I took this picture a few weeks ago. I find so much beauty in it and inspiration for writing stories.
I took this picture a few weeks ago. I find so much beauty in it and inspiration for writing stories.
Here is the second round in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest.
My category: Action/Adventure, an international border crossing, a bathrobe
I will say that I wasn’t too happy with the ending; if I had the chance I would go back and change it, but I do hope you enjoy..
Even Love Has Boundaries
She dreamed of the perfect wedding, but she got more than she bargained for.
It was after midnight when Cassie finally stumbled back into her hotel suite. Her bridesmaids were still out enjoying themselves, but she was too excited about the wedding to stay; in less than twenty-four hours she would be marrying her love, Alan, on the white sands of Andalucia, Spain. Cassie let her purse and key card fall to the floor. All she wanted to do was get into bed, but her clothes wreaked of nightclub smoke and sweat, that showering became a priority.
She made her way into the bathroom and felt along the wall until she hit the light switch; warm recessed lighting cascaded down from the ceiling. She fumbled for the shower handle and waited until steam covered the glass stall. Cassie undressed and carefully stepped into it; she exhaled as the hot water touched her skin. She scrubbed the remnants of her bachelorette party from her body and watched them collect in a soapy swirl over the drain. She still couldn’t believe she was getting married to a man she had only met a few weeks before, but it all seemed right to her.
Cassie’s shower was cut short when she heard the phone ringing in the next room. She slid into a plush bathrobe that had been hanging behind the bathroom door and rushed to her phone. “Hello?” she answered.
“Hey, honey,” Alan replied.
“Alan!” Cassie sunk into the bed and curled her feet beneath her.
“How was your bachelorette party?”
“It was fine. The girls are still out there getting drunk as hell. I was ready to get back to the hotel room. Big day tomorrow,” she fidgeted with the tags on the comforter, “Do you think we’re rushing into this?”
There was silence on the other end, “Yes,” he said finally, “but I want this. I want you to be my wife, and I want us to go on adventures.” That was all Cassie needed to hear. “Well get some sleep. I can’t wait to see you.
“Okay, can’t wait,” she ended the call. It wasn’t long before she had drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, Cassie, still half asleep, could hear birds squawking, and she thought she could even hear frogs croaking; they were so loud she swore she was sleeping outside. When she finally opened her eyes, she was startled to find that she was indeed lying outside in the middle of a jungle. “What the hell?” Cassie was still in her bathrobe. She stood up and headed for one side of the jungle thinking her friends might have played a small prank on her. “Okay, funny guys! Come on, we have a wedding to get ready for,” she called, but as she began walking around she realized she wasn’t anywhere near the hotel. Cassie was lost in the middle of a jungle. “Don’t panic,” she said to herself, “Damn it, I’m panicking!” she ran to one side of the jungle, but it extended for miles. She ran to the other side and could see no end to it.
She fought her way through thick vines and crawled under leaves larger than her body. She walked, then ran, and sometimes cried in small spurts before telling herself to shut up and keep going. By mid-morning her bare feet were black and her bathrobe was tattered. Cassie stopped when she heard people behind her.
“Oh thank goodness, they found me. Over here!” she walked toward their voices, but she didn’t recognize a single person. Five men dressed heavily in cargo pants and military jackets, knives strapped to their belts, and guns at their sides flagged her down. When they lifted their guns she bolted in the opposite direction weaving between uprooted trees and heavy branches. They shot at her and bullets whizzed past her head. Cassie screamed but pushed on. They were fast, but she was small and could fit in places that they couldn’t easily go. She heard them yelling, but she couldn’t understand what they were saying. Cassie backed away until there was nowhere else to go. They closed in on her with guns aimed for her head. Cassie backed into a thicket; it splintered against her weight until it gave way, and she crashed down a river canyon.
Cassie cried out when she hit the water; the current swept her under and she struggled to come up for air. She grasped at vines but they slipped from her fingers. She was quickly losing her fight against the current, and she let it take her.
Finally, she caught a break as the rapids pushed her against tree roots jutting from the river bank. Cassie dragged herself onto it. Her body ached but she limped away from the river. Then she heard a familiar voice.
“I think she’s coming,” it was Alan’s voice. She hobbled toward it and trudged up a small hill. Once the trees cleared, Cassie saw the white sands of Andalucia’s beach; she saw their wedding guests, and Alan was standing before them all. Her bridesmaids were perfect, wide-eyed, and grinning through shiny teeth. Cassie’s teeth felt gritty. Everyone applauded as she approached.
“What’s going on?!” Cassie asked.
“I wanted our marriage to start off with an adventure. Something you’d never forget. So I put you on the Portuguese border.”
“Adventure? You had me chased across the border so I would end up here like this? In my bathrobe, in front of all these people?! I’ve been shot at. I slid down a river canyon, and I almost drowned!” Cassie looked down at herself, “And am I bleeding? I think they shot my leg!” She looked around at the guests. Their big smiles had turned to awkward glances.
“Honey, you’re overreacting a little,” he whispered.
“You are an asshole!” she barked. “Now please excuse me, I have to get myself to a hospital.” Cassie limped past each row of guests, and they watched her head for the hotel. She never looked back.
I entered myself into the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. This is a pretty neat way to flex your writing muscles. They put you into groups and give each group a genre, subject, and location, and the story must be no more than 1,000 words. I was put into group 34: Suspense, dentist’s office, and a blank check.
My story is posted below. Unfortunately, after I submitted this, I noticed one minor discrepancy. I won’t say what it is. I want to see if you pick up on it. 😉 Hope you enjoy!
He Wasn’t Going to Leave
Dr. Thomason sat alone in the employee lounge. He peered briefly inside his shirt pocked at a neatly folded blank check. Satisfied it was still there, he closed his eyes and propped his feet on the table hoping to catch a quick nap before the last patient arrived. His head nodded softly as he listened to the ridiculous clock on the wall; each dying second seemed longer and louder than the last.
“Hey, Patrick!” his hygienist, Amy called from the doorway. His legs flailed at the sound of her voice causing powdered creamer and a cup of stale coffee to spill onto the table. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she rushed in pulling paper towels from a nearby shelf. Dr. Thomason reached out for a few to help with the mess.
“I’ve got it, Amy, thanks,” Dr. Thomason brushed the mess into a sticky pile with the paper towels. He looked for a trashcan and Amy followed his gaze next to a vending machine. “Grab that for me would you?”
The young woman pushed it across the floor and rested it against the table. “Gives coffee table a whole new meaning,” she joked. Dr. Thomason smiled as he wiped up the last bit of coffee and creamer sludge into the trash, but Amy could see right through it. “Everything okay?”
Dr. Thomason looked up. He never noticed how gentle her eyes were. She had a subtle way about her; it was a kindness he hadn’t felt in some time. “Yeah, I’m good. Just not looking forward to this last patient.” He glanced back at the clock; the damn thing finally stopped. “Do you happen to know what time it is? I left my phone in the car.” Amy reached into her coat pocket and looked at her phone.
“Quarter to five. Who’s the patient?” she asked as she slid the phone back into her purse.
“David Harmon. Always the last patient and always the most difficult.” Dr. Thomason shook his head.
“I remember him. Comes in a lot doesn’t he? He gives the girls at the front desk the creeps. They say he just stares at them until he gets called back. I think he’s harmless though, just awkward. What’s he coming in for today?”
“I’m not sure. Some sort of emergency visit. Surprisingly whenever he comes in here everything checks out fine. No signs of gum disease or tooth decay. I can’t quite figure out why he comes back so often,” but he did know why David Harmon always came back to see him. Patrick owed him something that he wasn’t ready to give, and he was going to keep coming back until his debt was paid.
Amy patted his shoulder, “Well let me know if you need any help. I always keep my cell on.”
“Drive safe, Amy. It gets dark so early now, and those roads have been pretty bad this winter.” He watched her leave and as she did, his secretary stepped in to see him. “Hi, Carol.”
“Hi, Dr. Thomason,” the tremble in her voice said it all.
“Yes, sir. He brought something,” she answered.
“What is it?”
“A large suitcase.” Patrick shook his head and walked out of the lounge. Carol followed close behind as they made their way down the quiet hall and into the lobby. David sat patiently with a black suitcase in front of him.
“Carol you can go home. I’ll lock up when I’m done.” She hesitated and looked back at David, but she didn’t ask questions. It didn’t take her long to grab her things and leave. Now Patrick was alone with David Harmon and his suitcase.
“Dr. Thomason,” David greeted.
“Mr. Harmon, come on back.” He held the door open for David and watched the suitcase squeal past him.” David picked the exam room. It was always the last one at the end of the hall.
David took his seat in the exam chair and it creaked beneath his weight. He kept the suitcase close. “We were getting tired of waiting,” he said resting a heavy hand on it. A lump formed in Patrick’s throat. He swallowed hard.
“You had to bring her back here, Mr. Harmon? I would have given you the check today.” David laughed hoarsely.
“You say that, Doctor, but I always leave here without it. So I brought my pretty girl. I knew she’d change your mind.”
“What happened to her was an accident, and you said you’d take care of her.” Patrick looked at the tray sitting next to David. There was a syringe filled with lidocaine. He thought to reach for it but David noticed and pulled it from the tray. He uncapped the needle and held it delicately between his fingers.
“You killed my daughter, Dr. Thomason. She died because you gave her more anesthesia than her poor little heart could take. The deal was you’d bring me a blank check. We negotiate. We agree. Then I take care of her, and you never see me again. You took her from me. I could have killed you or exposed you, but this deal is so much better, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I guess you’re right.” Patrick pulled the check from his shirt pocket and reached for a pen lying on the counter.
David stood next to him; he set the needle down, “Make that for five hundred thousand.” Dr. Thomason wrote it out just as he requested and handed it to him. “Once this clears, we’re good.”
Dr. Thomason knew better. When the money was gone, he’d come back. He snuck the needle from the counter when David started for the door with his suitcase in tow, and as they turned onto the hall Patrick stabbed him in his neck repeatedly until David fell hard.
“Morning, Dr. Thomason,” Carol called from behind. She stood in the doorway of his exam room. “Mr. Harmon’s back for more work, huh?”
Patrick looked down at David’s lifeless face, “Cancel my afternoon, Carol.”
I’ve had a bit of nostalgia lately recalling some of the old books I’ve read as a child and have been trying to remember the name of a children’s ghost story book from late 80’s to early 90’s.
It was most likely a scholastic book. It featured a collection of short stories and each one told told by a child’s mom, dad, and his grandma.
One of the stories the mom tells is about a peculiar boy she supposed to teach. I rember him being almost wolf-like. There’s some sort of altercation, and he ends up crashing through a window.
Another story I can remember is told by the grandmother. She tells a story about grocery shopping on a rainy day. There’s a little girl without shoes and a yellow raincoat who keeps bothering her. When she leaves the store she sees the little girl in the middle of the street playing in a puddle. Grandma scolds her for being out in the middle of the street. A grocery store employee comes up to her and asks if she knew the little girl (unsure of exact details here). When the grandmother looks down the girl is gone and in her place is a child’s raincoat lying in a puddle water. The storekeeper says that a little girl wearing that jacket had been in an accident only hours ago.
I wish I could find that book now. Hopefully someone out there has read it too and I can solve this little book mystery.
My story, “Borrowed Time” was selected for Starr Foster’s Page to Stage Dance Series. It will be performed along with six other stories in October of this year. They have started a hatchfund. If you would like to donate to this project it would be much appreciated! Any little bit helps.