May 25, 2013

Room ... with a view - Friday Flash Fiction - all audiences

Hello folks!
It's time for another Friday Flash Fiction.
This week's prompt "write a short story from the starting point 'A room with a view'." had the creative juices flowing pretty quickly, but I was on a roll on a story I'm currently writing, so I didn't get around to letting these juices out until now.

I had fun writing it, letting it build up as I went.
I hope you'll enjoy reading it!

Room … with a view.

What a night it had been.
What a party it had been.
So much fun, so much booze.
So many men who had flirted with her.
Oh, yeah, she’d had fun.

Without a doubt, she’d had too much to drink, she wouldn’t argue that, but boy, she had partied hard.
The amount of alcohol she had consumed wasn’t helping her right now, but then again, she had never figured she wouldn’t be given the best room in the house and now found herself in a heated argument with a grumpy night watch who wouldn’t be budged, no matter how much she tried to coo him. When she lost her patience – which, thanks to the booze, happened fairly quickly – the man lost his as well and the argument turned ugly, with threats on both sides. Hers were in vain and she knew it. None of her lawyers could make anything happen at this time of night and in this dump. Yes, that was how quickly her opinion changed when she didn’t get things to go the way she wanted them to.
She wasn’t entirely sure she actually wanted to stay here anymore.
Maybe she should just call her agent and get him to pick her up.
Even at this time of night, she didn’t care.
She was a diva and diva’s got to do that.
But then something happened and the night watch made way for a manager.

“So, what seems to be the problem, missy?” he asked her with an undeniable sarcasm … which she hardly noticed.

“I want a room with a view,” she stated, “and he won’t give me the best room in the house. That’s what’s the problem!”

“I see. Well, we do have one room with an amazing view at sunrise.”

“I want it.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem, it’s free for the time being.”
She made an ugly face at the night watch.
“Can you escort the little lady to her room?”
Now, she stuck out her tongue at him.
Thirty seconds of talking to his boss and she got what she wanted.
Who did he think he was to deny her what was rightfully hers?
Didn’t he know who she was?

“Yes, sir.” the night watch replied submissively, “Right this way, milady.”

Oh, he was going to start charming her now, huh?
That wasn’t going to make things any better between them.
“I want your name and employee number.” she hissed angrily as she took a first – wobbly – step towards him.

“That won’t be necessary.” his boss said meaningfully.

“Oh, thank you. You are such a doll.” she purred, leaning towards him.
He kept her from stroking his cheek, but she thought nothing of it and wobbled on, hoping the room wasn’t too far away.
She wouldn’t make it if it was.

Having now gotten his ass chewed out properly, the night watch even held her door and she pranced by him with a smug smile, wishing him a good night.

“Yeah, sleep tight, princess.” he replied through gritted teeth.
Oh, how she loved to get them all worked up like that.
But he’d had it coming to himself. If he hadn’t been such a pain, nothing would’ve happened.

She crashed onto the bed fully dressed, feeling the mattress sag a little and smelling the faint odor of bleach on the sheets.
She was asleep seconds after her head hit the pillow.

Wake-up was rough and came way too early.
The banging and clanging tore her from her beauty sleep and the alarms wailed incessantly.

‘Fire!’ her tired brain screamed and she jumped up, only to stumble and fall to the cold hard floor.
She didn’t remember the floor being so hard, but then again, she hadn’t been awake much to take in the scenery. She struggled back to her feet, taking support on the edge of the bed, feeling the room spin out of control instantly. Thankfully, the sink wasn’t very far and she didn’t get sick all over the floor like she had at times. When the nausea passed, she splashed her face with water and stood up slowly. She should’ve known better than to get up so fast, but the alarms … She didn’t hear it anymore.
Had it been called off?
Maybe it had been a false alert.
She shrugged and went over to the window, making sure to take support along the way to keep from breaking her face again.

At least the manager hadn’t lied about the view.
It was absolutely amazing.
Breathtaking even.
It almost made her forget the pounding headache and foul taste in her mouth.

The bars on the window spoiled it somewhat, but she would have to do with that for the next 90 days.

More entries can be found here

May 18, 2013

Mary Poppins and I - Weekly Writing Challenge - all audiences

Hello everyone!
It's Friday (even though it's already Saturday in my time zone by the time I got around to posting this), so here's this week's entry for the Friday Fiction Challenge. This week is non fiction and the prompt was quite simple: Write a short essay from the starting point, "If I had a Mary Poppins Bag."

Simple as in 'not many words' and 'not a complex/complicated subject'.
It gets less simple to work with, when you realize you have absolutely no bloody clue as to what a Mary Poppins bag does or doesn't do.

I hope you'll enjoy the read.

Mary Poppins and I.

That’s a long story.
Well … actually, it’s not.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the movie and if I did … that was decades ago. When I saw the prompt for this week’s writing challenge, I was like “umm …… what???”. I had absolutely no idea what to make of it. What the heck is so special about Mary Poppins’ bag that someone might want to write a story about it? So, I did the only thing I could do (no, I didn’t go out to find the movie, or download it) I Googled it. Seriously. I had to!
I said before I wouldn’t bail out on a challenge simply because I have no idea where to start, so I had to get busy and figure out what the heck this week’s ‘essay’ might be about. You know, the word ‘essay’ to me, always brings out a certain fear … no, anguish is a better word for it. To me, an essay is something you do for school, like some big project that you spend months on, sometimes even all year. I don’t know why, but that’s the connection I make. An essay to me is a huge piece of very serious work.
Now, how to write a short essay – or huge piece of very serious work – about something I wouldn’t know the first thing about?

Where do I start?
What do I have to say about it?
What could I possibly have to say about a bag, belonging to a movie character that was a big thing when I was just a kid and I have no memory of ever seeing?
Good thing is, the bag is probably something every one of us would like to have at one point or another. Even though, I think I’d rather have a Jack-sack, but that’s not the topic of this ‘essay’ (lol-ing here). But maybe the writers of 24 figured Jack needed a Mary Poppins bag of his own … maybe they did see the movie and thought “Hey, that’s exactly what we need to give this guy, a bag that holds everything he could possibly need ... except ammo at the worst possible time of course, because that wouldn’t be fun!”
I can actually imagine these people sitting around a table discussing it, grins galore.

No, back to Mary Poppins whom I should know from that impossible-to-pronounce sing-along song. I remember the tune, but do not (and I’m serious here) ask me or expect me to go anywhere near singing any of it. So, this bag of hers, this old, raggedy bag of hers. It supposedly holds everything you need, when you need it.
How and when would I use it?
When would I reach into it?
What would I reach into it for?
At work, I might feel inclined to reach in and pull out an office wall, or a divider of some kind, so I could just lock myself (or someone else) up and away to keep all the noise or idiocy out (or locked in). Or I would pull an extra computer out, complete with stand-in who could do all the work I’m doing, so I can do twice as much (days like today, I would just let the stand-in do it all and go back to sleep myself). On the way to or from work, I might be tempted to pull out a police officer … at each intersection. You know, one who would stop all crossing traffic and make sure I can just cruise on home without delay. There are times I would pull out a nice fluffy pillow to get a more comfortable rest (bumping your head against the window coz the damn bus hit another pothole is all but funny when that pothole gets too big!). I could also pull out my trusted stand-in to sit on the seat next to me so no one else could take it. On the very rare occasions I didn’t come prepared, I would be able to pull out an extra notebook (for my on-the-road writing), or a spare pen when I run out of ink (that’s happened to me a few times … *hateful moments*!), but I’m usually prepared for situations like that.

If I really gave it a lot of thought, I’m sure I could come up with dozens of situations that might justify or require reaching into the bag, but I’ve been totally, utterly, unable to wake up today, so I’m going to call it and head for the hay.

Goodnight all and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (yes, I just Googled that)

As usual, more entries can be found at Now Hark This!

May 10, 2013

Video killed the radio star - Fiction Friday Challenge - all audiences.

Heya guys,

This week's prompt at Now Hark This! was an easy one .... if you know what to do with it: "Video Games".
I hadn't really been thinking about it much, because I'm on a roll writing a new fic, but I decided I would get my "2 cents" in for the week before I hit the hay, so I got busy on it.
I had a hint of an idea of where I wanted to take it, so I went with that and .... here's the result!

Enjoy the read and tell me how you liked it.

Thank you!

Video killed the radio star.

He knew things wouldn’t get any easier when the lights came back on. It had been a tough trip so far and he knew, just knew, it was bound to get worse. A lot worse. He could feel it in every inch of his body, in the way his skin tingled and his bones itched, in the thin layer of sweat that seemed to cover his entire body and in the fact the hairs at the back of his neck stood on end. He just knew this day was going to be a lot worse than the one before.
Clasping his weapons tightly, he inched forward, keeping his ears pricked and his breathing shallow so as not to give himself away. Quietly and carefully, he closed in on the corner, daring a quick peek to determine the dangers ahead. There were two. Two immediate threats to his advancement. Two targets to eliminate.
Taking a quiet but deep breath, he readied himself, tensing his muscles. When he was ready, he moved, fast as lightning, his weapons carrying his deadly message to the enemy, eliminating the threats before they could become real.
He crossed the room quickly, patted his victims down and retrieved their ammo. God knew he needed loads. He would never make it if he ran out of ammo. He needed to replenish it as often as possible. Thankfully his pockets were deep and he had loads of them. He could carry quite the stock. His backpack held some more goodies, but he didn’t need any of that right now, so he left it where it was, fit snugly against his back and secured across his chest and hips. He wasn’t about to lose it. If he did, he was dead meat.

Moving on, he spotted more enemies. Too many of them to take out in a frontal attack. He would have to be smarter than that.
Climbing up on some crates, he reached a platform from where he had a good angle and he fitted the sights on his rifle to help with his aim at this distance. He couldn’t afford to miss. Aiming carefully, he took out a first target. He went down without a sound and fell behind a crate.
He changed his aim and went for another kill, taking out the last of three as they walked the perimeter of the area. He changed his aim more quickly this time and took out number two as well, before anyone noticed anything. By then, he had given himself a good advantage. His aim was true and the third didn’t get a chance to reach cover before a bullet caught up with him. That was four down and nobody in a shooting position on their side. The fifth took a little more effort as he was hiding and only sporadically peeking out in the hopes of finding their foe. On one of those occasions, a bullet slammed into his forehead, killing him on the spot.
He moved forward on the platform while changing weapons. The last of the enemy was under him, hiding. He didn’t know if he was trying to locate the source of the danger, or simply hiding to keep from being killed. He put his money on the first option and proceeded with care. More men came running into the area and he cursed softly, backing up on the platform and changing back to the rifle. He didn’t need the sights this time but opened sustained fire on the group of men, killing half and causing the others to scatter. He flung a grenade in their direction, killing two more in the blast. The last one was hidden from view, but he could hear him and the other one calling out to each other. Taking a chance, he rolled off the platform and dropped down, controlling his drop with his left hand while his right held his handgun at the ready. His movement teased the others into action, but his reactions were faster and a first shot brought the first enemy down. Going low and spinning as he went, he brought the gun around on the last man standing as he ran towards him, probably intent on tackling him. He shot him in the face.

Alarms sounded suddenly and he realized he was running out of time.
He reloaded his rifle while he ran on, keeping his eyes on the area ahead.
Checking his watch, he knew he would have to hurry. His window closed in twenty minutes.


He froze on the spot.

“Amanda, time for dinner, honey.”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”

Now, Amanda. That video game isn’t going to go anywhere while you eat.”

The lights went out … for now.
They would come on again soon.
Right after dinner.

More entries can be found right here

May 9, 2013

Feel-good time - Blogging

Yesterday was a good day.
In more ways than one.

It started out with a smile because my son (12) asked me if he could stay home from school. He didn't feel like going, because he had 2 hours of maths to look forward to. Now, he's never enjoyed maths much, then again, it's just the basic calculus he has an issue with. Give him anything else, he's ace, but don't ask him to add numbers up or multiply them. Go figure. I was never good with numbers either (only the number "24" has my complete attention LOL), but this, I don't get. It's not like you don't need to add things up or multiply them when you're calculating volume or circumference or whatever and he has no problem with that.

Anyways, it's not even the math class he has a problem with this year, it's the teacher.
Apparently she's constantly complaining about the fact she's getting paid to explain things *once*, not over and over until they get it (what????) and when she's spent too much time complaining, they get to do the exercises at home on their own, instead of doing them in class (and maybe learning something).

Either way, I didn't let him stay home, but the way he asked put a smile on my face.

When I left for work, my bus was a bit late - my son's was on time, so no trouble getting to school - and there was quite some traffic in the city, so that made me miss my shuttle bus to work. This usually upsets me and makes my day less good (because I lose half an hour or more - depending on traffic - and I have to either stay late at work or take a shorter lunch break).

But yesterday, something funny happened.

I was just in time to take another bus (public transport instead of the private service we have for work) and I settled down with my notebook again. I've been writing like a maniac the last few days and I was on a roll, so I went right back to it. At one point, a lady came to sit next to me and she pulled out a book, making me think "I write it, you read it" (I think that sometimes and it always makes me smile). She was still there when I had to get off and as I put my notebook away before my stop, she put her book down and addressed me ... in English.
I had glanced over at her book and noticed she was reading in French, so I never expected it, but I guess she'd been glancing over at what I was writing and went for the English approach.

She asked me if I was a writer, so I told her I am, but unpublished so far. She said she hoped I would get published and I told her I did too and she asked if I had ever published anything, so I told her I post my stories online and told her where to go (Kieferland forum) to find some of my stories. I'm not sure she'll find her way there, but it would sure be awesome if she did.
Now I'm regretting not having business cards with my information, I would've given her one. I'm also regretting waiting till the last possible moment to put my stuff away, because we would've had a little more time to chat if I hadn't. I might've had the time to write down my blog address for her, but since my stop is very close to the previous, I really didn't have time for that. And if I hadn't already been running late for work, I would've gotten off at a later stop.

I got off the bus with a cheesy smile and I kept thinking 'business cards!!' on the way to work.

When I told my mom in the evening, she said "It would've been better if she had told you she was a publisher and wanted to publish your work".
That would've been beyond awesome.

Any which way you look at it, that really made my day (and seriously, I'm still grinning my face off just thinking back to it).

And yesterday was also the last working day of the week. Today's a bank holiday and tomorrow, we have a company holiday, so now I am home for FOUR long days .... four days to write, write, write and write some more.
Keep your eyes on the blog, my friends, because you may be treated to some new stories *very* soon!

Happy Thoughts!!!

May 4, 2013

Till death do us part - Friday Fiction Challenge - PG-12

Here's another Friday Flash Fic.
This week is Non-Fiction and the prompt was simple: write a short essay from the starting point "Death".
Now, this thing could go anyway with me (as everything does, lol) and I've rated it PG-12 simply because it's about death and I don't think children under the age of 12 should be confronted with that just yet. I could be wrong rating it that way, if there are rules for it and I'm 'breaking' them, please let me know and I'll adjust.

Other than that ..... I won't say 'enjoy the read'.

Till death do us part.

Not only in ‘holy matrimony’, but in every life, whatever your religion, whatever your views, whatever your beliefs, we live until death do us part.
I’m not even sure where to take this, but I’m going to go with the flow, as I always do.
I could write about the – probably expected – deaths that have occurred in my life. Thankfully, there haven’t been many. My grandfather when I was 9, my grandmother when I was 13. Other than that, I’ve been marked by the deaths of pets more often than the deaths of humans. The last one a few years ago, my last dog (until I have time to take care of one again, hopefully next year). If you’re not an animal or dog lover, you may wonder how such a thing could ‘mark’ me, but if you don’t understand, I’m not going to waste my time trying to make you. You do or you don’t. It’s like common sense or an ability to give without expecting anything in return. You have it, or you don’t. It’s not something that can be taught, so I won’t try, I’m a very impatient teacher anyways, so you’re probably better off without the experience.

Do I think about death a lot?
I guess I used to, but I don’t think about it as often as I did. I’ve grown older and I’ve grown stronger. My next tattoo will read “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. It didn’t kill me. I was thinking about death, I didn’t go as far as others have. There was always something holding me back, keeping me from taking the plunge – literally.
Not that the ‘something’ was anything really.
It was a thought.
A realization.
A reality I didn’t even want to contemplate.
It just would never happen.
For over ten years, that one thought (always the same), kept me going, struggling on, fighting for every inch of every step I wanted to take.
It didn’t kill me.
It made me stronger.
It almost did, though. Even years later, I still found myself thinking about the unthinkable. Something else kept me from doing it at that time, but I won’t go there. It’s a rocky ride I don’t want to take again. I won’t take again. It happened, it’s over, let’s let it rest.
That is one thing I can let rest.

Other things won’t be put to rest.
They just won’t be silenced, hidden, forgotten. And there is no way in hell they will ever be forgiven. Most of the time, I’ve ‘got it’ and everything is fine, but sometimes something happens and everything just takes a slide into chaos. It can’t be stopped. It’s even worse when I try to stop it. Every once in a while, I have to let it out and let it play. It doesn’t mean it controls me. It doesn’t mean it controls who I am or what I do.
I control it.
Most of the time.
Most of the time I am stronger than that.
Stronger than what was done to me.
Stronger than what was said to me.
But then, every so often, in the dead of night and in the darkness of my room, I fall apart.
Does it mean I’ll jump off a bridge or put a bullet through my brain?
No, it doesn’t.
Not anymore.
I never have.
I never will.

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.

More entries are at Now Hark This!