Embrace the Shadows #WOW555

The prompt this week for the #WOW555 contest is “write about what comes out of the shadows when the world outside goes quiet.” So, I didn’t focus a lot on the quiet part, but I did try to take a different look at the shadows. Perhaps you can relate..

Jose hated walking home at night. Ever since he was young he had feared the shadows. He knew there was something lurking in the shadows, watching him, just waiting to spring. He looked back, thinking he had seen something move in the alleyway that he just passed. Nothing was moving. He stared into the dark, willing whatever spirit or force that might be hiding to come out.

His gaze was interrupted by the clash of the trash can and the grunt of the man who had tripped over it. Jose pivoted to take in the scene. He saw him sprawled on the ground. He began stooping to help the poor guy when his heart stopped. He saw the knife just a foot away from the bad guy. He hadn’t heard the clatter because the trash can had drowned it out. He kicked the knife back towards the direction he had come and sprinted towards home. He didn’t want to be around when would be thief got up.

“It’s funny, isn’t it Clarence,” a voice from the shadows whispered.

Clarence nodded. “Yes Joseph, it is,” he replied. “Why can’t I just let him know?”

“You know the rules,” Joseph said.

Clarence nodded. Not that anyone but Joseph could see him. Jose seemed more adept than most at recognizing some sort of presence. Still they lurked in the shadows because sometimes children walked along with their parents and children were more likely to see them.

Clarence looked down at the would-be mugger who was getting up. He rubbed his shin and looked back at the trash can like he was trying to figure out how it had moved. He shook his head, grabbed his knife, and stuffed it in his pants. Then he slithered back into the shadows awaiting his next opportunity.

Clarence looked through the mugger at Joseph and raised an eyebrow.

“No! There are rules!” Joseph admonished him. “Now, follow Jose and protect him!”

Clarence looked up at some boxes on the fire escape wistfully and sighed. Then he flitted through the shadows to catch up to his charge. “I guess it’s true that keeping up with him is a full time job,” he sighed as he caught up to Jose and caused him to stumble.

Jose caught himself in the stumble and finally stopped running to take a breath. The car whizzing down the street paid no attention to the stop sign that would have prevented him from running into Jose. Jose’s eyes widened in fear; then he wiped his brow and chuckled. “My guardian angel must be working overtime tonight!” He looked carefully and crossed the street and headed home.

Clarence looked at Joseph and raised his eyebrows.

“No, Clarence, you still don’t get time and a half.” Then, Joseph laughed. “You did ok. Watch over him tonight on your own. I have a few new G.A.s to train.”

Anyone else think their Guardian Angel must be working overtime to keep you safe?

Missed

So, after a week when I couldn’t come up with anything for the #WOW555 contest, I came up with something. How good is it? Well, that will be for you to decide! For this week’s prompt, your story must feature a strong woman in a moment of weakness. Check here for the latest updates, stories and the opportunity to vote! Please note that liking my story here will not count as a vote! You must go to Wendy’s place (see above link) and vote sometime between 8:00 Saturday morning and 6:00 Sunday night.

 

Mary hated cleaning. She looked at the mess and sighed. She’d need a while to clean up this mess. “Oh well,” she thought, “better get started. Then I can get out of here.” She looked under the kitchen sink and found the cleaning supplies. The worst stain was in the living room and she attacked that first. She started scrubbing and realized it would need to soak so she headed back to the kitchen and spot cleaned the drips on the kitchen floor.

She rinsed her rag and headed back into the living room to finish cleaning that stain, then stood up and grabbed at her back. It was a bit sore from the cleaning and she still had more to do. She headed towards the hall closet. The vacuum cleaner was ready and waiting. She pulled it out of the closet and turned it on. She almost didn’t hear the phone ring over the roar of the vacuum cleaner.

She turned off the vacuum cleaner and headed to her purse. She looked at the number on the phone and grimaced. Some clients were just so impatient. “Yes, John. I’m finished. All I have left is some cleaning.” She rolled her eyes at his response. “All I can say is that you’re the one calling me. I should be able to meet you in an hour so you can pay.” She tapped her foot. She didn’t like wasting time. If she had known he was going to be this much trouble, she would have charged double. “Of course I’ll let you see my handiwork. You’re dealing with a professional.” She stifled her laughter. “No, you don’t want to get me mad, that’s right. See you in an hour.”

She looked at the phone in disgust and went back to vacuuming. This place looked like it had seen a fight. That wouldn’t do. She vacuumed and straightened up as she walked through the living room and kitchen. Finally, the apartment was cleaned to her satisfaction. She carefully placed the cleaning supplies back under the sink. Then she took the vacuum cleaner and emptied it into her garbage bag before putting it back in the closet. She hated having to take the trash with her, but it did prevent complications.

“Now, to make final arrangements,” she thought. She looked at John’s former business partner sitting quietly on the couch. She looked around the area and smiled; nothing made it look like he had been dragged across the floor and placed there. She pulled the note out of her purse and looked at it, trying to find the best place to put it. Then she gasped. The note was written by a left hander. She had forgotten that he was left handed and shot him through right temple. She blinked back the tears that began to appear unbidden. She swore at herself. “All that work,” she said out loud. “All that work and they’ll know right away that he didn’t kill himself!” She picked up the trash, stomped out the door and headed to her car. She wouldn’t have time to stay in the city and savor her kill this time.

Cascarones – #WOW555

This week I’m doing something different. I’m basing my story on a story someone else told me. (Thanks Norma Olivarez.) The ending is not what I was told and it fits the requirement for this week, in my humble opinion, so I count it as an original story.  Your challenge this week is to end your story with an unexpected twist. Because I’m telling someone else’s story, and I’m making it first person, the voice won’t sound like it’s me. I hope you enjoy it. Check out Wendy’s Place for all the stories

“Easter was always family fun time,” I said. “My favorite holiday. Christmas was socks and underwear, Easter was just fun.”

Funerals were never a happy occasion, but still, we got together with family that we never saw any other time. The nieces and nephews were hearing the family stories. It was part of the rite of passage.

“Tia Norma, what was your favorite story about Tia Margie?”

I chuckled a bit. “Well, I was seven years old and we were at Aunt Margie’s house one Easter hunting eggs.” In our family, cascarones were usually filled with paper. No muss, no fuss when you broke them over someone’s head. “Tio Juan looked at me and pointed at an egg. It was different from all the others. It was really pretty. Just as I saw it, I saw,” I looked around carefully hoping she wasn’t there, “your Tia Alyssa running after it too. I was a bit closer and ran faster. I got there first and before Alyssa could turn and run away, I smacked it on her head.”

I laughed a bit as I thought about the situation. “That’s when I found out that it wasn’t a cascarone. Someone told me later it was a wild turkey egg….and it was rotten! Tia Alyssa was so mad she was sputtering. I was shocked and then I was afraid. Tia Margie was going to kill me. The smell was awful! The egg had run down her hair, onto her clothes and all I could think was that I wanted to find a skunk and make the smell better.”

“What did you do then, Tia?” my nephew asked.

“I ran! I’m not stupid. I ran and hid under the porch. Tia Margie showed up soon, calling my name so sweetly. ‘Norma! Where are you Norma? I’ve got a present for you.’ I knew better. I stayed under the porch. She was so close I could see the toe in her orthopedic shoes tapping and the top of her rolled up knee highs beginning to sag.” We all laughed at the thought. That was pure Tia Margie.

“She never caught me and I was able to stay away from her for the rest of the weekend.”

I hadn’t heard her come up from behind, but my prima Alyssa came up behind me. “You telling the egg story I would guess?”

I turned around, feeling very guilty. I nodded my head.

“I got whipped so bad for that. Mom was so mad that you beat me to that egg. She meant for me to get you with it.”

“Really?” I asked. No one could imagine Tia Margie with that kind of sense of humor.

“Yep, and as her time drew near, she reminded me about that story.” Alyssa pulled her hand from behind her back. She had a wild turkey egg that I saw briefly just before she smashed it on my head. “Mom always wanted me to pay you back,” she said through the stink with a big grin.

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

NaNo Prep – and a Challenge!

I just discovered that I won the #WOW555 Challenge about getting inside the head of my villain. (see previous post) Thanks to those who voted for me and for the tiebreaker system. This week’s prompt is going to be a challenge for me. I’m not that strong on descriptive writing. I have an idea, though!

In your NaNo project, or in a completely unrelated scene, what is a symbolic color or image you are using? Our prompt today is for you to provide us with a scene that uses a color or image symbolically.

Don’t forget, the call for entries will come out on Friday. You’ll have from 5-5 CST to submit your response.

Click the trophy to get to the site. Happy Writing all!

 

#WOW555 Trophy

“Why Would People Call Me a Villain?”

As we get ready for NaNoWriMo, Wendy Strain over at Write on Wendy challenged us to flesh out our villain in her new #WOW555 challenge. The idea would be for us to focus on his/her motivation. This year, the finish to my trilogy involves a villain who doesn’t really see himself as a villain. Perhaps those kind are the worst. Now the story.

He rolled down the window and carefully looked through his binoculars. It was the third day in a row that he had seen this child playing in the park, carefree, alone and unprotected. None of the nannies bringing kids to the park after school even acknowledged her. He decided to follow her today, just to make sure he’d have enough time to get away before her loss was noticed.

He watched as she slowly picked her way through the park, apparently headed for home. He thought about getting out and walking as he followed her, but decided against it. If anyone caught him, he wanted to be able to fly out of there. He didn’t think a 7 year old girl would notice that he was following her. He also didn’t think anyone else would even notice that she was being followed so he decided to chance it and keep using the skimmer.

He shook his head sadly to himself as he thought about that. A cute young girl that no one cared about. “It’s almost like I’m doing her a favor,” he whispered under his breath.. She’ll have someone to take care of her once I pick her up.” He didn’t think about what he would be putting her through, of course. He just knew that the boss needed a girl like her for a special customer. If he did his job well, he’d be rewarded. And now he justified his actions with this fantasy that she’d be taken care of.

He followed her carefully, never getting closer than a half a block to her. She looked at at every flower bed along the way and stopped to pet every dog and every cat she saw. She was just craving attention. She needed someone to give her that attention; she needed someone to love on her. This one would get lots of attention where he would take her; she would have plenty of men to love on her.

He smiled to himself as he thought about it. As he thought more about it, he began to feel slightly heroic as he thought about how he would be rescuing this poor deprived child. As he grew more and more self-assured that he was actually doing the little kid a favor, he got closer and closer without realizing it. Suddenly he realized that the skimmer was right next to the girl. She recognized his presence and he decided to take her now.

“Hey honey? Can you help me? I’m looking for my dog.” He described one she had played with a couple of blocks ago. “Have you seen him?”

She smiled as she nodded without saying anything. “Where is he then?” he asked.

She pointed back the way she had come. He breathed deeply before his next question. “Can you get in and help me find him?” He opened the door and she came in without saying a word. He closed the door behind her and smiled. He was glad she was so young and trusting. She would be safe with him now.

Check out the other entries this week at the Write on Wendy Challenge site!

When Dreams Come True…

…with apologies to C.S. Lewis.

The topic for tonight’#5MinuteFiction was to write about a dream or a nightmare that came true. I thought about CS Lewis and the Voyage of the Dawntreader as I wrote. What would happen if ALL your dreams came true. (even the nightmares) Yes, indeed, dark fantasy. Even in the dark fantasy…there is heroic altruism. I’m such a hopeless positivist!  And, I’m such a hopeless positivist that I believe that you will like my story enough to head on over to Write on Wendy and vote for me since I made the finalists tonight. I sure would appreciate your support!

Here’s my #5MinuteFiction writing for this week. If I had given it a title, it would be “The Dreamhopper.”

“Deja Vu all over again,” Johnny thought with a wry smile. Then he shuddered as he remembered the dream. When he saw the Red Volkswagon heading his way, he jumped to the right and smiled nervously. In the dream he had jumped to the left.

“It’s a mirror. That’s your problem,” said a husky feminine voice behind him, “you can’t see the mirror so you think you’re safe.”

He jumped, startled by the sound. She looked familiar. Suddenly a his face became a picture of horror. She had been in his dream too. “What are you….”

“I know, I know. I was in your dream. You were in mine. Can we help each other to get out alive or will the dream come true?”

“But how…?” he sputtered.

She looked at him with disgust. “Does it matter how? Wait.” She stopped, pulled him back from the door and watched as a knife hit the wall right where his head had been. “We can work together, or we can die separately.”

“But how?”

“You ask far too many questions, ya know that?” she sneered. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is getting out alive this time.”

“What do you mean ‘this time?’” he asked.

She shook her head. “When I was alive, my dream came true and I died. Now, I search for ways to get in the dreams of others and help them get out alive. I’m hoping that I can come back to life. WATCH IT!” she grabbed him and threw him to the ground as a car raced by shooting out of its windows.

“What if….”

“Listen, my dream, my nightmare came true. I’m just trying to help others now. So shut up and do what I say. I want to get you out of here alive.”

Many thanks to our judge for tonight, Ruth Watson Morris. She generously made a copy of her book Fantacia available to those involved in #5MinuteFiction. (I won’t put the link here, you’ll have to go to Write on Wendy to get it and to vote!)