Scene Challenge

A while back The Write Practice shared a post with scene prompts in several parts. I used a random number generator to choose each part of the prompt. Here is the result.


It was a normal Saturday afternoon for Sara Lanning, which meant she was at the nearby grocery store. She browsed the produce, considering what she wanted to eat for the next week.

Gala apples, or braeburn? she wondered. She grabbed a bag and opened it while she debated. I’ll get gala, she decided, grabbing four of them.

As she turned away from the display, she momentarily froze. Just across the way, by the tangerines, was a tall stocky blonde man. He looked perfect.

I should get some tangerines, clementines, or oranges, she thought. She twisted the bag of apples closed and set it in her cart. She steered her cart in that direction.

Mr. Perfect glanced up and met her eyes for a moment, then looked back at the fruit.

She was almost to where he stood when the lights flickered once, twice, three times, then went out. Sara furrowed her eyebrows. It wasn’t raining as far as she knew. She didn’t hear thunder or see lightning.

“Everyone, please leave your carts and proceed to the nearest exit!” an associate yelled. Other workers were doing the same and ushering everyone out of the store.

Sara did as asked, abandoning her cart. To leave, she had to walk past the citrus display she had been heading for.

Maybe I’ll run into him outside, she thought hopefully. She walked faster, hoping to catch up.

The only light comes from the windows around the edge of the store, and Sara knocks into something and falls. Right next to Mr. Perfect. He looks down through the near-darkness.

“Need a hand?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she takes the stranger’s hand and lets him help her to her feet. “Thanks.”

“No problem. What did you trip on?” he asked.

Sara flushed and laughed, “I think I tripped over myself. It’s hard to see with the lights off.” She couldn’t see his face and he didn’t answer.

They made it out of the grocery store and he started to head for his car. Sara stood waiting for a moment, unsure of what to do.

This is my chance, she thought suddenly. I might never see him again! “Hey, wait!” she called.

He turned and looked at her. “What?”

“Do you–” she froze. What am I doing? I just met him!

He raised an eyebrow.

“I’m Sara,” she said, offering her hand.

“I’m Mike,” he said, shaking her hand.

“Do you want to hang out sometime?” she blurted.

He seemed caught off guard, having opened his mouth right as she started talking. Then he smiled. “I was about to ask you the same thing.”

Sara smiled back. “Sorry I interrupted you.” She dug in her purse for a piece of paper and scribbled down her number. “Here, text me sometime and we can figure it out.”

“Okay.” He walked over to his car and drove away.

After he was gone, Sara asked an employee if the store was going to reopen. It turned out they weren’t, so she went somewhere else. At that same store, she saw Mike again. He was talking with a friend and didn’t notice her.

“I was over at the grocery store across town and this random girl asked me out,” he said.

“Was she hot?”

Mike snorted, “Pfft, no.”

“So what’d you do?”

“She gave me her number so I took it but I threw it away.”

Sara felt tears rush to her eyes. She ran out of the store to her car, crying.

Deleted Drafts “The Etaloniy Story” (2)

Five years ago I began writing a story about a girl named Etaloniy Whitlock. The result was quite the disaster of a story. Because it is rather long, I have split what I have of her story into three parts. Part one went up last Wednesday and part three will go up next Wednesday.

3: SCHOOL

We rushed inside and went to class. It was about the usual junk about our heritage, the Ruby Rains, and how beneficial Shanry E. Wheenman was to our country. (Shanry E. Wheenman was the monster of a man.)

After three hours we had lunch with extra dessert for everybody. (Including the people who brought their lunches.) If only the next day was a real holiday, then we’d actually enjoy the dessert, more anyway.

We went back to class and listened to the teachers drone on and on. Finally school was over, and I rushed to the bus before anyone could say Etaloniy Whitlock. I hurried (as usual) to the very back of the bus. My friends and I always choose the back so we can sit close to each other, and as I’m always the first person on the bus I save our seats.

My friends show up right before the bus is to leave! They burst onto the bus and run to the very back with me. Ameria knows they’re in for it, really bad this time. Ameria is the “leader” of our friend group, she’s not in charge she just helps us settle disputes in an orderly fashion. (Not that we have many disputes.)

“Hey, where were you guys?” I ask.

“We were… uuh it’s a secret,” said Emalagy after seeing Ameria shake her head.

“Why won’t you tell me?! You are always keeping secrets from me!” I almost shout before I can stop myself.

“It… It’s a surprise,” replies Nadolina softly.

“Nadolina! You weren’t supposed to tell her!” says Ameria angrily.

After that no one said anything the rest of the way home. I was glad to ride in silence until the doors opened to my neighborhood. Bran, Maglina, and I jumped out and ran home, eager to see Preana and Clamal.

4: PREANA’S PROBLEM

We arrive home and rush into the kitchen.

“Mom can we have a snack?” asks Bran eagerly. (He’s always hungry so Mom has to pack him an extra large lunch for school.)

“Yes. I made a cake for your snack today.”

“Where is it?” asks Bran checking all the places he thought the cake would be in.

“In the freezer, Bran,” says Mom as she walks out of the kitchen.

Bran pulls out the cake and goes after the knife rack, when I reach out and stop him.

“Bran, you know you’re not allowed to use the cake knife. Let me cut the cake,” I say.

He reluctantly steps back towards the cake knowing that I’m right. He’s four years younger than me, but acts like he thinks he’s four years older than me.

I grab the knife carefully; then head back to Bran. I ask him to get plates as I carefully cut the cake into twelve even pieces.

“I get the first piece!” says Maglina before Bran can, because he always gets the first piece.

“Bran, go see if Clamal and Preana would like some cake.”

“Fine,” he sighed.

He rushed upstairs and knocked on their doors. Then I heard his feet pounding as he came back, panting.

“They’re… They’re… they’re not there.”

“Of course they’re there. It’s been about thirty minutes since school got out.”

“No they’re not there.”

“How can they not be there? By now they are here!”

“Go check for yourself then!” he snapped at me.

I ran upstairs and tried opening Clamal’s door — only to find it locked. I knocked loudly to no avail. I decided to ask Mom for help.

Mom!” I yelled across the house.

“Yes, Etaloniy?” she said coming over to me.

“Clamals’s door is locked,” I said jiggling the handle for emphasis.

“She must want to be alone, sweetheart.”

“Well it’s urgent.”

“Fine, I’ll get the key for you. Meanwhile go tell Preana to come downstairs.”

I walk down the hall and try to turn the door knob. Also locked. “Drats,” I say under my breath. “Preana open up! Mom wants you downstairs!” I shout quickly and loudly.

“You don’t need to yell! I’m right here!” she told me appearing at the top of the stairs.

“Sorry,” I said blushing.

“I brought the key,” she told me, calming down.

I take it and unlock Clamal’s door. I open it slowly and dramatically for emphasis. I look in and find it empty.

“Mom can you get the key to Preana’s room?”

“It should be in Clamal’s room. Although I don’t want you snooping in her things.”

“Mom! I’m worried about Preana and Clamal!”

“Fine. Get the key. And hurry about it,” she gave an exasperated sigh.

I went in saw her key ring on her dresser, and grabbed it and left.

“Found it,” I say as I go unlock Preana’s door. I open it quickly, then walk into her maze of a room.

“Preana! Preana are you in here?” I shout into the messy void.

I wait, still making my way inside, but hear no response. I head back out and close and relock her door.

“Mom, I’m going to town!”

“Wait a second!” she calls after me as I round the corner at the end of the street.

I must find Preana! And Clamal, but right now Preana is my priority.

I rushed to town square covering my head with my hands because it’s raining rubies a day early!

“Oh, Preana! What did you get yourself into this time?” I wail.

I soon reach the town square with bleeding hands (a lot of rubies hit me). I quickly scan the area, and spot Preana chained to a police rack!

(The police rack is like a bicycle rack that police officers chain prisoners to while the officers is arresting someone else.)

“Preana! What happened?” I ask in a stupor. She looks at me with a pained look in her eyes. Her eyes quickly widen and she shakes her head fiercely.

“Preana I can’t leave you!” I tell her, “By the way where’s Clamal?”

Preana nodded her head over to where the police had a teenage girl pinned agains the side of a nearby building.

I gasped loudly, “What happened?!”

“Miss I’ll have to ask you to leave the crime scene,” I gruff police officer told me.

“Can you tell me what happened first?”

“This girl here was inspecting some rubies that belong to Shanry E. Wheenman and smashing them on the ground to obtain the valuable middle section of the ruby.”

“What about the other girl?” I ask pointing to Clamal.

“She said that she was this young ruby thief’s sister and asked if we’d let her go if she returned the rubies. Obviously we couldn’t do that. Right now officers are trying to find the rest of the girl’s family to put them under house arrest.”

“Thank you for telling me. Is there any way I can help you find them?”

“Do you know the family?”

“Couldn’t say. She looks too young to go to school with me as I’m only thirteen.”

“Well then you be on your way then, but if you see any of her family members let us know,” he told me as I walked away.

I pull out my cell phone and call Mom. “Mom, come to the square quickly. Preana and Clamal have been arrested.”

“They what!” she shouted in my ear.

“Ow! They got arrested,” I said enunciating carefully.

“Oh no! That’s terrible! I’m coming to give those police officers a talk.”

“Mom you can’t they’ll arrest you, too!”

“What are you talking about?”

“I talked to a police officer acting like I didn’t know Preana and Clamal. They only arrested Clamal because she said that she was Preana’s sister.”

“I’m still getting Preana back! If it takes getting arrested, then fine. They can arrest me if they’ll let Preana go!” Mom tells me and I know that I can’t stop her from trying to do just that. I’m about to respond when I hear the phone click on the other end, telling me she hung up.

Nooo!! She can’t come to the square! She’ll get arrested, and I can’t let that happen. I scream in my head knowing I’d get arrested for screaming it out loud.

Then Mom showed up in the square yelling at a police officer in another language.

“Mom! Mom, thank goodness I’ve found you!” I shouted in Nargatolan recognizing it instantly.

“This is your daughter?” the police man asked it sketchy Nargatolan.

“Yes, sir. Thank you for your help,” he seemed to understand even if he didn’t speak Nargatolan.

“Where are Preana and Clamal?” Mom asked, switching to another language that was less common in our area.

“Over there,” I responded in the same language and tip my head in their direction.

Mom’s response is almost immediate, and I have to grab her arm to keep her from rushing over to save the day.

“Mom, if you tell them who you are they’ll arrest you.”

“Etaloniy, you should know me better than that. I am not going to go over there and get myself arrested.”

“Then what are you going to do?” I ask, feeling relief.

A Moment

All those days you’ve been waiting

for a moment.

Waiting for a moment

to change the world,

to set things right,

to start a fire that’ll burn so bright,

Burn it all to the ground.

But why,

why,

and when,

when?

Will the moment ever come

and how will you know it has?

Instead of waiting

why don’t you start now?

Change the course of history,

this world we’re in right now.

The good it could do,

you have a dream, a goal,

move towards it,

don’t idle,

wake up,

stop wasting time during which

you really don’t need to sleep.

Thief! (A Short Story)

This is a relatively unimportant, though fun, bit of backstory for two of the characters from my novel-in-progress. It was initially based off a prompt, but I do not recall what it was.

~~~~~~

Mara, five at the time, was at her neighbor and best friend James’ house. Well, as she would be quick to point out, James was one of her two best friends, but regardless, she was at her best friend’s house. His mother, Mrs. Richards, had given the pair a plate of several freshly baked cookies.

Each of them quickly gobbled down most of the cookies they had snatched from the plate. James was about to to grab the last of his cookies when his mom called to him from the kitchen.

“James, you need to clean up this mess!” James glanced towards the kitchen.

When his back was turned, Mara stole his last cookie and giggled while she ate it. James glanced at Mara, eyes widening as he realized what horrible thievery she had engaged in–while his mom was talking to him, no less!

“Mommy! Mara stole my cookie!” He glared at her, crossing his arms over his chest.

Mrs. Richards peeked out of the kitchen, “I’m sure it’s alright, James. You had plenty. Now please bring me the plate and clean this mess you left on the floor.”

He huffed, earning a stern look from his mother.

“Coming, Mommy.”

Current Projects (as of 7 July 2018)

I have quite the list of projects I am currently working on. Blog posts on these various topics will come as progress is made or using material already produced for or related to them. In no particular order:

 

  • Mystical Warriors, my novel in progress, started July 2015. I’m currently at about 30k words and still in the early part of the first half. I have the second half generally plotted and know a few things that happen in the near future.
  • This blog. I’m posting every day, with help from the scheduling feature on WordPress. I’m trying to have content ready in advance in case I need to take a break. If that becomes impossible, I will still post at least once a week.
  • Over the Invisible Wall. I’m working with my friend Justine to post to the blog Facebook page once a week and to the blog twice a month.
  • Millstadt News Magazine. I wrote for the July issue and I’m working on a piece for the August issue. I’m hoping to continue writing for the publication, but it depends if space is available.
  • A flag blanket. I’m crocheting a blanket made up of 36 flags from different countries. Right now I have about 12 finished.
  • Inside a Writer’s Head, my poetry collection. All of the poems are collected, they just need reorganized, formatted, edited, etc. before the collection can be published.
  • N’Zembe, the star system I’m building. This has a lot packed into it. I’m building a whole star system from scratch with ten inhabited planets and potentially some inhabited moons.
  • Various short stories.
  • Adventures in Meldrick, a card game. The game is good conceptually, but needs more beta testing to work out some of the problem areas in gameplay. I need to finish making the card database so I can keep track of what cards I have made, how many, etc. The plan is for it to have some trading aspects, but that would be an optional feature.
  • Illustrating Mystical Warriors. I only have one completed illustration and have yet to start the next. Some of the characters need reference drawings before I can do this.

 

 

 

Struggling to Organize my Poetry Manuscript

I recently finished gathering together a lot of my poems to make a collection. To begin with I tried to put them in some categories based loosely on topic. Now, though, I need to go through and reorganize them.

Which poem should open the collection? Which should close it? How should they be arranged in between? Should they be in categories or just one after the other more randomly?

I have to answer these questions just about organizing the collection. Not to mention I have to consider if I’ll have notes about the poems, if I’ll include the date I wrote the poem on, if there will be illustrations in the book. Do I want just one poem for every two pages, or one for each page?

It was easier to write the poems to begin with than to figure out how I want to present them together!

Deleted Drafts “The Etaloniy Story”

Five years ago I began writing a story about a girl named Etaloniy Whitlock. The result was quite the disaster of a story. Because it is rather long, I have split what I have of her story into three parts.

1: CHANGES

I don’t know how to tell you this. I don’t think I can tell you this! My life is changing rapidly and I can’t do anything about it! Okay, okay, I’ll slow down and explain everything.

My name is Etaloniy Whitlock. I have one brother and three sisters. I also have two dogs (and a cat named Meecklow). My mom and dad are both in their thirties. Oh yeah, and I’m turning thirteen next month. In the dreaded month of the Ruby Rains!

So now I’ll explain how it all started….

Five years ago today I was soon to turn eight when my parents got divorced. I couldn’t handle the news, so, I went to my friend’s house and told my parents I wasn’t coming back. Two weeks into the arrangement I went crying back home — homesick. My mother welcomed me back joyfully. I wanted to see Dad, but Mom said he was on a business trip for about two and a half years.

Mom said Dad would be back in two and a half years, but we haven’t heard from him since. I’m starting to think he’s never coming back.

As if that’s not bad enough, that’s only the start of my troubles! I also have “friends” who are trying to make me sell my brother!!!! They told me that he was the cause of my troubles, so I should dispose of him as quickly as possible. I didn’t believe them of course, but I didn’t tell them that.

Meecklow is another story, but I might as well tell you of his wonders as a cat. Oddly enough he chases the dogs, and they are scared when he walks in the room with them. Meecklow doesn’t like my friends and after a fight with him they’re scared of him. So all-in-all he’s one exceptional cat.

Now for what happens daily to me….

2: DAILY

Ahh, breakfast my favorite part of every day. The reason is simple — the food is delicious (and it’s much quieter in the morning when everyone’s busy eating).

“Good morning sweetheart,” Mom says when I reach the kitchen.

“Good morning Mom.”

“Hey Bran,” I tell my brother.

“Hey.”

“Is Clamal up yet?” I ask Mom.

“Yes, she left for school already.”

“Did she take Preana to school?”

“Yes, sorry you missed them again. You just don’t get up early enough,” Mom told me.

“Well I’m not the only one,” I say as Maglina walks into the kitchen sleepily.

After the morning “glad you’re up” routine with her we all fall silent and concentrate on the food. This morning Mom made cinnamon toast rolls. Cinnamon toast rolls! Those are only for special occasions!

“Mom, what’s today?” I ask urgently.

“The day before the Ruby Rains,” she replies calmly.

“No! No! It can’t be!” I shout at no one in particular.

“Yes honey, just check the calendar,” she said back still calmly.

I get up and do just that. It’s true. Tomorrow the terror will begin as every year. My face pales and I go back to the table.

“The Ruby Rains. Why? Why!?” I shout.

The Ruby Rains are when it rains glistening rubies. That makes it dangerous, but it’s also a time of grieving for the people. This is because during this month a monster of a man took over the country. He’d parade through the streets in clothing decorated with rubies, mocking our pain. It was mockery because during the Ruby Rains over five hundred people die every week!

“Honey nobody knows why. It just is.”

I almost cry, but I can’t, not in front of my mom and Bran and Maglina. Instead I excused myself and went and got ready for school.

I dressed in my school uniform — a simple blue shirt and tan pants — then I don my socks and tennis shoes. I hurried, checked the clock, and rushed out the door. As soon as I was out the door I ran and waited for the bus.

I waited and waited and then it came! I was shocked to see the painted rubies glaring at me from the side of the bus. (This is normal, it happens every year the day before the Ruby Rains.) At the “monster of a man’s” orders the Ruby Rains are celebrated as a holiday, the only non-holiday-ness of this arrangement is that the children still have to go to school.

I jumped onto the bus as soon as the doors opened and went all the way to the back. I then waited for Bran and maglina to show up. They did knowing exactly why I left in a flurry. (They knew this because it happened every year the day before the Ruby Rains.)

The bus hurried to school so we wouldn’t be late. We arrived in about ten minutes with a busload of kids.