Sunday, February 10, 2019

Verbuary Challenge: Day6&7

Guys, I don't have time for this! I have commissioned work that has to be done and I'm sitting here writing flash fiction.

I'm claiming it as a warm up to the multiple articles I need to finish tooonight. I have to be done after these two for today. Got it? I know you're all disappointed.

These two shorts are both using characters from my WIP (work in progress). Enjoy a glimpse into the world of Marie and Nastia.


As she watched the dancers, each so poised, fluid, perfect, something was forming in the pit of her stomach.

She focused on her dearest friend who had a gift for ballet that exceeded everyone's in the room. Her love of dance made her face shine even after a long and arduous practice. Even after a hard and painful life. She admired her in all the ways.

But as she sat on the sidelines of the ballet life, jealousy began to take hold. And mixed with how much she loved her best friend was flecks of hate borne of envy. And in this moment, she let that feeling boil up from deep within and fester for a little too long.


"A lift?" Her heart fluttered. "Am I ready for that?"

"I think so. But there's really only one way to know for sure." Marie took a step toward the door and called, "Hey Jake, we need your help in here!"

Nastia's anxiety at the thought of practicing a lift was thrust into full on panic when she realized Jake would be doing the lifting. "Marie, really, I just don't..."

"How may I be of service?" Jake asked with a goofy grin and some crumbs tumbling off his chin onto his shirt. He took another bite of his turkey sandwich.

Marie turned to Nastia without responding to her brother. "Jake helps me all the time with lifts. I know he doesn't really look like it, but he's actually really strong."

"Hey!" Jake feigned offense.

Marie rolled her eyes and Nastia felt her cheeks flush.

Taking Jake's sandwich out of his hand, Marie pulled him further into the room and began to explain to both of them what they were going to do. Nastia's palms were clammy and her heart was racing. She was going to be lifted. She was going to be lifted by Jake.

When everyone was situated according to Marie's specifications, Jake looked at Nastia and smiled. "Marie is right," he said. "I really am strong. And I've lifted her a million times."

At Marie's impatient urging, Jake stood behind Nastia and placed his hands on her hips. Her breath caught but she willed herself to let it out slowly and focus. She followed Marie's direction, lifting into second position on pointe, then feeling herself leave the ground. For the first time she really was floating, free of the chains of earth. But she wasn't alone as she soared above reality. Jake was there. Jake was keeping her safe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Verbuary Challenge: Day5

The word prompt was "fountain" and since I was struggling with coming up with something, I sought the help of my Bigs. The following stories were inspired by their creative minds:

Fountain (inspired by Jack)

He kept drinking and drinking and wouldn't stop. He'd drink so much that he'd have to run to the bathroom and go pee. Then he'd book it right back to the fountain and drink some more.

I was thirsty. All I needed was a sip. But he was so fast about doing his business that before I could even finish my step forward, he'd be shoving me back so he could get some more.

Finally, I asked him what his deal was. His answer was simple: "It's just so good."

Then he transformed into a fish before my eyes. I took him home and kept him as a pet.

After I got a drink, of course.

Fountain (inspired by Marie)

The most beautiful fountain any eyes have ever beheld was handcrafted by God Himself. Adam and Eve and all the animals of the Garden would gather around it every morning at dawn and worship the God who created them.

The water was crystal clear. It even sparkled in the morning sun. When Eve held her hand under the flow that cascaded down three full tiers, the water was so soft and so perfectly temperatured that it was like she was running her hand along the lion's mane (which she often did).

Yahweh would meet them there and they'd sing and chat and laugh together before heading out for their morning walk.

In the evenings, the moon would light up the fountain, giving it a fantastic glow like no earthly light could give it. Adam, Eve, and Yahweh would sit along the rock edge and recap the day, taking sips from the delectable water. Various animals would join them, lapping up some water then nuxxling or curling up in Yahweh's lap.

It was all perfect. Until it wasn't.

The evening after Eve gave in to the serpent's temptation, she and Adam didn't join Yahweh at the fountain. From a nearby thicket, they watched Yahweh greet each of his animal creations. His face was downcast as he snuggled a koala bear in his arms. Did He know somehow? It scared the couple while breaking their hearts. They ached to join Him at the fountain but they no longer belonged.

When they were cast out of the beautiful garden, just before the angel guards held up their flaming swords, Adam and Eve saw Yahweh running his hand under the fountain water, tears flowing freely. He looked at them and in that moment the fountain dried up and the garden vanished from view, waiting silently for the Savior to return.

Find my writing IG @thewriterslifeforme

Monday, February 4, 2019

Verbuary Challenge: Day4

Sometimes the words flow with little to no effort. Other times I have an annoying head cold and zero inspiration. But I managed to muddle through two completely unrelated scenes using the word prompt "Audience."

The first came from my staring out the window. The second has its roots somewhere in my work-in-progress novel. Enjoy!


The snow was heavy and wet, melting into muddy sludge under each footfall. Fog rose from the ground surrounding the stark bare trees, giving the whole scene a thick eeriness.

She could see through the forest of trees and brambles, but felt blinded by the fuzzy endlessness. Everything looked exactly the same as a mile or two or seven ago.

The cold wet was seeping through her muddy shoes, sending chill to her bones. Where was she going? What was she doing? Why was she out here? She couldn't remember.

Losing her footing on the slushy snow, she grasped onto a prickly stem and cried out. Her voice reverberated off the soggy trees and died in the wet soil. Soaked through her clothes, she remained crumpled on the ground, weeping, oblivious to her audience waiting silently in the distance.

Audience #2

She pulls on her ballet slippers, the ribbon silky soft between her fingers. With deep breaths she attempts to calm her rapidly beating heart. Maybe this is the most important performance of her career, but it isn't a different dance. She's performed it a million times before, on stage, back stage, in her dreams.

Standing, she glimpses herself in the mirror and smooths out a flyaway. Ballerinas flutter about her, adjusting costumes, touching up makeup, talking and laughing. Everything is exactly as it should be. Exactly as it always is on performance night.

Her pulse slows and steadies. The regular backstage chaos is comforting. She closes her eyes, living the moves in her mind.

The sound of her name jolts her to reality, and she quickly moves into position. Just like every performance over the last three years, she sets her shoulders, lifts her chin, and shoves down the growing ache of knowing he won't be in the audience. Not tonight. Maybe not ever again.

She sweeps out onto the stage with her fellow dancers. The tap tap tapping of her pointe shoes is so familiar. The fluidity of her arms, her legs, her whole body comes from living this life every moment of her waking hours (and often the sleeping ones) for more than a decade.

But it's been in the last three years, the years he's been locked behind bars in a foreign land, that she became this. She is a ballerina. Her whole existence is wrapped up in this fact. And it shows through her pristine performance.

Sporadic cheers pop up from the audience on her sixth or seventh turn. Three, four, five more turns and she finishes with the air of effortlessness. The whole crowd erupts.

She knows he's not out there. She knows he's sitting cold and alone in a dank cell on the other side of the world. But she dances for him. Not for the stuffy important people in the box seating who came to see her. Not for the fans who will clamber for a picture with her after the performance. Not even for the God who gave her the gift but won't let him enjoy it. No. She dances for him alone.

The curtain falls on another ballet. Another perfect performance. Another day gone.

Find my writing IG @thewriterslifeforme

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Verbuary Challenge: Day3


Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

It's like someone is holding my heart outside of my chest, and with the gentle care of an adolescent monkey. All my insides are screaming for the sweet release of my heart's safe return.

But there's no guarantee of that. It's my baby in there fighting for his life while I'm out here in this cold, depressive room cluttered with cold empty chairs. It's all so cold. Life is so cold.

Pacing back and forth furiously, I glare at the ER doors as I pass, willing them to open. I need to know what's happening. I need someone, anyone, to tell me that my child, the fruit of my loins, the light of my life and whole purpose for being is going to be just fine.

My husband comes flying through the entrance and grabs me, pulling me so tight my breath is caught. I don't want him to let go.

He doesn't even ask me if there's been an update. He can tell by the look on my face and the trembling of my hands. I immediately go back to pacing, moaning like I'm the one suffering from a gunshot wound. The husband goes to the nurse at the desk and speaks in hushed, intense tones with no success.

There is no update. And no, we can't go back there. Please sit down and wait.

I clench my fists and my brain feels like it's going to explode with the effort to keep from screaming til my voice breaks.

Another family walks in to the waiting area, looks of concern but not hysteria. A child coughs. Really? A cough? Maybe a fever? MY CHILD IS DYING IN THERE!

That was us once. We brought our tiny boy in for a high fever and lethargy. We thought we knew fear then. And we thought now that he's grown we could relax a little.

He's a teacher for goodness sake. Fresh off the college presses. Barely wet his man feet in the pool of inner city public school when we're called with the words: your son has been shot. Not at school. Not in some decrepit alley where he didn't belong. Not even at the local convenient. Right inside his very own apartment where he still had boxes waiting for me to help him unpack.

He welcomed his shooter in. A child from his 7th grade class. The one he'd been reaching out to, attempting to invest good. But the kid had a gun. Not for my baby, but for himself. My grown man cub attempted to save his life as the child went to pull the trigger on himself. He shot my boy. Then he killed himself.

I find the tiniest bit of comfort in the very back of my mind, thankful that I'm not that family. I have hope of that update. I desperately need the update right this very second, but without it there's still hope that this will all go away. Without the update I can imagine him walking out those swinging doors in all his lanky adultness, goofy grin and all. Without the update...

The doors swing wide. The moment I've been pleading for and dreading all at once has finally arrived.

I crumble to the floor.

Find my writing IG @thewriterslifeforme
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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Verbuary Challenge: Day2


She had promised me 20 bucks if I helped her. I had been ambushed by this frazzled and shrill teenager, much too intrigued by her state of near hysteria to process the dollar amount or even that there was one.

I'm pretty sure at some point in her frantic telling of her teenage horror story, she also offered a dollar amount to keep the whole ordeal quiet. It was all I could do to not roll my eyes. I may have even chuckled. But she was too busy having her emotional episode to notice. Not that I really would have cared if she had noticed.

She goes through the whole narrative, looking at me like I should totally get her and have some sort of sympathetic feelings. I didn't. But I tilted my head and forced my eyebrows to furrow in what I hoped looked like concern. She seemed satisfied so I must have succeeded.

In the end, I pieced together that there was drama and her life was over. And somehow I was the key to saving the day.

Sisters are so annoying.

Not always. I mean, she and I had been best friends through our childhood. And even now we'll hang out as long as none of her friends are within several miles. But most of her life is all BFFs and boyfriends and spending hours getting ready for this, that, and the other socially vital thing.

Teenage sisters are so annoying.

I agreed to help her. It's in the big brother DNA to take care of his little sister in distress. I wasn't totally sure what exactly was causing all this distress. If anything, I needed to take care of the mess so she'd stop shrieking and begging and being all sorts of ridiculous. Hence, I agreed.

She thanked me profusely and claimed I was the best brother ever, then proceeded to tell me her detailed plan of how to get back at this guy who had flirted with another girl or something. I knew the guy. She'd been obsessed for months and my understanding was they were sorta together. As a guy, I was pretty sure her sorta-boyfriend had no idea he'd done anything wrong. And now I needed to put him in his place by jumping through hoops and playing strategic games and dancing like a ballerina.

The deal was sealed with our childhood handshake. The next day at school I was to become sudden chums with this guy and trick him into flirting with some random girl again, catching him in the atrocious act of cheat-flirting on his not-really-girlfriend. The distraught sister of mine videoing the whole ordeal.

I succeeded in making friends with the guy. He was actually quite friendly and crazy outgoing. I let the fact that I'm two years older give me an air of confidence so I didn't have to try to be cool. I was automatically cool for being a senior to his sophomore.

But seriously the guy flirted with anything that had a face. But for all the charming he did to their faces, he had equally as much crap to say behind their backs. I could only imagine what he had to say about me. And if he dared say a negative thing about my sister... By the end of the day, I'm pretty sure I hated the guy.

I gave it another couple of days, attempting to follow the sister's dastardly plan (which was really more like a daytime drama script). But I was losing my mind with this guy. Even all the charm he laid on my sister was beginning to infuriate me.

It all came to a head after school when he dared to diss my sister in a way I will never repeat. He laughed with the rest of his pals, slapping me on the back like that would somehow make what he said all fine and dandy.

It did not.

I decided my sister had enough video footage for her half-cheating sorta-boyfriend and it was time for me to change the finale.

The crunch of his nose and the subsequent sting to my knuckles was pure satisfaction. Chaos ensued in the moments following but I was all done. I spotted my sister several feet away, her phone on video, her face frozen in shock. I smiled. She blinked and smiled too.

I drove her home as she played and replayed the video. She found her voice after a couple of views and a mile or so, and jabbered on about how much he deserved it and how could she ever have wasted a single second on him and he was such a jerk and and and.

I was her hero again. The big brother hero.

She dug her wallet out of her purse and pulled out some bills. Oh that's right, she offered to pay me for my big brother services. I waved her off then pulled into my favorite sandwich shop.

I beat up her crap ex. She paid me with a sandwich. Totally worth it.

Big brother and his annoying little sister.
Find my writing IG @thewriterslifeforme
Find more fictional short stories

Verbuary Challenge: Day1

I'm diving in to this challenge for the month of February called Verb-uary. I have zero aspirations of completing every single day. But it's Feb. 2 and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself!

Using a one word prompt, I'm to write a fictional story of any length and share it with the world. I'm sharing here because I can, and I tend to write too many words for social media to handle.

Now, I'm giving you an out. You totally do not have to read any of the forthcoming fiction. It's purely for fun and writing practice. Should you feel the need to leave some feedback or join in on the challenge yourself, I'd probably do a little happy dance. But if not, my feelings toward you will not change whatsoever.

One more thing before I share the first short story: most of the time, I have no idea where the story is going until it's done. These aren't edited. They barely pass through my brain before hitting the page. But isn't that how the best stories are born? When they happen TO you? Well, I think so!

Photo by Kaley Dykstra on Unsplash


He slumps a little bit more than yesterday. Nothing is different today. But that's the problem.

Over and over. Day after day. The same.

He tosses the empty bag of chips across the living room floor and shoves the 3 cans of beer onto the floor. Grabbing the remote, he navigates his Apple TV. A movie, a show, the news? A mindless game? Stupid videos of stupid people doing stupid things?

He clicks on YouTube and drowns in the mindlessness of it all. At least he's not that guy. At least he's not parading himself (or being paraded) all over the internet. At least no one can see him now.

The loneliness tightens his chest and he reaches for food as a response. The chains grow tighter. Heavier.

His hands grasp at empty rappers and cans and bags. He's literally eaten through everything. Even if he wanted to get up--even if he could--he'd find nothing in the cupboards. His fridge has been empty for who knows how long.

His anger boils up. He wants to blame someone. He looks around like he might find someone to blame, knowing full well his eyes weren't going to land on anyone but himself. And when his eyes do catch a glimpse of himself--his tattered and stained sweatpants and large rolling gut, something explodes inside of him.

He leaps from his smelly and distorted lazy chair with more power than a man of his girth should be able to. Tearing through the room, kicking trash about, he rummages under the kitchen sink in search of a trash bag. He finds none.

He's sucking air, not only from the sudden exertion, but even more so from the chains ever tightening. They're thick and cold. And oh so heavy. He flails his arms, desperate to break free from the invisible chains of sin that have gripped him for far too long. That have stolen his entire life from him.

The room is empty but for him to the naked eye, but the spiritual war is waging hard. He thrashes about while the demons of his sinful life grip and pull on his chains, legs, neck.

He falls in a heap. Defeated.

Distant voices from the YouTube videos remind him, as he lay panting and still, that he's completely alone. He's crying now. He's like a beast, chained to the floor with demons for guards, taunting and laughing and pulling ever tighter the suffocating restraints.

Find my writing IG @thewriterslifeforme
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