Cruising Through the Galaxy on an 846.37

WRITE NOW PROMPT FOR JULY 9, 2013

He sat behind what he assumed to be the steering wheel, stared at all the buttons and lights and wondered what to do next.

He sat behind what he assumed to be the steering wheel, stared at all the buttons and lights and wondered what to do next. He’d never stolen a 846.37 before. The rod he’d taken to be the steering apparatus was responsive to his touch. The Pod swerved, sped up and slowed in accordance with the intensity of his grip and the direction intended; in fact, he’d never managed to control anything so perfectly before. He grinned, enjoying the feeling of effortless success. He took a left off G-121 onto a connector road. This baby’s meant for more than galactic hinghways. Little chunks of asteroid seemed to be of no consequence to the 846, so he barreled on like a Kyfta, banking and speeding alternately. Just as the thrill was beginning to plateau though, a red light started blinking; and not any red light – an important one in the middle of the dash. Uh-oh. “The vehicle is now in manual operation mode,” a female voice issued from somewhere near the roof of the Pod. “The vehicle is now in manual operation mode.” Suddenly his uncanny adeptness at handling the Pod all made sense. He looked up and saw an incoming asteroid, about 5 yocgts wide. Crap.

 

This is it

WRITE NOW PROMPT FOR JUNE 21, 2013

He took a step and heard a dull, crunching sound beneath his foot.

[http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/write-now-prompt-for-june-21-2013/]

Looking down, he nudged the offending dead mouse out of the way with his hiking boots. He couldn’t afford to be squeamish right now. He squeezed the tip of his boot further into the crevice in the rock, and continued sliding sideways, step by step by careful step. He needed to find the next handhold, and fast. The water rose beneath him, eddies swirling, waves of water dashing against the rock. All it would take was another couple of minutes before it swallowed him up whole.

Gulping, he kept shuffling along the ledge until he found a shelf he could latch onto. It was halfway between where he was now and the top of the cliff. He strained his arm to reach it. The tips of his first and second fingers just barely brushed it before slipping due to sweat. Now he was nervous. He looked down. Barely a minute left. The soles of his boots were wet now.

He stretched in earnest now, almost jumping in desperation. Latching on to the ledge, he pulled himself up, but only barely. From here on it was easier; grabbing ledge after ledge of rock, he hoisted himself upwards until he was almost out of danger. Alan’s head peeked out over the edge.

“Help me!” he called out frantically. “The water’s rising too fast; I won’t make it!” The waves were licking his knees now.

Alan looked down at him, motionless for a moment. Then something behind his eyes shifted, and he leaned over, extending a hand. “Grab my hand, Jared.”

Visibly relieved, Jared reached out and put his hands in Alan’s. “Okay, pull me up.”

No response.

“I said okay, pull me up!” Jared repeated, louder this time. The water had reached his waist, and was steadily rising, inch by inch.

“You should’ve listened to me when I told you to stay out of my business, Jared,” said Alan finally. “I’m sorry.” He loosened his grip, as Jared looked up in horror. “Alan, NO!”

But it was too late. Falling backwards, his feet lost their hold on the slippery rock. Scrambling to find his footing again, he came up to the surface, trying to keep afloat. Scrabbling at the wall of rock, trying to hold on, his mind blanked out in sheer panic. This is it.

Then he saw the rocks cascading down from the top of the cliff. He was too far gone to even hurl profanities anymore, or even to resist. This is it. He felt himself surrender to the water.

__________________________

He sucked in his breath, choking on the water.

“Thank God, you’re awake,” Alan heaved a sigh of relief placing the empty glass of water on the ground. “Hurry up, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes – the mountains await!” He grinned.

Jared heaved an enormous sigh of relief. “No, I think I’ll pass. You guys carry on.”

“Sure?” Alan asked, eyebrows furrowed. “Well, suit yourself. We’re going from around the lake, in case you decide you want to come.” He turned and headed for the door of the tent.

“Alright,” Jared said quietly. “Oh, and Alan?” Alan turned back questioningly.

“I’m sorry for getting you in trouble with the guys last night. I should’ve known where to draw a line.”

Alan smiled. “Hey, happens to the best of us. Now I gotta hurry up or I’ll be late. See you later!”

Jared waved at Alan as he ran out to join the others. He walked up to his mirror and looked at his face, ashen from his nightmare. This is it. He ran over to the entrance to pull on his hiking boots.

Red and Gold

Your Daily Theme 

for June 20
 
Opening Line
I snatched the mask from his face. “You?! It was you all along?!”
 
Use this line as inspiration for a short story or poem.
He smiled and took my hands in his. “Of course. I wondered how long it would take you to recognize me.”

“But…,” I spluttered. “This doesn’t make sense – we’re from different universes.”

“So?” Still that serene smile, constant as ever.

“How are you here?” I asked softly, looking up at his worn face.

“You needed me.”

I swallowed. “Will you…can you stay?”

“As long as you need me,” he said. “I’ll stay as long as you remember me.”

“That, I will.” I gingerly touched his scar. “Always.”

I woke up to the brilliant red and gold sunrise. Thank you.

Link to my piece on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/659901-Red-and-Gold

 

A Curious Find

Today’s Write Now Prompt by Today’s Author:

The kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft.

“Did you hear that?” I mumbled sleepily.

“No,” mumbled Dave, equally sleepily. “Go back to sleep; what is it, six o’clock?”

“Okay,” I acquiesced with a sigh, nuzzling my husband’s shoulder.

~

Around ten, I ambled down in shorts, a sweatshirt and yesterday’s socks to put together some brunch. “Kids?”

I got no reply. I shuffled over blearily to the stove and put some water to boil. I needed tea. “KIDS!” And possibly a holiday.

Somewhere in the house, a door banged, and I heard laughing voices spill out from the upstairs corridor. “Come down for breakfast. Now!” As much as I hated their inability to come down on time, I was grateful beyond words for the extra sleep I got thanks to their disregard for mealtime punctuality.

“Mom, Mom, look at me! Isn’t it pretty?” Emma, all of eight-years old, came barreling into the kitchen, draped from head to toe in a red, flowy….scarf? Tablecloth? What was that? She spilled some pebbles out onto the counter. “These are magic,” she solemnly declared, just as Ethan poked his face around the door. “These trading cards are so cool!” he said exuberantly, holding them up in front of me. Jerking my head back an inch, I blinked. The Fool? The Magician? The Hanged Man? The cards were larger than those of an average deck and had unusual imagery on them, some verging on pornography, others graphic violence. Somehow I doubted this was part of a children’s trading card game. “Ethan, honey, give me the cards for a minute,” I said, taking them from him.

“Ooh a party! Why wasn’t I invited?” came Dave’s voice from the doorway. His grin quickly froze when he saw Emma’s new costume. He seemed lost and, somehow, nervous.

“What’s all this then?” I asked. “Dave, do you have any idea what these are? I don’t think the kids should-”

Snatching the cards from me, he walked across the kitchen, kneeling down near Emma. “Sweetie, why don’t you give that to me? ‘Atta girl!”

Still suspicious, I cleared my throat. “Any idea where they might’ve found this?” I asked Dave, voice tighter than I’d meant it to sound.

“Oh, um,  the kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft,” he replied, standing up, still not meeting my gaze. “I’ll just go and make sure they haven’t made a mess up there.” Grabbing the pebbles in one hand, and the cloth and cards in the other, he turned and headed upstairs without looking back. As he climbed the stairs, I noticed him wrap the cards in the red cloth.

Something was definitely up.

Long Days and Lullabies

This week’s Trifecta Challenge:

CLUB

1a : a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon b : a stick or bat used to hit a ball in any of various games c : something resembling a club 2a : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a black clover b : plural but sing or plural in constr : the suit comprising cards marked with clubs 3a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>  

[See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-two.html#comment-form]

Ray was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his lifestyle, but left him with very little time to spend with his son, Jason. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called. She kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa.” Rick called today- he wanted to remind you about some concert thing planned for Saturday. Macklemore.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to buy front-row tickets.

When he looked up, she’d fallen asleep. Poor thing. Covering her with a blanket, he headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink.

Just as he reached, he heard noises from Jason’s bedroom. “Hey pal,” he said, finding him awake. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“I had a scary dream…I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, eyes wide.

“Well, Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, happily. “Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile.  We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…” He grinned; lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” Oops

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son.

—————————-

So this is the short version. Initially, I got carried away and wrote around 750 words before I got a friendly reminder (thank heavens for those!) that it was way over the word limit. Still, I have a soft corner for the original, so I decided to add it below, just in case anyone’s interested in reading it.

Turning the key to let himself in, Ray made straight for the living room and put his briefcase down near his favorite recliner. He was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his house, his cars, and (he suspected) had also had a small role in his getting his wife. Unfortunately it left him with very little time to spend either on his hobbies or with his son, Jason. At three years old, Jason was reaching that age when parental presence (or its absence) sets the tone for their lifelong parent-child relationship. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called by way of welcome, standing in the doorway, laptop bag in hand. Her job in the media kept her, if possible, even busier than his kept him. Elizabeth kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa, flexing the soles of her feet and moaning with relief.

“Long day?” he asked.

“You bet,” she said, closing her eyes. “Right now all I want is some sleep.” She settled in deeper into the sofa. “Oh, by the way, your childhood friend Rick called – he wanted to remind you about some concert thing you had planned for Saturday. Macklemore’s Grand Finale apparently.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to finally give in to impulse. Together, they’d bought front-row tickets for the concert. Right now all I want is some sleep, he thought, echoing El.

“…but I need to watch the LVBN ’26 Awards thing,” El was saying. “It’s supposed to be on tonight. I need to,” she yawned,”make sure…,” another yawn, “that….” yawning again, she drifted off to sleep.

He smiled. Poor thing. Getting a blanket from their linen closet, he covered her, dimmed the lights, and headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink before calling Rick back.

Just as he was tilting the decanter, he heard the sound of something expensive (grimace) falling. Eyebrows furrowed, he put down his glass and stepped out into the hallway. He’d updated his security system just a month or two ago; it was a pretty expensive one too.Just to be on the safe side however, he grabbed a steel ladle from the kitchen before heading down the hallway.

Peeking into the living room, he saw Jason standing there, teddy bear dragging, blinking sleepily, and inwardly sighed with relief. “Hey pal,” he said, squatting down to his son’s level. “Couldn’t sleep?” He sheepishly tucked the ladle behind a wooden table nearby.

“I had a scary dream,” he pouted, looking up. “I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, looking worried, eyes wide.

“C’mere,” said Ray, standing up and lifting his three-year-old into his arms. “Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, already burrowed happily into his father’s shoulder.

Laying him on the bed, Ray tucked Jason into his solar-system-themed comforter. The absence of Pluto still irritated him all these years later.

“Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday. Two days away.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured, snuggling into his pillow.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile. I had to practically sign my freedom away to go see Macklemore, me and Rick both. We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…”

He grinned, realizing how much he’d missed Macklemore. Lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he smiled at Jason and continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” and stopped himself just in time. Macklemore isn’t for lullabies, what’s wrong with me?

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Listening to the sound of his son’s steady breathing, Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son. “I love you.”

Pulling the door closed, Ray went through his phone’s contact list till he found the name Rick.

I’ll Never Go Away

Your Daily Theme for 6/13/2013 
Dialogue
 
“I’ll never go away.”
“You’ll never get away.”
Use these lines as inspiration for a short story or poem.

“…but it was an honest mistake!”

“So now pay for it.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“But you did.”

“I promise it’ll never happen again!”

“Oh, I know it won’t.”

“You can’t forgive me?”

“For this? No.”

“I love you!”

“Apparently the word entails different things to each of us.”

“Doesn’t all the time we’ve known each other mean anything to you?”

“I could ask you the same.”

“Just give me one last ch-”

“Get out of my house!”

“What if I refuse?”

“Go away. Please, just go away.”

“I’ll never go away.”

“You’ll never get away.” With it.

Link to my original piece:

http://figment.com/books/656378-I-ll-Never-Go-Away

A Ray of Hope

  • I combined “Today’s Prompt” by Today’s Author:[The sun blazing through the tiny window near the roof completely changed his perspective.]
  • …and Trifecta’s Weekly Challenge: 

[LIGHT (noun)
 

1a : something that makes vision possible
  b : the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual receptors
  c : electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second; specifically : such radiation that is visible to the human eye
2a : daylight
  b : dawn
3: a source of light: as
   a : a celestial body
   b : candle   

The sun blazing through the tiny window near the roof completely changed his perspective. He looked down at the cold stone floor, then back at the bands within the ray of light. A smile played on his lips as he followed the specks of dust dancing in the light streaming through the iron bars of the window. He slowly unbent his creaking knees and stood up, walking to the small bit of floor where the light pooled. Today, the rattling of chains was just background music; today the bonds that reminded him of a desperate existence were just a backstory; today the confines that held him were just temporary, not meant to last. He was the recipient of light, that beautiful, glorious light; the murky, sticky grip of chaos existed in a different world – here there was just the pure, sweet sunlight. I’ll be just fine, he broke into a smile, putting away the hand-cut stone knife beneath the tiles, back where it belonged. In the darkness.

http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/write-now-prompt-for-june-11-2013/

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-one.html

The Pebble

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

He couldn’t take it anymore; he had gotten through depression because of her and had stopped cutting because of her. He was a new man because of her. And she’d said no. How could she? She’d told him he was an amazing person, and that anyone would die to be with him, and he’d believed her; believed her thinking she was indirectly saying something to him. Well, it turned out all women were the same. Actually, all people were the same. They kept the good ones around, the funny ones around, and the ones that made them smile, but always as a friend. Nothing more. The perfect ones, on the other hand….they didn’t even have to bat an eyelid or say a kind word to be thought perfect romance material. What did she see in him anyway? Neal reached his favorite pond-side spot beneath the willow and kicked a smooth, round pebble into the pond, and stared at the ripples until they faded out.

x

The pebble hit his head with a thonk. Sammy, annoyed, flicked the tail of the tadpole closest him. “Ow, that hurt!”

Doubled over with laughter, Rick yelled back over his shoulder, “Wasn’t me, mate!” He shook his head, grinning, and swam ahead, joining the others in their race to Algae Cave.

Sammy scowled, falling to the back of the race. He jetted down to the bottom of the pond to get a closer look at the culprit.

The pebble was smooth, round, and whiter than any rock he’d ever seen – even whiter than the one Marty had shown them in show-and-tell last week, calling it the whitest rock around. Well, he’d show Marty.

Just them, he thought he heard a faint whisper. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone there. He frowned and checked once more; still no one. Just as Sammy gave up and turned to leave, he heard the same whisper, only louder – it was coming from the direction of the rock. He swam back to the rock and circled it. On the other side, half buried under the rock, was Katy, the cute goldfish from school.

“Katy!” he exclaimed, and ran to tug her out.

“It’s no use Sammy,” she sighed, tears in her eyes. “It won’t budge.”

“Well, I’ll make it,” retorted Sammy, setting his jaw in determination. After a few fruitless tugs, he looked around for something, anything to use.

“Don’t leave me here!” Katy pleaded.

“I’ll be right back,” Sammy promised, and swam back, true to his word, with a bit of bark he’d found buried in the mud. Using it as a lever, he put all his weight on it and, inch by inch, lifted the rock up enough for Katy to struggle her way free. Sammy shrugged. I guess Pond Physics 101 really wasn’t a waste of time.

x

“Oops, sorry Ver,” Mark muttered, as Veronica’s favorite bracelet went flying through the air into the pond they’d been picnicking by.

Veronica’s eyes widened in shock as her favorite bracelet sank to the bottom of the pond. “Mark! How could you?” she cried, running to the edge of the pond and kneeling, desperately trying to peer inside and find the bracelet. “Go get it!”

“C’mon, you know I don’t like water,” Mark said coolly. “It was just a bracelet anyway. Didn’t whatsisname, your friend, give it to you? I’ll buy you another one; now come on.” He turned to leave. “I’m gonna go start the car.”

Veronica’s eyes blurred with tears, remembering the day she’d recieved the bracelet. “…not for anything, really. It’s just….it’s been a year since I met you, and I’m who I am now thanks to you, so….I wanted you to have this,” he’d said, smiling at her with that smile only he had that lighted up his eyes. She turned her eyes to the pool, but held back. She couldn’t swim, never had been able to. She looked back to the pool, it seemed leagues deep and really scary; who knew what lived inside? But her mind conjured up an image of him giving her the bracelet again, and she knew she couldn’t turn away.

Taking a deep breath, she plunged in. Fighting for breath, she searched the muck for her bracelet. Her lungs were constricting now and she prayed for help. Just then, her fingers bumped against something hard. Out of breath, Veronica grabbed the fistful of muck around it and came up, struggling for breath. Breaking the surface, she bobbed with the water and opened her fist. She saw a pebble in her hand and almost cried in frustration. Then she saw the bracelet, somehow twined around the pebble; the pebble had kept the bracelet anchored. Just like Neal always kept me anchored. She climbed out of the water and headed for the car. She had an announcement to make.

In response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/daily-prompt-weaving/

His World

The First Thing
 
Write out a person’s day in terms of the first things he or she does. An example is provided below:
The first thing she did each day was stretch her toes over the edge of her mattress. 
The first thing she saw was her reflection in the pink vanity she’d gotten when her career aspiration was “princess.”
The first thing she ate each morning was an English muffin, pooled with melted butter.
The first thing she put on was her silver locket.

The first thing he did on waking up was to give that baby dinosaur screech-grunt, stretching as if to make his 6’ 6’1”.

The first thing he wore was his gleaming wristwatch, a reminder of paternity and duty.

The first thing he did after leaving his room was to wake his kindergartner up with a kiss on the forehead, reminding him of happiness.

The first thing he ate was a bowl of Lucky Charms, an unshakable habit since age six.

The first thing he saw when he left the house was the world; and when he came home: his world.

Link to my story on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/647890-His-World

Mary-Sue, Anti-Sue and Me

Your Daily Theme for 5/23/2013
 
Mary Sue
 
A character is referred to as a “Mary Sue” if she is either improbably perfect or powerful, if his flaws are superficial and are just used to make him a more attractive character, or if she is a stand-in for the author.
Write a fictionalized version of yourself. Make him or her as powerful and perfect as you’d like. Then, write an Anti-Sue: Yourself at your worst. Finally, fictionalize yourself, focusing on your real quirks, beauty, and failings. Which character would you most like to read about?

They met only once – at the airport, outside terminal 44A. Slipping her smartphone into the pocket of her well-tailored corduroys, she smiled warmly and made way for a woman passing the other way. Flurried, tires bulging through her t-shirt, the woman avoided eye-contact, accidentally knocking a passerby down.

Sighing in frustration, I picked myself up, dusted off and looked up at the faces of two women – one red-faced, apologetic, and the other full of polite concern. Twisting my hair back into a bun, I half-smiled, deciding to let it go. The weather was perfect outside. I grinned, waved, and walked on.

Link to original posting on figment:

http://figment.com/books/644163-Mary-Sue-Anti-Sue-and-Me