Rough Drafts

Flash Fiction – Him or Me

“Did you have to use a bomb?” Sheriff Bob asked his old friend as he surveyed the smoldering ruins before him.

“What?” Sam asked, with a hand cupping one ear. “I can hardly hear ever since the explosion.”

Bob repeated his question loudly. It was going to be a long night.

“I had to be sure.” Sam turned a blistered, soot covered face to him. “What would you have done?”

“I would have called for help if I needed it. I sure as hell wouldn’t have destroyed my own house just because of fear.” Bob was surprised the man would do something like this. He had always seemed so stable.

“You don’t believe I was attacked do you?”

The lawman twisted his hat uncomfortably. “In the fifteen years that I’ve known you, you’ve never lied to me, but this story is a little far-fetched.”

“Which part? The part where the blood-sucking bastard came after me, or the part where I blew him to bits?

“Clearly you blew up your house. But, blood? On his fangs? Come on Sam, be honest. Did you need the insurance money?”

Sam’s eyes bulged. “Money? You think this is about money? No Bob, this was about survival. It was him or me.” He ran a hand through his dark hair. “Besides, insurance would only cover the costs of rebuilding. I can’t live on this property anymore. Now that his family has my scent, they will never leave me be.”

Sheriff Bob shook his head sadly. Sam had clearly lost it. “I’m sorry. I’m going to have to take you in.”

“But it’s my house! You know I had to do it. I couldn’t just let him kill me. You can’t arrest me for protecting myself.”

“Maybe we’ll stop by the psychiatric ward first.”

“Now you think I’m crazy? I’m not making this up.”

“I believe you,” and he did, “but Sam, sane people don’t blow up their houses to kill a spider.”

This is from a prompt at Terrible Minds. I had to write a flash fiction story using a spider, survival, and a bomb (I rolled to get these words). One of the words that I could have gotten was vampire, hence the twist. I don’t normally use the three word prompts but I decided to challenge myself a bit and I like how it turned out. When I rolled and saw what I got, I blanked at first. I looked back over the choices and thought about re-rolling but that would have defeated the purpose of accepting the challenge. I was surprised, once I started writing, that it wasn’t impossible. I may have to rethink my opinion on this type of prompt.

Flash Fiction – The Secret

Evan sat in the corner of the coffee shop slowly sipping his drink as he did every weekday morning. Maybe today would be the day, he thought. The day his cover was blown. The place was filled with familiar strangers. He’d been coming here long enough to be considered a regular. He didn’t even have to order out loud anymore. Most of the other patrons there today were the same. Which one would figure him out? Would it be hat girl, who never sat in the same place twice? She was wearing hat number eight today. What about chest hair guy. No, not him. No one who spent that much time checking himself out with a camera phone would notice things that had nothing to do with him. Except hat girl of course.

Turning to look out the window, Evan caught sight of his reflection. Average, he thought. Mousy brown hair, straight nose, strong chin, there was nothing to stand out about him. That suited him perfectly in this place. He didn’t want any attention that would lead to discovery.

As he took another drink he wondered how these people would react if they knew. Would they think he was un-American? Unmanly maybe. Last week he overheard the older couple that come in on Mondays talking about him. They assumed he was shy. What would they say if the truth came out.

He turned back to continue his perusal of the people in the cafe. The pretty blonde sat in the opposite corner from him, as always. She was aware of him, he could feel it, but he hoped she would never approach him. He wanted to talk to her but it just wasn’t in the cards. If he ever ran into her somewhere else, maybe he would. Away from the coffee house, he had nothing to hide. He shook himself to clear his head and to stop staring at the woman.

Glancing around he saw the hipster that often parked himself near the front window was staring at the barista standing at the cash register. That guy didn’t worry Evan. The barista. Now she and her coworkers were aware of his secret. He dreaded the day one of them let the cat out of the bag but he had no control over that, so he dismissed the thought.

Checking his watch, he saw he could stay another twenty minutes. Indecision gripped him. His cup was almost empty. If he got a refill, the entire place would know. His mind raced and he started to sweat. The fear made him angry and he decided he wasn’t going to let it take him over.

He stood, and noticed all eyes turned to him. He held his head up high and walked to the counter. It came out louder than he meant, but maybe that was for the best. “Can I get another hot tea?”

There were several gasps behind him. A newspaper hit the floor. Someone whispered. He only caught the word tea and something about this being a coffee shop. He risked a peek at the blonde. She had her hand over her mouth and her eyes were wide.

The lady behind the counter handed him the cup and winked. “Bless your heart honey.”


As Evan made his way back to his table, he made eye contact with each of the other customers. They each in turn looked away. Probably embarrassed for him, he figured. He had never felt so free.

They could piss off, he was going to drink his tea with pride. Too bad about that blonde though.

Flash Fiction – Bad Jokes Count

“Excuse me sir, are you a policeman?” the man in the security uniform asked me.

“No,” I answered in surprise. Why would he think that? He knew this was a company party, at a bank.

“Then I need you to come with me.”

He grabbed my arm tightly and started to pull me away from the coworkers I was stuck having a conversation with. I glanced at Peter, who had moments before been telling a bad joke and saw sympathy in his eyes and perhaps a little satisfaction. Mary flashed a nasty smile at me. Realization hit. I hadn’t laughed. The security guard had not mistaken me for a cop, he was following procedure. Only police officers were allowed to not have a sense of humor. By not laughing, I had committed a major crime.

I knew when the real cops came to arrest me they would take my prints and find it was my third offense. I’d be a dead man. Frantically searching for a way to save myself I stopped abruptly. “See you guys in a year if they let me off easy. If not, don’t worry, I’m an old banker, I won’t die, I’ll just lose interest.” Then I laughed. The man holding my arm looked baffled for a moment then chuckled.

Both Mary and Peter wore a look of disdain on their faces. They didn’t laugh. Security surrounded them.

“I guess the joke’s on them.” I said to the guard. He smiled.

“You’re free to go sir.”

My husband and I were waiting for our carry-out order to be ready at a pizza place. I always try to bring a notebook with me in case I get ideas while I’m out. While we sat there we talked about story ideas and I wrote down anything that came up. Somehow the idea for this popped up.

What if not ‘getting’ a joke was a crime?

It evolved into not having a sense of humor being punishable and this is the flash fiction I got out of it. I wrote down what came to me quickly but ideas are still rattling around in my head. I will probably turn it into a pretty dark short story. I’ll keep you all updated.

Rough Draft – The Banishment of the Bren (A Backstory)

This is not flash fiction, it’s back story. It is the tale of how the Bren came to live in the tundra. It is told to Sel, a direct descendant of Bren. It’s been many generations since these events took place. Memory of the Demen has faded and no one knows why the Bren never leave their home.

Bren and his people were banished to the icy wastes in the year of beginnings by their own calendar. The Demen, or first people had always been worshiped in his village but Bren did not believe. He only had doubts, until the dream. After the dream he believed the Demen were only powerful beings: Immortal, but petty and vengeful. They were not worthy of worship. Bren had been the high priest of Phaedra, the most vain and jealous of the Demen. Every end day for twenty years he had preached on the sins of waste and slovenliness as all Phaedran priests did. He believed his words, but he had started feeling that his life had no real meaning.

One night he knelt by his bed to say his ritual prayers and felt empty. He stared down at his crossed hands unable to say the required words. For the first time in his life he refused. He did pray that night, not to Phaedra, to something else. He prayed to what he hoped was a higher power asking for his life to have meaning, for a purpose other than what Phaedra demanded of him. Bren asked for a sign that his doubts about Phaedra were justified. That night he dreamed of the God. The true God answered all his questions. He learned that the Demen weren’t gods at all. They were godlike in that they had powers that ordinary men didn’t but they were created by the true God as men were. When the true God made the Demen he gave them certain powers and gave the earth to them. Soon enough he saw their faults. They were shallow, vindictive, and overly proud. He felt giving them magic had been a mistake but loved them still, so he made a special place for them to live and separated them from the rest of the world. They could only leave their new home for short periods of time but their powers remained.

The God then created man. He only gave a few people power but weaker than the first people. In time, man spread to most corners of the world and the Demen became jealous. They considered man weak and not deserving of the bounty. Some were angry that the God’s new creatures could have children while they could not. There were soon many thousands of men but there were only a handful of Demen. So a few of the Demen went out into the world, when they could, to terrorize man and take back what was theirs. They soon learned how long they could be away from their new home, not even a full day once a week. The race of man in its ignorance and fear began to worship the Demen and provided them with offerings to appease them. This suited their pride and vanity and both races settled into their new roles with Man never really knowing his creator.

When Bren woke he felt thankful. He didn’t know what he would do with his life but he would no longer be the high priest of Phaedra. He knew hope again. He renounced his title and went out to share what he learned with his people. Soon he had many followers excited to know their true God. Eventually Phaedra came to Bren and knew the God had spoken to him. The loss of the priest enraged her and she set the rest of her followers against him. The Phaedrans outnumbered them three to one and soon drove Bren and his people out of their lands. They were banished to the icy wastes. Phaedra decreed if they returned they would be killed. They packed their belongings into wagons, gathered their livestock and headed north. After three days of travel they reached the south edge of the tundra.

They set off across the tundra, Bren leading the way. There were rumors of valleys hidden in the ice. They would search for one of these and settle in it. The rest of the tundra seemed lifeless. One could look in any direction and see nothing but white. They had lived in a cold climate but nothing could have prepared the people for the harshness of the tundra. They had to make the wheels of the wagons into crude sleds then they set out. The sheep were dead within a day. The horses lasted a week. The hearty oxen were better suited to the cold but Bren knew it was only a matter of time until they too dropped. Hope was a memory but Bren and the true God drove the people on. They had to get far enough away that Phaedra couldn’t hurt them.

One morning, two weeks into the trek, the group woke to find half the oxen had died during the night and even Bren started losing faith in their ability to survive. The entire day was spent butchering the oxen. They started off again the next day with little optimism. The group had only traveled an hour when they came upon a hidden valley. The walls were very steep and dotted with caves. There were only two entrances, both easily defensible. While exploring the vast cavern system they discovered an underground lake and hot springs. There was enough space for all the people so they made the valley their new home. The caves provided shelter from the harsh tundra winds and the hot springs kept the temperature steady. There was plenty of ventilation for the smoke of fires but very little firewood. They had brought some wood with them but most was used on their trek. They would have to find another way to prepare food. The problem of light was solved by lichen found deep in the caves that put off a bright enough light. They sent out search parties to gather anything they could find that was useful. To everyone’s delight the valley was a day’s walk from the great icy sea. Fish was plentiful and there was a sea cow beach nearby. The people would survive.

Two years after the people settled into The Valley, Bren went out to check his nets. He came upon the most amazing sight. Caught in his largest net was an enormous sea dragon. It was clearly female as it was obviously pregnant. She was frantically trying to chew through the net to escape. Only her head was out of the water. When she caught sight of him, he saw the desperation in her eyes. Without a thought to his own safety he drew his knife and dove into the water. He started cutting the net even as he started freezing to death. While he worked he felt a surge of warmth. He didn’t question, he just kept cutting. While he worked he heard the dragon speaking in his head. “Bren, I have seen you and know you to be good. I appreciate your help but for the True God’s sake please hurry. The birth will be soon and if my youngling is to ever breathe air, he must take his first breath on land. If he is born in the water he will be forced to stay in the sea forever.” Bren finally cut her free and she hauled herself to the shore. He was amazed at her beauty. She was larger than the whales he occasionally saw while fishing, yet she as graceful a creature as he had ever seen. Her back was a solid deep blue shading down to the hue of the morning sky along her sides and belly, each color like that of precious stones. As she moved the sun glinted off her scales and he had to cover his eyes at times. He tried not gape as she gave birth but he was genuinely surprised that she was not an egg layer. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity as well.

He watched and guarded the dragons for a few hours until they both recovered and entered the water again. He set about repairing his net. Many things had damaged his nets over the years but never his own knife. His job was almost complete when he heard the dragon’s voice in his mind again. “Thank you Bren, for saving my child from the fate of a fish. I will reward you.”

“The result is the reward lady, and you also saved me from dying, so my thanks are yours,” Bren replied with a bow. “No reward is needed.”

“True,” she replied haughtily, “but I will reward you all the same and make a request of you. Firstly, my name is Silandra. Appreciate the gift of my name for there is more power in it than you can know. Secondly, my request: Bren, I ask of you when a dragon calls to you or any of your people, you will heed the call. Vow that he who hears the call will answer. Vow for yourself, your people, and your children’s children and so on. In return for your vow I will give you another gift.”

“Lady you ask nothing I would not freely give. I vow to you on behalf of my people and our descendants, we will heed the call.”

Silandra nodded her giant head solemnly. “I gift you with fire. From henceforth fire will never harm you. You will be able to awaken it any time. You will have power of heat and cold; you and all your people.”

“My thanks to you.” He did not truly understand what she meant but accepted gladly.

She laughed and she disappeared back into the ocean.

Bren dropped to the ground in a very deep sleep. When he awoke his mind contained the fire knowledge. He was warm because he’d been putting the knowledge to use as he slept, raising his body temperature. He packed his gear and returned to the settlement to share his tale and the gift of the dragon.

This is told to one of my MC’s – Sel as he prepares to go out into the world. He is a seer and while young, seventeen winters, he is soon to be a leader among his people. He can hear dragons. He has to gather the other MC’s together and go save the world. He needs this information given to him to accomplish this. Obviously it’s a fantasy story. There is an ensemble cast, of which, Sel is the youngest. Some of the basics about him are: He’s good at a lot of things. He has to be, as he lives in a harsh environment. He can make tools, sew, cook, hunt, fish, he can do some basic healing – with herb lore, and he can find food in the most unlikely places. He’s a bit over-confident, but terrified of horses. He also hates camels when he encounters them and doesn’t understand the concept of pets. He is not the leader of the group he has to gather and that doesn’t sit well with him. In his land, he is an adult but people in the other realms see him as a child. He also has the gift of the Bren. Along his journey, he will learn exactly what that means. He has dark hair and blue eyes. In fact, all of the Bren have blue eyes, so everyone he meets will know what he is.

I know I need a lot of description in the story. Feel free to give any advice you want to. All comments are welcome. I’ve decided to concentrate on this story for a while so any help you can give would be appreciated.

Flash Fiction – A Bad Night

Kimberly stood in the corner of the living room next to her friend Trisha. She watched in horror as Daniel raised his gun and pointed it at his best friend’s wife, who had broken into his residence.

“You don’t get to just break into a person’s house,” he said in a disturbingly calm voice.

The woman didn’t move. The husband who had left her days before stood behind her pleading for his friend not to shoot. They all ignored Kim and Trisha.

Daniel lifted the gun, aiming a foot above their heads and fired.

The woman turned and buried her face into her husband’s shoulder.

Daniel went to a chair and picked up the phone, dialing 911. He explained to the operator, in that composed voice, that he had fired a shot at an intruder. He detailed the steps he took while on the phone. “I am unloading the gun now. It’s a 9 mm with hollow point bullets. I am placing the cartridge on the side table near the front window. Yes I have made sure nothing was in the chamber. No one was hit.”

Kimberly exchanged glances with her friend. All she could think was that this couldn’t be the first time that man had done something like this. She turned back to the couple and watched them go out the front door. Both were crying. Not knowing what else to do, she sat on the couch and waited for the police to arrive. She thought back over the evening. Her roommate, Trisha, met Daniel a few weeks before at the club and liked him. When they went out and ran into him again this evening she wanted to hook up with him. He was there with a friend and they asked the girls to go to Daniel’s house with them. Kim didn’t trust him, she never trusted men with lazy hair, and had no intention of anything happening with the friend. At first she refused but Trisha begged her to go. She didn’t want to go alone with two guys. So Kim went.

The friend, she couldn’t remember his name, had spent all night talking about his wife. They had separated recently. He was drunk, so one moment he’s listing the woman’s worst qualities and the next he’s in tears because he misses her. Kim knew that he wouldn’t try to sleep with her but she dreaded being stuck talking to him while her friend and his were doing their thing.

She spent forty-five minutes sitting on one end of Daniel’s couch, while the friend sat on the other. Then there was a banging on the door. It was the wife. She was screaming for them to come out. Kimberly could hear her threatening to do bodily harm to anyone in the house. The friend stared at the door but didn’t answer it. He didn’t speak. When Kim asked if he thought he should answer, he whispered that maybe she would go away if she thought no one was home. Was he that drunk or that stupid?

Eventually the knocking and yelling stopped. There was five minutes of quiet. Then from the back of a house came a muffled crash. An instant later the wife barges into the living room, having come in through the back door and sees her husband sitting there.

“But you hate red-heads!” She looked at Kim, but Kim just shook her head. The husband didn’t say a word, not even when his wife started punching and kicking him.

Kimberly jumped off the couch as Daniel and Trisha rushed into the room. Daniel had a gun. Trisha asked what he was going to do with it but he ignored her.

Now Kim was stuck sitting on this crazy man’s couch wondering what would happen next. The police arrived and separated everyone to ask questions. She answered them all honestly. No she wasn’t there to hook up with the friend. Yes her friend was there to sleep with Daniel. No he hadn’t said he would kill anyone. No, she hadn’t known the woman had powder burns in her eyes. Then came a question she was unprepared for.

“You look really familiar. Have we met before, my name is Henry.”

Kim groaned. She hadn’t recognized him at first but she did know him. Before she could answer, he figured it out.

“Aren’t you Kimberly Preston?” At her nod, he continued. “I used to live next door to you! The last time I saw you, you were just a little thing.”

She laughed uncomfortably. Could this night get any worse? She was from a very small town. By tomorrow everyone that had known her as a child would have heard the story. He finished his questions and went to discuss the situation with the other officers. Trisha came and sat next to her.

“Well that was weird.”

Kim knew that if there were not eight cops in the area she would have punched her friend in the face. “The next time you want to hook up with someone, go alone.” She stood up and walked out the front door. She stopped when she got to Henry and asked if she could leave. He said yes and said he would tell his mother she said hello. She passed by the friend and his wife as she went to her car. From what she overheard, one good thing came out of the night. The crazy jerk with the gun had saved their marriage.

Flash Fiction – Maybe It Didn’t Happen The Way You Think It Did

Today I thought I’d use someone else’s prompt. I picked Writing Prompt #9 at Today, You Will Write.

You abandoned me. I felt safe and secure in your embrace and when I least expected it, you disappeared. I can’t pinpoint the moment I knew you were gone. Finding you was impossible. Trying to get you back, pointless. I almost felt guilty. Choosing between you and freedom, you never had a chance. I thought I got away. Revenge is sweet they say, and you would know. If I hadn’t lost you when I did, I wouldn’t be in this situation. Now, because of you, I’m stuck with the prince.

The prompt was to write about a shoe but I chose to write to the shoe.

Flash Fiction – I have no idea what the title should be!

“What if the clouds were actually living beings?” she asked while in the car. Nostalgia washed over me. She had outgrown the what-if game a long time ago. Most of the time she didn’t care what I thought of, well anything, so I was a little surprised. She was staring up at the sky and I could almost hear the gears turning in her head. I almost didn’t respond. I was afraid to break the spell. She turned to me with her question still on her face.

“What do you mean if,” I said.

This is a rough draft but I’m so proud of myself that it’s under a hundred words I could cheer!

Flash Fiction – Chivalry

He didn’t hold the door for me. I wasn’t precisely expecting it, but since I was right behind him going into the restaurant, I guess I assumed he would. Not because I’m a woman, but because I’m another person and him not holding it made it almost hit me. I would have held it for him so I was a little irritated. He was in front of me in a very long lunch line and he kept turning around and looking over my head, never making eye contact. My order came out before his so I found a booth in the corner and sat down. The man positioned himself so he could see the counter and watch me. I didn’t see this at first. The lady at the next table, with the loudest stage whisper I’ve ever heard, informed me that he was giving me the stare down. I looked up and sure enough he was. I turned my attention back to eating. After a few minutes he got his order and sat at the table in front of mine, facing me. He watched me eat and seemed to pace himself to match. Occasionally I would look up and he would quickly look away. I had no idea what was happening. One minute I don’t exist to this guy, the next I’m the center of all his attention. Finally I finished the most uncomfortable meal of my life and went to throw away my trash. He did the same. I got a good look at his face. There might have been a bit of embarrassment there, I couldn’t be sure. I walked quickly to the door, reaching it right before him. I held the door for him.

This story wasn’t about him.

This is my Write Anything Wednesday thing. I always take up the challenge but I rarely post it, so I decided to today.

Partial Rough Draft: Salad

“Can I just have a salad?” the young dragon asked his mother.

The mother glanced at the corner where dinner was eaten. “No, there is a perfectly good meal in front of you.”

“But it’s squirming. You know I don’t like things that move when I’m eating them. Besides, it’s looking at me. Creepy.”

“If it’s that big of a deal, I will kill it for you and throw some lettuce on it.”

“No. I don’t want to eat something that once lived. That’s disgusting.”

Mother dragon sighed. Kids and their new ideas. What was she supposed to do with her son. She didn’t understand why her child wasn’t like all the other dragons, but she couldn’t let him starve. “Fine. You may go and find a village garden to ransack. If you’re going to insist on this then you had better at least destroy a house or two.”

The younger dragon nodded vigorously. “I promise. Maybe I’ll maim a few of the villagers while I’m at it.”

“You do that. Oh and release your dinner. The rest of us have eaten and I don’t want it to spoil.”

He opened the chained cuffs of the creature his mom tried to force him to eat. “Now, lead me to your village.” The dragon followed as the human fled from the cave.

This is the beginning of a flash fiction piece. I don’t know where I’m going from here. it might not even be the beginning. If I could think of an ended I would probably be in better shape. All I know is I’ve had dragons on my mind for a couple of days and when I sat down to do some FF, this is what came out. Nothing would sway me from the dragon path. I’m hoping now that I wrote something about them, I can move on to a non-fantasy story. Probably not. Now I’ll obsess with finishing this one.

Rough Draft – The Surgery

The waiting room was large but she felt trapped in it. The walls seemed to get closer every few minutes. She stared at the couch she sat on, memorizing the stains. Perhaps the floor was cleaner. Someone moved to the chair across from her. They better not touch that phone she thought. When would it ring? She should have gotten a call over an hour ago. They took her six month old son in for surgery early that morning. He was having two procedures. The surgeon told her he would call in between them to give her an update. The first surgery would take no more than an hour.

She stood up and paced, again. There was a pattern to her morning. Sit on the couch, stare at something. Pace, get coffee. Repeat. Walking into the hall was out of the question. If the phone rang, she needed to hear it. The coffee machine beckoned but she realized she was shaking. There was no way to know how many cups she drank but the little trash can near her couch was full. Standing in the middle of the room, she was confused for a moment. What would she do now? Her rhythm was thrown off. She could feel the others’ eyes on her but didn’t look at anyone. Sympathy was not welcome.

The phone rang, startling her. She didn’t move. Several people asked if they should get it, but the look she shot their way shut them down. On the fourth ring she ran and grabbed the receiver. It was the surgeon. He gave a detailed description of how whoever got the operating room ready had brought the wrong size tubes. Tubes? What the hell? The person responsible had been chastised and her son was fine. They would start the second part of the surgery as soon as they got off the phone. Thanking him, she hung up.

Her family asked her what the man had said. She could only give a partial answer. Once the man said her son was alright she had stopped listening.

An hour later she sat in the recovery room holding her baby. A nurse came near the bed and apologized. He didn’t stay long, looking frightened as he fled. The woman knew her face must have said it all because she hadn’t uttered a word. Then her son opened his eyes and smiled.

She never drank coffee again.

This is a very rough draft. I wanted to get the basic thoughts out. There was no prompt this time. It’s based on a real event. I’m not sure I can keep this under 500 words, which is my goal. It’s already at 404 and I probably have 300 more words to add. Eventually I’ll add descriptions but that’s a January thing. If you want a mental image of the woman, look at my picture.