Dance With Me?

Writing Prompts: Romance

(You got ditched at the last minute before prom – who will your date be?)

Sharee was frozen in disbelief. She had spent time on the perfect hairdo, the perfect makeup, the perfect dress and shoes. She knew she looked really good, and she’d been excited for this, her first prom ever, with her friend Brandon at her side. Not a boyfriend. Just her date for that night, a guy she enjoyed.

all dressed up prom dresses off 79% - medpharmres.com

She had though he enjoyed her, too.

When the phone rang, someone picked it up downstairs. A few minutes later, her mom came to her room, tapped once, then opened the door. “Sharee, honey, that was Brandon. He–uh–isn’t going to make it tonight.”

“WHAT? Why? Did he say why?” Tears threatened to spill down her cheeks, wrecking her perfect makeup. She blotted them with a tissue before they could spot her pretty dress.

“No. He just said to say sorry, but he couldn’t make it. You going to be okay? What are you going to do?”

Sharee took a few minutes to process the news. All dressed up and no place to go? Oh, no! Her temper began to rise, and her mom recognized the familiar glint in her eyes as determination. Sharee had always been a very determined girl. Her mom thought it was terrific.

“I’m going to prom, Mom. I’m not going to waste the money we spent for this night. I’ll go alone. Brandon is missing out! Can you let me have the car tonight?”

“Yes, that should be no problem. Are you going out afterward?”

“Probably not. Usually it’s just couples who do that. I’ll have my cell. I’ll call if anything changes.”

Giving her mom a quick hug, she grabbed her small purse and a wrap, went down the stairs like a queen, took the car keys from their hook. She opened the garage door, slid into the car, started the engine, and backed out. Closing the door, she did a Y turn in the driveway and headed out onto the street.

Her stomach was clutching. Going to prom alone was cool for guys, but not for girls. Most girls would find a group to join rather than going alone, but it was too late for that. Well, Sharee was used to making her own choices, and this was no different. It could turn out to be an interesting night,

Arriving at the school parking lot, she backed into a space. She grabbed her purse and shawl, dropping the keys into her little bag. With her shawl loosely draped, she walked steadily to the entrance, holding her head high. She stopped at the welcome table, accepted the stamp on her hand. When the girl asked her, “Where’s your date?” she said, “He couldn’t come. Something came up at the last minute.”

Not waiting for a reaction, Sharee continued into the gym. The committee had done a wonderful job. It certainly didn’t have any resemblance to the gym that housed basketball games, with sweaty players and screaming fans. The music was good, too, and Sharee’s feet itched to dance.

She stood quietly off to one side, looking over the groups not dancing, and finally spotted a group that was just guys, no girls. Taking a deep breath, she approached them as if she owned the place. Digging down for her best smile, she said, “Hi, guys. Would any of you care to dance with me?”

There was dead silence for about three heartbeats. Then a boy she recognized as a quiet, studious kid in her study hall stepped forward. “I’d be happy to dance with you. Sharee, right? I think we’re in the same study hall. I’m Lucas. Shall we?” He held out his hand, and she put her own hand in his.

It turned out to be a wonderful night, after all.

The Package

Writing Prompts: Mystery and Thriller

(A stranger sits down next to you on a train and gets up, leaving a package behind. Do you investigate the package?)

————————-

The man had been reserved, but polite. They exchanged the usual inanities about the weather (hot) and the economy (lousy). Once they had observed the courtesies, they lapsed into silence.

Is Amtrak Business Class Worth the Upgrade on the Pacific Surfliner Train?  | La Jolla Mom

He left the train three stops later, and it wasn’t until they had started moving again that Mimi noticed the package under his seat. Curious as always, she bent to pull it out. As she did, the big feet of the conductor paused at her seat. “Help you with something, Miss?”

“Uh, no, I’m–I dropped something. I have it. Thanks!”

Now, why had she done that? Should have given it to the conductor and been done with it, but no, Curiousity always won out. Mimi loved a good mystery.

She turned the small but heavy box around, then flipped it over to look at the back. She took a quick breath when she saw the message printed in red:

“If you open this, it will become your problem!”

She dropped it as if it were a snake! It landed back on the floor, and Mimi pushed it back under the seat with her foot. She glanced around, The train was nearly empty, and she was sure no one had seen her.

Her curiosity nagged at her while she waited through three more stops. Finally, she could walk away from that terrible package and forget about it!

Mimi gathered her purse and her briefcase, adjusted her scarf, and was on her feet before the train had come to a full stop. She usually enjoyed this ride through the countryside, especially in the fall, but not this time. Her nerves were all wide awake.

She stepped off the train into a solid wall. A pair of hands grabbed her arms to steady her. A very handsome young man, whose chest had been that wall, was watching her carefully. He said, “I’m so sorry. I was hurrying and not watching.” He lowered his voice, pulling her close, and spoke into her ear. “Did you pick it up? Do you have it?”

“WHAT? Wha–why–who–who ARE you?”

“You don’t need to know. Do you have the package?

“No! What pack–” The man shook her lightly, once, pulling her away from the train as people began to board.

“Let me go! You have no right!”

“Look, lady, just give me the package and we’ll pretend we never met,” he said, in a pleasant tone. His eyes, however, were not pleasant. And he was still holding her arms.

“I can’t! I-I–put it back under the seat! I was afraid!” Mimi blurted, embarrassed and more terrified by the minute.

“You didn’t! We were sure you wouldn’t be able to resist opening it. We thought–well, we guessed wrong. Okay, look, you’re coming with me. We need to get that package!” And he dropped one of her arms, but held firmly to the other, dragging her along as he fast-walked back to the train.

Just as the door was closing, and the conductor waved them away, he saw two men watching them. He shoved Mimi in front of him and turned them both around, looking for cover. He dragged Mimi into a crowd of people coming off another train and followed the pack toward the depot. By this time, Mimi was panting, trying not to cry, both angry and terrified.

“I’m Mark,” he whispered in her ear. “You can trust me. Just go along, and I’ll get you to safety as soon as I can.”

“But–“

“No buts! Now move!” He dodged into the small depot, quickly crossing to the exit. He glanced out the nearest window, spotted their tail, and turned instead to the restrooms.


“Noooo! I’m not going in there!” cried Mimi. But she couldn’t resist his shove.

“If you want to get out of here with a whole skin, you’re going to have to trust me. Those guys believe you have the package, or that you gave it to me. We have to hurry. Do exactly as I say, no questions. I’ll explain when we can find a safe hiding place.”

She had no choice, really. She did what he said, amazed at his ingenuity. She thought maybe they’d pull it off and get out of there safely.

Or not.

Sproing!

Writing Prompts: Children’s Stories

(Your dog begins speaking in a human voice one morning.)

They named him Sproing because it’s what he did. Besides, he was born in the spring, and he was a Springer Spaniel. So. Sproing!

Young Springer Spaniel Jumping for Joy with Flying Ears Stock Photo - Image  of funny, excitement: 143850656

Jilly wanted to name him Joy, but Billy put his foot own. “That ain’t no name for a dog, ‘specially a boy dog!” So, Sproing it was.

He was, indeed, full of joy, that dog. He loved life. He loved his people. He loved everybody, really. He’d have made a lousy guard dog.

His kisses were sloppy, but Jilly and Billy (yes, they were twins) didn’t mind.

Every day with Sproing with a good day.

Until the morning Billy opened his eyes because–dog breath. Right in his face. Sproing stood spraddled over him, his wet nose touching Billy’s. Sproing said, “You plannin’ on gettin’ up sometime today?”

Billy squinched his eyes shut, shook his head, reached out to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. Sproing was there. “Billy? You okay, man?”

“Wha–how–when–Hey! Dogs can’t TALK!”

“Huh! Well, I’ve always wondered if I were really a dog!”

“Nope!” declared Billy. “Not happenin.’ No talking dogs!”

Sproing grinned. “You wanna go ask Jilly?”

“Don’t GRIN at me, you mutt!”

Sproing took Billy’s pajama collar between his teeth, pulled him off the bed, and trotted down the hall to Jilly’s room. The door was partly opened. Sproing nudged Billy into the room where Jilly sat on the edge of her bed, looking gob-smacked.

“Jilly? You awake?”

“BILLY! Did he–um–TALK to you?”

“Yeah. You?”

“Uhuh.” Jilly nodded her head. Sproing jumped up on the bed, sticking his nose under Jilly’s arm. Pushing through, he licked her chin and she scritched his ears.

“What’ll we do?”asked Jilly. “Mom and Dad will never believe it.”

“They’ll have ta believe it when they hear it. C’mon. Time for breakfast.”

They trotted down the stairs, thundered into the kitchen. Sproing whined and jumped, begging for a piece of bacon. He snapped it up, went to his food bowl and gobbled down his breakfast. He never said a word. Of course he didn’t.

Billy and Jilly looked at each other, mirror images except her hair was long, curls bouncing off her shoulders. She raised her eyebrows, he shook his head. Mom laughed, watching them. “What are you two talking about?”

“Nothin,'” (Billy). “Right. Nothing,” (Jilly). Finishing their eggs, they took their dishes to the sink, pushed in their chairs. “Okay if we go outside?” asked Billy.

“Of course,” answered Mom. “Take Sproing, okay?”

“As if,” thought Billy. Sproing always went out with them.

Once out of earshot, the twins, hands on hips, glared at Sproing. He sat, tail curled around his feet, and grinned back at them. “What? You guys have something’ to say to me?”

“Why didn’t you talk to Mom? Why didn’t you say somethin’ while we ate?”

“Billy, grown-ups can’t hear us dogs. We all talk, but just to kids. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of all time. No grown-up even remembers dogs talking when they were kids. It’s like they have brain-freeze. They can’t see the fun stuff any more.”

“So–you mean we have to keep it secret? They won’t believe us?” (Jilly)

Sproing’s ears quirked. “Rrrrr-OWF!” he barked. The twins turned to see what he was seeing, and they saw the neighbor lady, Mom’s friend, coming across the yard. “Hey, guys! What’re you up to?” she greeted them.

“Uhhh, nothin.’ Just standin’ here talking’ to Sproing.” Neighbor Lady laughed. “And I’m sure he answers you, doesn’t he?” Laughing again, she walked up to the front door, waved at them, and entered when Mom opened the door.

Sproing grinned. “Told you,” he said.

Writing Prompt: Fantasy and Paranormal

(A mysterious creature speaks to you in your dreams and tells you that when you awake, you will have the ability to see into another realm.)

Note: I have to admit, this is way out of my comfort zone. I’ve read very little of this type of fiction, and just never found it to my taste. However, deep breath, here I go!

Another Realm

Always a restless sleeper, Livvie was used to strange dreams that disturbed her rest. Her earliest dreams were horrifying, with chases in which she could not run, formless creatures pursuing her in the dark, and the thump-thump-thump of the feet that followed her.

But this? This was new! And entirely too real. A shapeless form, an ethereal voice, neither male nor female, jerked her out of a dreamless state into cold, dark reality.

“Livvie! Wake up! There is a message for you, and you must heed it! You will fall back to sleep, and it will be a sound, restful sleep. When you wake, you will be able to see a different realm than your own. You will live normally, in your own realm, but you will see that you and your kind are not the only inhabitants of the air.”

“But–what–WHY? Really? Oh this is only another of my nightmares! I don’t want to ‘see another realm’–I just want to sleep. . . . leave me alone. . . .”

“Livvie! You will remember! You will see! What you do with your new ability is up to you. Use it wisely.” And the form vanished, leaving no trace. Livvie plopped back down on her bed, her head pillowed deeply, and found sleep.

She woke with a jerk, the memory of her vision crystal clear. She was afraid to open her eyes. She peeped out from under her blankets. Ah, what a relief–nothing had changed. Her room was the same, her bed the same. Her mother’s voice, too, was the same.

“OLIVia! You’re going to be late for your new job! Up and at’em, girl, or I’ll come up there!”

Livvie sighed, wondering if her mother would ever, ever let her not be a child. She needed to find her own place!

Her morning routine under way, Livvie stood in front of her bathroom mirror, blowing her hair to reduce the curls and make it manageable. Her hair had plagued her from childhood. At least, over time, she had learned what to do to smooth it down and tame it. Everyone told her it was gorgeous, but she hated it. The only good thing she could see about it was that it grew fast, thick and strong. And with the right product, it was glossy. Not quite red, not quite brown, but somewhere in between, she fussed with it more than with her makeup or her outfit for the day.

Realizing that her mind had wandered, she looked back in the mirror and saw, with sudden panic, that it had shifted into a panorama straight out of a fairy tale–and she was in it! Only she was dressed in an outlandish set of clothing she never would have worn in her real life. A gown (who wore gowns?) of deep purple shimmering to royal blue and back again, draped her from shoulder to ankle. Her shoes were heeled slippers of silver. Glittering jewelry dripped from her ears, neck, and hands; there were jewels in her hair! How did they stay anchored? Surely they would fall out!

At first glance, she was alone in a vast area of lush green parkland. Tall, multi-colored (!) leafy trees shaded her from an orange (orange?) sun. Pink clouds (pink?) scudded across a lavender (really!) sky.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees Look Too Beautiful to Be Real (But They Are!) |  Better Homes & Gardens

“Good grief!” muttered Livvie. This was ridiculous!

Looking around, she realized she was not truly alone, but that she was followed by a Cinderella coach, pulled by silvery horses; there were gentlemen and ladies dressed in finery similar to her own, just with fewer glitters and bangles. They sat their horses as if they’d been born to it, all waiting, it seemed, for her to decide where they were going.

On closer inspection, Livvie found to her horror that none of the people she saw had faces! Shocked, she touched her own and found eyes, nose, mouth just where they should be.

The voice from last night spoke. “You will need to give them faces, Livvie. Imagine them, and they will appear.”

Livvie sighed. This was going to be a long, strange day.

Discover Prompts, Day 11: Bite

Oddly, my mind just went blank.

Maybe that’s because there are so MANY directions one could take for this one-word prompt.

Let’s see. How about a bite of fiction?

**********************

Peanut butter and jelly. The ultimate American sandwich champion. For kids, at least.

Lizzy watched her ten-year-old champion eater take a huge bite of his sandwich. Grape jelly, always. Leaving a circle around his mouth, always. Which he swiped at with his arm, always. Topped off with a milk mustache, always, as he ran out the door to continue his important project of the moment. He’d be back inside within an hour, looking for cookies or an apple or whatever he could wheedle out of her. Always hungry, always on the move.

She loved him more than she had ever understood a mother could love her child.

Taking her after-lunch tea into her living room, she curled up in her reading corner. Taking a bite of her own sandwich, a much smaller bite than Jeffie would have taken, she relished the combination of salt-and-sweet. Her husband teased her about still loving her favorite childhood sandwich, but it didn’t bother her. He never turned down a pb&j, either.

Her book open on her lap, Lizzie let her mind drift to five years earlier, when Jeffie didn’t want anything at all to eat. He would pick listlessly at every tempting morsel she could create. One bite, maybe, but no more.

He was pale, losing weight, and had no energy. Finally, they took him to his pediatrician, who dropped terror into Lizzie’s heart when he referred them to a pediatric oncologist.

Lizzie didn’t dwell very long on the next couple of years. Tubes, needles, surgery, fear, cold sweat, sleepless nights, terror-driven trips to the ER. The feeding tube was unbearable to her. How she longed to see him take a huge bite of his messy sandwich, wiping the residue on his sleeve. She swore that if he survived this monster, she would never fuss at him again for wiping the jelly on his sleeve.

Children Patient Closing His Face In Hospital Bed Stock Photo ...

He did survive. He was a tough little kid, even at only five years old. He was eight before he really started to return to normal. Now, at ten, he was unstoppable. It was glorious!

And she never, ever scolded him again for wiping that last bite of pb&j off his mouth onto his sleeve.