getting any younger (and if writing dad gum it doesn’t indicate I’m freaking OLD, I don’t know what will).

The question is – when to write?

Personally, I like challenges. I REALLY like Nanowrimo and the spin off Camp Nanowrimo (though I’ve yet to actually participate in it because I FORGET!)

So. Let’s make some writing goals for this year. Brace yourself, they are LOFTY goals.

January: Gather Ideas for future writing projects.

February: Getting to know your characters / putting your characters in situations

March: Flash Fiction – fiction under 250 words – Prepare for 1st Writing Camp

April: Camp NaNoWriMo

May: Vacation / Breathe

June: Blog-a-thon – write/publish something every hour for 24 hours on your blog. Also, prepare for your next writing camp

July: Camp NaNoWriMo #2

August: Flash Fiction – fiction under 250 words

September: Journal a character’s life for one month

October: Prepare for NaNoWriMo

November: NaNoWriMo

December: Enjoy the holidays

Can we do it? Can I do it? I’m certainly going to try.

My office at work is literally a storage closet they “converted” into an office. It sounds terrible, but it’s really not. In fact, I love it BECAUSE it’s so isolated and quiet.

Anyway, I think I’m going to keep my laptop in my office and then after work, just work on writing. It’s away from home, quiet, of course, private and I’m not tempted to just chock the whole thing and take a nap. (Though I guess I still could do that!)

I have a writing blog. It’s old, and has old stuff on there, so I apologize in advance but I think it’ll be easier on me to have someplace to post my work other than here. Separate my fiction life from my “real” life. I know, yet another blog, *eye roll* but I’m trying to make this as easy on me as possible though I suspect it may not be easy for you.

Anyway, I’ll be posting my fiction stories on that blog.  I hope you follow along and participate if you wish!

2019 is the year of writing!

Just Write

Just Write: His Consequence Followed Him Home

I love this video for a few reasons:

  1. The dancing is outstanding. These dancers are pretty amazing – I first learned of their talent in the Slip video. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve always wanted to be a dancer – there is no way now, and quite honestly, I don’t think I was motivated enough to really pursue it when I was younger, but I admire the hell out of dancers in general – for their artistic talents, for their hard work and dedication to their art. I could (and sometimes do) watch dance videos all day long. They inspire me.
  2. What about the mood music? It’s happy, go-lucky, innocent tune when he is home and turns sinister when he’s at his destination and fooling around with his lover. If you’re in a situation where sinister music is being played in the background, you shouldn’t be in that situation.
  3. The story in this video. It’s a story about a man who crosses the line and his consequences quite literally follows him home. It may not happen right away, but it will happen and it will be ugly. Is it worth it?

So story idea – how does the wife react when she finds out his lover followed him home?

How would YOU react if your wife/husband/lover brought his/her love affair home one day?

Don’t think, just write.

Fiction Friday

Fiction Fix: Paid in Full

friday-fix

You are walking downtown when you realize you are being followed.

“And then I was like, ‘look, you can’t talk to me like that’,” Dorie snickered. “Don’t you know who I’m dating?” She rolled her eyes at her companion.

Bruno resisted the urge to roll his own eyes – dating – is that what the kids were calling sexual relations nowadays? He couldn’t keep up with the trends nowadays, he didn’t care to try. He continued his easy pace alongside the petite raven-haired beauty. He discretely scanned the streets and alleys for potential threats and absently padded the gun at his waist.

Dorie snapped her fingers and assumed a hoity-toity attitude. “I’ll just ask Simpson to fire her ass, that will show that bitch right up.” Dorie looked up at her bodyguard, her green eyes flashing with temper. “Do you think Simpson would fire her if I asked him?”

“I’m sure I wouldn’t know, Miss,” Bruno responded.

“I get so tired of people thinking they’re better than me,” she whined. “I’m just as smart as them. So I didn’t go to college, who needs an expensive piece of paper anyway ….. Ooooh, look at this gorgeous swimsuit!” Dorie practically pressed her nose up against the glass in her excitement.

Bruno sighed and stopped alongside her. “We really need to get going, Miss,” he said.

Dorie ignored him and continued drooling over the suit. “I would totally rock that suit,” she mumbled. “I bet Simpson would buy that for me if I asked him oh so sweetly,” she elbowed Bruno in the stomach and batted her lashes at him.

“Uh huh,” he responded and gently took her elbow again to redirect her back to the sidewalk.

They walked on in silence for a few moments before Dorie began to speak again.

Bruno released a long-suffering sigh.

“Do you think Simpson would ever leave his wife for me?”

He looked down at the 5’3 woman beside him. She looked up at him with hope in her large eyes.

“I couldn’t say, Miss,” Bruno flatly stated.

“I think I could love him,” she continued. “I mean, he’s rather fat and of course, old,” she wrinkled her nose in distaste, “but we have fun together, I guess.” She practically ran to keep up with Bruno’s long strides.

“Oh my God!” She suddenly stopped and Bruno hesitated. “Look at that GORGEOUS necklace! Oh, that does it, I MUST have it.” She whipped out her cell phone, hit 2 on her keypad and waited for Simpson to answer. “That would look so awesome with my emerald dress,” she tapped her foot impatiently. “Damn it, he’s not answering.” She slipped her phone back into her purse and pressed her finger to the glass once more. “And those earrings … I think I might die.” She continued to gaze lovingly at the jewelry.

Bruno lifted a brow.

“I’m tempted to go in there and ask them to just bill him,” she mumbled. “I’m sure he …” she suddenly stopped.

Her silence prompted Bruno to look down at the top of her head.

“Bruno,” she whispered. Her eyes were glued to the glass but they weren’t focused on the jewelry.  “I’m pretty sure we’re being followed.”

Bruno’s large body tensed and he straightened to his full 6’3 height. “Who?”

Dorie casually pointed at the glass. “Look at the reflection. See that mangy man across the street? The one with the black beanie and torn jeans? I saw him earlier, too. He just stands there and stares at us.”

Bruno snapped to attention and cupped her elbow in his big hand.

“No more window shopping, let’s go.” He practically dragged her down the street and toward their car at the end of the block. His eyes constantly volleyed up and down the street.

The man was no where to be seen.

They crossed the street.

“You know, I thought Simpson giving me a body guard was stupid at first,” Dorie said, her voice small and tight. “But I’m really glad you’re here, Bruno.”

They stepped back onto the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street and entered an alley.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a shortcut.”

Dorie picked up her steps. “Okay, I’m done. This is not fun anymore.” She squealed and stopped abruptly when the man who had been following them stepped out of a doorway.

“‘ello gorgeous,” the man murmured. “What a pity you must die.”

Dorie gasped when she caught sight of the blade in the man’s hands. She whipped her head around to see where Bruno had gone and opened her mouth to scream, but the man snuck up behind her, grabbed her head with one hand and sliced her throat with the other. In one swift, and clean, move, he killed her.

He carefully dragged her body into the shadows and gently laid her down.

“Well, that was easier than I thought,” he grunted. “What a pity to kill such a  pretty young thing.” He wiped the knife on his jeans and stuck it in his waistband. “All right, my job is done, I want my payment,” he said and stuck out his hand. He sniffed nervously and rapidly blinked the water from his bloodshot eyes.

Bruno stepped into view. His face was granite hard and he looked at the man in disgust. “What a waste of humanity,” he mumbled thoughtfully.

“Whatever. Give me my stash or I’ll slash your throat, too.”

Bruno lifted one eyebrow, one corner of his mouth curved up as if to form a smile but it quickly disappeared. “You want your reward, eh?”

“Quit stalling, mother fucker, pay up.” The man shifted the knife in his hand and pointed it Bruno.

Bruno sighed, shrugged, and put reached around to his back pocket. He stepped toward the man.

“Everyone is in such a hurry nowadays,” he towered over the man, who seemed to shrink before his eyes. Bruno stepped into the man’s personal space.

“Consider this payment in full,” he said quietly. He grabbed the arm that held the knife and squeezed until the man yowled in pain and dropped the knife. Bruno forced the man to his knees. He jerked on the man’s arm to straighten it out and savagely stabbed him in the vein with the syringe. He pressed the plunger and injected the drug.

The man cried out in surprise but then licked his lips in anticipation.

“Enjoy the ride,” Bruno snarled. “It’ll be your last.”

The man stumbled as Bruno let him go and fell next to the girl. He tried to sit up but fell back as the powerful drug began to take effect. He laid his head back and sighed, a stupid grin curving his lips.

Bruno reached down and took Dorie’s purse. He then stepped over the dead bodies and left the dark alleyway. He dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed a number.

“It’s done.”

Fiction Fix

The Hunt is Over

friday-fix

You are on a crowded subway platform when you see a familiar face.

 “I don’t know, this is not something I can just march right into his office and say to his face. I mean, I would like to, but you know, I sort of need a paycheck, so ….”

Beka chuckled as she carefully descended the stairs, along with about 300 other people, into the underbelly of the city. Her crossover bag softly bumped into her left hip, her right hand holding onto the railing; a fleeting thought of how many germs she was scooping up with her hand briefly penetrated her thoughts. Her mobile was pressed tightly to her ear.

“No body better steal my mobile,” she grunted out. “Remember what happened to Lizzie last week”

Lizzie was walking down the street talking to her boyfriend when some jerk literally yanked her mobile from her hand and went running.

This city sucked.

“That can’t be a ‘thing’,” her friend said. “Surely people aren’t that desperate nowadays.”

“I don’t put anything past people nowadays. If people can’t afford something, they just take it from people who can,” said Beka.

She followed the masses into the dim darkness of the subway and the crowd slowly swelled toward the train. Once you got caught in the mass, you simply had to go along with the crowd or be trampled in the process.

“I may lose you,” Beka said into her phone, “I’m waiting on the train now.” She stood on her tiptoes and peeked down the pitch black tunnel. “I don’t know why I just don’t work another 30 minutes and avoid this insane crowd,” she grumbled.

She heard a soft laugh from her friend. “I would agree we are surrounded by crazy people but it’s not exactly something I would shout out right now.” She tensed as she sensed an African-American give her a disapproving glance.

A squeak of wheels and a rush of air drew everyone’s attention to the tunnel. Expectation permeated the air as the train slowly became visible through the dark.

“Crap. It’s not my train,” Beka moaned into the phone, her voice raising a few octaves to be heard over the sudden rustling of the passengers around her. She had found, by trial and error, if she just stood her ground, people would move around her, like a stream slipping past a rock. She had first tried to maneuver out of the way when she first moved to the city, but after nearly getting knocked down by overzealous people, she now just stood her ground.

People began moving past her, a few jostled her elbow, or knocked her hard enough she had to step forward or lose her balance, as the train screamed to a stop. About 3/4 of the crowd slowly moved as one onto the train.

“I hope this doesn’t mean my train is behind schedule,” Beka yelled into the phone. “My train is usually the first to arrive, this is not a good sign.”

The noise on the platform began to dissipate as more and more passengers settled into their seats, or grabbed on to bars for support. Beka’s eyes casually ran over the faces. It never ceased to amaze her how she never saw a single person she knew. Ever. And she knew a lot of people since her job was such a high-profile position.

Her eyes glided past a group of Emo kids but then promptly boomeranged back as something caught her eye. “Helllo…” she mumbled into the phone.

“Hello to you, goof,” Beka’s friend responded back with a laugh.

Beka’s eyes widened and then narrowed as she tried to focus all of her attention on one girl in the midst of the Emo crowd. Her hair was darker and it was hard to tell what color eyes she had, especially since she was a ways away, but there was something eerily familiar about the girl.

Without knowing what she was doing, she found herself scurrying to get on the train. She just managed to slip past the closing doors. The swoosh, and soft snap, of the doors broke her trance.

“You’re not going to believe this,” Beka said, her voice shaking with nerves, “but I just got on the wrong train.”

“Are you mad?” her friend asked.

“I’m beginning to wonder,” she responded. She began excusing herself through the crowd and inched closer to the group of people she saw on the platform.

“There’s this girl,” she began, her speech slow, uncertain. “I feel like I’ve seen her before.”

“If I had a dime every time I’ve heard you say that,” her friend responded. “I swear, you pretty much know everyone in this city.’

“Not quite everyone,” Beka’s gaze remained zeroed in on the girl. After a few moments, she was close enough to hear them laughing. The girl was the center of attention and all of the people surrounding her hung on her every word.

“Hello? Hello? Beka are you …”

She lost the connection. She stuffed her mobile into her bag and continued  to study the girl in between bodies.

The back of the girl’s head is facing Beka. She began inching around people in order to see the girl’s face.

“So, when we do this, we need to be smart about it. No throwing things. No shouting obscenities … Troy, I’m looking at you.” The girl spoke softly, but with authority. Her comment prompted soft laughs around her. “We join hands. This will show solidarity in our protest. We will calmly educate anyone who will listen. Again, no aggressive confrontations.”

Beka watched from a distance. She watched her body language, her facial expressions. She listened to the tone of her voice. She was sitting down, but Beka could tell she was small, probably not more than 5’5 – her height. Her hair was pitch black and she most likely used a whole eyeliner pencil on her eyes, and yet, she reminded Beka of herself, the morning after a long night. Her hairstyle was choppy and haphazardly pulled up at the sides, most likely in an attempt to keep her neck cool.

Beka moved closer. Did she have the tell-tale mole just under her left ear? She had to know. If this was who she thought it was, all the months of planning, and looking, were finally over.

She tuned out what the others were talking about, her sole focus was on this girl. She moved closer still. The train went through a tunnel and the lights temporarily dimmed. When they came back up, she was not only by the girl, she had crouched down in order to put her face at eye level.

“I figure we have about 30 minutes to really make an impact before the police show up,” the girl continued. “Dolly, do you have the …” she paused as she sensed Beka’s presence. She lifted an eyebrow and looked at her.

Beka saw the mole and suddenly couldn’t breathe.

“Um, hello?” the girl said. Her voice was more curious than annoyed. She leaned back as Beka leaned further in to verify what she suspected. “Hey. What is your problem?” she asked.

Beka visibly swallowed and shifted her eyes from the girl’s neck to meet her eyes. They were greenish brown with flecks of gold, the same as hers.

“Hi,” Beka croaked out.

The crowd around the girl suddenly grew quiet as they acknowledged Beka’s intrusion.

Beka continued, “I think you’re my sister.”

Fiction Fix

Fiction Fix: Gotta Run

friday-fix

You are walking home from work when something hits you from behind.

Tonya waved goodbye to her fellow co-workers and walked down the steps of the courthouse. She shifted her briefcase to her right hand and caught her purse from slipping off her shoulder at the last minute. She casually smiled at Tony, the janitor, as he made his way toward the building to begin his evening shift.

She drew in a long breathe of fresh air and slowly released it. It had been a long week but she felt like she had made a dent in her mountain of research. Her boss had an important case coming up and she wanted to make sure he had everything he needed in order to present his argument.

Transferring her briefcase into her left hand, she dipped her right hand into her front skirt pocket to make sure the keycard was still there.

It was.

She allowed herself a secret smile before tossing her long reddish, brown hair out of her eyes. The wind was brisk but smelled like honeysuckle. She loved the fresh air but her feet were beginning to hurt in her three inch heels and she wished, for the thousandth time, she would just bite the bullet and buy a car.

It was only 20 minutes to her condo, but today, it felt like she had been walking for three hours. “I should have packed my sneakers,” she mumbled absently to herself.

She listened to her heels clacking on the sidewalk and thought back to her day. She usually dressed a little more casually, slacks and flats, but Connor, her boss, was scheduled to work out of his office today and she wanted to make a good impression. There was just something about him … his dark blue eyes and dirty blonde hair were simply window dressing, she sensed there was so much more behind the curtain. He had vacationed at the beach last week and he was sporting a very attractive tan. But his appeal went much deeper than his looks, there was something dangerous about him. She was usually pretty good at reading people but she couldn’t quite put her finger on Connor.

She thought he liked her. She caught him watching her at times. And though they didn’t come right out and flirt with each other, there was an underlying current of sexual tension between them. At least, she hoped she wasn’t imaging the tension between them.

She tiptoed through a muddy patch, not wanting to dirty the heels of her shoes as she continued walking. What would it be like to date someone like Connor? she thought to herself. He was active, she knew that. He routinely went wake boarding with his buddies and his physique was evidence he liked to play sports. He was nice enough but always managed to maintain arm’s distance with women, like he was being careful how much of himself he allowed people to see.

Maybe he was gay?

She lightly shook her and chuckled at the thought. No way. She had caught him, more than once, checking out various females at work. Especially Sydney. Sydney liked to wear low cut tops and then conveniently drop things in front of men – she knew they would not be able to resist sneaking a peek at her generous boobs.

No, he wasn’t gay. Then what was it about him?

A car backfired and she jumped and immediately tensed. She stopped walking to gauge her surroundings. When she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, she began walking again.

Her cell buzzed in her purse but she ignored it. It was probably her mother checking up on her. She was always worried about her, she thought she took risks, lived a dangerous lifestyle.

Tonya allowed another small smile at that thought. Her life wasn’t dangerous, it was … unpredictable.

She adjusted her purse on her shoulder then transferred her briefcase to her right hand again. She was almost home. Just another five minutes.

Without meaning to, her thoughts returned to Connor. Was he seeing anyone? She had never noticed any pictures of women in his office. He was always on his cell though but she was never able to get close enough to eavesdrop on his conversations to guess who he was speaking to. How could she get …?

She was suddenly knocked forward and she tripped a few steps, a small cry of surprise leaving her lips.

“Oh wow, I’m sorry,” a male voice rumbled into her right ear. “I totally wasn’t paying attention.”

Tonya righted herself and turned to look at the man. Her eyes widened in surprise and she could feel her cheeks flaming. Connor.

“Wha … what are you doing here?” she stammered.

“I thought I would go for a quick run, burn off some energy after work,” he replied and she noticed, for the first time, he was wearing a t-shirt, running shorts and Asics sneakers. Her eyes lingered on his muscled legs before lifting to meet his face. Her cheeks burned hotter.

“Oh well, I’m sorry,” she said.

He laughed while continuing to jog in place. “Why are you sorry? I’m the one who ran into you.”

She let slip a sheepish laugh, “because I was in your way.”

“You could never be in my way, Tonya,” he said, his voice silky smooth. He jogged ahead a little, turned around to face her and continued to jog backwards. “You live around here?”

“I do,” she replied then nodded toward a brown house with tan trim. “Right over there, in fact.”

He followed her nod and turned back to smile at her. “That’s good to know,” he said. “I’ve got to run,” he winked at his little joke. “See you at the office.”

She acknowledged his joke with a bright smile. “Yeah, see you.”

He gave her a small salute, turned around and jogged away, placing his earbuds back into his ears.

She watched his butt for quite some time before snapping out of her thoughts. She again handed off her briefcase to her other hand and absently padded her skirt pocket. She would need to turn the card over this evening.

She suddenly stopped and dropped her briefcase. She stuffed her hand into her pocket and searched around.

No keycard.

Her expression hardened and she narrowed her eyes at Connor’s disappearing figure on the horizon.

“You son of a bitch,” she hissed.

She suddenly scooped up her briefcase, reached for her house keys and ran up her driveway.

Letting herself into her house, she sprinted up to her bedroom, quickly pulled off her office attire and put on a dark t-shirt, jogging pants and sneakers. She pulled her hair back into a sloppy ponytail. She dropped to the floor, pulled out a small, dark case and popped it open. She lifted her 9 mm Glock pistol out and screwed on the silencer. She strapped the gun around her waist, jerked her t-shirt down to hide the gun and ran downstairs. She grabbed her cell phone and hit 5 for the speed dial number.

“Go,” the low voice answered.

“The keycard has been taken, I’m going after the guy,” Tonya crisply barked out. “Locate me and send backup.” She punched the number to disconnect, slipped the phone into her pocket and sprinted out the door after Connor.


Hey, if you guys want to play along, feel free. You can grab that graphic up there and leave a link to your story in the comments below. I would love to see what you do with the prompt. I plan on doing a prompt every Friday to give me a chance to exercise my creativity.

Happy writing!

Fiction Fix, Writing Stuff

Friday Fix: You Will Never Forget Me

friday-fix
Prompt: You are sitting on a park bench when someone shouts your name.

Wait, what?

Cassidy looked up from her drawing pad. The wind whistled softly across her face and blew a few strands of washed out green-dyed hair into her mouth.

“Cassie! Over here!”

She absently reached up and removed the hair from her mouth. It tasted like cream cheese. Why would her hair taste like cream cheese? She shrugged, lifted some strands in front of her eyes and studied it like she had never seen her own hair before. A tuft of hair was indeed moist. She shrugged and placed the hair back into her mouth.

“Bet you can’t catch me, Cassie!”

She straightened her back, sat bolt upright on the bench and looked around. “Don’t call me that!” She yelled into the wind.

A little girl’s laughter rang out on the cool morning breeze.

“I’m right here, Cassie! Can’t you see me?”

Cassidy shoved the drawing pad under her arm and stood up. “I said, STOP. CALLING. ME. THAT!”’ she barked out. She began to walk toward the gray and white building.

“Okay fine, Cass-i-dy,” the voice rang out, drawing her name out in sarcastic syllables. “Go inside and act like a baby. I don’t want to play with you anyway.”

Cassidy’s purposeful stride toward the house faltered. Why did that voice sound so familiar? She titled her head to one side and puckered her mouth – it was her thinking pose. She thought it made her look smart. Wait. She WAS smart. The doctors said so.

“You’re too stupid to find me anyway,” the voice taunted.

Cassidy froze. A small trickle of anger began dripping into her drug-induced awareness. “I am not stupid,” she whispered, her words being whisked away by the strong, salty breeze.

‘You ARE stupid, Cassie, even mom thought so,” the voice matured. The sound triggered a deep sadness. She could also feel a long-forgotten rage tickling her nerve endings.

Cassidy spun around. Seeing nothing, she spun around again. Her eyes turned wild and she began to hyperventilate. “Laura,” she hissed, her eyes narrowing to slits as she sought out the source of the voice.

“You think you can get rid of me?”

“I DID get rid of you,” Cassidy responded. “I buried you in Old Man Winter’s woods.”

“Are you sure about that?” the voice whispered followed by a sly chuckle.

Cassidy cocked her head again and listened more closely. She thought the sound might be coming from behind the rock wall surrounding the bird bath. She cautiously stepped forward. Doubt tickled her spine and she shivered in reaction.

“This is not real,” Cassidy whimpered, her once purposeful stride now little more than a shuffle, her confidence shattering into a million ice shards.

“Of course this is real. I will never abandon you, little sister,” the voice turned hard as granite. “I exist to torment your black soul. I will never allow you forgot what you did to me.”

Tears began to roll down Cassidy’s face, though she was unaware of her wet cheeks. “You are so mean to me, Laura. Why do you hate me so much?”

“No one can love an ugly, stupid piece of shit, like you, Cassie. No one will ever love you. Mom and dad couldn’t stand to look at you, you were such an embarrassment to them. And Josh …”

Cassidy’s body turned to stone at the mention of Josh’s name. “Shut up,” she whispered, her voice raw with anguish.

“Josh only pretended to love you so he could get closer to me. If you hadn’t walked in on us, we’d be married now, with our own brats to torment…” the voice sizzled, like acid on skin.

“Shut up … shut up … SHUT UP!” Cassidy screamed. She dropped her drawing pad and began pulling her hair. Her mind cracked then splintered apart as wave after wave of memories came crashing into the black hole of her mind she had always sheltered. She dropped to the ground and began pounding her head against the concrete.

Men in white coats came running toward her.

Laura’s laughter dissipated into Cassidy’s screams.

Each man took hold of Cassidy’s arms and dragged her up. A streak of crimson stained the ground and Cassidy’s forehead had an angry red gash slashed across it. The men half carried, half dragged her back to the gray and white building. Her screams echoed back toward the courtyard.

After several long moments, a prim and proper girl stepped from behind a tree. She pulled a small spiral notepad and pencil from her pocket and gleefully checked off a name.

“That was too easy,” she mumbled to herself. “I really thought she would be harder to break.” She happily sighed and looked around the courtyard. Even though Cassidy’s dramatic exit was loud and disruptive, the other residents continued to wander aimlessly around the area, their zombie-like steps monotonous in their slowness.

The girl frowned. Every single breath from their crazy, stupid mouths annoyed and angered her.

She tapped her lips thoughtfully, her nearly black-colored eyes scanning each individual in turn.

A slow, malicious smile spread across her thin face. “Ah Eric … there you are.” She casually strolled toward her next victim.

Daily Prompt

Prompt: It’s a Hard Life – Yes, I’m Being Sarcastic

Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.

eskimo First of all, you’re probably wondering how I came up with the word “Eskimo”. Well. Kevin and I do not sleep together. He uses a sleep apnea machine and sounds like Darth Vader, I’m a fish – I flop constantly because I can never find a comfortable spot.

If we don’t sleep together, then we actually get some sleep.

We switch off between the bed in our bedroom and the futon with an air mattress in the man cave (i.e. the screen-in back porch that Kevin enclosed and made into his office). This week, it’s Kevin’s turn on the futon. So. He’s in there stripping off blankets (because I’m hot throughout the day, but for some reason, when I go to sleep, my body temperature drops and I FREEZE – hence the multiple blankets). And he laughed and said, “What are you, Eskimo?” at about the same time I was looking at this prompt …

The picture of the woman above – the first thing I think of when I look at her is, “ugh – no teeth.” The second thing I think of is “look at those wrinkles. I bet she’s really about 30.”

I’m not trying to be snarky. When I look at her face the one word that comes to mind is “rough.”

She looks like she’s had a rough life. I bet she’s had to work tooth and nail (no pun intended) for every little thing she’s ever acquired or owned in her lifetime. I imagine her to have grown children with three or four grandchildren. I can see her getting up at 4:00 in the morning to begin her day. I bet she spends the majority of her days preparing to survive her day and upcoming night. I bet she makes all of her own breads and comes up with creative ways to cook meals given her harsh environment. I’m sure she can skin a fish faster than I can skin a banana.

And I bet she’s happy. She’s content with her life because she was conditioned to live this harsh life. She has purpose. She’s never idle. There is a reason for everything she does. Sitting down is a luxury.

But laughter comes easily for her. She is respected and she is likely more healthy than 60% of lazy Americans. She has a lot to say and a lot to contribute, but she respects her husband and allows him to make the majority of decisions.

And she doesn’t resent him for it.

I compare my life to my preconceived notions of this woman’s life and I come up short. Way short. I’m lazy and spoiled compared to this woman. I take my life luxuries for granted and though I work hard, my efforts are minuscule in comparison. I can not IMAGINE living my life in such a harsh and unforgiving environment – I like my electricity and fast food restaurants. I like my conveniences and instant entertainment.

Though I can’t imagine my life like this woman’s, I’m quite certain I COULD live my life like her, if I was forced to. I wouldn’t like it, it would be incredibly hard and a huge adjustment, but I could, and would, do it if it meant making a life for myself, or my family.

Life is about surviving, not simply existing.

Just Write, Writing Stuff

Write: For Those Writers Out There That Need to Know About the Decomp Process

I looked this information up when I wrote this short piece the other day. Then I thought, “why not share this information with other writers?” Because at some point, you need to know about dead bodies, right?

Or is it just me? 😀

By the way, word to the wise, DON’T Google images for decomp. You’re welcome.

Believe it or not, decomposition begins as soon as you die; it starts deep into the digestive system, where the intestinal flora [bacteria that live in our intestines and that are crucial for the proper functioning of the gut] begin to multiply exponentially and to feed on your internal organs, the same organs they helped protect when you were alive. This process is called autolysis and it begins as the dead body begins to cool off, a few minutes after death. The external signs of putrefaction [bloating, marbling of the skin tissue, swollen and protruding tongue, seepage of fluids from every imaginable orifice, odor of rotting meat] may start to show as soon as a few hours after death, depending greatly on the environmental factors surrounding the corpse. In general, a corpse lying out in the open and exposed to high temperatures and humidity can become completely skeletonized in as few as 10 days to a month, at the most. Areas of the body which have sustained injury or trauma decompose much more rapidly than those which are not injured. However, a corpse that’s been carefully embalmed, put into a sealed casket and interred in a place where there’s little moisture can be exhumed and still be nearly intact several months or even years after the demise.

The following is a copy/paste of an article called “The 26 Stages of Death”, the original of which is located at here.

Moment of Death:
1} The heart stops
2} The skin gets tight and grey in color
3} All the muscles relax
4} The bladder and bowels empty
5} The body’s temperature will typically drop 1.5 degrees F. per hour unless outside environment is a factor. The liver is the organ that stays warmest the longest, and this temperature is used to establish time of death if the body is found within that time frame.

After 30 minutes:
6} The skin gets purple and waxy
7} The lips, finger- and toe nails fade to a pale color or turn white as the blood leaves.
8} Blood pools at the lowest parts of the body leaving a dark purple-black stain called lividity
9} The hands and feet turn blue {because of lack of oxygenation to the tissues}
10} The eyes start to sink into the skull

After 4 hours:
11} Rigor mortis starts to set in
12} The purpling of the skin and pooling of blood continue
13} Rigor Mortis begins to tighten the muscles for about another 24 hours, then will reverse and the body will return to a limp state.
After 12 hours:
14} The body is in full rigor mortis.

After 24 hours:
15} The body is now the temperature of the surrounding environment
16} In males, the spermatozoa die.
17} The head and neck are now a greenish-blue color
18} The greenish-blue color continues to spread to the rest of the body
19} There is the strong smell of rotting meat {unless the corpse is in an extremelly frigid environment}
20} The face of the person is essentially no longer recognizable

After 3 days:
21} The gases in the body tissues form large blisters on the skin
22} The whole body begins to bloat and swell grotesquely. This process is speeded up if victim is in a hot environment, or in water
23} Fluids leak from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears and rectum and urinary opening

After 3 weeks:
24} The skin, hair, and nails are so loose they can be easily pulled off the corpse
25} The skin cracks and bursts open in many places because of the pressure of Internal gases and the breakdown of the skin itself
26} Decomposition will continue until body is nothing but skeletal remains, which can take as little as a month in hot climates and two months in cold climates. The teeth are often the only thing left, years and centuries later, because tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body. The jawbone is the densest, so that usually will also remain.

Daily Prompt, Writing Stuff

Prompt: Windshield Bug Juice

Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?

Did I tell you guys about the time Kevin nearly got ran over by an ambulance in New York City?

It was a few months after his motorcycle accident. It was July 2010. We had already booked a cruise out of New York to Canada and we weren’t sure if we would be able to go considering Kevin shattered his pelvis in April.

He had to live in a wheelchair for about 8 weeks after his accident to give his pelvis time to heal. Once the doctor’s said it was okay, he had to learn to walk all over again.

I tried to talk him out of the trip. Luckily, we had bought trip insurance and we could have gotten out of the trip if he really wanted to. He waffled back and forth on whether he could handle it and in the end, we went.

The trip was super hard on Kevin. SUPER HARD. We walked all over that city and poor Kevin hobbled along with his cane at first, but it just got to be too much for him so he switched to his walker.

You can really tell how weak and exhausted he was in this picture:

New York '10

We were riding the New York subway and it was almost more than he could handle.

I felt so sorry for him.

And the weather certainly didn’t help – New York in July?!? What were we thinking?! I think we all lost five pounds in sweat alone.

New York '10

We were only in New York a few days before catching our boat, but Kevin was exhausted after those few days and we still had another four days on a cruise boat to go!

In hindsight, we probably should have canceled the cruise. But I will say that though the trip for Kevin was super hard, it did him a world of good. He recovered by leaps and bounds after that trip. I think pushing himself really helped his body to heal faster.

But I wouldn’t want him to go through that again to test my theory.

And did I mention he didn’t complain once??

I am glad, though, that we took his walker. At least he instantly had someplace to sit when our walking just got to be too much.

New York '10

We were walking through Times Square and … I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Times Square but it’s sensory overload, on crack. There’s so much noise. So many sights to see. So many people to dodge that your eyes don’t know where to land first and it’s hard to pick out sounds because THERE ARE SO MANY SOUNDS!

We were walking across the entrance to a side street, all of our heads turned in opposite directions, when I suddenly picked up the sound of a siren. (This was before I worked at the hospital – my life on foreshadow mode). I glanced down the side street and noticed an ambulance barreling toward us.

I hurried the boys across and then noticed that Kevin was distracted and hadn’t picked up on the fact that a two-ton truck was nearly on top of him. I yelled over the noise, frantically pointing in the direction of the white blur baring down on him. He was using his walker to cross the street and when he spotted the ambulance, he stumbled/speed walked to get out of the way.

I would have laughed but I was too terrified. It’s sort of like making a joke too soon after a traumatic event – the adrenaline hasn’t had a chance to wear off – and we had just survived six weeks of hospital and rehab after his motorcycle accident – how ironic would it have been for him to recover from that harrowing experience only to be run down by an ambulance, using his walker, in Times Square?

I didn’t really “rescue” him, more like I “warned” him, but I deserve a kudos for making sure the man didn’t end up bug juice on an ambulance windshield.

Right?

Fiction Fix, Writing Stuff

Write: Girl Unclaimed

I threw the stick and watched Daisy run after it, her tongue lolling to one side, her stubby little legs pumping unrestrained excitement.

I glanced out over the water and became momentarily mesmerized by the light flirting with the small ripples from fish nibbling algae on the surface of the lake.

And then I saw it – a yellow spot among the tall, green grass gently swaying in the sweet twilight breeze. I narrowed my eyes to try and pick out the object without having to actually move closer to it. My peripheral vision blurred as I concentrated on the object that did not belong in this secluded spot. A slow feeling of dread started in my sternum and gently crept up to give my heart a warning squeeze.

Daisy dropped the stick on my sandal and I jumped – I had momentarily forgotten all about her. I bent to pick up the stick, my eyes never leaving that spot of yellow. From my lowered vantage point, my eyes focused on something new. Was that … an arm?

I quickly stood up, my breath caught behind the sudden fear in my throat.

I gripped the stick tighter in my hand and cautiously moved toward the object in the grass.

Daisy happily skipped alongside me. Her gait faltered as we got closer, her nose lifted and she suddenly growled low in her throat.

“I know, Daisy. Chillax,” I crooned in an attempt to keep her calm and not start a barrage of barking. The less noise we made the better.

I held the stick out in front of me – I guess I thought I could use it as a weapon. Though not long or sharp, it was thick enough that it might do temporary damage to a skull, or two.

My eyes never left the object, but I was keenly aware of where I was stepping. I had enough combat experience to slip back into that persona with very little effort. I had thought I had lost my edge but moving toward the target brought back a barrage of memories and I involuntarily winced as horrific images began to flicker and flit through my consciousness. Memories I had spent countless hours in therapy trying to eradicate.

My eyes narrowed as I got closer. It was definitely a body, a woman, no, a girl. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-years old. I paused to assess my surroundings. I looked out over the lake and studied the parameter. No movement. The birds continued to sing, a raccoon edged toward the far end of the lake and carelessly swiped at the water gently lapping the shore.

A soft breeze swept over the body. I crinkled my nose. Decomp – she had probably been dead for at least 24 hours.

“Damn it.” I sighed and slowly stepped back from the body. I couldn’t afford to leave any trace of myself on the body. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. I pressed 9-1 and then stopped.

Even if I called in anonymously, they would still track my cell phone down. I couldn’t afford to be found. Not yet anyway. Not after I had spent the last three years making sure every trace of my existence had been erased.

I studied the girl’s face and slowly put my phone back into my pocket.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered regretfully. My apology dissipated on the summer breeze.