Flash Fiction/Short Stories

Flash Fiction – Never Again

Jen’s finger hovered over the trigger while she nervously waited. Her breath came in hard bursts, so loud she thought it would give away her location too soon. Eventually, Nathan would find her hiding spot anyway, he always did. This time would be different, she told herself.

If he found her before she was ready, she would be forced to do whatever he wanted, usually something sexual. All the other times she never had a chance. Even now, she wouldn’t stay hidden for long. Still, it would be different now, because she was prepared.

The first time, she’d tried running, but he caught her within minutes. Hiding seemed the better option, but he still found her quickly. So today she would try something new.

She barricaded herself in what she liked to think of as a nest. It wasn’t the first time she’d tried this tactic, but it would be the best. To get to her, Nathan would have to enter through the only opening she left him. When he did, revenge would be hers.

A sound startled her out of her thoughts, the tiniest of scrapes. From long experience, she knew he was testing her defenses. She hoped he would assume she was burrowed in tight. Instead, she stood in plain view, slightly to the side of the doorway, gun raised.

He burst in and reached for a box to start digging her out. She pressed her trigger three times, hitting him in the chest. The ‘oof’ sound he made with each hit was satisfying. She knew exactly how much it hurt being struck with a paintball. When he fell to the ground, she laughed.

She stood over him as he gingerly rubbed his chest, spreading paint everywhere. He grinned. Of course, the idiot would be proud she finally beat him. She’d have to do something about that.

“Since I got three shots on you, you have to do anything I want that many times,” she stated.

“Yep, that’s the rules,” he answered with a smirk. “What will it be?”

“Laundry, dishes, and dusting.” Your least favorite things to do, she thought.

Nathan’s smile disappeared. “What? Of all the things you could make me do, you choose cleaning?”

“Yes. That was fun. We should do this more often.” It was her turn to smile. Jen had a feeling they would never play paintball again.

 

Rough Draft 395


This story was inspired by a one word writing prompt: trigger. I wrote the draft months ago but didn’t type it up until last week. I never planned to show anyone because I worried it would be a ‘trigger’ for some people. Violence against women is a serious problem, and I certainly didn’t want to make light of it.

So I put it away and felt guilty for a while. Then I remembered something. I’m a writer. I write stories, whether they are provocative, serious, light, funny, weird, scary, ridiculous, or something else. Or all of the above. It’s my job to write and stifling myself is not something I’m willing to do.

I’ve had a severe case of writer’s funk/block for quite some time. Telling myself I can’t write a story because of how others might react isn’t going to help. So I can’t restrict my muse this way.

If I have offended anyone, then I am sorry, but I have to do what I do.

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Flash Fiction – A Useless Friend

Karen always gave me cigarettes when I needed one. And she was always there if I needed to vent or tell her about my accomplishments. I can’t tell you how many times she did things for me when we worked together. Still, she was pretty useless as far as friends went.

I never could get her to babysit. I know she only met my kids once but come on. Nor would she run my errands for me, as if she were actually always busy writing. Everyone knows writers spend most of their time on Twitter. Likewise, she refused to help me get my cousin’s car from another city, giving me some nonsense about how driving for two hours would hurt her back. I mean, didn’t she have surgery to get that crap fixed? Her excuses were nauseating.

It’s not like I asked for favors very often, only once every four-six months. We didn’t even talk very often so I don’t know how she could say I was always trying to take advantage of her friendship. Okay, those weren’t her exact words, but that’s how I heard it, and she hurt my feelings. I’m still angry at her for making me feel guilty. Of course, I don’t only call her when I want something!

I did everything Karen ever asked of me, although at the moment I can’t seem to recall any of those things. Odd, now that I think about it, she never really did talk about herself. How inconsiderate she was. You know, I don’t believe she even told me her birthday. The nerve of that woman! We were friends for almost ten years. You’d think she would have shared more of herself. After all, she knew everything about me.

Anyway, this time she’s done the last and shittiest thing she’s ever done to me. I tried to call her to ask her to take my Grandmother to get a pedicure, and her phone was disconnected. My message on Facebook went unanswered. I finally contacted her brother only to find out Karen had passed away, a year ago! She didn’t even tell me she was sick, at least, I don’t think she did.

Now who’s going to take Grammy to her appointment? What a useless friend she was.

 

Rough draft 379 words


This story was inspired by a phone conversation I had today. Someone made me very angry (enough to use the word ‘very’ when I’m trying to remove it from all my writing). When I get upset I tend to vent by turning bits of the situation into fiction. If the person who I’m unhappy with reads this post they will know they were the catalyst so it’s safe to say the story is only about 50% fiction.

Still, I owe that person my gratitude. It took them pissing me off before my muse put in an appearance for the first time in too long. It’s not much of a story and the situation half wrote it but I did the rest so I’m claiming this one!

So, from a useless friend to my current antagonist, have a mental middle finger of thankfulness from me to you!


 

 

 

Flash Fiction – Jewelry Shopping

With nerves strung high, Liam stepped into the store. Six pairs of feminine eyes tried to meet his gaze. Ugh, he thought. Being the center of attention was not something he enjoyed, but this was important enough to face what was sure to be an uncomfortable time. Any amount of uneasiness was worth finding the perfect gift for the love of his life.

Liam straightened his shoulders and walked up to the first glass case. The knowing smile on the saleslady’s face irritated him, but he would deal with it. He hated that she could see how tense he was, but he answered her probing questions and let her steer him to another display.

His eyes went straight to it. In shock, he stared at the most beautiful piece of jewelry he’d ever seen. It sat nestled on a large stand raised higher than the ones surrounding it. Heart shaped and shiny with blue stones, the exact color of his love’s eyes, lining the edges.  Nothing else in the case mattered. The woman explained something about birthstones and prices, but he barely heard her. Picturing the recipient wearing it held his attention.

The perfect necklace for the perfect woman.

She would think of him every time she looked at it, and of course, she would never take it off. It made him happy that she would always know who loved her most. Triumphant and smiling he turned to his companion.

“This is the one, dad,” he said and pointed.

“World’s Greatest Mom,” Dad read. “Perfect.”

“Just like Mom,” Liam replied. He couldn’t wait to get home and give her the best Mother’s Day present ever.


Rough draft 275 words


I wrote this piece in my notebook on Sunday during my writing group. I was looking through writing prompts and came across one I thought would make a cute story:

A boy buys a gift for his mother.

With Mother’s Day coming up, it seemed like a good one to use. It took me a few minutes to come up with something, but once I got going, it didn’t take long to write all my ideas. I planned to type it up and figure out what to keep and discard when I got home.

I didn’t. I put the notebook down and didn’t pick it up again until today, though I did think about it some. My muse was nowhere to be found, so I didn’t try very hard.

Then I went to my follow-up appointment (after having an injection in my back). It was reiterated to me that I either get to keep taking pain pills, agree to get a pain relieving implant, or have major surgery – another fusion. I wasn’t in the best mood afterward, and I was fairly irritable, just ask my poor husband.

I watched some TV, did some reading, messed around on the internet, and felt sorry for myself. Then something happened. I don’t know what prompted it, but my muse slapped me around a bit. I grabbed my notebook and started typing. The story was surprisingly easy to write because I just didn’t care if it sucked or not. All I wanted was to get it written. I used every idea I had on Sunday, and while I know it’s not perfect, screw that, it IS perfect because I wrote! At this point, any writing is good. I was in pain as I wrote this, but I still did it, so I’m content.

As for posting it now instead of waiting for Mother’s day, I figured the little twist would be too obvious if I posted it then.

Flash Fiction – The Fence (Redo)

Two years ago I wrote a piece of flash fiction called The Fence (click here to read the original). It was one of my favorite stories, but there was something wrong with it. I couldn’t figure it out, but I knew it didn’t flow as well as it could. Eventually, I asked some other writer’s what they thought the problem was and almost all of them said the change in viewpoint was what threw them off.

I jotted down a few ideas to fix it and put it away. Today I picked it up and made the changes and the following is the result. Any thoughts about it are welcome!


The Fence

“Momma, why is the fence so high?” Taryn’s piping voice sounded, interrupting her mother’s thoughts.

“Because it has to be,” Laurel answered as she continued pinning clothes on the line. It was the third time in a week Taryn asked the question.

“But why? You never tell me anything.”

Damn right, I never tell you. “It keeps the bad things out.”

Taryn crossed her arms over her tiny chest, pouting. “I don’t believe you. I want to go out.”

Out? Fear gripped Laurel. “We don’t go out. You know everyone stays behind the fence.”

“That’s a stupid rule.” The girl turned her back and stomped to the fence.

The older woman watched her child for a moment. Taryn’s blonde curls, so like her own once was, had escaped the braids so patiently done that morning. It stood out at all angles, emphasizing the girl’s anger.

“Will we ever go out?”

“No Taryn, it’s not safe. Just because you haven’t seen the bad things, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” Laurel heard a strange sound on the other side of the fence near where her daughter stood. It was almost birdlike, but she knew no bird had ever made that noise.

Her daughter’s head jerked up, and she sniffed the air. “Momma, I’m hungry.”

Knowing full well what that meant, Laurel moved quickly. She grabbed Taryn and ran to the cellar door, throwing it open. She pushed the child in and pulled the door closed.  The girl fell down the last few steps, but Laurel was too busy with the lock to help her. She struggled with the bolt until it slid into place.

Laurel carefully descended the stairs, stepping over the last lock of her hair she hadn’t felt fall. Taryn sat on the floor crying. She was poking at something in front of her. Oh hell.

“Sorry Momma, I lost another finger.”

She sighed. Hopefully, they wouldn’t lose any other parts today. She was startled when the door rattled, but the lock held. She rushed back up the steps and pressed her remaining ear to the door to listen as the intruders passed by.

“We shouldn’t have crossed the boundary, John. This is dangerous,” she heard one of them say.

Laurel agreed.

“I know they were here Tommy. I heard them growling and carrying on at each other.”

“I don’t know, I’ve never heard of a zombie doing laundry. Let’s get out of here.”

As the men started moving away, Laurel glanced at Taryn’s sad face. Only one thing would make her feel better. With a sigh, she pulled the bolt and prepared to get her daughter a snack.

 

*Second draft 433 words.

Flash Fiction – Dread

Dread filled Thomas. They would come for him soon. He glanced around the holding room and saw his fear mirrored in the eyes of the others. Every one of them knew their turn would come. Like him, they had no choice. Still, he knew each of the would-be victims hoped they weren’t next.

Even now he could hear someone being tormented. It must be the old man who’d been so kind to him earlier. Poor guy.

The door opened, and a woman signaled to him. She didn’t look so threatening, he thought, but he knew better. Well, he would go to his fate with his head held high. He stood, and before he followed the torturer, he caught one of the others staring at him in sympathy. The tears in her eyes almost broke him, but he resolutely stepped forward.

The evil woman led him to a tiny cell and bid him sit. Afraid they would force him if he didn’t obey he sat quickly.

They tortured him for an hour. At some point, a man took over. It got worse from there. Needles, sharp tools, and unexplainable pain followed. No matter what they did, he didn’t talk.

Finally, he was released. The woman who brought him to his cell pointed to the way out and left him. He ran to the door and stumbled through. His mother was waiting for him.

“All done?” she asked. At his nod, she continued. “Three cavities Tommy! Now will you brush and floss every day?”

He agreed readily. In all his thirteen years he’d never been through something so traumatic. He would do anything to avoid this torture again.

 

*Rough draft 276 words


Can you tell I’m about to go to the dentist? I don’t need fillings though. I have to get a crown, or more accurately, they will take the mold for the crown, and possibly redo the temporary I have. I’m so sick of dental stuff!

Anyway, I used a one-word writing prompt today – Dread. It seemed fitting because it’s what I’m feeling. Also, I wrote this in fifteen minutes so it is the roughest of rough drafts. I didn’t even try to fix spelling.

 

Flash Fiction – Geoffrey Saves The Day

 

“Thank the spirits you saved me from that monster,” Princess Mirielle said with a curtsy. “What is your name?”

“Twas nothing my lady. Saving damsels in distress is what I do. I am called Geoffrey.”

“You do this often? Why? For the glory or some reward?”

“No, for most don’t know of my deeds,” her liberator answered humbly.

“Whatever the reason, I thank you for rescuing me and keeping my virtue intact.”

“How did that horrible creature come to possess you?”

“As I walked in the woods of my father’s lands I came upon him. He was injured and seemed innocent enough. He desperately needed help, so I took him into my care. I thought James a good man, but when he was well, he stole me away and brought me to this cave. You arrived just in time.”

“I am glad he did not ravage you. I could not allow it.”

“Pardon me for asking, but why would it matter to one of your kind?”

“Virgins are the tastiest snacks,” the dragon replied.

Later, as Geoffrey picked bits of princess out of his teeth, he gave James directions to the home of the next damsel. He couldn’t wait to save the day again.

 

*Rough draft 204 words.


I got the idea for this story from a writing prompt:

Write a conversation between a dragon and the princess it has captured.

Being me, I decided to twist it a bit. My goal was to keep it under 200 words. I probably could pare it down but I like it the way it is.

Flash Fiction – Custody Arrangement

Soleil wiped the last remnants of sleep from her eyes as she sat up. She would see her daughter soon, which always filled her with joy. It was strange how much she missed the child when they were separated.

Zemyna had spent the night with her father again. As much as Soleil hated the cheating bastard, she had to admit Menulis was a good father. He never complained about watching their child. In fact, judging by the ugly and long custody battle, he actually wanted to take care of her.

In her more honest moments, Soleil admitted she dragged out the battle too long out of anger and bitterness. The rest of the time she lied to herself, saying she only did what was best for her kid.

It no longer mattered. She and her ex-husband had finally agreed to a plan, and they stuck to it, with only rare alterations. A few times a year they each intruded on the other’s time for several hours on special occasions, but so far, they were both tolerant of these interruptions. It was good both of them wanted to spend as much time with Zemyna as possible.

Soleil put a halt to her ruminations and got out of bed and dressed for the day. As always, it would be a beautiful one. At least from her perspective. The silly humans didn’t always agree, but they were only an afterthought.

Time for work. She went to the sunroom and placed her hands on both sides of the blazing ball, then lifted it slowly. For the rest of the day she moved her burden through the sky, lighting her daughter, the earth.

Her ex kept the moon out for as long as he could, somehow knowing exactly how long she would tolerate his presence, before disappearing. Greedy fool, she thought. Oh well, at least she would have most of the day to gaze down upon her greatest creation, and admittedly, her favorite child.

Her mood boosted, Soleil, Goddess of the sun, decided she might even answer a few prayers.

 

*Rough draft 345 words.


This idea for this story came from a picture prompt (not the picture I used today) in my writing group. We take turns picking a prompt then whoever wants to write a story using it can do so. The picture showed a woman with her hands raised above her head forming a globe of bright light. I’m pretty sure it was a representation of healing magic but my mind saw it as a goddess holding the sun.

I don’t know how I feel about the actual story, but I’m particularly proud of myself for writing this.

I jotted down ideas last Sunday and a couple of times during the week I tried to work on it, but the magic didn’t happen. I did some research on solar goddesses and came across Balkan mythology. I got so into reading about it that I wasn’t writing, except the notes. However, I knew I was going to use what I found.

Then the pain started. I had a root canal on Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon I was sore, and by that evening I was miserable.

The dentist fit me in Thursday morning and told me everything was so inflamed it pushed the tooth up (eruption). What does that mean you ask? It means the pain I felt was exactly the same as the abscess I had before the root canal. He proceeded to drill on two of my teeth to fix it a bit because every time I bit down, or talked, or sang along to a song in my car it would hurt so much I almost cried out (which is a rarity for me).

So the bite problem is mostly fixed but now there is pain all over. The dentist told me there would be and gave me mega ibuprofen. I haven’t slept in days and as a result, I’m pretty out of it.

Still, I sat down at the computer and wrote this story Friday evening. It took forever because I was alternating between holding an ice pack to my face while I thought out what I wanted to say, then typing it all up. I can hardly believe my muse was willing to play! Of course, afterward, I had to lay down and was about as miserable as possible.

If I have some good moments today I’ll write another short story I have notes for and post it tomorrow or Monday. Until then, I’m going to go back to feeling sorry for myself.

 

 

Flash Fiction – The Map

Eleanor recoiled when her trowel hit metal while tending to her garden. The urge to push dirt back over the object overwhelmed her. Telling herself she was foolish, she set about freeing it from the ground.

She lifted a long cylindrical case of finely worked metal. As she examined it, she was surprised to find she knew how to open it. Warnings flooded through her mind. Why was she so nervous? At ninety-five years old, her memory wasn’t what it once was, but she didn’t think she would forget something like this.

Cautiously, she broke the seal. Light flared for a moment, making Eleanor feel somehow threatened, and she hesitated. Her father always told her she was too curious for her own good. He was right, but it never stopped her from jumping in feet first. Odd, she reflected, how she could remember his words but not his face. Being old sucked she thought and laughed.

Death wasn’t too far off, she knew. A strange longing for that day gripped her often in recent weeks. She’d been in the world too long.

If this unusual case provided one last adventure, she would take it. Pushing the ill portents aside, she pushed the cap all the way open and found a rolled piece of parchment inside. She slowly unrolled it, unsurprised it was a map, complete with a large red X. It showed the town she lived in, but it was old, with none of the newer landmarks in the area. She could have sworn she had never seen it before but knew she must be wrong because she knew exactly where it led.

It ended in the woods on the outskirts of town. People rarely went there. She didn’t know why, but every time she went near it, she felt repulsed.

Though worn out from her gardening, Eleanor determined she would go. Trowel in hand, she set out. Twenty minutes later she was there, with no assistance from the map. From the moment she entered the tree line, everything became unsettlingly familiar, yet she couldn’t remember ever being there.

After several minutes of walking, she found the marked site in the middle of a small clearing. Though there was nothing exceptional about the spot, she knew where to dig. It took her an hour to find the chest. Reverently, she pulled it up and set it next to the hole.

She was too exhausted from her efforts to open it right away. As she lay on the grass, she could almost remember doing this previously. Déjà vu?  I’m too old for this shit, she thought.

After resting for a while, she sat up and studied the chest. It was covered in strange symbols which almost glowed. Knowing it was right, she waved one hand in front of the lock. It released and fell away.  She opened the lid and peered inside.

A gasp escaped her when she saw it was filled with gold coins, glittering jewelry, and a scarred wooden bowl. Without knowing why she lifted the bowl and watched as it filled with water. A part of her said what she was seeing was impossible, but she ignored it as the moment imbued her with wonder.

Eleanor remembered her wish to die. She’d lived a long and blessedly boring life. Death was a welcome thing. Her longing for it was deep but wavering. She glanced at the water, then the shining contents of the chest. With a shrug, she drank from the bowl. When every drop was gone, she took several handfuls of gold and a few pieces of the jewelry out and placed them beside her. She set the bowl back on top of the rest.

She laid back on the grass and closed her eyes. The change was uncomfortable but brief. When she rolled to her side and pushed herself up, long black hair covered her face. Black, not gray!

Damn, she thought as she took in the scene before her. She did it again. Her memories returned to her, she recalled how she promised herself the previous cycle would be the final one. She’d been ready for death but now had to live her life again, for the thirteenth time. Oh well, thirteen was her lucky number.

She rolled up the map, sealed it in its case, and cast it into the chest, which she reburied. Eleanor hoped she would forget the location by the end of this lifetime.

Since it was an odd-numbered cycle, she had access to her magic. Maybe she would be an evil witch like her third and seventh time then go out with a bang! As she picked up her loot, she decided there were only two things she knew for sure she wanted this go round. Forever death at the end and no more gardening.

Rough draft 805 words


I have a book of writing prompts called A Year of Creative Writing Prompts. Each page represents a day with three prompts. There is a five-minute prompt meant to be a warmup. These are one word and most of the stories I’ve written recently came from this type.

Then there is a midday and a dinner prompt. These are longer and until now I haven’t used any of them.

Today’s story came from a midday one. I’d seen it before but it did nothing for me. Then a few days ago when I skimmed over it, I got an idea. I jotted down whatever came to me and a story was born.

The prompt is:

An elderly woman is gardening when she discovers what appears to be a treasure map buried in her back yard. It seems to lead to a spot on the outskirts of town. What does she find where X marks the spot.

The first time I saw this I found it boring. Even when I first started putting ideas to paper I didn’t think it would go anywhere, but you never know. It’s what you do with an idea that matters I suppose.

Flash Fiction – The Day Darlene Went To Heaven

Darlene was right, always. She had known it since she was small. Now she was grown and had a mission. Everyone else needed to know how right she was. Sharing her knowledge and superior opinion became her life’s mission.

Political debate on Facebook? She was there.  An argument on Twitter about tolerance? Oh yeah, her favorite. Religion? Darlene’s was the one true way, so she never missed one of those. Is the dress white or blue? Ha! She would drown the ones who guessed wrong in comments.

Of course, she wasn’t a troll. Only someone who was wrong could be a troll in her opinion, and everyone knew her views were correct. At least they would. She wouldn’t stop until they did.

Wasn’t that was life was all about? Making sure everyone followed the correct path and thought in the right way. These were the things she said to herself often.

She was congratulating herself on a successful online rant the day she stepped in front of a bus. Her disappointment was profound. Darlene couldn’t believe it was her time. There were still so many people she needed to put in their place.

Alas, he couldn’t stop as her spirit floated up to heaven. She landed on a fluffy cloud in front of Saint Peter. She glanced around and saw that the pearly gates looked exactly the way they should. Peter, however, did not. She told him so, and for his benefit, she went into detail of how he was supposed to look.

When she finished, she found a bench, crossed her arms, and waited for him to put things right.

Peter sighed and stared at his lists for a time. Finally, an idea struck him. He made her a special place, full of only people like her. It only took an hour for her to come to him saying she set all the others right and she begged to go to the other place to fix it as well.

It only took thirty minutes for the ruler of the other place to implore Peter to take her back. It took Peter only a moment to decide it wasn’t her time. He put her back on earth early in the morning of the day she was supposed to die. He started a Twitter fight about celebrities in politics to keep her home.

As far as Peter is concerned, Darlene will live forever.

 

Rough draft 400 words


This story isn’t from a prompt. I wrote the bones of it a few weeks ago and today I decided to do some minor revision and post it. There was something I didn’t quite like about it but I didn’t know what.

I finally realized there were a lot of repeated words and punctuation issues (thanks, Grammarly). Once these were fixed I noticed a few problems with the way it flowed so I revised them. I’m still calling it a rough draft because it’s not ‘perfect.’

Flash Fiction – The Wind

Clouds rushed to rest over the fresh gravesite of the wizard Clavius. Duncan found it appropriate and thanked the wind as he cast the last handful of dirt onto the pile. Only a brief rustling of leaves near his feet answered, but he knew the wind appreciated his words.

When taking control of the elements he was always careful to show the proper respect. He liked to think he learned from others’ mistakes. Too many weather wizards died because of their indifferent arrogance. He refused to be like the ones who came before him, like the one lying in the grave at his feet.

In the dead wizard’s case, angry fire killed him. The man should have known better. One can only force an elemental for a short time before it would turn on you. If you asked politely and thanked it, there was a good chance you would survive.

Duncan rarely forced nature to do his bidding. In the few emergencies when he’d taken control of an elemental without asking permission, he apologized profusely and made the proper sacrifices to appease them. Most knew he wouldn’t abuse them and were understanding As long as he didn’t do it often, he would be safe.

Clavius hadn’t bothered. He forced the same fire elemental to kill thieves in the poor district several times. Fire cannot be contained for long and many had died. The wizard hadn’t cared but the fire did. The last time he tried to use it, along with help from the wind, the elemental broke his control and turned on the man. Duncan wasn’t present but heard the man’s cries from across the village.

Fool.

As Duncan stood over the grave of his biggest rival at the Conclave, he smiled in satisfaction. Unlike the dead man, he had asked permission before he sent the wind to help the fire. Clavius, like all wizards, had been an evil bastard, but Duncan was the worst. He would continue to be courteous to the elements so he could take out the rest of his rivals and rule the Conclave.

When he left the cemetery, he noted the wind elemental followed. He smiled grimly and headed back to his rooms to make his plans.

Rough draft 362 words


It’s not much of a story but I think it will be if I ever sit down and fix it. For now, I want to get ideas out of my head and on paper.

I’m trying to get back into writing most days. Not writing for an entire week, and losing my favorite aunt, took its toll on my habits. I’m still grieving but time is starting to do its job.

Flash fiction, and a lot of it is my goal right now. However, wizard Duncan (who needs a name change), fascinates me. He can control the elements/elementals but prefers wind. He’s not a nice guy, but he’s polite to the forces he controls. He needs a good protagonist and a goal. I feel a longer story brewing.

Oh, and this story is not the result of a writing prompt. I sat down to write and thought about the wind and ideas started flowing out of my fingers. Like I said, it’s not much of a story but writing it made me feel like me again.