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Archive for the ‘My Short Stories’ Category

Well, it’s not my first and I certainly hope it’s not my last. It’s actually my entry for last week’s NovelDoctor contest. His challenges are so much fun. We were given three first sentences & three last sentences to choose among. Here’s what I chose. First sentence: Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet. (That was a fun one to work with.) Last sentence: The bottle was empty.

Stephen was gracious enough to post everyone’s stories on the site, and mine was one of the first. There’s some other great stories there too, so check it out.

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Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet. He stopped and peered down the darkened alley, listening carefully. Then he turned, clambering back up the stairs, cringing at the metallic resonance of his steps.

Upon reaching the roof, he knelt down, breathlessly searching through the dark. There it was, perched precariously near the ledge. He grabbed it and ran back to the stairs, hastily shoving the wallet into the back pocket of his faded blue jeans.

Sam recklessly descended the steps, three at a time, but when his feet hit the ground, he didn’t run. Instead, he crept along the brick wall to the edge of the building. Hiding in the shadows, he peered around the corner, afraid that his pounding heart might give him away.

The street was deserted except for a small crowd forming about twenty feet away. He spotted something on the sidewalk between the crowd and himself. Making certain that nobody was looking, he darted out to get it and returned to the shadows before anyone could notice.

The sound of sirens blasted in the distance. He bolted through the alley, past the fire escape, pausing at the end to check for witnesses. He saw only a few people who seemed to be doing some late night window shopping. He nonchalantly stepped into the light, walking the short distance to his tan sedan. He breathed a sigh of relief after closing the door and starting the engine, thus blocking out the growing wail of the sirens.

Pulling out of the parking space, Sam wondered which way to go. He waited at a red light, watching as two police cars sped by with their blue lights flashing. He stole a glance at the broken camera in the passenger seat. He may not have gotten what he’d come for, but at least he’d escaped with his life. Now, if only he could get out of town.

The light turned green and Sam decided to go straight, heading toward the interstate. After pulling safely into the fast lane, he set the cruise control. Except for a few truckers and night owls, the road was his. Searching for comfort, he reached into the glove compartment and groaned. The bottle was empty.

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Well, here’s the story I promised to post that I wrote for NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest. I’m couldn’t come up with a good title, so I finally decided just to call it “Choices”.  I’m still not satisfied with that though. I’d like to hear what others think of it. I’ll have another short to put up next week from another NovelDoctor contest.

(I have since changed the title. See post above.)

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The Word I Never Knew

I’d always assumed you’d forgotten me. If only I could do the same it would make things so much easier. Believe me, I’ve tried, but time has etched the memory of you into my being.

I’ve treasured the short time that we shared. I memorized every detail of your face for fear that I’d never see you again. I’ve tried to recall your sweet smell, your soft skin, your silky black hair, but my memories are hollow compared with the reality of holding you. You haunt my dreams. Your voice has awakened me countless times, calling me out of fantasy only to find phantoms.

Perhaps we were never meant to be together. I was merely a grown up child when you came into my life. Everyone told me I should let you go, that I wasn’t ready to devote myself to you. As much as it hurt, I knew they were right. I was forced to make the hardest decision of my life, to hold on – or let go. Either way, it would cost us both dearly.

A river of tears raged through my heart that day. What began as tears of joy transformed into a flood of sorrow. Saying goodbye was the most painful thing I’ve ever had to do. I knew you’d never understand why I had to do it, but you deserved the best and that certainly wasn’t me. I’ve never been sure it was the right thing to do, but I’ve prayed for you every day since. As I watched you disappear through the door, my heart was screaming for you to come back. But it was too late.

Then you found me. I couldn’t believe you’d forgive me. After all those years, and after all I’d done – you really did want to start over.

I’ve never been so nervous in my life as at this moment, sitting alone in a room full of strangers. All I can think about is seeing you again. Will I recognize you? Twenty-five years is a long time. I wonder what you’ve done with your life. I have so many questions. But whatever the answers, I will love you just the same. I just hope I live up to your expectations.

Pulled out of reverie by the clanging of a bell, I anxiously turn to watch as a well dressed man enters. He is a handsome man, tall and dark, but not a cliché. My heart skips a beat when he looks my way. Those deep brown eyes are unmistakable. Do I see some glimmer of recognition? Then you smile, and I realize that our tenuous bond has not been broken. You have not forgotten me, after all.

I rise awkwardly as you approach, heart racing and stomach churning. My knees feel weak, and I fear I may fall to the floor in humility. Instead, I fall into your arms, burying my face into your strong shoulder. I almost expect to wake up and find myself alone, but the warmth of your skin assures me that this time you are not a mirage. The sound of your voice soothes my broken heart as you speak the word I never thought I would hear: Mother.

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Today,  my entry was featured by the NovelDoctor on his blog. He showed my original, plus two rewrites as he would change it. He also gave some comments about why he made those changes. Read it here. I liked what he did and have no major objections. You can read my comments to his post as well. Thank you again to Stephen for the opportunity to have my writing read by a professional.

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Part of the “reading about writing” I’ve been doing lately is on the NovelDoctor blog. It’s a fairly new blog written by an editor, Stephen Parolini. While informative, it is also very entertaining. He recently had a contest challenging his readers to write a scene, 200 words, including a wristwatch. I decided to enter it, and though I didn’t win it was really fun. (I really wanted that Yoda Santa, though) I didn’t make the top 10 either, but he did feature an excerpt from my entry. He has also offered to critique it, so I’ll find out what he really thinks later. Anyway, I figured that since I actually wrote a “short story” I should post it on my blog. So here it is…

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The fire cast mirthless shadows over the face of a stranger. He was encircled by four armed men. A fifth man curiously appraised the unusual items that had been confiscated. One object was like a ring of red light reflecting the flames. Fascinated, the man reached out to nudge the object, half expecting it to be hot. He smiled as he held it in his hand caressing its smooth cool surface, captivated by each intricate detail. He stepped closer to the fire when he noticed unfamiliar markings on the circular centerpiece. As he scrutinized it, he noticed movement within. He tapped it sharply to determine if it was alive. Then he held it up to his ear, quickly dropping it, startled. When it fell, it began emitting a green light. Trying to regain his dignity, he carefully retrieved the object. He ran his finger over a small bump on its side. The stranger jumped to his feet shouting unintelligibly, but was quickly stopped by four sharp spears held inches from his throat. Unfazed, the man continued his study, pushing on the strange protrusion. A flash of light suddenly enveloped him, blinding the observers. When it subsided, he had vanished.

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I also found out about a contest that NPR is having this summer called “Three-Minute Fiction”. If I am struck with any inspiration, I may enter that contest as well. Inspiration is easier to come by when you have a specific assignment to spark it, though. Thank you to the Novel Doctor for that.

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