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Spring Contest (Prose) - Unknown Memories

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Old 01-07-2011, 06:36 AM
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Default Spring Contest (Prose) - Unknown Memories

The days are lengthening, the dawn of a new year is upon us, behind us are memories of the past, fond memories I hope, but as so often with memories there is so much more to them. For this season the contest theme will be Unknown Memories, may it inspire you, and good luck.

Before I forget, congratulation to last season’s winner midwestamp with is story Peace, Greed, or Ignorance.

* * *


Members are allowed one entry in the prose contest. (You are welcome to enter our poetry contest as well.) Prose entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Unknown Memories Comment thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

Prose: 2,000 words Maximum


Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact a member of staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Close Date:

23rd of March 2011, 12 midnight GMT


Winners will be selected by means of a public poll, so you, the members of Writer’s Beat, will choose the winners.

After the closing date, a voting thread will be posted. Voting will commence on the 24th March 2011 and close on the 30th of March 2011, 12 midnight GMT.

* * *


The winning entries will be considered for publication in Writer's Beat Quarterly, subject to the approval of the editors. To increase your chances of getting published (whether you win or not), make sure your document is as error-free as possible!

Also, the member (or tying members) with the most votes will get to suggest the next contest theme!

* * *

If you have any questions about the contest, contact a staff member and we will happily answer them for you. Now sharpen your pencils, fill up your inkwells and get writing. Good Luck!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Last edited by Tau; 01-07-2011 at 06:51 AM..
Old 01-14-2011, 07:39 PM
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Coffee Memories

I eyed the waitress as she neared the table, and my hand protectively covered my mug of coffee.

“Need anything?” she asked sweetly. The pot she held seemed dangerously close, and her eyes flicked down to the table.

“No,” I said quickly. “I’m fine, thanks.”

“Okay then.” She walked away, and only when I was sure she was gone did I allow my mug to breathe again. I knew she meant well, but the coffee was only about half gone. I had it just the way I wanted it, and if she filled it up again, I’d have to add more cream and sugar until it was perfect once more. I didn’t want it all off balance. Why did they do that, anyway? Without even asking.

“Don’t you hate that?”

I turned to the voice, frowning.

The man who stood there seemed familiar. He had a knowing look, and I didn’t like it. Not one bit. His hair was short and his face unshaven. He was wearing a suit, but carried nothing else with him. He sat down across from me without an invitation.

“How are you, Jimmy?” the man asked, unfolding his napkin and straightening the silverware. I stared. He looked up expectantly, but not at me- the waitress materialized beside us, and filled my mug before I could even think to protest. My coffee turned from a delightful caramel to the color of a dirty toilet bowl. The man across the table smirked at me.

“Coffee?” The waitress asked.


She filled his mug and then disappeared as quick as she’d come.

“Whoops,” The man said with a grin on his face. “You’d think she’d know by now, especially after you barked at her that one time. Must just be a habit. Maybe we should find a new place?”

“Who are you?” I asked suspiciously. “What do you want?”

“I’m not kidding, you know,” the man went on in all seriousness. “I think we should try a new place. I think you’re ready. What about Uncle Ernie’s, just down the road? I hear they have great omelets.”

“Who are you?” I asked again. It didn’t come out accusatory this time, more like a simple question.

“Jimmy- It’s me, Kyle. Your brother. Come on, we do this every Tuesday morning. Hey, did you catch that baseball game last night?”

The game- yes, I had seen that game. “Yeah,” I said, surprising myself. “I did. How about that last inning.”

“How about it.” Kyle whistled. “Hey, Jimmy- hand me a packet of sugar.”

“Oh, sure.” I did so. He ripped it open and shook the packet into his cup. He didn’t bother stirring, and I remembered now, that had always gotten on my nerves. After all, if you didn’t stir it, it would just settle at the bottom.

“Well,” Kyle said after a sip, “How did you get here today?”

I puzzled over this for some time before I could recall how I had come to be at the restaurant.

“Today, I… I took the bus. From West Main to Kalamazoo Ave.”

Kyle nodded. “Good. That’s good.”

I peeled open a little container of half and half and got to work perfecting my coffee all over again. Here I was, having coffee with my brother, just like I had every Tuesday since the accident. Some things had changed, but there was one thing that hadn’t- two shots of half and half and two packets of sugar. Old habits die hard, it seemed.
Not all who wander are lost...
Old 01-17-2011, 09:14 AM
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Tick Tock, by Peter172 (1923 words)

I was sitting at the bar in the Pine Leaf inn, enjoying a frosty brew, on a sultry summer night, listening to the only sound in the mostly deserted common room, the tick of the grandfather clock. The place wasn’t exactly what you’d call “Jumpin”, as I was the only one in the place, with the exception of the bartender and proprietor, a lanky, dark haired man of middle age and pallid complexion named Joe, when the ticking suddenly got louder, a lot louder. Joe looked over at the clock with an expression usually reserved for the ticking of a clock on a bomb, or the arrival of a hated relative, possibly the mother in law.

I looked over at the clock that had caused Joe’s pale face to turn white as a swan’s butt, and the pendulum seemed to be moving slower, the ticking became louder as well, until it was all encompassing, cloying the air with its slow, painful ticks.

I found myself growing dizzy, the room began to spin in concentric circles of a myriad colors and I saw a flash of movement as Joe ran from the room. I tried to get up and follow, but my legs gave out and I began to fall face first onto the hardwood floor.

My face hit dirt instead, and I felt a tremendous heat blossoming all around me. I looked up to see I was in a forest, and a wall of flame was hurtling towards me, looming malevolence, like a tidal wave of agonizing doom. I didn’t even have time to wonder about how I came to be in a forest, other than a vague suspicion that I had been drugged, for I was too busy running away from the searing death that was coming to claim my soul. A seed of hope was planted as I noticed the sound of rushing water from somewhere ahead, and it sprouted into a desperate yelp of joy that issued from my throat--without my consent--at the sight of a river. I ran. I ran like the devil was on my heels after I lost a fiddle playing contest and flung myself into the gloriously wet, cold water.

I started to realize that what I thought was my salvation, could soon become my demise as I started to get swept downstream and dragged under by the current, which was immeasurably strong, and uncaring. As I struggled, something bumped into me and I grabbed for it, thinking it was a log, and I would be alright. Then I saw that what I was clinging to was not a log. Glassy eyes peered at me from within the hood of a yellow fisherman’s coat and I pushed off the corpse with a yelp of inarticulate panic and broke into a desperate swim for the far shore. I had taken swimming lessons as a child, but hadn’t really enjoyed it much as an adult—I’m more of a jogger—but I really hoped I was better at it than the poor, waterlogged fisherman.

Then I slammed into something hard and sharp, the breath was pounded from my lungs in a brilliant burst of pure agony and I was sure I had been ripped in half. After a moment or two underwater, I realized to my amazement that I could still move, and my hands scrabbled about feebly, trying desperately to swim back up for a breath of precious air. My hands hit something hard and I grabbed at it, not caring if it was a corpse or not in my desperation, and found it was a rock. That must have been what I smashed into, and the thing that had caused so much misery, was now my salvation as I pulled myself up onto it to lay in a heap, sputtering the water I had inhaled.

After what seemed an eternity, suffering from the convulsive puking, which made the pain in my back seem as fresh as the moment of impact, I was finally able to regain my feet and survey my surroundings with a somewhat clear head. I was in the middle of a river, and the forest, which still blazed, lead up to the side of a mountain I recognized. The Pine Leaf Inn was somewhere atop the mountain, and I had the vague idea that I had to get back there for some reason. It seemed an urgent task, but I couldn’t quite grasp why that would be—other than the fact that I hadn’t finished my beer yet—there seemed to be no other reason to return. Perhaps to murder the guy who had poisoned me? I wasn’t really the vengeful type, so that couldn’t be it, but either way, the need was pressing, I just didn’t know why, so I started to look for a way back.

The river stood between me and the bank, but even if I made it, the fire was still burning hot enough to kill me—that’s if the smoke didn’t do the job first—so I looked downstream and saw that the rock I had hit, was accompanied by several others, that slowed the current down into a placid, slow moving pace that I was sure I could handle, even in my weakened state. I jumped across several rocks, then dove in and swam downstream, fortunately for me, I was correct in my assessment, and found the swim to be quite relaxing compared to my previous foray.

I swam along at an easy pace until I was safely away from the flames, then began to make my way up the mountain, and back to the cabin. I had a few choice words to say to Joe. But as I climbed, I began to wonder why the innkeeper would want to drug and kill me. I had little in the way of valuables in my room, so why me? Perhaps he was just a psychopath that took his thrills where he could find them? But weren’t psychopath’s supposed to enjoy doing the deed themselves, or at least watching gleefully? And it seemed a strange coincidence that the fire had been there at just the right time. Perhaps he had just taken advantage of it, who knows? None of that felt right though, but I would get some answers, one way or another.

And with the last thoughts still tugging at my mind, I reached the door to the inn and opened it gingerly, half expecting someone to blow my head off with a shotgun as I poked it through the door. Nothing happened though, and the same familiar smells of bacon grease and beer, mingled with the far off scent of burnt forest as I padded down the hall, back towards the common room.

Joe stood behind the counter, wiping the spilled beer off with a rag as I entered. He looked up, sensing my presence and his face drained to resemble that of the fisherman’s.

“Hi there Joe, you look surprised to see me. Why?”

“Wh…wh…you shouldn’t…you couldn’t…” he stammered, then dropped the rag and turned to run. I gave chase naturally, and a tremendous surge of adrenaline shot through my body that propelled me forward at a speed I didn’t know I could move at and I dragged him down in a tackle that would have made my father proud.

He squirmed and thrashed, trying to get free, but I had been a reasonably competent member of the wrestling team in high school, and obviously Joe was more of a computer club kind of guy.

“So why did you poison me Joe?” I said in a tone that left little doubt to my intentions.

“Wh, what?!” he said in stunned incomprehension, “it was the clock, its cursed!”

I spocked an eyebrow and said, “Joe, do you really expect me to believe tha…” My voice trailed off as something tickled the back of my brain. There was a reason I came here, but what was it? Joe’s accusation of the clock seemed to spark something…hidden, but I couldn’t seem to remember what.

“All right Joe, let’s say there’s something to your—the clock did it theory—how, and why?”

He looked up at me as if expecting me to cave his head in at any moment, then said, “you came here asking about it man, I told you not to mess around here asking questions, it knows, it knows you came for it. You wouldn’t listen though, and then you just seemed to forget about it. I thought you actually decided to listen to reason, but it must have got to you…you know…the curse. The clock can’t be destroyed, if I take it away, it just keeps coming back…”

The words struck like thunder through my weary brain, lifting the mental fog, and suddenly I remember what it was, why I was here. The clock had been the last gift to the world of a dying witch burning at the stake long ago. She had sent her death curse out and it had found the perfect disguise, an innocent old grandfather clock. The curse affected time itself, stopping when it claimed a victim and somehow transporting them into a situation that caused their death, feeding it and allowing it to keep on doing it eternally, unless it could be stopped, the reason I was here.

I was not a normal boy growing up. There were many strange and inexplicable incidences that occurred, with often disastrous outcomes, and I was the cause. I didn’t mean for those things to happen, and I didn’t even realize it was me doing them until I was a little older, hell, I didn’t even know what it was, but as I grew, I learned to control it, and I became…disciplined in my mind. There are many words for what I can do, but I like to think of it as mind over matter.

The clock ticked louder and now that I was no longer under its influence, I felt the evil radiating form it, promising death while it tried to dull my mind once more. With an explosive effort of will, I partitioned my mind, cut it off from the force trying to invade my thoughts, but I felt it redouble its efforts and I felt the veins in my forehead throb as I poured more of my will into the defense, then sent tendrils of pure mental energy coursing out towards the cursed thing. The ticking came louder and louder, until it shook the room and sent glasses tumbling to the floor to burst in a staccato rhythm, and Joe was off and running once more.

A chair flew into the air and came hurtling at my head, and if I hadn’t partitioned my mind, I wouldn’t have even noticed until in crushed my skull, but I was of two minds now, and the physical attacks would be seen with one, while the other fought to keep the mental bombardment at bay.

I lifted a hand towards the chair and called forth an invisible shield of force into being. The chair slammed against it, hard enough to make me stagger, and then sent the tendrils forth to wrap around the clock. The ticking quieted down, then stopped all together. I forced more will into the tendrils, and the clock snapped in two from the strain. I allowed myself a sigh of relief as the strain was lifted from my mind and slumped to the floor, weary, but victorious.

The End
"Crom!" his mighty shoulders twitched. "A murrain of these wizardly feuds! Pelias has dealt well with me, but I care not if I see him no more. Give me a clean sword and a clean foe to flesh it in. Damnation! What would I not give for a flagon of wine!" --Robert E. Howard (The Scarlet Citadel, 1933)
Old 01-25-2011, 03:26 PM
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Default The Book

A light breeze softly moved a wisp of white hair across amber eyes as she glanced down at her once beautiful book. She ran her now thin and aching fingers across the old familiar cover. It is an odd and unusual feeling that can startle the senses, “that’s what growing old is, a shock to the senses” she thought. “Strange it is that in your mind you stay the same familiar you, then looking down for a moment, you don’t recognize that those ancient hands are your own”. Flipping open the book it was impossible not to compare, how the worn pages were a likeness to the parchment paper thinness of her skin; or how the honeyed light of a mid-morning sun drew a contrast between time yellowed pages and time bleached hands.

Closing the book she resettled herself into her high-backed wing chair and sighed wearily, contemplating the meticulously arranged urn of newly cut flowers on the side table. Soon her guests would arrive, just as they did every Sunday; however, today was different. Different in that way of knowing without knowing how you know, that this was to be the final visit. This knowing, was the reason for the book. With eyes closed, she drifted back, waiting, just waiting and letting herself go to a day much like this day. Recalling very clearly the point at which the book came into her life.

It was a day late in the spring, she remembered she was playing on the front veranda of the little green house where she grew up. This was the best place to be, because the big lead glass windows always trapped the new season’s warmth here first. It was also the best place to hide from chores. Today hiding was easy because mom was in the kitchen with Aunt Johanna enjoying a visit and a cup of tea.

Aunt Johanna was a perfect mystery, before a few months ago there was no Aunt Johanna and there was no certainty in my small mind that she was a real Aunt, as no one had ever mentioned her. One day she simply appeared and from that day to this she was puzzle in every way. Aunt Johanna was not really tall, not really short, a woman neither fat, nor thin, nor happy, nor sad, nor young, or old; she had no husband and if you were to ask she would tell you she had no good use for a man.

I don’t know where she came from and never had a chance to ask her, for she was gone as quickly as she had come. Were it not for the book I might question if she were real or if I had dreamed her. On this day, the last I saw her, she came to me as I played happily in the spring light. Bending down she fixed her amazing yellow eyes on me as she handed me a package. It was plainly wrapped in brown paper and string, like the packages that were brought home from the butcher; but more even in shape. She laughed with the sound of silver chimes; as I eagerly ripped open the packet only to find, not a new smock, or doll, but…a book.

In my small child’s mind this was a huge disenchantment and I was quite unsure what I should do with it. As I stood there looking utterly confused Aunt Johanna simply smiled and whispered “Magic” then she was gone.

Book in hand I sat down in the cat nap warmth of the big worn green armchair and swung open the cover of the book. I then flipped through the pages looking for pictures. I was, as of yet, not much grown and up to this point there had always been pictures in my books. The few well wrought sketches strewn within these pages did not count for much in my juvenile estimation. I looked at the book with a sense of unease; taking in the rich leather bound cover and elegant gold script. It was thicker than my fist with pages and pages of seemingly endless words. Being a well raised lass who did not want to seem unappreciative of a gift, I did the only thing I felt I could do – I started to read...

As my eyes followed the even bold lines, this world faded away as nothing. I wandered endlessly through lands foreign and exotic. At the outset I found myself spinning straw into gold in a small room with a frightening little man, soon I was trapped in a tower; my only hope of escape was my long golden hair which fell through the tower window far down to the ground below. Without warning I was traveling from town to town with a troupe of very odd musicians. Round and round I went, page after page living a hundred lives or so it seemed. I came back to this world with mother calling my name and shaking me lightly. So transfixed was I by the spell the book had cast upon me, I did not realize the day was gone.

I had discovered that the power of the book to was to mesmerize and enthrall, this was great magic indeed. Each written word weaving like the fates, endless possibilities, destroying the limits and boundaries that existed outside of its covers. To this day I have never found a treasure greater, more valuable than a fortune in gold or jewels, trusted to my keeping until such a time as …this very moment.

A faint touch tenderly brushed a wisp of hair from her brow, glancing down; amber eyes met amber eyes as she gazed into the exquisite face of her little granddaughter. She ran a loving hand over the familiar book, crossing its worn cover and faintly stopping on the faded gold script, then held the book out to the child before her and whispered “Magic Johanna”.
Old 02-08-2011, 12:38 PM
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Default Those White Stones

Where are the stones, those curious white stones, which you absolutely promised you'd bring and haven't - i can see (im not blind, you know), i can see from your lack of luggage, and I know that you think I'm just having a go again ('she's always having a go' etc.) but this time I really really meant it. I really wanted you to bring those curious white stones. But you didn't.

What annoys me most though is that it could have been anything. It could have been 'bring your own hands along', and I'm pretty convinced that you would have cut them off before you got here, just to defy me. Again.

So thank you. Thank you very much. I am leaving. Not that you care, or ought to. But I'm leaving. For good, and forever. You will never see this face again. These hazel yellow eyes, these curled lips, these heavy eyebrows and sunken cheeks. You made this face, shaped it, contorted it into thin triangles when you wanted to. And now, you'll never see it again. Never.

Unless of course you look at an old photograph! In which case you will see it again. And again. And again.
Old 02-22-2011, 01:24 AM
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Default The Visit - 1706 words

Julia shivered as she approached the vast building. She hated this place. It reminded her of a haunted house: big, gloomy, draughty and old. It probably was haunted, people died here every year. Within these walls, unknown memories that would never be told. If these walls could talk, Julia thought with a chuckle.

The spring flowers and birds that had been evident just a few seconds ago were now nowhere to be seen or heard. This fact made her shiver again as she rung the ancient doorbell. All around the world continued, cars drove by, the wind rustled through the trees. Around the building, everything seemed dead. Detached from the world, much like the occupants.

Julia didn’t recognise the woman who opened the door. Not surprising, as she tended to avoid the staff as much as possible. They in return left her alone for the hour or two she spent here every week. Julia walked down the draughty hallway to the common room where a familiar sight awaited her. Zombie like geriatrics lined the walls, all sat in cushioned hard backed chairs, all staring inanely into space. It was both scary and depressing at the same time. All of these zombies had once been full of life, just like she was now.

She spotted her grandma in her usual seat by one of the three televisions, showing reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’ that no one watched. Quickly walking over to her, Julia kept her eyes averted from the other room occupants. She wondered as always why she came every week, grandma wouldn’t notice if she missed a week. She knew the answer of course. She loved her grandma deeply. She had practically raised Julia while her parents worked. She’d always been there for her through her childhood, difficult adolescence and subsequent years. It was only fair that she was here for grandma now, when the whole world had left her behind.

Julia blamed herself for grandma ending up here. She thought if she had taken better care, visited her more, then the dementia wouldn’t have set in. In reality, grandma was almost 106 and had only endured both the illness and this hellhole for two years. It was down to Julia’s frequent visits that she was still alive. Julia didn’t accept this fact. She blamed her parents more than herself for putting grandma here. They hadn’t even visited the place before organising for her to become a resident. They had only visited twice in two years. They lived twenty miles away.

“Serena,” grandma cooed, her pale grey eyes lighting up. She had long ago forgotten who Julia was, or that her daughter Serena had a daughter, or was married. Julia didn’t mind, grandma could call her whatever, as long as she was happy to see her.

Julia pecked her on the forehead, smiling brightly she said, “Hello mum.”

She carefully hooked her arms under grandma’s armpits and helped her up. She would take her out to the visiting room, where it was lighter and they could have some privacy. This was likely to be her last visit here, it was important everything was right.

Julia had only recently managed to finish going through all the things she’d salvaged from her grandma’s house when her parents had put it up for sale. Amongst the things she had found the half crown that grandma accredited for bringing her and grandpa together. Grandma had smiled when Julia mentioned finding it and had muttered that she wanted it back. Julia had a suspicion that it was what she had been waiting for before passing away.

Sat comfortably on the pink sofa, grandma started asking ‘Serena’ how school had been and fretting about what time grandpa would be home for tea.

Grandma’s eyes suddenly seemed to clear and focus. “Julia, did you bring it? You said you’d bring the alderman.”

Julia looked at her puzzled as to why her grandma would think she’d bring an Alderman with her. She was also surprised that she’d called her by her name, or that she recalled being told about the coin last week.

“Grandma, I’ve brought the coin like I said I would. I haven’t brought anyone else with me. It’s just me grandma, like always.”

Grandma looked into her face and smiled serenely, “Silly sausage, your grandpa and I called the half crown an alderman. It’s what you kids would call the slang name for it when we were kids.”

“Oh, okay.” Julia reached into her side jeans pocket and pulled out the delicately wrapped, tissue-covered coin.

“The alderman.” Grandma whispered delightfully, reaching her frail hand out to take it from Julia. “Thank you.”

Julia expected her to launch into the story behind it, but instead she cradled the coin by her cheek, kissed it and then closed her eyes. Julia watched as her grandma’s hands dropped into her lap and her head lolled backwards. Initially shocked that she’d just witnessed her dear grandma pass away, Julia relaxed when she heard the light purr of grandma’s snores. Not knowing what to do, Julia got up and wandered around the room. She walked to the window and looked out onto the seemingly endless grounds. She shuddered as she noticed a dark shadow thrown across the grass and flowerbeds. It was nothing except the shadow the vast building cast with the sun behind it, but it still unnerved her.

A loud bang from somewhere unnerved her further. She quietly slipped over to the door and peered out into the hallway. There was a man pushing a trolley towards the kitchen; it must have been him, Julia rationalised. She was just about to return to grandma when something fell out from the side of the trolley. Julia involuntarily gasped. To her it looked like a shrivelled arm, and the trolley, a gurney. Julia ducked back inside the room, fearing she had been seen, or at least heard.

Frazzled, she decided to get out of there while she could. However, grandma chose then to wake from her nap.


“Yes, mum.” Julia quickly, considerately sat next to grandma and put a hand over her frail knee.

“Do you remember the story of how your father and I met?” she enquired, opening her palm to gaze at the half crown lovingly.

“Yes, mum. It was very sweet and romantic.” She kept one eye on the door as she spoke.

“He was from a poor family, same as I, he thought me the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.”

Julia could tell from the look on her face, that grandma had been transported back to that time. She gave up hope of escape. “Tell me the story mum.”

He had seen her around, had tried to pluck up the courage to approach her with no success until his mother gave him the coin. She called it an alderman, as did Julia’s great grandmother. Grandpa had dropped it on the street after grandma had walked past and asked if she had dropped it. At first she had been weary of him but something about his face made her approach and gaze upon the coin. She had told him how she wished she was lucky enough to have an alderman, and then he had placed it in her palm and closed her hand around it. They talked for what felt like hours and then arranged to meet again the next day, then the next until they were engaged and moved in with his family until their spring wedding.

While grandma told the story, Julia thought back to what she thought she had seen. The lighting in the hallways was substandard, and she had been thinking how spooky the place was. Had her overactive imagination conjured up the perceived sight? It must be that, she reasoned, this is not some Stephen King book, every bump doesn’t disguise an impending horror. Julia listened to the noises she could hear coming from the kitchen. They’re preparing lunch like they always do, nothing sinister is happening, she told herself confidently.

“It sounds very romantic mum, I wish I had been there.”

“Silly girl, why are you calling me mum? I’m your nana.” Grandma said sternly, her pale grey eyes looking silver and clear once more.

Julia apologised kissing her cheek fondly, “Sorry, you’ve always been more of a mum to me.”

“Hmm, Serena was never meant to be a mother I don’t think.” Grandma leant forward and passed the coin to Julia. “Anyway, be a dear and put the alderman in my jewellery box in my room and then you can be off. Dinner’s almost ready.”

“Okay, shall I help you into the dining hall?” Julia asked, getting to her feet.

“No dear, the staff don’t like visitors in the dining hall or kitchen. They’re very funny, but they do look after us.”

“That’s good, I’ll see you next week.” Julia kissed grandma on the forehead. “Love you.”

Julia could still hear noises coming from the kitchen as she left grandma on the sofa. She quickened her step and was out of breath when she arrived at grandma’s room. Once the coin was safely rewrapped in tissue and placed in grandma’s jewellery box, she breathed a sigh of relief. She was getting out of here, and she hoped – as bad as it was to have such thoughts – that grandma would die before the next visit.


Julia mumbled a reply to the woman who had opened the door just an hour ago as she left. She hurried down the path, back into the light and safety. She was back in the real world; her fears vanished. She glanced back as she stepped onto the pavement, bumping into someone. She mumbled an apology.

“Give me your purse.”

Julia looked puzzled at the young man, before stumbling back aghast. Julia didn’t feel anything as the knife slid seamlessly through her red top, past her ribcage, and into her heart.

She collapsed onto the pavement, blood pooling around her still form. The man scooped up her purse and fled. Her eyes widen with disbelief as reality set in and she drew her last breath.

Grandma wasn’t next after all.

And it had been her last visit.

The End.

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Life is a journey, you hold the map
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Hope for the best, expect the worst, accept whatever happens
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A person's true strength is shown in how they handle failure, not success
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Last edited by Tau; 02-24-2011 at 04:00 AM.. Reason: Change Approved.
Old 02-22-2011, 06:46 AM
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Default Lillian

He wanted her. Lust filled him, snaked through his body. Sleep eluded him; she invaded every hour of his night, his thoughts full of Lillian. His attempts at seduction failed. Aloof, untouchable, slender in an emerald dress; blond curls piled high, she paraded before him.

She teased, she taunted. She wanted… her list was endless. He showered her with gifts. She wanted more.

Insatiable, she sucked him dry.

* * *

Old and bent he sits with memories that flood - an emerald dress and piled blond hair -- all disjointed, half remembered. With a wan smile, he sits with echoes of his youth and Lillian.
Old 02-22-2011, 06:19 PM
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Default Lustful Objection 1,485 words

Lustful Objection

The man looks at me with longing. I hate to admit it, but I find that gaze in his sad eyes grotesque. I know it's nothing more than a desire for one thing and one thing only. He wants heat. Friction. A climactic release of hormones to help him forget the pathetic puke that he is for a few short moments. I am a physical specimen to him. He is an addict, and he wants a good, hard fix.

A fuck. I think. I hate the word. In reference to a sexual encounter, it’s the phrase that holds the least personal accountability. There is no emotion, no love, no deep passion in such an embrace as a fuck. It would never sound right coming out of my mouth. But that’s how I think of us now.

The waitress drops off our breakfast. His eggs and coffee, my tea.

“You aren’t eating anything?” He asks. “For shit’s sake. What’s the matter with you?” Without a word, my eyes betray my thoughts. He slides a hand across the stained countertop. We are in a seedy diner. No one around. I shudder inwardly when he grips my wrist. I look away, hovering over my white tea mug, trying to absorb its warmth. “I don’t know how many times I have to say I’m sorry about the last time we…about what I did.”

He chokes on a bite of his food, coughing into his hand. He coughs harder, and I see his face turn blood red. His arms flail, knocking dishes from the counter as he tries to get air. He claws desperately at me, begging for rescue with bulging eyes. I see him crumple to the floor as I let him suffocate—death by egg and my own apathy.

“I was drunk,” he says, cutting into my fantasy. He washes whatever is caught in his throat down with coffee. I shake my head and open my eyes. “Can’t we just leave it at that and move on?” He asks. I sip my tea slowly, feeling a small chip on the rim with my tongue. God, everywhere I look something's broken.

He squeezes my hand. I clear my throat to kill the silence, but I don't have a word in response. For me, words are as empty as the sugar packets I've piled neatly next to my mug. I start to crumple the packets as I stare at his left hand. The shiny wedding band there. The thought alone of his rough touch is enough to make me want to jump out of my skin. I stay put, however. There is nowhere to run to. I try not to think of his prodding hands. Tearing my clothing. Ripping my underwear apart.

I don’t care how depressed you get about it he slurs. Sobs erupt from my throat and he ignores them. He smells as if he’s consumed half of the local bar.

You’re still a wife he growls. By now I'm struggling to free myself and escape the bed. He’s much stronger than me, though.

If I don’t get it here, you know damn well I’ll get it somewhere else.

Open up he snaps. He doesn’t look at me, just at my legs as he jerks them apart.

This flashback that accompanies even the slightest touch from my husband is overwhelming. I try to pick up my tea, but my hand shakes, clinking it against the saucer. I let go of the mug. It would only slosh all over the place.

“Is it the money stressing you out?” He asks. My only reply is a sigh so deep I imagine it cracking the bones in my chest. Typical male. Always thinking of money. “We’re a little behind on hospital bills, but business will pick up. I’ll take care of it.” He pats my hand and finally pulls his away. The place where he touched me seems to burn.

“Business?” I say. “You think it’s business?” What am I doing? Nothing I say will get through. Only chemicals in the form of sexual pleasure would make him notice me. Even then, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t hear me. Not really.

Money. Business. Bills. Why can’t he say it? I say it. I think it all the time.

“It was half a year ago,” he tells me. “The child…it wasn’t even a child yet. You were barely a month along.”

Twenty percent. That’s the number of first time pregnancies that end for absolutely no reason at all. Miscarriage. Death. A soul almost alive but without a chance to even love or feel or know its existence.

“And you can’t even begin to understand what it means,” I say, as though he would know what I was thinking. As though he held one iota of empathy for me.

The lone waitress stops by, asking if I’d like more tea since mine has gone cold. I smile and say no, thank you. She fills my husband’s coffee cup and moves on. I watch her with her back turned, bending to straighten ketchup bottles and wipe tables. I wonder if it’s ever happened to her. Has she ever lost a child she wanted? Or, and the thought makes me cringe, has she ever chosen to give one up? Probably she’s experienced neither, but I can’t help thinking about it. Every woman I see.

He raises his eyebrows at me. Then shrugs as he shovels a bit of eggs in. “Doc says it’s a fluke, remember? It happens for no reason sometimes,” he pauses to sip his coffee, its color the same as his soft, brown eyes. Eyes that play for warmth when he’s trying to be nice to me, when it’s been getting too long since he’s gotten sex. “You’re still a young woman with a healthy system. We can try again, no problem.” His voice holds the emotion of someone speaking of car trouble or home re-modeling.

“A healthy system.” I do this thing were I try to stop a smile from spreading on my lips. It happens sometimes, when I am talking about something that’s too much for me. Like hysterical laughter but in the form of a quiet, upward muscle spasm. “My system? Healthy?” I look at him. He sees the smile. I know I look crazy. My system is shot.

“You can’t keep dwelling on it. I’m sorry for what I did, but you were starving me, damn it. We need to be a couple again.” He plays with my hair, combing through it at the back of my neck. It no longer gives me that sighing, warm shiver of delight. I feel no anticipation, no yearning for this man. And I never will. A wave of nausea hits me. It’s not nerves, either. It is real, concrete. I take comfort in it.

I rise from my seat, trying to hold the bile back. He gets up, but the disturbance in my bowls remind me of what’s to come. I’ve got new resolve. I’ve got a newfound bravery.

“Don’t,” I say it with a weight that makes him sit back down. I cup the side of my husband’s face with my hand. He thinks I’m being affectionate. He leans into my grasp, setting the stage for what he hopes will be a fresh, new act in the sheets tonight. Until I dig in with my nails. He pulls back, puts his hand to the scratches I’ve made. He’s shocked at the small bit of blood smeared on his fingers. It’s nothing compared to the blood I’ve spilled. “Don’t follow me. I’m done.”

I’m really doing it. I’m going to leave. I turn back, daring to give him one last thought.

“I kept telling myself it was just a question of timing, but that was just an excuse. I was scared.” I look him up and down, feeling my disgust for him like I feel the blood pumping through my veins. “Now I realize it's more terrifying if I don't go. This will be better. For both our sakes.”

He probably thinks that by “both” I am referring to him and myself. But I’m not. His careless, drunken violation of my body had one good result. And I am going to protect it at all costs.

I leave him there, staring, his mouth wide open. His legs are poised as if he’s about to get up. For a split second, I fear that he will. Then he turns in his seat. Back to his eggs and toast before they get cold.

He doesn’t believe me. The important thing is that I believe myself. My tears flow freely for the memories I will never have of a child I would never meet—and for the new life inside me, which I would always shield from a demented love. The bell on the door gives a charming little ting as I go.
Old 03-03-2011, 04:54 PM
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Default Accident

"Are you OK miss?" Came a voice as a man poked his head in at me.
"Yes I'm...I'm...ok, I think." Came a voice, that I didn't realize I had until now.
"Is anything broken? Can you move your feet?" He asked. I wiggled my toes, then my feet, as I hung upside down. Yup I was OK.
"No I don't think so." I answered until I looked down at my bloody hands with the glass piercing my skin. Tears streamed down my face as I called out, " I want my dad, somebody please call my dad!"
"Don't worry miss the medics will be here soon, and I won't leave your side until they do. You are in good hands. I used to work in California as a medic, saved hundreds of lives, I'm Tom" He began. "Thank you Lord." I silently prayed, as I began to calm down. Finally I got a good look at this man, silver neatly cut hair, with a gray bushy beard. This man, my savior, reminded me of my grandfather, he was old enough to be.
"Is this your cell phone?" Another voice called as a little old woman with gray curly hair, Tom's wife, poked her head in through the back showing me my phone.
"Yes, my dad's number is in there I think. His name is Darrin" I replied in a shaky voice.
The woman disappeared from the window. "Hello? Yes Darrin? Hi..." She trailed off as she walked away from the car.
"whoohoo whoohoo!" Sirens pierced the air. The medics had arrived.
Tom, who had never left my side, now disappeared out of the car window, as a medic's head poked in.
"Are you ok miss? We are going to get you out of here, so hang in there." He said looking at my dashboard. "Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will help you and strengthen you. Isaiah 41:10," he read allowed. "Wow miss, God must be watching out for you." With that he pulled his head out from the window. I could hear the medics discussing how to get me out, when the back door opened.
"Ok miss, can you crawl out?" The medics asked, as they unbuckled me.
"umph!" I said as I hit the floor.
"Oh sorry miss." The medic said with a start.
"It's ok I'm fine and Yes...I think so." I replied. Knee by knee, hand by hand, I crawled, medics ready to help me out.
"Whoosh!" The wind blew my sand filled hair as I struggled to open my eyes through the blinding sun.
"Lets get you out of this wind." A voice said, taking my arm.
Down the sandy hill and into the ambulance we walked.
Safe at last!
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:49 PM
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This life time.

The room is white, whiter than you could ever image. There are many soft white shelves with many scrolls setting on them. You walk by and look at each one of them, wanting to open them all up and read them, but instead you put your hand out to touch one, but when you did, the life of Ralph James Winterfield ran through your head like a video and you were able to see how he was born to a mother of golden blond hair, with skin as soft as sheep skin and with the kindest soft voice, that could sing you to sleep. but then, she dies right after giving birth.
Then as he grew, he was raised by a women that he called Nana, She was harsh looking and looked like she had many years on her, but she did the best that she could for you and your family. She could never replace the women your father loved so deeply.
Education, was what was shown on the farm. Every morning Ralph was early to rise, to feed the animals and gather the eggs and milk. If eggs were broke or milk was spilled. Then food was taken from your plate.
Then at a good ripe age, you was shown how to use a gun. Was told to go out and find food for the family of eight. Your father, Nana, three younger brothers and two younger sisters. You were told not to come back unless you shot something for supper and you better come back with something, we would love to eat tonight. So you would head out and with luck, would bring something home every night. There was never a thank you or you did well son. It was hurry up get it cleaned. The family is hungry.
Then when you had become a man, your father sent you out to hunt for their next meal, but this time you took your belongings with you. The clothing on your back and a blanket with the only thing you ever had of your mothers, A string of pearls. You didn't look back, all you could do was look forward.

Then you raise your hand from that scroll and walk a little further down. Then you hand touched another, but right away the vision was of a baby that was born and then taken back, but you were able to see this baby rise above. You take your hand off this one and walk a little further.

This time you touched a scroll of power. The baby was born and the family stood outside to show the city people who was next to rule the land and they held the baby up high for all to see him.
He grew up with the wealth that many wish they could have. The best education and best nanny's that money could buy. He was groomed how to take over the world and grew up being thee most greedy person that one could image. Then you pulled your hand away again.

Then you continue down the roll of scrolls and you then touch another, but this time it is of a baby that came into the world backwards. The mother of this child did her best as a mother could. The child was the middle child and would stand back and just watch the world go by, but she learn many things along the way.
She had it rough growing up, she felt all alone many times, but she didn't know that this was to teach her wisdom and soon learn to understand what the world was trying to teach us all.
She never felt love and would feel that she was evil for not seeing it, but then she later learn what love really means. Its not telling someone every time you see them, that you love them. Its not making someone love you back. Its being able to see everything around you....Is love.

So this time without taking your hand off the scroll, you pick it up. You know that this is the life that you want to live in this life time.

Last edited by Tau; 03-23-2011 at 04:35 PM..
Old 03-06-2011, 09:09 PM
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Default Unknown Memories

The End

It was the final week. Life in the flesh as I had known it was coming to a close. I had not been here before, but each scene that unfolded before me was hauntingly familiar.

I told my associates to get me a colt to ride upon. I knew where they could find it and I knew they would have no trouble acquiring it for me. It was mine, but I would return it. My associates did just as I told them. One person asked my associates what they thought they were doing, but retreated when they told them I had need of it. Zechariah had said it would happen just as I am recounting it for you now.

My associates put their coats on the animal’s back and I sat down on it. Although the colt had never been ridden before, it yielded docilely to me. Many people laid out palm branches and coats before me to ride upon as they shouted my praise. “Hosanna in the Highest!” they exclaimed. Others were angry and said I should make them stop. It was my world, and these were my people; the praise was justified. I did not, however, thrive on the praise of men; I only needed the approval of one.

I knew the praise would not last; people are fickle. I knew that I had to leave; I was going back to the place from which I had come. I was going back to the place where those memories were written when I had not yet lived even one of them.

Those who were angry with me sought my death vigorously. I escaped them repeatedly, but the time was drawing near when I would surrender myself to them (how foolish they were to think they would capture me!) My closest allies had followed me loyally; they were with me even now, but they were asleep. My associates missed the urgency of the hour because what I was about to do was incomprehensible.

In my flesh, I sweat great drops of blood; I knew what was coming and I sought another way. There was no other way. My world was broken, my people were broken. There were others too, that needed me. I wanted them. I wanted them all. I did not want to oppress them—although I certainly had the power to do so!

They were condemned people, destined for hell. The law was precise in defining right and wrong, and the penalty for doing wrong. Not one of them was guiltless. I, on the other hand, was completely innocent. I had the power to condemn them to the sentence they deserved. I also had the power to pay the debt they had incurred. I set my face like flint to do the unthinkable, alone.

A heavily armed mob came for me in the dark of night. I had been praying while my associates slept. I woke them up and told them the time had come. I faced the mob without resistance, but one of my closest allies, Peter, bless his heart, tried to defend me. He cut off one of the men’s ears. I told Peter to put his sword away as I put the man’s ear back on his head.

Later on that night, I watched as that same brave man, Peter, denied ever having known me. Peter’s cowardice here did not provoke me to recoil any more than his earlier, nobler deed inspired me to continue toward my goal. I do not change like men and women. Everything I have ever done was based on who I am, not on what people thought or think of me.

I was falsely accused, covertly arrested and unjustly tried at night. My jailers felt free to mock me—beat me even, under the cloak of darkness. (Why do men think no one sees in the dark? Are not babies formed perfectly in the dark confines of their mothers’ wombs?) I knew exactly who they were and what they were doing—even when they blindfolded me. I accepted the ridicule and the humiliation (though this was undeserved), just as I had accepted the praise. No one seemed to notice. (Do they notice even now?)

The sentence was passed, death by crucifixion. My enemies reveled in my defeat. My allies hid themselves from my distress. None of them knew my impending doom would be my greatest victory. How could they? “They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” How many years had it been since I read this Psalm of David? Hundreds I am sure. Now, I lived them. I breathed my last and it was finished; the debt was paid.

I was dead once, but now I live, never to die again. This too was written before; it is the sweetest of victories, both for me and all who trust me.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:45 AM
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The Corner Grocer

He'd never noticed those street signs before nor the light at the intersection nor any of the buildings crowding the busy streets. Strangers, all of them, passing by without speaking without noticing him. Spotting a nearby concrete bench he sat in the weak sunlight and held his grocery bag on his lap. Eggs, milk, coffee, lettuce and tomatoes, an onion and a few cans of low sodium soup. A box of dog treats. He wondered if he liked low sodium soup.

The city bus pulled to a stop and the pnuematic doors hissed open. He stared in at the driver and smiled. No, he didn't think he was getting on but thanks for asking. It was four oclock in the afternoon. Did the time matter?

When he woke from his nap it was dark and cold. Biting into the tomatoe he wished he had salt but it was still tasty. The digital sign on the bank said it was nine forty and the temperature was fifty two degrees. How much longer would he have to wait? Here comes a cop car.

"Yes, I believe that's me but I am not sure about the address." At least it's warm in the patrol car. I can't remember my phone number. I might not have a phone. "I'll wait here and drink the coffee. Can I have a napkin. I have tomato on my coat and shirt. I have a dog but I don't know what breed and I don't recall its name. Maybe Russ. When I was a kid I had a Jack Russell Terrier. I named it Russ. Do you like dogs?"

She's here to take me home. Why is she crying and hugging me? I need to feed Russ.
"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy." Fitzgerald
Old 03-07-2011, 03:13 PM
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Default Permanently Blind

Before my vision was impaired,

Impaired... What is that? My vision was stolen.

I took so much for granted. Too much. Nobody ever realises the beauty in some of the sights they consider to be ordinary. A child falling over, crying at the pain of grazing their knee. It hurts you to watch them feel and express themselves so fully. To witness that agony is to experience it yourself, in a small way. The loss of my eyes isn't just the loss of sight, it's never being able to read emotion again. To see is to feel. That has been more true to me than anything since the assault.

Blow after blow rained down upon my face that night; blood poured from my broken nose onto my lips. It tasted thick, salty. I was sure that an adrenaline rush or some sort of chemical response was supposed to protect me from pain, but I felt everything. A few seconds fell between each punch or stamp, and even those moments were filled with a throbbing so intense that it fed the anger and bitterness that stays with me to this day.

I was returning home from work, after a late night shift. We didn't close until gone 2 A.M., and the walk back was at least a mile and a half, going the long way. The short route was more like a mile but did cut through some charmless alleyways, one of which would be the setting for my nightmare.

They pounced out of the darkness, and never said a word. They spoke only with their fists and the heels of their boots. I don't know how long they had waited for someone to walk through, but everything was premeditated. The more I replay it in my head, the more disgusting it becomes and my faith in humanity takes another beating, just like I did. It still sickens me, the way they swarmed in seconds and had me helpless instantly. As I approached, the sound of my heels echoing off of the tall brick walls must have lit a neon sign above my head saying 'VULNERABLE'.

"Leeees..." I would say, unable to bring my swollen lips together to form a 'p' sound. Of course they ignored me, but I screamed it into the night until I was literally blue in the face.

They left me lying on the floor, swallowing more blood than I could spit. I'm not sure if at that point I was already blind or if my eyes were just too swollen, but I couldn't see anything. I passed out. I picked an awful time to do that. I stayed conscious through the unbearable pain, only to drift off once they had left. It seemed so cruel of my brain to force me through it.

They took my purse. I worked in a bar where the customers didn't tip well. It didn't even have a hundred dollars in. I don't even care about the purse, or my phone, or the necklace my Ex bought me for our anniversary.

Okay, yeah. I care. I really fucking care. But those assholes took from me what you never expect to lose until it's gone. My eyes were a portal into the deepest most repressed regions of my mind. Even the things I don't want to see, I can't anymore. I don't want to see my Ex's face because it would make me so angry. But I am angry that I'll never get to feel that again. A part of me hoped that one day he would come back to me, and that I'd get to watch him smile that smile, the one he has when he doesn't know I'm looking. That hope is gone. It's not unrealistic for me to dream of a happily ever after anymore, it's just impossible.

The doctors told me I had lost all use of both of my eyes after the assault, I would be permanently blind. I heard some medical jargon about severe hemorrhaging and damage to the optic nerve but it just sailed straight through my ears. 'Permanently blind' were the only two words knocking around my head, and they have been for the past seven years.

Every day since then, the images of everything important to me have become increasingly blurry. My Dad died last year, and I couldn't even remember what he looked like. When I speak to my sister I see a faint image in my mind's eye of a pretty girl with blonde hair, but the finer details have been lost forever. I don't know what colour her eyes are or if she's starting to show wrinkles around her eyes. I don't know if I am, either.

I would watch my Ex sleep with his new girlfriend if it just meant I could see something again. All I remember is I thought he was so handsome, but there's no picture. When he left me I couldn't get the image of his face out of my head, it would torture me into the middle of the night. Now, I'm tortured by the absence of it.

The one picture from my life that gets clearer every day is one of the last I ever saw.

Streetlights reflected in a puddle, shimmering in the ripples. They belong to the road on the other side of that alleyway, inviting me to make it through.

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