Writing Prompt

Loser

(Left at the altar, you decide to seek revenge on your ex.)

Nan waited in the foyer, dressed like a princess ready for her coronation. Her flowers, deep red roses, made her white dress even whiter. But as she waited, her hand clutching her father’s arm, her face whitened by degrees as she began to understand that she was not going to be married that day.

As she crumpled against her father, his arms tightened around her, holding her up. Floods of tears ruined her makeup, but it didn’t matter. She watched as her bridesmaids, confused and tearful, consulted each other and the groomsmen. No one seemed to have any answers. The murmuring of the guests began to rise in volume, until the preacher spoke to quiet them. He walked the aisle to meet the bride and her father. After a quick consultation, he went back to his place on the platform.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very sad and disappointed to announce that there will be no ceremony today. Our bride has asked that you enjoy visiting with each other in the reception room, where there is food waiting. We don’t want it to be wasted. Please give the family privacy today and in the coming days while they sort out what has–or has not–happened here today. Thank you.”

_________________________

In her bedroom, Nan was mute and motionless. She played a video over and over in her mind, looking at every scene of her relationship with Adam from the very first time they met until the disaster of the wedding that didn’t happen. Her dress was stored away in her closet. Her flowers, over time, faded and died. She wanted to die with them. Never, ever had she felt so alone, abandoned, deserted. For it to happen at the crowning event of her life was unbearable.

Time, however, does help someone who is grieving to gain a different perspective. Nan went from hopelessness to determination and back again, circling around in her grief. Anger, denial, bitterness, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance. It was a long process, but bit by bit she began to piece her life back together. Her closest friends stayed in touch but gave her time and space. Her parents dealt with the shambles of an un-wedding.

_____________________________

Nan went back to work. She remained quiet, responding when she had to, until finally her boss called her into his office. She admired and respected him, an honest businessman who showed concern for all his employees.

“Nan, you know how sorry I am about your wedding. I know it will be some time yet before you feel ready to take on the world again. I just have one question for you: Are you going to let Adam’s lack of character control the rest of your life? If you do, he has won. You need to think about that.”

And she did. She hated hearing it, but she recognized the truth. Adam was controlling her thinking, her emotions, her behavior. For a long time, she had hoped to find a way to hurt him for hurting her, but she could never come up with anything good enough to take away her pain. Now, however, as she considered what her boss had said, she realized that her best revenge was to forgive him.

“Forgive? That means he gets away with it,” whispered a little voice in her head.

“He won’t ‘get away with it’ if I can begin to forgive him, and let it all go,” thought Nan. “Not if I can show him and myself that I am just fine without him; that what he did has made me stronger, not weaker.”

So she plucked up her courage and began to put her life back together. She socialized with friends, enjoyed physical activity that made her body strong, renewed her interests in things outside her working day.

Inevitably, the day came. There she was on the sidewalk, chatting with friends, walking past shops and stopping now and then to admire window displays, when it happened. Adam, his arm draped over the shoulders of an attractive young woman, came from the opposite direction. Nan saw him, stepped out in front of him, and enjoyed watching his face go pale as he approached.

“Adam! Hey, it’s been over a year since I saw you! I hope you’re doing well. And I want you to know that I forgive you, and that I’m doing just fine.” She gave him a megawatt smile and stepped out of his path.

She heard the girl at his side say, “Forgives you for what? What did she mean? ADAM!”


Giving Myself an Assignment :)

I’ve hit a serious dry spell. I need to get the creative juices flowing, and wouldn’t you know that as I was thinking about it, an invitation to look at 500 writing prompts to help beat writer’s block showed up in my email. How did they know? Well, what DON’T they know these days? Nothing is really private, folks, so be careful, little tongue, what you say. Especially if you have an Alexa, as I do, or some other gadget that can rat you out. Big Brother has become an e-reality.

Anyway, I won’t promise something every single day, like Sunday will probably be a day off. There are several categories, so this is the first prompt from the first category: Mystery and Thriller.

(You find strange, muddy footprints leading up to your front door.)

Who’s There??

Darla struggled with her bags, purse, and keys. She tried to arrange things so that she could put her key into the lock on her front door without dropping everything. Just one of the problems you learn to solve when you live alone–especially when it’s raining like the biblical Flood, and you don’t want to make a second trip.

She splashed up the sidewalk from the curb, not paying attention to much beyond getting inside where it was warm and dry. Glancing down, she noticed footprints that seemed to come from around the side of the house. Big, mucky, sloppy footprints. Up her steps. But NOT back down. What? Who–where on earth–

Footprint on wet street

She stood stock still, realizing that the only place those footsteps could go was inside her little house. The door was shut tight. There was no clear damage. No broken windows.

Her heart started ramping up, her fingers holding the keys shaking and her stomach churning. “Someone is inside. Waiting for me. Can’t go in there. What. . . .I know!”

She turned around and unlocked her car, dumping everything into the back seat. She rummaged for her phone, pulled it out of her purse, and with shaking fingers managed to punch in 9-1-1. As it rang, a shadow covered her window.

Terrified, Darla punched the door locks. She couldn’t tell if whatever was out there was friend or foe, and she was afraid to look.

Whoever it was, the person started banging on her window, yelling. She refused to put the window down. The yelling continued, and finally there was a response on her 9-1-1 call.

“HELP! I need help! There’s a large person banging on my car window! Yelling! I saw big, muddy footprints going up the steps to my front door, but not back down. Please help me!”

“Ma’am, I’ve put in a call to the police. Someone should be there in just a short time. Do NOT open your window!”
“But I didn’t give you my address! How do you know where to send the police?”

“Your phone has a GPS that pinpoints your location, Ma’am. Can you start your car and move away from the person at your window?”

“Yes, sure! But don’t I have to be here when the police arrive? Whoever is out there isn’t going to stand around and wait!”

Darla worked hard to keep from hysterics. The banging and yelling hadn’t stopped, and she was certain her window would be broken soon. She touched her brakes and her ignition button. There was no one parked in front of her, so she pulled forward and to her left, giving the car a little gas before she took off, checking that there were no cars coming up behind her.

Whoever it was out there, he (it had to be a “he,” or an unusually large woman!) grabbed her side mirror as she pulled away. She was sure he would break it off! She kept going, though, determined to escape.

She heard the CRACK! as the side window was broken off her car, and then she heard an ominous THUD! She glanced into her rear vision mirror and saw a heap on the ground, but nothing else. And then, to her immense relief, a police car careened around a corner and pulled up beside her. An office put his window down. Before he could speak, she was talking.

“I’m so glad to see you! I made the call to 9-1-1! Footprints to my door, but not back down the stairs. Big–something–pounding on my car, he broke off the side mirror. . . . “

“Okay, Ma’am. We see what could be a man on the ground behind your car. Did you hit him?”

“What? NO! I was trying to drive away, and he grabbed my mirror, broke it off. . .I told you. . .”

“All right. Please stay in the car and wait for us to see what’s going on.” The officers stepped out of their car, pulled their weapons, and carefully approached the heap on the ground. It didn’t move, and was throughly soaked by the rain. One officer place his foot carefully on what he assumed was a shoulder, but there was no response. Squatting, he rolled the man over, felt for his pulse. “Call an ambulance! He’s alive, but his pulse is slow, hard to detect. Skin very white, blue lips. We could have a heart attack here.”

As the second officer placed the call and did what he could to make the man comfortable, the first officer motioned for Darla to lower her window. His hat dripped all over the car and on her, too.

“Ma’am, it’s hard to tell until the medics get a look at him, but I kind of think this man was looking for some help. There’s something wrong with him.”

As he spoke, Darla had an adrenaline reaction, finally dissolving into tears, shaking like a leaf from top to toe. “You mean–do you mean. . . .to say. . . .he could b-be dying? and I w-was too afraid to help h-him?”

“Ma’am, under the circumstances, you can’t blame yourself. You weren’t wrong to be afraid. We still need to figure out the footprints. Are you sure they didn’t come back down the steps?”

By this time, the ambulance had arrived, and there was a great fuss as the man was loaded onto a gurney. As they wheeled him away, the second office saw his feet. Very big feet, covered in rubber boots that were caked with mud.

He told his partner about the muddy boots, and again the first officer told Darla to wait in her car. The two policemen walked up the sidewalk, saw the prints coming around from the side of the house, up the stairs–and then followed them as they stepped in the exact same prints they had made climbing up the stairs. The print wavered in the grass, back around the side of the house. The man was dragging his feet, leaving ruts. It looked as if he’d stopped, turned around, and then made his way down to Darla’s car.

Describing what they thought had happened, they tried to reassure Darla that she was not to blame, could not be expected to notice the detail they had seen, persuaded her that she had every reason to be afraid, and that she had done the right thing.

_________________

The next day, Darla called in asking for a personal day at work. She was still tearful, and hadn’t had a very restful night. At least, though, she knew what had happened. Her neighbor from three houses down felt sick, tried to find someone at home to help him, and the rest of the story told itself.

Darla picked up a bouquet, drove to the hospital, and took the elevator up to the second floor. She was looking for his room number when a tall, hefty man came walking toward her. He was connected by his IV to a rolling cart, and had an oxygen tube in his nose.

“Mr. Carter! Oh, Mr. Carter, how can I ever tell you how sorry I am! I didn’t recognize you, I thought–I thought—“

“Darla, I understand. You had every reason to be afraid. Best thing you did was call 9-1-1. I don’t know how this would have turned out if you hadn’t.”

“So, what happened to you? Are you going to be okay?”

“Of course. My old ticker was just letting me know there was trouble. I’ll be fine. My son is coming tomorrow to take me home. . . . .say, have I ever introduced you to my son?” he said, beaming.


Memories

Somehow, today’s Friday Fictioneers story got posted on my Bible Study page. I’ve reblogged it to its appropriate place, but decided to leave it there as well. We need to remember. We like to say, “Never Again!” But it could happen again. The hearts of mankind don’t change from one generation to the next.

Linda's Bible Study

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Shlomo, bent and frail, watched as busloads of tourists filed under the Arbeit Macht Frei gateway. Loaded with water bottles–which made Shlomo smile –and cameras, they gazed with intense curiosity, as if they expected to see ghosts. Most became very quiet.

There wasn’t even any birdsong, as if nature itself revered the spirits of those who had suffered there.

Shlomo, aided by a grandson on each side, walked away from the tourists toward the barracks that he knew best. Wordless, he and his grandsons stood and gazed into the interior.

Wordless, they walked away.

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Sunday Morning Coffee: A Memory

Here’s a memory you may enjoy reading.

Linda's Bible Study

It’s snowing heavily. Wasn’t supposed to start until sometime after five tonight. Watching the big, fat flakes drift down has triggered a memory. I may have written this one before, don’t remember. So here goes.

We lived in southern Minnesota. I was 17, a senior in high school. My little brother, John, was three.

Mom had suffered severe problems for a long time with issues that finally led to her having surgery, a complete hysterectomy including her ovaries, which put her into medical menopause. It was March, when the area we lived in often got the worst blizzards of the winter. Dad had driven from St. James to the hospital in Madelia, a 15-mile trip, to spend some time with Mom. Johnny and I hunkered down for the day, played some games, read some of his favorite stories, and generally just relaxed.

I decided to make a big pot of…

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The Box

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Keeping their distance, Zing and Zang circled the box. “What do you think it is?” questioned Zang.

“How should I know?” Zing was irritated,

“What should we do?”

“Why do I always have to have the answers? I don’t know! What do you think?”

“Uh–I don’t think we should touch it.”

“Duh, Bright Boy! I’m sending images to Zirkon’s headquarters. They’ll direct us.”

Suddenly, the message came to them both: “Under NO circumstances are you to touch that box. Return home RIGHT NOW!”


Image result for cute aliens

Hope

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

No one was at the marina except for those who lived on their boats. They were few. It was quiet. No radios blaring, no children shrieking and splashing.

Old Pete stood at his living room window, his arm pulling Etta, his wife of 50 years, into his embrace.

“When will it be over?” Etta said.

“Don’t know. It’ll be over when it’s over,” Pete replied.

“I miss everyone.”

“Yup. But there’s hope.”

“Hope? Where? You’ve always been a cockeyed optimist!”

“Not optimism. God’s promise. Don’t you see the rainbow?”

Etta sighed, leaning in. “Yes. Thanks, Pete.”

Shooting Star

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Meredith snagged the lead role–Eliza– in her senior class play. Pygmalion! The whole cast was excited, looking forward to rehearsals, costumes, and, they hoped, crowds of people.

Meredith memorized tons of lines. A poor Cockney girl, Eliza became the subject of an experiment to change her into a lady of society who would fool all the members of the Ton. And she succeeded. At least, her instructor, Henry Higgins, succeeded.

Ultimately, she belonged nowhere. Her success in society was like a meteor flying across the heavens and disappearing.

Meredith considered her success as Eliza’s. Temporary.

Note: For those who may not know, Pygmalion was George Bernard Shaw’s play that was later to become the basis for the popular film My Fair Lady.

Pygmalion was a Greek mythological god who fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The play has Henry Higgins “sculpting” Eliza into his own creation, but then Eliza falls in love with him, and there in lay the dilemma. The musical version has a happier ending 🙂

New Life

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Cassie’s eyes, the same blue as the icy water below, sparkled with excitement. It was her first solo mission in her beloved Cessna 172! The weather was perfect, with no strong winds or ominous clouds. Alone in her little four-seater, she would return with precious cargo.

Five hundred miles north, Amka cradled her sleeping newborn. They had named her Uki, Survivor. Premature, she needed special care for her under-developed lungs. Cassie was their only hope.

The village listened for the plane’s engine. Reports from the radio shack encouraged them.

All for the life of one tiny baby.

______________________________________

I have to apologize. I just didn’t get to read everyone’s stories last week. Usually I read every single one, but for some reason I’m having trouble focusing on my usual routine. I don’t think I can blame it on jet lag any more 🙂 Maybe I’m just homesick for my kids and grandkids, and I really do love it in England. Anyway, I promise to try to do better this week.

Home!

My final post on our anniversary trip to England. You can find the rest athttps://lindasbiblestudy.wordpress.com if you’re interested.

Linda's Bible Study

There really is no place like home.

Our flights were problem-free. We had wheelchair help arranged at each place, from check-in to baggage. What a wonderful help that was. You get taken to the front of the line, and everyone seems to be perfectly okay with that. All our helpers were polite, kind, and efficient.

It’s very hot here in our corner of PA. Supposed to be record-setting highs tomorrow, up to 100. Ugh. I’m missing the cool mornings and evenings near Oxford. We had wonderful weather the whole time we were there. This heat saps my energy. I’m looking around at all that needs to be done, and I don’t want to do any of it! We do have central air, which is a huge blessing, but there’s just something about the atmosphere that changes with that kind of heat.

I was just looking through Dan’s pictures, and this…

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Sunday Through Wednesday Morning

Linda's Bible Study

We left home around 10:30 on Sunday morning.I had arranged with the airline to have transport (wheelchair) for both of us, because neither of us is good at walking a distance these day. The escorts who pushed our chairs were wonderful. They were kind, helpful, and completely pleasant. They took us right to the front of every line, and no one was upset or unhappy with that. We breezed right through TSA, and then they wheeled us through to our gate. It’s the first time I’d ever experienced that service, and it sure saved us time and a lot of pain not to have to walk all that way.

Our escorts left us in the seats designated for the handicapped, and told us they would return to help us board. Again, we were taken to the head of the line and right to our seats on our first flight.

When…

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