Story A Day September Challenge

Story A Day Challenge – Day 30 – A Dozen Roses

Jeff was in love. It wasn’t a love that started slowly and built up over time. This was a love at first sight thing. It happened on his lunch break and made the rest of the day perfect.

When he left work he stopped and bought himself some roses. The owner of the flower stand shook her head, as she often did when he came by on the first Tuesday of every month. Jeff didn’t care what she thought. After all, everyone always said you have to love yourself first and it was one hell of a haircut.


The Prompt

Jeff  was walking to the parking garage after work when he comes upon a flower stand full of beautiful roses. Jeff decides to buy a dozen roses for his lover. 


I wish I could be as happy as Jeff every time I get a haircut!

No shock that I decided to twist the prompt to suit me. I couldn’t think anything that wasn’t literal until I decided to do a 100 word story. This is also the last day of the write a story a day in September challenge and I skipped yesterday so it’s appropriate that I added the additional challenge of writing something so short.

Rough draft 98 words.

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Story A Day Challenge – Day 28 – What Is That Noise?

Today’s Story a Day prompt was interesting. It challenged us to write down five things we see, five we hear and three to five we smell, then follow the prompt below. I have to go to physical therapy in a few minutes so I picked one of the senses–sound–and imagined what was happening. Enjoy.


The Prompt:

Write a story with a character who has a difficult decision to make. Put this character in the setting you observed and use your sensory detail in the story.


What Is That Noise?

Jen sat at her desk tapping away at the keyboard. This story idea is a bestseller, I know it, she thought. The words flowed from her brain to her fingertips effortlessly. She wasn’t sure when she became aware of the sound but once she focused on it she stopped writing.

What was that horrid noise? She concentrated for a moment but it was gone. Turning her attention back to her novel, she picked up where she left off. Moments later the sound interrupted her again and it didn’t go away. It seemed to be coming from inside her walls, making the hairs on her arms and back of her neck stand up. It was so loud she could barely tune it out but she kept typing because her story was more important than the sound.

After a time she adjusted to the constant cadence until a sniffle broke her out of writing mode. Her concentration completely broken she turned her chair and glared at her husband sitting a few feet away on the couch. “You’re doing that thing again.”

Her husband looked up from his paper confused. “What thing?”

“You know, breathing, in and out, in and out, over and over again.”

“If only you were as funny as you think you are.”

She grinned and went back to writing. Maybe she wasn’t very amusing but it must have done the trick because she couldn’t hear the loud breaths again for the rest of the evening.


I decided to go with having trouble doing something rather than making a difficult decision. Since yesterday’s story was a bit heavy I went for a light approach today.

As for the five things I hear, see and smell, well I’m sitting at my desk so I’m surrounded by everything familiar. It’s no surprise that a story about writing a story was the first thing to pop in my head.

Lucky for me my husband doesn’t breath loud!

Rough draft 246 words.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 27 – Lost and Found

I thought the title of today’s prompt was an apt title for my story. It took me all morning to come up with something and then write it. I kept editing as I wrote it because it was almost too personal, based on a previous experience in my life. Enjoy.


Lost and Found

Laurie thought Todd was perfect. When they met in person she was swept off her feet. He was such a gentleman, always opening doors for her, pulling out her chair at dinner and asking after her needs regularly. They moved in together within a few months of dating.

She always felt she belonged to him. The problem was he felt the same. He showed it when he monitored her calls and checked her text log. If she was late from work he grilled her for an hour. On the rare occasions she went out with friends he would sulk as she got ready and be angry by the time she got home, accusing her of dressing up for other men. In between he would send texts saying how much he missed her and how he hoped she wouldn’t stay out too late.

Laurie learned to walk carefully with him. If she glanced at a man passing her in the grocery store the fight was on. She never understood the jealousy because she’d given herself to him so completely. Eventually she got tired of fighting and met less and less with her friends. Instead she went out with Todd. Every sporting event, music festivals, drag races. You name it, if he liked it she went.

Her career faltered when she stopped working late and she stopped going shopping unless it was absolutely necessary, even sending him to buy groceries so he wouldn’t worry about someone else attracting her attention. She stopped getting dressed up, unless he asked, and in response he praised her natural beauty and her effort to make him happy.

One morning while Todd was out of town Laurie stood at the bathroom sink staring at her reflection. Disgusted, she realized she hadn’t gotten a haircut in six months. She looked like shit. When did she let herself go? She already knew why and in that moment she hated herself for it.

She called her favorite hairdresser, Becca, and made an appointment for after lunch. While she ate and on the way to her stylist’s shop she wondered how Todd would react. When she sat down in the chair and Becca asked how she wanted it cut she faltered but forced herself to not think about what her boyfriend would say anymore.

“Take it all.”

Becca gasped. “What exactly do you mean by all?”

“Pixie short.” Laurie could understand Becca’s shock. Her pale hair was almost down to her waist because Todd liked it long.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes and while we’re at it, let’s go red.”

Becca nodded in understanding, asking no more questions. She’d probably dealt with this kind of thing before. As the locks fell to the floor Laurie felt an oppressive weight, heavier than her hair lifted from her shoulders. When they finished she looked in the mirror and was happy with what she saw.

She went to the beauty emporium next and stocked up on makeup. Shopping for new clothes followed. At the end of her trek she went home and packed her things. Before loading her car she called her boss and asked if there were any extra projects she could pick up.

Laurie was wearing a new black dress and bright red lipstick when Todd came home.

His shocked face quickly transitioned to the decidedly unattractive jealous face she’d come to know and hate. “Who are you dressed up for?” he demanded.

“Me.” With that she handed him her key and walked out the door.


The Prompt: 

Write about something that has been lost and then found.


All I can really say about this is if you are with someone who weighs you down, get out immediately. It’s not worth losing yourself.

Rough draft 585

Story A Day Challenge – Day 26 – The Secret

I don’t feel very good so for today’s prompt I took a piece of flash fiction I wrote back in January that fits the prompt and did some minor edits. Enjoy!


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 stopped staring at the woman.

Glancing around he saw the hipster that often parked himself near the front window was staring at the barista at the cash register. That guy didn’t worry Evan. The barista though, 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 rule him.

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 it 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 and horrified.

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

Bitch.

As Evan made his way back to his table, he made eye contact with every one of the other customers. They each in turn looked away. Probably embarrassed for him, he figured but 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.


I love this story because I could almost be the main character in some ways. I want to like coffee but I just don’t. I’ve certainly gotten some harsh looks ordering my tea, which always gives me the giggles. What a silly thing to be snobby about.

If I’m feeling better later I’ll probably try to write something new but I don’t know when I’ll post it.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 25 – Right On Time

Today’s prompt was tough. Every Friday we are supposed to take a premise from a well known novel and make a new story. This is hard for me because I always picture the original storyline. Eventually I came up with something though. Enjoy!


Right On Time

Mr. Billingsworth hated to be late. Possibly even more he hated being early. Right on time was the most satisfactory choice. He always showed up to work on time, without fail throughout the entire thirty years he’d worked for the railroad.

Team members were not allowed to be late or too early. There were clocks over everyone’s workstation, in each bathroom and the break room. If he could be right on time every day for three decades his employees could do the same. Each person would be allowed second, third and even fourth chances for mistakes in every other aspect of their work, but there was zero tolerance for tardiness. He installed five time clocks, one for each of his subordinates to ensure it and stood hawk-like over them to make sure his men logged in right on the hour and not a second too soon.

When his team was tasked with implementing the scheduling program for the new driverless trains built in his city his love of timing wove its way through everything they built. Mr. Billingsworth tested and retested every aspect to ensure it was perfect. If a train arrived too early then people could miss it, risking being late for their job, which was unthinkable. If it was too late than the city’s workers would be penalized for tardiness or even fired. He refused to have either scenario hanging over his head.

After the new trains had run for a few months Mr. Billingsworth started riding one to work. He had the utmost confidence they wouldn’t let him down. On the third day of this as he waited for his train the newspaper he was reading slipped from his hands onto the tracks. Alarmed he checked his pocket watch. It read 7:57. Since he had a full three minutes he stepped forward and picked up the paper. When he realized the train, which had arrived prematurely was about to hit him he felt no fear, only anger that it was early. Perhaps he shouldn’t have allowed those extra chances for his employee’s mistakes.

As his spirit left his body and floated up he held on to his ire until he found himself standing before the pearly gates.

St. Peter smiled at him. “Ah Mr. Billingsworth, you’re right on time.”


The Prompt

Write a story that revolves around a character with a ‘fatal flaw’ who, as a result, commits a fatal error that has a tragic result. Use a frame story to reinforce the flaw.
(Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley)


I was convinced I wouldn’t come up with a thing. I couldn’t decide on a flaw. I had no character in mind and Frankenstein was taking over all my thoughts. So I started thinking about people I know and their ‘fatal flaws’, myself included. I really do hate to be late, passionately. To the point where it can be a problem. I’m always early, probably too early. Somehow with those thoughts Mr. Billingsworth was born.

Sidenote: I said that name to my husband and asked him what he thought the character would be like. He said he pictured a monocle and a hat, basically the monopoly guy. Add a pocket watch and that’s Mr. Billingsworth exactly!

Rough draft 380 words

Photo by Ryan McGuire

Story A Day Challenge – Day 24 – Three Micro Stories

The story a day September prompt today was to write not one, but three stories. There was a gallery of old photos and the instructions were to click through and pick three that caught my eye then write the stories. They didn’t have to be related but could be. It didn’t have to be about the subject’s life, only inspired by the photo. For the first picture I selected I wrote a story inspired by it. For the other two I went very literal. Enjoy!


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Endings

Billy hung his head resigned. Soon it would be over and the nightmare would begin. Oh well, at least he’d enjoyed the short respite from hell. He’d known it wouldn’t last but somehow still hoped it would. Next week school started again. Why couldn’t summer be longer?


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Don’t Fear The Reaper

If Bob made a mistake he would be damned so he proceeded as slowly as he could. When he was finished and the red-headed boy smiled his thanks, Bob breathed a sigh of relief. He’d dodged a bullet this day! Everyone knew gingers stole your soul if you angered them.


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What Did The Fox Say?

“NO COMMENT!”


Word counts:

  • Story one – 47
  • Story two – 50
  • Story three – 2

Why is story three so short you ask? Because the fox is sick and tired of being asked that question!

Sidenote: Since I am a ginger I can attest that story two could possibly maybe be a true story…I’m just saying, don’t tick me off lol.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 23 – The Attic

I almost didn’t do today’s prompt. It was posted a little late and I started working on my WIP. I worked on that for quite a while then went to my torture session, aka physical therapy. While waiting to pick up my daughter from school I had an idea for the prompt, so even though it’s evening and I already posted two other things today, here is my story


The Attic

Six year old Marissa didn’t fear the attic. Though young, she wasn’t foolish enough to think it was anything other than a storage space. Still, she refused to go up there. No, she wasn’t afraid of silly attic.

The stairs were another story. They were a monster ready to devour you, a demon trying to steal your soul. A cursed deathtrap. She would not fall victim to its evil intentions. She particularly distrusted the fifth step from the top. The way it creaked proved it was dangerous. Every time her mother went up to the attic Marissa held her breath until that step was conquered. Her parents thought it was foolish but nothing would convince her to put one foot on them.

She would never forget how when she was five her uncle tumbled down those stairs after slipping on the fifth step. He screamed blasphemy, damning them all the way down and claimed they were bedeviled when he got to the bottom. He made her promise she wouldn’t tell her mother because he didn’t want to be accused of being drunk, whatever that meant.

No her mother and father would never understand. She couldn’t explain how Uncle Jeff cursed the stairs because she was a good girl and kept her word. Besides, she didn’t used that kind of language.


The Prompt

Before she knew it, she was just another set of eyes in a dusty attic, waiting for the stairs to creak.


I didn’t precisely stick with the prompt but since my story was inspired by it I’m happy with the result. Sorry for the triple post today!

Rough draft 220

Story A Day Challenge – Day 22 – Teenage Love

Today’s prompt brought back memories of the time I ruined Thanksgiving at my mother’s house by calling my sister-in-law something that was fitting (and man did she deserve it) but inappropriate for the setting. It certainly caused a lot of drama! I thought to write about it but then another story decided it wanted to be written. A story as old as time. Enjoy!


Teenage Love

“But I love him!” Jez yelled at her father, regretting this had to happen at the family reunion. Her entire family stood before her while her new boyfriend kept to the edge of the field they were gathered in.

“I don’t care if you love him. He’s not right for you and you know it.”

“Well I don’t care what you say. Romeo and I are going to be together.”

“You can’t. He’s a predator!” her father yelled.

“Don’t judge him before you even meet him Dad!” shouted back. She glanced back at Romeo to see if he was offended but he had no expression on his face, as usual.

“I don’t want to meet him. I can clearly see he’s a snake.”

“He’s a vegetarian.”

“Why do dumb little girls always fall for that line? Look Jez, he’s a snake, you’re a cricket. It would never work.” To prove his point he hopped to the serpent, who promptly ate him. The family scattered.

Jez was never fooled by a smooth talking creep again.


The Prompt

 Write a short story about a family gathering where things don’t quite work out as expected. It can be a social event at work or a family holiday that goes spectacularly wrong, you choose.


I was going to make it a 100 word story but I felt compelled to put the part about the snake having no expression on his face as usual. I hate snakes. I think it’s safe to say there is no creature on earth I despise more than snakes, with perhaps the exception of lying, hormone driven teenage boys lol.

Rough draft 174 words.

Story A Day Challenge – Day 21 – Escaping

Today’s prompt was easy! It didn’t take long before I knew the beginning and end. I only had to come up with the middle, which wasn’t difficult at all. Enjoy!


The Prompt

Your character is being forced into something they do not want to do: an arranged marriage, eating their broccoli (!), working for someone they know is evil. So he or she is running away to avoid it. Suddenly there’s voices nearby/a light flashes on/someone steps into the passage ahead…Your character stops, heart pounding, afraid of discovery.


Escaping

He knew they would find him, he thought as he traversed the dim hallways. Still, he held onto the hope he could get away this time. It was a foolish dream but as he attempted his fourteenth escape he prayed it would be different this time.

Enduring the torture that would follow getting caught was more than he could bear. He looked down at the bruises ringing his arms. Souvenirs of his last attempt. He had these reminders all over his body. It had been a week since his last pummeling but he still felt the pain.

Perhaps it was the memory that hurt the most. They had nearly stripped him down during the attack. When it was finally over he was covered in scratches, bruises and bite marks. He almost thought they must hate him rather than love him.

He turned a corner and glimpsed the exit sign. Freedom was only a few yards away. Then she stepped out of a side hallway. Britney, president of his fan club and his self-proclaimed biggest fan. Shit! He pivoted and started running but her piercing screech gave him away. Before he could blink he was surround by forty screaming teenage girls.

His hat went first, then his shirt. They took one shoe and were going for his pants when his bodyguards showed up and saved the day. He was carried out to his car and driven home. As usual he was given the ‘don’t try to go anywhere on your own’ speech.

At home he stood in front of the mirror staring at the results of his folly he decided he was done trying to have a normal life. There would be no fifteenth try. He called his head bodyguard and told him to hire ten more guys. Still, Bieb wondered how the hell one of his attackers managed to give him a hickey on his ear?


For the record, I’m not a fan of the person I’m referencing here. However, he’s has a ridiculous amount of young female fans and has probably gone through something like this in his career. It shouldn’t amuse me as much as it does I guess. As for the inspiration for this one, my youngest daughter had a mark on her earlobe this morning that looked a little like a hickey, but was caused by sleeping on her ear with it creased. The look on her face when I said what it looked like was so funny it stuck with me. After driving her to school I went straight to the computer and started typing. I wonder how she’s going to explain it to her friends lol.

Rough draft 316 words

Story A Day Challenge – Day 20 – Flowers

Today’s prompt challenged us to write outside our normal genre. The problem for me is with short fiction I write in most genres. I’ve written zombie stories, ghost tales, fantasy, middle grade fantasy, a little sci-fi, literary, horror, humor, contemporary, etc. So I decided to go with a different tone.


Brian awoke suddenly. Flowers! He hadn’t bought Maggie flowers in a week. Guilt hit him as he dressed. How could he have forgotten? He rushed out and bought a bouquet of her favorite lilies. He hoped she wouldn’t feel forgotten as he laid the flowers on her gravestone.

The ghost of Maggie felt sadness wash over her as she watched her husband place the flowers. She’d believed when he didn’t buy them for a week that he was finally ready to let her go. She hoped he wouldn’t feel sad forever. If only he would smile she could move on.


The Prompt

Write a story in a genre that you wouldn’t normally write. If you’re a squeamish sort of person, try writing a gory horror story. Or if you hate everything mushy and lovey-dovey, try a tender romance. If you don’t normally write within a genre, pick one and try it out! 


I tried to come up with a ‘mushy, lovey-dovey’ romantic story but it just wasn’t in me. I also tried to do something on the erotica scale but sometimes my mother and children read this blog so I couldn’t even force an idea out let alone post something like that! So I stuck with sad. Most of my stories are either silly, funny, gross or have magic and dragons and such. I don’t like sad, I avoid it as much as possible. This was more out of my comfort zone than romance could ever be.

Rough draft 100 words