Fiction Friday

It All Started With a Cough

“It started with a cough.

I don’t know where it came from but it was annoying, loud and croaky. I could control it at first, take a drink of water, suck on a throat lozenge, but I could feel it start to take hold in my lungs. It felt like a sea monster had a hold of my chest, it’s long, slimy tentacles wrapped around my body and slowly, slowly, squeezing the breath out of me.”

After about two days of this, my cough started to go away but I was having trouble taking a full breath and before long, I found myself panting like a dog just to try and fill my lungs and the simple act of walking across a room was too much and I had to sit down and recuperate before making another trek to the next room.”

I lost my sense of smell, taste, and I started feeling dizzy and disoriented, likely due to lack of oxygen. I had no idea what was happening to me but I’ve never experienced these types of symptoms before. I’m scared. I don’t know what sort of nasty cold this is but I feel different, I don’t feel myself. “

I know it sounds crazy, I feel crazy, but something, some darkness, is taking over my body. There are times I find myself doing something and not remembering how, or why, I’m doing it. There have been times I’ve been ACTIVELY trying to resist and yet, this darkness inside of me forces me to move my limbs and participate in simple activities against my will. My brain is screaming no, my body ignores me.”

That’s why I wanted to write this down. I don’t know where this is going, or why this is happening, but maybe someone will read this one day and learn from my experience. I know this sounds dramatic and I’ll probably laugh my fool head off when I read this back someday, but I feel like I’m dying. Not my body, my body doesn’t feel sick, but my mind, it’s slipping. I feel like I stepped off a cliff and I’m free falling, helplessly watching the world above me get smaller and smaller and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”

Am I dying? I don’t want to die. I want to live! I want to graduate from college, travel, fall in love, have babies – is that too much to ask? Why is this happening to me? I feel like I’m writing a suicide note and if you’re reading this, I DON’T WANT TO DIE!”

I’m tired. I don’t want to write anymore. I want to sleep and I want to wake up and feel better. But I’m scared to sleep, what if I don’t wake up? Please God, let me wake up.”

Detective Gomez lowered the note and looked at the young girl on the bed. She was small and so very thin. He guessed the girl hadn’t felt much like eating at the end and if whatever sickness she had hadn’t kill her, malnutrition would have.

“How long has she been dead, Kingsley?” Gomez said, carefully placing the note in an evidence bag.

Doctor Kingsley paused in his activities and glanced up. “I would say, judging by the rigidity, about an hour. But I can’t be sure, I need to …” he continued to rummage in his bag. “Damn it, I forgot something in my van, I’ll be right back. Don’t touch anything.”

Gomez raised a brow and watched the man shuffle out of the room.

“An hour?” he mumbled to himself as he circled the girl’s body. She was laying in the center of the bed, her legs pulled up toward her belly, her arms over her head. Her long, dark hair was splayed around her. Her face was hidden.

“What did you die from? Talk to me,” he continued to mumble while studying the girl’s clothes. And why was there dried flowers, or weeds, whatever they were, he wasn’t a horticulturist, lying next to her. Did she inhale something that killed her?

She was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, like something you would wear under a blazer, definitely something you would wear to work, and shorts. Did she get home from work and kick off her skirt or pants and change into shorts? Maybe go outside and pick the weeds?

Her skin was smooth, young, flawless. She couldn’t have been more than mid-twenties. The soles of her feet were slightly dirty as if she had indeed just come from outside.

He clasped his hands behind his back and stared at her. “Talk to me, sweetheart,” he said quietly. He knew, if he stared at her body long enough, he would begin to pick up little things, little clues, as to what happened. He knew, from experience, that dead bodies spoke, you just had to pay attention.

Continue reading “It All Started With a Cough”
Fiction Friday

FF May Writing Challenge 5-7-21

Hello writers!

Ready for a writing challenge?

Me either. (Ha!)

I thought it would be fun to start a writing challenge, exercise our creative chops and start getting in the habit of consistently writing. I’d love to write every day but you and I both know, that ain’t happenin’, so, next best thing? A weekly challenge!

You can check out the full deets here, but in essence, the challenge for this month is to write a novelette – which is a 7,500 to 19,000 word count length story. I’m personally going to write one story from four different perspectives just because I have a fascination for those types of stories and want to try one myself.

And these “rules” are just guidelines – if you want to do something different, by all means, go for it. The objective is to just write – however that looks for you.

This week’s writing prompt is:


I know, not exactly original but our lives have been so out-of-control this past year, let’s take a bit of that control back and write a story about either the pandemic we’re currently experiencing, or make up a pandemic – how are people behaving? What sort of symptoms are your characters experiencing? Whenever I have something on my mind, like this crazy pandemic, I find that it’s helpful to “purge” it from my thoughts by writing about it.

Come back on Friday, 5-7-21, and leave a link to your story. I’m looking forward to reading your work!

Fiction Friday

Fiction Fix: Paid in Full


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 Friday

[Fiction] Friday: Fantasy Leap

Ginny tapped her pen against her pad of paper. She nervously chewed on her lower lip and looked toward the clock: ten minutes before class was dismissed.

She wasn’t sure she would last another ten minutes.


“So, the author did a good job of telling us about the scene,” one overweight woman piped up, her beady black eyes sliding to Ginny with malicious intent, “but that’s the problem, she TOLD us, she didn’t SHOW us. Her description lacked imagination. I actually found myself nodding off a few times.” She looked around the classroom to search for confirmation of her opinion; her thin lips curled into a derisive grin.

Ginny thought her mouth looked like the tilde character on a keyboard. She’d never be able to use that particular key again without thinking about the obnoxious fat woman in her creative writing class.


Ginny stole a few glances herself and noticed no one was even paying attention to the woman. She felt her shoulders relax somewhat and withheld a smirk of satisfaction. Though no one had come right out and said it, she sensed that the 20 some-odd number of students couldn’t stand this particular woman. Ginny couldn’t even remember her name, quite frankly.

Shelby. Sarah. Sally. Something with an S. Or did it start with a W? Her brow furrowed as she tried to think of the name.


“I have to disagree with you,” the instructor interjected, his soft gaze staring a hole into Ginny’s downcast skull. “I thought the writer did an excellent job walking the reader down this particular path. I not only saw what was going on, I felt the girl’s uncertainty and certainly her fear.”

“Did we read the same story?” the woman snorted out with a snarky chuckle.

Ginny’s entire body tensed at the woman’s sarcasm. She suddenly had a vision of this woman crossing the street and smacking headlong into a speeding bus. Or would it be a train? The woman was so fat, a bus might not be enough to stop her.

She smirked to herself.


“Actually, I was wondering the same thing,” another girl spoke up. Ginny glanced at the girl from under her lashes. “Because the points you’re trying to make don’t even apply to this particular story. Did you even read the right story?”

*tap-tap- …*

Ginny, along with everyone else stilled. The tension was nearly palpable.

The woman spurted a nervous chuckle. “Of course I read the right story. ‘Midnight’ by Lisa Coleman.”

The entire room groaned and Ginny could have sworn she heard one guy mutter “idiot” under his breath.

“Actually, we’re supposed to be critiquing ‘Violet’ by Ginny Matthews,” the instructor said.

Ginny glanced at the woman – her face was ashen and her massive frame seemed to have shrunk within itself leaving only rolls of fatty tissue. She looked like a turtle minus its shell. It was actually quite fascinating to watch and she jotted a few notes down in her notebook to record her observations. She would use it the next time she wrote about a character’s discomfort.

“Annnd I think this would be a good place to stop,” the instructor said. The students immediately began to shuffle papers and stuff notebooks and pens back into their book bags. “Ginny. Do you want to talk about your story next time, or should we move on to the next one?”

She raised a palm and offered a shy smile. “I’m good.”

“Alright then,” the instructor said, raising his voice to be heard over the commotion. “We’ll begin with Todd’s story on Thursday. Have a great day, everyone.”

“Ginny!” a girl’s voice sounded behind her, but Ginny pretended not to hear her and scurried out of the room as fast as she could without actually running people down.

Thank God that was over. Now she could get back to her characters.

She had missed them.

She walked through the campus and back to her dorm room, her head lowered, her eyes trained on the sidewalk in front of her. She immediately shut the world out around her and turned her thoughts to her story … to Violet.

Things were heating up and she wasn’t sure where to take the story next.

She let herself into her room, threw her book bag onto her bunk and immediately booted up her laptop. She was relieved to see her roommate was already gone for the day. Lori was a peppy, outgoing girl and though Ginny liked her, she didn’t feel very comfortable around her. Lori was constantly trying to get her to do things with her and she simply didn’t want to. She was much happier immersing herself into her fantasy worlds.

Grabbing a Diet Dr. Pepper (it was all Lori kept in the fridge, she personally preferred unsweetened tea), she sat down at the desk and opened Violet’s file.

“Hey, it’s about time you showed up,” a voice beckoned her and Ginny smiled and began to relax for the first time since leaving her room that morning.

“I’m so glad that’s over,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe what that fat witch did today.”

“Oh?” Violet stretched out onto the love seat beside her. “Do tell.”

“She had nothing but stupid things to say, as usual,” Ginny smirked. “But get this, she was ripping the wrong story to shreds!”

Violet burst out laughing and Ginny followed suit.

“What a dork,” Violet said and Ginny nodded her agreement.

A few moments slid by while the girls surrendered to their amusement.

“So, what am I doing today?” Violet asked and stood up.

“I’m thinking a little romance,” Ginny said, her eyes trained on the screen in front of her.

“Oooh, I like that,” Violet said.

“Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“To get back into the story?” Ginny said, turning to face her beloved character.

“But I like it out here,” Violet whined.

“Oh trust me, this world,” she gestured to her laptop, “is much, MUCH better.”

Violet studied her creator for long moments before nodding. “Fine. I’ll go. But you have to come with me.”


“Come with,” said Violet with a charming smile.

“I can’t go with you,” Ginny sputtered with a nervous laugh.

“Why not?”

“Because … that’s not possible. It’s crazy.”

Violet gave her a snicker. “And talking to me isn’t crazy?”

“Well,” she swallowed before answering, “no.”

“You’ve been manipulating me for weeks now,” Violet said. “I think it’s time you stepped into the world you created and experience it first hand.”

“But ..” Ginny swallowed the basketball-sized lump in her throat and felt her chest begin to heat up. “What if I can’t get back?”

“You said yourself, it’s MUCH better in there. Why would you want to come back?”

Ginny opened her mouth to reply and then promptly shut it. Why indeed.

Violet gave a toss of her long, raven black hair before dissipating before Ginny’s eyes. “Last one in is a rotten egg!” And with that, she disappeared.

Ginny’s gaze shifted from the space where Violet had been moments before to the laptop in front of her.

A drop of sweat trickled down between her breasts.

Could she?

Should she?

“I’m waiting,” Violet’s voice came from the screen.

She ran a hand through her short, spiky hair and looked around the room. What exactly was she leaving behind anyway? No one ever paid attention to her. She didn’t have any friends, other than Violet. Who would miss her?

Ginny closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped …


Fiction Friday

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for June 19th, 2009:

Include this line in your story…(your character) closed his/her eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped